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episode #316

Interview with Philip Pape: Flexible Dieting, Evidence Based Training, Carbs for Performance!

December 26, 2023 in Podcast


This week I interviewed nutrition and lifestyle coach for high-performing professionals - Philip Pape. Philip also is the host of the popular podcast Wits & Weights.

In this episode, we discussed the importance of tracking your food and lifting routine along with:

  • The pros of flexible dieting
  • How most people are undereating
  • Evidence based training to build strength
  • Eating carbs for performance
and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was!

Brian (0s):

Coming up on the GET, LEAN, Eat, Clean Podcast.

Philip (4s):

If I took you and sat with you and said, what do you like to eat? Let's start there. What do you like to eat? Oh, you like to eat pasta and you like to eat bread, and you like, I don't know donuts. Well, then is a diet that cuts carbs gonna work for you long term, even if it's quote unquote good or perfect? Of course not. So then we say, well, how do we incorporate those things and align them with your goals? So at the end of the day, the Flexible Dieting approach, which is when compared to rigid dieting, has been shown to be a quite mentally healthy way to approach this and sustainable, like you talk about in your intro, in your show, like what's the sustainable approach is the one that allows you to eat for fullness that allows you to enjoy your foods and not have any guilt.

Philip (46s):

Right? Those three things were big for me, and then when I tied it to the muscle side of the equation, it all started to click

Brian (53s):

Hello. and welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. I'm Brian Gryn, and I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was, five, 10, even 15 years ago. Each week, I'll give you an in depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long term sustainable results. This week I interviewed nutrition and lifestyle coach for high performing professionals, Philip Pape. Philip also is the host of the popular podcast, Wits and Weights, and we discussed the importance of tracking your food and lifting routine along with The pros of flexible dieting. How, most people are undereating Evidence based training to build strength, Eating, carbs for performance, and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was.

Brian (1m 40s):

Really enjoyed my interview with Philip. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn and I have Philip Pap and welcome to the show.

Philip (1m 52s):

Thanks, Brian for having me.

Brian (1m 55s):

Yeah, glad to have you on podcast host of Wits and Weights. I have to say I like that clever, clever line

Philip (2m 3s):

Y you know, I came up with it while watching my girls play soccer and, and I was just brainstorming like brain couldn't shut off and came to me, and there you go.

Brian (2m 11s):

Love it. Yeah, I know I've, I've had mine, you know, for a while and I've always thought, well, maybe I'll rebrand and change it, but, you know, if it works, stick with it. Right,

Philip (2m 19s):


Brian (2m 21s):

And, and maybe explain to the audience a little bit about your background and, and you know, how you sort of got into health and wellness and, and this and that. Yeah,

Philip (2m 30s):

No, I, I think I like to say it's a combination of curiosity and frustration, right? Like many of, many of those listening, there's always a point where you get frustrated with your results or lack thereof. And same thing happened to me, A lot of what got me into health and fitness was personal experience. I've been in the engineering world for a couple decades as an engineering manager and leader, and work with a lot of people and coach a lot of people. And I love helping people, you know, get over the hump of whatever is in the way. But I could never do that personally when it came to my fitness, my physique, my health, and I, I they've always been an action taker, right? Some, for some people, the, the issue is not that they take action, it's that they don't know what to do, how to apply it, and so on.

Philip (3m 10s):

So let's just say I spent my twenties and thirties flailing around going to the gym, not knowing what to do, doing all the diets, right? It was always a names diet from Atkins to paleo to keto, all, all mostly low carb diets. And it wasn't until late 2019 after probably a decade of CrossFit, which also didn't get me very far personally that I stumbled on the world of evidence-based strength training and nutrition, first strength training, and then nutrition. Once I gained about 50 pounds of, of muscle and mostly Fat. I learned a lot about nutrition at that point. But, you know, I, I, I'm a big reader and I like Podcasts.

Philip (3m 50s):

So around that timeframe, I, I came across the muscle strength pyramids. Guys like Dr. Eric Helms, or, you know, stronger by Science and some of these other other guys that then led me to the various Podcasts out there. And I started to lift Weights, you know, with, with progressive overload, actually using proper training principles and recovery and so on. And that led me down, you know, building muscle for the first time and realizing that muscle. In fact, I don't know what you think about this, Brian, but I'm, I'm pretty convinced now that muscle is a bigger either cause or solution to obesity than weight loss today. Like, I firmly believe that now because I've worked with so many clients who come to me, 50 pounds overweight per, you know, health guidelines who have a lot of muscle mass.

Philip (4m 34s):

They might have lifted for 20 years and their blood work's great, right? They just wanna look a little more shapely and maybe drop the resting heart rate. But muscle being the key to everything was one revelation for me. And then on the nutrition side, finally realizing it was about freedom and flexibility and not others telling you what to do, And, what to eat, you know, what's good or bad that unlocked things for me. And realized that this individualized approach is where it's at. So that led me to starting the podcast in late 2021, Wits and Weights as a passion project. It's all it was. It was like, Hey guys, like I know this information's out there, but I had trouble finding it all these years. I'm gonna share it with you. How do we get strong?

Philip (5m 14s):

How do you build your home gym? Like all these little topics that I thought would help people. And that spiraled into meeting a bunch of great folks, including a powerlifter who asked me to be her nutrition coach, because she felt that the way I communicated and shared information was eye-opening. It wasn't do this, it was, here's how it works, let's make it work for you. And that was about two years ago. So we, we can fast forward, you know, between that, but that's how, how I got into the space.

Brian (5m 41s):

Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. And it's interesting. Yeah, I mean, you talk about building muscle, I think. Yes, I think it's obviously really important sometimes. What would you say, I know you mentioned like you'll have people who come in who are strong, but they, they have those extra 15, 20 pounds that, that, that it's just tough to lose, right? They've probably, they're probably in their sixties and they have that, you know, a lot of men get gain weight around their, obviously their waist visceral Fat. What would you say? There's probably not a one size fits all, but what first steps for that, for that individual, what they should they do you think?

