111: How To Create a Powerful Fitness Routine at Any Age with Nate Palmer
Today’s guest is Nate Palmer – NASM certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, and Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach. He specializes in working with entrepreneurs and business owners to create energy, focus, and a lean, healthy body – that shows up for your work, family, and focus time.
Nate’s writing has been published in The Huffington Post, T Nation, Muscle & Strength, Askmen, Breaking Muscle, and a number of other outlets.
After he and his wife retired young to travel South America, Nate also wrote Passport Fitness: The No-nonsense Guide to Staying in Shape no Matter What City You Wake Up In, where he breaks down how to get into great shape with just a few minutes each day.
Nate has trained people of all ages from 20-70, and has worked extensively with people as they transition into retirement. He knows that fitness is a great place to put time and energy to benefit yourself, your quality of life, and your overall longevity.
Today, Nate joins the podcast to talk about how to build a fitness routine, the benefits of proper nutrition, and which supplements and multivitamins are actually worth your time. If you’re looking to create a fitness regime for yourself and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, today’s episode is for you!
Please note: For this special giveaway of Job Optional*, we do not currently offer international shipping. Residents outside of the U.S. may obtain a copy of Job Optional* via eBook format upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- How to break through the mindset of being “past the point of no return” and create a fitness routine in retirement.
- How to get and stay motivated and break through fitness plateaus.
- Why bouncing around from program to program rarely gets results – and the real reason cardio is so ineffective for fat loss.
- How to integrate stretching into your daily practice – and how to tell if you need to stretch more.
- How to determine if you need a personal trainer – and how to find someone who can help you achieve your fitness goals.
- How to break up long sessions of sitting or screen time to improve your health in just a few seconds.
- Why you should spend 30-60 days counting macronutrients – and how our perception of food has drastically changed over the last 5-10 years.
- How to boost your energy levels at later ages in life, why Nate calls bodyweight movements “the elixir of life,” and how to conquer your fear of free weights once and for all.
Nate’s giving away his Million Dollar Meal Plan for maximizing energy and dropping inches off your waist. CLICK HERE to get the plan for free!
- “Most people will do more for someone else than they’ll do for themselves. So, always try to connect the health piece with someone else that’s important to you.” – Nate Palmer
- “I think that stretching is similar to investing. If you have a good base, you don’t need to spend so much time doing it.” – Nate Palmer
- N8 Training Systems
- Passport Fitness: The No-Nonsense Guide To Staying In Shape No Matter What City You Wake Up In
- Get Your Million Dollar Meal Plan FREE Here
- T Nation
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
- ACE Fitness
- Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
- Postural Restoration Institute (PRI)
Casey Weade: Nate, welcome to the show.
Nate Palmer: Thanks for having me on, Casey. I’m really excited to be here.
Casey Weade: Hey, Nate. I’m excited to spend some time with you again. I haven’t seen you since the last time we get to spend a little bit of time together. I get to learn a little bit about fitness and exercise, nutrition from you out in Texas at Front Row Dads retreat and that was quite the treat to be able to spend some time with you there. And I thought, “Boy, this guy, he’s got such a breadth of knowledge that we could really bring that to the table for our audience and what they might be going through at this stage in their life.
Nate Palmer: Yeah. Thank you. I’m excited. Hopefully, I can bring some really good value. I really want to dive into a lot of these things about how you can actually start developing a fitness routine even if you’ve never done something like that before in your life and where’s the best place to start and because there’s so much confusion out there, a lot of stuff on magazines telling you, “You should do this. This is good or this is bad.” Right? So, let’s get some clarity.
Casey Weade: Yeah. You know, I think spending some time with each other one-on-one, I realized you spend a lot of time with different demographics. You spend time training individuals and in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and you’ve trained all these different demographics and you’re able to kind of cater what you do to the individual that you’re working with. And you’ve met with individuals that are even making this transition to retirement. We talked about this making this transition in retirement, having time on your hands, and trying to find someplace to put that time and energy that will be beneficial for yourself, your quality of life, your longevity, and a good place to put that isn’t your health.
And for a lot of families we work with, they’ve been so caught up with work and money for the last 40 years working 12-hour days, and now they’re going, “Okay, now it’s time for me to make this resolution. As I enter retirement, I’m going to spend a lot of time on my fitness. I’m going to spend a lot of time on my health, but I don’t really know where to get started.” And I’ve met with clients that will sit down, “You know, I’m just not sure I could do that today. I’m past the point of no return.” So, if you’re 65, 70 years old, you’re stepping into retirement, you’ve got some time on your hands and you’ve never really spent any time in the gym per se, how do you get started?
Nate Palmer: That’s a great question. I think that’s a place that a lot of people have a ton of differing ideas about this like about fitness, about nutrition. I hear a lot of people say exactly what you said. I’m a little too old to be doing this. I can’t really get back in. This is kind of where I live now. And I don’t think that’s entirely true. But I also see the opposite where people are like, “Okay, I have all this time. I have all this energy.” Like you said, I’ve been working 12 hour days, like I’ve been grinding, I’ve been doing this work. So, like let’s put that kind of energy into the fitness. I don’t think that’s great either because even though there’s not a ton of difference between someone who’s like 40 and someone who’s 65, let’s say, except the main thing that we need to always be concerned with is the recovery ability goes down after a certain point, not producing quite the same amount of hormones, you’re not able to recover quite as quickly. Obviously, like someone in their 20s, they fall off a skateboard, get scratched up, that’s fixed in like three days. When you’re in your 60s or 70s, those things take longer to heal. Your body just takes longer to repair itself.
So, we just need to keep that in mind when we’re starting off on a brand new fitness program. And I think when you do something like this, if you can think back to when you were starting your business or when you’re kind of starting in your career, you didn’t just get thrown in and just go like all in everything you could possibly do the first week. You built up to it, right? Like a lot of things in life are like that. If you’re learning a new sport like golf or something like that, you’re not going to go out and play 72 holes the first time. You’re going to work out between. You’re going to work with a pro. You’re going to get on the range. You’re going to practice you’re putting. So, I think that’s the same mentality that we need to have when approaching a brand new fitness regime after retirement. So, I think that the easiest thing to do is to start off really, really light because we can always add in more as we go. But it’s hard once you get injured, tweak something, feel a little bit bad, it’s harder to pull back and then restart again. That requires a lot more energy.
Casey Weade: Well, I think that longer to heal piece is pretty good insight because you can say, I don’t know, if I go workout or if I go walk a mile, I’m going to be sore, I’m going to hurt my joints, my bones, my whole body is in true pain, and that really you can end up in real pain and not just pain in a good way like I just had a good workout. It can really hurt but if you ease into it, I think that can help overcome that. You can kind of warm-up those joints. So, eventually, yeah, you started with a half a mile. Now, you’re going to be able to go a mile, five miles, and then you start jogging those and you maybe start running those things. You just kind of ease into it.
Nate Palmer: Yeah. And then I think very importantly, just listen to your body. If you’re at the point you’re like a half-mile, you were planning on for a mile and you’re like, “Man, I’m feeling a little bit burned out,” I call it in. You don’t need to push through the pain. There’s no reward for that go harder, go home mentality.
Casey Weade: And where do you start with this? And for you, I mean, fitness hasn’t always been a part of your life and I don’t think, at some point, you got started, right? You didn’t come out of the womb bench pressing 225 pounds. Yeah, there was a point in your life when you started things out. And I know for me when I got started, you know, I did spend a lot of time working out when I was in middle school, high school, etcetera. I mean, I played a lot of sports, I was the athlete, and I always wanted to work out. But then I got in my working life, got married, had kids, and it kind of got away from me. And so, you know, I need to find time to get back in and for me, it was, “Well, I’m just going to wake up 10 minutes early. I’m going to go down on the treadmill and I’m going to walk for five minutes.” Then the next day, I’m going to jog for five minutes, then it was 10 minutes. It was 15. Now, I’m going to throw in some weights. That’s kind of how I eased into it. How did you do it yourself?
Nate Palmer: Well, personally, I made all the wrong moves. I started working out in high school. So, I wanted to be bigger and stronger and all these things that high school boys want to be. I started doing just everything possible that you could do wrong. So, I was doing like bench press on Monday, then chest on Tuesday, and then arms and chest on Wednesday, and then biceps and chest on Friday. I was like just stooped, you know? So, I’ve made all the mistakes that you could possibly make in fitness or training. So, you don’t have to. You can look at me and be like, “I want to do that.”
Casey Weade: And when did this become a passion of yours?
Nate Palmer: That’s a great question. And it was definitely during college when I was like, you know, I was getting my business degree. And I know it was during finals week, man, and I was sitting there, had my business book out, and I was trying to like study, and I was like, “You know what I want to do instead?” So, I went to a – I was searching for muscle building routines online. I’ve run into a website called T Nation, which had some awesome articles on bodybuilding and like chest and biceps. It’s kind of my favorite.
