In this episode, we discuss some of the stupidest exercises known to mankind (and which exercises to do instead), ChatGPT, conspiracy theories, and more.
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-J & M
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Or you can expand to find the full episode transcription below:
0:00:11.6 Mike Vacanti: Hello, Jordan.
0:00:12.7 Jordan Syatt: What’s up, Michael?
0:00:14.0 Mike Vacanti: I’m gonna read you a tweet.
0:00:15.0 Jordan Syatt: Oh, wow.
0:00:15.8 Mike Vacanti: This might be my favorite tweet of all time from Naval. “The modern struggle: Lone individuals summoning inhuman willpower, fasting, meditating, and exercising, up against armies of scientists and statisticians, weaponizing abundant food, screens, and medicine into junk food, clickbait news, infinite porn, endless games, and addictive drugs.”
0:00:41.6 Jordan Syatt: Wow. Fire.
0:00:43.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, that was from 2019 too. I feel like it’s only ramped up.
0:00:47.6 Jordan Syatt: Oh, it’s gotten way worse. Man, that’s crazy.
0:00:50.5 Mike Vacanti: And I consider myself slightly above average in terms of noticing these things and somewhat controlling my behaviors, so I can’t even imagine what so many people are going through either consciously or unconsciously.
0:01:03.9 Jordan Syatt: I think the vast majority of it is unconscious. I think most people are just completely unaware of the matrix that they’re in.
0:01:14.2 Mike Vacanti: I like the use of that term, the matrix. It’s a good one.
0:01:17.7 Jordan Syatt: They’re all taking that blue pill.
0:01:19.8 Mike Vacanti: Did you play video games growing up?
0:01:21.8 Jordan Syatt: I did, but only because other kids did and I never really enjoyed them. I remember all the time kids would be like, “Oh yeah, let’s go play Halo.” And I enjoyed it for about 15 minutes, and then I would be really bored. And I was never the kid who was looking up cheat codes and playing all the time. I was never that kid. I liked being outside and playing sports and doing that. I didn’t really enjoy the video games very much. My brother loved them. Did you play video games?
0:01:55.4 Mike Vacanti: I did. I think I was lucky to be born early enough where they weren’t as addictive. I never got into Halo, I think I just missed that one, but Nintendo 64…
0:02:08.6 Jordan Syatt: Really?
0:02:09.7 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Yeah, ’cause I graduated high school in ’05. I wasn’t playing video games in high school, but in grade school, middle school, I remember some GoldenEye from Nintendo 64, Mario Kart. There were some solid games on those.
0:02:21.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Super Smash Bros.
0:02:26.1 Mike Vacanti: And even systems prior to that, regular Nintendo when I was younger, and Sega Genesis in there. But I completely empathize with the video game addiction, kind of time suck that overtakes… Not just kids these days, but adults too, primarily men. But also all video short-form vertical content. I know I keep beating this drum, it’s just… I don’t know. I think I saw something the other day like a reminder, or maybe it was… I don’t remember what exactly the piece of content was, but it was along the lines of, what were the last five Shorts that you watched?
0:03:09.3 Jordan Syatt: Man…
0:03:10.1 Mike Vacanti: And I didn’t know any of the five. It’s like how much of that are you actually retaining?
0:03:15.1 Jordan Syatt: Man, that’s so true. That’s really true. And the platforms are prioritizing those. I keep getting pop-ups on my Instagram saying… Trying to incentivize me to make more Reels. Basically saying to the effect of, Reels get the most engagement. If you really wanna reach more people, make more Reels. I’m like, “Oh, man. This is crazy.” It really is the type of content that keeps people on the platform the longest, which is… I don’t know if it’s necessarily the best for building a business, but it’s definitely the best for the platform. I just don’t know if it’s best for the creator.
0:03:53.3 Mike Vacanti: It’s definitely at least one component of a content strategy that’s best for the creator or probably. But that’s a completely different conversation because, yeah, from a creation perspective, if you want to reach new audience, great. I’m talking purely on the consumer side as an individual, there’s just so many… It’s just so hard to resist that.
0:04:19.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Dude, it’s crazy out there. And creators are getting so good about getting your attention and they’re really figuring it out. It used to be a very select group of people who are really good at drawing you in early on in the videos. And now I feel like it’s… So many people are really good at making content that sucks you in right away, it’s pretty crazy.
0:04:42.8 Mike Vacanti: So many people are good at it, and all you’re seeing are the best Reels. It used to be you were seeing way less from people you didn’t follow, so you’re seeing mostly content from people who you selected to follow, and maybe a handful of them are really good at making highly captivating, hooks you in kind of content. But now since the switch over in the last couple of years from following people to following interests, essentially, for you style content, we’re just seeing the content that has been watched the most and engaged with the most by others, so it’s inherently the most addictive, if that’s even the right word, but you get what I’m saying. And so, that’s all we’re seeing in our feeds.
0:05:28.9 Jordan Syatt: I wish there is a way to just follow people again. To only see content from the people you follow.
0:05:35.2 Mike Vacanti: You can on Twitter.
