Guest Episode
July 3, 2022

Jeff Cavaliere: Optimize Your Exercise Program with Science-Based Tools

Listen or watch on your favorite platforms

My guest this episode is Jeff Cavaliere, MSPT CSCS, a world-class physical therapist and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Jeff has coached athletes ranging from novice to professional and has taught science-based physical training protocols to tens of millions of everyday people via his enormously clear and actionable online programs. Jeff is a true expert on proper resistance and cardiovascular training, injury prevention and rehabilitation and has extensive knowledge on proper form, posture, nutrition and supplementation. We discuss how to best design and optimize a physical training program to achieve your specific goals. We also discuss how to build and leverage mental focus during workouts, when and how to stretch, pain management and enhancing workout recovery and sleep, and how to personalize your training and nutrition program over time. Jeff’s knowledge and science-based approach ought to benefit everyone in reaching their desired fitness, aesthetic and overall health goals.

Jeff’s Articles on Workout Splits

Jeff’s Videos

Other Resources

About this Guest

Jeff Cavaliere

  • 00:00:00 Jeff Cavaliere, Physical Training
  • 00:03:27 Momentous Supplements, AG1 (Athletic Greens), Eight Sleep, ROKA
  • 00:08:38 Tool: A Fitness Plan for General Health
  • 00:13:27 Tool: Optimizing Body Part Training Splits
  • 00:20:12 Two-a-Day Training
  • 00:22:33 Cardiovascular Conditioning, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) & Skills
  • 00:28:24 Tool: Mind-Muscle Connection, The Cavaliere Cramp Contraction Test
  • 00:35:05 “Muscularity” & Resting Tone
  • 00:41:31 Tool: Muscle Recovery & Soreness, Grip Strength
  • 00:50:39 Sleep & Sleep Position
  • 00:57:24 Active (Dynamic) vs. Passive Stretching, Timing & Healing Muscle
  • 01:07:23 Tool: Jumping Rope
  • 01:12:56 Internal & External Rotation, Upright Row vs. High Pull
  • 01:24:27 Back Pain Relief & Medial Glutes, Body Pain & Origins
  • 01:37:39 Tool: Properly Holding Weights & Deepening Grip
  • 01:43:54 Tool: Physical Recovery, Heat & Cold Exposure
  • 01:47:19 Tool: Record Keeping for Training Performance & Rest Time
  • 01:51:47 Nutrition Principles & Consistency, Processed Foods & Sugar
  • 02:00:15 Tool: “Plate Eating”: Protein, Fibrous & Starchy Carbohydrates
  • 02:11:25 Training in Men vs. Women, Training for Kids & Adolescents
  • 02:18:05 Tool: Pre- and Post-Training Nutrition
  • 02:26:30 Intensity & Training Consistency
  • 02:29:53 AthleanX, Jesse Laico & Fitness Journeys
  • 02:38:27 Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous Supplements, Instagram, Twitter, Neural Network Newsletter

Become a Huberman Lab Premium member to access full episode transcripts & more

Members also get to submit questions for AMA episodes, plus access to exclusive bonus content. A significant portion of proceeds are donated to fund human scientific research.

Become a Member

or sign in to view this Transcript

Andrew Huberman:

Welcome to the Huberman Lab podcast, where we discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life.

Andrew Huberman:

I'm Andrew Huberman and I'm a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine. Today my guest is Jeff Cavaliere. Jeff Cavaliere holds a master of science in physical therapy and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He did his training at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, one of the top five programs in the world in physical therapy and sports medicine. I discovered Jeff Cavaliere over 10 years ago from his online content. His online content includes information about how to train for strength; how to train for hypertrophy, which is muscle growth; how to train for endurance; as well as how to rehabilitate injuries to avoid muscular imbalances; nutrition; and supplementation. I've always found his content to be incredibly science-based, incredibly clear, sometimes surprising, and always incredibly actionable. It is therefore not surprising that he has one of the largest online platforms for fitness, nutrition, supplementation, and injury rehabilitation.

Andrew Huberman:

Jeff has also worked with an enormous number of professional athletes and has served as head physical therapist and assistant strength coach for the New York Mets. Again, the content that Jeff Cavaliere has posted online has been so immensely useful to me over the years that I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to sit down with him and ask him about everything from how to train in terms of how to split up the body parts that you train across the week, how to integrate strength training and endurance training, when to stretch, how to stretch. Indeed, we talked about nutrition, we talk a bit about supplementation. We talk about how to really avoid creating imbalances in muscle and in neural control over muscle. This is one thing that's really wonderful about Jeff, he really has an understanding of not just how muscles and bones and tendons and ligaments work together, but how the nervous system interfaces with those.

Andrew Huberman:

We talked about the mental side of training, including when to bring specific concentration to the muscles that you're training, and when to think more about how to move weights through space and think more about the movements overall. I'm certain that you'll find the conversation that we held to be immensely useful and informative for your fitness practices and also for how you mentally approach fitness in general and how to set up a lifelong fitness practice, one that will give you the strength that you desire, one that will give you the aesthetic results that you desire, one that will set you up for endurance and cardiovascular health. Basically an overall fitness program. I really feel this is where Jeff Cavaliere shines above and beyond so many of the other PTs in fitness, so-called influencers that are out there. Again, everything is grounded in science, everything is clear, and everything is actionable.

Andrew Huberman:

And while we do cover an enormous amount of information during today's episode, if you want to dive even deeper into that information, you can go to athleanx.com, where you'll find some of Jeff's programs. You can also find him at ATHLEAN-X on YouTube. There you'll find videos, for instance like how to repair or heal from lower back pain, something that I actually followed directly long before I ever met Jeff, has over 32 million views. And that is not by accident, it is because the protocols there, again, are surprising and actionable. They relieved my back pain very quickly without surgery. So I'm immensely grateful for that content and it extends into everything from, again, hypertrophy, endurance, and straight training and so on. Again, it's athleanx.com, that's the website, ATHLEAN-X on YouTube, and also athleanx on Instagram.

Andrew Huberman:

The Huberman Lab podcast is proud to announce that we've partnered with Momentous supplements. We've done that for several reasons. First of all, the quality of their supplements is exceedingly high. Second of all, we wanted to have a location where you could find all of the supplements discussed on the Huberman Lab podcast in one easy-to-find place. You can now find that place at livemomentous.com/Huberman. In addition, Momentous supplements ship internationally, something that a lot of other supplement companies simply do not do. So that's terrific whether or not you live in the U.S. or you live abroad. Right now, not all of the supplements that we discuss on the Huberman Lab podcast are listed, but that catalog of supplements is being expanded very rapidly, and a good number of them that we've talked about, some of the more prominent ones for sleep and focus and other aspects of mental and physical health, are already there. Again, you can find them at livemomentous.com/Huberman.

Andrew Huberman:

Before we begin, I'd like to emphasize that this podcast is separate from my teaching and research roles at Stanford. It is, however, part of my desire and effort to bring zero-cost-to-consumer information about science and science-related tools to the general public. In keeping with that theme, I'd like to thank the sponsors of today's podcast.

Andrew Huberman:

And now for my discussion with Jeff Cavaliere. Jeff, such a pleasure for me to have you here.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I'm glad to be here. It's amazing.

Andrew Huberman:

I'm a longtime consumer of your content. I've learned a tremendous amount about fitness, both in the weight room, cardio, nutrition, things that I've applied for over a decade. So for me, this is particularly meaningful, and my goal here is really to ask a bunch of questions to which I'm interested in the answers, but also for which I know the audience is really curious about.

Andrew Huberman:

So one of your mantras is, "If you want to look like an athlete, train like an athlete," and I think that's something really special that sets aside what you do from what a lot of other very well-qualified people do. And in terms of the use of weights and resistance, whether or not it's body weight or weights in the gym or pulleys versus cardio, in terms of overall health, aesthetics, and athleticism, is there a way that you could point to the idea that maybe people should be doing 50% resistance training and 50% cardio? Maybe it's 70/30, maybe it's 30/70, and here I'm talking about the typical person who would like to maintain or maybe even add some muscle mass. Probably in particular areas, for most people, as opposed to just overall mass, although we'll talk about that later. And people want to maintain a relatively low body fat percentage and be in good cardiovascular health. What's the sort of contour of a basic program that anybody could think about as a starting place?

Jeff Cavaliere:

I think it's like a 60/40 split, which would be leaning towards weight training — strength — and then the conditioning aspect be about 40%. So if you look at it over a course of a training week, I mean five days in a gym would be a great task. And obviously not in the gym. It could be done at home, but three days strength training, Monday, Wednesday, Friday; conditioning Tuesday, Thursday, two days. It's a pretty easy, roundabout way to split that up. Of course, depending upon training goals and, as you said, the aesthetic goals, that will shift dramatically. But if you want to see the benefits of both, that's probably the effective dose for strength training and the effective dose for conditioning at the bare minimum level. Again, being a much better performer, conditioning-wise, you're going to want to do more than that.

Andrew Huberman:

And in terms of the duration of those workouts, what's your suggestion? I've been weight training for about 30 years, running for about 30 years, and mainly for health, and have found that if I work hard in the gym or at resistance training for more than 60 minutes or so, it's very hard for me to recover. I start getting colds, I start getting weaker from workout to workout. But amazingly, at least to me, if I keep those workouts to about 10 minutes of warmup and 50, 5-0, minutes or so of really hard work for resistance training, and I keep the cardiovascular work to about 30 to 45 minutes, I feel great. And I seem to make some progress, at least some place in the workout from workout to workout.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah, I mean those are good numbers because those are the kind of numbers that we usually preach. We try to keep our workouts to an hour or less, if possible. Now, depending upon the split that you're following, if you're on a total-body split, there's just going to be more that has to be done in a given amount of time. And again, if you're training primarily for strength, that could prolong the workout. Because the longer rest times in between sets, but in general when you're not focused on that one aspect, but the overall health picture, then you can get the job done in under an hour. And again, I always say, on top of "If you want to look like an athlete, train like an athlete" is, "You can either train long or you can train hard, but you can't do both." And I really believe that the focus for me, I have a busy life, I have a lot of other things that I do, believe it or not, and I want to go hard and I want to go get out. And I find that my body also responds to that and I think a lot of guys' bodies respond to that. And particularly as you start to get older, I think it's the length of the workout that actually causes more problems than the intensity of what you're doing, particularly if you're warmed up properly, like you said. I've found, personally, that my warmup has had to become more of an integral part of my workout than it ever has before. I could get in the gym when I was 20, and I'm going right over, I'm doing the one set, two sets, I'm ready to go. And I never do another workout warmup set for any of the other exercise I do the rest of the day. That's not true anymore. And I found that as long as I'm willing to give myself a little bit of a warmup, the intensity is not what bothers me. I'm very much in control of the weights that I use and it doesn't bother me. But if I start to go pretty long, I start to feel achy, or I start to have problems. So again, depending upon age, that also plays a factor in the length. But again, I think everybody, on a standard program, can achieve the results that they want within an hour.

Andrew Huberman:

In terms of splits, you mentioned splits, and so for those who aren't familiar with this term "splits," it's really which body parts are you training on which days. Seems like almost everybody follows a weekly workout schedule, although the body, of course, doesn't care about the week, right? There's no reason to think that once every seven days or twice every seven days makes sense physiologically, it's just the body doesn't work that ... but that's the way life is structured. I've seen you discuss three days a week, whole-body workouts. I've heard of splits like pushing one day, pulling another day, legs another day, a day off, repeat. There's so many variations on this. What are some general themes that we can throw out there? And in order to avoid the huge matrix of possibilities, you have some wonderful content that points to those, and in our caption show notes we will link out to some of those different ways to design splits. But in terms of giving people a logic of how to think about splitting up body parts, what's governing the split? What are the rules and the logic that dictate a split?

Jeff Cavaliere:

For me, the first rule is, will you stick to it, right? Because I don't particularly like full-body splits. I was actually talking to Jesse about that the other day. I don't necessarily like to have to train everything. Now, of course, the volumes will come down per muscle group, but if you don't like to do that and you actually don't look forward to your workout because you're dreading having to do everything and feeling maybe too fatigued by the time your workout's over, or the fact that those generally do take a little bit longer and don't fit into your schedule. I don't care how effective the split is, a split not done is not effective. So you need to find one that fits. So maybe you go into an alternative option like push-pull legs, like you mentioned. And that could be done either one cycle through the week, on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday split, or it could be twice in a week.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So actually training six times, where you repeat it, pull-push legs, pull-push legs, or however you want to do it, with either a day off in between the three days or at the end of the six days. And again, that actually impacts your schedule. I've broken that down before, where if you put it in between the three days, it's good because you're giving yourself an extra rest day in between. But it starts to shift that day off every week as we wrap around. So for those guys that were choosing that seven-day schedule out of convenience, in our heads, it starts to mess with that off day. So others like to just keep it predictably, let's say, on a Sunday, and train six days in a row. But that's a better way to group similar muscle actions together. Which, I definitely prefer that, because if I'm going to be training pulling movements, at least there's a synergy between them, and I feel like I'm looking to achieve one goal that day.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And then, quite honestly, you can go back to the bro-split days and those still work effectively. There's a reason why they worked in the past. I think that science shows that there are smarter ways to do them these days. You can come back and hit a related muscle. So you could do, let's say, biceps on one day and then come back two days later and do back, realizing, again, synergy between the exercises there. Your biceps are going to get stimulated again. So you could figure out ways to make that work. But the thing that I think is effective there is that tends to be one of the ones that people like the most because they can go in, they get their pump, they feel good. It's pretty solely focused on one muscle group.

Andrew Huberman:

Is that the definition of a bro split? One-

Jeff Cavaliere:

One muscle group a day, yeah.

Andrew Huberman:

I see. So it's very much geared towards strength and aesthetics, really maximizing chest one day-

Jeff Cavaliere:

Probably more aesthetics than strength, yeah. Yeah, you're just-

Andrew Huberman:

Hence the "bro," for the bro name.

Jeff Cavaliere:

For the bro, right.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But again, and here I am a science guy, and I could appreciate the benefits of a bro split, especially because, again, to what end, whose goal are we trying to achieve here? Theirs or ours? If I'm applying my standards and my goals or even athletic ideals, but they just want to get in shape, then it's perfectly fine to do a bro split in that instance. If you're sticking to it, again, and you're seeing the results that you want to see from it, but they're able to really keep their focus on one muscle they get to focus on. Look, a lot of times people struggle with the way an exercise feels until their second or third set, they don't have that proprioceptive ability to kind of lock in on an exercise. So spending a few, not only sets on the same exercise, but then doing another exercise with the same muscle group helps them to dial in a little bit better and get more out of their training.

Andrew Huberman:

That raised a really interesting, and I think important, question — early on when I started resistance training, which was when I was 16, in high school, I got in touch with and I was learning from Mike Mentzer. Right-

Jeff Cavaliere:

Me too. Me too.

Andrew Huberman:

Interesting.

Jeff Cavaliere:

That's crazy.

Andrew Huberman:

And Mike was very helpful, very, very helpful. We got to be friendly.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So I just read his book. I didn't get a chance to meet him, so I'm jealous.

Andrew Huberman:

Well, back then there was no internet. I paid by Western Union-type thing to send him some money.

Jeff Cavaliere:

From the back of the magazine.

Andrew Huberman:

And then he got on the phone with me, and my mother, at the time was like, "Why is this grown man calling the house?" And he gave me a very straightforward split, which was shoulders and arms one day. He had me taking two days off and then training legs, and then two days off and then chest and back, et cetera.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And that's a variation of a bro split too, where you're sort breaking them down that way — chest and back, or chest and bis, you know.

Andrew Huberman:

And they worked very well for me. I probably would've, because of my age I think, and because I was largely untrained, I think would've grown on many different programs. But it worked very well for me. I eventually made that an every other day thing. Shoulders, arms, day off; legs, day or two off. Because if you hit legs right, at least for me, I'm not training the next day. And then I'm not doing much of anything athletic the next day, and then chest and back and repeat and so on. And the reason I found that helpful is I almost always recovered between workouts. The six day a week program of push-pull legs, push-pull legs to me seems excruciating from two standpoints. One is, at least with my recovery abilities or lack of recovery abilities, I can't imagine coming back feeling fresh.

