0:00:11.9 Mike Vacanti: Hello Jordan.


0:00:12.8 Jordan Syatt: What’s going on Michael?


0:00:14.4 Mike Vacanti: Not much my man, just squeezing it in, getting this week’s episode in. I’m headed to the airport shortly, but we’re not gonna miss another week.


0:00:23.0 Jordan Syatt: We missed last week, but we got back on track really quickly, and just like you’d say to your clients, “Hey, just get back on track”. At least it wasn’t two weeks or three weeks, you know what I mean? We could have just…


0:00:34.0 Mike Vacanti: Exactly.


0:00:35.5 Jordan Syatt: Taken another three months off, but you said, “No”. No, actually, you were like, “Hey, we can’t miss another week”. Yesterday, you we’re like, “Bro, we can’t do that”.


0:00:44.0 Mike Vacanti: I was negotiating ’cause neither of us love the early morning podcast slot. We’d rather wake up, get the blood flowing a little bit first, but today.


0:00:55.2 Jordan Syatt: We retire this time, this used to be our old book writing time and we agreed to retire this time for good, but we’re bringing it back for today.


0:01:03.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, I feel good though. How do you feel?


0:01:06.7 Jordan Syatt: Dude I feel great? I feel really good. I got a potential gas leak in my apartment, which my wife is a little bit concerned about. That’s what you just heard on the other side. [chuckle] She was like, “It smells like sulfur in here”. I don’t know if you heard that, she’s like, “It smells like sulfur”. You don’t hear that?


0:01:22.1 Mike Vacanti: I didn’t hear that, no, no, but you just said, I feel great, got a potential gas leak in my apartment. [chuckle] You guys have… Didn’t you have that smell once before when you first moved in, and?


0:01:36.2 Jordan Syatt: No, no, no. Oh, no. So at the beginning of Covid, we went to Boston, and there was actually a gas leak in the AirBnB that we were standing in. I remember that. And then, but when we moved in here, there was a terrible smell a couple weeks… It was actually during the Mike Chandler fight, it was one of Mike Chandler’s fight, and I was so mad ’cause it was the fight I was looking forward to forever. And then right when that happened, we we’re like, “What’s the smell?” And then he had to leave the apartment and it turned out that our dishwasher here is much stronger than the dishwasher in New York, and we had put a plastic bottle, a shaker bottle in there, and it had melted a little bit, and that was the smell.


0:02:17.0 Mike Vacanti: I remember that now.


0:02:18.7 Jordan Syatt: So, but this one smells like sulfur and then you Google it and you Google anything, you’ve got cancer, you’re dying, whatever it is. She Googled it and there were like a lot of gas leaks are odorless, but now companies inject something in there, to make it smell like sulfur to alert the people inside that… So don’t take any chances. Which is like… It’s the same thing they say if you’re having chest pains, don’t take any chances.


0:02:42.2 Mike Vacanti: Go to the doctor.


0:02:43.6 Jordan Syatt: Go to the doctor, go immediately. I’m like alright I’m having a heart attack we gotta go. [chuckle]


0:02:50.3 Mike Vacanti: So wait, are you guys just powering through right now?


0:02:53.0 Jordan Syatt: No, she’s calling the people downstairs. This is one of the things I like about renting where it’s just like, “Hey, something’s wrong, come up and fix it”. [chuckle] As opposed to…


0:03:04.3 Mike Vacanti: Depending, I mean…


0:03:06.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, depending on the landlord, that’s true.


0:03:06.9 Mike Vacanti: Did you have that service in the West Village?


0:03:10.7 Jordan Syatt: No, that’s a good point. Did not have as responsive of a landlord, that’s for sure.


0:03:15.4 Mike Vacanti: Well, in New York, you know, it’s a pretty even divide between Doorman buildings and walk-ups.


0:03:22.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


0:03:24.4 Mike Vacanti: And walk-ups are a slightly lower price point, you’re more on your own with stuff like that. Whereas when you live in a building that has a maintenance employee, etcetera yeah.


0:03:33.2 Jordan Syatt: Are you excited for your plane ride? Thanksgiving.


0:03:38.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, man, go out, hang with my girl’s family, and it’ll be good.


0:03:42.1 Jordan Syatt: That’ll be fun. That’d be good. Yeah.


0:03:45.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, I miss New York already.


0:03:50.7 Jordan Syatt: Do you wanna jam on anything before we get into the topic of the day or do you just wanna jump right in? Can you hear that siren on my end?


0:04:01.6 Mike Vacanti: I can.


0:04:01.8 Jordan Syatt: Oh god. They’re rare, it’s not as often as the New York ones, but…


0:04:07.0 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, any city you’re gonna get a little bit of that.


0:04:11.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. What do you wanna jam on?


0:04:16.5 Mike Vacanti: I got Nothing. We decided to pee it. We’re going in, we’re just… Let’s start with the questions, and if we want to veer off track, well, veer. We’ll take this wherever.


0:04:25.7 Jordan Syatt: You wanna start off with the one that we had discussed or just go in and sort of randomly pick a few right now.


0:04:31.6 Mike Vacanti: Let’s randomly pick a few and get warm.


0:04:35.1 Jordan Syatt: Okay, the first one that popped up. This is from my Instagram, Q and A. Do you get your clients to count calories.


0:04:43.8 Mike Vacanti: Yes, yes, I do.


0:04:49.3 Jordan Syatt: All of them. Do all of your clients count calories?