0:05:36.3 Jordan Syatt: Is there that option on Instagram or no?
0:05:39.1 Mike Vacanti: I doubt it. I doubt it. Zuck has some different plans, I think than Mr. Musk. But yeah, the top of your Twitter home feed it’s like, for you and following or it says both of them and you can click either. The following is boring on your mind, because it’s everyone you follow, and most of that stuff is not that enticing, whereas the for you is the cocaine of content, but…
0:06:07.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, it really is. And I forget, I think I told you about this. I forget what I was searching, but I was searching for something on Google the other day, and I scrolled down and just below the fold on Google, they were recommending short-form videos on… Actually, they had one TikTok and three YouTube. So the four short-form videos they recommended, one was on TikTok, and three was on YouTube. None of them were Instagram, I think Instagram is a huge competitor for Google, so Facebook and Instagram probably won’t show up. But I was very surprised to see TikTok and just seeing the short-form content reel show up under a Google search. I didn’t even touch videos, this was under the article section, it was under all. I scrolled down and just below the fold four short-form videos, I couldn’t believe it.
0:06:56.9 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, that’s definitely at least in play. I don’t know, it will be interesting to see how much search traffic over the coming months and years, if or how much moves from Google and whatever other search engines people use to AI bots that are right now giving way better answers or at least the answer you’re looking for, not always 100% right. Meaning, you and I both sent screenshots back and forth using ChatGPT where it’s like, well, this is blatantly incorrect. And then you tell the bot that it’s incorrect, and it’s like, “Oh, I’m so sorry I made a mistake. You are correct. Soluble fiber does have two calories or whatever it is.”
0:07:39.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. Even despite some of the issues I’ve seen in ChatGPT. ‘Cause I’ve asked it some very pointed questions about various topics whether it’s as simple as deeper knowledge understanding of fiber, which it knew but when I probed it initially it gave me a wrong answer, and then when I challenged it and I said, “Well, isn’t that not true?” It was like, “Oh, yeah. Actually, you’re right. I apologize.” Or when I was asking about it, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, very pointed questions. There were things in it that it didn’t get right the first time, and then when I challenged it and said, “But didn’t this happen first?” It said, “Oh, actually, yeah, you’re right. Sorry for that incomplete information.” Despite these things that I’ve been noticing with it, I’ve still really been opting to use it a lot. Mainly because the thing that I really like about ChatGPT is, there’s a lot, but one of them is, if I Google search something for an article, I can find it and I can also find wrong information, but I can’t challenge that wrong information to the article. ChatGPT might give me some information that’s either completely wrong or just slightly not nuanced enough.
0:08:57.4 Jordan Syatt: Either way, I can challenge it, and then it will come back and it will often correct itself, which I find uniquely refreshing. Because I guarantee if I went to the author of the article and said, “Hey, but isn’t that not fully accurate?” There’d probably be some defense to it, either be something like, “Oh well, no.” But ChatGPT seems to actually, at least thus far, be willing to say, “Oops, you’re right, I was wrong.” Which is very unique.
0:09:23.1 Mike Vacanti: That feels like it’s only saying that because it got caught. I don’t think that when it says that, then the next person who prompts it on your same original Israel-Palestine question, I don’t think it’s gonna take into account that you corrected it in this place, and then include that new information in that person’s prompt. The only way we’re catching it is on subjects that… Nutrition and the conflict in the Middle East, two of the things that you’re most well-versed in.
0:09:51.9 Jordan Syatt: Right, right, right.
0:09:52.0 Mike Vacanti: 99% of subjects when we ask, we’re gonna… Most people who would ask the fiber question, who don’t know the distinction between soluble and insoluble fiber wouldn’t have known to ask the follow-up question.
0:10:02.8 Jordan Syatt: Right, right. And that for me is the biggest issue for sure, where it’s like, you have to have a real strong base level of knowledge in order to be able to call it out on its mistakes, which is… It’ll be interesting to see as it grows. I have been having fun having real conversations with it though. It’s been a more fun experience for me on ChatGPT than it has been on Google recently, because you can have a real-time conversation. And also, I saw something that really struck me, one thing I’ve noticed about ChatGPT is it feels very weird because it’s AI, but it’s very empathetic. Like, “oh, I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry I made a mistake.” It uses the words that give the perception of empathy.
0:10:51.2 Mike Vacanti: Perception of empathy, it’s not empathetic.
0:10:54.0 Jordan Syatt: It’s perceived empathy. And there was a study done very recently where people gave… They submitted questions, medical questions, and the researchers gave those questions to real doctors and then also gave that same question to ChatGPT. And they analyzed the accuracy and also the… Not only the accuracy of the response, but also how the response was perceived by the patients who gave those questions. And in 80% of the responses, ChatGPT scored higher, not just in terms of accuracy, but also in terms of the patient they’re receiving it in a way that is more palatable for them and more comforting to them, and which they felt more heard. And I was thinking, man, this is very interesting to see, and it might force people who have otherwise been really shitty with people and have not been really good at taking the time to sit down and listen to them. It might force them to be like, “Okay, if I wanna actually stay afloat, I need to be kind and listen and empathetic, because this fucking AI thing is giving off this perception of empathy that I haven’t been giving my patients or my clients or whatever it is.”
