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In this episode, we discuss what a “good life” actually is, Mike’s recent “aha” moment around Jordan’s fear of death, weight lifting belts, Strongman competitors, and more.


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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:


0:00:11.8 Mike Vacanti: Hello, Jordan.


0:00:12.2 Jordan Syatt: What’s up, Michael?


0:00:13.1 Mike Vacanti: How you doing?


0:00:14.0 Jordan Syatt: Dude, I’m good. How are your carbs?


0:00:16.0 Mike Vacanti: They’re really good.


0:00:17.9 Jordan Syatt: What carbs sources you just have?


0:00:19.2 Mike Vacanti: White chocolate macadamia nut Clif Bar, not a sponsor, to go with my protein after my upper body lift.


0:00:26.2 Jordan Syatt: I love that. You’re a Clif Bar guy, white chocolate macadamia nut guy. I like it.


0:00:31.7 Mike Vacanti: I like the taste. I like the taste.


0:00:33.8 Jordan Syatt: It’s sterile. “It’s sterile and I like the taste.” You know?


0:00:37.1 Mike Vacanti: Where’s that from?


0:00:38.1 Jordan Syatt: You don’t know that movie? I guarantee you, there are only a bunch of dudes who are born in the ’90s who are smiling, listening right now. “It’s sterile and I like the taste.” You don’t know what that’s from?


0:00:51.8 Mike Vacanti: Nope.


0:00:52.1 Jordan Syatt: Oh my gosh. Man, it’s from Dodgeball. Remember the movie, Dodgeball?


0:00:57.0 Mike Vacanti: I think I only saw half of it on TV at one point.


0:01:00.8 Jordan Syatt: Stop! What the hell, dude?


[overlapping conversation]


0:01:00.8 Mike Vacanti: Is that Ben Stiller?


0:01:02.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, it’s Ben Stiller. Are you serious? You never… You saw half?


0:01:06.7 Mike Vacanti: Sorry, Jordan. I’m sorry I let you down on Dodgeball.


0:01:08.8 Jordan Syatt: Do you ever watch like the Billy Madison movie?


0:01:11.8 Mike Vacanti: [chuckle] Billy Madison? Yeah, I watched Billy Madison.


0:01:13.8 Jordan Syatt: What about Happy Gilmore?


0:01:14.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Was Adam Sandler in Dodgeball? I thought that was Ben Stiller.


0:01:17.2 Jordan Syatt: No, I’m just throwing classics at you to make sure that you watch those.


0:01:21.1 Mike Vacanti: I don’t know…


0:01:21.9 Jordan Syatt: Anchorman?


0:01:23.3 Mike Vacanti: Yep. I don’t think that Dodgeball is in the same realm as any of the other three you just mentioned, but I haven’t seen it.


0:01:28.2 Jordan Syatt: Dodgeball is like a tier below, but it’s still a classic. It’s a classic from the era.


0:01:35.8 Mike Vacanti: If we’re gonna go to like 1995, 1996, Braveheart pops out, Shawshank Redemption pops out. But those are…


[overlapping conversation]


0:01:42.2 Jordan Syatt: It’s a different genre. That’s a different genre.


[overlapping conversation]


0:01:44.1 Mike Vacanti: I know.




0:01:47.2 Mike Vacanti: I know.




0:01:49.9 Mike Vacanti: People have different preferences in movies.


0:01:51.7 Jordan Syatt: Obviously. But you’re talking about two… It’s apples and oranges here, Michael. It’s two different… Here’s the thing. Will Ferrell is never gonna win an Oscar, right?


0:02:05.9 Mike Vacanti: I don’t know. I’m not a movie buff to that level.


0:02:08.0 Jordan Syatt: He’s never gonna win an Oscar, but, I mean, we all agree that…


0:02:14.3 Mike Vacanti: Old school is legendary? Yeah.


0:02:16.7 Jordan Syatt: Just legendary, classic movie, but it’s never gonna win an Oscar. But it’s classic movie, right? It’s just different genres.


