A common theme we see amongst people who love to train, lift, and be active is the difficulty in finding that happy medium to avoid getting banged up or burnt out along the way. This is why I wanted to bring on Doug Larson from Barbell Shrugged to pick his brain on the act of balancing your training so that you CAN train the way you want to train and live the way you want to live WITHOUT feeling beaten down in the process.
We talk all things injuries, moderating your passions, knowing the difference between training and competing, and understanding longevity and healthy aging. Listen in to learn the things you should be doing so that you can train hard and feel good.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- [04:57] Intro to Doug Larson
- [09:58] The commonalities and lessons learned between the two worlds of martial arts and lifting
- [11:03] Understanding how injury and consistency correlate
- [12:10] Moderating your passions
- [16:50] The big rocks for doing the things you love while also feeling good in the process
- [19:08] Balancing learning, practicing and doing
- [22:24] The distinction between training and competition
- [25:22] The value of a coach
- [28:43] How often you should have labs run on yourself
- [33:44] Longevity and healthy aging
- [40:24] The need for a comprehensive approach
- [43:00] Where to find Doug Larson
James Cerbie: All right, there we go. We’re live.
Doug Larson: All right.
James Cerbie: One and only, Doug Larson from Barbell Struck. Doug, thanks so much for coming on board, man.
Doug Larson: You bet, man. I appreciate the invite. Good to hang out again. I haven’t seen you in over a year now.
James Cerbie: I know it’s wild to think about. We were just talking about that. It’s just like how fast time goes, right? It’s like a year ago, we were in the Grand Canyon and it feels like it was maybe three months. It’s wild. But I guess when you think about it, every single day is relatively shorter than the previous. So every day you live is technically shorter than the last one that you lived.
Doug Larson: A lesser percentage of your total life. Yeah, I thought about that. Like, when you’re on summer vacation, you’re like eight years old or twelve years old or whatever. It feels like it’s a long time. And then the older I get, the faster the months tend to tick by. I think that’s a good theory. Like, the smaller the percentage of your life it is, the faster it goes. That’s why the years seem to tick by faster and faster. Once every decade of your life kind of accelerates in a way.
James Cerbie: Your relative experience of time gets shorter and shorter based on your previous experience. Because when you’re a kid and you have a two-month summer, it feels like eternity. It lasts forever. And now I look back, I was like, two months. Where did the two months go?
Doug Larson: Yeah, I had someone tell me that they said, once you have kids, the days are long, but the years fly by. I was like, did you just tell me that the days are long? Because the days fucking suck, but you’ll be dead soon, so don’t worry about it. Did I take that the completely wrong way? But I think there’s something to that. Like, the days can be hard. But then when I look back, I go, God, man, I was just in college. Like, oh, that was 1520 years ago now.
James Cerbie: Yeah, I have a ten-year College reunion coming up because I just have been getting emails and texts like, hey, you come to the College reunion, coming to the reunion, I’m like, I almost don’t want to go because it’s hard for me to appreciate that. It’s been a decade.
Doug Larson: Yeah, I haven’t done any of that type of stuff that I do, like a high school reunion or whatnot. I feel like it’s almost unnecessary. You can still access and communicate and see pictures of, etc. And of all your friends from the past. And if you’re already not communicating with any of those people, then you probably don’t really care to reach out.
James Cerbie: I stay in touch with all my really good friends. If you’re from high school or College and we are good friends, we still communicate and talk all the time. It would be good to see each other in person, but probably not a Union. I’d rather just, like, go on a mountain trip or a beach trip or go backpacking or something. We’d probably enjoy ourselves more. But, dude, let’s do this. Let’s dive in. So, for the people listening who don’t know who you are, could you give them the quick elevator pitch, rundown just who you are, what you imagine most people listening have heard of. Barbell shrugged. So let’s just kind of give them that elevator pitch and bring them on board.
Intro to Doug Larson
Doug Larson: Yeah, we can totally start there. That’s certainly how most people know me. They know me from Barbell Shrugged. We were very fortunate to kind of ride the podcast wave and the CrossFit wave at the same time. I wouldn’t say that was intentional. We didn’t know that CrossFit was going to blow up as big as it did, and we didn’t know that podcasting was also going to blow up as big as it did. When we first started, we were running a gym in Memphis, Tennessee, called Faction Strength and Conditioning. We certainly had many CrossFit people every single day about training, and we’re just into lifting weights and nutrition and whatnot. And one of the guys on our team who was for a long time, he was a pizza delivery driver in college, and he had Rogan from episode zero to episode 300 or whatever he was at the time. And he heard us having many conversations about training, and he was like, Dude, you guys need to start a podcast. And we all kind of looked at him like, we don’t even know what that is. You never heard of a podcast? Like, what do you mean?