0:12:14.8 Mike Vacanti: That you need to compete against.
0:12:16.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, exactly. ‘Cause essentially, whether we like it or not, we have to compete with AI at this point. I think our biggest competitor now is AI. It’s gonna be every single business owner’s biggest competitor.
0:12:32.6 Mike Vacanti: That definitely could happen. I’m not hook, line, sinker on this is the future. I know a lot of people are at this point here on May 1st, 2023. We’ll see.
0:12:44.5 Jordan Syatt: You’re not ready to give that prediction yet?
0:12:49.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, I just don’t know. There are people who think that general AI is coming and the robots are gonna take us over in five years, and saying that it’s already a foregone conclusion. I’m not so sure about that. A book I always think back to is Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, where he talks about these four graphs. And I don’t have it top of mind exactly, but one of them is that technology continues to, what do you call it? Develop an infinite pace, so the chart would look like a hockey stick basically. Whereas another example is like, you’re making rapid progress, but it begins to flatten out at some point. And I’m just not smart enough to actually have a prediction on this, but I’m definitely not as bought in as a lot of people I’ve seen.
0:13:46.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, I’m pretty bought in.
0:13:50.6 Jordan Syatt: I’m pretty bought in, man. I’m consistently blown away with it, but who knows, we’ll see.
0:13:55.5 Mike Vacanti: Would you rather have an AI robot in three years doing brain surgery on you or a loved one? Or would you rather have a doctor of your choosing to do it?
0:14:06.2 Jordan Syatt: It’s a really good question.
0:14:08.3 Mike Vacanti: And no like… “the doctor who’s using the AI as a sidekick,” ’cause that’s the easy way out.
0:14:12.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, no, no, no. Listen, if I’m being very honest, I’m probably choosing the AI robot realistically.
0:14:21.1 Mike Vacanti: Really? Right now? Three years from now?
0:14:23.1 Jordan Syatt: You said three years, three years from now?
0:14:24.4 Mike Vacanti: Yep, yep.
0:14:25.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I’m probably using the AI. I feel like robots are less likely to make a mistake for any number of reasons. They’re less subject to outside issues. Dude, there are so many things going on. There are so many things that could happen accidentally with the doctor that is sort of outside their control, maybe a muscle cramp. A muscle cramp hurts their fucking finger or whatever, and they snipped the wrong way. Dude, there are surgeries that have gone horribly wrong with some of the best doctors in the world. I think every doctor will tell you they’ve made mistakes. With robots, I feel like there will be fewer mistakes, not zero, but I feel like there’ll be fewer mistakes due to human error.
0:15:14.9 Mike Vacanti: Okay. May 1st, 2026, we’ll see if…
0:15:20.1 Jordan Syatt: Hopefully, I don’t need fucking brain surgery then. [laughter]
0:15:21.8 Mike Vacanti: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. But we’ll just see if robots are performing surgery on their own, and if their success rate is better than the best doctors in the world. I’m not saying that can’t happen, I just think that that’s a very short time frame.
0:15:38.8 Jordan Syatt: I think also, there are already robots that are essentially human run but from a distance. For example, they have robots that will go to disarm bombs and it saves human lives, because it doesn’t have to be a human now trying to disarm this bomb, but they can control with fine motor skills this robot. So obviously, it’s not the AI technology in terms of the robots doing it itself and dealing with the problems on its own, ’cause there’s a human behind it, but even that to me is they have the dexterity, they have the nimbleness, they have the ability to do that stuff is there already, and I think it will only get better. So yeah, and not to mention, I think about how as AI develops, then AI can develop more AI at an even faster rate. Dude, I don’t even know. I did see Musk say something to the effect of, “We need to put a stopper on this right now ’cause it’s developing a little bit too quickly.”
0:16:37.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. But if we put the stopper on it, there are countries and governments who aren’t gonna put the stopper on it.
0:16:44.1 Jordan Syatt: Exactly, yeah.
0:16:45.4 Mike Vacanti: And so then you have this competitive scenario there. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know Jordan brother.
0:16:55.7 Jordan Syatt: Dude, crazy shit. It’s really crazy. Oh, dude, I’m on chapter five of Attia.
0:17:00.0 Mike Vacanti: Oh, let’s go.
0:17:02.1 Jordan Syatt: I really enjoy it so far. So far, I like it a lot. I’m a big, big, big, big fan right now.
0:17:07.6 Mike Vacanti: Any big takeaways that you’re enjoying so far.
0:17:10.7 Jordan Syatt: I just really like to talk around the centenarians, super centenarians. I’ve always been interested in that. It’s been very… It’s nice because he’s like, “Listen, there’s clearly a genetic component to this, clearly without a doubt, especially… “
0:17:27.8 Mike Vacanti: To living past 100.