0:04:53.8 Mike Vacanti: Historically, not every client has tracked… There are the obvious exceptions, like disordered eating, someone with a history of an actual eating disorder, but in those situations, I’m actively trying to screen that out in the onboarding, or not in the onboarding process, but on the new client submission, kind of back and forth because I’m not going to handle someone’s nutrition, if they have a recent history with eating disorders or are still struggling with it, that’s not my specialty. I’m going to outsource to a therapist. Mostly to be honest, because I know you have the three plates, two snacks rule, and I have obviously had… I’ve had current clients, and in somewhat recent history, who didn’t want to track, but the reason they didn’t want to track wasn’t because it was inducing binging or because it was creating this massive amount of anxiety that it would have been beneficial to back up from tracking in these very few instances, thankfully, it was driven simply by laziness, for lack of a better word.


0:06:10.1 Mike Vacanti: And I hate when coaches like blame clients and call… I’m not saying the clients were lazy, but it was like, after a real heart-to-heart, do we have an actual reason to not do this or is it that the extra 11 minutes a day is a bit annoying and maybe we can buckle down and power through because you say you do wanna lose 30 more pounds of body fat, and I believe that you can, and this is the bridge to get there. So… Yes. The overwhelming majority of my clients track calories/macronutrients.


0:06:43.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. That is a good distinction. Same here. I made the three plates, two snacks, mainly to help with people who were struggling with disordered eating or food anxiety and didn’t wanna count calories ’cause I got a… It’s interesting to see what population of people will go to which coaches, but I think I got a lot of that because I would talk about my struggles with it, right. So it’s like…


0:07:12.2 Mike Vacanti: Mm-hmm.


0:07:13.1 Jordan Syatt: Which sort of speaks to what you put out in the world is what’s going to come to you. Like, I never get any body builders coming to me, or not any current body builders, but I get a lot of people who used to compete in body building and physique and stuff come to me because they have disordered relationships with food, and they’ll be like, “Hey, I’ve seen you write about this, can you help me? Dah, dah, dah.” But I never get people who are currently active body builders being like, “Hey, I wanna do your program.” Because I’m never putting stuff out about that, but yeah. The vast majority of mine do count calories. And occasionally, if someone’s struggling with food issues, then we’ll do a different option. Or, it has been something I’ve seen where… Let’s say I have someone who has a 100 pounds to lose, they have a lot of weight to lose for their health. And for whatever reason, they’re stuck in this mindset of like, “I don’t wanna count calories, I don’t wanna count calories.” For that person, I’m more worried about the immediate health concerns that face them.


0:08:07.3 Jordan Syatt: And so sometimes I’ll just be like, “You know what, fine. Let’s not count calories, let’s just do this.” And it’s basically… It’s a way to severely moderate their… Or strictly moderate their calorie intake without necessarily tracking everything. And the cool thing about someone who has to lose 100 pounds is, you could basically do anything and it’s gonna work. It’s going to work. Just like you could literally have three plates of whatever you want, and as long as it’s just on three plates, you’re probably still gonna lose weight. So then, oftentimes when they see those results, then they’ll be like, “Oh wow, this is amazing.” And then if they wanna transfer into tracking calories, they can, but… Yeah. The majority of them do you count calories. This is interesting going through the questions, there were several literally right on top that are all about coaching. Someone asked, “Have you ever had clients struggle through the loss of their menstrual cycle?”


0:09:00.6 Mike Vacanti: Not recently. Historically, yes. It’s happened a few times, but I’m coaching primarily men and a few post-menopausal women right now. But yeah. It’s definitely happened.


0:09:21.1 Jordan Syatt: I mostly coach women, I can’t remember a single time I’ve had a woman, while I was coaching her, lose her menstrual cycle. But I have had women coming to me who have already lost their menstrual cycle, and then we work to get it back. But most of it… I can’t remember a time where I’ve had a woman want to diet down so lean that that ended up happening. You know what I mean?


0:09:50.1 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Yeah. Not my area of expertise, but yes. It’s generally a sign of like, okay, we should reverse this. We should come back up to maintenance for a period of time.


0:10:00.2 Jordan Syatt: Correct.


0:10:01.1 Mike Vacanti: That’s like sacrificing your… Sacrificing your period for a little bit more lean-ness, for a little bit less body fat, for a little bit more subjective, aesthetic improvement is not worth it for anyone. And I guess goals can be set to the individual. If your goal is to win a physique show, like, do you. But for 99% of people, and for all gen pop people to make that sacrifice, I wanna quote unquote look a little bit better by getting a little bit leaner and I’m okay with losing my period in the process, it’s like, no, no. We’re not sacrificing health for perceived better looks, especially when it’s like… Health and aesthetics are usually greatly overlapped.


0:10:50.2 Jordan Syatt: Mm-hmm. And it’s never just the loss of the period either. Like hair will fall out, sex drive goes down, energy goes down, strength goes down. It’s like, it’s not just like… I think sometimes they think, “Oh, I just won’t have my period anymore. That’s great.” It’s like, no. It’s way worse than that.


0:11:06.4 Mike Vacanti: Yes. Yep. That’s exactly right.


0:11:10.8 Jordan Syatt: Okay. I’m gonna throw a curve ball at you. People like to ask me relationship questions. “How do you deal with jealousy?” [chuckle]


0:11:20.3 Mike Vacanti: You know what’s super interesting? I don’t see that as a relationship question. Or do you mean just like relationships with humans in general?