Andrew Huberman:

And the other one is if I'm in the gym more than four days a week, I really start to fatigue about the whole psychological experience of it. Whereas if I'm in there three or four days a week — in other words, if I put a day off in between each workout, I really want to be there, and I get in there with a lot of fire, and I'm also doing other things on the off days. So I love that you mentioned the split that you'll stick to and that you can bring the intensity to. Because I think that that's really important. I sometimes hear about two-a-day training. I've done two-a-day training twice in my lifetime, both times I got sick two days later.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah, no that's-

Andrew Huberman:

That's correlation, not causation. But is there ever an instance where two-a-day weight training makes sense for the non-drug-assisted, typical-recovery-ability person?

Jeff Cavaliere:

I actually think it makes sense in some scenarios, but it doesn't make sense practically for a lot of people's schedule. So if you could break down, let's say you were going to do even some version of a total body session, or maybe you're going to do an upper-lower split. You could do an upper workout and do the anterior chain or the pushing portion of that in one session and then come back and do the pulling session later on at night, if you had the opportunity to. The thing that you benefit from there is the freshness of focus. Again, something, in my head, is sacrificed by the time you get towards the latter half of whatever workout you're in. To the same point you made before, when you start to approach that 50 minutes, an hour mark, you are either losing focus, you're losing energy, you're losing contractile ability, or losing something.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And if you're relegating, whatever it is, the pulling portion of that to the end of that workout, something suffers. And if they realize that's happening, then maybe you switch them up the next time you do the workout, where the pulling portion of the upper workout goes first and then the pushing goes later. So you're at least not just continuing that cycle, but at the same time, if you were able to split them up, you get a chance to kind of take a break. You could have that freshness of focus again, and you could actually get a better effort in. Because again, I think effort drives the results. So if the effort is not compromised, then you should be able to do that. But systemically, is that a problem? And I think that it is a problem for a lot of people. It's just hard to rev the engine up a lot of times in the day. You warm that thing up once, It's like that car in the winter. You get it going once, you're lucky, now you got to drive it the rest of the day. But put it in the garage and try to start it the next day, it's a problem. So young people can get away with it a lot more than older people could.

Andrew Huberman:

Well I've never had a strong recovery quotient, but if I stick to this one day off in between, every once in a while, two days in a row of training. Maybe because I have to travel and I want to make sure I get all the workouts in kind of thing, I seem to be okay. I like your example of warming up the car, spoken like a true East Coaster. Those of us from the West Coast, I took a moment there. But folks from the East Coast and the Midwest get it, and certainly from Europe.

Andrew Huberman:

In terms of the mixing up of cardiovascular training and resistance training, same day, different day? Which one should come first? Which one should come second? If one's main goals, again everyone listening has different goals, most people would like to either maintain or gain some muscle. I don't know many people that want to lose muscle. Maintain or gain some muscle, usually in specific locations on their body. Most people would like to be a bit leaner or a lot leaner. There are a few people out there that are either naturally lean or actually just want to gain weight. But assuming that people want to get leaner, put on some muscle or maintain muscle and want to have a healthy heart and a healthy brain, which basically requires a healthy cardiovascular system, how would you incorporate cardiovascular work into the overall weekly regimen?

Jeff Cavaliere:

So again, I think that the bare minimum is probably twice a week in terms of cardiovascular if you want to have some semblance of cardiovascular conditioning. But I think most people who actually need it more or want to pursue it more than that are going to need more time to do that. So at some point it can't just be relegated to a day off, or a day off from the weight training workouts. So at some point it has to occur on the same day. And in that case, I just like to put it ... if that is not your primary goal, but you're looking more for just the overall picture, the aesthetics you mentioned, putting muscle on in certain areas ... then I would put it at the end of the workout. Because you don't want to in any way compromise the weight training workout. And as we've sort of referenced a couple times already, the intensity of those workouts is important, and we know there's a strength component to those workouts also that is going to be a helpful stimulus for growth.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So the conditioning, the cardio, that stuff done prior to any strength training workout, is likely going to impair your ability to perform at your best. So unless it's just done for a quick little warmup in the beginning, but then it's not sustained long enough really to be of benefit for cardiovascular conditioning. So I like to put that at the end, realizing that even if my effort level is lower, or my output is lower, if it's still placing a demand on my cardiac output to get that conditioning effect because I'm fatigued, it still has a demand on my cardiac output. So it's still achieving its goal, but it didn't interfere with my main goal of being able to increase my performance in the gym.

Andrew Huberman:

Got it. And in terms of the form of cardiovascular training, I've seen you do a number of, I have to say, very impressive high-intensity interval-type work. So burpee-type work or pushups with crunches mixed into them. Anyway, people can see your videos. I didn't describe those in the best way, but rather than on the treadmill or out jogging for 30, 45 minutes — is that because you prefer higher intensity, higher heart rate-type training, or is it because you live in cold Connecticut and you don't want to be out jogging on the roads in the middle of the winter? What-

Jeff Cavaliere:

I think all the above. Those are factors from a personal level, but I think that if we could blend function across these realms and not have such a delineation between "this is my weight training," and, "this is my conditioning," but figure out a way to blend them together, I always think that you've got a better opportunity to get that more well-rounded result. And I like to mix up that straight conditioning work and also some of the footwork drills. We have some high expectations for guys that come into our programs to just do some footwork drills.

Andrew Huberman:

Like ladders.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Like ladders or line drills or something. And what happens, people become intrigued and interested. "I haven't tried this since high school," and they become interested in just the challenge of it. And then as we become almost distracted by the challenge, we're now finding ourselves conditioning. And I always think that's an important part that sometimes you got to draw people in to show them what they might be interested in. And from the output or the effect of it, I just think that when you're able to blend, still maintain some of that strength training into the exercise. So as you mentioned, let's say I'm doing some kind of a push-up or burpee, there is an anaerobic component to that that is going to be helpful rather than just walking or just jogging. Not to say that isn't an effective means for strict cardiac conditioning, it's one of the ways that we've had for centuries to do it. But I just think that if we can blend it, then it becomes maybe a little bit more interesting, and you get some of those crossover benefits, and it doesn't become so segmented in terms of what we're trying to do.

Andrew Huberman:

I love the idea of bringing some mental challenge and some desire to improve a skill while conditioning. That's not something that I've thought of before, and it's simply because I've overlooked it, but it makes sense. Because my sister, who's reasonably fit, although I'm always trying to get her to do a bit more, she always asks me, "What should I take?" And I'm a believer in supplements for certain people in certain instances, but I keep telling her the behaviors and nutrition are going to have the greatest outsize positive effect. And she loves things like dance classes, or kickboxing, these kinds of things which ... so it makes sense that if you can hook somebody on the conditioning aspect or the skill aspect and trick them into doing more cardio, so to speak, that's terrific.

Andrew Huberman:

Also, the neuroscientist in me just has to say, forgive me, that anytime you're engaging the two sets of motor neurons, the ones in your brain, the upper motor neurons, and the ones in your spinal cord ... anytime you're engaging those upper motor neurons, which are for deliberate well-controlled action, you're doing a great thing for your brain in terms of brain longevity.

Andrew Huberman:

So now I need to incorporate some actual skills into my training. Going back to weight training a bit, one of the most important things I learned from you over the years was that when training to increase muscle size, to really think not so much about moving weights, but more about challenging muscles. I also heard this from my friend Ben Pakulski — he was a bodybuilder, now he's into other aspects of fitness, teaches fitness, but — "Don't move weight to challenge muscles unless you're trying to power lift or something of that sort," which I'm not, immensely helpful. But the other thing that I learned from you that I combined with that was this idea that certain muscles will grow better and get stronger much more easily. Maybe even will recover better because of our ability to contract them really hard. And this, what I call the Cavaliere test, which is, if I could paraphrase ... it's always the bicep, isn't it?

Jeff Cavaliere:

Let's use it.

Andrew Huberman:

Let's use the calf or the bicep. If you can flex your bicep to the point where it hurts a little bit, it almost feels like a cramp, or you can flex your calf to the point where it really cramps up a little bit, almost feels like it's knotting up. That's a pretty good indication that you're going to be able to stimulate that muscle well under load if you're doing the movement properly. And that's the feeling to actually aim for each repetition, maybe even throughout the repetition. For me, this completely transformed my results. And this was maybe five, six years ago that I first heard this from you. Body parts that, for me, lagged behind that, I thought maybe genetically weren't going to work for me, immediately just started growing. And I was getting stronger and stronger, and I thought, this is really something.

Andrew Huberman:

So much so that I've dedicated a portion of my research, in collaboration with another group, to try and understand what's happening in these upper motor neurons in the brain that can engage the muscles even more. And that it's not just about progressive overload or putting a pump into the muscle, that this mind-muscle connection is a real thing when it comes to predicting results and that you can get better at it. So forgive me if we're paraphrasing your incredible content around this. It made a tremendous difference for me and a number of other people that I've passed that along to. First of all, how did you arrive at that? Because we hear about the mind-muscle connection, but I really heard it first from you. How did you arrive at this cramp test? The Cavaliere test, as I'll call it. It's always weird when people name things after themselves in science, but other scientists can name things.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I'll take it.

Andrew Huberman:

So there is now officially — the Cavaliere test is whether or not you can cramp the muscle in the absence of load. Just flexing it to the point where it hurts a little bit, that would be a good indication that you could grow that muscle well. How did you come up with this?

Jeff Cavaliere:

Honestly, it's something that made sense to me because during my workouts, even as a young kid just starting out, I always wanted to know, what is it working? A lot of people ask that question, more so than you'd think. "What is this supposed to work?" And I don't know if you've ever noticed, but when people ask that question, if they're being trained by a trainer, and the trainer's saying, "Well just do this, do this exercise," and they'll show you how to do it. But then they'll say, "But what is it supposed to work? Where am I supposed to feel this?" People, they just inherently ask that question. A lot of people will. I was one of those that did that and I asked that question. Not because I knew what I was doing, but just because I wanted to know what was supposed to be doing the work.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Once you do that and you start to seek that out and say, "Okay, well the bicep is what's supposed to be doing the work," then I want to make sure that bicep is doing the work. So then I would tweak the movement to make it do more work or feel more uncomfortable or get a stronger contraction, knowing if that's supposed to do the job. It wasn't until PT school that I'm learning, "Oh, well, flexion of the elbow is the brachialis and the bias, and the bias is responsible for supination." I learned other components of it, but all I wanted to know was, to bring my arm up in a curl, what is supposed to do the job? So I would seek out ways to make that happen better. And when I was able to do that, I could feel the stronger contraction.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And I was no visionary. I just felt like I knew that that was going to be better for me if the muscle I was trying to grow was being stressed more effectively. So when I was attempting to do this across different exercises, I would notice that what I could do potentially on a curl where my arm is up, were you asking me to flex my bicep, that position, I couldn't do if I was doing a concentration curl. Or I couldn't carry over to a cable curl and that shouldn't really change. Because the function is still largely the same. There's still elbow flexion, there's still supination. Why am I not able to do it there? And that's when it clued into me that your mind-muscle connection, not just your mind with one muscle, but on every exercise, matters.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And it varies from exercise to exercise. And even if you don't gain muscle size from doing that, although I think it's very hard not to, especially if you're not used to doing that. There's a term I like to call muscularity, which is a difference. It's the level of resting tone in the muscle. That improves dramatically. If you can learn how to start to engage that muscle better, the resting tone of that muscle is harder. It's more at attention, it's just more alive. And it's all driven from being able to connect better neurologically with the muscle that you're trying to train. I've talked about it a lot: inefficiency is really what you're trying to seek in movements when you're trying to create hypertrophy. When strength is your goal, efficiency of the movement is what you're looking for. You're looking to have muscles tie together and work well efficiently — the chest, the shoulders, the triceps — to get a bar off of your chest during a bench press.

Jeff Cavaliere:

You're not looking to make it a very inefficient leverage for your chest to try to grow your chest in a bench press. You're trying to let the whole package come together for a greater output. But when you're trying to go and create muscle hypertrophy, or even this muscularity that I talk about, you need to seek ways to make it feel more uncomfortable. If you don't feel the discomfort, then you're doing something wrong. And I struggle to this day on certain muscle groups to still do that. Even knowing what I'm trying to work and knowing what the goal of everything I'm preaching here, it's very difficult for some muscles and for certain people to do this on certain muscles. But as you mentioned, practice does help. And the more you become consistent and deliberate with what you're trying to do, the more of a result you actually get.

Andrew Huberman:

It's couple of really important points I'd like to delve into further. First of all, my hunch was always that the muscle groups that grew most easily and that I could contract hardest without any ... the first time I did the Cavaliere test, got 10 out 10. If we give it a 10-out-of-10 scale, I could cinch, isolate those muscles, cinch them, grow them easily. There's certain body parts, I don't want to say which ones because it doesn't really matter, that I always felt like if I just did push-ups, they would grow. And these muscles are far away from any of the muscles that are supposed to be involved in push-ups. Even though I like to think I'm doing push-ups correctly, you'll tell me if I'm not. But some of that I think is genetic. And some of that has to do with the sports that I played when I was younger. So I swam, I played soccer, I skateboarded, and then later I boxed. And so the muscles involved in those sports were always very easy to engage later when I went into the gym.

Andrew Huberman:

So I guess perhaps a call to parents, having kids do a lot of dynamic-

Andrew Huberman:

... that perhaps a call to parents, having kids do a lot of dynamic activity. Seems like it might be a good idea.

Andrew Huberman:

The other thing is this issue of muscularity. I am so glad you brought that up. There are, I have to imagine, a large number of listeners who don't want to get bigger. They don't want to take up a larger clothing size. They don't want to take up more space. In fact, some of them would like to take up less space, but they want that quality that you're describing, which is that ... oftentimes you hear it more in the ... here I'm stereotyping a bit, but with kindness, you hear from women who are in weight training. They say, "I don't want to get big." Often. Sometimes, they do. But most women that I've helped weight train would talk about weight training, say, "I don't want to get bigger. I want to get tone." And I think what they're referring to is this quality of muscularity.

PART 1 OF 5 ENDS [00:32:04]

Jeff Cavaliere:

Hundred percent.

Andrew Huberman:

This idea that at resting or at close to rest, or anytime someone reaches out and grabs a glass, that the muscles almost look like they're twitching underneath the skin, and yet it's not Saran-wrapped skin, anatomy chart-type skin. This thing of muscularity or resting tone has a physiological basis. I think it's how readily the nerves are communicating with the muscles. And you're saying that by learning to engage the muscles more actively, the resting tone or muscularity can improve. Have you seen that both in men and women?

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Andrew Huberman:

And do you think this is something that takes upkeep, maintenance? Or that once you develop that in a muscle, you can just let it coast?

Jeff Cavaliere:

I think like everything, it requires upkeep. Use it or lose it, I do believe firmly. But I think that the development of the connection is going to be harder than the maintenance of the connection. As I said, I still struggle to this day for myself with unnamed muscle groups also. But there's just certain areas that are harder for your brain, for whatever reason, to just develop that connection at that type of level to create that extra strong contraction. But I think that with proper dedication and focus, and I'll go right out and say, calves is one of the areas that I don't necessarily have a great connection with. And I also obviously must not care so much because I don't put in the time and effort to create that connection as I could. So I think what might happen is yeah, there could be a struggle there, but then with struggle comes disinterest because you're like, "Well, screw it. I'm a calf-not and I'm not going to do anything about it."

Jeff Cavaliere:

So I think if you put the required effort in and the time and repetitions, that you will develop that. And once you do develop it, it's going to stick around a lot longer than it would had you not invested any time into it at all, not requiring as much of that. But I don't know. You mentioned, now when you train, it's like this is just part of how you train now. You're going hard. You're trying to really forcibly contract. You're not just moving the weight, I say, from point A to point B, but you're trying to contract the weight through that range. That is a mindset that I try to put into everything I'm doing, unless of course I'm focused on a strength exercise, where I'm just trying to lift a greater amount and use all the muscles together.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But when the goal is inefficiency for hypertrophy, I am really trying to create that contraction. And it's just part of my training. So I guess that for consistency's sake, as long as I'm training, it's happening. If I get away from training, that's not happening at all. But even there, I probably, another embarrassing admission, probably will mindfully do it throughout the day even with no weight in my hand in certain muscle groups. Whether it be my abs or my arm or my shoulders or something, I'm doing something just to engage the muscles. And I do think that some of that inane practice actually helps by the time you go back into the gym. You just keep that connection going.

