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In this episode, we dive into the physiology and psychology of getting (and staying) shredded all year round. This conversation takes a turn you likely won’t expect but absolutely need to hear.


We hope you enjoy this episode and if you’d like to join us in The Online Fitness Business Mentorship you can grab your seat at


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-J & M


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You can download a PDF version of the transcript here


Or you can expand to find the full episode transcription below:


0:00:12.2 Mike Vacanti: Hello, Jordan.


0:00:12.7 Jordan Syatt: What’s up, Michael?


0:00:13.9 Mike Vacanti: What’s up, Jordan?


0:00:15.0 Jordan Syatt: The Count of Monte Cristo.


0:00:16.9 Mike Vacanti: Wow, I thought maybe you were gonna J it up and be ready to go and have a subject preloaded in mind, and I love it.


0:00:24.7 Jordan Syatt: As the numbers were counting down to hit record, you hit record and it goes five, four, three, two, one, and I was like, “What the fuck are we gonna talk about?” And then I was like, “Oh, we deliberately did not talk about Count of Monte Cristo privately so that we could then discuss it during the podcast.


0:00:41.1 Jordan Syatt: Great movie, great movie.


0:00:42.1 Mike Vacanti: Did you like it?


0:00:42.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I really did. It’s one of those… It’s crazy. So I think it was in 2002. It was released in 2002 or something?


0:00:51.2 Mike Vacanti: It sounds right.


0:00:52.7 Jordan Syatt: I feel like it looks… Maybe I’m just warped by the technology and how… Like the special effects, nowadays. But I feel like it looks like it was filmed in the ’70s. It’s just one of those classic movies that they don’t make anymore. They don’t make movies like that anymore with that type of a storyline, with that… I don’t know. I feel like movies nowadays they’re… It’s so focused on the special effects. It’s so focused on sex. It’s so focused on things that just like dopamine, dopamine, dopamine, as opposed to really building the storyline, developing a character arc that… And also they don’t really have, at least from what I’ve seen, there aren’t as like meaningful, like deep, meaningful, very important characteristic traits. They don’t really go that far into the character development and they don’t really have those types of messages anymore. I would imagine.


0:01:52.7 Jordan Syatt: Because they don’t keep people’s attention very long and they don’t make as much money. I would… That’s what I would think. I feel like movies nowadays go more surface level because it’s easier to reach a wider audience as opposed to going deeper will probably be a little bit more of a niche audience. And this just went… It was very deep. It’s a movie that I think I could watch 10 times and like find something new every time. And yeah, a really good movie.


0:02:16.9 Mike Vacanti: I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed it. That’s awesome.


0:02:19.6 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.


0:02:21.1 Mike Vacanti: And you’re spot on. It’s been a few years now, but Matt Damon was on some podcast talking openly about the changes in Hollywood over the years and how a lot of his best movies from the ’90s and into the early 2000s wouldn’t get made anymore just because of what you just described, which is Hollywood essentially needing to make money on their investment, especially with a big name actors involved in movies and not wanting to have a movie that flopped. And so you see a lot of guarantees these days, like a remake of a very popular movie that they know they can make at least X dollars on. Or the 15th sequel of a movie that has a built-in fan base that they know they’re gonna get minimum 50 million. Like, so yeah, I agree. They don’t make them like that anymore. And yeah, just an iconic movie, “The Count of Monte Cristo.”


0:03:14.5 Jordan Syatt: Is there any specific thing that either you wanted me to take out of it? Or like, did you just want me to watch this just because it’s a great movie or was there some like person or character or message that you’re like, “I hope he takes that from it?” Or was it more just like, “Bro, great movie, you got to watch it.”


0:03:33.8 Mike Vacanti: There was nothing specific that I would have hoped that you took from it.


0:03:37.9 Jordan Syatt: Got it, okay.


0:03:40.8 Mike Vacanti: Now, it’s been two months since I watched it, which is unfortunate that my memory no longer works like it used to. Because I probably had seven things fresh that I would have wanted to talk about. I mean, any comeback story is just… I love. And then so that like… A really, really wholesome, good person has something absolutely horrendous happen to him. And then he’s able to, through his own grit and will and determination, rise from the ashes and live happily ever after essentially, is just such a classic story that I… It can be told in many different ways. And I think they did a great job here. One specific… I also… The friendship is interesting to me too. If you can even call it that, between Dantès and… Is it Fernando? Is that the antagonist?


0:04:36.1 Jordan Syatt: Was it Villefort? I think it was Villefort, I think, I don’t know, but between like the two main characters.


0:04:42.6 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. I love… I love when… I don’t remember the exact scene, but I remember the line. I think it’s when he rats him out. He rats out his buddy and like he runs to him for help. And then he pulls out the knife on him. He’s like, “What are you doing? Stop playing around, dah, dah, dah.” And he asked him, “Why did you do this?” And the response…


0:05:07.2 Jordan Syatt: Oh, I know exactly the line you’re gonna say.


0:05:12.1 Mike Vacanti: Well good the say it ’cause I don’t remember the exact line.


[overlapping conversation]


0:05:14.6 Jordan Syatt: I’m almost positive you’re gonna say “because you’re like this poor boy from somewhere, I’m the son of a count. You’re not supposed to be happier than I am.” Something along those lines.


0:05:29.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yeah. Because you’re the son of a… Something insignificant. And I’m not supposed to want your life, essentially.


0:05:35.9 Jordan Syatt: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. “I’m not supposed to be jealous of you,” something like that.