Casey Weade: Oh, yeah, we just did a T Nation routine this morning, all chest.
Nate Palmer: Yeah. So, I read the archives. I read everything from 1996 to 2008. I read every single article and then failed my finals. So, it’s perfect, but I think that was the like the lightning strike it took to kind of get me to figure out that this is something that I actually wanted to do. I still was like, well, I figure out what I want to do when I grow up a little bit later but so far, nothing.
Casey Weade: Sure. Well, and then you just kind of got into it. You’ve just been interested in something that you’re naturally interested in but not everybody is. And it’s something I’ve always been interested in bodybuilding and running and just general fitness, nutrition. It’s just an interest of mine but for everyone, that’s not the case. Some just say, “I need to work out. I need to take care of my body. I need to do this in order to live a longer life, be there for my kids, be there for my grandkids, but I’m not motivated.” And I know you’ve written some articles on motivation and not just kicking it off, but also maintaining that motivation level. What are some of the tips for someone that might be at that stage in the game when they want to start getting motivated and then what would you say to them if they want to continue to keep that motivation?
Nate Palmer: That’s a great question. I think one of the biggest things that we have to realize about like our own personal wiring is that most people will do more for someone else than they’ll do for themselves. I see this a lot of times, especially in people who are like helpers or givers. They will go like way out of their way to help someone else out in their life but they won’t necessarily extend themselves the same courtesy or like the same grace when it comes to working out, nutrition, things like that. So, always try to connect this health piece with someone else that’s important to you. So, does that mean that you’re going to be able to pick up your granddaughter and actually have like a healthy strong back that’s going to enable you to have a more like a better relationship with your family? Is it something where you want to make sure that you can walk her down the aisle at her wedding? It’s like how can you connect this to a piece that’s greater than you because if it’s just you and you’re like, “Well, I could be healthy or I could be kind of this like medium level where I’m not necessarily feeling my best, but that like I don’t really want to go work out or go for a walk.”
If you can connect it to something, something that’s a little bit more impactful, something that means more for not just you, but for your legacy, for your family, for the people that you love and care about, it’s so much easier to take that first step. So, having a strong why I think it’s imperative to getting started.
Casey Weade: And then for me, I know it’s having a good partner and having some I’ve got a friend of mine that we have worked out every single morning at 5:30 for the last two-and-a-half years. We have not missed a morning. And I know I’ll wake up and I’ll go, “I don’t want to go to the gym today,” but I know that he’s going to be there waiting on me at the spa there.
Nate Palmer: Yeah. And having that sort of external lateral accountability from someone that you don’t want to let down also really, really important.
Casey Weade: What if you’re at that stage and you don’t have somebody like that you can motivate to get in the gym with you or have somebody that already works out that you can partner up with? How do you find that accountability partner?
Nate Palmer: Well, I think there’s a lot of ways that you can find that, especially with the internet and like these meetup groups. There’s a lot of classes now that will cater to different ability levels, whether it’s something like a silver sneakers class where you’re just kind of just getting some movement, using some light bands, sitting down, sitting back up, that sort of thing. That can be like very motivating and hold you accountable. Or it can be like a personal trainer or a coach or a mentor, someone who’s actually done what you want to accomplish or help other people do that piece before and gotten some results, helps you to shortcut the process. And when you have a personal trainer waiting for you, it’s really hard not to show up for your session at the gym.
Casey Weade: Well, I definitely want to spend a little time in personal training. Being a personal trainer yourself, it is someone that definitely wants to figure out how we find that right person and talk about classes and weights and things like that. But I also want to ask maybe a little bit of a selfish question and that is, what if you’re already there? What if you’ve gotten to that point where you got started working out, you hit your goals? Maybe you lost the 10, 20 pounds. You’re benching to 225, you’re squatting your 225, you’re running the seven-minute mile. You’re doing the things that you really set out to do. And maybe it took you years to get there and then you go, “Eh, but now what? Now, it hurts to go try to bench past 350 or it hurts to try to squat 350. That’s not necessarily good for my bones and it’s not really good for my bones try to run a six-minute mile. My knees, it hurts my ankles. So, how do you continue to push yourself once you’ve already gotten to a point where you’re pretty happy with your level of physical fitness, but I guess in my belief, I just believe that you have to continue to push yourself even once you’ve gotten to this place? It can’t just be maintenance. And maybe there is a maintenance stage where you just maintaining what you have but I feel like as I’ve done that, it kind of goes backwards a little bit if I don’t continue to push forwards.
Nate Palmer: That’s a really good point. I think that there’s definitely a discrepancy between someone like you who’s just in the gym really pushing themselves, making sure that they’re like building muscle like adding that additional weight and actually seeing that like seeing that constant improvement and growth and building. And someone’s like, “Man, I don’t love this. I’m just trying to get back to a healthy, healthy life where I can be around longer for the rest of my family.” I think those are kind of two different people, right?
Casey Weade: Yeah.
Nate Palmer: So, I think for someone like, hypothetically like you…
Casey Weade: But I think that one becomes the other.
Nate Palmer: Yeah, I think you’re right. I do think though, that for someone like you, that one of the things I think there’s a cliché, it’s like, “Oh, the successes in the journey or the rewards or the journey or whatever else, I think that when you’re going through like a fitness routine, and actually, you know, like seeing that incremental progress slowly over time, it actually opens you up to different types of progress you can make. So, whether that’s like, man, I don’t want to continue to bench more weight because that doesn’t really feel like it’s sustainable. You’re like, “Well, what about a triathlon? How can I push myself harder in this other vertical?” What if I want to get really good at yoga? I think that like, for someone like you, whose brain kind of thrives on growth and progression, there’s so many different avenues in fitness that you can choose. So, whether that’s like, “I need to be more flexible, let’s dive into yoga. I would like to increase my cardiovascular conditioning, let’s do a marathon, let’s do a triathlon, let’s push this bike around.”
Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, I think that’s the neat thing about the world we live in today. There’s so many different types of fitness for you to do. We got Soul Cycle, and then you’ve got CrossFit and you’ve got yoga, you’ve got Pilates. There’s just so many different options out there but I think there’s also some danger in all those different options, because you don’t get focused in on one thing. I’ve seen this with people where they’ll go out, you know, they do the cycling on Monday, then they’ll go out and do the yoga and then they’ll do the CrossFit. They’ll say, “I’m not getting results,” and I couldn’t say exactly why that is. Maybe you can answer that. Maybe you think it’s a good thing.
Nate Palmer: I think you’re right about that. A lot of times there are people that are like bouncing around. They’re doing boot camp classes and CrossFit classes, and yoga classes and like, “I’m not getting results.” I’m like, “Well, what kind of results were you looking for?” I think that’s always where we have to come back to. What’s your goal? And so, that’s like that’s why we have to connect it to that why, like, why are you doing this? And at the end of six months or a year, if you had made all the progress in the world and you’re like, yes, check that box, what does your life look like? What have you done? For someone like you, it might be like, “I’ve added some muscle. I’ve used this much weight, etcetera.” That might be like, “Yes, I’ve done it. I’ve accomplished it.” For someone else, it might be, “I can get up off the ground without using something for balance.” Maybe it’s, “I can now run a mile.” So, I think that like the results can come no matter what modality you try but I think when you chase two rabbits, you catch neither, right? So, if you’re like, “I want to go lose weight,” but you’re continually going back and forth between yoga and Pilates and boot camp classes, that might be hard to get the results that you’re looking for because you’re not sticking to exactly one thing that’s going to get you the biggest return on investment.
Casey Weade: Well, eventually, if you don’t mix it up, you have muscle confusion, right? You just want to confuse the heck out of those muscles is one of the things we talked about and I would think that probably leads into cardio at the same time. You want to create some diversity in what you’re doing because the opposite is true. You can get into this bodybuilding routine, where you do the same thing every single workout for years and you’re not getting the same results. You start seeing people that do this in cycling. They do cycling over and over again and for the first few weeks, it’s fantastic but then it starts trailing off over time. So, what is that right mix? Is there a certain type of mix, especially for someone that say 50, 65 years old, they’re getting to a different level where they’re ready to maybe mix it up with more cardio because that’s important to their heart health? I don’t know. Is there a right balance you think for that age group?
Nate Palmer: This is a really good question and something that someone who’s never worked out before wouldn’t necessarily know to ask. So, this is terrific because there’s like a lot of questions around that, the concept of muscle confusion. So, number one, I don’t think that your muscles like get very confused easily and I think that like just mixing up your exercises haphazardly in an attempt to confuse your muscles can result in you never really making progress. Because for someone who’s let’s say they’re 55 to 60, they still want to get some strength results, they want to build up like their body, gain a little bit of muscle because that can help them age a lot more in a healthy way, then you do need to do similar exercises in order to allow for what’s called the neurological adaptations. So, when you go to the gym the first time, you never bench press before and you do the bar and you’re like, “Well, that was horrible,” and then you go back the next week, you put some weights on, you can do it again you’re like, “That’s not so bad.” You do it and soon you’re bench pressing with the big plates on each side and you’re like, “Okay, I got this.”