Philip (6m 18s):

I think the first step is awareness, right? So a lot of big guys and, and I work primarily with people who have been lifting Weights. I used to work with beginners, but pri primarily people who have been lifting Weights. And so two thirds of my clients are female, one third are male. A lot of the men, men have been lifting for a decade or so, and yet they, they'll latch onto things like the carnivore diet, right? Or something like that. 'cause I'm getting a little fluffy, I wanna cut, but I wanna stay strong. I wanna keep lifting Weights. I want, what do I do? And so, very much like you hear women go into this low energy availability state, which is very common problem for women. A lot of men have that same issue where they're kind of been hovering just below their maintenance calories for all these years trying to diet. And so guess what?

Philip (6m 58s):

It's been holding back their lifting as well. So I'll get a guy saying, I wanna lift, I wanna push my deadlift and I wanna lose Fat. Hmm. Now, some people might say, well, you can't do both at the same time. And my argument is actually, if you optimize your nutrition a bit, you can do both and you're probably lacking some things. You're probably lacking carbs, for example. Like a lot of guys are just lacking carbs. So the first thing is awareness. Brian, it's no surprise to you awareness of, of everything, awareness of your calories and macros, your eating habits, your timing, awareness of, you know, the quality of your food, and of course how this all ties in with your performance and your recovery.

Brian (7m 32s):

Yeah. And I love how you say awareness, because I, I'm a fan of that because, you know, as far as tracking, I, I don't think, it doesn't necessarily have to happen like every day, every week, every month, right. But I think, like initially, if you have someone and they've never done any tracking, it's good to just get a baseline this, because a lot of people don't have no idea how much they're eating or what they're eating because it's just become such, such a habitual thing that they just go about it every day and don't even think about it.

Philip (7m 58s):

That's exactly it. Like I, and I, I would say that you almost have to track it. It's like with your budget, it's with, even with your lifts, if you're trying to push your deadlift up, you've gotta know what your PR was last time to go go up a little bit. So you've got, you've gotta track something. And for me, if you track everything, it kind of gives you the data as quickly as possible. Therefore, allowing you to save all the time later that you think you're saving now by not tracking.

Brian (8m 23s):

Right. And if you track for like a week of what you're eating, that's probably good enough to tell you. It's huge. Yeah, right. I mean, because like, you're probably eating the same things over and over again. At least I, I do, I try to change it up a little bit, but bo you know, I, I would call myself a boring eater. And so, you know, tracking is truly important. And then tracking lifts obviously is, is, do you track your own lifts? And? you know, for me, I've gone on and off with tracking. It's, it's, it's, to me, sometimes when I'm in the gym, it's like, I don't want to be on my phone a lot. And it's, so, so I, I try to go in there and just focus and lift and then, you know, maybe, maybe I should write it down after, but then by then I'll probably forget.

Brian (9m 4s):

So like, I'm curious to know like, how you go about that.

Philip (9m 7s):

That's interesting. 'cause there's a middle ground, which is a physical notebook. Yeah. And there's some, some in the lifting community that are really hardcore about that. Like, no, you gotta use a notebook, don't use apps, you know, and, and, and there's debates and honestly, it's whatever works for you. I do use an app, and you're right, you could, you could easily start messing around and like, your rest periods get too long and you get distracted, right? Yeah. So I just, I like to track it just so that I know, because I usually increase my Weights on certain lifts once a week. Like that's, that's the training age I'm at, right? And right now I'm doing a six week cycle and then a one week deload. And in that six week cycle, I, I'm doing exactly the same lifts on Monday, every Monday, right. So it's easy for me to say, okay, if I'm working the eight to 12 rep range, or I'm down in the, I'm doing triples or whatever, you know, I need to either increase the load or increase the reps or something.

Philip (9m 54s):

So yeah, I encourage people to track whatever they wanna measure. So food lifts, also, your body circumference measurements, your biofeedback. I'm a huge fan of understanding where does stress, hunger, digestion, mood recovery, libido, tie into everything you're doing, because at the end of the day, it's a choice that gives you a consequence. And, now we can, you know, change our choices.

Brian (10m 16s):

Right. And how, how is your split right now? I'm just curious. I've gone through different splits and Oh yeah. I'm trying to figure out now that it's winter and you're up in the, in the northeast, it's like you have a little more time and it's like, well, should I change my split up? I'm just curious to know what, what you're going through right now.

Philip (10m 33s):

Yeah, so three weeks ago I started a new six day per week bodybuilding split. Previously I was doing a four day a week West side, west side style where I was testing my one RMMs every Monday and Tuesday on, on lifts on a rotation of the main lifts. Now I'm doing a six day bodybuilding. So what it looks like is upper, upper, lower, upper, upper, lower. And the uppers are split, like back arms, chest push, pull and

Brian (10m 59s):

So on. So you're doing like a push pull legs, is that, or

Philip (11m 2s):

Kind of Yeah, it's, it's split a little bit differently than that. But. It's, it's from my coach, Andy Baker. He is, he's actually gonna be on my podcast. I probably came out before this one comes out. Yeah. And it, it's a lot of fun. The reason I like it is I'm in my forties, so for me, recovery is more of a concern than when I was younger. I get beat up really easily. My low back gets fatigued pretty easily if I'm doing too much deadlift or, or squatting. And six days a week it, you're talking 40 to five minute sessions, maybe an hour And. what I can do is I can make we Wednesday my recovery day. So now it's like I'm working four day, working out four days during the week anyway. And then I can work out on the weekend, which is very flexible and it, it makes it, it keeps me active on the weekend.

Philip (11m 42s):

So the recovery is optimized for me because I'm spreading out the fatigue, you know? And I have like two hard days, mainly, pretty much the leg days are, are the harder days.

Brian (11m 52s):

Okay. Yeah.

Philip (11m 53s):

So that's what, that's what it looks like right now.

Brian (11m 55s):

Yeah. And well, yeah, I, I, what I find being in my forties is yes, recovery is so key. What type of things do you do to recover from workouts and, you know, making sure that like every session in the gym is, you know, worthwhile.

