Top Longevity Tips From The Fittest and Most Muscular 70 Year Old I've Met With Mark Sisson (2024)

Mark Sisson, welcome to the podcast. Been a big fan of yours, still am for many years. Now, I want to start off with something on the topic of longevity, specifically supplements. Okay. You've been pretty vocal over the last couple years that you've almost altogether removed the majority of supplements out of your diet.

Mark Sisson
Yeah. Number one. I'm curious why. But first, before we get to that, I want to talk about one supplement you haven't removed, and in fact, this is something that you've double downed on, and that's collagen. Let's start off with collagen.

Why have you doubled down at that? Well, you know, I look at nutrition really holistically, but also from an evolutionary lens, an evolutionary perspective. And for most of human evolution, we consumed most of the animal that we killed. And by the way, we, you know, this is all predicated on the assumption that we are carnivores, or at least omnivores, and that eating nose to tail, we got the collagen peptides, these di and tripeptide amino acid chains that are involved in the manufacture of collagenous material in our body. So our body is, I think collagen is probably the most prevalent single form of protein in the body, between skin, hair, nails, bones, connective tissue, fascia, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, etcetera, etcetera.

Mark Sisson
These parts of our body need raw materials to grow and repair over time. And so over the millennia, we've been consuming animal products which contain these gelatinous collagenous materials. No problem. And again, over the years, we incorporated, whether it was bone broth or chicken skin or fish skin, or just gnawing on the bones and the gristly parts of bones, we got these raw materials, and we were able to rebuild the tendons and ligaments and repair them when they got damaged. Now, if you cut to like 20 years ago, maybe 30 years ago, we're eating just the choice cuts of meat.

We're not eating the collagenous material in meat. We're not eating nose to tail. We are no longer making bone broth, or grandma's not making chicken stock. Even Jello, which was a source of collagen and gelatinous material, was taken out of our diet because of the sugar issues. So for the last several decades, we, at least in this country, have had no real source of these important di and tripeptide collagen peptides that our bodies need to repair tissue.

And my own personal experience, and this was my aha moment about ten years ago, maybe more. Now, I got Achilles tendinosis. And my Achilles was, I play a lot of ultimate frisbee. I need to sprint, I need to jump, I need to do a lot of things using my Achilles tendons. And over the course of a year, they got really tender and brittle, and I felt like I would snap them if I ran.

So I didn't play for almost a year, and I was, like, at my wits end. And I went to see a orthopedic surgeon, and he said, we can fix this. We'll scrape, you'll open you up in the back, we'll scrape down your achilles, we'll wrap you up for three months, and then you'll have a nine month rehabilitation program, and then you'll be almost back to 85%. I'm like, screw that. So went back to the drawing board and realized that the body needs certain raw materials.

And if you don't give the raw materials that the body requires, the body goes into plan B. Plan B in my case, is building scar tissue or building something, trying to reconstruct something with the tendons to protect them. And that's the thickening, this tendinosis that I was experiencing. So I started supplementing with, like, 40 grams a day of collagen. And within four months, this serious tendinosis on both legs that I'd had for a long time disappeared.

And I started thinking, you know, this is. This makes total sense that I had been withholding this important raw material from my body to the extent that I think collagen should be. The fourth macronutrient, I really think is fat, protein, carbohydrate, and there should probably be collagen as a separate category of macros because it's required in such, I think, significant quantities. And there are people who say the body makes its own collagen if you have the right, enough vitamin C, enough n acetyl cysteine, enough of these prolamin, enough of the single amino acids floating around. But I'm like, no, let's just be sure.

Let's cover all the bases and take a collagen supplement. So that's what I've been doing for the last ten or 15 years. So you mentioned you take 40 grams. No, I don't anymore. So that was really a very overdone, therapeutic dose.

Because of your injury? Because of my injury. And again, I can't make the claim that, oh, my God, collagen supplementation cures all of your tendon ailments. But in my case, there was such a strong correlation between my overdosing macro dosing on this particular nutrient. And my recovery, uh, that I'm like, no, this is.