0:02:24.9 Mike Vacanti: You know what’s wild?


0:02:26.0 Jordan Syatt: What?


0:02:26.4 Mike Vacanti: Ned Stark went his whole life [laughter] without telling his wife… He basically lied to his wife for his whole life on something that made him look really bad that he didn’t actually do.


0:02:43.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, to protect…


0:02:44.1 Mike Vacanti: Jon Snow.


0:02:45.0 Jordan Syatt: To protect his stepson. Yeah, to protect his…


0:02:48.3 Mike Vacanti: His nephew.


0:02:49.1 Jordan Syatt: His nephew. Yeah, his nephew. But yeah, that is crazy. That is crazy. Yeah, and it ruined… It didn’t ruin. It really tarnished the relationship he had with his wife for the betterment of the world.


0:03:06.9 Mike Vacanti: Wow.


0:03:07.3 Jordan Syatt: Right? That’s really what it was.


[overlapping conversation]


0:03:08.2 Mike Vacanti: Yep.


0:03:09.1 Jordan Syatt: It wasn’t like… And he didn’t want to do it, but it was for the betterment of the world to the point where he was like, “Listen, this will hurt my life and her life, but the world will benefit because of this.”


0:03:19.2 Mike Vacanti: What an amazing thread to pull out of that, and unbelievable analysis that you just did right there. You have range from Dodgeball all the way to that. ‘Cause I didn’t even consider that fact.


0:03:31.1 Jordan Syatt: Yes, you did. That’s why you brought it up, of course.


0:03:33.7 Mike Vacanti: No. No, I brought it up in the context of… I wasn’t thinking about the ripple effect of the decision he made and what Jon Snow went on to do. I was only thinking in the context of basically keeping something like that from his wife for their entire life from that point forward. Yeah.


0:03:57.0 Jordan Syatt: You were thinking that he did that just because his sister had asked him to keep that secret, and he was like, “I’m just gonna be loyal to my sister,” as opposed to what this could potentially mean… ‘Cause I think that the world was trying to kill the Targaryens and so… ‘Cause that’s why she wanted it to keep it a secret. No one can know who he actually is because then he’ll be killed, so…


0:04:19.3 Mike Vacanti: Robert, who became king shortly after that, would have wanted him killed.


0:04:24.8 Jordan Syatt: Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it was, one, for loyalty to his sister. Two, to protect him. But also do you think he had the foresight to know that they’re only a Targaryen to be able to create this change in the future?


0:04:39.2 Mike Vacanti: No, I don’t know that he had… I don’t think it was that level of foresight.


0:04:45.0 Jordan Syatt: It was more loyalty to his sister then?


0:04:47.0 Mike Vacanti: Loyalty to his sister, and perhaps even like a small level of distrust in his wife’s ability to keep a secret like that, perhaps. I don’t know, almost protecting her from having to maintain that secret.


0:05:03.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Yeah, like…


0:05:06.2 Mike Vacanti: “Distrust” is the wrong word. It’s more just knowing what she would have to go through…


0:05:10.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.


0:05:11.9 Mike Vacanti: With that.


0:05:11.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, “If she knew, it would put her at risk” type of a thing. Yeah, makes sense.


[overlapping conversation]


0:05:15.9 Mike Vacanti: And just the positions that it would put her in, yeah. Wild, though. I was just thinking about that during my lift. All right, where are we taking this?


0:05:24.7 Jordan Syatt: I… Oh.


0:05:26.2 Mike Vacanti: So, you were on… [chuckle]


0:05:27.1 Jordan Syatt: You got that grin again. [chuckle]


0:05:29.2 Mike Vacanti: No, it’s not… This is… So as well as I feel like I know you, I had a real aha moment yesterday.


0:05:37.2 Jordan Syatt: Yesterday?


0:05:38.0 Mike Vacanti: Mm-hmm.


0:05:39.0 Jordan Syatt: Uh-oh, what did I say yesterday?


0:05:40.8 Mike Vacanti: Saved it for the pod…


0:05:41.1 Jordan Syatt: Did we even talk?