Andrew Huberman:

Well, it certainly obeys all the rules of neuroplasticity. The "fire together, wire together" mantra, which are the words of my colleague Carla Shatz, hold true for all aspects of neural function, including nerve to muscle. So these flexing throughout the day or the deliberate isolation of contracting a muscle throughout the day is, without question, engaging neuroplasticity. And if you were to do fewer of those repetitions, you're going to get less engagement of the nerve-to-muscle connection. I can say this with a smile and with confidence because one of the first things all neuroscience students learn is about the neuromuscular junction, because it's a really simple example of where the more times the nerve fires and gets the muscle to contract, the stronger that connection get, receptors are brought there, et cetera, et cetera. There's a whole bunch of mechanisms for the topic of another podcast, but basically that practice throughout the day makes total sense and it works.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And believe me, there's no science behind that in terms of the application of it. You do it when ... You catch yourself doing it from time to time, but it is definitely something that's easily done discreetly and you wind up doing it. Actually, I think in a recent video when I did talk about growing your arms by just improving the connection, not that that connection itself is applying any load or resistance that's significant to create overload for growth, but it's the development of that connection that I then take back with me into the gym at a more effective level that takes every exercise I do there and makes it more effective.

Andrew Huberman:

I'd say sharpening the blade, so to speak. It certainly obeys the laws of nerve-to-muscle physiology.

Andrew Huberman:

I want to just touch on a couple of things. If the goal is to challenge muscles and one is dividing their body into, let's say, a three- or four-day-a-week split or so, or maybe up to six, how do you know when a muscle is ready to be challenged again? I've heard, "Okay, every 48 hours protein synthesis increases, and then we'll get into this, and then it drops off." But frankly, if I train my legs hard, I can get stronger from workout to workout, or at least better, in some way, workout to workout, leg workout to leg workout, training them once every five to eight days. If I train them more often, I get worse. So whatever that 48-hour-to-72-hour thing is, somehow my legs don't obey that. Or maybe something else is wrong with me, but I'm sure there are many things else wrong with me. But how do you assess recovery at the local level? Meaning at the level of the muscles. So we'll talk about soreness and getting better, stronger, more repetitions, et cetera. And then the systemic level, the level of the nervous system.

Andrew Huberman:

And I'd love for you to tell us about the tool that, again, I learned from you, which is actually using a physical scale, because it turns out this is that, and we'll let you tell what the tool is, but that tool is also actively being used for assessing cognitive decline and cognitive maintenance and cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's and dementia.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Sure, makes total sense. Makes total sense. All right.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Regarding the first part of the question, how would you dictate when a muscle's recovered? I do think that what you're experiencing is totally real, that different muscles recover at different rates. And I've always been so fascinated by this concept. I've talked about it internally with my team. But I feel like what we really need, the holy grail to training, is going to be when we're able to crack the code, on an individual basis, when a muscle is recovered, and that is going to dictate its training schedule. And the fact that you might have a bicep that could be trained via a pulling workout, a regular bicep-dedicated workout ... Forget the split at the moment. You might have a bicep that's able to be trained that can be trained again the next day, and then the next day, and then maybe you need a day off after that. And that can vary from person to person, for sure. And it can vary from muscle to muscle in that person over the course of time. As you mentioned, because the systemic recovery is going to impact all those muscles anyway.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But let's say you're systemically recovering, every muscle itself is going to have a recovery rate. And I think what's fascinating is that when you talked about before, we like to train this week or we have the way our mind looks at training, well, if that was the case with the biceps, that bicep is a slave to the rest of your training split. Where it's like, why does it have to be also at the end of every eighth day or whatever when it might respond better to something much more frequently, and your legs are also being thrown into that mix. That's a Mike Mentzer concept where he's training one set and be done for 14 days. There's such variability between muscle groups, and you're linking them all together.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I think that coming back and using muscle soreness as a guideline for that is one of the only tools we have in terms of the local level. We don't really have ... Being able to measure, let's say, CPK levels inside of a muscle would be amazing at a local level to see how recovered that muscle is. But that becomes fairly invasive. At least to my knowledge, it becomes fairly invasive. So what are our tools? I think that at the basic level, that's the one that most people can relate to and easily identify and then use that as a guideline. And if you're training when you're really sore, it's probably not a great idea. And it's probably a good indication that that muscle's not recovered. But at least hearing what you and I are saying here might be a comfort to the person to say, "Yeah, it is possible that it's not recovered." Just because 48 hours is the recommendation and just because research points to muscle protein synthesis needing a restimulation, well, maybe not. Maybe you're not necessarily there yet. And for that muscle, you're not there yet.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So it's all really interesting stuff. But as far as the systemic recovery, I think there's a lot of ways. People talk about resting heart rate measured in the morning, all different kinds of core temperature and things like that that might become altered in a state of nonrecovery. But grip strength is very, very much tied to performance and recovery. And when I was at the Mets, we used to actually take grip strength measurements as a baseline in spring training all the time. Now, obviously as a baseball player, you're gripping a bat. You're a pitcher, you're gripping a ball. Having good grip strength is important. So if you notice somebody had a very weak grip, it's just a good focal point of a specialized training component for the program.

Andrew Huberman:

You do this every day with those guys?

Jeff Cavaliere:

No. In spring training, we'd do a baseline entry-level measurement, and then we would measure it throughout the season, maybe once every two weeks or three weeks. And the idea there was to manage the recovery, measure the recovery. But I just gave it away. To determine overall recovery, your grip strength is pretty highly correlated. So we have found that with one of those scales, those old-fashioned bathroom scales at Bed Bath & Beyond, or whatever, you can get, which by the way, almost impossible. I believe Jesse and I were searching for the last scale to put in that video, and we almost couldn't find one because everything is digital and everything ... It's like this, I'm looking at the old-fashioned dial controls.

Andrew Huberman:

It's like old Macintosh computers, there's a huge market for them. And old phones. Kids, keep your phones now. In 30 years, the lame phone now will be worth a lot of money.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Really worth a lot. I wound up finding one, and it's a great tool for just squeezing the scale with your hands and seeing what type of output you could get. And I think we all can relate to this when you just visualize, imagine the last time you were sick ... Or just try this. The next time you wake up in the morning, when you first wake up in the morning, you're still groggy. Try to squeeze your hand. Try to make a fist as hard as you can. You're going to sit there angry at your fist because it won't contract as hard as you know it can. You don't have the ability to just create the output. And that is because in that state, you're still sleepy. You're still fatigued. You're not even awake at the whole level at this point.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, that is still an actual phenomenon that happens, that a lack of recovery or lack of wakefulness or whatever you want to say, is going to lead to a decreased output there. So when you start to measure that on a daily basis, you can get a pretty good sense of where you're at. And I think when people start to see a drop off of 10% or so or even greater of their grip output, you really should skip the gym that day, because I don't think there's much you're going to do there that's going to be that beneficial. Even if it is the day to train legs or whatever day it is.

Andrew Huberman:

I love this tool. It's simple. It's low cost, if you can find such a scale. I guess you could also find one of those grippers that, and you can do this in a very nonquantitative way, but better would be a scale where you could actually measure how hard you can squeeze this thing at a given time of day.

Andrew Huberman:

It draws to mind just a little neuroscience factoid: In the world of circadian neurobiology, one of the consistent findings is that in the middle of your nighttime, they wake people up and they'll say, "Do this test." In the laboratory, they use a different apparatus, but it's essentially the same thing. And in the middle of the night, grip strength is very, very low. And at midmorning, grip strength is high. And as the body temperature goes up into the afternoon, grip strength goes higher and higher and higher, and then it drops off. There's this circadian rhythm in grip temperature. So you probably want to do this at more or less the same time each day if you're going to use it. But I think it's brilliant in its simplicity and its directness to these upper motor neurons, because that's really what it's assessing, your ability. Again, it's about the ability to contract the muscles hard. If you can't do that, you're not going to get an effective workout.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And they also, there certainly are more sophisticated tools too. As a PT, we have a hand-grip dynamometer. We can measure one side at a time too. I'm getting a little bit blinded by the fact that both hands are squeezing into that scale, and I don't get really a left-right comparison. But even at that level, that could give you a little bit more detail. But that comes with a cost. Those are pretty expensive devices. But listen, if you were an athlete, the 200, 300 bucks it cost to have one of those would be well worth the added investment.

Andrew Huberman:

And I'm sure some of our listeners will want one too, because there are a lot of tech geeks out there. Not tech industry geeks, but people who like tech gear. What's it called again?

Jeff Cavaliere:

It's a hand grip dynamometer.

Andrew Huberman:

Hand grip dynamometer, said by Jeff with a great East Coast accent and by me in a terrible, botched-it West Coast version. Thank you. We'll put that in the show notes also.

Andrew Huberman:

No, I think recovery is key. We always hear about sleep. You grow when you sleep. And incidentally, your brain ... you stimulate learning when you're awake, obviously. But the reordering of neural connections happens in sleep. This is why sleep is the way to get smarter, provided you're also doing the learning part. Sleep's the way to get stronger, provided you're also doing the training part.

Andrew Huberman:

You've had some really ... You've put out interesting content over the years in terms of even sleep position. One of the major changes that I made to my sleep behavior is to not have the sheets tucked in at the end of the day. And I'll tell you, this had a profound impact on several things. First of all, my feet have always been the bane of my existence. Broke them a bunch skateboarding, and I noticed when I'd run, I'd get shin splints. And then I started to notice that my feet ... You're the PT, they were floppy, and as if I was pointing my toes slightly all the time at rest. And I realized that, based on listening to you previously, that my sheets were wrapped tight. Not hotel tight, one other thing in the hotels.

Jeff Cavaliere:

You can't even get your feet in.

Andrew Huberman:

And I started releasing the sheets at the end of the bed. And I also started doing some tibialis work, front of shins work, essentially. Changed everything. My back pain from running. My shin splints disappeared. My posture improved. Although, my audience will tell me that it still needs improvement. There are always five or 10 people that want-

Jeff Cavaliere:

Just maybe sit up straight.

Andrew Huberman:

And I've actually had chairs sent to our mailing address. Very nice chairs. So I'm trying there. But this is fascinating, the position that one sleeps in. I fortunately have never had any shoulder issues, knock on wood, but maybe you could just talk to us a little bit about sleep and sleep position for sake of waking position and movement. Because this I think is a very unique and very powerful way to think about sleep. This podcast has done a lot of episodes about keeping the room cool, getting sunlight in your eyes, et cetera, how to get into sleep. But you've talked about physically what positions might be better to sleep in, so please, please enrich us.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. First of all, some people's opinions of that type of content is that you sleep in the position that's most comfortable so you ensure that you're sleeping. Great, I understand that — we all want to sleep. That's the goal when we put our head on the pillow, is to actually fall asleep and wake up in the morning and not know what the hell happened unless you had a dream. But beyond that, there are certainly physical components to sleep. That is why a lot of times, people will wake up and, say ... that you can incur pretty serious injuries in sleep. People will wake up and have a shoulder that did not bother them at all be humming the next day or even for weeks after because of the one sleep position they put themselves in a prolonged way. And they happen to have a deep sleep even through the discomfort. That can do actually some damage. So it's understandable that the body can incur some strain and stress if you're sleeping in the wrong way.

Jeff Cavaliere:

One of the things I say right off the bat is sleeping on your stomach just doesn't really have many benefits. You're putting yourself into a position that is, depending upon the orientation of your mattress or how many pillows you're using, but you're basically putting yourselves into excessive extension of the lumbar spine, which for most people isn't very good. If you're a disc patient, I guess that might be helpful for relocating the disc. But for the most part, your hands are then usually not at your sides but they're up under your arms. So you've got them into internal rotation up over elevation in your head. It's just not a great position. You also have to crank your neck from one side or the other in order to breathe, or you're face down straight into the pillow. So I would skip that one. And there's some people that are total belly sleepers, and I would just say, listen, I don't think that is the most healthful, long-term way for you to sleep. Try to adopt a different position.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Sleeping on your side oftentimes is also brought along with that. The legs, knees coming up towards the chest, prolonged hip flexion. Listen, we're doing enough of that during the day.

Andrew Huberman:

Just what we're doing right now.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Right. We don't need to do another 10 hours or eight hours, or something, at night like that, and it just is reinforcing. And as we said too, let's say you trained that day. You're just reinforcing muscle shortening overnight, where the body is healing and trying to create some changes in your body.

Jeff Cavaliere:

One of the reasons why I recommend stretching or static stretching prior to going to bed. A lot of people don't really want to do it at that point because it could take 10 minutes, five, 10 minutes depending upon how many muscles you have to stretch. But it's good to try to establish this longer length temporarily prior to going into a state where you're going to be not moving and recovering and creating new changes in the muscle. So that, I don't say it doesn't rule out the side sleeper. The side sleeper could be very, very helpful for somebody that has apnea or other conditions.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So again, it's not an all-or-nothing approach, but it just, it's something that you need to pay attention to. When you are on your back like you were talking about, and your feet are wedged underneath tight sheets at the end of the bed, and most of us, unless we consciously are pulling them up, don't prefer our beds to have really loose sheets at the end of the bed.

Andrew Huberman:

It's harder to make the bed in the morning.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Right. So it's like you're going to want to have them tight. Well, I'm saying, as you experienced, you're going to have this prolonged plantar flexion that's going to likely lead to shorter calves over time, because you're lacking all that length for that long period of time that you could have if you just loosened up the sheets and allowed your feet to just hang out where they are. Now, the resting position of the ankle is not in dorsiflexion. It's going to be still in some plantar flexion, but not being driven down and pulled down into that position.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And I think what happens actually is people who get uncomfortable that way, even in their sleep, will shift away from that by turning either onto their side or their stomach. So there's definitely an impact of the body position in sleep and figuring out the best way that you can still sleep, of course, and get your rest, but have a mindful eye towards what it's doing to your body and choose the one that's least abrasive to your body is the way you should go.

Andrew Huberman:

That's terrific. And again, it's really helped me. And I'm a big believer based on good science out of Stanford and elsewhere that as much as we could be nasal breathers in sleep, we probably should be. I don't know if you've done any content yet about taping the mouth shut with some medical tape, but the benefits of nasal breathing in sleep are pretty tremendous. But it takes a little bit of training for people to do, and the training is very simple. It's a little piece of medical tape. So again, a topic for another time.

Andrew Huberman:

I'm glad you mentioned stretching. I was going to ask about stretching a little bit later, but let's talk about stretching. When's the best time to stretch for particular types of results? And maybe you could define some of the different types of stretching. You just mentioned a little bit of, what you call it, light stretching or ... Okay, I'm completely naive here on stretching, so let me just say, I can think of stretching where I hold the stretch and really try and "lengthen," in air quotes, folks. I don't want the PTs jumping all over. I don't know what it is, but nutrition and the PTs online are really, they've got pitchforks in both hands. Academics.

Jeff Cavaliere:

That is a recent evolution, I think, for sure.

Andrew Huberman:

I see.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And not the nutrition as much, but the PTs have become a little bit angry these days.

Andrew Huberman:

I see. Well, I always say, with feelings of powerlessness comes aggression. Remember that, folks. So in any case, they're stretching where I'm trying to consciously "lengthen," again, in air quotes, the muscle. I'm not yanking on the limb or bobbing up and down. Maybe you could define the different types of stretching for people. Maybe give us some rough guidelines about whether or not to do it cold or warm, before training, after training, et cetera.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. Obviously, there's a lot of different types of stretching. I could get even into PNF stretching and things that are a little bit more niche. But in general, the two basic forms of stretching are active stretching and passive stretching, and your dynamic work. And your passive stretching is done with the goal of trying to create an increase in the flexibility of the muscle. Whether you're actually increasing the length of that muscle, more so what you're doing is decreasing the resistance of that muscle to want to stay at a certain level of flexibility.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So when we can take the breaks off and allow that muscle to allow us more range of motion, we're inherently increasing flexibility without necessarily having to increase the length of that muscle. That is usually done at a time far away from your workout. Because they have shown where this type of stretching done prior to an activity, and it could be a structured activity like lifting, or it could be a little bit less structured, like competing in a sport in a spontaneous type of way. That there is a period of recalibration that is needed after doing this because you're disrupting the length-tension relationship of the muscle that causes you to not necessarily be able to rely on these. I've talked about before, stored motor engrams in your mind in terms of, "This is the pattern for how I swing a golf club," say.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Now, introducing a little bit of flexibility or added flexibility or range because of the stretching I did before, it takes maybe a hole or two or three to match up again, "Oh, this is what he's trying to do, that golf-swing thing that I remembered again." It's not remembering that every component, like "I have to bend my right wrist back 10 degrees, and then I have to bend my elbow, and I have to break." Your body stores these patterns for motor efficiency. And when I have to start matching up that stored pattern with what's feeling new because of the increased range, I can impair performance. And again, it could happen even in a gym workout where you're talking about your first, second set, third set where maybe the repercussions aren't as big because I'll just do a few extra sets. But in performance, if you screw up your first three rounds, you plan on a PGA tour and you shoot, you're six over after three, you're done. So I think it matters there.