Philip (12m 11s):

Yeah. The sleep, sleep and food is big, right? Yeah. So right now I'm, I'm in a gaining phase. I have been since April, we're recording this in December and I have probably another two and a half months. So I always recommend if, if you're gonna go after muscle building, spend a good six to nine months, you know, don't, don't shortchange the process. So for me, eating well over 3000 calories is fun, but also needed for the recovery. I will notice, and, and I see this a lot with clients too, guys especially who are, who call themselves hard gainers. I'll notice that as you, your environment becomes more anabolic and you really pushing it, your metabolism can start to ramp up in certain phases very quickly to the point where it outruns your eating right.

Philip (12m 52s):

And you have to get ahead of it by jumping up those calories every week. Sometimes on a daily basis you'll feel it if you don't. So that was my point here. Recovery wise, if your lifts start to stall, even though you're in a gaining phase, you're probably not eating enough. If you're getting six hours of sleep, you probably need seven or eight. you know, those are the two big ones. Yeah. Other than that, don't do too much. Like, don't be doing hours and hours of cardio and hiking and this and that and the other and, and do some mobility plus stretching, plus Pilates plus yoga in addition 15. Okay. Just, just focus. And then I feel like one other thing came to mind for recovery. Oh, and it's take the loads as needed, right?

Philip (13m 32s):

Like listen to your body. You may not need 'em for 12 weeks. You may need 'em after four. It depends.

Brian (13m 38s):

And, what did you learn? I mean, you mentioned that you were, did a bunch of fad diets, you know, And, you know, you've done CrossFit. What is, what did you learn from like, you know, paleo, Atkins, keto, you did some fasting it looks like at some point and to, to sort of where you're at today?

Philip (13m 58s):

I, I mean, I guess the, the big, the big lesson was that if there's no one size fits all approach for anyone, and there's a lot of misinformation out there as to why we do these, right? So if, if someone's trying to sell a book on a diet, they're going to have to justify why the diet looks like that, right? And a lot of times that means overreaching on the science or going to just pure falsehoods. And so there are a lot of quote unquote myths that we wanna unravel for people like, like that Carbs make you Fat, right? Things like that where you can get down into the details and start talking about insulin in sensitivity and timing and like what kinds of carbs, And, you know, sugar source of carbs versus whole grain.

Philip (14m 42s):

Yeah, you can get into all that. There's a lot of red herrings. But at the end of the day, if I took you and sat with you and said, what do you like to eat? Let's start there. What do you like to eat? Oh, you like to eat pasta and you like to eat bread and you like, I don't know donuts. Well then is a diet that cuts carbs gonna work for you long term, even if it's quote unquote good or perfect? Of course not. So then we say, well how do we incorporate those things and align them with your goals? So at the end of the day, the Flexible Dieting approach, which is when compared to rigid dieting, has been shown to be a quite mentally healthy way to approach this and sustainable, like you talk about in your intro in your show, like what's the sustainable approach is the one that allows you to eat for fullness that allows you to enjoy your foods and not have any guilt, right?

Philip (15m 30s):

Those three things were big for me. And then when I tied it to the muscle side of the equation, it all started to click, oh, you're an athlete and you're training, well now you're gonna, your appetite signals are gonna be regulated. You're gonna crave the carbs and protein. You're not gonna wanna eat too much, quote unquote junk anyway. It's, it's gonna be a small part of your diet. If you love like donuts, put 'em in there, But, it all kinda works out is what I find.

Brian (15m 52s):

Yeah. I mean I've gone through some phases myself. I was, I was doing fasting for quite a while, And, you know, I think it can play a role. I think if no one's ever, if you've never tried it, I don't think it's a bad thing to try. I think some people like it 'cause it gives them boundaries around their day. But like anything else, you can al also overdo it, right? Like I think there's a lot of these diets that go on one extreme or the next, 'cause one it's, it sounds sexy and they can sell it and they, it just like, don't, you know, there's a lot of people who have great results from a lot of different diets like you said. But sort of self experimentation I think is important in trying out what works for you. 'cause I've introduced a lot of whole food carbs back into my routine and I feel like I've gotten stronger from that.

Brian (16m 38s):

I, I was probably undereating. I mean you talk about eating, I mean, how much do you weigh

Philip (16m 43s):

Right now? I'm 180 5 trying to get to 1 90, 1 95.

Brian (16m 46s):

Yeah. Yeah. Nice. Yeah. And you're eating over 3000 calories. And would you say that most people, especially in the, in the clients that you're teaching are undereating, especially the women?

Philip (16m 57s):

Oh yeah. Always that, that's step one that when I talked about awareness, yeah. My clients will all start tracking on day one and I, I tell 'em not to change anything, just track. And the first week I'm like, you're way under. And for the women, I want want them to just get to maintenance, right? Most women aren't saying, yeah, I want to gain, you know, just get to maintenance. And that is often a struggle. It's a struggle because the protein and the carbs and like how those, those balance but also their fear, their fear of gaining weight, right? Their fear of of it. Like how could I do that? And it's just because they're persistently living in this low energy availability state. Yeah. Yeah.

Brian (17m 33s):

How do you go about, 'cause I know it's not a perfect science, figuring out their maintenance.

Philip (17m 38s):

Yeah, I mean So, we use an app called Macro Factor. I love that app. Okay. I know a lot of people use MyFitnessPal chronometer and so on. I'm very vocal and opinionated about why I think that app is is is better per personally, and, and the reason I like the app is it helps you find your maintenance very accurately. So most apps, and again, you can use whatever tool works for you as I always say that most apps will either not even calculate your expenditure and they'll just, they're just a tracker or they'll do it based on BMR Formulas, right? And and or com combined with your activity tracker. The problem is the BMR Formulas can be off by like three or 400 calories for individuals. 'cause it's a population level mean it's based on right.

Philip (18m 18s):

And then the A activity wearables are off by up to 70 or 80% accuracy because your metabolism, metabolism is made up of more than just BMR and activity. What macro factor does is it says how is your body weight changing and how much are you eating relative to that body weight change? It's just like if you told somebody eat exactly the same for two weeks and let's see what happens to your weight And, now we can tell your maintenance calories. It's kind of like that line of thinking. So that's how we do it. And within about two or three weeks you have a good idea of, oh, you thought you were burning 2,800 calories, you're really burning 2200. That's why you haven't been losing weight 'cause you haven't been in a deficit. You've been eating that maintenance.