0:05:42.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.


0:05:42.8 Jordan Syatt: Oh yeah, we spoke yesterday.


0:05:44.2 Mike Vacanti: In that Mike Matthews podcast you did. And you were like, “You gotta listen to this. There’s a bunch of conversation here you’re really gonna enjoy.”


0:05:53.0 Jordan Syatt: I…


0:05:55.0 Mike Vacanti: So you spoke about in recent years becoming acutely aware of your own mortality. And I took for granted that everyone was aware of their own mortality. But just because N=1 thinking of myself from a very early age, and hadn’t considered the fact that that light bulb… Wow. Storm in Texas.


[overlapping conversation]


0:06:23.0 Jordan Syatt: Are you hearing thunder in the background?


0:06:24.9 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.


0:06:25.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.


0:06:26.1 Mike Vacanti: Hadn’t considered the fact that it was not until a later age that that became on your radar more or more prevalent to your life. I found it interesting.


0:06:41.3 Jordan Syatt: It’s not that I didn’t logically know that it was going to happen. I think it’s just the… Especially when I was younger… I’ll never forget this. I took a shop class in seventh grade or eighth grade. I think the teacher’s name was Mr. Jarmulowicz. And I remember one Friday, it must have been before the weekend, he was telling everyone like, “Just be careful.” And he said something, this is one of those random things that someone says when you’re a kid that you don’t know why you remember but I always remember it, where he’s just like, “Kids your age, you think you’re invincible. You think nothing bad can happen to you. And then at some point in your life, someone close to you will die from like a car accident or something, and that’s really gonna impact you as you get older, and you’re gonna come face-to-face with your own mortality,” type thing. It’s the gist of what he said. And then one of my friends, he died from a car accident at like 18 or 19. And then that speech that Mr. Jarmulowicz had given to us came rushing back. And that was the first time that I think I really came face-to-face with mortality, and like, “Oh, this could happen at any time.”


0:08:05.8 Jordan Syatt: But then as more things happen, it becomes more and more of a reality, especially learning more about blood pressure, learning more about cancer, learning more about… And having more and more people, as you get older, die. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, this is gonna happen.” And not only is it gonna happen, it could happen way before you think it’s going to with zero notice. And that to me is like, that’s really where it hit me. And I think when you’re younger, you tend to just… Or at least for me, my experience is like, I just assume I’ll just get really old and die one day [chuckle] when I’m really old. Whereas like, it might not happen that way. You could die very young, and there might not be anything you can do about it. Yeah. So that’s what I think it… The older I’ve gotten, the more I realized the cliche idiom like, “Tomorrow’s not promised.” You know what I mean?


0:09:04.0 Mike Vacanti: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. And when you’re younger, you just assume, “I have all this time and I’m not gonna… Even if I assume that I might tip over at 85, I’m only 11. So I’m not gonna worry about that because it’s so far off into the future.”


0:09:19.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. When you’re 11, you look at 16 year olds, you’re like, “They’re old,” or like, you know? [laughter]


0:09:24.8 Mike Vacanti: Dude, I remember being, I don’t know, somewhere in the third to fifth grade range, and being afraid of dying when I was 90.


0:09:36.2 Jordan Syatt: Really? Interesting.


0:09:39.7 Mike Vacanti: Which I think is just like, I can sit and look out an airplane window for 45 minutes and think about life with no stimulation, whereas you’re much more engaging with your environment at all times.


0:09:53.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


0:09:54.0 Mike Vacanti: Something about being able to contemplate versus… But it was just an interesting aha moment.


0:10:01.9 Jordan Syatt: All right. I like that.


0:10:04.0 Mike Vacanti: How do you feel like… Because I have an opinion on this about you. How do you feel like the last few years, we’ll call it getting married, settling down, having your daughter, having a dog, having your daughter on the… Child on the way.


[overlapping conversation]


0:10:26.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, we got one… Yeah, I said that. Yeah.