You didn’t really gain any more muscle but the first two, three weeks when you start building new neurological pathways, similar to swinging a golf club or a baseball bat or something like that, where our brain is just learning a new move. And it’s crazy with the gym because it’s like, not only do you learn bench press, you also learn squats and deadlifts and kettlebell swings and pull-ups and like it’s not just one move like a golf swing, right? So, we kind of have to stay in a very like in similar exercise types in order to progress. So, if all one week you’re just doing squats and the next week, you’re only doing bench press and the week after that you’re only doing curls. You’ll never make progress on each of them. That being said, it can be important once you’re in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond to mix up the type of movement you’re doing. So, like let’s say you’re doing a squat, maybe one week you can do a barbell squat and then the next week you can do it the dumbbell squat and the next week, you can do just a bodyweight squat.
So, having the same movement pattern, but changing up kind of the modalities, so if you’re doing a row one day you do it like this. When you do it, palms facing down, next week you can do a palm facing up. We switch the grip up just a little bit. It provides your muscles with a little bit of additional like confusion, but without necessarily changing the entire move. Plus, what’s nice about that, just small little micro-adjustments like that is it keeps you from getting into overuse injuries. The same way like you describe someone who’s doing spin all the time, always the same movement, always over and over and over again. So, if you’re always doing your rows with your palms facing in, and you never change it up, you kind of get some wear and tear on the joints in that way. If we change the hands, we change some hands slightly but stay the same move, you build the strength, you build the muscle, and you don’t get any sort of negative overuse injuries.
Casey Weade: So, it can be a lot of benefit and if you think, “Well, if I do bench all the time I start getting sore,” well then start using different angles for that bench press because it’s going to reduce the pressure on those specific points of the bones or the joints for that matter. And that kind of leans us right into say just stretching in general. And does that get more important over time or a stretching just as important when you’re 20 as when your 60 or 70? Or is this again one of those myths? Maybe you don’t need to stretch it all?
Nate Palmer: Oh, it’s a great question. I think that stretching is one of those things where, like, if you already have a good base. It’s similar to investing, Casey. If you have a good base, you don’t need to spend so much time doing it. But if you don’t invest at all in your 20s, right, you get to your 60s, and you’re like, “Oh, I need to like start building for my retirement,” you got to put a lot of effort into it, right? So, if it’s something that you can maintain, you don’t need to spend more than like five minutes a day ever working on your stretching or just giving yourself a little bit of kind of tuning up here in there.
Casey Weade: Well, that’s what I was going to say is what’s the right ratio of card- I would kind of put it in three categories. You get cardio, stretching, and weights. This will be the three areas that I would kind of think of when I think of fitness and maintaining total health. When it comes to your body, is there a certain ratio of those three things? And it sounds like from spending five minutes a day stretching, that ends up being a pretty small ratio of those three things.
Nate Palmer: Yeah. I think you’re right about that. So, I would say that like a lot of people say yoga is stretching. I don’t think that’s quite true. Yoga has got a lot of strengthening, a lot of movement, a lot of body awareness. So, like, if you’re someone who loves yoga, I’m not trying to tell you to only do five minutes of yoga per day but I do think that as you age in your 20s, it’s probably more beneficial to spend more of your time doing the resistance training, and then some cardio and then a little bit of stretching, keeping yourself limber and making sure you can still access all your range of motion, things like that. And then as you age, then that resistance training kind of drops a little bit lower becomes less important because like we talked about at the beginning, you have less ability to recover from hardcore lifting session. So, maybe that’s four days to start and go up to three days and you’ve got with the two days, that sort of thing.
And then the cardio piece is going to increase over time because you want to make sure that your heart stays super healthy. You want to give yourself cardio is mainly good for two things. Number one, it’s good for increasing your cardiovascular health, the health of your lungs and your heart. It’s going to keep that motor pumping and that’s really important. The second thing is that it’s good for recovery, especially when you’re doing not like going outside and just pound the pavement and really pushing yourself. If you’re going for walks, you’re doing an elliptical or you’re on the treadmill, like you said. These sorts of things can help your body recover, get more blood flow to different areas, and can generally just help you feel better, have more energy overall. So, as you age, it becomes more and more important to add that piece in.
And then I think the flexibility piece is really dependent on where you’re at because there was a study done, I think, in 2011, by these Brazilian researchers that they were talking about longevity. They said, “How can we find out like how long someone has left?” And they made a very, very simple test and someone sits down on the ground Indian style and cross-legged, and they said, “All right, now stand up.” And the goal was to stand up using as few of your other appendages putting your hands down, putting your knees down, grabbing onto something as possible. So, out of a score of 10 possible, if you just kind of can stand right up from cross-legged, that’s like you have a long time left, you’re going to be very, very healthy. The more you have to put your hands on your knees or twist or turn and get some help, the lower that score got, the shorter your estimated time on this earth was. Does that make sense?
Casey Weade: Yeah. And that movement takes a lot of strength. And so, it’s not, one, you have to be flexible just to get into an Indian style position. I’ve got a friend that’s 35 and he can’t even sit Indian style. So, he needs work in his stretching, number one, and then strength number two, and then cardio maybe. But for someone that’s doing this, aside for my dad, he’s never had a physical trainer or a fitness trainer. He’s never really had anybody help him in the gym whatsoever. And he just hops on the elliptical every single day. That’s his routine. He gets on the elliptical for an hour and he’s done. And at least he’s working out, right? At least he’s working out every single day. In my opinion, I think you should mix it up a little bit more than that and that’s probably why he’s not getting the results that he ultimately wants to get but he doesn’t really know what’s next or where to start even for that matter.
And I think what I find is most people, and maybe I’m wrong about this, but it seems from my position that most people are starting by going out and hiring a trainer, most of the people we’re working with anyways because they have the means to afford a trainer and they’ll go out find a trainer. And that’s kind of their entry into the world of fitness. Do you think that that is the right move? Is the right move to go down to your basement and workout? Is it the first move to go out and find yourself a trainer? Or is it to go out and find the appropriate class? Is there a right way? Or if there isn’t a right way, how do you find the best way for you?
Casey Weade: That’s a terrific question. First, I want to speak to your dad real quick or to what you were described. And remember when I said the cardio is good for two things, basically, cardiovascular health and recovery, it’s not very effective for fat loss. Cardio doesn’t burn that much that many calories, especially when you get good at it and you do it for a while, it becomes less and less effective. Like the most effective piece of cardio for fat loss is the thing that you’re least efficient at. So, I always picture this as like someone running on an elliptical is like, okay, that’s pretty smooth and easy, right? We’ll take that same person out, strap roller blades on their feet and make them run on the beach. That sounds terrible and that’s good cardio for fat loss. So, to your question about personal trainers, I think, well, the answer is it depends but it depends is a really annoying answer.
So, I think that you need to make the distinction. Are you someone who’s already been in shape? Do you have a good working knowledge of the gym? If I just released you into the gym, would you know what to do? Would you know where to start? If not, if you can’t answer like emphatic yes then I think getting a personal trainer is a really great way to start because that’s going to shortcut your success, as well as keeping you safe, which is arguably more important because we want to make sure that the time you do spend in the gym is spent doing very, very…
Casey Weade: Well, especially at that time if it takes a long time to heal, you sure don’t want to get hurt.
Nate Palmer: 100%. Yeah. So, we want to focus on low risk, high reward exercises. So, making sure that a trainer that you’re talking to has an understanding of basic biomechanics and movement and isn’t trying to just fit you into whatever programs he was doing that day, which is kind of a flagrant offense by a lot of personal trainers. But making sure that they can actually put together a custom program, give you a little bit of homework outside the gym, and then essentially teach you how to do this. You want a personal trainer that’s going to be like, “I don’t want to be your personal trainer in a year.” You want someone who can show you the ropes, and make sure that you can be successful. If you are on a trip, if you’re traveling. If you’re working out at home, if you’re in the gym without them, you want to make sure that someone is actually setting you up for success rather than like just feeding you from the bottom. Does that make sense?
Casey Weade: Yeah. I would think some of the classes that are out there are, yes, some of them would just not be a good fit for someone that’s just getting started or someone that’s over 65. In my opinion, we probably should be doing CrossFit. And then I think CrossFit can be a really dangerous thing to get into. It can be good, I think. I’ve got some close friends that do a lot of CrossFit and it seems to treat them fairly well if they’re not competing. But I would wonder if at certain stages in your life, maybe you shouldn’t be doing CrossFit, maybe you shouldn’t be doing cycling, maybe you shouldn’t be doing yoga, or maybe you should emphasize one over the next. Are there some certain types of classes if that’s the way you want to go that you would recommend?