0:17:29.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, living 100. Past 110. It’s like, he’s like, “Clearly there’s genetic component to this, especially considering how many of them said that they smoke and drank for a huge portion of their life and never exercised.” It’s like, “Clearly, there are some things that some people just win the genetic lottery.” But I also like how he’s making it a point to say, “That doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to extend your health and lifespan. And who knows, maybe you’ll also achieve that as well.” Just like you and I have spoken about for years how genetics play a role in everything but they don’t determine everything. It is very, very cool to hear about that and I just love the storytelling aspect of it, and hearing about these centenarians, super centenarians and all of that. And it also makes me analyze those in my life and in my own life personally to see like, listen, how do I feel right now? I’m 31. What am I gonna feel like in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years? When I’m 60, am I gonna be able to compete with guys who are 40? When I’m 80, am I gonna be able to compete with guys who are 50 or 60? That’s really what I want and to be able to… I love how you’re smiling ’cause I’m bringing out the competition aspect.
0:18:37.4 Mike Vacanti: I’m smiling because… [laughter]
0:18:43.1 Jordan Syatt: I know exactly…
0:18:43.2 Mike Vacanti: “When I’m 82 years old and I’m a black belt, can I beat a 45-year-old brown belt? Can I take him? I’m 35 years older.”
0:18:49.6 Jordan Syatt: 100%. That’s exactly what I was like, “Alright, am I gonna be able to do like triangle chokes, uma platas without worrying about my knee blowing out?” [chuckle] Are you liking it so far?
0:19:02.7 Mike Vacanti: I am. I’m enjoying a lot. I just got through… So chapter six I think is the beginning of when he starts talking about the four horsemen individually, these leading causes of death essentially of preventable death. And so I think chapter seven was heart disease, chapter eight I just started is cancer, which is interesting. Yeah, I’m really enjoying it. We’ll do a full episode on the book here in the next couple of weeks.
0:19:32.4 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I also really like the distinctions between medicine 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, the way he broke those down, and he spoke about so many different things, but how medicine 2.0 sort of looks at averages, medicine 3.0 really looks at the individual, which I think it makes sense at this point in technology. We have the ability to really look at individuals over the long-term as opposed to taking averages from sub-groups of people. I really love the story. It was very sad as well. The guy who discovered airborne bacteria, and he was like, they noticed that the women who are giving birth, a large percentage of them were dying, and he was like, “Oh well, maybe it’s because we’re doing autopsies on people who died the day before and not washing our hands,” and they put that guy in an insane asylum and he died in an insane asylum. And that same year, another doctor figured out, “Oh, he was actually right. It was because we’re giving them these germs.” It’s like, man, there are so many awful and terrible and sad things about that. And also just understanding human nature where it’s so easy for us to just dismiss someone and say, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong. That’s not how it’s done. That’s not how it’s done. You’re wrong.”
0:20:50.7 Jordan Syatt: It’s like, man. I think it happens in every aspect of life, in every realm that we belong to, every realm of life, every different discussion, every different topic, it’s so easy just to fall back on, “Well, that’s not how it’s been done. That’s not right, da, da, da,” and to get upset or scared of what someone is saying and how that might bring about change as opposed to being like, “You know what, maybe you’re right. Let’s dive into it more and pick it apart and see what the potential is here.”
0:21:20.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. I mean, it’s a safe bet to say that you’re wrong and you’re usually gonna be right, but oftentimes you’re not, like that guy who made that discovery. Do you remember what century that was in? It was earlier in the book, right?
0:21:42.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, I think it was chapter two or chapter three. I forget.
0:21:47.1 Mike Vacanti: The distinction between medicine 2.0, 3.0 in terms of medicine 2.0 being reactive and medicine 3.0 being preventative is amazing too.
0:21:58.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
0:22:00.7 Mike Vacanti: And just makes so much sense. And I hate to point the finger and blame the system, but it would be awesome if for example, catching polyps as a precursor to colon cancer was one of the things that you can easily get checked, but because it’s expensive, or for whatever reason, we don’t do it until X age, I don’t know if it’s 45 now, if it’s 50 now, I believe it’s one of those two. But I know Peter was like… I can’t remember if I’ve had this in a private conversation, or if this was on a podcast recently, but you don’t remember, so… [laughter] He paid out of pocket to get his first colonoscopy at 37 or something. Because he talks about these diseases starting to develop early, and when they start to develop early, if it does start to develop early and something like that, I think if you don’t catch it within five years, that’s not good, but it’s for a grand or two grand or whatever it is, even if it’s a 99.9% or 99.5% chance he doesn’t have it, there’s a 0.5% chance he is starting to develop it and they catch it, you just saved his life. So is that amount of money worth it? Yeah.
0:23:18.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, man, 100%.
0:23:22.4 Mike Vacanti: Atherosclerosis was another one. Basically, these people who are dying from sudden heart attacks in their 40s, 50s, 60s, even 70s, they start to… The calcification process begins as early as their 20s or sometimes their teens, if it’s developing in the teenage years, I think he says that’s usually driven by primarily genetics, but it’s still good to know if you’re aunt and your dad and your grandpa all died before the age of 65 from a sudden heart attack, then you really need to be taking nutrition and Zone 2 cardio, like all of these preventative measures really seriously.