[overlapping conversation]


0:10:27.1 Mike Vacanti: Okay. Okay. Oh, [laughter] oh, oh, thank goodness for my life. What I view as taking on more and more responsibility, how has that changed you slash I don’t know, your outlook on life or your day-to-day? How has that changed you over the last few years?


0:10:53.0 Jordan Syatt: Let’s see. I think I have less patience for… I don’t think “less patience” is the right word. I think I have less of a focus on shit that doesn’t matter. There’s just like so much less of an even a desire to engage in conversation around things that are just like, “Why bother?” Like, [chuckle] “Why is this a gossip or… ” whatever it is. Anything that doesn’t bring me joy or value, what’s right in front of me, the important things, it’s like the gossiping, the complaining, the whining, it’s just like there’s so much…


0:11:48.8 Mike Vacanti: Arguing? Would you put arguing in that category?


0:11:52.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Arguing is another one, too, where it’s just like, “What’s the point?” Like, I can get… Let me work my way to the end of this argument. “Even if I get to the end of this argument and get my way, what will I have lost by taking the time and energy to have this argument” type of a thing. As a good example of last night, I was… [chuckle] Someone… I’ve been getting crazy messages with everything going on with Israel, Gaza, like really intense messages. And I try and communicate with people who might disagree for a number of reasons, not least of which I think it’s part of my role, is to try and have these conversations and to try and bring people together. But there’s one moment…


[overlapping conversation]


0:12:38.2 Mike Vacanti: If they’re willing to engage in good faith.


0:12:40.8 Jordan Syatt: They have to, or else it just, it won’t go anywhere. And last night, this woman was just not willing to at all. And I realized that. And the conversation came to a point where she was… I basically said, “Listen. I don’t think any innocent Palestinian or any innocent Israeli should be killed.” I was like, “Both of the innocent Israelis and innocent Palestinians, their lives are equal in importance. None is better than the other. I don’t want any of them to die.” I was like, “Can you say the same?” And she couldn’t. And she just kept bringing up other arguments, other arguments. I was like, “Listen. Just out of everything, before we move on, can you say that you don’t want innocent Israelis to die in the same way you don’t want innocent Palestinians to die?” And she couldn’t do it.


0:13:27.0 Jordan Syatt: I said, “Well, listen. Here’s the deal. It looks like we’re not gonna be able to come to an agreement. I’m gonna go and spend the rest of the night with my wife. I wish you and your family health and happiness.” And that’s how I left it. Whereas before, I would have went off the fucking handle. I would’ve been like, “You can’t even fucking say that?” It really would have… And to be honest, it still doesn’t feel good, but it made me feel better that I could call it, end it, and then spend the rest of the evening with my wife, as opposed to being online, debating this woman who isn’t gonna change her mind anyway.


[overlapping conversation]


0:13:53.3 Mike Vacanti: Go and battle…


0:13:55.0 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, exactly.


[overlapping conversation]


0:13:55.1 Mike Vacanti: Go to battle for a few more hours, screenshots, post a story, like…


0:14:00.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And that’s just one example, but I think it’s just much more of a focus on enjoying the little things. The other thing about coming to terms with… And this brings back to coming to terms with your own mortality, is I think a lot about, why do I want to live a long time? Why? What’s the reason for that? When I look back on my life, if God willing, and I’m blessed enough to live a very long life, what will I think back on? And it’s probably the little… It’s not “probably.” It will be the little moments throughout every day that are like having dinner with my family, going out and playing outside, kicking the soccer ball around with them, the little things. ‘Cause I think now on my childhood and I think back fondly on whichever memories I have, and it’s usually just like these little innocuous moments of laughter or joy or whatever it is. And those are, in my head, the good old days, right? “The good old days.”


0:15:01.2 Jordan Syatt: So as I get older, I would imagine that would be the same thing. Well, what is the good old days? Grilling outside with the family, having dinner, kicking soccer ball around, watching movie. So literally, doing what I’m doing right now, or even in this moment, there will be a day in my life, God willing, where I look back and say, “Man, when Mike and I were doing weekly podcasts, those were the good old days.” It was like enjoying this moment right now because this is something that one day I’ll likely miss. And so that, I think, it’s given me that perspective to know it’s like enjoying whichever moment you’re in, because one day you’re going to look back and say, “That moment was a wonderful moment, but I didn’t recognize it for that.”