Jeff Cavaliere:

As far as the dynamic, so we relegate that, as I mentioned, towards the end of the day when it's not going to impact performance, but even maybe have the additional benefit of creating the feeling of length or the increase or decrease in resistance to this length at a time when I know my body is going to try to tend to heal and heal shorter. Never longer, but heal shorter. So if I can introduce a little bit of that extra length or decrease resistance to that length, it's a better time to do it. So I think it promotes a better recovery. If I want to do-

Andrew Huberman:

Sorry to interrupt, so stretching later in the day ... Because I'm intrigued by this concept of heal shorter, so part of the healing and recovery process means the shortening of the muscles. This is the tensing up in sleep.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yes, yeah.

Andrew Huberman:

Could you elaborate just a bit on that? And then sorry to break your flow but then to continue-

Jeff Cavaliere:

No. Just basically, what's been shown is that when the repair process, muscular repair from let's say strength training during the day, the repair process usually results in a muscle that is slightly shorter rather than increased in length. It's just muscles prefer to ratchet their way down into that contraction and then maintain that more comfortable length-tension relationship. So when you're sleeping, it tends to err on the side of shorter rather than longer. When ideally, we don't really want that. We want to maintain as much of that length, because with more length, we actually have more leverage. That muscle has more leverage to contract. If it was all the way contracted, you really can't, obviously we know, generate much force in a muscle that's already maximally contracted. So I think we want to do something that, whatever we can, whatever little weapons we have in our arsenal that could allow us to do this prior to sleep. And again, it's just making a conscious choice to do it at a time of the day that makes a little bit more sense.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Dynamic stretching is really not done for that purpose of trying to create any type of feeling of or increasing the potential length, as you said, of the muscle, but more so the readiness of the muscle to perform. And increasing, exploring the ends of that range of motion in a more dynamic way so you're not hanging out there and disrupting that length-tension relationship but just touching the ends of those barriers, so that when you feel movement again, it feels looser. It feels more ready. And obviously, at the same time warming up blood flow, all the benefits we get from just warming up in general. So that's the series you've probably seen a bunch of times, with leg swings and butt kicks and walking lunges and all types of drills.

Andrew Huberman:

Toe touches.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Toe touches, all those drills, those active stretching drills, or lunging with rotations for the upper body to try to get some of the thoracic spine involved too. Those are the drills that people will do prior to training that are both excitatory in terms of just the nervous system, but also helpful for just the general warmup of the body because of the blood flow. But from a muscle-readiness standpoint, not impairing the performance, while at the same time, exploring the increased ranges. Because as you know, the first toe touch you do is not as high as the last toe touch you do.

Andrew Huberman:

For me, it doesn't even include the toe.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Right, the shin touch.

Andrew Huberman:

Toe touch attempt.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Right. So those are going to improve with each subsequent rep. And I think that's what people actually ... When you can see those actual changes from rep one to rep seven, you just feel ready. You feel more alert and ready to go on your workout. The dynamic type of stretching, and I mentioned earlier on what I've had to do to increase my warmup focus, I think that's more of what I try to do these days. I try to be a little bit more alert to the fact that my body's not ready. When I was working with Antonio Brown, I remember he would spend 20 minutes, 30 minutes on all dynamic work. And I've never seen anybody spend that long on their dynamic work. But like he said, he just didn't feel right and ready to go unless he did a lot of that. And his dynamic stretching routine would be a workout for most everybody. It's crazy how much he did.

Andrew Huberman:

These pro athletes are amazing, and you've had the great fortune of working with and improving their abilities. But I can only imagine, because I also imagine he's pretty strong in the gym also.

Jeff Cavaliere:

It always amazes me, the guys that make it to that level, no matter what sport they do. They're so gifted in everything. David Wright used to make me laugh all the time with the Mets, because no matter what I ... ping pong, anything, because of his hand-eye coordination, anything. Great at jump rope. I remember he hadn't done a lot of jump rope, and I think jump rope's one of the best things you could do from a conditioning standpoint. It's actually, it's fairly interesting. It's not just ... It's not too harsh on the joints, depending, even though it's a ballistic move. And he wasn't — I have to admit, if he listens to this, he's going to want to kill me, but I was better at him at jump roping. One of the only things I could do. And then I gave him about five days, and he completely blew me out of the water to the point where I could never keep up with him anymore. He made it look effortless. It's like that's where the athlete in someone comes out. No matter what they pick up, they're good at it.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And I think that when you see guys like this in the gym, their strength levels tend to be pretty damn good. And their abilities, their coordination, their everything just tends to be good at that level. And it amazes me why those guys can go pick up a golf club and go shoot 72, and having never really played. They're just naturally good at whatever they do.

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah. I'm smiling because I've a couple really close friends who did a number of years, some several decades in the SEAL teams, and I don't know that their skill level at everything is so high as you're describing for athletes, but their level of competitiveness is beyond. I ocean swim with one. There's no chance that I'm going to outswim Pat ever, ever. He actually goes back and forth sometimes just to check up on me, which I appreciate. Thank you, Pat. I haven't drowned yet. But in addition to that, we could play horseshoes and it's like this switch that just flips on. He's going to murder me at horseshoes. He's a very nice guy. In general, they tend to be very nice, but the level of competitiveness is ...

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, they're-

Andrew Huberman:

... unreal.

Jeff Cavaliere:

They're selected for it. They're trying to beat themselves. They're not even trying to beat you.

Andrew Huberman:

That's right. I'm not even in the competition.

Jeff Cavaliere:

You're not even in the competition. You're not even there.

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah, exactly.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Thank you. Now, you won't feel so bad.

Andrew Huberman:

Or worse. It's true. It's a remarkable thing. I'm glad you mentioned jump roping. I used to skip rope for warmup for boxing.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah, of course.

Andrew Huberman:

Those three-minute rounds or something like that. But I'm glad you brought it up because skipping rope is something that obviously has a cardiovascular component. There's the conditioning component. There's timing. And it is interesting. It's frustrating when you don't get it, especially when it whips you on the ear if you're using a proper rope. I'm just curious, if you could just give us a quick skipping rope one-on-one. Do you like to see people jumping with both feet and toes? We'll link to a video, if there was one and I missed it. Do you like to see people doing high knees? Do you like people basically shuffling? You want to see people doing double Dutch? What do you want to see people doing over time?

Andrew Huberman:

You want to see people doing double Dutch? What do you want to see people doing over time?

PART 2 OF 5 ENDS [01:04:04]

Jeff Cavaliere:

All of the above, maybe not the double Dutch, but all of the above. I mean, I think that's the cool thing about it once we master the skill, because for all of us, that first jump with the two feet going together is a challenge because you just got to time that rope, you got to time your jump. And then we get bored, as we often do as humans. We get bored with what we can do. We want to take on new challenges, so then it becomes one leg at a time, or then it becomes side-to-side hops, right? All of those things are beneficial, I believe, neurologically, to enhancing the ability to do the skill as a whole, but also just because I'm such a believer in training in all three planes.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So just doing straight up and down versus now I can do frontal plane side-to-side motion, and then I can even do small little twists or cork screws, you call them, you would know better than I do — it requires different neurological patterns to be able to coordinate that because you're changing the orientation of your body in space. So it's not just them changing the exercise, but I'm changing how my body interprets that exercise because of what's happening to my body in space. So I love whatever people wind up doing, but I am amazed, there are people ... I just started following this young woman on Instagram who is like ... I'll give her a plug. I think it's like Anna Skips or something and she is ridiculous. I watch her and I'm mesmerized of what she can do with the rope. It is an extremely athletic endeavor when it gets to be at that level and the speed and the precision.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I think one of the goals that you want be able to have is to where you're feeling as if you're almost effortlessly dancing without a rope, where you're just bouncing off of the ball of your foot. It's an important skill to learn too, whether you go back to run or even jog, just more casual running. Learning how to land is so important. One of the drills that people should try is try to jump on your heels. So just stand up, pull your toes off the ground and just jump from your heels and land on your heels. You'll feel it in your jaw. You'll literally feel your jaw rattle when you land on your heels. There is no shock absorption capabilities through your heels. Meantime, a lot of people land on their heels a lot when they run, and your body's not built to absorb the forces like the ball of your foot could. It's really built as a spring.

Jeff Cavaliere:

The foot is, to me as a physical therapist, the foot has always been one of the most ... You talk about having bad feet. I have flat feet. It looks like I got flippers if I took my shoes off, like I'm wearing scuba fins. There is no adaptability of that foot to the surface. When it's completely caved and flattened like that. The job of the foot is to be adaptable. Well, maybe there is some adaptability because it's so floppy, but at the same time, at some point, that critical junction when you're going to then step through and you need to be able to push off, the foot has to actually changes in the midfoot itself, to become a rigid lever is what they call it. You're going from a mobile adapter to a rigid lever.

Jeff Cavaliere:

That rigid lever literally locks up the midtarsal joint to become solid, so that you can push off of it with leverage. If you lack that capability, all those stresses that are supposed to be borne by the foot go up into the ankle, into the knee, into the hip, into the low back. So learning how to land and start to train your body to experience ground reaction forces the right way is so critical to all other function and all other disability up the kinetic chain. Jumping rope is one of the best ways to learn how to do that.

Andrew Huberman:

Great. I own a jump rope. I love doing it in the morning while I get sunlight in my eyes. It's actually a protocol I picked up from Tim Ferris. I'm mentioning it because ... listeners in my podcast know I'm like a broken record with "Get sunlight in your eyes, even through cloud cover." It just sets your sleep rhythms and your waking rhythms, yada-yada, on and on, but sometimes it'd be boring for people, and I want to get them off their phone. So jumping rope's also just a great way to wake up. So jumping rope can be the cardio workout, the 15, 30 minutes.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Definitely. There's sort of that hybrid that we were talking about before of you're not necessarily dropping down to the ground and doing burpees, but I just look at it as a more athletic endeavor because of the coordination involved than just simply walking or jogging.

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah. It's not much of an equipment requirement.

Jeff Cavaliere:

No, no, super easy.

Andrew Huberman:

Very minimal cost. You could even use a rope or something if you ... Although-

Jeff Cavaliere:

We even instruct people that they can use no rope and just pretend and just move the arms, right?

Andrew Huberman:

Truly zero cost.

Jeff Cavaliere:

You're never going to hit the rope, which is good, but at the same ... So you're never going to know if you're doing it wrong, but at least you can move through that and get the same benefits through the feet.

Andrew Huberman:

I love it. I love it. I told myself before sitting down with you today that I wasn't going to focus on specific exercises because there's such a wealth of incredible content that you put out there that people could just put into YouTube or elsewhere and arrive at the proper way to do a chin or a dip or for whatever purpose, but there's one exercise and one particular motion that I'd like to discuss for a moment because I believe that learning about this cautionary note from you is one of the reasons that I've maintained steady training for 30 years with no major injury, knock on wood, and that's the upright row. One thing that, whether or not people weight train or not-

Jeff Cavaliere:

Do we censor this podcast? Do we censor it and we beep this out or no?

Andrew Huberman:

Oh, do you get beef about this?

Jeff Cavaliere:

No. Oh, you know what, we always get beef in any social media platform where we're put out. But no, I get some from it, but I'm fully prepared to defend myself.

Andrew Huberman:

But here's the reason for asking about this. I never really cared much for upright rows. It's not an exercise I tend to do, but one thing that's apparent in all my colleagues and every child I see and every adult I see is that almost everybody is in inward rotation now. I think I learned this from you also. If you stand up straight and then you just point your thumbs out like a thumbs up, but you're just pointing, your hands are down, you're pointing your thumbs straight out, ideally they would go straight out. Most people the thumbs going to be pointing toward one another because most people are starting to look somewhere between a nonhuman primate and a melted candle, bent at the hips, et cetera from too much sitting. We're all sitting. We're in inward rotation, but I learned from you that the upright row compromises some important aspects of our shoulder mechanics and could be actually a dangerous movement in some ways. I'm sure there's a safe way for people to do it.

Andrew Huberman:

So I've always made it a point now on the basis of this advice to, A, not do upright rows, but I wasn't doing them before, but to really strive for external rotation on things like bench dips, on a number of different things. Whenever I can, I try and go into external rotation, provided without looking like an idiot walking around with my palms facing outward. Please tell us about internal, external rotation — the upright row is one aspect of that — but why this is so important, not just for weight training but in terms of posture and mechanics and not looking like a melted candle or partially melted candle.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I actually love it. I'm happy to talk about it because I love the shoulder as a joint. I think PTs tend to fall in love with certain areas, and the shoulder is one of the cool areas for me just like the foot is, but the shoulder has the most mobility in the body of any joint, but it's also got the least stability, right? There's always that trade-off of mobility and stability. So your stability comes from certain muscle groups, and one of the ones that ... The only muscle group that actually externally rotates the shoulder is going to be the rotator cuff. Okay. Unless you are devoted to training through external rotation and exercises that are going to externally rotate the shoulder, you're not training that function. It's so easy for us in everyday life, especially those that aren't training, to not ever really undergo any of those stresses that could be beneficial to counteracting what happens freely and naturally, which is internal rotation.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So when you think about the imbalance created just by nature and how we live our lives, internal rotation far, far, far outweighs external rotation, so you need to address it. The reason why you need to address it is because you need to normalize those biomechanics to the shoulder if you want their long-term health. One of the functions of the shoulder is to raise our arm up over our head. If we do that from an internally rotated position, we're going to have a higher likelihood of creating stress inside that joint. Funny thing is I talked about before, my PT brethren can be somewhat angry these days, I don't know what happened, but fairly angry — they want to discredit the existence of something like shoulder impingement, which I don't know how ... We all read studies and studies will say one thing one day and potentially conflict entirely in a different direction.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Some studies will point to the nonexistence of a shoulder impingement. Meanwhile, we have, thankfully, digital motion x-ray that will literally show the impingement occur in real time, in real function, and that's one of the limitations. I'm off on a tangent here, but those types of x-rays or that type of fluoroscopy that we have nowadays gives us such insight that we never had before because we're taking static x-rays on someone laying down on a table. When I want to see what happens when you actually raise my arm up over my head in function, and the tools now exist to do that. We see the problems occurring because in order to get normal mechanics and free up the joint maximally inside, you need to externally rotate as you raise the arm up. So if your muscles aren't firing, and they're not necessarily as strong as the internal rotation bias that pulls them in, you're asking for trouble every time you do that.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, this exercise is literally putting you in elevation and internal rotation. If you were to walk into a PT office and someone said, "I think he's got impingement. Will you diagnose him?" there's a test called a Hawkins-Kennedy test, and I would put you in the position. I know we're not visible at this point through the podcast, but I'll put you in this position here where I have your arm elevated and your hand pretty much under your chin, pushing downward on that to create that internal shoulder rotation, pretty much the exact position that we're in when we're holding a bar in an upright row. Some will say, "Well, just don't go so high. Go only up to the level of the chest," but you're still in this internally rotated position.

Jeff Cavaliere:

The thing that I think frustrates me the most about the exercise is that I have an alternative, and the alternative does the same thing in terms of helping the muscles grow by simply fixing the biomechanics of the exercise, but just allowing the hands to go higher than the elbows. So instead of the elbows being higher than the hand, which drives you into internal rotation, if the elbow is lower than the hand, the hand being higher here, I'm in external rotation and I could do something called a high pull and still get the same abduction of the arm, and you still get the same benefits of the shoulders, the delts, and the traps without having to undergo any of the stresses that would come from the somewhat awkward movement of an upright row.