Mark Sisson
I'm going to keep doing this for the rest of my life. So now my maintenance dose is like, you know, 20 grams a day, and I usually do that before a workout. So I'll. I'll make a drink before a workout. That is, um, a little bit of element and, uh, some.

Some collagen peptides in a bottle of water. And particularly if I'm doing a day that involves lower legs, whether it's a leg training day in the weight room or whether it's a cycling day, because there's some evidence, there's some studies that were done late where they labeled gelatin and they gave two different groups of people, one a placebo and one a gelatin drink, and they had them do six minutes of jumping rope, and they measured the uptake, the actual uptake, in the Achilles tendon of these collagen peptides. And it was significant enough to warrant looking at doing this. So, anyway, that's my diatribe, if you will. My long form answer to your short take on why am I doing collagen?

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And this really goes towards a larger idea, which is, I asked you, you know, I've heard you say you've deprioritized a lot of supplements in general. Yes. Before we get into that, just one more question about collagen. Are all collagens the same? Are there collagens that you recommend people be looking for?

Mark Sisson
Yeah, I think collagens have become commoditized over the past. They're all pretty. They're all pretty much pretty decent, I think. I don't really have one favorite one that I. Obviously, my former company, Primal kitchen, makes a very good unflavored collagen peptide.

And that's the one I take. But I can't necessarily recommend one over the other for any sort of superior uptake or any specific studies that have been done on them. Thank you for that. I think you just turned 70. Was that last year?

I'm turning 71 in a month. Okay, so you're turning 71 in a month.

Very fit, right? We should all be hopeful that we could be 70, and that's why we have you on this podcast and be as fit as you are. More importantly, just from seeing your tweets, seeing you on podcasts, you're extremely happy with your way of life looking from the outside. That doesn't mean that there aren't tough days or challenging days or that everything is green, but in general, you love the life that you've crafted for yourself. And so part of that has been looking from the outside, seeing you talk about what you have chosen to prioritize and what you've chosen to deprioritize.

So on this topic of supplementation, where you've called modern biohacking, it's like the modern day day trading approach that people have where the list of supplements can become endless, that's out there and it leaves people wondering and feeling, am I doing enough? Should I be doing more? What's right for me? So I'd love to hear your take on why overall, in addition to outside of collagen, maybe a couple other things like creatine, why have you chosen to deprioritize most supplements that are out there? It's been an evolution in my own journey, if you will, where I used to make the world's highest potency multivitamin, multi mineral antioxidant supplement.

Mark Sisson
I mean, I made a product that was a packeted twelve capsule a day super supplement. It replaced 52 different bottles that you would go buy at the health food store. Because I thought in those days I thought, okay, if people are going to supplement and people are really into supplementation, why not take the best of the best, the greatest hits of all the supplements out there? So not just a multivitamin, multimineral, but I was early in resveratrol and coq ten and acetyl cysteine and alpha lipoic acid and grapeseed extract and all of these different nutrients that every once in a while seem to show up as this is the new hot, new thing. I'm like, no, I've been doing that for 35 years.

A couple of things. First of all, I think a lot of the rdas, the dvs, the daily value, the recommended daily intakes, whatever the latest department of Agriculture has to say about how much you should be taking, these were originally done in the 1940s when much of the us diet, while it was based on whole food, healthy whole food, a lot of it was still grain based. I think a grain based diet increases one's requirement for a lot of these micronutrients and that if you eliminate grains and processed carbs and a lot of sugar from your diet, then your daily requirements, I think, drop tremendously. I think your body has an incredible ability to recycle a lot of these micronutrients, these phytonutrients. Obviously the body has its own resident antioxidant system.