Nate Palmer: Yeah. So, I think you’re right. I think CrossFit, definitely, for me does not fall into a low risk, high reward category. You know, there is a high reward. I think it’s a high-risk type of exercise. They use a lot of different called like Olympic lifts. They use a lot of gymnastics movements. There’s a lot of things they’re going overhead and a lot of people who are above 55, 65 don’t have great range of motion when they go overhead. So, to just blindly put yourself into a place where you’re pushing a barbell overhead can be one of the most detrimental things you can do for your shoulder neck health. So, I think, yeah, CrossFit kind of like that should start to decrease if that’s something that especially if you’ve never worked out before, I would never recommend someone just goes into CrossFit class.
So, since a lot of coaches in CrossFit are amazing and have a ton of experience. I got a buddy who owns a gym, he’s awesome. But to get a CrossFit level one certification requires one weekend. So, it doesn’t necessarily prepare you to work with every single population. I’ve seen a lot of people. I’ve worked on a lot of people who have gotten hurt using that modality. It is fun, but I do think that over time, you should like shifting, if you’re going to be doing a class type of workout, shifting away from some of those like heavier like body pump ones into the more movement-based. I think the yoga could be good, especially if you’re doing like a vinyasa, like a flow yoga rather than like a power yoga. There’s a billion different types. I don’t even know the names of most of them, but like staying away from the 90-minute hot yoga Bikram sessions and instead opting for like a yin yoga which is going to be like a little more relaxed, hold like 10 poses over the entire course of the class.
I also think a spin class can be good. There’s no real impact. You can go at your own pace. If you’re me and the instructors like turn up, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I’m pretending.” You know, I’m just faking it. Now, that’s totally fine. You can take these things at your own pace. So, I think that like a cardio class can be great. Any sort of like stretching or foam rolling class can be great. I’d avoid some of the ones that are like step classes, the ones that are putting a lot of stress on the joints, unless that’s something you’ve done before. And I’m specifically talking to someone who’s never gone into this. I’m not saying that if you do step class and you love it, stop. If you do it and you like it, great. Keep going.
Casey Weade: But like you said, listen to your body. If it hurts, that doesn’t mean it’s a good hurt necessarily. If it hurts, then don’t do it or ease into it. Maybe you’re getting ahead of yourself, you’re trying to soon and a trainer would be able to recognize that. Not necessarily a fitness instructor, not necessarily a CrossFit instructor, but a trainer, professional trainer should be able to recognize what’s good hurt, what’s bad hurt. And I wonder, I don’t even know, are there specialists in the area of working with certain demographics in the training world? If I’m 65, I’m looking for someone that specializes in working with someone like me, can I go out and find that person? If I’m 85, if I’m 25, are there specialists in those certain areas in the training world? And how do we find them?
Nate Palmer: Absolutely. That’s a great question. So, first of all, if you’re looking for a trainer, pick someone who’s certified. There’s a lot of different accredited certifications out there. Again, some of them can be done faster than others. But I think then there’s like once you have that base level certification, so NASM is good. ISSA is good. ACE is good. CSCS is good. Those are kind of like the base level certifications. And then once you get into those, then there’s a ton of different other like you’re talking about specialty certifications to get and one of the ones that I thought was amazing that I have is called a corrective exercise specialist. So, that’s put on by NASM and it basically equips you with a lot of working knowledge on biomechanics, and also common postural and body problems that you see. Another great one is called PRI or Postural Restoration Institute. And people with those sorts of certification are much more able to look at a body and say, “Okay, I can see you have hunched posture here. We need to focus more on those pulling moves rather than the pushing moves. I can see what you have like some neck issues. You have some back issues. Your knees aren’t tracking the correct way.”
And they can give you not necessarily physical therapy, but sort of like a strength therapy and they’re like a prehab protocol to keep you out of the physical therapist office. Because someone who’s really well versed on the human body can identify those discrepancies, those weaknesses, any sort of imbalances and work to correct those with strength so you’re not just sitting there with a little band going in and out like this. I mean, sometimes you see that at the gym. You’re actually working on building your strength, building your muscle, and correcting imbalances at the same time. So, I think having a really professional high-quality trainer can be really invaluable to someone in that stage of life.
Casey Weade: We’re talking about a lot of these stretching and just taking care of your joints, finding someone that can understand the structure of the body. And if you have back pain, you can get it repaired. I read one of your articles on the worst invention in history. I believe it was the chair. And that made a lot of sense to me and I got to thinking about myself, I’m probably sitting in a chair for at least eight hours a day, at least. And then like you said, I’m sleeping for eight hours. So, there’s 16 hours of my day that I’m completely immobilized. And then I said, “Well, if I continue to do this for the next 30 years, if I have 40 years or more of spending the majority of my life in a chair, what’s that going to do to my body? And if I’m at that stage of the game where I’ve had a desk job or have spent a lot of time in a seat, now I step into retirement, I’ve got time on my hands. I remember my grandfather. I mean, he had this recliner that he never got out of, right? And that is got to be one of the biggest risks as you step into retirement and on the way to retirement to your health and your body to your joints, your structure. It has to be these chairs. So, it was so true I think what you said, but I do enjoy a good recline.
Nate Palmer: I think there’s power in moderation too. Don’t keep yourself out from reclining. Also, funny you saw that article. I wrote that thing in like 2011. So, a while back when I was younger and full of spunk. But I think that one of the big things…
Casey Weade: Go back and say that again. Go back and say, “Also, it’s funny you found that article.”
Nate Palmer: Also, I think it’s funny that you found that article because I wrote that in 2011 so I was using a lot more bad language on the web at that point. But I think all things in moderation including sitting in your chair. One of the biggest things that we can do starting right now and I’m talking specifically to you on this one, Casey, is just everyone like once an hour, set a timer. I have like an egg timer near my desk. I pop up. I do a simple stretch where I kind of put my feet together, I squeeze my butt really tight, and then I open up my chest by putting my arms out to the side here, and then kind of lean back. So, kind of the anti-chair stretch, so butt-squeeze tight, abs are engaged and then lean back, open up the chest, because we spend so much time hunched forward, right? You know, we’re not thinking but or on the phone, we’re on our computer, we kind of tend towards that rounding forward. So, if once an hour, you could just get up and do that for 15 seconds, your life is going to get so much better.
Casey Weade: And if you want to see Nate stand up and squeeze his cheeks together, all you have to do is go to our YouTube channel, and you’ll be able to watch this in person. And it is. I think you kind of have to see what you just did, which is a movement I’ve never done before. But just starting to get into yoga myself over the last couple of years, it’s amazing the things that you uncover these weird stretches or positions you put yourself in, where you go, “I can’t believe I can’t do that or that really hurts or I feel a lot of strain in that,” and you thought you were doing really good but trying some of these new movements can really open up your mind to what’s really going on inside of your body. And I think those types of things for me stretching, a yoga specifically, brings a lot of energy to my life. Yoga, probably number one, cardio number two, and weightlifting number three.
Weightlifting tends to be the number one thing that I spend most my time doing, though, even though I get so much energy out of the other things, and I wonder if it be the same thing as you’re stepping into retirement, you’re trying to get motivated, you want to get to the gym. We need to get our energy levels up and I hear a lot from the families I work with that I just don’t have the energy I had when I was younger. You hear all these things. I didn’t have the energy. Someday you won’t have the energy that you have today or, yeah, you can go on and eat that cheeseburger today, but you someday you won’t be able to do that. What are some of the ways that we can increase our energy at that stage of the game? And you wrote an article, silent killers of energy. What are those things and what can we do to get a little spike?
Nate Palmer: That’s a great question. I think that, number one, your energies, like your body doesn’t necessarily have energy. It creates energy based on what you tell it to do. So, what you’re communicating with your body based on how you’re moving, you’re training, what you’re eating at all times, what you’re listening to, what you’re telling yourself, all those things play an impact or play a part in creating or building more energy for your body. So, I think, to be honest with you, I don’t remember totally the salient points from that article but I think that the things that you can do to really sap and drain your energy is sit a lot, listen, have a lot of like negative self-talk when you’re telling yourself you can’t do something, you’re not able to do something. A really great way to have less energy is to be really busy and have a lot of stuff going on your brain, you try to multitask, that’s a cool way to drain energy.
And then also, if you just don’t move that like your body, it starts to understand that you’re communicating to it. We don’t need energy, because all we do is sit at a desk. So, that’s what you tell it on a daily basis. Your body’s going to be like, “Okay, got it. Okay.” Because our bodies are really smart, and they want to keep us alive. So, it’s not going to flood you with energy if all you’ve told it over the last several years is that I’m going to feed you a lot of food and we’re going to sit down. Your body’s like, “Great. I’ll just wait this one out. Ready when you are.”