Andrew Huberman:

For those listening, we'll put a link to a short clip of what this looks like, but basically what Jeff is doing, and tell me if I'm describing this incorrectly or correctly, Jeff, is taking your two thumbs and pointing behind you, and so elbows up near the chin and pointing behind you headed that way, like somebody directing the airplane like, "Come back, come back, come back."

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. Yep.

Andrew Huberman:

I forget what they call that. I think it's called semaphoring is the action of where they direct the planes or something, the flags or whatever. Someone will, of course, tell me I'm wrong about that too, which is why I say these things because I like being told what the correct answer is. In any case, so this replaces the upright row and probably does a number of other important things as well.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. Well, again, listen, without naming names or programs or anything like that, when I got involved in Athlean-X, when I first started my online presence, there was a very, very, very popular program that was out there that just for fun, I wanted to — as a PT, this is the nerdy things we do — but I wanted to evaluate the workout structure. I went and I looked at every rep over the course of a week, and there were something like 890 repetitions or something done, and zero of them were dedicated external rotation in the shoulder. So if you think about it, I mean, yeah, it was a very popular program that was done by a lot of people. There was no focus at all, no dedicated focus towards creating a balance to an action that is so predominant. Remember, it's not just because we sit with bad posture, but the fact that our chest can internally rotate. Our lats can internally rotate.

Jeff Cavaliere:

There's other big muscles that participate in things that we do every day that will further internally rotate the shoulder. The only weapons we have for external rotation are those little rotator cuff muscles, and three of them, actually, three of the four, and the job is to actively and consciously train them through really the boring exercises, right? You've seen them with the band, you anchor a band to a pole. You stand with the band in the opposite hand. So if it's anchored to the pole on my left side, I've got the band on my right side and you see people where they rotate their hand towards the back, again, kind of what you were saying, but at a lower elevation, taking the back of my hand and trying to point it to somebody behind me.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, that is one of the ways to train the muscle. It's just of one function of the shoulder, external rotation of the shoulder, and you need to do it. If somebody was doing more external rotation work, could they absorb the upright row better? Probably because as they elevated the arm, they'd probably have a little bit more of a contribution from the rotator cuff to what one of the functions is to centralize the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid, the capsule. So as it rises up, it stays central as opposed to migrating up, because the deltoid likes to pull up. So if the rotator cuff has some ability to counteract the upward pull of the delt, then it can maintain a more healthy relationship with overhead movement.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So just realizing that that function is only gained through doing these exercises, we would probably dedicate more time there, but the upright row might be better absorbed by that person because they have a little bit more strength. But again, why? Because if you have an exercise that does the same thing for what you're trying to do muscularly, to build the muscles that it affects, why wouldn't you just do it, where you can still see and actually pick up more repetitions of external rotation? So you're getting none of the harm, all of the benefits. I see zero reason to ever do the upright row.

Jeff Cavaliere:

People will argue. This is the way they argue that, "I've done this for 30 years and I've never hurt myself." I always say "Yet, yet." Listen, the goal is to not hurt yourself ever. It's sort of like the championship game. You might play the game of your life, but if you lose, you're lost. When you get into the end of the record books, you still lost. So even if you had the game of your life, you lost. I don't care if you do it for 30 years, no pain, you're still doing it and there's no pain. I'm giving you an option that's going to give you the same results in the exercise that you're seeking — that's why you're doing the exercise — without the possibility of having the bad outcome come from it. So I get a little bit defensive of the move, but I feel like it's like, why would you do that?

Andrew Huberman:

No, it makes sense. Being able to train for a long period of time and feel good, I'm proud to say ... And I don't have the kind of genetics, we don't have a lot of impressive athletes in our family tree or anything. There are some fit individuals, some less fit individuals, but I really believe it's about putting in the work consistently over time. The more often you can wake up not in pain, the better. And so, I think that being in external rotation as often as possible is good. This is actually ... a good friend who's a yoga teacher told me this is also a problem with the yogis, all the downward dog stuff. For those listening, you can think of inward rotation as thumbs down, just think thumbs down rotation isn't bad, but less thumbs down, more thumbs up is external rotation. So for those just listening, maybe that gives a visual. The more exercise you can do in external rotation, the better it seems, on average.

Andrew Huberman:

I'd love to chat with you just a little bit more about biomechanics, and this is a personal thing that, again, your content really helped solve for me. One is I thought I had lower back pain, that I had sciatica so badly that on a few trips, work trips years ago when I was doing a lot more international travel, I mean, it was hard to stand up sometimes. I mean, excruciating pain. I didn't want to take medication. I didn't want to do back surgery. In the end, it turns out it wasn't a back injury at all. One of the things that helped fix it was this just learning about this thing called the medial glute. You had a video that said "Fix back pain," and then you quite accurately say that some back pain isn't really about the back at all and had me do an exercise, or allowed me to try an exercise where I lay on my side, and I was essentially pointing my toe down, a top toe down, almost like pointing a toe down, and then would slowly lift the leg up while pointing the toe down. Maybe I got it incorrect or-

Jeff Cavaliere:

No, you got it. No.

Andrew Huberman:

And then holding that, and there's a muscle that sits at the top of the glute. It peeks out every once in a while. You can feel it there with your thumb, which is ... I think you had push back on it a bit, creating that mind-muscle link again. And there with proprioception, the actual feeling of a muscle literally with a limb, we know based on the neural circuits for movement that that enhances the contractile ability of a muscle. So if you touch your bicep, you literally can contract it more strongly, and this makes total sense based on neuromuscular physiology.

Andrew Huberman:

So you had me do that repeatedly, and I started doing that in my hotel room and the pain started to disappear, and then it came back again in the afternoon, so I did it again in the afternoon. So this is something I did for three or four days, and lo and behold, my back pain is gone. I handed this off to my father because he, like me, has a slightly lower right shoulder. I think our gait is probably thrown off by this. It's probably a genetic thing. Who knows? He handed it off to somebody. It turns out that we don't suffer from back pain, and in fact now I don't suffer from any pain because I was doing this exercise, which I think is helping my medial glute.

Andrew Huberman:

Two reasons why I raised this. One, I know a lot of guys who have this right side sciatica, because people keep the wallet there is one idea, or left side sciatica. There are a lot of people, male and female, who think they have back pain when they don't actually have back pain. The other thing is that ... is about a general question about biomechanics or statement about biomechanics. I had a feeling that a lot of what people think is back pain or knee pain or neck pain or headache or shoulder pain is actually the consequence of something that's happening above or below that site of pain. This is a whole landscape of stuff related to PT and recovery and pain management, but maybe if you just educate us a bit on this and why this works. What is the medial glute? Why did it make my so-called back pain disappear? How should people think about pain? I'd like to use this as a segue to get into a little bit deeper discussion about pain and recovery.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Sure. So this is definitely a big cornucopia of PT stuff here, and this is what I love. So first of all, that video, it's my proudest video that I have, and the reason being is that it's helped so many people. We get comments on that video every day. I don't even know how many views it's got now, 30-some-odd million. There's a lot.

Andrew Huberman:

We will link to it in our show notes.

Jeff Cavaliere:

There's a lot of views. Quite honestly, it was a little bit of an afterthought video in terms of its origin. I think that day maybe Jesse was having some problems or something like that, a little bit of low back pain. I showed him and it helped right away. I was like, "Well, we can make a video on it because this will help people," not everybody. If you have a real disc problem, it's not going to help because you're not changing the structural problem that's there. But as you said, a lot of people don't. Even in disc issues, a lot of them are nonoperative, so you'd want to try these things first.

Jeff Cavaliere:

As far as what you've experienced, sometimes as that glute medius really tightens down, and that's again from poor biomechanics up and down the kinetic chain. It can actually press on the sciatic nerve and give you what they call a "pseudo sciatica," where it's not like you're making it up, it's not like you're not feeling that pain over that same sciatic distribution, but it's not caused from a disc. It's not caused from something mechanical there. It's caused by the fact that this glute medius has posturely become a problem for you or weak because you don't train it, and you need to address it.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So not unlike any other muscle in the body, there are common trigger points and common areas where the muscle will become tightened or painful or spasm, and you can basically apply pressure to these areas and then thread that muscle through the pressure by pushing down through there and then contracting the muscle, which is why you go through that action of ... I think we call it "toe stabber," but stabbing down and lifting up and stabbing down and lifting up, taking that glute medius through its function, so that it's basically working underneath the downward pressure of the finger, and that tends to help you to almost knead out what might be that trigger point.

Jeff Cavaliere:

That's why people can see immediate relief there, because once the trigger point lets go, it feels like ... And that's what the comments are on that video. "My God, literally, I couldn't walk. I've been on my hotel floor. I did this and I'm fixed." Meanwhile, then, it could come back because your body is like, "Well, I like being more like this. This is how I've been ingrained to be." So it might come back, but then when you do another round of it and another round of it, and then finally it starts to say, "All right. I'm not going to do that anymore." It eases up and you can relieve yourself of those trigger points.

Jeff Cavaliere:

You can do that up and down the back. There's other people that get that in that inside their shoulder blade, that same type of cramping in another area. But once that takes place, well, then the job that I think people have is become educated that the glute medius is different than the glute maximus. Their functions are different. You have to work on not just extending the hip, but also abduction of the hip, external rotation of the hip. Same thing as in the shoulder. This actually segues nicely into the whole concept you were talking about. The body is like a mirror image. The hip is like the shoulder. The ankle is the wrist. The foot is the hand. The knee is the elbow. There are two hinge joints. They function that way.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, with the shoulder, you've got that mobility that comes from having all that freedom of motion, but the stability is lacking. Well, the same thing with the hip. You've got mobility, but if you don't fully stabilize it by training all of the muscles of the hip, and if you don't strengthen the external rotation of the hip, then you're going to have issues. It's not biomechanically going to work the same way. If you think of the body as a series of bands pulling in different directions at different levels of tension, you're being pulled into one direction or the other just by the balance of tension from one weak area to one dominantly tight area. You need to make sure that you can balance this out in order to eliminate some of the adaptations and compensations that happen.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So, what I say when we look at the body as a whole, most often wherever you're feeling the pain is absolutely not to blame. That's not to blame. It is somewhere above or below, as you hinted at, you're talking about ... The knee is my favorite example of it. Whenever you have knee pain, patella tendonitis — which I have forever, I've had bad cases of patella tendonitis where squatting is very difficult for me, — it's not the knee. The knee is literally a hinge joint that ... There's minor rotation capabilities in the knee, but it's a hinge joint, and it's being impacted by the hip and the ankle and the foot — as I said before, how critical the foot is. If you thought of the knee being the middle of a train track, where the femur down your thigh and your shin down below your knee were the train track, what would happen if the foot collapses at the bottom?

Jeff Cavaliere:

All of a sudden that train track on the bottom gets torqued just a little bit. Well, who's going to feel that the most? The area where it's torquing, which is at the knee. So the stresses are going to be felt there. Meanwhile, the problem is the foot, or the problem is the ankle. People that are chronic ankle sprainers are almost always going to wind up having back pain because the ankle sprain causes weakness and maladaptations in the ankle that then get connected through the chain, because now once I distort the ankle and the shin, now the knee is trying to maintain its ability to hinge smoothly, so it torques on the femur to do that. Well, the femur is now inside the hip joint pulling on the pelvis, and the pelvis is out of whack.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So, it really is fascinating. It's one of my favorite things about how the body works is how interconnected it is and how one little thing somewhere causes repercussion somewhere else. The easiest way to find out what your problem is is to say, "Okay. I know where my symptom is, but I got to find someone who can help me find the source somewhere else," because it is going to be usually either above or below, mostly usually below because it usually translates up the kinetic chain, but usually it's going to be below where the real source is. So people with low back pain usually have hip issues, weaknesses, tightnesses, flexibility issues. It's almost always below.

Jeff Cavaliere:

When you get into really high performance athletics though, it almost works the other way, where we have pitchers who can't ... I mean, I'm always fascinated by guys that have Tommy John issues in their elbow, right? Pitchers, if you can't externally rotate the shoulder that we talked about, again, the ability to get your shoulder back into external rotation, well, your arm has to get to a certain position for release of the baseball. If it can't get there because you can't externally rotate the shoulder to get there, then the elbow has to torque more in order to allow the arm to get back further, and it will try to take some of that motion from a joint that's not really ... Again, another ... the hinge joint, really capable of doing that, so it starts to stress that medial elbow ligament to get a little bit further back because the shoulder's not working, and that just ultimately places strain on the elbow.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So when you see a guy that has pain that floats around, a pitcher, that floats around their arm, all of that is this balance of compensation. Once his elbow starts hurting, then he can't get the range from the elbow so he tries to dig a little bit further back into external rotation, and then the rotator cuff gets inflamed. And then he feels that's inflamed. By the way, during that time period, it takes some of the strain off the elbows, so the elbow feels better. Then he decides, "Okay. Now, I got the external rotation, but I'm getting too much of that. So now I start straightening the elbow again," and then it keeps going through this cycle. So your body is very smart, and it's going to compensate every single time. It's going to find the compensation, but there's no guarantee that that compensation doesn't leave you with a whole host of other issues.

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah, it's fascinating. In another lifetime, I would've gone and been a PT, although it sounds like the community among PTs online is an issue.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I don't know what ... Listen, we're good people, but it's like-

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah, scientists and neuroscientists can get into pretty intense battles. Coming from the academic community, the etiquette is so different online because I always say, I think in person, people would probably behave a bit differently.

Jeff Cavaliere:

They shake your hand and say hello.

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah, they shake your hand and say hello. Look, I'll just be very direct about this, there are a lot of people online for whom their only content is pointing out the misunderstandings or alleged flaws of other people, or it's like the bulk of their identity, which to me is a sad existence, but there's always more to gain by thinking about what's possible and what's new and what's good, but to each their own demise — or win.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I mean, questioning what's out there, it's healthy. It's normal. It's great. It actually sparks conversation. But as you said, some people's existence is solely to find things to nag about and not actually with the goal being to advance anything, but rather just to ...

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah. In the world of science, being skeptical but not cynical is encouraged. But I always say that the longer that somebody's in a career path, it's certainly in science or medicine, and they realize how hard it is to do various studies, once they publish a few studies, generally they get a better understanding of how the various things are done.

Andrew Huberman:

In any case, another along the lines of pain and pain relief and misunderstandings about the origins of pain in the body, one of the great tools that I picked up from your content, which has benefitted, I know, a huge number of people is ... I think I used to hold weights sometimes in the tips of my fingers as opposed to in the meat of the palm of my hands, and I had elbow pain. I felt it most on tricep exercises and pushing exercises, and I thought I was doing those exercises wrong. Turns out toward the end of my pull-ups or my bicep work, I was letting the weight or the bar drift into my fingertips, and the mere shift to making sure that my knuckles were well over the bar or that the weight was really in the meat of my palms has completely ameliorated that for reasons that you point out, and maybe you could just share with us why that is. You have this finger pull exercise. Usually, when someone says, "Pull my finger," it's like a bad middle school or elementary school joke, but you're-

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, this, we'll say push your finger.

Andrew Huberman:

Right. Right.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. This is fascinating, because it just shows again how intricate the body is and how responsive or over-responsive it can be to something so little. What you're talking about is that when you grip a bar, whether it be through a curl or whether it be through ... And this is mostly pulling exercises, because the tendency for the bar is going to be to fall out of your hand, not like with the pushing exercise where it's like you're pushing your hand into the bar on a bench press, say. That bar can drift just by gravity doing its thing or fatigue of the hand grip strength, can start to drift further away towards the distal digits, through those last couple knuckles that we have on our hands.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Though our hand can still hold it there, the muscles are not equipped to handle those types of loads, and that can start at a very, I'm not going to say light, but it could start at dumbbell weight of 40 pounds, 30 pounds, even 25 pounds or something, depending upon the overall strength levels. But then when you start to apply it to something like your body weight with a chin-up, because that's natural for the bar to somewhat float down towards your fingertips, and it actually is a little bit easier to perform the exercise with that fall script little hook grip at the end because you're not going to engage the forearms into the exercise. You're not going to start pulling down, but at the same-

Jeff Cavaliere:

You're not going to start pulling down. But at the same time, while it could help you to perform them better by getting the back more activated, if you have weakness in these muscles, because it's not one of those upright row-type things where I think this is happening to everybody. This is happening to people that have these inherent weaknesses in these muscles or haven't done enough of the gripping in the meat of the hand for long enough. But it starts to put that stress on these muscles that are ill-equipped to handle this. And it's particularly on that fourth finger, which is part of the muscle we call the FDS, the flexor digitorum, that is just too much for it to handle. And that comes all the way down and meets right at the medial elbow, right on that spot that you can say feels like someone's knifing you right in the middle, in that medial elbow. And medial epicondylitis, or they call it golfer's elbow, is something that a lot of us deal with in the gym.