0:11:30.4 Jordan Syatt: No. I assume that this person was asking in relationship to my relationship with my wife. Like, dating.


0:11:34.0 Mike Vacanti: Got it. Got it. Bro, I don’t… My mind immediately went to peers and friendships, and the like…


0:11:46.4 Jordan Syatt: Oh, so talk on that. Yeah. Talk about that.


0:11:52.8 Mike Vacanti: I can’t… Well, look, I’m not trying to dodge the question. I can’t think of a reason why I would be jealous of my… And that’s not an insult. We’re different people. I don’t understand the question in the context of relationship, maybe you can better guide me on that, and I’ll be able to come up with something…


0:12:09.0 Jordan Syatt: Well, I think also it’s like a… In context of a romantic relationship, I think… I’m never jealous about my wife, and she’s never jealous about me. And I would imagine you’re never jealous with yours, and she’s never jealous about you, mainly because you don’t put yourself in situations that would warrant jealousy. I think sometimes people, especially early on, maybe when you’re dating somebody and you’re not… You’re maybe in that tweener phase of like, “What are we? Are we serious, are we not?” And still early on. Maybe you’re not with each other a lot of the time, and you see like… My thought immediately went to someone who… If you’re seeing someone and then you check their Instagram and you’re looking at who liked or commented on their post and you’re like, “Who’s that? Who’s that? Why did you reply to their comment but no one else’s?” It’s like, alright, well you should probably stop doing that ’cause that’s not a good idea to be checking up on everything they’re doing and everyone they’re interacting with. ‘Cause then you’re just gonna drive yourself insane.


0:13:15.7 Jordan Syatt: And it actually says a lot more about you than it does about them, that it’s your own insecurity on that front. But also… I also think, and this is worth discussing, if you’re uncomfortable with how much they’re seeing somebody or talking about somebody or whatever, you can say like, “Hey listen, it would make me more comfortable if you wouldn’t hang out with that person alone. Or stop bringing them up in conversation so much.” Maybe it’s an ex or whatever, and they keep talking about their ex for whatever reason. I think it’s reasonable to ask that, and if they are not okay with that then it’s probably not your person. Because one of the things about being with someone is part of it… You make sacrifices to be with someone, to make sure the person you’re with is comfortable. If it gets to be unreasonable where it’s like, maybe it’s a good friend of yours that you’ve known forever, and they’re like, “I don’t want you to see them anymore.” That’s unreasonable, because they’ve been a good friend of yours and that’s an insecurity on their part. I don’t even know if I’m answering the question properly, but it’s…


0:14:30.0 Mike Vacanti: I love it.


0:14:32.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I think…


0:14:34.1 Mike Vacanti: Talking about a significant other or sorry an ex constantly in a relationship…


0:14:40.6 Jordan Syatt: Super annoying.


0:14:41.4 Mike Vacanti: Well, it’s not only annoying but it seems like a red flag in many ways.


0:14:45.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.


0:14:47.5 Mike Vacanti: And this is like people are tuning into the how to become personal trainer podcast. I love that we’re just ripping on this like we have any idea what we’re talking about. But I’ve had a couple of long-term relationships and many short-term relationships over the last 20 years, we’ll call it. I’m 34 years old right now. So in my experience…


0:15:07.9 Jordan Syatt: Starting at 14 baby.


0:15:08.0 Mike Vacanti: Give or take. Are they real relationships at 20 years we’ll call it?


0:15:15.6 Jordan Syatt: Mike’s just smashing at 14-years-old. [chuckle]


0:15:17.4 Mike Vacanti: No, nope, I wasn’t. We can talk about that too if we want. I was reading fitness magazines and trying to lose baby fat because I thought that abs were the secret to a woman’s heart at that age. Which they’re not by the way, if you’re a young dude listening. You will impress many other dudes though but not…


0:15:39.9 Jordan Syatt: So true.


0:15:41.6 Mike Vacanti: No, in my experience when… I can only speak one-sided on this, right? Like male to female, but when a girl is talking a lot about an ex especially with venom, with a lot of anger, with a lot of resentment to that previous relationship. Not only are there issues there that still need to be resolved, but oftentimes, there are still strong feelings there. Even if it’s negative emotion that’s being expressed, if she’s constantly complaining about her ex or angry with her ex, in my experience, there’s… Basically she’s still into him in some way.


0:16:26.3 Jordan Syatt: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yeah, that’s a good point. I think it works similarly the other way. ‘Cause I remember after my parents got divorced and my mom was starting to see some dudes, she would always say if a guy started to talk poorly about his ex-wife, it immediately made her uncomfortable. And she told me she was like… ‘Cause she knew that my dad would definitely talk shit about her, so she’s like… That was an immediate red flag. If he’s just bashing his ex-wife, she’s like, “No. Done.” Just because it made her feel uncomfortable. So I’m sure it’s probably similar if you’re talking about your ex regardless, even if you’re saying great things about your ex, but you’re saying it all the time. It’s like, “Alright, enough. You’re not with them anymore.” It’s just, you probably shouldn’t just be bringing them up all the time.


0:17:15.5 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, and you brought up the interesting topic of jealousy or creeping around on their social media and monitoring interactions, etcetera early on in the relationship. I think one thing that causes some of that anxiety, doubt, insecurity, early in a relationship is the lack of boundaries and clarity established. And I think that’s a cultural phenomenon that we’re going through that many would say, “Don’t judge it as good or bad.” Don’t judge the fact that as a society, we’ve shifted from monogamy towards a very… Lots of casual dating, extending the period… There’s a certain point in a relationship through the courting process where you become exclusive, right?