Because you just record conversations and post them online. We slowly kind of wrapped our heads around what that would look like and bought some microphones and had some conversations. And initially it was just kind of a fun thing to do. It wasn’t supposed to be what it turned into at all. It was just us having just talk training and you’re on a show just like we’re on show right now. Nobody has their phones out, everyone’s paying attention. You’re asking, like, thoughtful, thought-provoking questions. And we’re all learning from each other at the same time. They were also just kind of telling Dick jokes and joking around. So it was a good blend of just having a good time with actually learning something. And then, of course, ultimately the audience doing the same being entertained and being educated at the same time. And it very quickly spiraled into something that we realized, oh, this is going to be a thing. This is going to be something that we do for a long time. And that was a little over ten years ago now, and we’ve been podcasting ever since. I’ve probably done 1000 podcast episodes at this or whatever it is for Barbell Shrugged. But then we also have Barbell business for a while. We did a couple of hundred episodes of that. I did a show on YouTube that’s still on YouTube, of course, called Technique WOD which rides top people, the basics of lifting weights. There’s a couple of hundred episodes of that. So, if you want to learn how to do everything from snatch and clean jerk to bench press to lunges and double under and muscle ups and all the CrossFit things you’ve seen in a functional fitness gym, I have many videos on all that, and we eventually were able to turn it into a real business. And we had a couple of dozen people on the team, and we had good revenue coming in where we could take this show that we were doing that we thought was so much fun and travel the world and interview people that I grew up learning from. I read their books, and I had followed their training methodologies for a long time, and I looked up to them. They’re like my idols and my heroes in the strength conditioning space, which I’ve been fortunate to be in for essentially my whole life.
And it just turned into, like, a dream job for me that I didn’t even consider to be a job. It was my favorite thing to do. It wasn’t a job. It was what I wanted to do, whether I was getting paid or not. It was the coolest thing I’d ever done. And that’s been my life for many years now, which kind of changed when the Pandemic hit, of course, went from doing this, like, traveling the world with my best friends and meeting all these cool people in person and lifting weights with them and taking them out to dinner and shooting shows to doing more of this thing where I’m just sitting in my house, like doing Zoom recordings. So, the excitement kind of wore off over the last couple of years. The Pandemic. But luckily, it looks like we’re kind of making our way out of at least the peak of all that. And we’re starting to travel a little bit and hopefully can start doing some more in person stuff again moving forward, but a very, very fun gig that I’ve been doing for a long time.
James Cerbie: Oh, man, that’s the dream, right? It’s not work at that point. It’s just fun. It’s just play. And yeah, it’s going to be fantastic that the world is opening up again. People can start traveling, get you guys on the road again, doing what you do best. And I think where I would like to start with questions, if I remember correctly, you have a pretty lengthy background in what we would call, I guess, martial arts. I know you’re practicing jiu jitsu right now, and then you also have a lot of experience in your training and the strength and conditioning and CrossFit powerlifting, whatever it is, because they all overlap in one way or another. Like, really good training is really good training. It’s very principle based. I’d be curious to know in kind of your martial arts experience and then in your training and lifting experience, what are some of the commonalities or lessons learned in those two worlds that you think have really positively impacted? I think you and then the clients and the people that you’re helping in terms of, like the day to day execution, your ability to be successful over the long run, because that’s one of the things we’ve been talking a lot about recently, is it’s not hard to bring somebody on board and have them be successful for twelve weeks.
Right. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to figure out a way to help you be successful for twelve weeks, three months, twelve months, five years, ten years, 20 years. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish here. And I always think that the martial arts and the lifting background is a really interesting combination. And I would love to hear what some of the big lessons you’ve learned in those two worlds are.
The Commonalities and Lessons Learned Between the Two Worlds of Martial Arts and Lifting
Doug Larson: Sure. At the risk of stating the obvious, the biggest one for both martial arts or training or any sport or just being a business owner or whatever is just consistency. It’s almost cliche to say it because everybody says it, but really, it’s totally true. If you’re consistent and you stick around for the long term, you just keep showing up, then over time you’ll improve. There are better and worse ways to go about it when you do show up, certainly. But the biggest thing is just if you keep showing up, if you show up five days a week for ten years, you’re going to be way better off than if you just didn’t show up at all or if you showed up for a couple of days a week or six days a week even. But then you did for two months, and then you stopped and then you showed back up three months later and you’re kind of just like off and on, off and on, off and on. You’ve got to show up every day is easily the biggest thing. There’s definitely a smarter, not harder approach that I think is worth mentioning here. Getting injured is one way that even if you want to keep showing up and being consistent, if you’re injured, then almost by definition you’re not as consistent.