So we really do have superoxide, dismutase, catalase, glutathione are the three primary endogenous antioxidant systems that we have. And we don't really need a lot more from the outside. So a lot of the work that's been done in antioxidants, looking at oxidative damage, for instance, when I was an athlete, and this goes back 2030 years, I took antioxidants because I thought, well, I'm doing this oxidative damage to myself by putting through all this, you know, all of this oxygen through 2 hours of training hard every day, and that results in reactive oxygen species, the creation of all of these free radical things that could be damaging to cells. The theory was if you took antioxidants, you could offset some of that damage. Now, we cut to recent data in the last ten or five or ten years that shows that the reason you train is to create this oxidative damage, and then your body responds by recovering.

It's the hormetic experience of the workout and the oxidative damage and the inflammation, the short term inflammation that prompts these genetic upregulations that build muscle and build your own antioxidant systems and you bypass or you negate the work that you did by taking an antioxidant. So it occurred to me that, okay, if I'm going to work out, I don't want to take an antioxidant, just like if I'm going to work out hard, I don't want to take a cold plunge, I don't want to decrease inflammation right after a workout. I literally want the inflammation from the workout. This all feeds into my overall strategy of the past couple of decades, which is I'm looking for the minimum effective dose of everything that's onerous in my life, right? And why I put that little caveat there.

So what's the minimum effective dose of exercise that I can do? Build or maintain muscle. Build or maintain vo two max, improve performance, reduce times, whatever the metric is I'm looking for, what's the minimum effective dose of that? Whereas in the old days I would literally go, what's the most amount of work I can do? Because more must be better.

Like no pain, no gain, trade harder, outwork my competition. That was the old sort of mantra in athletics. And now it's trained smarter, not harder. And with that comes, what's the minimum effective dose of each of these forms of exercise that I do? What's the minimum effective dose of supplements that I can take to where I'm not creating an artificial requirement to need more to offset some imbalance that I've created by only taking a handful of these supplements when I should have been taking a wide range of them.

And so I think you find people in the biohacking space who are taking 150 capsules a day because on the one hand, they don't want to leave any stone unturned. I think, on the other hand, they're trying to balance one against the other against the other. And they hear all these things. Well, if you have this much magnesium, then you have to offset it with this much calcium and this much potassium. And I think you wind up getting into this situation where you're like, I'm taking all these pills.

I don't feel any different. And maybe if I skip three or four days, I feel crappy because I've built up this tolerance in my body that now expects this high, high, high level of regular daily input. So for me, I mean, my first experience with this was with vitamin C. I was an early adopter of Linus Pauling's theory about vitamin C. And it goes back to the late seventies for me, in the early eighties.

And I worked my way up to. They used to talk about taking vitamin C, ascorbic acid or calcium ascorbate or whatever the form it was, a sodium ascorbate. They're all different forms to what they call bowel tolerance, right? Take as much as you could until you had the flying craps, you know, until you had diarrhea. And that was one theory.

And I was taking 25 grams of c a day. Well, then I'd get, I'd get sick a lot. And it turns out that between my high carb diet, which glucose occupies some of the same receptor sites that vitamin C does, my high vitamin C, if I skipped a day or two, my body would just go, what the hell? You know, you built us up to this expectation every day, and now you missed a day, and now we're just going to go into this trough. So that was my first experience was like this, way too much vitamin C.

I shouldn't be doing this. And it's only one vitamin. And there are all these other micronutrients that not only I don't know about, but the world doesn't know about. So, you know, cut to now. It's like, okay, what's the least amount of supplementation I can get away with?

Like, I do take vitamin D once in a while. And even though I'm out in the sun a lot, I live in Miami Beach, I take vitamin D. I'm not a good converter of it, according to my DNA analysis, which I'm not even sure I agree with necessarily. But, you know, it doesn't. It's a very simple, cheap supplement to take once in a while.

I don't take it on a daily. Basis or to help you get your levels to about what? What do you like to see, Doctor Justin? I mean, I like to see a minimum of 50 on my, on my vitamin D. Um, I've been up as high as 80.

And there are people again, in the biohacking community will say, if you're below 80 again, you're leaving chips on the table. I'm not sure I agree with that. And we're all a complex equation with a lot of different variables. And vitamin D and our immune system is just one small aspect of that large variable equation. Then we get to food.