Casey Weade: Well, I want to wrap up this portion of the discussion because I want to get into a few of the things but I’ve got to wrap it up with this one piece. Machines or free weights? The great debate.
Nate Palmer: Good question. Can I throw one back at you?
Casey Weade: Yes.
Nate Palmer: Bodyweight movements. Bodyweight movements are, in my estimation, the elixir of life because like free weights are great. It’s called it’s like external load. It’s called open chain movements. We’re doing a bicep curl like this. You’re lifting a dumbbell outside of yourself, you’re doing a machine, you’re pushing something outside of yourself. If you do a push up though, if you do a squat, if you do a lunge, if you do a row with a suspension trainer, what that’s telling your body, again, communicating to it is that, “Hey, we need to be able to move ourselves. We need to be able to move ourselves around. We need to be able to stand up, sit down, move it in a particular range of motion.” So, what that communicates is your body doesn’t know there’s no saber-toothed tiger behind you, and you’re pulling yourself out of harm’s way. It doesn’t understand that. So, what it starts to learn is that in order to do this exercise, in order to do this stressful move, I need to have more functional muscle tissue, and I need to delete nonfunctional tissue like fat.
So, in the same way that if you and I were like foraging for berries in like the Paleo era, Casey, and we’re like all of a sudden, like our friend Grau, he gets snatched up by a saber-toothed tiger and then we’re running and we have to get up unto a tree, the person who’s got the most muscle and the least fat is going to get in that tree first and save their life. So, our body understands that stress, and will help us like build those pieces in kind when we start moving our bodies more. So, neither.
Casey Weade: Well, to me, so you’re saying body weight, number one, but to me, I see, we call it the shallow end of the deep end, right? The shallow end is the cardio equipment, the machines. The deep end is over there with all the free weights.
Nate Palmer: I like that. I’ll do that more.
Casey Weade: I find that you find the same people going to the deep end every single time. You find the same people going to the shallow end every single time. And quite often you’ll find you’ve got an older generation that’s typically on the machines, you’ve got the younger generation that’s on the free weights, and then you’ve got everybody kind of littered out over there on the cardio machines. And so, I think there’s some fear in getting into the free weights maybe. And I think that can be overcome myself by finding a professional trainer that can show you what to do outside of those machines.
Nate Palmer: Absolutely. I think that like I’m not being totally fair here because, A, like a squat with a bar on your back it’s still a bodyweight movement. You know, doing a lunge holding dumbbells is still a bodyweight movement. It’s just with additional load.
Casey Weade: But it sounds to me like you’re saying all three.
Nate Palmer: Yeah. Like I don’t hate on machines either because what’s nice about that is that if you have a shoulder problem, and you can’t necessarily stabilize a weight on the way up, what’s nice is you can lean back and you can press the machine up and it’s not going to bother you. So, I don’t think we need to say one or the other. In my estimation, I would say bodyweight first, then free weights, then machines are kind of the hierarchy is where you should spend the majority of your time.
Casey Weade: Well, there’s some dichotomy in the gym there. I don’t want to go over there at the shallow end. I stay over here in my deep end. I think you find the same thing with diets as well. You’ve got people that say, “Oh, it’s got to be paleo or it’s got to be keto, or it’s got to be the Whole30.” You know, everybody’s got their diet that they say works and they’re dead set on it and these other things that don’t work at all. And so, I want to make that segue over to diets because as you step into retirement trying to get fit, a lot of times we go down the diet world, and we start looking at different diets out there. Which one should we get on? And quite often, we’ll find, “Well, I’m on this side this week and next week, I’m on a different diet.” What are your thoughts on diets? Are there some you should completely stay away from? Do you have some favorites?
Nate Palmer: Yeah. I think that’s a great question and something to think about. I think that Whole30 and Paleo get a lot of things right. They’re talking about eating whole foods, they’re talking about making sure you get a lot of vegetables and fruits in your diet. They’re talking about keeping away from processed foods and sugars. I think if you can just do that, you don’t have to call it anything. You can just stay away, like shut the outside of the grocery store, right? Stay away from everything that comes in a box or a bag or things like that. That’s going to just make your life so much better. That’s such an easy place to start without having to label it. That being said, I think there’s a lot of merit to finding a diet or tracking your calories or kind of doing something like that, not in the way it’s like, “Oh, I have to be on keto to get these results.” But let’s try something new. Let’s see how my body responds to this.
If you have some time especially, you don’t have to be like, especially you’re not going to be like a zealot about it, you can want to try something new experiment, see how your body does on keto or plant-based or paleo and just take notes on that and then move on to the next thing. I think that’s the way we learn.
Casey Weade: So, that sounds to me like you’re finding the one that works for your body because everybody has a different chemistry going on within their bodies. Macros, counting your macros might be a good one for retirement because you got plenty of time to do it. Right? My wife did that.
Nate Palmer: If you’ve never counted your macros before, I think you should spend 30 to 60 days doing it because it gives you such a clear indication of what this is in relation to like the calories, the sugars, the proteins, the carbs.
Casey Weade: Can you explain what macros are for those who don’t know?
Nate Palmer: Yeah, absolutely. So, macros counting is basically the three major macronutrients are proteins, fats and carbs. And those are the things that give your foods calories. So, what’s fun about that is that when you’re watching everything you eat, you’re weighing it and you’re putting it into an app, what I do is MyFitnessPal. It’s a free app that you can log your calories, carbs, fats, and proteins. It kind of amplifies your education piece on nutrition. So, rather than just turning to the next diet guru or reading something off of magazine, you got to put yourself in the driver’s seat of here’s what I need to be eating based on the numbers that fit my body. And then like if you can get those macros from pizza, you can try that out. If you’re going to get them from like salad, you can try that out too. But you start understanding like wow, I did not know that this one slice of pizza was 420 calories and like 15 grams of fat like that’s excessive. I did not know that a chicken breast is 160 calories with 32 grams of protein. But when you learn those things, it just becomes a lot easier to mix healthy selections, even when you’re not counting. So, I think it’s really Important getting a master’s degree in yourself and your own nutrition.
Casey Weade: Right. We did that. My wife did that for probably three to six months and it just annoyed the heck out of me. She just said, “Well, this has that many…” She’s on her phone over there calculating things and getting in back into her books but it really worked for her. And I think as you said, you know, the benefit is not so much during the period of time, you’re counting your macros. It’s more than that post period now that you better understand what you’re putting into your body. And what I did like is it’s just counting your macros. But, hey, we can still go out and have pizza and she’s now going, “I can’t eat pizza tonight.” She knows that she can have pizza. And so, we’re going and doing those things that we want to do because she understands all the different things that are going into her body.
And along those lines, all those different things going into your body, are they different today than they were when I was a kid because like the world’s nutrition today, so vastly different than when I was a kid. And when I was a kid, my parents gave me bagel bites, pop tarts. I mean, it wasn’t that big a deal, right? You just didn’t think about those things, fried foods like today, I would never dare give my kids a pop tart. I never dare give them a bagel bite of fear of killing them, right, because all the things that you hear. And so, we’ve had this discussion my mom go, “Well, I gave those things to you when you were a kid.” But, “Yeah, but we know more today I think about the dangers in some of these things.” And in your opinion, how much of things change? I mean, has food itself changed? Have we and our bodies changed?
Nate Palmer: That’s a great question and there’s a massive answer behind it. And I’m going to try to do my best not to screw that up. So, basically, I feel like in the last four or five years, we’ve kind of as a society undergone a big change in how we perceive food and how we understand it with like the advent of these macro trackers that are really easy to obtain a lot of like the ketogenic diet is back in vogue. It was in vogue in the early 2000s and before that in the early 90s. But like, I think the Paleo Diet did a lot for us in terms of understanding like organic versus non-organic, GMO versus non-GMO. But even going back further than that, I think that like when a lot of people were growing up like prior to the 70s even, it was just like we had Whole Foods. You’d go to the store and you’d get food that was in season. You couldn’t just have avocados all year round. You just you only ate what was grown in your mind and it was local, it was good. And then as the farming industry started to get bigger and bigger and bigger, we started to get more into those genetically modified organisms or GMOs.
And a lot of people talk bad about GMOs. They say, “Well, we don’t know where they’re from. It’s kind of poison whatever else.” I don’t necessarily think that’s true. I think that GMOs have a definite like place in our infrastructure. For example, like in Africa, a lot of kids were dying from vitamin A deficiency. So, they took white rice, which is the chief food that they’re eating and put a vitamin A into the white rice, created they call it yellow rice, and they’ve really cut down on some of the best. That’s a GMO, right? We’ve created that plant. Prior to that, though, I feel like even Native Americans like were cross-pollinating their different types of strands of corn and maize to create hardier, stronger plants. So, that’s kind of a slippery slope, I guess.