Jeff Cavaliere:

It's one of the most common inflammatory conditions people get from the gym. And it all comes from this positioning of the dumbbell or barbell or hand on a pull-up bar over time. So the easiest thing to do is just grip deeper, so that what you're doing is you're using more leverage from the palm to encapsulate the bar or the dumbbell or whatever. And you're not putting that pressure really distally right on that last digit, because that's where that FDS muscle is most strained. So you're just almost eliminating that from the equation, and it's one of those exercises that the load can exceed its capacity pretty quickly so that maybe it's only capable of handling 30 pounds. And then when you're doing a chin-up and it drifts so far that it's now, let's say you're a 200-pound guy, you've got let's say a hundred pounds through one arm and a hundred pounds ...

Jeff Cavaliere:

This is simplified math that obviously is offset by other muscles, but a hundred pounds to one arm, a hundred pounds to the other arm. A hundred pounds off of a muscle that can handle 30, it's not going to take many repetitions to strain it. And you're going to feel that maybe by the time that sets over or certainly by the time that workout's over, or the next day you wake up and you've got that notable stabbing pain. Whenever someone feels that, the best thing would be to determine, "Okay, what exercises was I doing that were pulling and where the bar could've drifted deeper, further from the meat of my palm into my fingers," and figure out a way to deepen that grip. When that happens though, the best thing to do with most of these inflammatory conditions is not do any of that stuff for a little while.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Not ever, just for a little while. There's always things that you can do around it. I'm not saying, ever do I say don't go to the gym or don't find something you can do. But I'm saying that particular exercise that you feel the pain on while you're doing it, never a smart idea to do that exercise when it's inflamed. If you are doing exercise and it hurts, you probably shouldn't do the exercise because another reason for the variability of exercise is there's so many other options that you can do that will train similar muscles or even the same motion and not cause that stress. So I mean a cable curl would be much easier to do that on than let's say a chin-up where you don't have the control over the weight like you do by moving a pin on a stack.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So I think that is a common thing that people find, and the best thing to do is just figure out how deep are you gripping that bar. You're going to find that, "Oh, my God, I didn't realize that because it was just," even though you might start a set in a good position and then it drifts away as you go.

PART 3 OF 5 ENDS [01:36:04]

Andrew Huberman:

I think that's what was happening to me, and I'm very conscious of this now, and again for me, I haven't had this elbow pain at all. Very fortunate. So again, debt of gratitude to you. Never ... I thought there was something wrong in my elbow basically, and I thought maybe it was tennis elbow. I don't even play tennis. So there you go. Other aspects of recovery and variables for recovery. I think you and I both put out content about the use of cold and I think we can summarize it by saying, "Yeah, it does seem like cold water immersion immediately after hypertrophy or strength workouts might be a problem, but a cold shower is probably not a problem." What about heat? Do you personally use heat and cold saunas? Hot baths, hot compresses, and by "you" I mean you personally and athletes that you coach or people that you coach. What are your thoughts on the use of heat and/or cold?

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well I think it might just be an inherited practice from the days of trainers since Babe Ruth. But in baseball we used a lot of cold following performance just because the idea would be, there is some, especially pitchers, there is some inflammation that is abnormal. The arm is not really designed to do what they do, especially at the speed that they move it and everything else. So we would use ice as a pretty standard practice after that. But not a lot of heat, and, of course, from the recovery or the healing aspect, that actually becomes rather personal preference they've found now. After let's say the first 12 to 24 hours, where you're really trying to control inflammation of you know what might be an injury, but then it can kind of shift the personal preference because the heat can bring blood to the area also and then the cold has its sort anti-inflammatory effects.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So there's a balance between which one's working better for you. So there's really no standard anymore for heat or cold in that way. But from a standpoint of postworkout healthy status, I haven't used much heat or cold in terms of what we do. We cover the topic of the cold showers and to try to dispel the myth of even people saying that there's giant testosterone releases and all kinds of stuff that, listen, we hear all kinds of things because people want, I think, the idea of just turning the water cold and being in it for 30 seconds. And then all of a sudden magically growing three times your size is intriguing for a lot of people and that's why they ask these questions because they're like, well that would be a hell of a lot easier than going to the gym and training hard.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But I'm always fascinated by some of the stuff that you talked about. In fact, we started to talk about some of the stuff in terms of cooling and what it can do on performance, and that was, there's some untapped territory there that I think you're finding out about.

Andrew Huberman:

What would be fun would be to bring the CoolMitt technology from Stanford. This is Craig Heller — my colleague Craig Heller's lab at Stanford's done really important and amazing work in this area, but then had moved on to some other things. He's also working on Down's syndrome, and he works on a number of other really important topics that scientists often do. But I have access to this CoolMitt technology, no relationship to the company, by the way. Would love to come out to your facility and we can do the blind-type studies.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Like the blue blocker test.

Andrew Huberman:

Exactly, exactly. And see how that goes with somebody as advanced trained as you, that's probably the best thing to do. So content for the future. Yeah, I think heat and cold are kind of staples in the PT world, and it does seem like people use them slightly differently, but they are kind of the macronutrients of recovery there along with sleep. I do have a question about precision of record keeping. Do you keep a training journal? Do you recommend people keep training journals? Are you neurotically fixed to cadence of movement, and do you have a buzzer going off for when it's 90 seconds rest? Is it 90 seconds rest. I confess I have my slow workouts and my faster workouts, and they scale with whether or not I'm training heavier with longer rests.

Andrew Huberman:

Or whether or not maybe midway through a workout I'll shift over to doing higher repetition, lower rest. This is kind of my crude way of keeping time, but I'm not ... Will be just to watch the clock, but I'm not neurotically fixed to the buzzer, nor am I on social media during my workouts. Which is actually a way to really improve workouts is to just not be on social media.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I can't claim that I'm not guilty of that. Sometimes I am on social media but sometimes I'm trying to post something.

Andrew Huberman:

Well, that's different. It's your profession.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But I mean, I'm not necessarily chained to some sort of protocol in terms of how I do ... I think by this point I've been doing this a long time, and not only is it something that I've done for a long time, but it's a passion of mine, something I really enjoy. So I probably inherently have the ability to stick to these guidelines in terms of rest time, to know what I lifted even six months ago on a lift and how it felt without journaling it. But I recognize the value it has to a lot of people. It goes back to that whole, my muscle connection idea that we talked about in the beginning. There's a lack of awareness for all aspects of training, and especially maybe it isn't your interest level. We're talking, you and I, from a position of interest, this is what we do.

Jeff Cavaliere:

We enjoy just how our bodies work and understanding how they work. Some people don't care, they just want the end result. But journaling and keeping track of that raises awareness to where like, "Oh, my God, I have been on Instagram for the last seven minutes, and I was supposed to be back at my next set in 90 seconds." There is a training effect of that. If you're training for a metabolic overload, you've blown that opportunity because your rest time was very important to that protocol working as it should. If you were training for strength, maybe the extra few minutes doesn't matter so much when you get back on the bar, you might find. I mean you might find that it's a better response for your body to rest even longer than you've been told — three, four minutes, five minutes. And so that way maybe it helps.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But I think that anything you can do to increase your awareness of your performance and also give yourself some objective goal. Whenever we have an objective goal, it's a lot easier to actually obtain it. When you're just there to get a pump and you're just there to lift how you feel that day, you have to be incredibly disciplined in all other aspects of your workout in order to make that effective. And I've done that too. I've actually been able to do that too. But again, the level of repetitions I've accumulated over the course of my life and the amount that I read about this stuff, and I think I'm able to get away with that. But I think more often than not, what I'm doing is not journaling, but journaling in my head exactly what I think people should be doing. And that is getting a specific effect from what you're trying to do.

Jeff Cavaliere:

It's not so haphazard, you want to get a specific effect. Just like any other experiment that you're doing. You're doing an experiment on your own body with your own weight, which to me is one of the most empowering things someone can ever do. When they get bitten by the bug for exercising and training, and I like to use the word training rather than exercise because there's a purpose behind it, but when they get bitten by that training bug and they start to see actual changes and results, you know how empowering that is because we can't really control that many things in our life, unfortunately. And so there's some things that happen to us that we really wish never happened, and those are not something that we can do anything about. But this is one thing that we can do our best.

Jeff Cavaliere:

We can't avoid disease entirely. We can't predict when we're going to die. We can't do those things. But we can certainly decide to show up into the gym that day and get a workout in or go for a run or do something. And by doing that, you're giving yourself, I think, a better chance at a higher quality of life. So anything you could do to increase your awareness of it and keep you on track with that is, I'm endorsing fully.

Andrew Huberman:

Couldn't agree more. I could not agree more. There is a topic, it's sort of a dreaded topic, but I think it's an important one. And that's the topic of nutrition. And rather then get into specific meal programs, which would take hours and probably wouldn't even manage to scratch the surface even with hours, we could talk about principles around nutrition. What are the themes that you think people should keep in mind when thinking about how to eat generally? And pretraining and posttraining are two particularly sensitive times, or times that people want to know a lot about. What should they eat before training, or can they train fasted? What should they eat afterwards? But just in general, what do you think are some axioms of nutrition that really hold? And I ask this because, not because there's a lot of debate about this, but because you've been around this space a long time, and you've seen what works for you obviously, but for other people too. What tends to work, what tends not to work, and how should we think about nutrition?

Jeff Cavaliere:

You've touched on it a bit, but nutrition can be a touchy subject for people. And I understand where that comes from. I've talked about before, there's a dogmatic tendency to nutrition and there's a reason for it because it's an area that people struggle with more than anything else. And the reason why people struggle with nutrition is because the commitment is extremely high. You could start a workout program and actually get to the gym three to five times a week. That's five hours based on how you and I were discussing it before. Well what about the other 23 hours of each of those days? There's opportunity to eat incorrectly or unhealthily every one of those hours. People wake up in the middle of the night to go eat. There are things that you can do that can cause amazing amounts of damage to your longevity in the 23 hours, not the one hour, the 23 hours.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So when people finally figure out a way to make that work for them, it's very passionate, and I understand their passion. I do, I've put out, so my approach, my approach is I've always been sort of a low-sugar, lower-fat guy. I made the mistake of going no fat years ago, and I paid for it. I was in college, and back in the day — we were the same age. We read all the magazines and that was what we had. We didn't have internet then. So we were reading magazines and the recommended path was to go low fat. It helps you to become hypocaloric very easily because the density of the calories in a gram of fat versus a gram of carbohydrates or protein is nine versus four for the carbs and protein. So if you're cutting out grams of fat on a daily basis, you're quickly cutting out calories. That allows you to get leaner.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, of course, as everything, I mean if little is good then a lot is better. So I would cut all of them out or almost all of them. And at the age of 22, 21, I'm like standing at a stop at University of Connecticut waiting for the tram to come and bring me to campus. And I couldn't even open my eyes because the light was blinding to me. It was normal sunlight, it was blinding to me. The photosensitivity I had, learning later on after a few more courses that I took there in biology how necessary fat was for the development of healthy cells. I realized what was going on, and not to mention other stuff: skin was bad, hair was falling out, all kinds of stuff. So I think that the approach to decreasing fat, so it's not excessive, because again, how calorically dense it could be, and having lower sugar, I'm a firm believer in sugar is really pretty toxic and something that we would all do better getting rid of, a lot of it.

Jeff Cavaliere:

That is the best approach for, I believe again, in my opinion personally, for the overall big picture. Because though the people can take exclusionary approaches to nutrition and taking carbs out or eating only fats and proteins or, again, I'm not saying it doesn't work for you. And if it's the first thing that actually allowed you to gain control of your nutrition to the point where you actually saw results and got to a healthier weight, then I always say then do it. Then do it. But just make sure it's something you can do forever and doesn't bring upon other repercussions. But I think that nonexclusionary approaches to diets are the most sustainable for the rest of your life. And all I'm interested in from a nutrition standpoint is something that's sustainable. So when I preach what I preach, I've been doing this since I was 15, 14 — people say how does he get so ripped? I have been doing this for how many years? 30 years?

Andrew Huberman:

Eating clean, low sugar.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah, 30 years. And in the beginning it was a slow shift I had to make where I was like ... I went from the worst diet in the whole world, even when I was 14 years old, my breakfast was, I've talked about this so many times, but Entenmann's, I would eat Entenmann's donuts.

Andrew Huberman:

Long road. They even took the hole out of the donut.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Exactly.

Andrew Huberman:

Why would you delete the middle of the donut?

Jeff Cavaliere:

The crumb donut there, I would eat donuts.

Andrew Huberman:

I can taste it in my ... I don't like sugar very much — over the years I've lost my appetite for sugar. But as you talk about the Entenmann's donuts, I can literally smell and taste the frosting, and to me now it's disgusting. But back then it might have been appetizing.

Jeff Cavaliere:

You would probably have really good information on this. But my ability to actually remember ... they've said smell is very evoking of memories right?

Andrew Huberman:

So smell is unlike the other senses, because there's a direct line literally from our sense of smell to the memory centers of the brain. It doesn't have to go through any intermediate stations.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So my ability to actually recall exact taste of all the stuff that I used to love is enough to satisfy me to not engage in those things now. As crazy as that is, I almost get my fill through remembering because of these strong senses of memory of what it was like. "Oh, that used to taste so good. Okay, that's good — I had it."

Andrew Huberman:

Fantastic. Well we know the neuromodulator there, that's dopamine. Your ability to get the dopamine release from the thought of something. Most people when they get that dopamine release, it causes a triggering of the desire for more. People think of dopamine as pleasure, dopamine ... there's a book, great book called "The Molecule of More." I didn't write the book unfortunately, but someone else did. And it's a great book and it's really about how dopamine. We think it's about pleasure but it establishes craving. So you're able to satisfy that, and it is a very adaptive thing for you because you are indeed very lean, and that's one of your kind of hallmark things. And as a professional who does this in the public space, that's important. When people are out there talking about getting lean and you look at them and you're like, maybe you need to do the protocols, it's a huge advantage. But I think that it sounds like you've cultivated practices around avoiding certain things.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yes. Yeah. But not ... Avoiding certain things that I think are easily avoided if you realize that ... and I think that we have enough science and literature out there to prove that the altered path is a better path. You know what I mean? I feel like if I was just doing it because I wanted to be lean, I'm not quite sure it would've held for so long.

Andrew Huberman:

And we have a guest whose episode has been recorded for this podcast who runs an eating disorder clinic at the University of Pennsylvania medical school, studies binge eating disorders, anorexia, OCD. And he will go on record ... and obesity ... and he will go on record saying that these very highly palatable processed high-sugar foods of the sort that we're talking about, donuts and so forth, that they are actually dangerous. That there are elements of the way that they engage neural circuitry — he's a neurosurgeon — that reshape the brain in dangerous ways, and those are his words.

Jeff Cavaliere:

We're going to tank Entenmann's for sure.

Andrew Huberman:

And it's not just Entenmann's, I mean I think not just Entenmann's ... They're coming after us with donuts. They can't catch us.

Jeff Cavaliere:

True.

Andrew Huberman:

In any case. So in terms of what you do eat, how do you structure that? In terms of when you look down at a plate, you've done these, described this before, but I think it's just a beautifully simple description because I think a lot of people don't want to do calorie counting and all this, and how should people think about what to eat?

Jeff Cavaliere:

So yeah, I have what I call a plate method, and it's just simple because it works for me. And again, if you're struggling with real eating issues, these mechanisms become admittedly less effective because you're having, maybe you have emotionally triggered eating, and you can't stop at one plate. I mean that ... you could get the plate right, but if the portions are out of control.