I've always, in the last ten years, I've looked at what's the minimum effective dose of food that I can get away with. And people have had a problem with that. I mean, I tweeted about it the other day. Yeah, I saw that. Because I used to eat 4000 to 5000 calories a day as an athlete, I never gained weight.

I could get away with it. Doesn't mean it was good for me. I could get away with eating that amount of calories. Probably what was going on my body was figuring out a way to up my metabolism and burn it off. Because the body does not like to be, body likes to store calories as fat.

But if you're not one who's good at storing fat, the body goes, this is excess calories. This is revving at too high a level. And so I've been looking at ways in which I could cut my calories back to an effective dose, a minimum effective dose, which for me is, you know, it's 120 grams max of protein a day. I look at my daily intake, I'm like, I'm not. Most days I don't even get to 120.

I don't know how women who are in the biohacking space are going for a gram per pound of body weight and women are taking 150 or 140, 50 grams of protein a day. I don't know how you do that. Well, can we talk about that for a quick second? Sure. Because you made a video on this recently, or it was a video a while ago and I saw you post it recently on your Instagram account.

And you were saying about how you have this more intuitive approach to protein, which was that you're not having that gram per ideal target weight of pounds in the body. So if you want to be 140 pounds or whatever, you're having 140 grams, which I've recently been on that process as somebody who grew up vegetarian, was completely under eating on protein. I haven't been vegetarian for a long time. Switched over to eating fish and meat when I was about 26. I'm just turned 41, but to now start taking strength training seriously.

Over the last year and a half, two years, I was told you have that amount. You have a gram per your target protein, your target ideal body weight. And I saw the difference over a period of about ten months, I added about nine pounds of lean muscle mass. You know, that I was measuring through caliber testing. And I got a Dexa scan recently as well, too.

And then a lot of experts have come on this podcast, and they have been sharing with women, even friends and contemporaries of yours. Like, JJ version was just on the podcast. So I had dinner with her last week. Yeah, she mentioned, I think right after our podcast, she went and had dinner with you. So give us your framework around this.

Cause this might be a little bit nude to folks that are there. So you mentioned you don't know how women are getting in that amount of protein. Is your idea in sense that, okay, for building and maintaining muscle mass, you both need protein, but then you need the resistance to your body. Right? And so if you're getting adequate amount of resistance and activity that's there and stimulation for the muscle, then you may not be as reliant on the levels of having that much protein.

Now, if you're more inactive, then you need to have the amount of protein that's there to make up for that fact, because you're. Is that your thinking, or is that. What I'm thinking at all? No, I think. I think the body needs protein for repair.

Mark Sisson
If you're trying to build muscle, that's why you consume so much protein. If you're trying to maintain mitochondrial health and do a number of these other under the hood analyses, protein is the go to macronutrient. Sure. But do you need a pound per ideal body weight? Excuse me?

A gram per pound of ideal body weight. I only use myself as an example, but I have, like, my wife, who spent eight months trying to build a butt. My wife's 68, and she, God bless her, she wanted to have, you know, a butt. She's always looked fabulous and beautiful, but because that's the new thing, or has been for the last decade, she wanted. To get the booty to pop the.

Booty, and she did it. But it was. It was crushing her in terms of like, oh, my God, I have so much food I have to eat. And these extra protein shakes that I have to drink during the day, and I'm feeling bloated. And so she got the booty, and it was great.

And she gained ten pounds, which does not look bad at all. It looks great on her, but it wasn't all ten pounds of muscle. She's a woman, and it looks fabulous on her, but she had to. At some point, she said, I can't sustain this. It's just.

And she weighs about 140 pounds. And so she was trying to get 140 pounds of protein a day, and 140 pounds of protein is a lot. 140 grams. And she's back down to 80 or 90 grams a day now and thriving. And so she was able to build the body she wanted by really digging deep and eating a lot and.

And eating uncomfortably, which I'm not a fan of that. I'm not in favor of that. So I guess I don't want to make too much of this. I think Gabrielle's onto something great here with women. And JJ.