0:24:03.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. And to look at medicine 2.0 and look at these numbers and maybe someone… They’re fasting glucose or whatever, just in the normal range, but it’s so close to being pre-diabetic or diabetic, and the doctor will just be like, “Yeah, you’re not there yet, so you’re in the normal range.” But it’s like, hold on, but they’re very close to not being, and so how about we take action now more than just saying, “Yeah, you improve your diet,” or whatever it is, and how about we give them a real direction? Because it’s sort of an arbitrary line where it’s like, well, you have it now or you don’t have it. It’s like, you’re in that range. You’re there. And we gotta take more care of that. And also dude, you’re gonna laugh when I say this, I’m becoming a real conspiracy theorist, bro.
0:24:47.6 Mike Vacanti: I didn’t know you were gonna go in that direction, but I love it.
0:24:49.6 Jordan Syatt: Dude, it’s so funny. I used to look at conspiracy theorists and be like, “You guys are crazy. What the fuck is wrong with you?” And now, staying somewhat on topic, specifically in regard to big pharma, for example, medications being just given out, it’s… I used to be like, “No, no one would do that just for the sake of money at the expense of people’s health.” And now I’m like, “I’m an idiot. They absolutely would and they do.” And it’s just… Especially after the last three years when so many of the people who are labeled conspiracy theorists and they were silenced, it’s actually come out that like, “Oh no, they were right, but we’re not actually gonna make big news about this. We’re gonna quietly say they were right, and then move on.” I’m becoming more and more of like, “Man, what else have they lied to us about? Or what else is going on behind the scenes that we don’t want to know?” And it’s just… It’s very… Man, I’m becoming a real conspiracy theorist.
0:25:58.8 Mike Vacanti: Are you looking to take this in directions other than the pharmaceutical industry and basically what… Are you looking to have other conspiracy theory discussions right now, or are you trying to stay on this one?
0:26:12.5 Jordan Syatt: Dude, I’ll P it up. I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll talk about whatever you wanna talk about. I was specifically referring to big pharma and how I just believed in the good of humankind and how they were… And there have been some great things about pharma and they’ve done some really incredible things, but also there are some really terrible things that are going on behind the scenes where they’re just doing it for the sake of making more money, that’s like, oh shit, it’s blown me away. It’s crazy. So I’ll talk about anything though.
0:26:44.5 Mike Vacanti: I didn’t have anything ready to go. I just didn’t wanna limit you if you were trying to go somewhere else.
0:26:52.4 Jordan Syatt: You never stifle for me, brother. I’ll go anywhere.
0:26:55.6 Mike Vacanti: Good. Yeah, man. I mean, look, I fully agree. And it used to be like in the ’90s and even the 2000s, there was more consensus around distrusting the big drug manufacturers, and now it’s become, I think more of like a hot button issue, probably because of COVID mostly. But look, there are amazing drugs out there. What would really be awesome is if we built the habits and behaviors at a younger age, or even at whatever age you’re at, to put yourself in a position where you don’t have to use those drugs. And you still might have to, but to decrease the number of drugs that you’ll have to use and your likelihood of having to get on them.
0:27:47.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
0:27:48.5 Mike Vacanti: But yeah, man. Maybe like JFK, or I didn’t know what exactly was gonna…
0:27:54.4 Jordan Syatt: Oh, dude, that’s crazy as well.
0:27:56.3 Mike Vacanti: I’m kidding.
0:27:56.8 Jordan Syatt: Especially living here, I drive where he was shot every day two times a day. I drive to Jiu-Jitsu and back from Jiu-Jitsu, and I go right by the grassy knoll, I go right over where he was killed, I go by his monument. And then to see [chuckle] just both the right, the left not tell us what actually happened and not give away all the files, it’s like, you know… And they’ve released more… Biden did release a little bit more this past year that a lot of it went largely uncovered by mainstream politics, but no president has ever fully given away all of the files regarding his death, and it’s like… There’s only one reason why. They know that it would lead to the massive distrust of the government. There’s no other reason why they wouldn’t share all that information about the truth of his death. It’s crazy to me.
0:29:00.6 Mike Vacanti: Alright, what do we got?
0:29:00.7 Jordan Syatt: “How to be a personal trainer.”
0:29:05.4 Mike Vacanti: “Hi, Mike and Jordan. I have a client who’s 4’11”, female, 28 years old, 115 pounds and wants to lose her belly pooch. I had her track her calories and her average is 1,200 per day. Some days she only eats 850 calories, too. What do I tell her to do so that she can lose fat? Thanks for your help, Megan.”
0:29:30.3 Jordan Syatt: Wait, she’s 115 pounds. Did she say how tall?
0:29:33.3 Mike Vacanti: Under five feet, 4’11”.
0:29:36.4 Jordan Syatt: Okay, that’s a body image issue. She doesn’t have a belly pooch. She might store some belly fat, some fat in her belly more than other areas of her body just based on genetics and where she is predisposed to store a bit fat, but under five feet, 115, here’s what I think, get her lifting weights, get her strength training, increase her protein intake. I would take her calories up to maintenance and I would make sure she’s getting her steps in, eating around maintenance and lifting. You’re gonna see the best physiological changes there.