Andrew Huberman:

The plate has a dimensionality of heights.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Or multiple plates, second and third or ... right? Then all these things could be challenged. But what I say is when you have your plate, then you just simply look at it as a clock. And if you just make a 9:20 on the clock, so one arm goes over to the nine and one of the arms goes over to 20, well then you're basically, you're going to take the second largest portion of that because you think you're going to make a line towards 12 o'clock too. And the largest portion is going to be your fibers, carbohydrates. So that's the green vegetables. So whether it be broccoli or brussels sprouts or asparagus or pick your favorites, those are the ones that give us a lot of the micronutrients we need. They're the ones that are generally accepted as more healthy, and they're also going to provide the fiber that's going to be both beneficial in terms of its impact on insulin and also just through filling you up.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And then I take the next largest portion of that, and I devote that towards protein. And I think it's really important, especially for anybody active, the more active you are, the more you embark on trying to build muscle, you're going to need to have protein every meal. So I have that. And again, we're talking cleaner sources of protein, but you'll never find boiled chicken on my plate. I ditched those days when I was 16, or 15 or 16. I realized after reading those bodybuilding magazines that maybe the low-fat thing stuck for too long, or the no-fat thing stuck for too long. But the boiled chicken and steamed broccoli thing, that ended quickly for me because really, I'm not going to eat this forever. So I'll have some sort of fish or chicken but it will be cooked in a way it's got maybe some sauce on it.

Jeff Cavaliere:

It's got some, maybe it's tomato sauce, anything to just make it a little bit more palatable and interesting without blowing the value of the meal. And then that last portion is where I put my starchy carbohydrates. And again, that's the part that some people say exclude them entirely because they're not healthy, or they don't work for you, or they're not beneficial long-term. For me, it's been a godsend. And I do think I'm like most people, my body craves those carbohydrates. I choose things like sweet potatoes, which is my favorite. Or I'll have rice or I'll have pasta. I'm Italian so I like pasta, and I will have those things. I'm not excluding them, but I don't put them in the portions that you would generally find. My wife and I will go out, and we'll go to the restaurant sometimes because we travel quite a bit, or used to. At least with baseball too, there was a Cheesecake Factory everywhere you went.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And I love Cheesecake Factory, but the way they structure meals is it's all rice on the bottom and a little bit of chicken on top. And I mean it's a plate full of rice that ... you wouldn't find me make a plate that way. I'm going to just devote that portion of the plate to the starchy carbohydrate. And so it gives me a little bit more responsibility in terms of portion control, because those are the foods, again, probably dopamine-driven, that are most easily overeaten. I always ask the question, "When was the last time you ate 10 chicken breasts at a meal?" You're getting sick of it after maybe two or three, but you could eat a whole hell of a lot of carbohydrates, starchy carbohydrates, because they're just so satisfying. And I think those triggers, as you said, that want more, like that's what happens.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Even when you're feeling full, you want more. And that's the biggest danger to carbohydrate. So if you can develop some sort of discipline around them, then you can still enjoy them. If you can't develop that discipline for whatever reason, then maybe they do become something that you have to work yourself around or adopt a different eating style. And as I said, I'm never to the point where, I'm not trying to be dogmatic in my approach. I'm always trying to say this is how I do it. And I'm a believer in it just like everyone else is a believer in their method. But I'm open to the idea that something that works for you and gets you to a healthier weight and a sustainability? Like that is good, good for me. Provided it doesn't introduce other issues.

Andrew Huberman:

Something one can do consistently. That's something I picked up from you over the years. What can you do consistently? And for me that also meant what, when and how can I eat, what can I eat consistently that will also allow me to be alert after lunch, so I can actually get some work done, or eat ... I like to train fasted in the morning, but I don't do any long-term fasting. It just so happens that I'm fine doing water and caffeine in the morning, and training in the morning, and then I eat my first meal afterwards. But I get carbohydrates at night, so my glycogen is restored. I think carbohydrates are wonderful. I just don't eat them in excess. So to me, I feel like what you describe is a very rational, literally balanced approach. And obviously there will be variations for people who are dealing with obesity or diabetes, or ... I've got friends that are on the pure carnivore thing.

Andrew Huberman:

I have friends that are vegan. And it's always impressive to me when somebody can stick to anything consistently. Except when they're sticking to just poor behavior. That's nothing impressive about that. Well, I think that's very helpful because I think for the typical listener of this podcast, the online content that people see, the battles are very confusing. They're distracting because people really think, oh, that there's a right way and a wrong way. And it sounds like the way that one can eat consistently over time that's healthy. Certainly fewer processed and sugary foods. I think almost everybody agrees there.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Almost everyone agrees on that. So I think it's calorie manipulation through some other method. So even intermittent fasting, like, you know, you said, that could be for people that are grazers. If you are a grazer and your real problem is portion control over the course of the day, but you can respond to a rule that says "No, you're eating between here and here," that you can obey that rule. Well you're not going to be able to graze during the times that you might be doing additional damage. So sure there's other hormonal benefits that people will talk about from that approach. But from a longevity standpoint and habit-forming standpoint, if it's fixing the habit that you're breaking too often by eating whenever you feel like [when] you walk by food, it's good and it works. And again, people will tell you you can probably eat whatever you want to eat as long as you're eating within those, that window.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But I think the more responsible people who are practitioners of that will say, "No, you still want to avoid processed sugar and things like that." And that's just a mechanism of eating, really a diet. But I think that people, I hate to be as basic as it sounds with that, but it's for the exact reason that if it's that 23-hour day phenomenon, that it's like, you said you're impressed. It is impressive. It's so hard to control all of our behaviors, and food being one of the hardest things, one of the biggest temptations for people. You got to learn how to control that for so long and then do it day after day after day, whatever that mechanism is that works for you is impressive. And I'm a believer in it. I think that's how I feel. I just feel like people need to be able to be given some reins to be able to find what works for them.

Andrew Huberman:

Well, I love to eat and one of the beauties of weight training is I feel like I can eat plenty for my age, and I'm not as lean as you are, but I'm happy with where I'm at. I could always do better. With each year, actually, I'm getting better, probably because I'm eating cleaner, probably because I also have someone to cook for me now.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I have that too. I have that too.

Andrew Huberman:

And we like healthy food and so I'm very fortunate. I don't think we have any packaged food in our home. We even started making sauerkraut at home. I don't make it. She makes it.

Jeff Cavaliere:

My wife actually, she turned me on to a tip that I actually shared with the whole channel, which was like, you can go to ... We have a Stew Leonard's around, our big grocery store chain around us, and they have a catering department, and they're often used for catering big parties, and big tubs of grilled chicken, but really good grilled chicken. Again, not the boiled chicken, but big tubs of sweet potatoes. And we'll get a bunch of those, and she'll go over and she'll get them. Then she'll sort of arrange them on plates and put the plates in. And I'm okay with repetitive eating. I think more people are probably okay with repetitive eating than they think. I think that when you actually break down, how many different breakfast variations do you have? Three, two?

Andrew Huberman:

Two or three maximum.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So I think when people do ... there's more variety for dinner probably. But even there you probably eat five different types of dinners over the course of a week or a month. Well, if you have that ability to identify the things that you like, and again, no plan is going to work if you're eating stuff you don't like. It's not going to work forever. Nothing will. You have to really enjoy what you're eating. As long as these variations of this meal are something that you really enjoy and there are limited versions of them, the reproducibility of that is simple. It will take some time. But if you're fortunate enough in our case to have somebody who can prepare it for you, now that's even part out of the equation.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And it just makes it very simple. But I do think when you tally up all the costs of medical care that are spiked by having poor nutrition, and you then offset that by what it might cost you to invest in a faster strategy like this catering trick or whatever it might be, you be best off figuring out a way to maybe reallocate some of your money to preparing this because you know how important it is to your long-term health and longevity. If you can figure out your nutrition issues, if everyone listening to this podcast can figure out their nutrition issues, this whole world will be different. That is one of the largest sources of disease and pain and discomfort because people really struggle with nutrition.

Andrew Huberman:

And it's a huge problem. I mean the obesity, it is an epidemic in this country. It's very, very serious. Also, a lot of highly processed foods are more expensive than healthier foods. When you really break it down, even the better-sourced, high-quality foods are right there on par less than the processed foods for sure. But couple other questions as it relates to training, because I think that one thing that a lot of people wonder about, and maybe we could do this in kind of a true/false method, just to get through some of these 50.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Fifty-fifty, I'll get right, at least.

Andrew Huberman:

Exactly. Men and women should train differently.

Jeff Cavaliere:

The science of it will say false. And again, not to generalize, but kind of the point you touched on earlier today, I do find that casually interested women in training will migrate more towards certain types.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Women in training will migrate more towards certain types of fitness like kickboxing, like dancing, like-

PART 4 OF 5 ENDS [02:08:04]

Andrew Huberman:

Low rest, circuit type?

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think, again, whatever it is that you're going to engage in regularly is what you should do. Physiologically? No. And I think if we can get more women to feel more comfortable in the gym, performing the same exercises and receiving the same strength-training benefits and working on progressive overload, and yeah, we've hit the holy grail. But I think that it's a big bridge that has to be gapped still because there's just some reality to ...

Jeff Cavaliere:

Listen, my wife is a perfect example of this, living a very complicated, busy life. We have two young boys. They're twins. And her attention and focus is there, and it's like she doesn't do this for a living like I do. And if she can get a decent workout in, she's happy. But she's not necessarily working on her deadlift PR. I think that that would help her and serve her in the long term, to work on increasing her PRs and different lifts and building her strength progressively. But you know what? In her life, right now is not necessarily in the cards to have the time to focus on that. So, would you then discourage this other thing that she might find interesting? Like some boxing. There was a little, I don't remember the brand, but one of those punchable boxing stand-up things, and she enjoys it. And anything to get you moving is going be preferable. But I don't think that necessarily, physiologically, there's a difference.

Andrew Huberman:

You started weight training pretty young.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. I messed around with my brother because he was older. He was four years older. So, I was messing around with weights, probably 12 or 13, with a five-pound dumbbell.

Andrew Huberman:

You hear that young kids shouldn't work out with the weights. I don't know what the going standard is now. They say it shuts down long bone growth or growth plates, this sort of thing. You've got two young boys. Adorable kids, by the way.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Thanks.

Andrew Huberman:

One of the things that is very heartwarming is to see you're in great shape. You're extremely bright. You know your craft, you love your craft. You work with Jesse, who we'll talk about as well.

Jeff Cavaliere:

It takes great patience.

Andrew Huberman:

Which is great that there's a camaraderie there. Having great teammates as part of a business or to work out with is just ... makes life better. Let's just be honest. I'm grateful to have great teammates for the podcast and my lab, of course, as well. But to see your boys and your dogs, and the whole picture, I'm sure it has a lot of contours and complexity that we don't know about and shouldn't know about, but it's a beautiful picture. And will they weight train? I've seen the videos of one or both of them hanging from the bar.

Jeff Cavaliere:

These kids are natural, as I'm telling you.

Andrew Huberman:

I wonder where they get it from.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I don't even encourage it. I'm not going to be the dad who's sitting there saying, "Let's go, son."

Andrew Huberman:

Pull-ups, right.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. We got our two-a-days. I'm not going to do that. But they have a natural interest in the gym. They just sometimes like to be out with Daddy. So, they'll come out there. And I, of the two of us, my wife and I, will be the one who has a little bit more of a longer leash to let them explore things. Because I was a dummy at times too and figured out best through the mistakes I made.

Andrew Huberman:

Through injury. In neuroscience, we call that one-trial learning.

Jeff Cavaliere:

There you go. These guys are going to be masters of one-trial learning because they'll go grab the handles of my jammer that's there. Because it's at a lower level for them. And they're swinging around, they're doing pull-ups on it, naturally uncoached, nothing from me. One will walk out to a deadlift bar, stand over it naturally, never saw me do it. Stands over there and just goes ... He tries to pull it. So, there's definitely an inclination to liking the gym, and I will fully support that. But of course, body weight will be good for quite a while.

Andrew Huberman:

What age do you think is reasonable for kids to start exploring a non-body-weight training?

Jeff Cavaliere:

I think around 13. I think around 13. Once puberty, I think it's okay to start to. Because there's so much. I would even say for people that are later in age who are just starting out, learn with your own body weight first. There's plenty of resistance to be had by learning how to command your body in space. If you have never trained before, you're going to get very stimulated by doing lunging and reverse lunging. Even learning some of the proprioception around movement through space. Pull-ups, chin-ups. Pull-ups and chin-ups are challenging for even people that have had 20, 30 years of experience in the gym. There's a lot of stimulus to be had by body weight. And jumping straight to dumbbells or barbells is actually doing yourself a disservice. You can learn better command of your body in space, so that when you go back to the bigger lifts, you're going to have an easier time progressively loading them and building up that foundation of strength.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I'm not saying that you have to become a master calisthenics athlete before you can touch a barbell. That's not even true. I'm just saying there's so much capacity. Kids are going to be doing this anyway. And really just, if you look at general play, they are jumping, they are lunging, they are climbing, they are pulling. That's what they do. I don't know where the avoidance of structured training is for younger kids. Again, provided they're using body weight and maybe less ballistic movements or something like that. Or certainly overloaded movements. I think we should encourage kids to do more. There's a lot of obesity in kids on the rise also, and that is incredibly disconcerting to me. And I hope it doesn't come from the advice of some that say, "Well, wait until you're older to start doing something." That's a way worse trade-off than engaging in something smart now.

Andrew Huberman:

We used to get kicked out of the house when we were kids.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Totally.

Andrew Huberman:

My mom would kick us out. I had a huge pack of boys that lived on my street. But we'd get kicked outside. Literally, you're not allowed in the ... No television. But there were video games, of course, but we were kicked out of the house. We had to go play. For us, it was skateboarding, soccer, and then we'd find our trouble. Posttraining nutrition. We're the same age. Years ago, I was neurotic about the idea that I had to ingest a certain amount of carbohydrates and proteins within two hours. Then, it was 90 minutes of training. I confess, if I train hard, I'm talking about the resistance training, not the running, but the resistance training, 60 to 90 minutes later, I'm really hungry. But there have been days when I just skip, and then, the hunger passes, and then, later, I eat more. I might eat twice as much later. That's just the way sometimes, schedules go. But what are your thoughts in terms of the nutrition science, the training-related effects of the posttraining meal? Is it something that you try to get? Is it something you think people should pay attention to?

Jeff Cavaliere:

That science has actually probably been the one that's changed the most in my lifetime, honestly. Because again, we're the same age, and I was falling for the same trap, where I would really be focused on ... I'm risking speeding tickets driving home from the gym to make-

Andrew Huberman:

[inaudible 02:15:11] really serious.

Jeff Cavaliere:

... sure I got an anabolic window. I did all that. I really did. But thankfully, that's been debunked, and your body isn't just rushing through these certain periods of time to utilize the nutrients in our body, but are able to partition them and use them over a much greater duration. Up to now, they're saying three to four hours after training, five hours after training, you can still see the benefits of replenishment. A lot of that is just, I think there's a consistency element to it, that just utilizing a postworkout window or a postworkout meal, even if it's within two hours or one hour, is just integrating the habit of saying, "Listen, I just did this activity. And now, I want to replenish some of what I lost, the energy that I used to perform the exercises that I did." And just getting into the routine knowing that the engine is ultimately fed by what we put in it.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And the concept of replenishing the fuel lost is still a concept that, I think — again, different in mechanism but still important in terms of fueling the overall performance. So, the preworkout period of time gives us a chance to actually have a longer window because if those nutrients are obtained preworkout, it's not like they're gone in that hour that you've trained. They're still there and available for your body to use. So, I think it's important to get one of the two right or at least make sure you're consistently having one or the two. Or you might risk going through all these periods of having no nutrition to support your efforts. Not only will your workouts potentially suffer in terms of the output, but then you're also not providing your body any ability to capitalize on an opportunity to feed it, and refuel, and recover.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I'm not very dogmatic about what specifically to eat pre- or postworkout, but I do think you should have protein surrounding your training, whether that be ahead of time or after. Protein could be a little bit hard to digest for some people. So, if you do that preworkout, and then you're finding your workout's slogging because you don't feel good, then so, you put that after your meal. But this whole concept of the urgency of time has thankfully been removed, and we can just learn to eat a little bit more responsibly and drive more responsibly, so we're not trying to rush home from the gym and risk killing people on the way.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But I think it's great because I think that that was something that it just showcases a belief that people had for so long that has since been proven to be not that important. And there's a tip of the cap towards research in a good way, where it's like, "All right, I think we could all agree that this isn't necessarily true anymore." And look at yourself and say, "Oh my God, I did that so often. I bit that one hook, line, and sinker."