Because if you hurt your knee and now you can’t squat for six months, then even if you showed up, you couldn’t do what you needed to do to get better. If you’re a weight lifter or CrossFit or whatever. So if you’re constantly like training hard and then having to do rehab and then training hard again and then doing more rehab, then you’re not going to get as far as you would otherwise. And I’m the voice of experience there because I spent a lot of time getting injured. In my case, I just love to train. And whether they are injured or not. I just wanted to go train and so I wouldn’t even put myself in the category of like, really dedicated or really tough. I just love doing it. I like doing it so much that I didn’t care if I was hurt. I just wanted to go. I’ve definitely had times where I got injured. Maybe I might even be at the hospital and I’m watching videos of technique on my phone. You know what I mean? I’m still doing it even when I’m banged up. So kind of moderating my own passion has been something that I’ve had to learn to do over the years.
Understanding How injuries and Consistency Correlate
Like, how can I still get better every day without doing something stupid, without being like, oh, it does hurt, but I’ll be all right. But then it hurts a little bit more and then I’ll be alright. And then eventually it goes from being like a nagging pain to like, you’re actually hurt. How do I stop before it actually gets bad? How do I tell myself no and convince myself I’m doing the smart thing rather than I’m wimping out or whatever it is? I have those conversations in my head all the time. Like it hurts a little bit. I’m like, am I just fucking being a pussy? Like I’m trying to convince myself not to do this. You’ve got to work through it and just do it anyway. It’s like I go back and forth about what the right thing to do is, but now that I’m not really competing so much anymore, not that I’ll never complete anything ever again, I’ll probably still do jitsu here and there. Figuring out how to train consistently, but keep either training around the injuries or to just when to back off and when to push forward is really the game.
Once consistency is not an issue. Because consistency is not an issue for me. It’s figuring out what to do when I show up and not doing something stupid because I’m already hurt. And if you’re doing martial arts, if you’re fighting MMA and competing in weightlifting or CrossFit or whatever it is like I did for many years. I’d be training for 5 hours a day, I’d go to weightlifting practice for 2 hours, and then I go to kickboxing for an hour, and then I go to Jiu Jitsu for an hour and then we might have MMA practice after that. And I trained from 2:30 till 09:00 p.m. With meals mixed in there. Best time my whole life. But at the same time, I was often hurt, I was often banged up, and I would always be like, my shoulder would be achy. And so, I’d be moderating my jerk volume and weightlifting. And then if I did a lot of heavy pressing and then I went to Jujitsu and someone pushed my shoulder the wrong way and I would tweak it. Then it’s just kind of in there. But I’m still going to practice anyway. I could never convince myself to take the time off that I probably should have.
And that’s ultimately why I stopped fighting MMA because I had injuries, mostly my neck, which has hurt for ten years now. And at some level I’m still doing it. Like my fucking neck was killing me the other day and I’m out there doing five X five back squats and I’m just doing it anyway. So, at some level I follow my own advice. At some level, I don’t. I’m still trying to figure it out.
Moderating Your Passions
James Cerbie: Yeah, it’s funny, that description. There is really the thing that got me into strength conditioning in that whole world because I fell in love with the weight room probably sometime in middle school and trained all throughout middle school, trained all throughout high school, went to College, and then College is when I first started running into a lot of injury issues, like multiple stress faster than my back pulling muscles left and right. It’s like, was I getting bigger, faster and stronger? Yes. But I was on this never-ending roller coaster of like, get better, get injured, get better, get injured. And it’s like you track that out over time and I’m just not ever getting any better. It’s kind of just like a flatline once you take out the peaks and the trough. And so, when I came out of college, that’s my number one question. Like, okay, how can I do this thing? Because this is what I love to do. How can I do it in such a way that I can train hard, fast and heavy and I can be strong and I can put on muscle and I can be fit and I can have endurance and all this other stuff?
But how can I do it so that I don’t continuously get injured? Because that’s the thing I haven’t been able to do yet. And so that was like the whole trajectory at the beginning of my career. It’s like immediately going out at that time, just Massachusetts with Eric Cressy and his whole staffing team there, intern there for four months. From there immediately go across the country to Indianapolis to spend time with guys like Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman. And it’s like going on this journey because it’s like there is a way to do this. You begin to learn the strategies and the tactics and the techniques that these other people like to stand on the shoulders of Giants concept have started to apply before you. Because I still remember the first time someone sent me one of Eric’s things and I’m like, this dude deadlifts 600 lbs. And then he just sat there and talked to me about this scapula, humoral, ribcage rhythm and all this other stuff. And at that time, I didn’t know anything about anything, right? I was like, that sounds kind of interesting. You can be really strong and then you also kind of like to know anatomy and biomechanics and all this stuff I would love to know, with your experience over time, kind of chasing that Holy grail of being able to do the thing you love and actually feel good while you do. So what are some of the really big rock things that you found to help you personally or even your clients?