I know we spent a lot of time with JJ. I've known her for 35 years, and we grew up together in this fitness circle. But for me, I continue to weigh 30 pounds more now than when I was a runner on less than half the calories. And I maintain the same muscle mass. I mean, I maintain the same muscle mass from year to year now, but I have the same body fat that I did when I was 142 pound runner.

I raced at 142 pounds as a marathon, same height. I weigh 172 to 175 now, same body fat. So it's. So I put on a lot of muscle, and I don't over consume protein. And again, I don't want to make too big a deal of this, because when I'm talking about minimum effective dose, yeah, I could eat 160 grams of protein a day.

I could for a while, but I couldn't sustain that. I mean, I went to lunch the other day with my team, and I'm like, okay, watch what I eat, because I'm going to have a full lunch. I don't eat breakfast. A full lunch. And it was a salad and a piece of salmon.

And I'm like, you tell me how much this is. And I said, mark, that's like, 680 calories total. Okay. And it's maybe 40 grams of protein on the salmon. Probably not.

Probably less. Last night for dinner, we had a big. My son got married last night. We had a. Oh, congratulations.

We had a little banquet at the house, and I, you know, a bunch of steak and some steamed vegetables, some, you know, broccoli. And a couple of sweet potatoes, guarantee you I didn't have 80 grams of protein in that meal. So I didn't have 120 grams of protein yesterday, even though I was over. No, it wasn't over full, but it was a big, decent sized lunch and a big dinner. And I feel great.

And this is what I do on a daily basis. So I look at what's the least amount of food I can eat, maintain or build muscle mass, have all the energy I want, never get sick, and most importantly, not be hungry. And if I can do this without being hungry, that's the key. If I'm never craving and never like, oh, my God, I'm sacrificing. I should be eating.

I feel hungry, but I'm going to fight through it. No, that's not my life. My life is, oh, sh*t, it's time to eat. I better. And don't get me wrong, I love food.

I love every bite of food I put in my mouth. But I know when to finish. I know when it's time to stop. I know when that's enough. Body's satisfied.

There's more if I need it later on. And this is what I try to teach people, which is this intuitive ability to go through life and not have to count macros and not have to count calories and figure in all of these different pills and how they interact with each other. I'm just like, enjoy your life. Enjoy the meals. Enjoy every bite of food you eat.

Know when it's time to finish. Enjoy every workout you do. Don't grind out. You know, I mean, other than a couple of, you know, the occasional murph or some high intensity thing. For the most part, try to have fun in your workouts.

Try to find ways to play. Don't apologize for getting 9 hours of sleep a night. You know, enjoy sleep for what it is. Don't fight it. Don't go, ah, this is like, I'm gonna be guilty.

Put myself through all this hell. Cause I should be working when I'm now sleeping because I got eight and a half or 9 hours of sleep. No, life's too short. Enjoy the moments and be intuitive about being a human being and what it takes to thrive in this fairly hectic world that we've created for ourselves. This episode is brought to you by Loombox.

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That's over 40% off. Just go to drew, to get your device. That's the comma, the dashru. To start stimulating your mitochondria today, can I tell you a little about my situation and kind of get your thoughts on it? Yeah, of course.

Again, you know, you're talking about your situation. I want to talk about mine. I'm pretty open with it with my podcast audience. So when I turned 40 and right around the time, like, right before that, you know, and having known Gabriel line for a long time, and then really getting the idea, like, oh, wow, like, I am undermuscled. I need to put attention on this.

I grew up vegetarian. Not that you can't get protein from a vegetarian diet, but I wasn't eating enough. I said, okay, I'm going to get strict about this. So I joined a group here in Los Angeles called ultimate performance. Uh, Nick Mitchell.