Casey Weade: Sure. We’ve had GMOs for hundreds of years.
Nate Palmer: Yeah. So, now we have apples that are this big that we can have any time we want to, not just apples that are in season. I think the problem there becomes like when you’re eating an apple that’s this big, has a little bit more sugar than normal, and has less nutrients than that, like the smaller apple that we used to get off a tree or an orchard?
Casey Weade: Yeah.
Nate Palmer: So, a lot of times now what we’re running into is vitamin and mineral deficiencies because we’re eating these GMO plants, which are not necessarily bad. They’re just not as nutritious as their predecessors. So, I think that’s a big thing that’s changed.
Casey Weade: Also, along those lines if I may, you know, if we can eat the same thing all year around, we tend to do that, right? We said, “Well, you know, I only like apples. I don’t like bananas. So, I’ll just stick with this one fruit all year round,” when it used to be required to diversify throughout the year.
Nate Palmer: Yeah, and I think that was one way that we were able to stay super healthy, have really powerful immune systems because we’re eating differently. We’re eating the rainbow, right? We’re eating different types of foods, different types of the year and a lot of the times, like nature’s really smart. These foods come around like the right times for us to help us adapt to the environment as we adapt to like the change in the weather. So, some of them, you’ll get more like vitamin C, vitamin D in the wintertime because that’s when you need it to increase your immune system. So, a lot of times if you’re just only eating one type of food because you like it and it’s available, you’re not diversifying your nutrients enough. So, that’s where like a supplementation regimen can come in because I don’t want to tell people, “Well, you have to start figuring out when the crop cycles are and only eat locally grown food that it’s in season because let’s be honest. That’s kind of like next-level stuff for a lot of people.”
Casey Weade: Yeah. But it could be very beneficial. So, let’s talk a little bit about supplements. Let’s say we’re not going to dramatically change your diet or maybe we are but in either case, I think there’s benefits of supplementation, but you let me know. What are the benefits to supplementation? And does that change over time? You take the same multi. You got men’s multivitamins for children and they got men’s multivitamins for adults and they’ve got men’s multivitamins for Centrum Silver, right? And does it really change that much? You really need a different multivitamin at different stages in your life, or can you take the same supplements when you’re 20 as when you’re 70?
Nate Palmer: I’m going to let you on a little secret. I took my wife’s multivitamin and I am totally fine. Kind of crazy. So, I actually don’t think that multivitamins are super beneficial. The research that I’ve seen shows basically like 50% say, “Yeah, there’s a little difference,” and then 30% say, “No difference at all.” So, I don’t choose to spend my money there because I don’t necessarily think that a lot of them are doing the right things because like just in the way our bodies work, for example, when you digest a vitamin C, it needs to be processed through your stomach. But if you’re digesting iron, it needs to be processed to your small intestine, so the two different nutrients need to be encapsulated in two different other like types of substance in order to keep this one from digesting and then make sure this one does digest with your stomach bile. So, like there’s a lot of ways we can go wrong there and it’s really hard to track and make sure that like what you’re saying your pill does, it actually does.
So, I think that be like in terms of a multivitamin, it’s just helpful to like make sure, going back to what we’re just talking about, just make sure you’re eating more nutritious nutrient-dense types of foods. So, that’s like a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruits, sweet potatoes, like legumes, black beans, different things that are just highly nutritious and we can start to thinking of like, I think there’s a discrepancy where people talk about clean foods and dirty foods. I think that’s confusing and not quite true. If we can start talking more about nutritious food versus like our nutrient-dense foods versus non-nutritious foods, I think that’s going to help change everyone’s perspective around what they’re eating. Beyond that, I think that so with multivitamins, kind of a 50/50 and there are some things that have been proven to be really, really effective, and one of them for me is vitamin D. If you live anywhere above like…
Casey Weade: I was going to ask you about vitamin D because I hear that commercial I think every day on the radio and going, “Man, is this really going to be that good?” It feels like they’re just trying to sell me on this massive vitamin D pill.
Nate Palmer: They probably are. It’s marketing, right?
Casey Weade: But it sounds like you agree that it is something that is extremely beneficial. And I don’t take a vitamin D, then what’s in my multivitamin, which apparently isn’t being dissolved in the right place in my body.
Nate Palmer: It could be. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. But vitamin D is actually more of a hormone than a vitamin. So, they don’t even check you basically for vitamin D deficiencies if you’re living north of Utah at all. So, most of the time, they just assume you don’t have vitamin D deficiency, you are vitamin D deficient. Especially like I was living up in Seattle for a few years, they’re just like, “Yeah, vitamin D. Have more vitamin D. Have more vitamin D.” And so, they just hand out scripts for that sort of thing. So, vitamin D is actually one of the things that’s going to help you create more energy in your life. It actually is a huge immune booster, helps build your immune system. And it can keep you just feeling good, keep the momentum kind of high for you in your life. So, especially if you’re getting a little bit sick, you can increase your dosage of vitamin D.
You want to make sure you’re not taking like so much of it for a long, long periods of time because it is a fat-soluble vitamin so it doesn’t just like go through you like if you’re taking massive doses of vitamin C, but I think that the drops are actually better than the capsules. They absorb better. You get more out of them. But one note and write this down if you’re taking notes right now is that if you’re going to get a vitamin D3, you want to make sure it includes K2. K2 is another like a type of supplement that a lot of companies have started including their vitamin D because it prevents the vitamin D from leaching any calcium from your bones or muscles in order to make it effective. So, that’s an important thing is it keeps your tissues from hardening.
Another thing that I think can be a really important supplement is like if especially you’re not getting enough fruits and vegetables would be a green supplement, some sort of green powder. There’s a lot out there, but like these are like spirulina, wheatgrass-based greens is a good option. I don’t necessarily have like a brand recommendation on that. I think a vitamin C supplement can be good. I think a protein supplement can be very helpful for especially as you’re 50, 60, 70 because it can be harder to get enough protein to keep your body recovering. We talked about that early on the podcast. But what a protein supplement or even the protein in chicken breast or wherever else you’re getting from, most meat products, eggs, dairy, it breaks down what are called amino acids and amino acids are essential for recovering your body. They help create muscle growth and help create critical enzymes that help your body’s processes from digestion to rebuilding skin cells, hair cells, immune system, everything.
Casey Weade: Okay. So, we’ve got D3 with K2, very important and preferably the drops, spirulina and wheatgrass and protein and vitamin C. Now, when it comes to the protein and maybe you said this, a lot of people are leaning into the plant-based proteins these days, which in my opinion just are inedible so I’m not going to go to the plant-based protein because I’ll never eat it. But what is your opinion on that? You know, there’s a lot of different types of whey, casein, egg protein, what is the right protein we should be consuming? And do I need to be force-feeding myself plant-based protein?
Nate Palmer: No. Plant-based protein, as you said, is pretty disgusting. Most of it has the consistency of chalk and a lot of the times they don’t like to – in order to get what’s called a complete essential amino acid profile, which is what you get in eggs, meat, and dairy like the amino acids that we can’t produce in our body is called the essential amino acids. There’s 13 of them. In order to get that, you can’t just get it from one source. If you have a pea protein, you’re not getting the like the whole rainbow of the amino acids you need. So, they have to kind of combine a grain and a legume to get the full spectrum. And then what’s happening is that you’re getting a lot of carbohydrates with that. It’s very hard to get a pure protein-based supplement that’s plant-based without having a high carbohydrate load, which is never my preference.
So, in terms of best bang for your buck most bioavailable which easiest to digest for your body, a whey protein isolate is always going to be a great choice. I think about it’s got like a 93% or 94% bioavailability rating so it breaks down pretty easily. As long as you don’t have any problem handling dairy or whey, it shouldn’t be a big deal.
Casey Weade: Well, and I have to ask along those lines. You know, everybody’s taking the BCAAs these days and you didn’t say that you should be taking BCAA. So, what is your opinion on these branched-chain amino acids?
Nate Palmer: I think branch chain amino acids, the one use for them is when you are trying to like cut your calories down, and you still want to maintain your muscle mass, that’s when it’s a good time to take those because they don’t have any calories in them and you can still get more branched-chain amino acids, which is basically just a broken down form of protein.
Casey Weade: So, if I say why wouldn’t I just eat protein instead of taking my BCAAs?
Nate Palmer: That’s right. So, I don’t see really a need for them unless you’re like in a cut or a weight loss phase.