0:15:44.0 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Well said. Good answer. The angle I was coming from, and that all makes sense, was…


0:15:54.2 Jordan Syatt: I answered it wrong? [laughter]


0:15:56.2 Mike Vacanti: No. No, you didn’t. You answered it perfectly. When I say “the angle I was coming from,” my opinion on changes that I’ve seen because there are many changes, was more of… Even if every moment of life isn’t like… You talked about the little enjoyable moments. Even if every single moment isn’t that because there’s stress, because the dog poops on the floor, because your daughter’s screaming and crying for whatever reason, because all of these things, engaging in those moments is better than… Even if it’s not pleasurable. Engaging in those moments is objectively better than some other behavior that you or I could have been taking prior to being in that situation. Whether it’s like extra time on a video game, whether it’s binge scrolling, whether it’s any hedonistic or we’ll call it “overly hedonistic activity,” even though that would probably be more “fun” in the moment, is actually net worse if you’re adding up, if you’re trying to maybe quantify what a good life is.


0:17:23.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, completely agree. It’s a good way to look at it. Even if you’re not necessarily ultimate enjoying that moment, is still better than what you could be doing otherwise. Yeah, it’s a really good way to look at it.


0:17:34.3 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Could or would. Yeah. Should we dive into some questions? I don’t have a ton prepared.


0:17:40.1 Jordan Syatt: Okay. Yeah. Want me to open up my Q&A?


0:17:41.9 Mike Vacanti: Let’s open it up. Let’s see what’s in there.


0:17:43.9 Jordan Syatt: Hope you’re doing well, David.


0:17:44.9 Mike Vacanti: David!


0:17:45.6 Jordan Syatt: We appreciate all your hard work.


0:17:47.0 Mike Vacanti: We do indeed.


0:17:48.1 Jordan Syatt: Lets see what we got, Michael.


0:17:49.7 Mike Vacanti: You never watched the show Mad Men, did you?


0:17:51.9 Jordan Syatt: No. I thought that it would not be good for me. [laughter] I really want to, but I haven’t.


0:18:02.1 Mike Vacanti: There’s a scene where the lead guy, Don Draper, later in the show, the girl who used to be his assistant, Peggy, who then became like… It’s been a while since I watched it, so I might butcher some of the background. But basically at this time, I think it was in the ’60s, ’50s, ’60s, women weren’t really in these marketing roles. They were in administrative roles around the office, but she got a marketing role, and then she was coming up with ideas. And basically she’d been in this role for two years in this marketing role. And she came into his office one night and was crying or very upset, saying that she provides him with ideas and he never says thank you. And he’s just screaming at her. He’s like, “That’s what the money is for! You give me ideas, [laughter] I give you money, so I don’t have to say thank you.” And it was, not with a rage that he said it, but it was a mentality that 10 years ago I really could have related to and something that maybe Dale Carnegie, Chris Voss… By the way, you might be saying “Dale Carnegie” wrong. I think it’s “Carnegie.”


0:19:16.1 Jordan Syatt: Oh, I saw that.


0:19:17.2 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, [laughter] yeah. You got me saying “Carnegie.”


[overlapping conversation]


0:19:18.4 Jordan Syatt: No, I’m pretty sure I’m saying it right.


0:19:20.9 Mike Vacanti: Either way.


[overlapping conversation]


0:19:20.9 Jordan Syatt: I know someone is listening to this podcast, I saw the comment of him being like, “You’re saying it wrong.” I’m almost positive I’m saying it right. I’ll look it up.


0:19:28.9 Mike Vacanti: I was super confident in “Hermoine” too, so we all, you know? [laughter] But when you just said, “Thank you, David,” here to our audio engineer, that crossed my mind like… [chuckle]


[overlapping conversation]


0:19:41.0 Jordan Syatt: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.