0:18:06.5 Jordan Syatt: Mm-hmm.


0:18:08.2 Mike Vacanti: And that’s usually an explicit conversation and just pushing that back. And maybe this is more common in big cities and less so in certain parts of the country or world but I think that when both people are dating multiple people or when only one of the parties is, that creates a lot of doubt and uncertainty. And so…


0:18:33.0 Jordan Syatt: Mm-hmm.


0:18:34.8 Mike Vacanti: I’m in favor of establishing parameters and basic… You don’t want on your first date be like, “What are we?” Obviously, but rather than waiting six months. Don’t come in so thirsty and desperate, but in those… Earlier than later, have that conversation because then you’re going to have less doubt and insecurity about what the other person is doing. Like if… If you think you want to be with them, then… And generally, it’s my belief that the male leads in situations like that in male/female relationships. Call me old-fashioned, but it’s like, dudes generally lead, initiate the conversation, and… I think you’ll remove a lot of the uncertainty, and if the girl likes you, then she’s gonna be really happy that you initiated that conversation.


0:19:23.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, I agree. I think it’s interesting though, talking about how… Especially in a big city, there’s just so many options around all the time everywhere, and I think that’s probably one of the reasons it… This process of someone being like, “Hey, what are we?” has been delayed. And I think a lot of women are sort of waiting for that conversation to happen, ’cause they also… They want the guy to initiate that conversation, but the guy might not be, because there’s just so many options everywhere, and it’s like, “I don’t wanna cut my options short,” which is like, it should be the guy’s responsibility to be like, “Hey, you know what? I’m with a great person right now.”


0:20:01.5 Jordan Syatt: So rather than just having all of these options open… Sorta like what Jordan Peterson talks about. It’s like, “Oh, you wanna be free? You wanna have all these options? Good luck. It’s probably not gonna be as good as you think it is.” If you’re with someone, great. Lock it down. And again, not on the first day or the first week, but be like, “Hey, listen, I’d like to be exclusive with you,” or like “I’d like just to have you and I be a real thing.”


0:20:24.2 Mike Vacanti: I like where this is heading, there’s a lot of promise.


0:20:24.7 Jordan Syatt: Probably better for both… Yeah, exactly. It’s better for both people, I think. Even though it might seem like you’re cutting options off, or… It’s like… You could… And I know you say this a lot, but you could always trade up. You could always trade for someone else, trade for someone else, trade for someone else, but that’s just a life of always trying to find something better… And perfect, perfect, perfect, but you’re never gonna find something perfect, you’re not perfect. And so it’s just like, if you see someone that you’d like to spend time with and see if it has a potential for a longer-term relationship, make sure you let them know.


0:21:01.1 Jordan Syatt: And that’s to be said, if… For example, if the guy is taking super long and you don’t want to initiate that conversation, well, number one, you could initiate it. If you’re female and you wanna initiate it, go for it, but also, maybe think if they’re not initiating that conversation after a long time, like three, four, five, six plus months, maybe you should be like, “Cool, then that’s not the dude for me, if they’re not willing to have that conversation.”


0:21:27.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, absolutely. And it may be that he is just enjoying all of the options, like you mentioned, but it could also be that… You know, we’re not taught this in school, like… People are self-learning on the internet, in echo chambers of who knows what, who people are taking advice from on dating. I think, trying to assume the best…


0:21:54.0 Jordan Syatt: Taking advice from two personal trainers on a personal trainer podcast, that’s great too.




0:21:57.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, but at least they know who we are. It’s not… It’s not like anonymous posts on Reddit or something like that.


0:22:06.1 Jordan Syatt: That was written by a 14-year-old kid.




0:22:09.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yeah, yeah. About marriage. But…


0:22:11.9 Jordan Syatt: “In my experience, what you wanna do… ” [laughter]


0:22:14.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. But no, if you’re a woman, and… The man hasn’t initiated that conversation, go for it, or even just bring up maybe your slight concern with the fact that he hasn’t initiated, and maybe it isn’t that he’s dating three other women simultaneously, but rather that he was waiting for you to bring it. You know, there could be a million scenarios, so…


0:22:39.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Maybe he’s nervous that he’s gonna come across as needy or whatever.


0:22:43.2 Mike Vacanti: Yep, or nervous that you’re going to say no, and… Who knows?


0:22:48.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.


0:22:49.5 Mike Vacanti: Cool.


0:22:50.3 Jordan Syatt: The other thing about, I would say, about jealousy, just really quick, before I move on… I know, for example, historically… I see this happen all the time. If someone is cheating in the relationship, they’re often the most worried that the other person is cheating. Right? They get real like, “What? Who were they talking to? Let me see your phone,” all this other stuff. And it’s like, if you are getting really jealous because of interactions you’re seeing with them, with the other person is having, you gotta take a hard look at the interactions that you’re having. And are you doing anything that would make the other person jealous or anything that you wouldn’t be happy about if they were doing it, ’cause a lotta times, your feelings are based on the actions you’re taking, and you’re wondering if they’re doing something similar.


0:23:35.1 Mike Vacanti: Good point.


0:23:36.4 Jordan Syatt: Maybe we should rename this podcast.




0:23:42.1 Mike Vacanti: We can do that. Whatever.