And I was working with a trainer and getting into all the basics that were there, you know, resistance training three to four days a week, and then upping my amount of protein and being a little bit on the lighter weight side, you know, I was having at that time, about 145 to 150 grams of protein, right. And I was going on this process where I was both adding muscle, which was pretty straightforward for me because I was undertrained and I hadn't really been eating that much protein. And I was also cutting fat when I first started. I just come back from a trip to Italy. Like, I was there for a month for my 40th birthday.

I came back. A lot of alcohol, a lot of wine, you know, a lot of, you know, carbs and stuff. I had a flower. You see that? Like, it's a bad thing.

I had a blast. I had a blast. But when I measured in mostly out of being under muscled, I came into my caliber testing. To start off, I was, like, 26% body fat. Right?

Like, skinny fat. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So just that being a byproduct of being just very under muscled.

So in a matter of about ten months, I added about, almost about ten pounds of lean muscle mass, and I lowered my fat percentage. I got as low as 12.5%, but that didn't feel good. And I kind of stabilized around, like, 15% body fat. Right. And then more recently, I've been not as strict on the program in the last, like, few months.

I'm not working out with that group. I'm still working out with a great trainer. But because I've noticed that I haven't been sticking to, like, my protein goals that are there, I went in for my Dexa. I know that Dexa is very precise and caliber testing, it'll be a little bit sort of varied a little bit. But I got my Dexa results last week, and I saw that my lean body mass total, there was about a three pound difference that was there.

Now, that may be just testing, you know, Dexa, super precise caliber testing, a lot of sort of angle that are there. But part of my feeling was like, you know what? I actually do sometimes feel better not eating that much amount of protein, especially later in the day. If I can get as much protein in the morning, I feel much better. Like, I actually really like breakfast and eating it early.

Um, but then I'm hearing from you, and I hear your sort of thoughts on the situation, and I'm just balancing it out. My sort of fear is that if I don't prioritize that and get the amount of protein with the resistance training, then being under muscled at the age of now, almost 42, it's only gonna go downhill from here as I get older. Yeah, I mean, first of all, what is, you tell me what. All right, I'm gonna analyze you, Drew. Please, please.

Mark Sisson
What do you have for breakfast? So I have for breakfast, I'll have, like, like, chicken thighs or grass fed steak or turkey burgers. I've been really into turkey burgers recently. Okay. Eggs.

All of these together separately. I mean, either or. I tend to prefer if I can get 50% of my calories for breakfast. I actually feel really good. I feel like my brain is on for the whole day.

And I feel genuinely really good. 50% of your protein too. 50% of my protein as well. So you're getting 70 grams of protein for breakfast? Yes.

Mark Sisson
Okay. Yeah. God bless you. So I'd be hurling already. I feel genuinely good.

No good. I never used to do that, but I feel good. What about lunch and then lunch? I tend to go a little bit lighter on. Cause I don't like to feel heavy midday.

It makes me feel sluggish and other things. So I'll have like a protein shake in between. Right? Like whey protein? Like a grass fed whey protein.

Mark Sisson
All right. 20 grams, 30 grams. I'll double up. I'll usually do 40. I'll do two scoops.

So that's 40 grams of protein. Okay. And then dinner will make up the difference. But I know that the earlier I eat dinner, the better I feel if I eat protein later on, even if it's the same amount. I sort of feel like I'm a little bit bloated all evening and I don't sleep as well.

Mark Sisson
Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so, so you're hitting your number, I guess, but, um. And you're lifting weights. Yeah.

The question I would have is, and again, like, if you continue to lift weights hard and you were to cut back, like, how many calories a day are you taking it? 3200. What's the number? No, no, I'm probably taking in, you know, 2800. Okay.

Yeah. And that's a lot of food. So that's one extra meal. That's one meal more than I have. Yeah.

You know, when I'm strict about it, I'm focused on it. And then probably in the last few months, three months, I've been less strict. I haven't been watching my protein as much. I haven't been tracking. So does that mean you eat less food entirely because you're cutting back on the protein?

You're probably eating less calories as a whole. Okay. Yeah, I'm eating less calories as a whole. I'm probably more closer to like 20, 2100. Cause I'm not tracking as much.