0:05:38.8 Mike Vacanti: So when Fernand is like… Or when Mercedes says to Fernand something along the lines of you got a pony. Like “I remember your eighth birthday. You got a pony and Edmond got like a…” Do you remember what it was?


0:05:50.2 Jordan Syatt: Like a rubber band or something like that.


0:05:52.1 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


0:05:52.6 Jordan Syatt: Just something ridiculous.


0:05:54.0 Mike Vacanti: And like “you were so mad that that made him so happy.”


0:06:00.6 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.


0:06:00.8 Mike Vacanti: “And you wanted that even though you had a pony.” There’s something real to be said about extravagant material wealth and extravagance and what we think that it’ll do for us compared to what it will actually do for us. But yeah, I just think it’s cool to like the plan, you stopped watching after your first cardio session right before, or right around the time when the priest dies and you had no idea by our conversation that like what Edmond’s plan was to sneak himself into the whatever bag that he was in.


[overlapping conversation]


0:06:43.6 Mike Vacanti: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then get thrown out to escape. I thought that whole scene was cool, like…


0:06:49.7 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, that was fucking, I was like, dude, you got… And they weighed him down and all, men that’s crazy. But for me, one of the things I loved about, there’s so many different messages in the movie. That’s what I like about these types of movies. There’s so many woven in layers to the messaging. And one of them is this guy is sent to prison for something that he was innocent and they knew he was innocent and he’s in prison, I think it’s like 13 years. And in large part due to the priest, he was able to like spend that time being productive. He was able to learn, he was able to learn how to fight, he was able to learn how to speak different languages. He was able to learn mathematics and able to learn like all these different things. So by the time he got out, he was better than he was when he got in. And I’ve related to that so much in different parts of my life. But especially when it comes to… From a business perspective, where it’s like, there have been different points in my life where I was like, I don’t like the situation I’m in right now, but there’s definitely some things I can do to help me improve so that when the situation is over, I’m in a better place because of it. And that was just like the absolute best representation of that, that it, ’cause like the worst, worst, worst…


0:08:18.4 Mike Vacanti: Can you give an example?


0:08:20.5 Jordan Syatt: So, I mean, I’ll give an example of when I was in college and I’ve spoken about this before, I think, but I hated college. It was the worst for me. I absolutely hated it, but I wasn’t going to drop out because I didn’t wanna ruin the relationship with my mom. And that was really important to her that I go to college and get a college degree. And I remember I spoke with my friend, Josh Smith, who’s a psychologist. And he was like, listen, you’re not going to leave, you’re not going to drop out. So like, basically you have to think about it like you’re in detention right now. You’re in detention…


0:08:53.0 Mike Vacanti: You knew him in college?


0:08:54.6 Jordan Syatt: I knew him… I knew him when I was 16.


0:08:57.9 Mike Vacanti: Okay.


0:08:58.7 Jordan Syatt: So he was a chaperone on my first ever trip to Israel when I was 16. And so from that point, he became one of my closest friends and mentors. And I called him, but I was like, “dude, I don’t know what to do. Like I’m like severely depressed in a really bad place.” And when he was like, “you have to think of it like you’re in detention, like there’s no choice. So you might as well just make the most out of it and do something productive.” And then I was like, “cool.” That’s when I started really going all in on making content for my website. And I didn’t really care about getting good grades. I needed enough to graduate, but I shifted my focus from, okay, I’m in school, get the best grades possible to I’m in school because I have to be here. As long as I don’t fail, I’m fine. Like the whole “C’s get degrees” was very much my mentality. Even like D’s get degrees. I didn’t give a shit. So, I was like, whatever, I’m going to do the bare minimum just to graduate.


0:09:51.4 Jordan Syatt: And then like the rest of my time, I’m gonna focus on my business. So by the time I graduated college, after four years of being in a place that I didn’t want to be, then I was able to pick up my business and do whatever I wanted as a result of it. And that was like, obviously being in college was not nearly as bad as being in prison and being in like one of the worst prisons you could ever imagine. But it was the similarity, it was the theme of that resonated with me a lot.


0:10:17.9 Mike Vacanti: Cool. Good story. I like it. Do we have anything else on that subject?


0:10:23.5 Jordan Syatt: We could talk about that all podcasts. There’s so many different things we could talk about.


0:10:29.6 Mike Vacanti: I got something that might be interesting. It might be a five minute conversation or it might be interesting. You might like it.


0:10:35.3 Jordan Syatt: I bet I will. I’m a P.


0:10:37.2 Mike Vacanti: No, no, no. You might actually like it.


0:10:39.6 Jordan Syatt: Okay.


0:10:40.9 Mike Vacanti: So last week we spoke on body dysmorphia and…


0:10:47.1 Jordan Syatt: Oh yeah, yeah.


0:10:47.9 Mike Vacanti: I’m… That actually, ’cause today’s Tuesday, so that actually just got released. We haven’t got any feedback on it, but that… I made the point that there’s probably… That it’s a less of an issue at scale than it is like in the micro fitness community. And we had some other discussion around it this week. Let’s talk about another issue that I think isn’t an issue at scale, but is an issue with a subset of people. And I think we should focus on that, which is people who get super lean and then try to maintain that leanness indefinitely. I’m talking like single digit, like 7, 8% body fat for dudes whatever, 15, 16, 15, 14 for women, 17 in that range. But essentially I don’t wanna use the word an unhealthily low body fat percentage, but a body fat percentage that is very difficult physically and mentally to maintain in the long run. Let’s talk about some of the costs and disadvantages for people who are in that position, because it’s something that I can personally relate to. I’m not the leanest I’ve ever been right now. Like in college, I maintained probably five or at least 5% lower body fat than I am now. I know that…


0:12:21.5 Jordan Syatt: You had periods.