Brian (18m 58s):

Gotcha. And do you, I obviously like we talked a little bit before about like Lane Norton and he's very on that evidence-based side. Is that where you sort of got a lot of that from, or tracking calories and stuff? And I know it's not all about calories and calories out, but is that like obviously plays a role. What type of role does it play for you and your clients?

Philip (19m 19s):

Yeah, you know, you mentioned Lane. Lane Norton. His influence for me was, was the body Fat overshooting science. The idea that most people who are Dieting, especially women diet like a hundred something times in their life when you're Dieting, if you don't have a sufficient training stimulus, right? You're not training hard in the gym and, and then secondarily not enough protein, you're gonna lose a bunch of muscle mass. And I think I used to say it could be up to like 50% of the tissue. I think the science has more like 25, 30%, but that's still a massive amount of muscle mass loss. And then it leads to a whole bunch of other symptoms like hunger and wanting to binge on carbs and sugar. And that causes you to overeat when you diet, when you get off the diet and, and so on and so forth.

Philip (20m 1s):

So this is the Yo-yo Dieting phenomenon and that kind of ties into, okay, the important thing here is muscle mass when we're dieting, we wanna hold onto our muscle mass to the tune of no more than a couple percent loss at most. And then when we are gaining, we don't want to gain too much Fat, right? We wanna maximize muscle mass. So when we say evidence-based, you know, I wanna, I want the listener to understand that doesn't necessarily mean science-based science is just one little piece of the evidence science meaning scientific papers, right? Which are full of, of examples of poor methodology that you have to watch out for. And so it's hard to suss that out. Other evidence is n equals one, right?

Philip (20m 41s):

Your personal experience is probably the most important evidence you have, right? Also anecdotal experience, also coaches who have lots of experience working with thousands of clients. So when you add it all together and use your critical thinking hat and don't just believe all the fit influencers, you can go really far for you

Brian (20m 60s):

And you, you've talked about for yourself that you've like had at one point had like the dad bod. And so I think a lot of times when you get into your forties and beyond, you don't, like a lot of guys probably feel like they can't make inroads and, and like get their physique back and it's, I like hearing about how you're like setting all these goals and doing one rep maxes. Because I will say for myself, I've, not that I don't go heavy, but I think sometimes there's a hesitancy just because, you know, the last thing you want I wanna do is get hurt in the weight room. So how do you sort of walk that line while, you know, sort of trying to get rid of the dad bod but also not overdoing it.

Philip (21m 42s):

Yeah. What you brought up is very common fear in terms of safety and hurting your back and hurting this or that. Two big ones that I hear are deadlifting is gonna hurt, is gonna injure you. And then it's like, squatting's gonna hurt my knees or I, I can't squat to depth or it's all, all these things that I'm gonna be honest, 99% of the time it's an excuse or, or just at least comes out of ignorance that you can do something that works for you. If you are deadlifting with bad form, you can get injured. If you are deadlifting and twisting your torso, you can get injured. But I could argue that's not deadlifting that's doing something else that's not deadlifting. So that brings us to, well what do you do? Well, having a good training trainer, a good coach that understands the mechanics and becoming very, very well educated at that.

Philip (22m 28s):

And then getting feedback early, early when you're lifting very lightweights, you know, you're, you're dead lifting 95 or 135 on the bar instead of, you know, three 15. That's the time where you have a lot of tolerance to avoid injury and get it right. So I, I would say that I've had a back surgery two years ago I had a microdiscectomy And, you know what I did right after I recovered from that, I started deadlifting because deadlifting is one of the best things you can do for your back health. you know, it, it, it, it strengthens your spinal erectors. It's an isometric, you know, movement that causes you to really have to hold something in, in tight contraction, And. now guess what you're doing? You're supporting your spine.

Philip (23m 8s):

So anyway, I sometimes I get off on my diatribe of like why it's right, but I would ask somebody to work with and knowledgeable person and figure it out for themselves and see, you know,

Brian (23m 20s):

And two, what I've found is like, not that I don't squat from time to time, but you know, you can do an alternatives, right? There's so many options, like single leg Bulgarian squats for example. I, I tend to Lean towards those with some weight on my back, but I'm not putting so much load on my spine and my back is pretty much straight up and down. And let me tell you, I've never seen anyone else. I'm, you know, it's not the biggest weight room, but I don't see anyone else doing it ever. And I'm there, you know, four days a week 'cause it's tough. It's not easy Yeah. To do single leg Bulgarian squats with back weight on. And I've just gotten into that rhythm of doing it and I, and so I don't need to put on, you know, a ton of weight and load on my spine.

Brian (24m 4s):

So you can, you can definitely make adjustments.

Philip (24m 7s):

Yeah, I mean I just had a con the conversation with Andy about a lot of this stuff we were talking about bodybuilding style training and there, there's, there's a difference but also an overlap between strength and hypertrophy and you can make a lot of progress in terms of size and mass with the, the types of movements you mentioned. Like you don't have to have full on giant compound lifts for everything. And in fact, the programming I'm I'm doing right now doesn't always have those programmed in and you can still make progress if you're trying to increase maximal force production and maximal strength. That's where you bring in the bigger lifts. But like you're saying, Brian, I'm not dogmatic about this stuff. Like even though when I first started lifting heavy, I did it through starting strength and their culture's very much like you gotta do the big three or the big four and that's the only way to get strong and build muscle mass.

Philip (24m 53s):

I think for beginners it's very effective and efficient to do that. And it teaches you a lot about mental resilience as well. But then as you become an intermediate advanced trainer, there are a lot more options.

Brian (25m 3s):

Yeah. And also too, using machines, I mean I've started to, I never, I was always sort of anti using them thinking, oh, you know, then, then I, you know, I'm not stabilizing the weight myself. I got the machine, but there's some great machines out there and I would, I was, I've been using, I got this from, you know, Jeff ni nipper. Nipper, yeah, yeah, yeah. And it's obviously basic thing, but just doing a slid incline press on the, on the assisted bench press as opposed to just always using the free Weights. And it's nice because you, I think there's something mental about, unless you have a spotter, right? If you don't have a spotter, I think it's a great thing using the assisted weight machines because there's a freedom.