0:19:42.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, it’s… Even… It’s still good to treat people well and to be appreciative and…


0:19:48.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, man.


0:19:49.7 Mike Vacanti: Compliment good work, which he always does. But that scene is funny.


0:19:54.9 Jordan Syatt: That actually sounds amazing. Yeah, I really wanna watch that show. I think I should be able to watch it.


0:20:01.0 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Look. [laughter] And we could even go in on this ’cause it’s funny. You and I have talked in the past about, at least with me, the imitation of protagonist figures and fiction being like influence in our lives, which we all know. That’s why high level propaganda has come through media and entertainment for decades and decades, centuries. But that’s why I intentionally like to pick a Harry Potter or a Jon Snow or a Maximus Decimus Meridius or a William Wallace. And I like to watch these frequently because they model good behavior.


0:20:39.6 Jordan Syatt: Yes.


0:20:39.9 Mike Vacanti: And Don Draper’s a protagonist that you don’t really wanna model.


[overlapping conversation]


0:20:42.8 Jordan Syatt: You do not want to model. Yeah. Exactly. You do not want that influence on your life.


0:20:48.1 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.


0:20:49.7 Jordan Syatt: We were just talking about, before we hopped on, there are some people who are just posting stuff on social media that are just like clearly being influenced in their lives by the wrong people. And we’ve known these people before they were influenced by these other people, and it’s crazy to see their behavior and what they value change just based on who they’re hanging out with.


0:21:16.9 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. The average of the five people you spend the most time with is… I’m gonna stop saying like, “Oh, it’s a cliche.” I know it’s a cliche. It’s a cliche for a reason. All cliches are cliches for a reason, because they’re…


0:21:30.8 Jordan Syatt: It’s true.


0:21:31.4 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. They’re very true.


0:21:32.9 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Yeah.


0:21:34.8 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, man. So if you can be intentional with who you’re spending time with, it’ll be good for you. Or if you’re unintentional, it could be really bad for you.


0:21:46.0 Jordan Syatt: All right, here’s an interesting one. Maybe it’s not interesting. We’ll see what you think. The questions are not the most riveting today, but we’ll see. This person said, basically they’re asking, do I use a power lifting belt? What is the purpose of them? Do you use a belt, Michael? Have you ever used a belt? Do your clients use a belt? What do you think about them?


0:22:08.9 Mike Vacanti: Do I use a belt? No, I do not use a belt right now. I’m not doing any squatting or deadlift. I’m not doing any barbell back-squatting or barbell deadlifting right now. Which would be the only two moves I can think of that I have regularly done in the past.


[overlapping conversation]


0:22:28.9 Jordan Syatt: And curls. And curls.


0:22:31.1 Mike Vacanti: Did you say “curls?”


0:22:32.2 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, wear a belt with curls and lap pull down?


0:22:35.1 Mike Vacanti: Well, curls, it just looks cool. [laughter] Right? [laughter] It just looks like awesome. So you gotta. [laughter] High-rep dumbbell curls, need that extra intra-abdominal pressure. Do my clients use a belt? A very small percentage of them who are more advanced in their training and have high-level strength goals around heavy compound movements. And even those clients are only using a belt on their heaviest working sets. Right? I like the abdominal recruitment and the core strength benefits that come from training with a belt on warmup sets, and even like later warmup sets that are a little heavy, more like a feeler set. What were the other questions? General thoughts on belts?


0:23:33.8 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. What are the… Yeah, what’s the purpose… What’s the purpose of it? Who is it best used for?


0:23:40.0 Mike Vacanti: Best used for somebody who is trying to get strong on a heavy compound movement to add more stability to the core. Like a little bit… Actually, I don’t even know if there’s… I don’t know what the science says on injury reduction, but definitely more stability and the ability to get stronger.