0:12:21.6 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.


0:12:23.8 Jordan Syatt: Wow.


0:12:25.7 Mike Vacanti: I didn’t have, I didn’t have nearly as much muscle, but I was shredded. And I know you’ve had periods of time where you were leaner than you are now and maintained it and it wasn’t easy. And there’s definitely downsides to it. So I think it’d be cool if we talked about that either related to us personally, but also just like clients we’ve worked with who are in, or who have been in that position.


0:12:45.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. What made you think of that? Like, what was like, all right, let’s talk, how’d you get to that? Like, let’s talk, let’s talk about this.


0:12:51.1 Mike Vacanti: Sometimes ideas just shoot into your brain, Jordan.


0:12:52.7 Jordan Syatt: I Love that.


0:12:53.0 Mike Vacanti: And then you discuss them on podcasts.


0:12:55.7 Jordan Syatt: Do you wanna take the lead on it? Do you wanna start?


0:12:58.0 Mike Vacanti: I’m curious. I have a list. So I’m curious of the first things that pop into your head around this.


0:13:03.3 Jordan Syatt: The first thing that pops into my head is a story that you already know of mine in which, so I worked with Martin Berkhan in my freshman year of college. I emptied my bank account and it was only like 300 bucks, but I didn’t have any money. So I basically emptied my bank account to work with him for 12 weeks.


0:13:20.9 Mike Vacanti: Oh, it was $300 for 12 weeks, or 300 a month for 12 weeks?


0:13:23.5 Jordan Syatt: $300 for 12 weeks.


0:13:24.8 Mike Vacanti: Oh, cool.


0:13:25.7 Jordan Syatt: This is 2010, I had 300 bucks and it was 300 bucks for 12 weeks. That was it. And I was like, “All right, I’ll fucking do it.” And I got the leanest I’d ever been in my entire life, and I was shredded. Dude, I got to… I was at the leanest, I was like 118 or 119 pounds. It was just super, super lean. And…


0:13:52.8 Mike Vacanti: Because now you’re in the upper 140s, 150… Lower 150s.


0:13:55.8 Jordan Syatt: Well, I’m getting a mini cut right now. This morning I weighed in at 144. But… This is way leaner than I usually am. And I don’t like it. But I remember throughout the process I was getting leaner, getting leaner, getting leaner, and I was so obsessive over every calorie. When I tell you… This is really important and I don’t think people are gonna understand. I don’t think most people are gonna get this unless they’ve had real disordered eating habits. But when I tell you I didn’t go over my calories or macros by a single calorie or by a single mark. I counted everything and I was so meticulous. And to be fair, there are benefits to this down the road later in life in terms of having that level of scrutiny and that meticulousness, if that’s a word, what helped me now because now I can just look at it and have a very good idea of what I’m eating.


0:15:01.8 Jordan Syatt: But it was disordered beyond belief at that point in time. And it was done out of a fear of messing up. It wasn’t done out of a, “Hey, let’s educate myself now so I’m better off in the future.” It was done out of fear. And I remember being in the school library with my buddy Kyle, and he was eating a banana nut muffin. And in my head I was just like, “How the fuck does he have a… How can he fit this in his calories?” This makes no… And I was losing my shit. And basically my entire life purpose was to get foods that would fill me up the most for the least amount of calories and the highest amount of protein. Martin had me on some pretty outrageously high protein. I was having 210 grams of protein every day.


0:15:47.8 Jordan Syatt: And I weighed… It was actually between 180 and 210, I believe. It was somewhere in that range between… Either way it’s super high. I was 125 pounds, at… midway through I was 125 pounds, so between 180 and 210. And my calories were 1800 high days, 1500 low days. And I forget what my carbs and fats were, but super high, super high protein. And so basically I was just having a ton of cottage cheese. Super, super high, massive cottage cheese. It wasn’t a healthy diet. It was just a very high protein, moderate carb below fat. My fat was like… I think my fat was around between 22 to 28 grams per day, somewhere in that range. And…


0:16:38.8 Mike Vacanti: Nothing.


0:16:39.2 Jordan Syatt: I got so shredded. But I felt terrible. I wasn’t going out and socializing. I think there are many reasons psychologically why I did this. I hated school. I didn’t wanna be with anybody. I was like, this is the one thing I had control over. And also, to be fair, I really wanted to learn how to get shredded. And Martin at the time was the only guy who was making content, who really knew how to get consistently outrageous results with his clients. I remember probably in the last…


0:17:12.7 Mike Vacanti: There was no piece of it related to females and ego…


0:17:16.6 Jordan Syatt: None. I was asexual at that point, especially because I had decided at that point that I just wanted to learn as much as I could. At that point in my life, I was so depressed. I didn’t even have a sex drive before I started the cut. I didn’t wanna… I didn’t care about hooking up. I didn’t care… I had just been in Israel for a year, high school before that. I did a lot of stupid shit. And I was just… I was angry. I was super angry and I just wanted to learn as much as I could and build a business and learn as much as I could about fitness. Before that even started, I was just angry and I was like, “Fuck all these kids in the school. I hate everybody. I just wanna learn.” And so I used that anger to feel fuel that. There was zero… I think girls are gonna like this at all.


0:18:02.5 Mike Vacanti: Cool.