0:23:44.7 Jordan Syatt: “How to be a relationship expert.” [chuckle]


0:23:46.4 Mike Vacanti: Oh, you mean… I thought you meant the episode. [chuckle]


0:23:49.4 Jordan Syatt: No, no, I mean… Alright, we should just rebrand completely. We’re getting out of the personal training game, everybody. [laughter]


0:23:55.5 Mike Vacanti: We’re a couple of relationship experts.


0:24:01.3 Jordan Syatt: Okay. Is it okay or worth it to sacrifice sleep to get a workout in?


0:24:06.0 Mike Vacanti: Nope. Sometimes, maybe, but in… Generally speaking, the answer is no, and here’s why. If you’re someone who is… Thinking about sleeping… I don’t think my sister listens to this podcast, bless her heart, Emma. And so, I’m gonna use her as an example. She is very type A. She is unbelievable at her job. She was a great student. She has all her I’s dotted, T’s crossed… Great social life, really on top of everything, but she’s tightly wound. She doesn’t miss her 6:00 AM workout class that she goes to. She has gotten three promotions in the last year. She goes, goes, goes. For… She took me to a Vikings game, she had company tickets a few weeks back.


0:25:01.3 Mike Vacanti: And she had not been feeling well, had a cold, was feeling a little under the weather, and… It was a Sunday night, and it was a Sunday night football game, so I didn’t bring her back to her… Drop her off at her apartment, it was probably 11:00, 11:30 by the time she got back, and she was considering waking up at 5:30 to get to her 6:00 AM workout class, and I was like, “Emma, you’re absolutely not gonna only get five or six hours of sleep tonight, when you haven’t been feeling good, to get your workout in when you train almost everyday.”


0:25:32.7 Mike Vacanti: So when I think of sacrificing sleep for a workout, it’s usually not someone who’s training two to three times a week, 45 minutes sessions, it’s usually someone who’s trying to squeeze every drop out of life. And there’s a physiological balance between stress and relaxation, and they’re both necessary, and sleep is a huge component in relaxation and recovery. And so if you’re always pushing on the gas and you’re considering giving it more gas to get that workout in at the expense of recovery, it would be better to get the extra hour of sleep and hit your workout the next day instead.


0:26:20.8 Jordan Syatt: I agree with that. Especially for people like Emma. They have trouble ever resting, right? They have trouble taking a break, like, “Hey, you know what, I’m gonna take a rest day,” or whatever it is. Then there are other people though who just find any excuse to not work out, period. Where they barely get to the gym once or twice a week, at most and even when they’re at the gym, they’re really not working very hard. They’re sort of meandering around, they don’t really have a plan. And then they know one day they’re gonna get six and a half or seven hours of sleep instead of their usual 10 and they’re like, “All right. Well, should I sacrifice to sleep to go to the gym?” It’s like, “Yeah, you should. Get the fuck up, go work out.”


0:27:06.3 Jordan Syatt: And I also think about new parents as well, who are just really not getting enough sleep at all. And I think for them it sucks, but they’re gonna have a period of time in which they’re gonna be having to work out on not good sleep. And I think for them, probably the best thing they can do is change their workout frequency. So if you’re used to working out four or five, six times a week, maybe when you have your kid, two to three times a week is plenty. Especially if it’s a kid who’s up all night and not letting you get enough sleep, I think it’s a good idea to change your workout frequency. And that way you’re gonna have to sacrifice some sleep just because you have a baby, but you won’t have to do it as often just because you changed the work out frequency.


0:27:50.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. I think that’s a great distinction between the two types of people and I completely agree.


0:27:58.8 Jordan Syatt: Let’s see.


0:28:01.7 Mike Vacanti: You wanna talk volume versus intensity?


0:28:03.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, we can do that. Let’s talk volume versus intensity. So the reason that we brought this up, someone asked recently in a Q and A… Was it a Q and A or a DM? I forget, I sent it to you.


0:28:16.3 Mike Vacanti: It was either a Q and A or DM.


0:28:19.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Someone asked there basically, “Could you explain in more detail volume versus intensity?” And I think that they had listened to our podcast. They had listened to our podcast…


0:28:27.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Yeah, ’cause they said, “Hey, HTB,” whatever the acronym is…


0:28:34.0 Jordan Syatt: Oh, yeah.


0:28:34.5 Mike Vacanti: “How to become a personal trainer listener here.”


0:28:36.8 Jordan Syatt: HTBPT, I think. I don’t know. Either way, “Can you explain in a bit more depth?” So do you wanna start off? Do you wanna go into some, sort of the raw essentials of volume versus intensity, what people need to know?


0:28:49.3 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. So I guess the simplistic distinction between the two is, volume you can think of as how much total weight you’re lifting. So technically speaking, if you add up all of the reps and all of the sets and all of the weight, you’ll get this big number that is total volume. And you can also… An easier way to look at volume would be number of hard sets, but technically speaking, it’s the total poundage that you’re lifting. So if you do 10 reps of bench press with 100 pounds and you do one set, you just did one set times 10 reps times 100 pounds equals 1,000 pounds of training volume.


0:29:37.0 Mike Vacanti: Intensity. The definition of intensity with regards to strength training, the way that we use it is, how close you are to training failure on a given set, to technical failure. It’s not how much you’re sweating. It’s not how high your heart rate is. If you do 40 sets in a workout and you only take 30 to 60-second rests, you’re gonna be panting, your probably… If you have a Fitbit or some kind of calorie expenditure monitor, that’s gonna look like it was a more intense workout than a normal strength training session. But when we talk about intensity, we’re talking about, “Okay. You just did eight reps of a dumbbell bench press, how close were you to failure?” If you could have done 20 reps, but you stopped at eight, that was not an intense set. If you think you maybe could have done one or two max more reps, good. That was an intense set.