Brian (25m 46s):

Like you feel, you just feel like, okay, I can push as hard as I want and all I gotta do is make sure I just clip it and I'm fine. Yeah. So like I, I think mentally it allows me, I've just started doing it more. It allows me to push harder.

Philip (25m 60s):

It depends on what your goals are, right? I mean, Lauren Lenzo simple. She is a pretty well-known researcher that writes for the mass research review and she studies female physiology, but she also studies things like free versus machine, you know, free Weights versus machine Weights. And she'll tell or machines and she'll tell you that we find that they're, you can get equally comparable results for the most part between the two. It depends on your goals though. Like if you're only using machines that isolate planes of motion and you're completely neglecting certain muscles, you're gonna, you're gonna notice that. But I love machines for one, like you said, the safety. But for another is to get the mind muscle connection in the target muscle.

Philip (26m 40s):

So for example, if you do barbell rose and you really don't fill in, in the lats, like you feel like you're just yanking with your arms or something and you don't fill in the lats, go use a T-bar machine row, right? Which isolates like a, a a, what do you call it? Chest supported machine row. 'cause you can't help but get exactly on the lats. Then you build that feeling and that neuromuscular connection. Now you can go apply it to a free weight movement and see what else you get out of it. The free weight movements of course are gonna give you other things like stability. Maybe they engage your core a little bit more and then they use, they use the muscle mass as a system, right? They use the whole movement pattern as a system. And that's where you can hit often neglected muscles doing it that way too.

Brian (27m 21s):

Yeah, yeah. No, there's to tons of advantages to it. And I was always sort of anti, but now I'm getting back into them and it's nice. I mean, I think that's one thing just if you've been lifting for a long time, it's just trying to mix it up and And, you know, find different programs or different different exercises just to, to keep you engaged.

Philip (27m 40s):

It's, it's fun man. It's a lot of fun. Also, the ca cable machines, I I consider that free Weights too. Yeah. And a lot. And, and that's kind of a middle ground, you know, cable flies and cable. I don't know every, everything you could do with a cable, even if you wanna do ab movements, you could do with loaded ab crunches with a cable machine, whatever. Yeah.

Brian (27m 58s):

What would you say like some of the biggest mistakes that people make, you know, when they're trying to sort of get their health and physique in order?

Philip (28m 9s):

I think there's a few things. It usually comes down to mindset are the biggest things. A lack of patience and a lack of consistency are probably the biggest things to be honest. And people hear that and like, oh, there, there we go again, talking about the mind stuff, the emotional stuff. But once you, once you dial in how to do something and you start tracking, that's the easy part. It's can you do it every day? And that's where I love to focus on when you look at the tiny habits approach or you look at behavioral psychology, how do humans get to a goal where they don't focus on the goal? They focus on here And now. Like what am I accomplishing today? What are my wins today? What did I lift? I did my meal planning for the day.

Philip (28m 49s):

Like if you look at your day, you probably have 10 wins that you can celebrate. And so be being proactive about that, setting yourself up for success and having those wins is how you make progress. And if you're 80% on you are far beyond most people, like most people are 10%, you know, they've got zero days all the time. If you're there eight, eight outta 10 times, you're gonna be just fine. And so when you have that mindset, the other big mistake people make is the all or nothing, right? The all or nothing thinking like, oh, I just went crazy on Saturday. I went out with my friends, a Mexican restaurant. We had the appetizers, the beer, we had the dessert. I, I don't even, I didn't even track. I don't even know what it, so what that was yesterday.

Philip (29m 31s):

Today's today, like what is your plan? Stick with your plan, get the win for today and move on. So that, that's I think mindset's the biggest one.

Brian (29m 38s):

Yeah. Yeah. No, that's a good point. I mean, consistency, it's like when I first started, I, I was lucky I started lifting when I was, I don't know when you started, I started when I was like a junior in high school. I remember like getting somewhat into it, pushed my, actually my parents got me into it, which was great. Probably the best thing I could have done. And then just being consistent, I think I wasn't, you know, maybe three days a week of lifting and, and that was, and that did that for so long. I've changed it, you know, since then. But like, it wasn't anything crazy. And I think that's key. Like you can even doing, I mean, you see a lot of stuff out there. Like one set the failure or guys that are just doing the big lifts like once a week, I think, is it Mike Mutzel or there's a, there's a, there's a, there's a few big names that really Yeah, push, push that for me once a week.

Brian (30m 28s):

It's not enough. I just, even if it, even if it's the best science in the world for

Philip (30m 32s):

Most people it's not,

Brian (30m 33s):

Let's be honest,

Philip (30m 33s):

You can't train the most people can't train that hard to do it only once a

Brian (30m 36s):

Week. Once a week. I know, well, let's just say this, but if, if, if you're not, if you're finding that you're going in the gym four, four or five days a week, but that's not lasting a while, you're not, you're not able to sustain that then, you know what, once or twice a week, if you can consistently do that, that's above and beyond what's going four to five days a week.

Philip (30m 57s):

Yeah. It's better than zero. That, that, that's what it is. It's like, what is zero? What is zero? Okay. Here's another way to look at it. I think Adam Bernstein has this in his latest book where he talks about the expanded comfort zone. So you've got, you've got your comfort zone, all the things that you don't even think about. You just do it every day. And everybody talks about getting out of your comfort zone, which, and he challenged that challenges that he's like, well, why do we, why do we wanna go so far out of what we do and make it where it's almost impossible to stick with it? Why don't we just push our comfort zone out a little bit and expand it with a couple things, like one thing this week, one thing next week. And it almost feels like it's still your comfort zone. And then you still have all these things in your comfort zone. Like, okay, you eat pizza every Saturday, maybe that's in your comfort zone for a while while you add in protein for breakfast, right?

Philip (31m 42s):

Maybe, you know, like you said, training, if you don't train at all, maybe you go in once a week while you do a lot of walks on the other days in, in your comfort zone, right? So what what you're saying makes a lot of sense and, and it it gives you the bug to then get in two, three days a week once you get that one day going.