0:18:05.0 Jordan Syatt: I remember probably in the last month leading up to the end of the cut, so eight weeks had gone by. I had four weeks left. And I was like, “Holy shit.” I am looking better than I ever did when I was wrestling, better… I was leaner than ever. All of my old high school wrestling friends were like, “What the hell are you doing?” I was posting pictures on my Facebook page. People couldn’t believe it. And Martin was like, “Holy shit dude, your results are amazing.” I was getting so much feedback. Martin, I remember I wanted to be a success story on Martin’s website so bad. I emailed him, I’m like, “Do you think you’re gonna feature me on your website?” He’s like, “Absolutely, I’m gonna feature you.” Which I was just so excited about.


0:18:44.0 Jordan Syatt: And in that last month, I started trying to think, I was like, “How can I maintain this forever?” And so, I started asking Martin something. I think I was asking Martin… ‘Cause Martin had been a model at other points in his career. I believe he lived in Japan for a while. It was either Japan or China, I forget. And he was a model. And I was like, “Man, how did you do that?” And my whole… I knew I wasn’t gonna be a physique competitor ’cause I just didn’t have the muscle mass for it. And I never really liked the idea of putting a thong on doing the whole spray tan thing, but I was like, “I could be a model.”


0:19:19.9 Jordan Syatt: And so, I remember thinking, “I’m going to try to get a job as a model in order to essentially justify my eating disorder, and justify this.” Because the hardest part was telling people why I ate the way I ate. It wasn’t hard for me to weigh literally every single thing. I would weigh my spinach, I would weigh onions, like I would weigh tomatoes, everything. The hardest part was telling them why the fuck I was doing it. And so, if I could have a like, this is my career, this is my job.


0:19:57.4 Mike Vacanti: A reason.


0:19:57.7 Jordan Syatt: If I could have that, then it would be easy for me to maintain that year round. And so, that was… That’s the first thing that pops in my head.


0:20:05.9 Mike Vacanti: That’s a great story. Thank you for sharing on, I’d say you went deeper there than you have before on that subject. You brought up a couple on my list, just unintentionally. One, you’re just constantly thinking about food and like the banana nut muffin. Like whether it’s foods you can’t have or foods that… Planning your day, like what am I going to eat at this? And you were hermit mode at that point, but other people are having social interactions and doing things, and trying to game plan how they’re going to go to this event and stay this lean. Or like, and it’s indefinite, because if you want to maintain that level of leanness, your intake, your maintenance is lower. Like your intake is just going to be much lower for indefinitely for as long as you wanna stay that lean.


0:21:02.3 Mike Vacanti: I remember when I was 19, being in California spring break, staying at a hostel with three of my college buddies. We bought the cheapest airline tickets, stayed at this hostel that was 19 bucks a night or something, just like gross basically. But there was a guy there who was shredded out of his mind and we were grilling. He was staying at the hostel, we were grilling and someone went and picked up all these burgers and we were all having these high fat burgers, I presume. And with ketchup and everything. And this guy pulls out these grilled chicken breasts. [laughter] And I was like, “Where did you get those? These are free burgers, man. Why you went and bought those?” He’s like, “Yeah, I went and bought those.” And then someone offered him barbecue sauce and he’s like, “No, no, no.”




0:21:56.7 Mike Vacanti: And someone else is like, “Do you want some ketchup?” And he’s like, “No, no.” And he pulls out this hot sauce and I’m like, “Where did you get that hot sauce?” He’s like, “I’ve got the hot sauce with the grilled chicken.” Not really knowing it at the time, but like, mental note, this is maybe the most shredded dude I’ve ever seen in person. And all he ate was three grilled chicken breasts with hot sauce. And like that’s really interesting. And…




0:22:17.5 Mike Vacanti: It was probably within, I don’t know, some amount of time coming across Lyle having a better understanding of calories, protein, like lean protein versus fatty protein. And being like, “That dude, that’s why he ate three chicken breasts and didn’t have any burgers or any sides or anything else. Or any condiments except hot sauce.” Food has to be such a hyper focus is a great point. You alluded to this very briefly, but didn’t go into it much. And it’s something that I’ve experienced every time I’ve been exceptionally lean and I see it in others. And that is your physical energy levels to do other things in life are abysmal.


0:23:01.7 Mike Vacanti: If you compare maintenance or even a lean bulk at a healthier body fat percentage, call it even 10% to 15% compared to 7%, you feel so much better. You’re able to take more steps. You’re able to compete in physical hobbies and activities. You’re able to play sports, if that’s something you want to do. You’re able to just move around your house and go up and down stairs and feel reasonable and have energy compared to being unbelievably lean where everything is a grind. And not quite to the level of like you’re about to step on stage. I know there have been funny stories about not wanting to get up from the couch or grab the remote control to change the channel because you’re so de… Like, you can’t even imagine doing that. That’s how depleted you are.


0:23:51.4 Mike Vacanti: But close to that level of low physical energy, which leads to… Because calories are the best way to fuel yourself to do things. But not wanting to eat more calories often leads to overconsumption of caffeine is a big one that I’ve seen. And that I used to do unknowingly have 400 to 600 milligrams every single day. Couple coffees, pre-workouts, whatever it was. Which is a bandaid like it works in the short term because you can, it blunts hunger. You have this energy in the short term usually that leads to not being able to do anything later in the afternoon. But maybe in the morning when you’re very high caffeine, you can get your workout and you can do these things, you can feel okay.