The Big Rocks for Doing the Things You Love While Also Feeling Good in the Process
Doug Larson: Training around things in the weight room, I think is fairly easy. It’s easy to make if you have an achy shoulder or whatever, it’s easy to make progress on. Of course, just a shoulder shirt. It’s easy to still make progress with your leg strength. It’s still easy to use your core, the other arm, and then to do prehab rehab stuff with your banged up shoulder until you’re feeling better. That was always fairly easy for me. I rarely actually hurt myself in the weight room. The hard part for me was the combination of fighting MMA and then doing strength conditioning for MMA, where I would mostly injuries coming from MMA. It’s a less controlled environment. The waiter is totally controlled. If you write your program, you know how you feel when you show up. You can stop the set at any time. No one’s going to throw you on your shoulder unexpectedly, that type of thing.
James Cerbie: Terry Tate, office linebacker. Just like running the weight rim in the middle.
Doug Larson: He’s loved those commercials. The best office linebacker. If you don’t always talk about it, Google that. Go watch those commercials. They’re hilarious. But yeah, in 2006 to 2008, 9, 10, I read a lot of Eric stuff and Mike stuff and Bill stuff. Like, those guys were fantastic about blending kind of the physical therapy world and the sports performance, exercise physiology, strength coach worlds, like putting it all together where they knew enough about strength conditioning to get you really strong and they knew enough about physical therapy and rehab to keep you from getting injured or to rehabilitate all the nagging aches and pains that come with training really hard and trying to improve your performance. So, the waiter was always easy. The hard part for me was really the MMA piece. I was like, I was trying to figure out how do I train hard and then at the same time like, limit the downside of the unknown that goes into grappling and sparring. Or sometimes the injuries are just like, you just got your neck hurts because you get punched in the face, you know what I mean? But that’s a part of it. You have to do it.
Balancing Learning, Practicing and Doing
And so I would have done less sparring and less live rolling and I would have done a lot more like book work, really. I had a mentor a while back to say that you should balance learning, practicing and doing. And so learning would be like watching YouTube videos and reading books and taking notes and whatever. And then practicing would be going to practice doing your drills and rolling hard and sparring and whatnot. And then doing is like actually competing, having MMA fights, going to tournaments or whatever it is. Back then, I did a lot of practicing with a fair amount of doing and some learning, certainly, but I would have done more learning. I would have done more bookwork type stuff where I was actively basically writing notes, like outlining my game. When they do this, I do that. I used to do this. And when they do this other thing, I go here and mapping out how and why I do what I do, writing out the techniques, finding out the writing down where I got stuck that day, and the very specific things I need to work out to work on to fix the actual weak links in the chain versus just rolling hard and then just going home and then just rolling hard again.
And certainly you learn by doing, like, by rolling hard, you learn. But there would have been more focus on really finding the right setups for the things that I do really well so I can put myself in the position to use my strengths and then to find out what are the biggest holes in my game and how do I close up those holes again? Certainly, I was doing that at some level, but I would have spent more time thoughtfully thinking about those things and actually writing them down and working through them and having discussions with my coach about them. I would have done more of that stuff where I was getting better and learning smarter is better than harder, and I would spend less time just beating myself up by just again, the problem is I fucking love doing that stuff. I needed a coach to tell me not to do it. I think that would have been very helpful. I didn’t have any coaches hold me back, ever. I had coaches, but they rarely told me not to Spar that day or not to go really hard. Not that I always told them how much I was hurting or I would keep some of that to myself.
Again, in my case, I’m an MMA fighter. I’m not over there like bitching and complaining about how hurt I am all the time. I’m there because I like it. And I understand that, like the whole sport is about hurting people and you’re going to be hurt and you should just suffer in silence to shut the fuck up about it and go train. And again, there’s pros and cons to that. People that are like that, they might make really good MMA fighters, because that’s a great quality to have if you’re going to get in a fight is to realize that getting hurt is just a part of it and just being okay with that. If you’re scared to get hurt, you’re probably not going to be a great MMA fighter. The downside of that, though, is that you end up being more hurt than you probably would be otherwise, and then you can’t train as well as you need to train to get as good as you need to get, et cetera, et cetera. So there are pros and cons to all this, but I would have liked to have had a coach that could pull the reins, would have pulled the reins on me at the time that I needed them to.
The Distinction Between Training and Competition
James Cerbie: Yes. I think two really big takeaways for me. There is one, the distinction between training and competition, because they are very different things. And I think that people sometimes struggle to make the distinction between the two and the easiest way. And I don’t remember where I heard this the first time, but I was like, oh, that’s really smart. This is brilliant. In training, you listen to your body and training and competition. You tell it essentially is to fuck off. That’s kind of the distinction between the two. Right. And I think the second layer to that is that one is going to be a highly controlled environment where you have the capacity to actually listen and be smart. The other is a highly uncontrolled environment that’s very dynamic and you’re having to react. And you can’t really spend time worrying about those things. Right. Whether it’s MMA, football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, take your pick of any sport. It’s chaos. And you take the time with training and practice where you can be super thoughtful. You can be very mindful, you can really listen and understand what’s going on so that when game day comes, you can hopefully kind of shut your brain off and just go do it.