Brian (31m 59s):

Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes it takes a long little while to get the bug. It may, it may not. Not. And, and I, I know people who never get the bug you, they just, they don't like it. But I always say find something that you enjoy. I mean, even if it's, I don't know, going and playing tennis. I mean, I know that's not Resistance training and we all know Resistance training is like the best,

Philip (32m 20s):

You know? Yeah. I mean I was gonna challenge it until you said, until you said like, it's gotta be something you enjoy. 'cause if you say you don't like it, that's the problem. It's not that the thing itself isn't quote unquote good for you. That's the problem. I really do think everyone should Resistance train. Like I'm, it's one of very few things on my list. It's like everyone should be doing it. But, but how you do it, and here's the thing. I've had female clients come to me and they're doing the Peloton and they're playing tennis and they're hiking and they're, they're doing high rep training in the gym and they're like, I don't like lifting Weights. Well what does it look like? Well, I'm going in for an hour and I'm sweating my butt off doing, you know, 10 to 15, 15 to 20. Like, you know, how mentally taxing and tiring and boring that, that could be for some people.

Philip (33m 2s):

What if we just step back and do three movements, three sets of five, you know, it's gonna be heavy. Well, isn't that hard? Yeah, it's gonna be hard, but it's a different hard and you, you and you're gonna do it and you find out you have all this recovery and the stress comes off and then next time you go in, you want to increase the weight by five pounds, it becomes a game and you start to like it. Like I've seen that time and again where it's just, you're not doing it in the way that that serves you. you know?

Brian (33m 25s):

What I What's your opinion regarding like cardio? I've had John Jake wish on my podcast and he, you know, he's a bit out there on, on his views for some things, but his book is titled like cardio is a Waste of Time. Where do you think it lies? Because you know, like I was just at East Bank Club, which is a huge club in the, in Chicago and the second you walk in, it's like the cardio room, it's just steering you in the, there's like a thousand ellipticals And. what is your opinion about how that should be implemented?

Philip (33m 55s):

I think, or if

Brian (33m 56s):

It should be? Yeah,

Philip (33m 57s):

I mean, I mean cardio, cardio, there's different forms of cardio, right? Sure. What, what is the purpose of cardio if it's to burn Fat and calories? I say absolutely not. It's not, it's not an effective way to do that. You're better off building muscle and watching your diet, right? That's gonna be way more effective for the time and for the, the stress and everything else. If your priority is to lift Weights and build muscle, any cardio that interferes with your recovery is gonna be too much cardio. But a lot of people take that to the extreme and say no running, no cardio, nothing. You can definitely, if you have a decent fitness level and work capacity and you're able to deadlift three sets of five at 90% of your max, you probably have a pretty good resting heart rate just from lifting. But then it also enables you to go enjoy some cardio outside of that if you want.

Philip (34m 41s):

As far as burning calories, like I think walking is is one of the best things you could do for that, you know, increase your expenditure because it's easy, it's no stress. You could do it anywhere and every, everywhere you could. It's good for your mental health. You could do it in nature and give vitamin D on and on and on. So I like Mike Matthews' recommendation. He says, limit your cardio to half the time that you lift, like, like medium to high intensity cardio to half the time you lift. And it probably won't interfere with your lifting and you're good. Right? And that's it. Let's not be on these extreme camps. Let's stop that.

Brian (35m 14s):

Yeah, I think some, I think, you know, people go into a weight room and they just go to the elliptical machine for 45 minutes and then they're done and that's all they do. And they, and they expect to get results and, and that could be, that's tough way to get results.

Philip (35m 28s):

Yeah. And, and honestly a lot of people are doing, are doing too much cardio thinking. It's for burning Fat and all, all you have to do is ask yourself the question, do I enjoy this? That's, that's the the number one thing I'm gonna say. Are you running because you love to run, you love the competition, you love the training of it as a sport, as a, as a, you know, a mode of of movement. And you're like, no, I hate running then stop running. Like you don't have to run at all. I right now, just for people on the phone, like I have pretty good body composition and I'm strong and everything. I almost never do any cardio other than walking

Brian (35m 58s):


Philip (35m 59s):

Too. Okay. And most of my car. Okay, so you, if you're looking for permission not to do cardio, you've got it. Like you could be fine but you still wanna walk a lot and still wanna move. I think you need to keep the energy fluxx high as we call it, by, by movement in general. Right?

Brian (36m 13s):

Yeah, that's a good point. I always say you look at like, would you rather look like a marathon runner or like a sprinter? Sprinter?

Philip (36m 19s):

Yeah, that's a good one. It's

Brian (36m 20s):

A good one. What would you say the biggest myth about losing weight's out there? You might have just touched on it, but

Philip (36m 28s):

I guess yeah, there are a ton. Hmm. I maybe that calories don't matter is one of the big ones out there, right? I mean I already mentioned the carbs make you Fat thing, but there's a lot of, it still persists the idea that there are good carbs versus, or good calories versus bad calories. Or actually carbs are a big part of this. 'cause you'll hear the narrative that your Fat because you eat too many carbs and that causes more Fat storage than if you ate something else. No, it's, it's the calories, that's what it comes down to. Your over, you know, it's the calories now what you eat when you eat it, the quality of what you eat will affect your body composition, your ability to perform, your sleep, your hormones, they'll affect your satiety.

Philip (37m 14s):

And then those ultimately can have effect on your calories because they affect your expenditure, right? So I, I think that's a huge myth still that causes restrictive diets to take center stage. And I got a lot of, I got some hate on my recent episode called more carbs, more Muscle. You still get the hate from the little carb crowd saying like, this is terrible, how can you be telling clients to eat more carbs? you know, insulin, blah blah blah blah, blah. It's all the same thing. And lemme tell you, if you're lifting Weights, not if you're sedentary. If you're sedentary, Carbs aren't gonna help you very much. Right? But if you're lifting Weights, Carbs are beautiful because they give you energy, they help you with your blood sugar control, they help you with recovery. I mean, I can go on and on.