Jeff Cavaliere:

But then, realize, okay, we could always make a change, and the good thing about nutrition is those changes can happen the very next time you go to eat, and you'll start to see the benefits of that. So, I'm not a big believer in that strict approach to pre- or postworkout. Even as far as preworkout supplements, a lot of people don't take them. A lot of people don't like them. They don't take them. They're not necessarily even being used as the nutritive side of the preworkout. They're just more used to fuel the workout.

Andrew Huberman:

For me, it's water and some form of caffeine.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Again, I think it's important. I do think it's important to maintain a high level of output. If your preworkout nutrition requires a stimulant in order to help you do that, or if your prework nutrition is causing you to have a harder time to train because you're feeling full, or stomachache, or something else, then that's not achieving what you're trying to do. The ultimate goal is to still be able to perform at the highest level. Whatever your nutrition is required to allow you to still do that, that is probably the most important factor of all of it.

Andrew Huberman:

Great. I love the very clear and rational approach. Don't ingest anything right before your workout or near your workout that's going to make your workout worse. It's so simple, and yet you don't hear this because I think people will think, oh, they must have a preworkout. They must have a postworkout.

Jeff Cavaliere:

No. Again, even if the benefits that are to be had from whatever's being suggested are going to be easily offset by the fact that you can't perform at an output capable of driving any change. That would pretty much negate the fact that there's no ... You're not outweighing those benefits of whatever nutritive approach you took and struggling through your workout.

Andrew Huberman:

For me, the best preworkout is a good night's sleep, hydration, caffeine, music.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. There you go.

Andrew Huberman:

That it works.

Jeff Cavaliere:

It's a pretty simple formula.

Andrew Huberman:

It works. And then, post, I do I find I get quite hungry and want to eat quite a bit more and-

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, that's a natural response. The body's going to, and most people want to do that, and I think it should be fed. I worked out as ... Again, a lot of my postings on Instagram will happen at 10:00 at night, 10:30 at night, 11:00 at night because I am actually training there, and that's where I'm taking those little breaks in between sets to actually film or post something. But I then go inside, I eat dinner. So, I'm eating at 11:00 at night. It's not necessarily ideal. I'm not recommending that as a tool for anybody. I think it dispels one thing. I've never been a believer in you can't eat carbs after 6:00.

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah, no. That makes no sense to me.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Zero sense.

Andrew Huberman:

Based on all the signs of metabolism that I've seen, makes no sense. I think as long as you can ... Sort of like napping. I talked to Matt Walker, one of the great sleep researchers, wrote "Why We Sleep," et cetera and has his own podcast about sleep, tremendous researcher, public communicator about sleep. And he said, "Naps are fine, provided they don't interrupt your ability to sleep well at night." Simple. Some people can sleep from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m., and then go to bed at midnight, and not a problem. Other people, they take a 30-minute nap after lunch, and they can't sleep at night. Same thing with ... caffeine's a little different because Matt would argue the architecture of sleep can be disrupted, et cetera. But if you can eat dinner late and eat carbohydrates late, I actually need carbohydrates at night in order to be able to sleep. Whenever I've done a low-carbohydrate-type regimen in the evening, I have a hard time falling asleep. I'm just too alert. So, I eat carbohydrates in the evening to restore glycogen, but also in order to make sure that I can fall asleep.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Again, obviously, it's already late at night by the time I'm done eating, but I can fall asleep within five, 10 minutes of finishing my meal. Because I do think that they have that same effect on me. But I'm not bothered by the feeling of fullness. I'm not unable to sleep because of the feeling of fullness. But I do like the fact that I feel as if I'm at least replenishing what was lost through my hard training. And I do like to back it up with a dinner. I don't need to eat smaller amounts. Some people can't have that much. I will say, after a hard leg workout, I don't have the same appetite that I do after, let's say, an upper body workout. It can really disrupt my whole feeling of well-being.

Andrew Huberman:

You want to eat less after you train your legs?

Jeff Cavaliere:

I do, yeah.

Andrew Huberman:

Wow. I'm the opposite.

Jeff Cavaliere:

No, no. Because I just feel, I could feel sick to my stomach.

Andrew Huberman:

Well, you're clearly training harder. I've seen the way you train. You do train very intensely.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. I think it's important. I think that, again, it's that trade-off between if you're not going to train for a long period of time, then you're going to want to train harder. And again, I actually feel like, contrary to what people might think, as you age, you're better off training harder for shorter period of time. It's always within the realm of safe training. I think that's what ... I like to think that's what I bring to the table, an approach that's smarter, so I can train harder. Like not doing the dumb things I did when I was a kid.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And with that trade-off, being a harder trainer, I think I get the results that I want because I'm able to really push it and then back off. And again, the meal feels like almost a physiological reward for the hard effort I put in the gym, knowing that I'm also replenishing and setting the stage for the next day to be another successful day of training. Or maybe not, depending upon how many times a day a week I train. But yeah, I think that it's a lot less ... I hate to say, but it's a lot less scientific than we want to make it. And as it seems to be coming back, oftentimes, the thing that works for you is really the most important thing because ultimately, getting your ass in there and doing what you do is really the thing that provides the best benefit.

Andrew Huberman:

Absolutely. And there are many things that I would say are hallmarks of Jeff Cavaliere, but one of them is certainly consistency. You make it happen one way or another.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Huge. Huge. Consistency really is the determinant. And I know that that is the hardest part for people that are ... And why people tend to look for the shortcut because consistency is the part that becomes the biggest challenge. Through what I've been trying to encourage here, is if you could find the nutrition approach, if you could find the training approach, if you could try find the training split, if you could try all those things that encourage you to want to go to the gym, you're locked in at the point where you said you actually look forward to going and doing your workout.

Andrew Huberman:

I love it. I look forward to ... Actually, this morning, one of our teammates for the podcast and I got a workout, and halfway through, I just turned him, and I said, "I'll never figure out why that feels so good, but it feels so good. I really enjoy it." And I love to eat, and it lets me, and I love the way it makes me feel afterward. I don't understand this concept of not enjoying the gym. Cardio is a little different. I always loathe the first 10 or 20 minutes of a jog. I mildly loathe the middle third. And by the end, I think this is the greatest thing ever. Why don't I do it all the time? And then, that feeling evaporates before the next time I do it.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. Of course, you don't even remember it either. The next time you get on, you hate it again.

Andrew Huberman:

Exactly.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Yeah. I think if we had one gift we could give to everybody, it would be the love of fitness. If they could be bestowed the love of fitness, it would change the entire world. But I think when you hear things like this that like, "Hey, that will work, and that will work too, and that this will work too," rather than the dogmatic one-way-only approach, which could become discouraging for people, then I think it becomes a little bit uplifting like, "Well, I've never tried that. I've actually never tried a total body split," or, "I've never tried that style of eating." It becomes encouraging. You might want to explore, and then you might finally get locked in and say, "I really like this." And then you're off and running.

Andrew Huberman:

That's what I so enjoy about your content. We would be remiss if we didn't briefly discuss Jesse. One of the great pleasures for me in watching your content and learning from it over the years is that you took on, you decided to mentor somebody, Jesse. And there's some poking fun back and forth between the two of you, which is very amusing. But I have to say it inspired me to do something early on in developing this podcast, as I have a young intern who has helped me with some of the research, he's interested in science. He's about to go off to college, but he also got really into fitness. We would watch the videos of you guys. He was helping me get the Instagram content out early on. And one thing that was just, it's such a pleasure to be able to pass along knowledge. And of course, I'm learning from him.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Nice.

Andrew Huberman:

This is always the way it works.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Right, of course.

Andrew Huberman:

We learn from teaching, and we learn from students. But it's been great to see Jesse's progress. It's amazing. I've gotten to meet him in person just now, and he has grown. He's changed physically. And I think that you mention a love of fitness. I think that one of the best ways to be consistent is to take on the responsibility of teaching others once one has proficiency in something. So, maybe you just tell us a little bit about how that's going. How is Jesse doing? And where does he need a little more work? Where is he thriving? I'm impressed by the progress.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Well, physically, we can obviously see the changes. The list of things to work on is immense. It's so long for him to continue to improve. But no, actually, in reality, Jesse ... The story of Jesse was that I knew Jesse prior to starting even ATHLEAN-X. And as a matter of fact, I think the funny thing is the very first video that was ever posted on my channel was a video that he shot as, I don't know, a 13-year-old or something. And I said, "Can you just film this for a second?" I was over there training members of the family. So, he then went off to college, went into film, realized he had much greener pastures at ATHLEAN-X instead of becoming the next Scorsese or something. And he decided to come work with me.

Jeff Cavaliere:

And the expectations in the beginning were just to edit videos or just to help with various aspects of my day-to-day that I don't think I was equipped to really handle and grow the business anymore. Then look, by virtue of being in that environment, there's an interest. I think if I worked in a gym, I might become interested in working out. And though mine is not a commercial gym, it's sitting right behind my office window, there became an interest in wanting to work out a little bit. And it wasn't even an intentional experiment to put Jesse there. I just thought that he's a very likable person. He has a very funny personality, and he's also the everyman. In some ways, as I'm sure maybe you experience sometimes, I'm the guy that ... this comes naturally for me is what people will say. This is what you do for a living. There's an element of disconnect in terms of the relatability because I do do this for a living. I can't deny that. I do work with professional athletes, so there's a level of interest in this above and beyond.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But for him, he's just the kid who wants to train, maybe if he rolls out of bed before 11:00 a.m. and doesn't have a date on Friday night. But that's the guy everybody could relate to. And watching him transform, and I love the fact that even the interest level was up and down. It wasn't consistent for him because he was part interested, and then maybe not interested for three months, and then interested, and not. And I never pushed it on him. Again, this was no orchestrated experiment for me. It was just like, if you want to do this, then do this. And also, from a standpoint of lending my help or expertise to him, like I said with my son, I'm not going to force it on anybody. I don't want to do that to anybody. I don't think that that's ever going to spark that desire for long-term adoption.

Jeff Cavaliere:

So, he got more interested. He started to learn more about it. He watches the videos that we're filming. He films the videos that we're filming, and he's learning through what I'm saying. He's becoming more of a student of the field. And I have to say, his knowledge in the field has grown with the growth of his physique. And he's put into practice some of the things that I say. He's put in practice some things he hears other places, and he winds up improving as he goes. And he winds up starting to love this like he never thought he would.

Jeff Cavaliere:

But it's great to see anybody grow. And whether that be physically or that be emotionally, or whether that be just in their career, it's great to see somebody grow. And I like to tease him. Funny admission here. There are times when the jabs that I will throw at him are something that we might know ahead of time of what I'm going to say to him. People will say, "You're so mean to him. I can't believe it. That's so abusive." You know, like, Dude. Honestly, we laugh after it's over. It's good. We're good. Of course, but-

Andrew Huberman:

He's tougher than he looks is what you're saying.

Jeff Cavaliere:

He's tougher than he looks. Believe me.

Andrew Huberman:

And he looks pretty tough now he's got the big beard.

Jeff Cavaliere:

He looks more manly than I do. I can't grow a beard. I don't. Yeah. Believe me, he's totally alpha, and I'm quickly becoming the second star of this show. But he's definitely contributed, and people enjoy his presence for sure.

Andrew Huberman:

Yeah, I certainly do. And I think that as you pointed out, he's a proxy and a template for everybody. We can relate to him because even though I've trained for many years, it's been a struggle through graduate school, postdoc. Made it happen one way or another, but with more or less attention, and admittedly through waxing and waning levels of motivation, although I am fortunate that I do enjoy it.

Jeff Cavaliere:

What I think is nice about it too is that it's a realistic expectation that we set, I think. In other words, you're showcasing what the journey actually looks like. And he's been on the journey for, again, devotedly for let's say the last year and a half, but on the journey for five years. If I could make the gains that he did starting when I started training at 14, 15. And you're saying, "Hey, by 20, you're going to have the strength levels he does, the physique that he does, the knowledge that you've gained," that seems like a blink of an eye now looking back. At 46 years old, I'm like, "Holy cow." I think it took me 20 years, 15, 20 years to just even start to get into a groove. For him to do it in a period of five years, it doesn't seem long.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Whereas there's people that will criticize his journey like, "Oh, it's just taken so long." There's such an instant gratification that people seek. Luckily, that's the minority. Most people are like, "This is amazing." But I think that it becomes very uplifting because not only is it relatable, but the journey is real, and people can appreciate that. This is what will happen if you actually put in consistent hard work. And you'll watch him transform. Go back and watch the videos. We like to oftentimes throw back to videos where he appeared as smaller Jesse, but also, shy Jesse. Arms crossed, head down, not making eye contact with the camera, to where now, he's got his own skits and intros. It's funny because the confidence, with the growth of physique came confidence too, which is great.

Andrew Huberman:

Absolutely. Pretty soon, it'll be his world, and we'll all be living in it, as they say.

Andrew Huberman:

Well, on behalf of myself and all the listeners, I really want to thank you, first of all, for the discussion today. I learned an immense amount. Even though I thought I knew your content well, I still learned an immense amount. Many things we could deploy, from when to stretch, how to stretch, the skipping rope. We talked about nutrition, we talked about heat, cold, training regimens. And what I love about all of this now that you've given us, is that there's a backbone of logic and some consistent themes indeed about consistency. But the logical backbone, I think, is what will enable people to really show up to the table and stay there for training consistently over time. As you said, the gift of fitness is an immense gift. I can't thank you enough. I know you're an incredibly busy human being with kids, and dogs, and a marriage-

Jeff Cavaliere:

It was my pleasure.

Andrew Huberman:

... and a thriving business.

Jeff Cavaliere:

I'm happy I was able to make it work because I've been watching your stuff for a while, and I really love the science of it. I like the way you think. And I'm just really fortunate that I was able to do it.

Andrew Huberman:

Well, I feel very gratified in hearing that and honored to have you here. So, thank you so much.

Jeff Cavaliere:

Thank you.

Andrew Huberman:

Thank you for joining me for my discussion with Jeff Cavaliere. I hope you found it as interesting and as actionable as I did. If you're learning from and are enjoying this podcast, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. That's the best zero-cost way to support us. In addition, please subscribe to the podcast on Spotify and on Apple. That's also a terrific way to support us. And on both Spotify and Apple, you can leave us up to a five-star review. If you have comments and feedback, the best place to leave that is at the comment section on the YouTube channel. There, if you have suggestions about specific episodes, or you have specific questions, or you have suggestions about guests that you'd like us to interview on the Huberman Lab podcast, we read those comments. And indeed, we take them to heart when developing future content.

Andrew Huberman:

In addition, please check out the sponsors mentioned at the beginning of today's podcast. That's the best way to support this podcast. And for those of you that are interested in supplements discussed today or on previous episodes of the Huberman Lab podcast, again, we partnered with Momentous supplements. You can find the supplements related to this podcast at livemomentous.com/huberman. If you're not already following us on social media, please do so. We are Huberman Lab on both Twitter and Instagram. There, I cover science and science-based tools, some of which overlap with the content of the Huberman Lab podcast, and others of which are distinct from the information covered on the Huberman Lab podcast. Again, it's Huberman Lab on Instagram, and also, Huberman Lab on Twitter.

Andrew Huberman:

If you're not already subscribed to our so-called Neural Network Newsletter, please do so. You can do that by going to hubermanlab.com. Go to the menu and click on Newsletter. It costs nothing to sign up or to receive the newsletters. They come out about once a month, and they contain summaries of actionable protocols, links to relevant scientific research. We do not share your email with anybody, and our privacy policy is made clear at that site. In fact, if you'd like to see some previous newsletters or download those, you can download those as PDFs without having to sign up at all, simply by going to hubermanlab.com. Go again into the newsletter tab under the menu, and there you'll see, for instance, a toolkit for sleep that lists out all the things you can do to enhance your sleep. It lists out the so-called neuroplasticity superprotocol for enhancing learning, and teaching, and so on. Again, that's the Neural Network Newsletter at hubermanlab.com. And last, but certainly not least, thank you for your interest in science.

PART 5 OF 5 ENDS [02:36:45]

No items found.

Join 400,000+ subscribers to get regular emails on neuroscience, health, and science-related tools from Dr. Andrew Huberman.

Plus, you’ll also get Andrew’s exclusive Daily Blueprint, where Andrew shares his daily routine, and outlines practical protocols you can use to stay productive and maximize your health.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

By submitting your email to subscribe, you agree to Scicomm Media's Privacy Policy