You’ve done all the preparation work on. Right. I think sometimes people treat every single day like its competition, game day, and you just can’t do it. It’s just not going to last for you over the long run. That’s just periodization. Writing a training program is your ability to decide when I’m applying certain types of stress, at what levels are those stressors being applied? How do I wave it over a week? How is it balanced over a month? How do I take that and stress it out over the course of twelve weeks, 16 weeks, all that we’re really doing is figuring out when to apply stress, when to pull back on that stress, and trying to manage that process for the end user here? And I think that more like mindfulness practice is really important also. I just don’t think many people take the time after training or after a day. Right. Because if you’re listening to this, most of you are going to be in that category of trying to be strong, trying to be jacked, want to be powerful, want to have a big engine, want to move really well. You’re like a suit up muscle car going 120 miles an hour down the highway.
You just don’t have a GPS in the car. You’re just going and it’s like, do you have a practice where at the end of every day you sit down and just, like, Debrief, okay, what happened? What went well? What didn’t go well? What am I liking? What am I not liking with my training, with my nutrition? Too many people that just don’t ever take the time to have those little pit stops, and they just blast through the whole thing. It’s like, well, you can’t learn unless you’re taking those pit stops along the way to make adjustments. Right. It sounds so simple, but it’s something that people just don’t do.
Doug Larson: Yeah. It’s always easier said than done again, especially if you just love to train yourself. To pull the reins on yourself is to take away, like, the number one thing that you want to do in your life. That’s way easier said than done.
The Value of Having a Coach
James Cerbie: That’s where I think you hit the nail in the head, though, that’s the value of a coach. A coach is the one who’s going to actually make those calls for you. Because I think if you’re anything like you or me and we make those calls for ourselves, I’m probably going to go gas pedal down. If I’m trying to decide between the two options, I’m not going to decide to take my foot off the gas. It’s going to be okay, cool. I’m going to train hard again, because this is what I love to do. The value of a coach is as much telling you what not to do as it is telling you what to do. And I think that’s a really important point that people overlook.
Doug Larson: Yeah. In the case of MMA, especially, the consequences are high. Like, if you have a fight coming up and you’re not conditioning that day and you’re not training, in my case, I was, like, worried about, am I going to be out of shape when I show up, if I’m not training and then I’m going to be in the third round or whatever, and I’m going to be gassed, and there’s going to be a fucking killer on the other side of the ring, and he’s not tired yet, and I am tired. That’s a terrifying place to be, you know what I mean? You’re going to go to the hospital.
James Cerbie: You’re in the hospital. How about Tony Ferguson this past weekend? Did you see that?
Doug Larson: I saw that, yes, I did. Just took it to the chin and just face planted on the mat. Oh, my God. You got a nasty knockout.
James Cerbie: Yeah, just mashed potato brains.
Doug Larson: Yeah, man, that’s a tough one. I never suffered a vicious knockout like that, thankfully. But Yikes, man, he took it hard. I did not expect that to happen. That was a very shocking knockout to me. I didn’t expect Michael Chandler to fucking land a kick to Tony Ferguson, knock him out cold. That was totally unexpected.
James Cerbie: Tony’s had a rough go of it here. That’s like, I think it’s like four fights in a row now. He’s just kind of been on this downhill slide for a dude that’s just, like, so dynamic and so creative and so fun to watch. He’s a fighter that’s getting towards the end of his career. And as much as we don’t want to admit it, there’s going to be some level of a biological clock unless you’re Tom Brady and you get rid of the ball in under 3 seconds so no one ever has to touch you. We’re playing a little bit of a game here, and that biological clock could be a decent transition for us here. Because I saw you guys post about this recently. I haven’t had a chance to really dive in and figure out what it is, this rapid health. And I know that it’s kind of this combination of world class coaches, nutritionists and all that. We’re trying to really dive in and figure out what’s going on with the organism. And it sounds like a really cool idea. Could you unpack that for us?
Longevity and Healthy Aging
Doug Larson: Yeah, you bet. So, me and Anders Varner, and then along with Andy Galvin, he’s a muscle scientist out of Cal State Fullerton. And Dan Garner, he’s a functional medicine practitioner and just fucking overall, a very well-read person in the strength conditioning space. He spends a lot of time reading, research and has been doing that for many years. And those guys have been coaching a lot of UFC fighters and other very high-profile, high-level athletes, and they’ve been doing all the lab work for those guys blood, hair, urine, stool, saliva analysis, getting all the metabolic and physiological data points they possibly can to see the underlying health of the person that they’re dealing with. Like, if you’re a pro athlete, presumably you have a coach for your sport and you have a coach for strength, conditioning, you might have a nutrition coach, etc. For. But many people do not get a comprehensive look at their labs on a regular basis. I’m of the opinion that you should get labs running yourself at least once a year at least, or even every six months if you’re able. How cool would it be if you had all of your lab numbers every six months since you were like ten or 15 years old?