0:24:39.0 Mike Vacanti: But that super high caffeine has downsides and poor sleep quality for almost everyone is one of them. You end up relying on it. Something that I’ve felt and seen, which is more anecdotal, I don’t know if there’s actual research to back it, is increased anxiety and anxiousness from being very lean and being on high quantity stimulants. Leading to less social interaction, less social ability, literally more anxiousness sometimes that leading to someone needing to see someone about it. Just because, I do know, for me personally, being anxious seems to be on a continuum. And when I’m trying to stay outrageously lean, which it’s been many years since I did this, but the last time I remember was probably… There’ve been brief periods, but being an extended period of being very… Of single digit body fats, probably 2014.


0:25:42.8 Mike Vacanti: And feeling my mental health worse then than it is when I’m eating more food, and eating more food consistently throughout the day. Because what that very high caffeine to have more energy, to feel better, what that leads to is often fasting, which also, I think those two things contribute to feeling worse mentally.


0:26:06.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Makes total sense. Yeah. And it’s funny, like I used to be able to have so much caffeine when I was younger and no issues. And now I’m acutely aware of how much I have because I notice heart palpitations much like more mental anxiety and stress that comes with it. Things that like when I was younger, it was literally didn’t affect me at all. It’s…


0:26:32.0 Mike Vacanti: Do you think they didn’t affect you or do you think you just pushed through it without knowing what it was?


0:26:38.5 Jordan Syatt: I never ever thought about like, “Oh, is my heart okay? Oh is like a… ” It was just like, this will help me not be hungry so I’m gonna take more caffeine. Or like the lack of energy on such low calories and specifically such low body fat is wild. I remember walking around my college campus and just my legs felt so heavy, like it was… And in Martin’s program, I think there were three days a week, and I think it was three days a week I had to do like 45 minutes of low intensity cardio. And I didn’t have a smartphone at this time, so I just had a flip phone. And so, I couldn’t watch anything and I just would get on the seated bike and I would be on the lowest resistance setting. So, it was like nothing. And I was just like…


0:27:38.8 Jordan Syatt: It was this… I didn’t come this close to sweating and walking around I just felt like… It’s funny, I can tell when my daughter’s tired based on how heavy she feels in my arms. Like if she’s not tired, she’ll just like feel light and she’s moving around and all this stuff. When she just wom, just lies down and she doesn’t move and she just feels heavy, I’m like, oh, she’s exhausted right now. That’s how I felt walking around my campus. Just like I had no… Like, blinking felt difficult. And there’s opening my mouth to order a coffee, going to pull a chair out to sit down at the coffee shop, the chair felt heavy.


0:28:24.9 Jordan Syatt: And it’s things like that where you start to realize, oh, food. [laughter] It’s literally energy, but you don’t even realize it until you go through maybe a period of severe underfeeding and then you go to a period of like just normal eating. And all of a sudden you’re like, oh my God, everything this feel… Like thinking is easier, talking is easier, everything. And that’s when you can start to realize, oh, these calories, this energy is literally what our body needs to function, period. It’s really crazy. Yeah, yeah.


0:29:00.1 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yeah. Impossible to gain muscle or strength, once you’re that lean and on low calories, you’re just not going… Obviously, there are exceptions if you’re taking a heavy dose of steroids, sure. But for 99% of people in that position, you can gain some strength during the beginning of a cut. But once you’ve been cutting that long and you’re that lean, you’re not gonna be able to gain strength or muscle, which might not seem like a big deal. I’m strong enough, I have enough muscle, I aesthetically don’t feel like I need it. But you need to be making some form of progress in your workouts to keep coming back to workout. And when you’re that lean, you’re just not gonna be making any progress, you’re gonna have way less energy, they’re gonna be way less enjoyable. It’s gonna make it harder to stick to them. That’s definitely a negative.


0:29:56.0 Jordan Syatt: And I know you’re not much on the social media lately, there’s been a huge push towards, oh, you can build muscle in a severe deficit as long as protein is high and intensity is high. And what I wanna make a note of on these studies, which are accurate, like you can be in a severe deficit and you can do it, but these… They’re very short-term, they’re very low. The duration of these studies are not long. And the reason that’s important is because this isn’t just about being in a calorie deficit. This is about trying to maintain super, super lean, low body fat for a long period of time. So yeah.


0:30:37.0 Mike Vacanti: It’s not even being in a calorie deficit, it’s being at maintenance, but being that lean.


0:30:42.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, exactly. That’s where these studies, not that I’ve seen at least, have not really explored that like unbelievably lean for a very long period of time. Good luck getting… And yeah, if you get enough mechanical tension that it’s like good luck getting enough mechanical tension when you’re that fucking wrecked. Like, good luck.


0:31:05.7 Mike Vacanti: Yes. I almost don’t care if there were good studies that showed you could, because in my entire life I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen it at anyone else. I’ve never seen it with a client of mine. I’ve never seen anyone anywhere, natty, has a lot of training experience, get 7% body fat, stay there for years, and then gain three pounds of muscle per year for five years, and add 15 pounds of… Never once have I seen. So I don’t care, like, I don’t care who on social media talks about this four week study where they did a leg extension and they were in a deficit. [laughter] And they measured their quad and they dex it and they da, da da. And it’s like, I don’t care if that study comes out because that isn’t…


0:31:55.7 Jordan Syatt: Practically speaking.


0:31:56.9 Mike Vacanti: Well, it’s yeah. Practically speaking, but it’s also not quite the discussion that we’re having.


0:32:01.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, fair point.