Casey Weade: Okay. Yeah, that was my opinion of that as well. Then I think we have to talk about some of the other things that are out there today such as CBD. I mean, CBD oil is certainly becoming such a big thing. You’ve got MCT oil. There’s a lot of different oils, it seems like these days. And then I think the main reason that a lot of us are using them, the reason I mean my doctor told me that my orthopedic doctor told me that, “Well, hey, why don’t you go get some CBD oil and start taking CBD oil. It’s going to help with their joints. I didn’t feel any different whatsoever on the CBD oil or not. I also took something else, some other powder that they had me take for joints and I didn’t feel any different out of that. I mean, is there anything out there that you can supplement that’s actually going to have a real effect on your joints?
Nate Palmer: Yes, great question. So, CBD I’m not talking from a place of huge authority right now. The main thing that that’s touted as is an anti-inflammatory, anxiety relief, that sort of thing. So, while you’re taking like the droplets under your tongue or like rubbing on your skin, it’s supposed to decrease inflammation and give you kind of a sense of calm. Now, it seems like that industry is just blowing up right now and it doesn’t seem to be incredibly regulated. So, I don’t know how to find a good type of CBD without falling prey to potential like potions or whatever that have diluted or don’t have the effective dose because the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements like that. And so, it’s hard to know if what they say on the label is actually in that. So, I have found that there’s like the tinctures, the drops of the CBD have been effective in like helping me stay calm. I’ve not felt necessarily a difference in my joints or my body. I’ve used several different like lotions and I’ve never really felt a decrease in inflammation. When I did a really hard leg workout and rubbed all the lotion I could on my right quad and then didn’t put any of my left quad and there’s no difference the next day.
So, I had a couple more supplements to add that list that are better. I maybe call them second-tier supplements that you don’t necessarily need. But one of the ones that you can start taking right away is another oil that’s going to make a big difference in how you feel is a fish oil. And the reason for that is that in fish oil, we have two different types of omega-3 fatty acids. And in our lives where our bodies are supposed to have a 2:1 ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in things like vegetable oils, fried food, fast food, things like that. Most Americans have a 1:20 ratio rather than the 2:1 we want. So, what that’s doing is increasing your inflammation, decreasing the circumference of your arteries and veins kind of causing that vasoconstriction, keeping them from being dilated. And that’s just putting you in a worse place in terms of your energy, in terms of your recovery, basically all the points we talked about earlier.
So, an omega-3 supplement or a fish oil supplement can be very, very helpful in decreasing your global inflammation to your body, but also decreasing the inflammation in your joints. So, that can be really helpful. There’s also another one like outside of the joints, called a Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10. It’s one of the only like anti-aging pills or supplements that’s been proven to work by continuing to allow the mitochondria, the powerhouse of your cells to function at a high level. I think that’s a really good one, especially, if you’re 50 or older. And the last one was a zinc or a magnesium. Zinc and magnesium are both great for making sure that your body’s producing optimal hormone levels to stop storing growth hormone, and they can help you get a deeper night’s sleep. So, if you’re the type of person who’s waking up, like repeatedly throughout the night, then a zinc magnesium supplement can be very helpful in making sure that you are sleeping through the night, getting more rest, relaxation and recovery when you are sleeping.
Casey Weade: I’ve taken ZMA for years and really enjoyed the way the sleep then I would get, and I’d get a real deep sleep, always had great dreams, and then I’d wake up and I’d feel stronger.
Nate Palmer: One of the things about ZMA is I just mentioned that it increases your testosterone and growth hormone. When I talked to a lot of women about this, they actually think that, “Oh, I don’t want to take that because I don’t want more testosterone,” but especially as we get older, this is very important for women to have those healthy balance chemicals. So, all men, all women and everyone, in general, has testosterone growth hormone and estrogen. We want to make sure that those hormones are doing their job. So, when I say increases it, it’s not going to turn you into an Arnold Schwarzenegger type. It’s just going to help you sleep better, recover better, and have a little richer, fuller life.
Casey Weade: And I don’t know that I’ve heard that it helps boost testosterone levels too. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that. It sounds like you agree that it does boost testosterone levels, but that would be one that I would definitely put on that list of things that really are beneficial from a supplemental standpoint, but I think they’re called supplements for a reason. They’re not easy buttons. You know, they’re not easy pills and everybody wants an easy pill. But it’s having that diet and exercise. It’s about the nutrition and fitness more than anything else. And sometimes it’s hard to get ourselves motivated to start doing those things. And one of the things that can motivate us is a health ailment. You know, we end up going to the doctor. They tell us that we have a heart problem, we’re going to have to get statins or they were in a situation where they say, “Hey, you need to take cholesterol medication. You need to take blood pressure medication.”
And it seems like they’re handing out blood pressure, especially cholesterol medication like it’s candy these days. What are your thoughts on specifically cholesterol and blood pressure medications and treatments and managing that another way? Is there a better way to manage it or are those things okay?
Nate Palmer: So, first of all, that’s an awesome question. Secondly, I’m not a doctor. So, before you just take any of the advice or things I’m about to say, just make sure you check with your doctor before you do anything else. That being said, Casey, I’ve had a lot of my clients come off of those medications because their markers improved dramatically with the corrected diet and some healthy, non-extreme exercise. So, I think that blood pressure medications and statins, the cholesterol medications, can both be easily avoided or like you can kind of get rid of them slowly over time as you start making healthier and healthier choices. First of all, cholesterol is a very funny thing because we look at this one number. We look at our LDL, HDL cholesterol, and we go, “Okay, it’s too high. Let’s slap a statin on there and bring it down.” Okay. So, the statin brings down that cholesterol number. But what we’re not taking into account is, is the actual ailment, what’s actually going on behind the scenes.
So, cholesterol is creeping up but that’s just a marker. That’s just a symptom of the actual problem. The actual problem that most people are experiencing is that inflammation we talked about earlier, where it’s called atherosclerosis, which I don’t know how to spell, but what happens is when your veins and arteries start getting clogged because you’re getting more and more buildup of plaque in them. And the way that we start clogging the arteries is when we’re eating too many high sugar, high energy foods, okay, so our blood becomes cyclical or like sugary. It’s almost become sticky. So, we have sticky blood and now we’re eating more and more those omega-6 fatty acids. That’s vegetable oils, fried foods, things like that, creamy dressings. Those break down into the called long-chain fatty acids and essentially all you need to know about that is that they combine with sticky blood to start kind of gumming up the works of your arteries. So, rather than having like this nice open area for your blood to pass through to and from your heart, it starts getting tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter, which causes that high blood pressure which has caused the increase of that HDL or LDL cholesterol to go up.
And so, we start seeing the results, the symptoms over here and we slap a statin on them, rather than addressing the real problem, which is our diet. Okay. So, going back to that omega-3s having more of those healthy fats so whether that’s avocado oil, olive oil, fish oil, coconut oil, all those things are going to have a healthier fat profile than the vegetable oils which we should be by and large avoiding sunflower, safflower, canola oil, just called the ones called just vegetable oil. Those are made in an unhealthy way and will actually come into the DNA of your cells of your body and mess with the mitochondria so you are effectively losing out on some of the power of yourself, which is why you start feeling like you’re aging, getting more tired, kind of just feeling worse and worse and worse because your cells aren’t functioning at quite a high level.
Casey Weade: So, can we still use olive oil though, because I put olive oil in everything?
Nate Palmer: Yeah. Olive oil…
Casey Weade: Coconut oil is cool?
Nate Palmer: Coconut oil is cool. Avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, those are my big three. I use an MCT oil, which is a medium-chain triglyceride oil. It’s just one piece of the coconut oil pulled out for easier digestion but I don’t use that really when I’m cooking. I mostly use that in coffee or things like that.
Casey Weade: Yeah, as a supplement. Right. We’re going to find that in like bulletproof coffee, right?
Nate Palmer: Yeah.
Casey Weade: All right. Well, hey, and we’re getting close to the end and I would feel remised if I didn’t mention your book Passport Fitness. It’s a great book, The No-Nonsense Guide To Staying In Shape No Matter What City You Wake Up In. And I just want to hear from you kind of how this book came about because you semi-retired or you totally retired, actually, for a period of time, your wife and you. And I think people just love to hear that story of how you retired at such a young age and then how you got back into fitness at the same time. And I’d also like to talk about your favorite travel tip in there for me. I know I threw a lot at you. So, we can just kind of lean into this retirement thing. Because I think the retirement deal was when you’re traveling so much and that’s kind of what led to this book. Am I wrong?
Nate Palmer: That’s right. Yeah. So, I wanted a way to kind of tell the story of some of those interesting things that happened to us while talking about my favorite thing in the world, which is health and fitness. So, basically, what happened in 2012, my wife and I decided to put together a plan to be able to retire by 2015 or at least like take a year in retirement. Because I feel like a lot of times people say like, “I’ll retire when I’m 60,” and then we’ll do whatever we plan on doing. But like we lived pretty frugally while we’re on the road and we’re able to do some crazy things that I don’t know if we’d be able to do when I’m 65 like sleeping on like the floors of dirt huts and things like that. Certainly, no offense. That’s what I want to be doing when I’m actually retired, but so we had saved up some money and we both quit our jobs, sold all of our stuff, and we moved down to Central and South America. We traveled through Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. And we would actually stay in workplaces as a way to kind of subsidize our food and rent. So, we had an opportunity to work on a floating barge in the middle of a lake next to the Panama Canal with nobody else around leading tours of the Panama Canal and on the flora and fauna out there.