You go to the doctor now and you go, I just don’t have as much energy as I used to. And they run labs on you and they come back and they’re like, I don’t know, this all kind of looks normalish. Maybe your total testosterone was like 600, which is like if the range is 313 is like you’re in the normal range ish. But what if in the last two years you went from $1200 to $600, you were 1200 for a long time, and then all of a sudden, the last two years, you just tanked? Well, if you had your numbers the whole time, you would be able to see, wait a minute, like I was here and then all of a sudden something changed and I just got crushed. And then you can go dig into the rest of your numbers and figure out what’s going on because you have thousands of data points to look at. That’s like an ideal world right now. Certainly, you get some lab work done to the doctors. You go get a complete blood count and a complete metabolic panel or whatever. You get your blood glucose and cholesterol. And maybe some people get their saucer and the hormones, sex hormones, check, etc.
But for the most part, people don’t. If they do it, it’s relatively infrequent. And when they do, they’re getting access to a handful of markers. But there’s many other markers you can see. So basically, what we put together was we wanted to run labs on our clients every six months in perpetuity. We’re handling all of them. We call them hidden stressors, all of their hidden stressors, which is stuff like I just mentioned. We’ll monitor your testosterone as an example. We’ll monitor your blood glucose and your cholesterol. We’ll monitor all these markers just like you would get if you’re going to a doctor. But it’s all tied into the fitness and performance side as well, where we’re monitoring your sleep habits and your workouts and your nutrition and your macros. We also check your micronutrient status for everything. So, your micronutrients, your B vitamins and your vitamin D, et cetera. Most people don’t get these things checked. Maybe vitamin D. That’s kind of popular right now to get your vitamin D check. So we talk about this one vitamin, but we don’t talk about all the rest of the vitamins and minerals that you could possibly have, of which there are many.
The Need for a Comprehensive Approach
We check all of those things. And so, if you don’t have enough B five or B six to make serotonin, then you’re not going to feel normal. But you might not know why. And it might be something as simple as you just need more B vitamins. And so, we try to check all the possible data points we can to get a big picture. Look at the overall health of the people that we are working with. So, we fix their internal physiology with nutrition supplementation plans, and then we fix their visible stress, putting together something that we’re probably more familiar with in the fitness space of monitoring their sleep and getting on a good training program and doing macros and getting to a healthy body weight and healthy body composition. We do DEXA scans regularly with our clients. Again, say you’re talking about someone like your dad. What if your dad had a DEXA scan done every six months for the last 45 years? I don’t know what your dad’s specific fitness situation is, but anyone who has had DEXA scans done every six months for decades, they’re not going to all of a sudden end up fat because you’re monitoring something that’s important.
You know the expression what gets measured? It gets managed if you’re monitoring all these data points all the time, then you will manage them because you see when things are starting to get off base and you can correct them and you can see that when you’re correcting them, they’re actually getting better. And so, long story short, we put together a program where we have a team of coaches that work with all of our high-level clients. So, we’re both monitoring if they’re hidden and their visible stressors to get people to be as healthy as possible, not just by getting them to lose 20 lbs, but getting them to get to a healthy body weight, getting to be a strong individual, working on their mobility and their flexibility, make sure they’re sleeping enough, monitoring their hormone status, et cetera, like making sure that we can fix their health at every level that we can think of. So, it’s super comprehensive of what we’ve put together. And so far we’ve been learning a lot and producing fantastic results for essentially everyone in the program.
James Cerbie: I love that. Yeah. Because the constant touch points are essentially allowing you to grab leading indicators before this actually turns into a problem. Right. Because physiologically, most things aren’t going to happen like this. The body doesn’t really like to go that way. Outside of me walking on the street and getting hit by a bus or being exposed to radiation. All these changes that we talk about from a health standpoint, we’re thinking about longevity and just healthy aging. These are things that accumulate over time. It takes time for these things to change. And so if you have constant touch points where you’re able to get in and see your labs, I totally agree. At an absolute bare minimum, once a year you need a comprehensive lab. Let’s look at what the numbers are doing, because as you mentioned, if you look at something in a snapshot, it doesn’t really tell you that much because it’s just a number. It’s a single isolated number. What matters is what that number has been doing, what’s the change, what direction is it moving? And those are things that you have to be paying attention to, ideally on a six-month, twelve-month basis, so that if something is moving in the wrong direction and say, okay, cool, let’s actually talk about this and address it before it becomes a real issue.
