266: TZ Discussion – Sleepless in Pasadena

Justin and Jason discuss Justin’s new baby and all of the related complications, an update on Jason’s weight-loss and fitness program and why he’s so skeptical of Justin’s 15-minutes-per-week workout, the new pullout math class for the 5th-grade math team, an update on Jason’s effort to learn electronics and how he couldn’t get Anki or Mnemosyne to display equations, the progress on the God’s Tweets iPhone app, why Empath has stalled out, how MV Code Club is all set to open a new location, and the status of the Battle Math card game.

  1. Alfie says:

    Congratulations Justin and Georgie!

  2. Matthew says:

    Congrats Justin. Thanks heaps for putting this episode together, can’t have been easy! Please never stop 🙂

  3. Hi,

    You can listen to the Author of Justin’s exercise book on another podcast here: https://www.bulletproofexec.com/podcast-26-body-by-science-with-dr-doug-mcguff-md/

    The fact that the person running the podcast is the self-proclaimed first person to sell a product on the internet (T-shirts), who has his own miracle health products is a bit worrying.

    Thanks for cranking this episode out. I’ve been with you guys kinda from the beginning … I listened mostly in order but you were already up and running at the point I started catching up. Heard them all. Always happy to see a new one.

  4. About the project superhero. I am doing it. Lifting 5x5s using the app StrongLifts to track myself. I am aiming for Captain America :-).

    One thing I have noticed in many interviews with actors over the years is that they already say during the promotion for the film that they don’t look the same way under their smart suit that they do in the film. So some cute TV presenter might be flirting with them and suggesting they take their shirts off or something like that and they are basically backing out of that challenge.

    This makes me think they approach training for a a film more like a boxer for a fight or a body builder for a competition. They have a bulking up period with all the expert nutritional help the studio can find, then they cut to get lean, also maybe using short cuts like metabolism raising supplements, and they time it all to reach a peak condition exactly when they need to take their shirts off for a particular scene. In another scene in the film they might actually be less big or still have some flab under their clothes. What do you think about that idea versus the concept that these actors who are not professional athletes are walking around looking totally bulked up and shredded at all times?

  5. Justin says:

    @Andrew Cox:

    This is a bit of a better intro to that exercise plan:

    Here it is in action:

    This is a longer lecture that explains the science in detail:

  6. Jon says:

    Apart from the effectiveness of any particular exercise program, getting to a healthy weight and health generally are definitely mostly diet. People often say 80% diet — I’d go even higher.

    I checked the web site and the body by science guy advocates this for a diet: “No flour, no sugar, no bread, no pasta, and no high fructose corn syrup.” This is a low carb, no sugar diet. I think most people would drop a fair amount of weight from dropping sugar alone, apart from the other restrictions.

  7. Jason says:

    @Andrew Cox – Thumbs up on going for the Captain America! But do yourself a favor and take a before photo if you haven’t already. I wish I had and now it’s way too late. Damnit! Also, the 5×5 program is solid. You’ll definitely put on muscle if you follow it.

    In terms of action stars approaching training for a film like a boxer for a fight, I think you’re absolutely right. There’s no way that these guys are walking around in top form day in and day out. In fact, I remember reading something about how Hugh Jackman would carbo load, dehydrate and do all kinds of physique hacks the day or two before filming a shirtless scene just to optimize his appearance, so at least in his case it’s definitely true.

  8. Jason says:

    @All – I kind of regret going after Justin so hard about his once-per-week, 15-minute workout. Who knows, maybe that’s all that’s needed for someone who’s new to lifting, not a competitive athlete and not looking to pack on 30 pounds of muscle. If it is, then great, I’m all for it. I just want Justin to succeed with getting in shape and getting healthy and I guess I’m just skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true.

    Anyway, I guess we’ll find out soon enough, and if I’m wrong I’ll be taking him out for a nice steak dinner. 😉

  9. Robin says:

    Congratulations Justin!

    Re the 15 minutes a week exercise plan.
    As an ex competitive (natural) bodybuilder and powerlifter, the notion of getting stronger with 15 minutes every 5 – 7 days is very real, I did a very similar type of training for 4 – 5 months where you would set up 6 – 8 exercises in the gym e.g leg extension, squat, shoulder press, deadlift, db bench, chins, bb curl, calf raise.
    Then you start the first exercise and go to absolute fail on each exercise one after the other, it all takes about 15 – 20 minutes and you’re wiped out afterwards, you don’t even want to go in the gym for 5 days.
    This will build muscle and strength but you have to go all out, you build intensity week over week and learn how to push harder.
    This way of training worked great for building strenght and muscle but even though your only training infrequently the intensity required can become draining so I would recommend doing something like 2 months on and then do a week of moderate exercise to give you a mental break and then go back to it.
    This is how bodybuilders Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates trained, but because they used steroids they can train a little more frequently.
    This is not a way to loose body fat, that is diet and cardio.

    The only real way to gain muscle and loose body fat at the same time is to use anabolic which wouldn’t be recommended.

    I also tried the bulking up and then dieting for competition but because I was natural (no steroids) when you are loosing the body fat you are also loosing quite a lot of muscle especially when you are getting down to the 4% mark, maintaining some strength is the best you an do.

    For purely health, strength and aesthetics I would recommend training with weights and getting lean by doing some cardio and eating clean. Once you get lean you can then stay lean and build muscle as you are not loosing fat at this stage, you look better and can see any muscular gains you make easily in the mirror.