0:30:13.0 Jordan Syatt: I don’t think it’s possible for someone under five feet, and I think, Mike, you’re gonna disagree with this. But I don’t think it’s possible for someone under five feet and 115 pounds to have a belly pooch. I just don’t. I think that it’s a warped sense of what normal looks like. I think it’s a warped sense of like, “Hey, yeah, you’re supposed to have a little body fat.” I don’t think that’s a true belly pooch. I’m not saying that there isn’t body fat there. I’m saying that that body fat is probably fucking normal and it’s not a pooch. I think a pooch is probably the wrong way to describe it and it’s coming from a place of a disordered relationship with her body.
0:30:48.1 Jordan Syatt: I think that the best way to continue to lean out and to “tone up” is to be take her calories to maintenance, increase her protein, make sure she’s lifting and getting her steps in, that’ll solve the problems within a year to three years of being super consistent doing that. But yeah, I would also have a conversation around being like, “You’re 115 pounds. You don’t have a pooch. You might have more body fat you wanna lose and that’s fine, we can discuss that, but let’s talk about how you’re talking about your body because that’s not accurate.” That’s what I would say.
0:31:22.6 Mike Vacanti: I completely agree with your recommendation. Focus on building muscle, building strength, getting your calories up. Maybe she went from 130 to 115 recently is starting to stall out a little bit. You can definitely… It depends on your definition of pooch, right? But if you have no lean mass, if you haven’t strength trained, 4’11’ is tiny. And so you can have a little belly, and I understand there’s a very good chance that it is a body image issue, but you could also just have no lean mass and store most of your body fat there and have a little pooch. The answer is still not, we’re gonna hammer low calorie and try to lose more fat and, “Oh, 1,200 is not getting it done. We’re going to 1,050. That’s not getting it done. We’re going to nine… “
0:32:16.3 Mike Vacanti: No, you’re not gonna strong arm your way through this to whatever she wants, 105, especially because you’re not… You might end up reducing scale away if you do just continue to lower calories and increase activity. You’re not actually gonna improve her physique. To get her to how she wants to look two years, three years down the road, requires building a solid amount of muscle, building, gaining weight on the scale, like recomping some, but probably having the scale go up some over that timeframe, and then maybe losing fat again at some point in the future. If she hasn’t done a ton of strength training, I actually think that she can recomp quite nicely by simply focusing on getting stronger, strength train a few days a week, getting stronger on compound movements, game over.
0:33:07.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, agreed.
0:33:08.9 Mike Vacanti: “Hey, Mike and Jordan. I wanted to reach out with a few questions that maybe you could cover one day on the podcast. Thoughts on exercises like a renegade row or triceps kickback while in a plank? Also, squat with shoulder press… “
0:33:22.9 Jordan Syatt: Hold on, hold on. Pause right there before you go onto the rest. Renegade rows suck, number one.
0:33:27.0 Mike Vacanti: This is gonna be your answer.
0:33:31.1 Jordan Syatt: You’re going into more… Let’s cover each one individually.
0:33:32.9 Mike Vacanti: Okay.
0:33:34.4 Jordan Syatt: The one that got me… I hate renegade rows and I’m happy to talk about why.
0:33:40.1 Mike Vacanti: All exercises where you’re doing more than one exercise in one is awful and is inefficient and is…
0:33:48.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
0:33:49.2 Mike Vacanti: If you wanna do it for endurance or to get your heart rate up, there are way better ways to do endurance and get your heart rate up. Like a lunge to curl, a squat to press.
0:33:57.4 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
0:33:57.9 Mike Vacanti: You’re never gonna be an RPE 8 for two different movement patterns at the exact same time. You’re either going to be not making optimal bicep progress because you can curl more than you can shoulder press or vice-versa, usually you can shoulder press more than you can curl. And so pairing these up, you’re just leaving massive amounts of progress on the table. Now, someone might say, “Well, I don’t have a lot of time to work out, so I’m trying to squeeze it all in.” Cool. Superset the two movements, like reduce rest time. There are other ways to do that, but by selecting a weight, you’re limiting yourself on your stronger movement, and so you’re not gonna make as much progress on your stronger movement.
0:34:37.8 Jordan Syatt: Fact. Did they say a plank with a tricep extension?
0:34:44.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Let me finish the question.
0:34:46.4 Jordan Syatt: When I heard that, my brain just…
0:34:50.9 Mike Vacanti: Broke?
0:34:51.0 Jordan Syatt: It fried. What the fuck was… How do you do a plank and a tricep extension at the same time?
0:34:56.9 Mike Vacanti: It’s a great question. Turns into like a single arm plank with the tricep… I don’t know.
0:35:01.5 Jordan Syatt: I don’t know how you do it. I need to see a video of this shit.
0:35:03.3 Mike Vacanti: “Also squat with shoulder press, would you all program these? I kind of roll my eyes at some of these exercises because I don’t see the point unless the goal is moving in a way that’s different than normal. I don’t see these helping with hypertrophy versus strength, but maybe endurance. Renegade row, I feel like, is really pointless, but would love to hear y’all’s thoughts.”