So, catching crocodiles, looking at birds, feeding monkeys, just crazy stuff. It was unbelievable. And then we worked on a pig farm in Ecuador learning how to take pig from full pig to mostly sausage. That was awesome. And then we worked at an after school program in Peru. My wife got to teach math in Spanish and I taught chess in sports. So, it was a tremendous experience. And the other time we weren’t volunteering or working, we were just traveling around doing kind of some typical stuff, climbing mountains and seeing vineyards and just enjoying life.
Casey Weade: That’s awesome. And during that, yeah, you’re working out this whole time. Obviously, you’re probably working out while you’re actually working in some of these environments it sounds like but you developed some pretty good guidelines and advice for people to follow as they’re traveling in order to stay in shape. And a lot of the families we’re working with, I mean, one of their dreams, one of the things we’ve been waiting on their entire lives is to be able to travel and like we’ve got one couple that we’ve been working with now for several years, and ever since they retired, they’re probably traveling somewhere in the world. Anytime I talked to them, anytime they text me new pictures of wherever they’re at, and they’re probably gone from their home, eight months out of the year, at least, somewhere in the world. And you know, it’s not unusual for a lot of families we work with to travel for three months. A lot of them have RVs and they’re spending a lot of time on the road going from point to point, you know, going cross country for that matter, and just trying to maintain their health. And if you don’t have that gym that’s available or you’re on a long road trip, you don’t have time to stop for anything but fast food, what are some of your favorite tips in those environments?
Nate Palmer: I think the way you start your day is really, really important because once you get up and you kind of get moving, your day does not belong to you anymore. You don’t just get to be like, “Hey, like 2:30 this afternoon I’m going to go to the gym,” because you don’t know you’re going to be. Are you on the road? Are you on a hike? Are you doing something with the family? I just think that if you don’t start your day off with some healthy habits, it’s easy for the day to get away from you. So, one of my favorite tips and not just for traveling, this also goes for the times when you’re at home as well, you start off your day with some water and some movement. So, every single day while we were traveling, I would pull out my suspension trainer so I actually put together a product based on kind of my experience out there called bottom the box.
Casey Weade: I actually have it in one of my bags right here, I think.
Nate Palmer: Oh yes, smart. So, that goes back to that bodyweight movement being the elixir of life I was talking about earlier. But what’s good is you get a 25, 30-minute workout in every single day. What you’re telling your body is that we need to produce energy first thing upon rising, we need to keep the body feeling really good, we need to minimize my fat levels and maximize our muscle.
Casey Weade: Right there?
Nate Palmer: Oh yeah, you got the – is that the monkey? The monkey bars or monkeys…
Casey Weade: With all the bands. My wife uses then when we’re traveling.
Nate Palmer: Oh yeah. Nice. Yeah, perfect. The suspension trainers, the one you’re going to need to like hook up to a door or a post or something like that. I hooked that up all over South America.
Casey Weade: Kind of like a TRX.
Nate Palmer: Yeah, exactly. That’s right. So, doing something like that in the morning is going to just make your day and your life so much better and you get it done with early. And then one thing I love about the small, like the short early workouts is that you create this process called metabolic snowballing because every single day you work out, you burn calories over the next 48 hours because your body’s replacing the muscle tissue that you broke down during the workout. So, once you start doing this and you start like seeing your body not only burning the calories during the workout, which is why resistance training is superior to cardio for fat loss, you’ll actually get that burn the next day and the following day. So, if you’re able to do this several days in a row, you just get the snowball effect, where you start feeling better, your fat starts melting away and you have the energy to do all the things that you want to do while you’re traveling which is amazing.
Casey Weade: Yeah. I think I miss out on that water piece and just a little bit of movement and exercise. The first thing you get up in the morning when I’m traveling, at least, so I think that’s really great. And I know we’re out of time, but I have to ask just one more question and it has to do with pre-workouts. So, I think you walk into a nutrition shop and you say, “Hey, I’m trying to get in shape, what should I buy?” They’re probably going to get you a multivitamin, they’re going to get you a pre-workout, they’re going to sell you some BCAAs if they can get you to do it, and then they’re also going to give you a protein. And, yes, usually going to be some kind of isolate, right? And so, what are your thoughts on pre-workouts because I think it seems like today, a lot of people are really against pre-workouts all together and they say, “Oh, those things are so bad for you. You shouldn’t start your day off that way. Maybe you shouldn’t start off with that much caffeine and putting all that in your body.” And you shared an interesting alternative, which would be chewing nicotine gum. I’m not sure that that’s going to hit a lot of the health nuts out there as a healthy way or healthy alternative pre-workouts but just hear what your thoughts on this.
Nate Palmer: I think a lot of people have a negative reaction when I talk about nicotine gum because nicotine equals cigarettes in most people’s minds but what ends up happening is it’s nicotine is just a chemical just like caffeine, just like anything else. And depending on how you want to use your chemicals, it can really make or break like the effectiveness of what you’re doing rather than getting tied up if this is black or this is white. So, nicotine is a stimulant but it’s also has a way shorter half-life than caffeine so if you’re ever like traveling, but you don’t necessarily want to just have a cup of coffee, you just need to stay awake a little longer in the car if you’re doing a workout, it also can help increase your focus, your performance, and then like it’s shown on tests to increase your memory short-term.
So, if I’m taking a test or if I’m doing something that requires a lot of focus, shooting like a two-milligram piece of nicotine gum can be all the stimulant I need to get through that piece and then I can kind of spit that out and then go take a nap, rather than trying to pound a cup of coffee and then try to nap after that. So, I also like one of my favorite non-stimulant pre-workouts is just having a pickle. It gives you a little bit extra sodium, gives you kind of the pump you need, helps you get some more water into those joints. You’ll just feel a lot better.
Casey Weade: Do you believe in any traditional or is that just that is Nate’s deal? He chews a piece of nicotine gum, pops a pickle in his mouth, he is ready to go.
Nate Palmer: It sounds so much more interesting if I said it. Yeah, that’s it. That’s all the only gum but I do like some pre-workouts. I do like the stimulants like I have a really intense pre-workout.
Casey Weade: Like Xplode?
Nate Palmer: I don’t use that one anymore. There’s a couple of key things that you want to have included in a pre-workout that most don’t. For example, like if you see taurine in a pre-workout, don’t buy it because taurine is a caffeine antagonist, which means that it mutes the effectiveness of the caffeine and that what you want for the energy-boosting effects. So, I don’t know why companies are still putting it in there but like if you look at Red Bull, if you look at Monster, they all have taurine in it and it doesn’t work the way they think it works. I don’t know. Well, maybe they want to sell more because you’re tired again. So, I do have one that I really liked that but I’ve done a lot of research to find the one that doesn’t have any extra ingredients with the base of what I need in there.
Casey Weade: And now is that something that you’re able to share? I don’t know if there’s any infringement or anything. Can you tell us what that is?
Nate Palmer: It’s called AML, Advanced Molecular Labs Pre is what it’s called. They’ve got one that it’s a stimulant. It has 400 milligrams of caffeine. I take just like half dose of that and they also have a stim-free one which is kind of nice because it has the things that are going to give you that nitros like if you’re working out and you want that pump, you know, you want to like work a little harder without necessarily having a lot of caffeine, it’s kind of nice. It’s nice having those.
Casey Weade: Well, Nate, I really enjoyed talking to you. I love this conversation. It had taken us over our allotted time by about 15 minutes, so I usually don’t go that far over but love talking to you, love talking fitness. It’s a great conversation, wealth and knowledge. And you’ve got a wealth of resources at the same time. You’ve been so generous. You have a special offer for those that are listening to the podcast right now. And I would love if you could just share with us and our audience what that is.
Nate Palmer: So, it’s called My Million Dollar Meal Plan. It’s normally $50. It lays out for you how to eat in a way to communicate with your body to have energy and actually use your visceral belly fat to create more energy and more focus in your life. So, you can find that at N8TrainingSystems.com/RetireWithPurpose. You can go there and grab that for free.
Casey Weade: That’s awesome. And Nate sells that for $49 and, boy, I mean, if it leads to an extra five years of a healthy retirement, I think it’s well worth it. And it’s a heck of a really nice give. So, Nate, thank you so much for doing that for us. Thank you for joining us on the show. Can’t wait to do it again.
Nate Palmer: Thank you so much, Casey. It’s good to talk to you.