Mark Sisson
Yeah, I don't know what to do with that. I mean, it's like, what do you wanna do? Are you still on a path to gain more muscle? Are you trying to maintain? Are you?

Yeah, I wanna gain more muscle. I wanna get back to that place where I was gaining about, you know, 0.8 pounds a month. There's a point at which, by the way, you won't gain more muscle. You know that, right? Yes.

Mark Sisson
Your body type is determined. Totally. Totally. I'm definitely on the thinner side, but I think that I have at least about ten more pounds of muscle to add and feel healthy and get back into the ideal body fatigue. With that in mind, then, I guess extra calories and extra working out will get you there.

Once you get there, I'm going to submit that it doesn't take as much to maintain. To maintain. Got it? Yeah. So, going back to you now to contextualize, let's talk about you.

Let's talk about me. So do you feel that partly the reason that you can kind of be a little bit more intuitive is also the fact that you've put in all the work? Right. Like you've put in all the work. So, again, you're talking about your experience, and you're letting the audience know that everybody can be more intuitive with their entire health.

Eating is one part of it. Supplementation. We're gonna get into working out. There's some things that you've doubled down on and working out that we're gonna talk about here in a second. And within that, there might be temporary periods of time that people have to be more strict or more focused.

But if eating that amount of protein, as your wife was doing, and those amount of calories to get that booty to pop, she got the end result. Great. But if that is leaving her feeling miserable, then it's time to maybe ask a question of, is this really the life that you want to live? Is that what you're saying? No, that's 100%.

Mark Sisson
And so, back. If we go back to our friend Gabrielle and our other people in space who are promoting this high protein intake, is it for the rest of your life, or is it to get to a certain level and then level off? Because to my minimum effective dose point, the reason for dropping it down is there's a longevity aspect to this, which is, I don't want to be building a fast metabolism just for the sake of having a fast metabolism. In other words, one begets the other. I want to work hard so I can get a fast metabolism so I can eat more, so I can work hard and get a fast metabolism so I can eat more.

And that's a weird way of looking at life. Like, the reason you want to fast metabolism is so you can eat more. What if I said if it works the other way. If you had a slow metabolism but felt great and had energy, it's not about you feeling sluggish because you have a slow metabolism. It's your body not over amping and you sweating yourself to sleep every night because your body's trying to figure out ways to dissipate heat because you've overconsumed calories beyond what your actual, actual requirements are.

Again, I got away with it. Some people can get away with consuming 1500 more calories a day than they need. I was one of those people, but I was also one of those people that sometimes I'd throw up in the middle of the night in my sleep because I'd overeaten my last meal of the day trying to cram in 5000, 6000 calories a day. Again, I weighed 142 pounds, wasn't putting on any muscle, was burning it all off running or training or sweating in my sleep because the body was trying to figure out a way to dissipate and get rid of this extra energy that I consumed that I mean, people can get away with that doesn't mean it's good, doesn't mean a fast metabolism is necessarily a good thing. If you remove hunger and appetite and cravings from the equation and you say, okay, so the reason you're doing all this work is because you want to eat more.

Like, that's the reason you're struggling and suffering and sweating and grunting and groaning so you can eat a few more bites of something you probably shouldn't eat in the first place. That's your motivation for doing this work. Doesn't that seem counterproductive? That's like digging a hole to put the ladder in to wash the basem*nt windows. What if I said you could have all the energy you want, never get sick, build muscle mass, never get hungry on 30% fewer calories than you eat right now, wouldn't that be a good thing?

Not just for you, but for the planet? I mean, just in terms of like, I'm not woo woo on that regard, but if everybody ate 30% fewer calories and thrived as a result of it, and again, not getting hungry, I'm talking about, forget hunger throws everything off. Hunger ruins everything. But if you could get to that point where you're not hungry, you have all the energy you need, you wake up in the morning, you skip breakfast because you don't feel like eating, you're not hungry, and you have energy and ready to go, go, go, which is my life on a regular basis, then why would you, why would you add another meal to that and as an experiment, my writing partner, Brad Curran said he was feeling a little bit, I'm gonna say sluggish or he wasn't recovering from his workouts as well when he was doing two meals a day because we had just finished writing a book called two Meals a day and intermittent fasting, which is kind of my thing. And so he went back and added breakfast and some other stuff and he said he's feeling so much better doing that.