Philip (37m 55s):

I did a whole podcast episode about it that that's, that's the one I'd point out.

Brian (37m 60s):

Yeah, I I do think that like a lot of people, if they're like, oh wow, I wanna lose weight. Well I'll just cut completely, cut Carbs out, And, you know, this can help I think if, especially if the carbs that they were eating and I'm curious, you know, your opinion were are highly processed, right? Yeah. Because you know that like, you know, that does lead to overeating and you know, there's obviously the whole carnivore craze out there and how long were, I'm curious how, how long were you like in low carb until you realized that you wanted to implement more carbs into your life?

Philip (38m 33s):

I mean I, I did low carb for like well over a decade. Oh wow. E either did it or didn't do it, but that was what I would go to And what you said was, you know, you can lose a lot of weight on low or I don't dunno if you said it precisely this way, but you can lose a lot of weight going low carb because you are cutting out generally processed foods which aren't just carbs off in the carbs and Fat. Right. But what am I trying to say? Every time I did keto or low carb, I definitely lost a lot of weight, but I also wasn't training and so I lost muscle and I got more skinny Fat, right? I think there's a beautiful balance in between where even if you are in a Dieting phase, if you're in a calorie deficit, the Carbs are gonna come down to be pretty low anyway.

Philip (39m 15s):

So that's kind of the irony of this whole thing, Brian, is my clients, when we, we go really deep into a deficit and they're getting leaner and they're almost done, the carbs are probably sub 100 grams of that point, which most people would say, oh that's getting into keto territory. you know, or even 50 grams for a, a petite female because we're keeping the protein really high, but we're keeping the protein high. We're training really hard, we're getting a lot of sleep and recovery. That's very different from just cutting carbs randomly, not training, not having high protein. You might have a high, high Fat, right? It's very different. So that's what I would say. Now on the other side of the equation, building muscle, I have seen differences and there have been many studies including made analysis that show us you will build a lot more muscle with a moderate to high carb diet than a low carb diet.

Philip (40m 0s):

It's just been demonstrated time and again, and it has to do with a lot of things, the energy, the protein sparing and and and so on. Anyway, stop me if I'm going on here, Brian.

Brian (40m 11s):

No, no, that's good. And yeah, I mean I've had Jay Feldman on might be a good guy to get on yours and with energy balance Podcasts and I think carbs get villainized when really they're not, they're not the big players in it. I think for a while I was fairly low carb and implement them back into my routine and, and it's, it's been good. And I think a lot of people go that road also too. I, we talked about, I've talked about it with Jay before, sometimes if you're having some gut issues and you cut out some certain carbohydrates that are causing gut issues, that's why I think a lot of people with carnivore maybe get great results is because, because they cut these gut stressors out and they end up improving digestion and, and not having to, you know, deal with, you know, a lot of these gut stressors that, you know, could be harm, you know, harming whatever their health, like even like certain vegetables, right?

Brian (41m 5s):

I know, I know some people demonize vegetables and I think vegetables are fine for most people, but you know, some people have issues with them.

Philip (41m 13s):

My general take on all of that is when you go to an extreme, you're cutting, you're, you're changing many variables at once. So when you go to carnivore, you're cutting out like 80% of potential foods from your diet and you're changing a lot of variables. So you're gonna move a lot, some things in the right direction, maybe some things in the wrong direction. But if the net effect is positive, that's giving you feedback that this thing is quote unquote good for you when it might've been just one thing that you needed to change. For example, you mentioned the gut issues. I might've found that a client just doesn't have enough fiber in their diet and most of their carbs are coming from more simple Carbs and all they need to do is shift it a little bit toward fruits and vegetables and whole grains and oats and stuff that have fiber and all of a sudden the GI issues get solved and they still have the same macros, right?

Philip (41m 57s):

It's not about the carbs in general. 'cause carbs are a whole entire, you know, huge source of food in, in on the planet, right? Like every plant has Carbs basically. So yeah, that, that's, that, that's my thought would be if you can do an elimination type approach or the reverse of that, or you like eliminate one thing at a time that you think is a culprit and then track feedback, that's probably a more reasonable approach rather than cutting out 80% of what you eat.

Brian (42m 25s):

It's just my take on it. Yeah, yeah, that's a good point. And if people aren't, are on restricted diets for too long, you know, it's, it's been shown that that's not optimal for hormones. So, you know, that's something to keep in mind as well. I know the keto diet, you know, can be good for some people, but if you're on it long-term for some people, I know I used to have a, I've had a keto savage on, I mean he, there's some keto bodybuilders out there, you know, so there's, there's something, you know, there's also gonna, there's gonna be cases where it works for some people. So you

Philip (42m 57s):

Know that that's all it is. It is, it works for you. Just like with intermittent fasting, what does the science show us? Well, it shows us that from, from a weight loss perspective, it's just as effective as not fasting, but from a adherence perspective, it's helpful for some people to, to constrain the feeding window. And, now you've kind of regulate your hunger signals and then in the fasting window your body's used to that, so you're fine. And then now you can have bigger meals during the feeding window. And guess who that works great for smaller women with lower metabolisms who are in a dieting phase, you know? And, and, and I almost naturally gravitate toward that. Sometimes if the calories get low where I'll have a little bit later or breakfast a little bit earlier dinner And, you know, I don't wanna be hungry. And so I take that approach.

Brian (43m 38s):

Is it, has it been tough for you to consume over 3000 calories or has that been pretty easy for you? I,

Philip (43m 43s):

I love it. I love it. I close to 4,000 is tough. Like, so I've been up, I've been up there where I was like 38, 3900 before. And that gets a little tougher because you wanna, you're tempted to just eat Pop-Tarts and Cinnamon Toast Crunch or whatever to fill in the gap. 'cause you're like, ah, I, I, I still want more carbs, but I'm not really full hungry and something has to go down really easy. So however, I've got plenty of clients who they're at 2,900 calories and they're like, oh, I can't eat. I'm like, dude, 2,900 calories is nothing. you know, I, I, I'd listen, I'm not judgmental. Some guys need tough love. I'm like, you know what we need to do, just increase that calorie density, you know, we need to increase the calorie density and eat more throughout the day.