0:32:04.3 Mike Vacanti: Terrible recovery and increased risk of injury, just, it’s harder to recover from workouts. You’re not gonna be able to do as much volume. You’re not gonna… Your psychological desire to be training is gonna be down. And a lot of people want recovery supplements or they want like ice baths, or they want hacks and tips and tricks. The best way to recover and feel better is to sleep and rest, and whatever days off, plus having enough food. And so, if you’re continually on a low intake and very, very lean without any help, it’s gonna be very hard to recover.


0:32:56.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. [laughter] Yeah. I was just thinking, when I was in that phase, when I was getting super, super, super lean. Dude, I was so tired all the time, and anytime I could go back to my dorm and I would just go to sleep and go to sleep, and go to sleep. But at night, my sleep quality was such shit. It’s like I was tired all the time, but I couldn’t sleep well. And so much of that was partly ’cause of hunger. My hunger was through the fucking roof. And so, I could go nap in the middle of the day, which is crazy. I could go nap in the middle of the day with my hunger subdued due to caffeine. So, I could go nap when I was jacked up on caffeine. But at night, when I was trying to go to sleep, the hunger was just overwhelming.


0:33:44.5 Jordan Syatt: And I would… My roommate had a TV, I didn’t have a TV, my roommate did. And I would just watch the Food Network. I would just, I would watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. I’d watch Adam Richman’s Man vs Food. I’d watch Rachael Ray.




0:34:01.2 Jordan Syatt: The fact that I even know these names is ridiculous, ’cause I haven’t watched these shows since I was in college with an eating disorder. And I would watch all of these shows with all these ridiculous foods, and it’s so funny. I would watch Adam Richman and, I would vividly think… ‘Cause recently, he’s come out talking about all the health issues he’s had because of Man vs Food.


0:34:25.7 Jordan Syatt: Because of how much weight that he gained and all the, I think probably disordered eating habits that he probably developed through that show. And not to mention the physiological health problems, but I remember, dude, I remember just thinking, I was like I wish I didn’t care about how lean I was. I wish I could just go eat that and not care. And, man, yeah. It was brutal. It’s not good, man. I don’t care what… It’s not good. Even now during this mini cut that I’m doing for the sugar spikes, I’m the leanest I’ve been in years and I hate it. It plays games, where it’s like I’ll look in the mirror and I’ll be like oh, yeah, face looks really good.


0:35:06.9 Jordan Syatt: But I have to be so on point in order to… I hate the lifestyle that comes with it. I hate the amount that you have to think about food in order… This is not worth it. I’m like I would way rather be five pounds heavier and not as lean and just not think about food. ‘Cause when I’m five pounds heavier, I literally don’t think about food. Five pounds leaner, I think about it all the time.


0:35:32.0 Mike Vacanti: This leads me to another good one. No one else cares at all. Nobody cares. And there’s the cliche example of young dudes trying to get shredded for girls, when really it just attracts other dudes once you make that progress. Because if you’re 7% or you’re 12%, everyone’s different. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, but generally speaking like that isn’t doing anything for you in the dating market. You’re not gonna behave some muscle, healthy athletic and go from that to shredded. And it’s oh, all these girls show up, and all of a sudden you have all these options. That’s not how life works.


0:36:15.0 Jordan Syatt: At all. [laughter]


0:36:17.1 Mike Vacanti: At all. Even remotely. So, and then just like people in your life, random strangers, nobody cares. And I think that, I thought people did, but they don’t.




0:36:41.7 Mike Vacanti: They just don’t. And so, if that external validation is driving you in any way, understand that the difference between shredded and healthy doesn’t change you in the eyes of anyone else.


0:36:54.5 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I think… Or I’ve been trying to think of a good way to phrase this. How could me at 16 understand this? How could I talk to me when I was 16 to be like, “Hey, this is what you need to know.” Because I remember we’d be at a house party and we’d be watching a movie or whatever it is, and there’d be like a guy on the screen, shirtless and all the girls would be like, “Oh my God, he’s so hot.” And then in my mind I’d be like, “Okay, so I got to try and look like that, that’s what I got to do.” But then meanwhile, those girls would then go date dudes that looked literally nothing like that at all, like much higher body fat percentage. And so, I think the best way to try and explain it that I can think of it in this moment at least is, there have been many people in life that I’ve met who are super strong, super jacked, had… And all of this stuff…


0:37:48.0 Jordan Syatt: And they had a lot of great knowledge, but I never wanted to talk with them or hang out with them because they were fucking annoying, and I didn’t like them at all. Whereas other people who were not nearly as strong or nearly as jacked or nearly as lean, they were some of my best friends because I liked them as a person. And I’ve seen it with dating, I’ve seen it with friendships, with business, with everything. It doesn’t matter how lean you are, how jacked you are, how strong you are, because when they actually get to know you, if you’re an obnoxious piece of shit, your… How you look will not make a difference. It’s not gonna make them wanna be with you more. It’s not gonna make them… It’s just it’s not. If the most interesting thing about you, if the greatest thing about you is how lean you are, then you’ve got some real inner work to do. And you might wanna look at how you’re treating people, interacting with people. It’s just that’s not the way to go about it. And so…


0:38:48.0 Mike Vacanti: And if you wanna sign up for Jordan’s inner work workshop for the low cost of…


0:38:54.4 Jordan Syatt: High ticket. [laughter]


0:38:55.3 Mike Vacanti: $7,995.