0:30:36.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I think that those are great definitions. The thing that I’ll add to the intensity bit is, someone might hear that and think, “Okay. Well, so I did a 30-minute circuit and I was really close to failure by the end of that circuit, right?” It’s like, “Well, yeah. You went for 30 minutes and you worked super hard.” The way to think about intensity here is, its as a percentage of the heaviest weight you can possibly lift. So intensity, let’s say your max deadlift is 200 pounds. If your max deadlift is 200 pounds, then if you do work up to… A one rep max, if you work up to 200, that is a 100% intensity. That is the highest level of intensity you could go.


0:31:22.1 Jordan Syatt: But let’s say, for example, you do 100 pounds for your deadlifts, that’s 50%. So that’s a relatively low intensity for that lift, but if you go up to 80%, now you’re getting more, a higher intensity. Maybe you’ll be able to get five reps at about 180 pounds or something like that, that would be a moderate to high intensity set as opposed to a… Even though the set might only last 20 to 30 seconds, and even though you’re not sweating your ass off, it’s still a high intensity set, because the amount of weight you’re lifting is very high relative to the max amount of weight you could possibly lift. So it’s important to keep that in mind where it’s like…


0:32:08.3 Jordan Syatt: If you’re doing a 30 rep set with a weight that you can do for 30 reps, it’s not necessarily a high intensity, it’s actually you’re getting… It’s pretty low intensity because you can get so many reps in with that weight. So generally speaking, the higher the intensity you’re going, the lower the reps you’re gonna be using. The lower the intensity, they higher the reps. And there are ways to modify that and change that but like Mike said, volume is the total… Now, you take the total amount of weight you lifted that workout and you multiply it by the total number of sets and the total number of reps and everything from that workout. And then at the end of that, you have your total volume of the workout. Whereas intensity is looked at, I would say less from a total workout perspective, and more on a set by set perspective.


0:32:58.2 Mike Vacanti: Exactly. Intensity within each individual set.


0:33:02.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. And this is where if you’re not using percentages, right? So I just used 100%, 80%, 50%, you could also use something called reps and reserve or RPE, your rate of perceived exertion. Which are basically all ways of doing the exact same thing measuring the intensity of that set. Where reps and reserve will tell you, “Well, how many reps do you have left in the tank?” If you had two reps left in the tank at the end of this set, then that was probably about an eight out of 10 on an RPE scale, on a rate of perceived exertion scale, which is probably somewhere around 90% to 95% of your one rep max. Which is a pretty high intensity.


0:33:45.9 Jordan Syatt: So if you wanna do more research on this, you could look up our RPE, you could look up RIR, and you could also look up training percentages. And you can look at all these different methods but they all do the same thing. They’re a way to measure how intense, or in other words, how heavy you’re lifting relative to the heaviest you could lift with that exercise.


0:34:08.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yep. Great definition. And for fun, let’s also talk about which is more important of the two, which I think is interesting.


0:34:16.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, there’s a lot of debates on this right now.


0:34:20.5 Mike Vacanti: So quickly before that, one quick distinction, I agree on percent of one rep max. It’s important to clarify that you can still have relatively intense 15 or 20 or 30 rep sets and to think about the difference between… Okay, if you’re doing a set of 20 of a standing straight bar cable curl. If you’re doing a set of 20 and you literally on your 17th, 18th, you’re taking little five-second mid-set pauses. You are squeezing everything you got out of that set in those last few reps of the set and you fail at 20. Or you maybe had one more rep in the tank. That is a more intense set than if you do 20 reps and you could have done 40.


0:35:14.1 Jordan Syatt: Correct.


0:35:15.1 Mike Vacanti: And the reason, like Jordan said, the reason is because given your fixed level of strength you are gonna be lifting more weight if you’re doing 20 reps and that was like your 20-rep max, compared to doing 20 pretty easy reps and you could have done 20 more if your life depended on it.


0:35:33.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, it’s an important clarification. Agreed.


0:35:38.0 Mike Vacanti: Correct me if I’m wrong, my interpretation is the debate of what’s more important, volume versus intensity applies primarily to advanced and we’ll call it intermediate and advanced lifters.


0:35:50.4 Jordan Syatt: Especially around muscle growth it’s really like… The debate is what is best for growing bigger muscles? Which is… It’s a major goal that a lot of people have, but it’s also not the only goal, right? So it’s different for athletic performance, for rate force development, it’s different for power and explosive-ness and agility for maximal strength. You have different goals, but the major debate that I see a lot right now is about specifically for muscle growth. Growing bigger muscle, yeah.


0:36:19.7 Mike Vacanti: Agreed. And so we can talk about that. I’m more interested in… You take someone who has zero to six or zero to 12 months of actual free weight proper training experience, they’re gonna build muscle regardless of… You know, you can play with those… Basically, they can do anything and build muscle. If they’re getting a reasonable amount of protein and bare minimum levels of volume and intensity. They’re going to see progress. I see so many people who… And many of your clients, to everyone listening, are struggling with this whether you know it or not. Which is… Online clients, right? In person you have more control over it, and online if someone’s not sending technique videos, if you don’t have a good… If you’re not getting training logs from a person but they’re saying, “Yeah, workouts are great. I’m feeling really good, awesome.”