0:35:22.8 Jordan Syatt: Love that. Yeah, renegade row sucks shit. People always get mad when I say that it sucks. It’s a terrible exercise. It’s terrible. There’s no reason we’re doing it. It doesn’t take working with that many general population clients to quickly realize that their wrists are gonna hurt dramatically, and it’d be just far better if they did a plank superset with a dumbbell row. You get the best of both worlds. You strengthen their back, which is what you want, and you strengthen their core, which is what you want. Superset them back and forth. Don’t try and do them both at the same fucking movement. I will say squat to a press, there’s… Another word for this is called a thruster, whether you’re doing dumbbell or barbells, and that’s a very good conditioning exercise, but it’s for conditioning.
0:36:03.2 Jordan Syatt: So you shouldn’t be loading it up super heavy so the squat is really heavy. It should be very light weight. If I’m doing it, if I’m doing with dumbbells, I’ll use between 10 to, at most, 20-pound dumbbells, at most. And I can lift away more than that, but it’s when you’re doing it for a conditioning purpose. So squat to an overhead press, which is really just a thruster. I would never use it for strength. I would never use it for hypertrophy. I would only use that specific one for an endurance type workout. Plank with a tricep extension quite literally sounds like the absolute dumbest exercise I’ve ever heard of in my life. I can’t imagine how it’s done. I see no reason for it to be done. If you wanna strengthen their core, do a plank, you wanna get their triceps stronger, more defined, whatever, feel free to do tricep extensions as one of your exercises. But yeah, like Mike said, combination exercises for the vast majority of people and for the vast majority of goals are a waste of time.
0:37:02.3 Mike Vacanti: And even if you are gonna program them like for conditioning, that one example that you gave, if getting stronger on a squat is also a goal, you’re gonna be doing the conditioning work at the very end of the workout, lighter, lower rest, higher rep, your primary focus is gonna be doing an actual squat with loads closer to failure.
0:37:23.4 Jordan Syatt: Yep.
0:37:23.5 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, the plank with the tricep kickback. I don’t know about that one.
0:37:26.9 Jordan Syatt: I don’t even know how that works.
0:37:28.5 Mike Vacanti: Do you bring the dumbbell back up to the front with you?
0:37:33.8 Jordan Syatt: I don’t know.
0:37:35.0 Mike Vacanti: I think a lot of these exercises get programmed by coaches who just want to make their clients do something hard. And by hard, I mean might get your heart rate up, get sweaty. And clients end up going to these types of coaches or classes or whatever it is because they want the feeling of doing something hard, like a sweaty workout essentially, when, as we know, hard isn’t always optimal.
0:38:05.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I think usually it’s newer coaches. Oftentimes, newer coaches who feel like… I think one of the biggest struggles among newer coaches is them feeling like they have to entertain their clients with new exercises. For me, personally, it’s one of the most difficult things, and for a lot of coaches that we speak with in the mentorship and just in general, they feel like their clients are getting bored. And there are a couple of things you have to remember. Number one is effective strength training is boring, especially after you’ve been doing it for a long time. Your clients aren’t nearly as bored as you think they are. Because you’re writing new programs for, I don’t know, 10, 20, 50, 70 clients, whatever it is, and you’re programming the same exercises over and over and over and over again, however many times a week and month. They’re getting one program. That’s it. And so they’re not seeing the same exercises as many times as you are. So your perception of what you think they’re bored with is actually very flawed and they’re probably not bored with it. Sometimes they might be, but those are usually the more advanced people, people who’ve been doing it for a while.
0:39:20.0 Jordan Syatt: But even then, if I had a client who’s like, “Hey, I’m bored. Can we do something different?” I’d be like, “Yeah, sure. Instead of doing a dumbbell row, we’ll do a pause dumbbell row. Or instead of doing a pause dumbbell row, we’ll do an inverted row. Or instead of doing inverted row, we’ll do a seated cable row, whatever it is, but we’re still doing row no matter what. And we’re not doing a seated cable row with a tricep extension superset just because you’re fucking bored. It makes no sense. If you want a coach to do that, then we’ll separate and you go find… ” And I’ve had clients do that, not many, but I’ve had clients do that and then they come back within three to six months.
0:39:55.0 Jordan Syatt: They go, “Okay, yeah, it wasn’t as good as I thought it was gonna be.” And they realized that being entertained is far less important than actually getting results.
0:40:05.6 Mike Vacanti: Well, said.
0:40:06.0 Jordan Syatt: Okay, here’s a question that I think I’m very interested to hear your response to this. So this woman asked, she said, “Why do fitness influencers act like macros will change your life even if you already track calories?” Which I’m very interested to hear your response to this.
0:40:25.5 Mike Vacanti: I’ve never seen a fitness influencer act like macros will change your life even if you already track calories.
0:40:30.7 Jordan Syatt: Okay. But…
0:40:33.4 Mike Vacanti: Let’s assume they do?