  10. Hi,

    So I haven’t looked at the book or the other links given yet but I listened to the the interview with Doug Mcguff I linked to previously and he comes over as a very serious and knowledgeable guy.


    Towards the end he is asked specifically about barbell strength training as per the popular book Starting Strength (squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, chest press, overhead press, etc.) and he is totally supportive about that approach, just with the caveat to avoid doing exercises that involve a high degree of skill if you are going to push all the way to failure. For him skill + failure = injury risk in that zone where form may drop as failure is approached.

    The interview doesn’t get into anything fadish or bogus sounding. He does talk about exercise as stress and how people who train often get the exercise / recovery balance wrong and overestimate how much exercise is required.

    @Jason, Good idea about the photos. unfortunately I won’t have myself at my absolute worst as I am already improving .. gah!

  11. Jason says:

    @Robin – Thanks so much for the insight!

    You know it’s funny, but Colby (age 9) told me in the car the other day that I shouldn’t worry about putting on muscle or getting stronger until I’ve dropped the weight and hit my sub-10% body fat goal. Upon reflection, the kid might actually be smarter than he looks. 😉

    By the way, do you have a link to one of your competition or training photos? It would be cool to see if you wouldn’t mind sharing.

  12. Jason says:

    @Andrew Cox – Alright, well at least find the most recent out-of-shape photo that you have of yourself and save it. I found one of me the other day, albeit with my shirt on, but you can still see pretty clearly that I have a gut. Bleh!

    But please keep us updated on your progress with Operation Superhero. I love seeing people progress and it might even serve as an additional motivator for you. I’ve told everyone I know about my plan and my goals and it certainly keeps it all front and center in my mind. Now if I don’t dunk I’m going to look like a giant A-hole! 😉

    By the way, I just hit a new low this morning of 187.8, down from 204.4 on Jun 7th. It’s coming off!

  13. Robin says:

    @jason Because I competed 10 – 15 years ago I don’t have any digital images, here are a couple of websites though.
    The ironic thing now is I compete in triathlon and have tried to shed the muscle I gained but it still hangs around even with hardly any weight training.

    I am top left, looking over dieted and thin in my first national competition after a couple of years of training.

    This is a link to a power lifting competition results page. I am in the under 90 kg class.

  14. Congratulations Justin! I’m sure little Jack will bring a lot of joy to you and Georgie. I am amazed that you found enough time and energy to do the podcast m(_ _)m (Respekt!)

  15. Jason says:

    @Robin – Cool! Impressive photo and lift totals. One question though? Why were your squat and deadlift so out of line with your bench press? Not that your bench was weak per say, but it wasn’t even in the same league as your squat.

  16. Justin says:

    @Robin “The only real way to gain muscle and loose body fat at the same time is to use anabolic which wouldn’t be recommended.”

    Can you explain that in a little more detail?

    Note: Your pics and stats are very impressive!

  17. Robin says:

    @Jason Very true, I naturally had strength in my glutes and hamstrings so I gained strength in squat pretty quickly and when I deadlifted I found that sumo deadlifting suited me and I gained strength in that.
    I have long arms and although I incrementally gained strength year on year but it didn’t come as easy as the other lifts, my best in competition was 140 kg which is below par in my weight category.

  18. Congratulations to Georgie and Justin on becoming new parents. 🙂

    @Justin, thanks for doing the show while still tired!
    The bantering in the first half hour was classic “TechZing Bantering” 🙂

    @Jason, the project superhero segment is captivating as it shows what can happen with a lot of dedication.
    On my side being able to workout is still a distant goal due to my condition (even after cervical surgery), but I have taken one-on-one Pilates to help strengthening the spine and help reduce nerve pain, and it is certainly hard work. I have also taken meditation quite seriously over a year ago. Those are small nano-size “audacious goals” at my level, but listening to your progress motivates me too.

  19. Vladimir Jankovic says:

    Congratulations Justin and Georgie!

    Wish you all the best with that little hacker 😉

  20. Jason says:

    @Philippe Monnet – Yeah, sometimes it’s making just a small amount of progress that gets you motivated enough to go after bigger goals. For the first few weeks I wasn’t even motivated enough to change my diet in any substantial way and it wasn’t until probably a couple weeks after that that I actually committed to going after something much bigger.

    That’s why after a little re-thinking I’ve changed my mind and become supportive of Justin’s 15-minutes-per-week workout. I can see that he’s making some progress and I can see that he’s excited about the progress he’s making, which is even more important because it will likely lead to even bigger changes.

  21. Robin says:

    @Justin Sorry for the late response.
    If you read the body building magazines they would have you believe that all those monster sized people are not taking anything other than the supplement that they advertise.

    The reality is that when you are not taking anabolic steroids or growth hormone you have a limited capacity to train and recover. Because of many things but protein synthesis is one of the major things that taking anabolic steroids helps you with, you can eat a high protein diet and your body can synthesise that protein which helps you recover faster and your muscles grow. This helps put your body in a positive nitrogen balance / anabolic state.

    When your not taking anabolic steroids you have to be very vigilant and aware of how your body recovers, look for signs of stress to make sure you are working in an area where you are stretching your capacity but not over training, sometimes I have found writing down a schedule and sticking to it no matter what can be a way to go really far into an over trained state, this leads you in to injury and sickness.
    So push hard but always be aware of where you are at in your recovery cycle, recovery is the third discipline along with diet and exercise.
    Being a bit older now I would always err on the side of being fully recovered rather than over training, it’s a fine balance.
    If you don’t feel you’re ready to go to the gym and go hard, take an extra days rest and go hard the next day.