0:37:22.8 Mike Vacanti: A lot of those people are in and out of the gym. Are never hitting even a six on a RPE scale. Are not increasing weights week over week, even if you’ve brought up progressive overload. And essentially maybe getting a decent amount of volume. You’re doing the programming, so you know, but if you’re seeing, “Okay, this person is doing 15 to 18 sets four days a week, and they’re lifting reasonable weights.” You know that they’re getting a certain amount of volume in. But it could be that they are never taking any individual set anywhere close to failure, never within five reps of failure. And because of how often I see that, it’s not that intensity is more important than volume I’d say, but for that population it makes sense to emphasize the importance of high intensity within an individual set.


0:38:21.0 Jordan Syatt: Honestly, I would say that intensity is more important. I would say intensity is more important, especially… And this is a lot of stuff I’ve learned from working with Paul, Paul Carter and everything, but it’s working on based on the effective reps model, based on how many effective total reps you’re getting. You could get… Do all the volume in the world, but if you’re never getting to the point anywhere near failure, then you’re not getting enough effective reps and to get enough mechanical tension on the muscle to actually build muscle. That being said, and I’ve had this conversation with Paul, I think that volume is an important factor, and I know Paul has spoken about how he disagrees with that, it’s much more about… It’s much more about intensity as opposed to volume, but I’ll give an example why I disagree.


0:39:12.2 Mike Vacanti: Have you given him the counterpoint that, okay, then what if you only did one intense set per week?


0:39:19.6 Jordan Syatt: One rep maxes. Yeah.


0:39:21.3 Mike Vacanti: Or per month? Or if all that matters is intense or per year?


0:39:25.4 Jordan Syatt: Correct. Correct.


0:39:25.9 Mike Vacanti: One set to failure per year compared to a lower intensity, but a reasonable volume, which is gonna see more muscle growth.


0:39:31.5 Jordan Syatt: Correct, exactly. And that is because you’re getting more effective reps in because you’re getting that through the volume, it’s like that would obviously, right?


0:39:39.8 Mike Vacanti: No. I would say that if you train for a full year and you never got within three reps of failure, so you never did an effective rep by my understanding of the definition, compared to… We’re using an extreme example to highlight that volume is… I agree that intensity is more important, but I also think that volume is important.


0:40:05.7 Jordan Syatt: Well, I agree, even just from my own experience with powerlifting, for example, when I was a competitive powerlifter, I was lifting outrageously intense on a weekly basis for five years. Very, very high, high percentages of my one rep max, but I also was deliberately trying not to gain weight because I wanted to compete at 132. I didn’t wanna gain too much muscle ’cause it would make the weight cut harder and harder and harder, so I reduced my volume dramatically, but kept my intensity very high, and I didn’t build much muscle.


0:40:43.2 Jordan Syatt: You can look at pictures of me, I’ve built way more muscle in the last couple of years with significantly lower intensities actually, and more volume. And I’m a good, probably like 10-15 pounds of muscle heavier than I was prior to when I was only doing super high intensity powerlifting, which… And also, I think a more realistic example as opposed to the one time a year versus the… Of training is, if you’re only doing one rep maxes every week, you just do one rep max and everything, you’re not gonna build muscle. You just do a one rep max, that is not enough volume, it is not enough reps at that high intensity to elicit muscle growth, so you need a certain amount of volume, whatever is considered optimal. I think that is more up for debate, and I think it’s probably less volume than people prior thought.


0:41:36.9 Jordan Syatt: I don’t think it’s like you don’t need to be doing German Volume Training 10 x 10. You don’t need to be even getting four or five sets in, necessarily, in order to elicit muscle growth. You can get in two to three super hard sets, and that’s great in that workout or for that movement, for example, but I think intensity is definitely more important but volume can’t be overlooked. And I think right now where the fitness industry runs on a pendulum of extremes and I think right now we’re sort of facing the extreme of well it’s just intensity, it’s just intensity and what I also think is gonna happen, by the way, and this is something that I like to give predictions ahead of time on the trends that I’m seeing, we’re seeing this trend right now that it’s just intensity, volume doesn’t matter. I think we’re gonna see some real injuries cropping up from people who are just going for these outrageously intense sets of just like, “Alright, just gotta get this one outrageous set in.”


0:42:36.2 Jordan Syatt: I think that we’re gonna start seeing some real, real injuries crop up. I think we’re gonna start seeing some real issues with people with… In terms of over-use injuries, but also just not training enough movement where it’s like if you’re only doing… It’s important to train repetitions in certain different movement patterns to reduce overuse injuries to make sure you’re moving more athletically, and this is a different discussion than muscle growth. That’s sort of the issue when you only talk about, hey, this is just muscle growth, well alright, yeah. What about movement quality? What about flexibility? What about mobility? What about endurance? What about whatever it is? I think you need… Either has to be other discussions as well, same thing, like when we’re talking about fat-loss, it’s like we’re not usually just talking about fat loss, we’re also talking about health, we’re also talking about relationship with food, we’re also talking about being able to fuel your body properly to have enough energy for all these other things. It’s… I think if you only look at muscle growth, you’re gonna be missing the forest for the trees.


0:43:37.9 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, I agree. And what would… To play devil’s advocate then ’cause I don’t know Paul’s philosophies like you do, or at all really, so I’m speaking more against just the simple statement that you gave of “the other side,” which is that volume, like I’m setting up a debate against the sentence, “volume doesn’t matter” when I talk about doing one intense set a year and taking it to its extreme conclusion. But wouldn’t in your example of increased injuries, wouldn’t someone who’s pro intensity say, well, that was either poor exercise technique, they weren’t doing the right thing from a nutrition, sleep, recovery perspective, or exercise selection was dumb or bad.