0:24:04.1 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I completely agree with literally everything. I think you said it perfectly. I think the really only time I would have someone wear a belt is if their main goal is to get maximally stronger in squats and deadlifts. That’s literally it. And if their goal wasn’t to… If like power lifting, Olympic lifting, or they just want to get as strong as they possibly can, then with those two movements, that’s when I would do it. And like you said, I would not do it during warmup sets. I would save it for, once you hit about like 80% of your working weight for that day, then you can start putting the belt on. But all your warmup sets should be belt-less. And then, you know, it’s funny, I think earlier on in my career, I would’ve said, “If your back is not feeling great, then put a belt on.”


0:25:01.2 Jordan Syatt: Now I’m at a point where I’d probably say, “If your back isn’t feeling great, we should probably address why it’s not feeling great and improve that before we start loading heavy enough to where you might need to wear a belt.” So I really think that the only people who should be wearing a belt are the people who are pain-free and trying to lift as heavy as they possibly can with squats and deadlifts. That’s really it. I used to wear a belt all the time as a competitive power lifter. I haven’t worn a belt since competitively power lifting. And because my goal is not to be as strong as I possibly can in squats and deadlifts. That’s it. So if that’s your goal, that’s when you do it. If not, then you don’t wear it.


0:25:44.8 Mike Vacanti: Are there any other exercises where a belt would be reasonable? Barbell overhead press?


0:25:50.7 Jordan Syatt: There’s a case to be made for a barbell overhead press. There’s a case to be made for it. I’m not gonna say definitively no, but the two most important ones are squats and deadlifts, for sure. Those are the two most important. If your, again, the goal, if your goal is maximal strength in those two lifts, I would prefer not with a barbell overhead press. I would say if you are gonna do a barbell overhead press and wear a belt, I would say the people who it really makes the most sense for are strong man competitors. You’ll often see them wearing a type of belt, and they have different types of belts, but you’ll often see them wearing some sort of a brace or support when they’re doing log presses or overhead presses or something. They do a lot of awkward lifts. I think strongman competitors are just so fucking awesome. They do all these like insanely awkward lifts, and they’re so freaking strong. It’s really incredible.


0:26:45.7 Jordan Syatt: I think strongman is so unique because so much of power lifting and Olympic lifting is based around perfect technique, right? Not rounding your back, staying in optimal position. And really, Olympic lifting needs to be because it’s so, it’s speed-based. That technique is just necessary. You can’t grind through an Olympic lift. You can’t grind through a snatch. You can grind through a deadlift or a squat and even a bench press. It’s a little bit more difficult with a bench, but you can. So technique is most important in Olympic lifting, a little bit less important in power lifting, but still super important. And with strongman, they sort of just say like, “We’re gonna take your technique, and we’re gonna lift this 300 pound stone with a completely rounded back, and be way stronger than you. And also our conditioning is gonna be really good, and we’re gonna be doing insane farmer’s caries, and we’re gonna be doing things in positions that you couldn’t even imagine putting yourself in with insanely heavy loads, and our grip strength is better than yours. And, we’re like, we’re offset loading things, and we’re doing these medleys.”


0:27:51.7 Jordan Syatt: And they sort of just shove right in your face that this perfect technique paradigm is often a joke, once you reach a higher level of performance. For beginners I think it makes total sense, even intermediate I think it makes total sense. But once you reach a high intermediate to advanced level, I think first you have to learn the rules. But after a certain point you become a advanced enough, then you can start to break the rules. And strongman teaches you how to break the rules and show you that you can bend and twist and round and lift. And, man, I am totally fine with my height, but one thing that really sucks about being short is it makes competing in strongman incredibly difficult. And if I was taller, I would definitely have done that because it’s just super badass.


0:28:42.2 Mike Vacanti: Let me ask you something. This could be a function of me not knowing enough about strongman, because I agree with what you just said. And I like those different types of movements for the reasons you mentioned. I associate strongmen being with being fat. And the reason for that because all of the highest level strongmen, by definition need to carry a higher amount of body fat to be elite at strongman. And is there like a lower level strongman competition where people have healthy body compositions, where they’re doing these same movements but maybe not to the same level, not the same advanced level, who are leaner and healthier? Or…


0:29:34.0 Jordan Syatt: I would imagine, and correct me if I’m wrong, I’d imagine that the majority of your imagery of strongmen is maybe like 10 years old.