0:40:35.2 Jordan Syatt: You don’t even have to assume they do. Calories just tell you how much total energy you’re eating. They don’t tell you anything about the composition of what you’re eating and how that impacts your performance, your body composition, your sleep, your energy. It would sort of be like saying… I’m trying to come up with a good analogy off the top of my head, but it would sort of be like, why does every financial advisor really prioritize making a budget and understanding your income and your expenses and not just understand how much money you have in your bank in total? Well, it’s because that can change at any point in time based on your income, based on your expenses, based on your budget, based on, you wanna have a certain amount saved for, God forbid, for an emergency. You wanna know how to get more in if you need it, you wanna know how to build up enough so that you can help make your money work for you. There’s a lot of a deeper dive than just simply how much total you have. And that’s why I think…
0:41:46.5 Jordan Syatt: I think that if we’re breaking it down, what’s most important, I think calories are the most important, especially at the beginning, and especially if weight loss and fat loss specifically is the goal, but if all of your knowledge is centered around calories and you don’t know deeper understanding macros or anything like that, it’s sort of like reading the back of the book, but not reading the book. You understand what it’s about, but you don’t really know the storyline, you don’t really know the depth of each character. You’re not really getting the whole book, you’re just getting enough to maybe pass a pop quiz in high school, but you’re not actually getting enough to understand what’s going on in the book. I don’t know. That’s my thoughts.
0:42:31.6 Mike Vacanti: Solid analogy. Yeah, I mean, there’s tremendous benefit. I don’t know if it’ll change your whole life, but protein, to start, because it’s the most important of the macro nutrients, is gonna lead to… If you’re just tracking calories, you’re not paying attention to your macros and you’re not prioritizing protein, you’re almost certainly under-reading protein. And if you go from not eating enough protein to eating adequate protein, you’re gonna build more muscle, you’re gonna get stronger, you’re actually gonna be able to hit your calorie target more consistently, because having adequate protein is gonna help with satiety, it’s gonna help regulate your hunger, it’s gonna help lead you to a place where you’re less likely to overeat than if you were to eat the majority of your calories from carbs and fats exclusively.
0:43:18.1 Mike Vacanti: So that’s one way that focusing on your macros rather than just your calories will make a difference. Between carbs and fats, by tracking carbs and fat, by tracking all three macronutrients for a period of time at the very least, you’re gonna find out what the macronutrient composition of the foods you like to eat and from there, you’re gonna find out whether or not you do better or worse on higher carb or higher fat. From a digestive perspective, from a training performance perspective, from a brain… If I have 150 carbs of breakfast because I’m bulking and I’m eating 450 grams of carbs per day, I’m in trouble for the day from a cognitive point of view. I just had 150 carbs. My next four to six hours of work is not going to be good at all compared to if I didn’t have 30 grams of carbs.
0:44:07.9 Mike Vacanti: If I had somewhere between zero or 150 grams of carbs, if I had somewhere between zero and, I don’t know, 40 grams of carbs at breakfast with some protein and some fat, I’m gonna feel much better, I’m gonna be able to think more clearly, I’m not gonna wanna take a nap. So by tracking, you’re gonna learn these things by yourself. Before bed, we all… Well, I don’t know if we all know, but I know that Jordan likes to have carbs before bed because it improves his sleep quality. If you didn’t know that, whatever, oatmeal, cinnamon toast crunch, bread, sweet potatoes, if he didn’t know that these foods were carb-dense, he only knew that 111 calories in this, 76 calories in this, 240 calories in this, he wouldn’t know that carbs improve his sleep.
0:44:50.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
0:44:51.5 Mike Vacanti: And so, yeah, you’re not just reading the back of the book. You’re reading the inside of the book. You’re gonna have a more comprehensive understanding of what you’re putting in your body and how it affects you.
0:45:05.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, that’s what I wanted to hear. My buddy, Tyler Minton, he said it in a way that I loved. He said, “Calories determine what you weigh. Macros determine how you look. And micros determine how you feel.” And I think it’s a little bit over-simplified, it’s not 100%, but overall, I really like it. And it helps explain the benefit for everyday general population understanding, “Listen, if you wanna lose weight or gain weight, calories is their priority. If you wanna change how your body looks, change the composition, build more muscle, lose more fat, you have to not only have your calories in check, but also your macros in check. And if you wanna feel your best, you gotta have a lot of micronutrient-dense food. You gotta have a lot of micronutrients, fruits and vegetables and all that stuff to help optimize that side of things. So I really like that way of looking at it and understanding the base of the pyramid, yeah, calories for sure. But just because it’s the base doesn’t mean the rest doesn’t matter.
0:46:00.7 Mike Vacanti: Well said. Good Pod.
0:46:01.2 Jordan Syatt: That was it. That was great. Thank you everyone for listening. If you’re not watching on YouTube yet, we don’t know what you’re doing. But we do really appreciate all of the kind messages that you send. So to everyone who sent us messages, thank you so much. All the kind words and the reviews have been incredible, so thank you. If you haven’t left a review yet, please, please do, especially… Actually, only if it’s a five-star. If it’s not a five-star, no need to leave a review. [chuckle] Thank you very much, we appreciate you. Have a wonderful day and we’ll talk to you soon.