0:44:32.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, I think they would definitely say that. I also think the actual argument they’d say is you’d probably be less likely to get injured because you’re doing fewer intense sets, so it’s like rather than doing three, you’re just doing one or two, and so you’re less likely to get injured. But I think, and from what I’m seeing of people online who are actually taking this and practically applying it, is that they’re not warming up properly. And because it’s just one set, they’re using a heavier weight than they can actually handle and they’re putting their body under too much stress before they’re actually ready to take it. And this is actually something I see with a lot of people who start using anabolic steroids and nothing wrong with it at all. But when you start taking steroids, your strength is going to increase dramatically, far more quickly than your tendons and joints and ligaments can keep up with.


0:45:24.4 Jordan Syatt: Your muscles might be able to handle the load, but even then you see people tearing their pecs, you see people tearing their… Because they can overload it so much more quickly than they would have before, and so even your muscles can’t always handle it, but I think your muscles can handle it better than your tendons and joints and ligaments. And you see these rips and these tears, and I think that’s like, I hope not, but my prediction is, I think that’s what we’re gonna start seeing over the next 1-4 years of people who are taking this intensity to the extreme, where it’s like, volume doesn’t matter, I’m just going to go as hard as I possibly can on this one set, it’s like good luck, I’d be careful because if you just jump straight in from a little warm-up to the heaviest you can possibly go.


0:46:07.2 Jordan Syatt: I really think you’re gonna risk some major, major injuries because it’s that… As opposed… Because that’s one of the things I like about ramping sets, which is like You can progressively work up to a weight that you feel comfortable with while keeping track of your technique. But if you’re just so dogmatically focused on one intense set, it’s very easy to overshoot it, use bad technique, which then again, it’s not the intensity’s fault, it’s your fault for over-shooting and using bad technique. But it’s not just about how it should be done, it’s actually how it’s being applied by people. It’s like there’s one thing to how it is on paper versus how it actually is applied by people in real life, and that’s sort of what I’m trying to look at, and I think people are going to be applying it too much.


0:46:52.4 Mike Vacanti: You think the people applying the single intense set are not properly warming up, are not properly/are not doing enough lighter weight sets before that one intense set, even if it’s prescribed.


0:47:05.3 Jordan Syatt: Even if it’s prescribed, yeah. And also, I just think it’s setting up for the ego to take over, it really is. If you’re just looking at human behavior just like, alright, let’s go, and it’s all about lifting more, lifting more, lifting more, lifting more, I gotta put more on the last week, I gotta put more on the last week, where it’s like, alright, well, hold on, take a few extra reps, maybe take a little warm-up set. I think a lot of people make up… Make fun of the three sets of 10, because it’s the standard, like three sets of 10, three sets of 10, but I really like the three sets of 10, of course, I do sets of sixes and eights and 12s and whatever. But three sets of 10, it’s a really good set and rep range. It’s great. It gives you enough time to warm up, you can get a couple of really intense sets in there, and it gives you enough volume as well. I actually really like that, not to mention, and this is another topic. One of the great things about having more sets and more volume is it gives you more time to practice the movement, especially for someone who’s newer to training and you have… You take someone and… It’s one of the reasons why I like dynamic effort training for squats and deadlifts and stuff, because you get way more sets of practice in with that exercise.


0:48:26.2 Jordan Syatt: So for someone who has an okay squat technique or an okay lunge technique or whatever it is, if you only do one set, then they’re just getting that one set of however many reps in, but if you do three sets, you’ve tripled how much they’re getting in and how much practice they can get. So if we’re talking about movement quality and actual technique and execution and how good they are at being able to recruit those muscles, make sure they’re not compensating, it comes with practice. So I would rather triple the amount of practice I get in a single workout, than just reduce it down to one set.


0:48:55.3 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, you’re preaching. I think I have to go in a minute here, but I think the devils advocate… I like pyramiding up. And when you say ramp-up sets, I assume that’s what you mean.


0:49:08.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. That’s a pyramid up, yeah.


0:49:10.0 Mike Vacanti: I like that… I think I feel best when I pyramid up, and the argument against it, that when I’m really focused on building muscle is that I’m… That it’s not efficient from a time in the gym perspective, if I’m doing a solid amount of volume, that there is “a better warm-up scheme” than doing 10 reps at 50s and then 60s and then 70s, and say you do like a set of two of 70s, that it would have been better to do more reps with 35s, and that’s another way of pyramiding up. It’s interesting to think about for sure. But I recently, in these last few weeks, my training’s been going really well and I’m doing exactly that, which I think leads to less injury, which leads to improved… There’s long-run skill acquisition and short-run, like CNS adaptations, if I haven’t done a movement for a long time or if I took time off training for whatever reason, I think coming back into it, those extra sets matter in re-acquiring skill. And so that’s been a huge benefit and probably a reason why it felt so good.


0:50:26.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Awesome. You wanna call it here?


0:50:29.1 Mike Vacanti: Let’s call it here. Wishing everyone in the US a happy Thanksgiving, everyone worldwide I hope you’re having a great week. Have a great weekend. And we’ll be back next week because that’s what we do.


0:50:41.0 Jordan Syatt: Have an awesome week. We’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

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