Right. It’s like, okay, well, I’ve got like a little spark fire down there in my basement. Maybe I just pour some water on it now as opposed to waiting 2 hours and now my whole house is on fire. It’s all about timing and scale and so I love that. Yeah.
Doug Larson: I think a lot of this is really easy to think about if you take it out of the kind of the less tangible world of lab numbers and you put it into the more tangible world of training and performance that we’re all very familiar with. So, if you got like your once-a-year checkup and you went to a strength coach and you told them you tested that your back squat was 275 lbs and you’re like, I don’t feel very normal. And you test your back squat, 275, and they go, well, the normal range for someone who’s in their 30s for back squat is between 185 and 500. So, you’re fine. But what they didn’t know is that your back squat two years ago was like 500 and then it was 430 and then it was 350. It’s been going down for years and you’d be getting more and more out of shape. But you go to the doctor and they say, well, you’re in the normal range for back squats, you’re between 185 and 500, so you’re fine. And you go, well, am I really fine? I don’t want to be fine. Who wants to be just fine?
I want to be optimal. And so, the medical world kind of operates on just being not sick. They’re getting you from really bad to kind of normal. And then the fitness performance world takes people that are kind of normal and they move forward more optimum to the best you can be secondary. We talked about Eric Russell and Mike Robertson settling. Those guys do a great job of blending those worlds in the physical performance space. Physical therapists take people from being injured to normal and then strengthening professionals take people from being normal to optimum. And we’re kind of doing something similar but less like from a physical therapy perspective and more from a total physiological perspective, where we want someone to go from not sick like you have covet or you have cancer sick, but your energy is just like not what it used to be and you don’t know why. You have these kinds of mystery symptoms or you have brain fog and you don’t know why. These things are tougher to tease out. It’s hard to get like one data point and take one pharmaceutical and then all of a sudden you have complete mental clarity and tons of energy.
It’s not going to work like that. It’s going to be the result of fixing many things. If you are deficient in four or five different vitamins and your hormone levels are all out of whack and your Cortisol curve is all messed up, well, you’re not going to just do one thing and fix that. There’s no one magic pill you can take to fix that. If you can only backstop 185 and you weigh 250 lbs and your mile time is 14 minutes at its best, well, there’s no one magic pill it’s going to fix that either. If you’re doing all that and you’re an executive and you sleep 5 hours a night, well, there’s got to be a multipronged approach to fix this problem. It’s going to be a year or two of you fixing your diet and fixing your supplementation and taking your vitamins and training your cardio and losing body fat and gaining strength. And again, getting your sleep optimized. And that could just mean getting more sleep. But that also could mean that you get, like, one of those ProPad covers from eight sleep that kind of monitors the temperature of your bed or like a chili pad type of thing, or getting an eye mask or maybe like an allergy season.
Like, I can barely breathe because my nose is so congested and clogged up that it wakes me up every couple of seconds. Maybe you have sleep apnea. There are many layers to this problem. And so, our job is to get to work with someone, to get all the information and data points we possibly can, and then not just, like, give them a training program or one or two things to do. We’re going to work with them for a year or multiple years in a row to fix all of their problems. And most people aren’t doing that right now. Most people, it’s all kind of siloed. You go to your doctor and they look at your labs and they go, oh, you’re in the healthy range, so you’re fine. You’re not dying. Good to go now. I got to see my next patient in two minutes. See you later. Or you’re going to go to your strength coach, and they’re probably going to handle some aspects of training and maybe some nutrition also, which is also good. And those people probably don’t talk to each other. Your doctor probably doesn’t talk to your coach, and maybe your coach doesn’t talk to your nutritionist and et cetera, et cetera.
So our goal is to have a team-based approach where someone comes to us and we can handle optimizing their health from many different angles. That is the goal right now. I think there’s with the last couple of years of covet, especially, there’s a lot of distrust floating around of the medical system as a whole. And so, I think people are looking for something else right now. I certainly was when we started putting this together, I knew I was on to something cause I was like, Holy shit, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I want to do this. I want to be the first client in this program. And then with that kind of thought running through my head, those kinds of thoughts running through my head, I’m going, oh, okay. We’re totally onto something. If I’ve been in this industry for a long time and I care a lot about my health and I know all the major players in this space, and nobody’s doing this, and I’ve been frustrated because I haven’t been able to find this, and now we’re offering it, and I want to be the first customer. That means that I’m on to something that I think has legs, and we could really do something really cool here.