0:39:02.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, you’re 100% right about that. And I hope that lands for even one person who’s in this position. Thinking about food way too often, increase caffeine require generally leads to heightened anxiousness. Here’s one. Oftentimes, people who want to stay that lean are comparing themselves to people who they don’t know who are that lean. And generally, those people are either way they’re getting paid to be that lean. They’re either on the big screen, they’re in Hollywood, or they work in the fitness industry. And for people who are making money off of their physique in arenas that are completely untested, we have to assume that almost every single one of them is on somewhere between a little bit of drugs to a lot of drugs to maintain that physique. Not to mention we don’t know what’s going on in their world and how happy they are, how fulfilled they are, what their struggles are. So it’s really hard not to compare yourself to when you’re in that position like, “Oh, he achieved this physique. Here’s the before and after picture. I can do what he does and get there.” You don’t know how he actually got there. And that was a big unlock for me over the years, just understanding that basically no one who got unbelievable looking did it naturally. And so it’s a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people. But yeah.


0:40:50.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I think I’m very jaded. I remember when I was younger being like, “No, no, they wouldn’t do it. They wouldn’t take steroids. They wouldn’t do that.” Because I thought that it was bad and I thought that my mindset around it was warped by the media and news and road rage and people killing people because they’re like that’s what… And I was like, “No, they wouldn’t do that.” And dude, I remember when I was in fifth grade, so fifth grade was the last grade in our elementary school. And then we went to sixth grade, and that was middle school, so I was in fifth grade and my brother was in seventh grade. And I remember my brother came back from school one day and he was talking about how kids were smoking weed. And I remember I was like, “You are such a liar.” And he was like, “What are you talking about?” And I was like, “No one is smoking weed.




0:41:47.4 Jordan Syatt: Everybody knows how dangerous that is.” ‘Cause I had just watched… We had this program called D.A.R.E., like “D.A.R.E. to Resist Drugs.” I don’t know. Something…


0:42:00.0 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, we had D.A.R.E.


0:42:01.3 Jordan Syatt: That we learned in fifth grade.


0:42:02.3 Mike Vacanti: D.A.R.E. was great.


0:42:02.8 Jordan Syatt: And the video, the VHS that they played for us was like this… I need to find this video on YouTube. I guarantee it’s gotta be there. Thinking back how ridiculous this is, the video was there’s a kid who smoked weed, and he’s in the upstairs of his house with his friends, and he’s like, “I just smoked weed. I can fly.” And he jumps out of the top window and then dies or something. And then it was like, “Don’t do drugs… “




0:42:32.1 Jordan Syatt: And so that was what was burned in my head. So I was like, “Lee, you’re lying. No one is smoking weed because they know how dangerous it is.” And he was like, “I’m not lying. They’re smoking weed and that it doesn’t do that.” So the way in which I so firmly believed no one would smoke weed, I think a lot of people very firmly believe no one would do steroids, because of the narrative that they’ve been told about steroids.


0:42:57.9 Jordan Syatt: And the reality is, the truth is there are ways to use steroids in a very safe, in a very controlled way. And there are also ways to use steroids that are outrageously dangerous and very unsafe. And so I think a lot of the people who might look “relatively”, I think our perception of what is normal is now warped because so many people are on them without disclosing that. So we have, well, they look normal. It’s like, well, yeah, but you don’t know that they’re actually taking like 200 milligrams a week of test or whatever it is. So you have no idea. But I think people would be shocked to know how many people are really taking it. And it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It’s just that they’re not being honest with you in terms of you don’t know, which that isn’t honest and that’s not good. But them taking it is not a bad thing.


0:43:54.4 Mike Vacanti: Them taking it isn’t necessarily bad. The deceit is the bad part. Zac Efron sits down and says that he ate chicken and broccoli to get in shape for Baywatch, the… And these are guys who I like. High School Musical, there were some solid High School Musical movies.


0:44:09.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, so good.


0:44:11.6 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Who’s Thor? Hemsworth. I like that guy.


0:44:15.6 Jordan Syatt: Oh, man. Yeah.


0:44:16.6 Mike Vacanti: The documentary he did with Peter Attia, and he seems cool off-camera, chicken and broccoli and rice didn’t get him there. He didn’t gain 20 pounds of muscle in six weeks on chicken, broccoli and rice. People pushing supplements, using their physique to push supplements and saying that the supplements got them there, it isn’t that using these compounds is inherently bad, it is that deceiving people and benefiting from it, it is bad.


0:44:42.9 Jordan Syatt: It’s…


0:44:44.2 Mike Vacanti: And to go back to your point about you can use them in a healthy way, yes, you can, but I would still be careful about that.


0:44:53.6 Jordan Syatt: Of course.


0:44:54.7 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. And under the supervision of an expert doctor, maybe not even just a doctor, but a legitimate expert who may or may not be a doctor. Think of how many bodybuilders we’ve seen pass way before their time or just influencers who are jacked out of their mind in the last five years. And I say five years, I don’t just say in the last couple of years. But before other heart reasons that are popular these days, it’s been happening. And so taking a whole bunch of shit and being too big for an extended period of time and too… It’s not good for you.


0:45:37.4 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly right. The other…


0:45:39.4 Mike Vacanti: Like you said, if you’re a 58-year-old guy and you’ve done a whole bunch of stuff and your sleep is dialed, your nutrition’s good, you’re training, you’re not smoking cigarettes, you’re doing the right thing. You have low test, you have low energy, you get on replacement 100, 125, 150 a week, whatever it is. Good, great. You wanna feel good. Maybe you’re 52, maybe you’re 65 when that happens. Awesome that I’m not railing against all usage, but abuse and deceit, steroid abuse and deceit about it are two things to avoid that are all too common.