Philip (44m 23s):

That's usually the solution you're eating three times a day. Let's make it five, let's make it six, right? It let's, let's enjoy nuts, let's enjoy raisins. Let's put some oil on your salad. Like there's easy fixes like that, that are so whole foods, but they're more calorie dense. And then of course, 10, 20% of your diet can be whatever the heck you want. I mean, that's, that's my approach. That's how you stay sane.

Brian (44m 45s):

Yeah, exactly. And I'll have to check out that macro factor because I've, I've never used that app.

Philip (44m 51s):

I do have an affiliate code if you, if, if you're okay with sharing it. Yeah, it's Wits and Weights, all in words.

Brian (44m 56s):

Wits and Weights. Okay. Yeah. Wi and,

Philip (44m 59s):

But, and I'll just say I've been using it since they launched. All my clients use it and I tell everyone about it. I can't shut up about it. I think it's great. It's, it's an amazing

Brian (45m 6s):

App. No, that's good to know. 'cause I've, I've used some other apps in the past, but I'll definitely check that out. Well, let me, let me ask you this question. I usually ask all my guests and they come on, what one tip would you give an individual if they're looking to get their body back to what it once was? 10, 15 years ago? And,

Philip (45m 25s):

What it was 10 to 15. I wanna give them even more than than what it was. 10 to 15.

Brian (45m 30s):

Well, let's start there.

Philip (45m 31s):

Yeah, I mean, I'm gonna sound like a broken record, but it's gotta be Resistance training of some kind. Like, that's it. I, I had a, I had a call, I do these like breakthrough calls for free for people all the time. I had a call the other day where it was a, it was a male probably in his fifties, very stressed. He's an entrepreneur with like 14 hour days and he said, I wanna lose some excess weight. I wanna fix my nutrition. I said, are you lifting? No, no, no, no. I don't have time for that. I said, so now you want to add to the stress of your 14 hour day job by tracking food and trying to meal prep and meal plan and all the things I'm gonna probably ask you to do to make sure we dial this in. That to me sounds like it's not gonna work with your schedule.

Philip (46m 15s):

Can you find two hours a week to lift Weights? you know, and, and 'cause he was looking at me like, do I have time for that? And I told him like, lifting Weights is going to be the catalyst to everything else because you're gonna have a little bit better mood for the day, you're gonna feel a little bit less stress, you're gonna have better appetite regulation, and you're not gonna eat as much junk. We kind of mentioned this earlier, it is the unlock, it's the key to unlocking everything else. And then come back and talk to me about nutrition in, say, two, three months after you start lifting. So anybody lift listening who's not lifting Weights? I, I really think that is, that's number one. Yeah.

Brian (46m 53s):

Yeah. And I've talked before on this podcast about like, these micro workouts. I, I personally don't think you need to be in the gym for a, a long period of time. Sure. And you can go in there and just do a few things and be done. And, you know, even during lunch or whatever, or, you know, try to, you know, you'll find time. But even in your house, like Brad Kerns will talk about, he has like a, I don't know, not that everyone can do pull-ups, but he is a pull-up bar that's, you know, right in his office. And he is, you know, or, or even just doing some walking lunges or, you know, you can find time. It doesn't have to be necessarily even a designated time. It could just be throughout the day as you go throughout the day.

Brian (47m 35s):

And then when the day's over you're like, oh, I did that. you know, I did those many squats or this many pull-ups. And so

Philip (47m 41s):

It's simple, simple principle. If you don't challenge yourself, you're not gonna change if you don't challenge it. And so for, I'll, I'll tell you, my mom, she's in her sixties and she doesn't mind me sharing this, but like, she could hardly get off the couch.

Brian (47m 54s):

She's young,

Philip (47m 55s):

She could hardly get off the couch. And I had her start to literally squat off a chair and then squat off a lower chair. And the other day she posted saying like, she had tears in her eyes because she can get off the couch without effort now. And this is after what? A couple months? At most. Wow. Because she's progressively overloading her squat, and yet she hasn't gotten under a barbell. So of course now she wants to go to the, she's going to the gym. She's using dumbbells and everything because she's got the bug, as I mentioned before. So like Brian said, you just, it had to be relative to where you are right now. What you have access to And, what you'll be consistent with.

Brian (48m 29s):

Love that. Yeah. Well, Philip, this was great. Thanks for coming on. Best place for people to find it. I know that you got your, if you're watching on YouTube, you can see his Wits and Weights podcast and, and then his Instagram handle and and website. Yeah.

Philip (48m 45s):

You like that background? Yeah, I know.

Brian (48m 47s):

I gotta, I'm like, I'm like, why Don? I not have that. It

Philip (48m 49s):

Just sells itself. Yeah. So definitely go, go check out the podcast Wits and Waits and you can find me on IG at Wits and Waits. Last thing would be if you go to Wits and waits.com and click free stuff, I have a whole bunch of really cool guides that are totally free.

Brian (49m 4s):

Awesome. All, right, Philip. Well I appreciate you coming on and I look forward to coming on your podcast

Philip (49m 10s):

Like Yeah, likewise Brian. Thanks for having me on. It was a lot of fun.

Brian (49m 12s):

All. right. Thanks so much. Thanks for listening to the Get, Lean Eat Clean Podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned, In, this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again and have a great day.

Philip Pape

I’m a Certified Nutrition Coach, Body Composition Expert, and host of the Wits & Weights podcast, as well as the owner and head coach of Wits & Weights Nutrition Coaching. I am a husband, father, and techie with a passion for strength training and nutrition science.

In 2020, I built a home gym and started learning about evidence-based nutrition and training. As others noticed my results, I gained confidence and started sharing what I learned. In 2021, I started the Wits & Weights podcast to do just that, eventually leading to the passion I have today for coaching others to achieve incredible, long-lasting results with body composition.

My approach emphasizes sustainability and self-mastery of both body and mind to upgrade and optimize your health even with a demanding lifestyle. I teach high-achieving people to use their wits to build their best body, reclaim their time, and become their most capable, confident selves in the gym and in life so they can show up and make an impact.


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