James Cerbie: Yeah. No, I love that. I think that moving forward, the direction things need to be going in is a very comprehensive approach like this, because, like you mentioned, the Silo approach just is not optimal. We’re going to miss too many things. Right. It’s like, okay, great, you’re on a phenomenal training program. But if we really take a look here, I know that your B vitamins are off, your magnesium is super low and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and all this other stuff. And it’s like, okay, well, if I really want to help you, I need to help you beyond just like, hey, bro, here are so many sets and reps you’re going to do in your squat today, right. And this is where things like, if it fits your macros come up short. I appreciate that. It matters. Right. We want to get the food quantity correct because we want to try to get you to some type of body weight and body composition goal that’s going to be healthy for you. But again, that can totally miss the ball on what the underlying micronutrient status looks like, because it’s not really focused on that as an outcome goal.
So I think that this very holistic, well rounded approach of strength and performance, rehab, rehab, nutrition, functional medicine and labs, that’s the intersection in the direction we need to be moving in if we really want to help people truly succeed and be, I think, outrageously successful.
Doug Larson: Yeah. The other piece that makes me think that we’re on the right track here is that the toughest part about what we do right now is getting all of our family members to go through it, because every single person on the team is like, my parents have to do this, my brother has to do this. My girlfriend needs to do this, my wife needs to do this. And so we have this huge list of the freebies that we’re trying to get to. We’re selling like crazy, and we’re working incredibly hard to have it all to grow well without having growing pains. Where is changing. And the team is growing, and we’re trying to make sure that we’re fulfilling on all the promises. And it’s great. It’s really fun to be a part of something that’s growing really fast, someone that you’re excited about that you believe in. And at the same time, it’s like, I want my wife to do it, and I want my kids to do it. I have little kids. I want to run all their labs, and everybody wants their entire family to do it. And we’re trying to find the time to get everyone’s family to go through it because everybody wants to do it, which again, I think means we’re on the right track.
James Cerbie: Yeah. It’s a good problem to have, man. So, I know we got to wrap up here. I know you got to run. I got to run. So, let’s make sure we do this before we close here. Where can people go to find you and Barbell Shrugged and all the really cool stuff that you guys are doing if they listen to this? But hey, I want to go kind of check out these things that you guys have been talking about.
Where to Find Doug Larson
Doug Larson: Yeah, you bet. So certainly, you can just listen to Barbell Shrugged podcasts. We’re on all the podcast channels, iTunes and Spotify, et cetera, et cetera. You can go to Barbadosrug.com. You can see kind of our call at this point. I’ll call most of our legacy stuff there. Like we have tons of training programs and whatnot that we’ve put out for many years now. The more recent stuff, I didn’t even mention the Diesel dad program that we’re doing. But if you are a dad and you want some not quite as high level as the Rapid stuff, we have a set of Diesel dad training that doesn’t involve labs. And then we also if you do want to do the labs, we have Diesel dad stuff that you can upgrade into the labs as well. But if you just want a coach to help handle all your visible stuff, your training, your nutrition macros and track your sleep and hold you accountable and all that, just like basic regular high-end coaching. But it’s like dad specific. It’s all dads that are coaching that program. They understand what it’s like to have kids in a career and not have very much time to train.
And all the training programs are very short on purpose. We have like 15 minutes Am wrap only program as an example, like on the very low end, if you just don’t have much time to train because dads typically don’t have a lot of time to train, we have a dad specific program called the Diesel dad. You can go to Diesel Dad Mentorship.com and check that out. Or if you want to learn more about rapid health optimization, you can go to Rapidhealthreport.com and check that out. The landing page there will have a short video kind of walking you through the basics of the program. And then if you put your name and email in on the thank you page, there’s a 90 minutes video, totally raw and unedited of my business partner, Andrews Barner, of having his labs read to him and the exact report that you would get if you sign up for the program where it says, hey, here’s all your labs, here’s what they mean. Full analysis, full nutrition protocol, full supplementation protocol, the full explanation, completely unedited so you can see exactly what you get. It’s totally worth watching. I probably watched that video like five times.
It’s very impressive to watch Dan Garner, who does all of our lab analysis, very smart. And for someone like me that thinks that stuff is really cool, I literally would like to sit on my couch with popcorn and just watch it like a movie because I just think it’s very impressive. He’s very good at it. So go to rapidhealthreport.com and you can check all that out.
James Cerbie: Awesome, man. Well, Doug, thanks so much, dude, for coming on. Really nice getting to kind of just catch up and hang out here for a little while. It seems like 45 minutes went by really quickly here. I feel like I have tons more things I wanted to talk about but this is good. This is fantastic. Thank you again for coming on.
Doug Larson: You bet. Oh, and you can follow us on Instagram and all that. Of course, barbara_shrugg or my personal one is Douglas E. Larson.
James Cerbie: Nice and we’ll throw all that in the show notes for you all. Thanks for tuning in and yes, we got a run. We’ll talk to you guys’ next week. Later.
Doug Larson: Right on. Thanks, James.
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