0:46:13.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I think about these movie stars who are doing it, and people are like, “No, they wouldn’t do it.” It’s like they’re getting paid millions upon millions of dollars in order to play this role, millions upon millions. And they have access to the best doctors in the world, they have access to the… They know what they’re putting in their body. They can track their blood work, they can track their health, and they’ve got eight weeks to get ready for this role. And you don’t think that they’re going to take steroids to make sure that they look whatever they’re… However they’re supposed to look and the… In addition to the deceit, then other people, like YouTubers and what not will be like, “Do the workout that they did in order to look that way.” It’s like, first of all, you don’t know what the fuck they did in terms of their workout. You’re just making this up. You’re just like, “Well, I don’t know. Their pecs improved, so they probably did dumbbell bench press.


0:47:02.7 Jordan Syatt: It’s like, you don’t know what they did, and you also aren’t disclosing ’cause you don’t know ’cause they’ve lied about it that they were taking 500 milligrams of test a week on top of whatever else. It’s like, nevermind the tren or whatever it is that they’re using. So it’s outrageous. Yeah. It’s a big problem. And then like you were saying, if you’re going to use it, definitely under the supervision of not just a… I would not a regular doctor, not your… I wouldn’t even say your primary care physician. I think you should hire someone who specializes in hormone replacement therapy, and this is their job and this is their specialty, is keeping track of your blood work and your health markers while you do this so they can adjust it as needed. But yeah.


0:47:48.9 Mike Vacanti: One more…


0:47:50.3 Jordan Syatt: Very common. [chuckle]


0:47:51.6 Mike Vacanti: One more here on the list, which I think is interesting and I, back in the day, definitely related to and haven’t for many, many years. But when trying to stay that lean for extended periods of time is the increased risk of binging. And that can be developing a binge eating disorder or can just be housing 6000, 7000 calories in a day which sets you back, gives you like a, I don’t know, negative self-worth. The mental downside of falling off track and eating the 75 cookies in one night is you’re at a much higher likelihood of that kind of binge restrict cycle if you are trying to stay too lean relative to all else equal trying to maintain a more healthy body fat percentage.


0:48:51.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Look at the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. It’s like afterwards, they just go off the rails, go off the fucking rails. It’s so, so, so common. It’s unbelievably common to have that happen.


0:49:06.7 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. So that’s that.


0:49:11.2 Jordan Syatt: What’s the point here? What should we say? Yeah, fucking don’t… I guess this is good for everyone, whether you are a fitness enthusiast or a personal trainer, but I know a lot of personal trainers get really worried about, “I don’t look the part, blah, blah, blah.” And there’s give and take here. Number one, I’m not a jacked bodybuilder, I’m not shredded a bit, so I don’t have tons of muscle. So I would say don’t let how you look relative to other people prevent you from learning and trying to educate people and help them. I do think that, and this is gonna go the complete opposite direction, that there also is something very valuable to not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. And I think there’s a way to walk the walk without being disordered. And disordered goes in both ways, whether it’s trying to be super, super, super, super ultra lean all the time or being severely overweight. There is either end is probably not good over the long term, especially if, nevermind your own health, but also trying to build a business as well. So doing your best to walk the walk and being an example of what you want your clients to and what your clients would like to aspire to is probably the best thing you can do.


0:50:28.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Very well said. Good episode. Tuesdays, Tuesday morning, we upload. Great to see you here. Thank you for listening. We have… Why don’t you tell people we… There’s a couple more weeks before these price increases are happening in the mentorship. You gave a warning maybe it was last week or two weeks ago that if you were a previous member and you wanted to jump back in and lock in at that previous rate, or if you wanted to grow your business and join, why don’t you just tell people what’s going on.


0:51:00.4 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, here’s the deal. The mentorship is a online program that we have that is designed to teach you how to build an online fitness business that allows you to work from anywhere you want and help people all over the world. You don’t need 100s of 1000s or millions of followers. That is not the goal of the mentorship. There have been many people who’ve built huge audiences, but the majority of people actually have what many would consider a small audience, couple 1000 people and are getting 30, 40, 50 coaching clients and building really amazing online coaching businesses that are helping people all over the world and are allowing them to work from wherever they want and support their family in a really amazing incredible way with a very balanced life. It’s not taken over their whole life. So we are changing the pricing structure. We are changing the pricing structure within the next month or so, I would imagine. And it’s if you want to get in now, it’s gonna be much lower cost right now. If you want to get in now, whether you’re a previous member or you’ve never been a member, if you get in now and stay an active member, then you will be locked into that price. If you wait until the price changes, then you will pay what the price change is and it’s going to be significantly more than what it’s ever been before.


0:52:26.0 Jordan Syatt: So just wanna give you that fair warning. If you want to get in and you want to save a significant amount of money, I would do it right now. If you’ve been in before, we would love to have you again, if you just want to get in. ‘Cause if you get in right now, it’s the cost is $99 a month, the recurring fee. We have an entrance fee, and then the recurring fee after that is only $99 a month. It’s gonna go up to, I believe something like $500 a month after that at once we change the price. So if you wanna be locked in forever at $99 a month, join right now. Otherwise, we would love it if you paid us $500 a month. That’d be fantastic. But we wanna give you some fair warning before that price change happens. And again, if you’re a current member, an active member when this price change goes into effect, you will not be affected by it. You’ll continue to pay $99 a month.


0:53:06.1 Mike Vacanti: Boom. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you next week. Have a great day. Talk to you soon. Bye.

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