0:29:42.3 Mike Vacanti: Maybe… So here are…


[overlapping conversation]


0:29:43.4 Jordan Syatt: Maybe more.


0:29:43.9 Mike Vacanti: Here are the two images. Yeah, like 10 to 15 years old, Pudzianowski and whoever else was on ESPN when they were broadcasting all the time. So that’s like primary number one. And number two would be anytime Elliot Hulse was in like a strong… ‘Cause he’s done a lot of strongman training.


0:30:01.8 Jordan Syatt: Yep.


0:30:02.2 Mike Vacanti: Anytime he was trying to be as strong as possible, where he would simultaneously be at his highest body fat percentage.


0:30:09.9 Jordan Syatt: Yep. So there are obviously, just like with power lifters and even Olympic lifters, there are some that are much higher body fat, like we’ll say “fat.” In the same way that power lifting has really gone more towards like a lean, generally a more like a leaner physique over the last 10 years, strongman has as well. And you’ll look at strongman, even high level strongman, but especially the lower levels as well, like very lean.


0:30:38.2 Mike Vacanti: Really? Natty?


0:30:39.3 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, they’re…


0:30:41.1 Mike Vacanti: Not Natty? Okay.


0:30:41.9 Jordan Syatt: No, not Natty. No, no, no. The higher… No, and definitely not the highest levels. The highest levels, they’re juiced to the gills.


0:30:47.3 Mike Vacanti: Correct.


0:30:47.8 Jordan Syatt: But like, and to be fair, there is a benefit to having a little bit more body fat. But I wouldn’t say being fat, I would just say like being super athletic and strong, but still having a little bit body fat in order to put these things on you to load different objects on top of you without it digging into you as much, giving you a little bit more leverage. But yeah, at the highest levels, they’re juiced to the gills, but at lower levels, if they are natural, it’s definitely a little bit more difficult. But overall, it’s become more of a, you can be super strong and very lean, for sure.


0:31:25.8 Mike Vacanti: It’s almost like participating in strongman-style training without trying to be an elite strongman/strongwoman.


[overlapping conversation]


0:31:33.9 Jordan Syatt: Yes. Yes.


0:31:35.1 Mike Vacanti: It’s probably the ultimate pathway if health is one of your top priorities, which it should be.


0:31:42.0 Jordan Syatt: That’s exactly right. 100%.


0:31:44.0 Mike Vacanti: Cool.


0:31:45.0 Jordan Syatt: Yep.


0:31:45.2 Mike Vacanti: Weekly uploads every Tuesday, we don’t miss a Tuesday. [laughter] We’re on a hot streak. These are free. We don’t have advertisers. We don’t have sponsors. We’re not shoving AG1 or some BS. What’s that electrolyte powder down your throat? “Buy your electrolyte powder.” No, none of that.


[overlapping conversation]


0:32:00.8 Jordan Syatt: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. LMNT.


0:32:02.8 Mike Vacanti: We just, we’re for the people, of the people, by the people, how to become a personal trainer. Hit the like button, subscribe. Please leave us a five-star review. Tell your friends and family. We’ll be back next week, Tuesday, YouTube, Spotify, Apple, everywhere you get your podcasts. We love you, have a great week, don’t forget to train, get your steps in, see you soon.


0:32:22.0 Jordan Syatt: Just FYI, the reason this episode’s so short is because we gotta hop on a mentorship call right now. ‘Cause every week, every week we do a live Q&A with the mentorship, so…


0:32:29.3 Mike Vacanti: True.


0:32:29.9 Jordan Syatt: Cutting it short, make sure we’re on time with the mentorship. If you wanna join the mentorship, click the link in the show notes. If not…


0:32:36.0 Mike Vacanti: Well, keep listening.


0:32:37.0 Jordan Syatt: We’ll see you next week.


0:32:38.2 Mike Vacanti: Goodbye.

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