Not so much better, but he's recovering from his workouts and this was probably three or four months ago. So I said okay, I'll try that. I tried it and my wife said, you're getting pudgy, Mark, you're getting what's going on? You've got a little bit of a spare tire there. I'm like, I'm trying this new thing.

Brad said, I don't feel any different. In fact, I feel more sluggish eating breakfast, lunch and dinner than if I just had that compressed eating window and just ate lunch at dinner. Brad was at my house yesterday and he said yeah, and Im going to cut back on my meals now because Im getting pudgy. So, you know, it was good to recover from his overtraining to add in those extra calories. But then I would say then dont over train.

Like whats the minimum effective dose of training to get you where you need to be training for the sake of training? I did that when I was younger. You know, I overtrained every day of my life because it seemed like the badge of courage. It seemed like the thing you did to prove you were tougher than your competitors. I'm not there anymore.

It's like when I go to the gym, it's like what's the least amount of work I can do in this gym workout and feel like I got a pump. I left adequately tired but not overtired, not to the point where I need to take a nap in the afternoon. And then to the extent that I can come back and do something else tomorrow, not the same thing, but some other type of work tomorrow. Finding that minimum effective dose of supplements, of food, of protein, of working out in your life to me seems like the ideal. And we're doing it with footwear now.

What's the minimum effective dose of a shoe? What's the least amount of shoe you can wear and optimize foot health? Right? So that's kind of my new lens of looking at things and it certainly has an evolutionary history to it. I've been doing this my whole career.

Is looking at, through the lens of evolution, at how we evolved to get to this point. But now it's like superimposed on a modern society that's completely built on excess. Right. What's the minimum amount of housing you need over your head, roof over your head? What's the minimum amount of television you can watch?

What's the least amount of social media you can participate in in a day? Not what's the most, but what's the least. And still, you know, feel fulfilled and thrive and do all of the things that we want. So on that topic, let's put a little bowtie on the food topic. What are the things that you do in that minimum viable approach, minimum dose approach with food to fuel yourself and also just have this feeling of like you're just not hungry?

Well, so I wrote my first book was the primal blueprint, and that looked at natural food and eliminating grains, certainly processed grains, bread, pasta, cereal, and then sugars, sweetened beverages, industrial seed oils, and coming down to this list of natural type foods. And that worked for everybody that read the book. It was an amazing, almost an epiphany for a lot of people. It made the paleo diet a little bit more palatable. But because im always looking at performance, I thought, well, whats the next level of the primal blueprint?

And it was keto. And was using a ketogenic diet as a means of tuning up the metabolism to the point that you develop metabolic flexibility. Metabolic flexibility is a state where you are able to extract energy from the fat stored on your body, the fat on your plate of food, the glucose in your bloodstream, the glycogen in your muscles, the ketones that your liver makes. And, and it's this flexibility that most people don't have because they're just so, um, they're so deep in the carbohydrate paradigm, where they're eating carbs every 2 hours throughout the day, and they have this blood sugar swaying and they never really tap into their fat stores, they never learn how to burn body fat. So my thesis was, if you use the ketogenic diet as a means of weaning yourself off this carbohydrate based eating strategy, and you focus on protein and quality fats, and you cut the carbs and you develop metabolic flexibility, then you're able to tap into your stored body fat very easily.

And so you use a combination of a ketogenic dieT, eliminating carbs, and intermittent fasting, which is eliminating meals. And you force the body to build the metabolic machinery to burn fats more efficiently to utilize ketones more efficiently. And with this newfound metabolic flexibility, you are able to now go long periods of time without getting hungry and without losing any energy. So you have THIs new level of energy that. That circulates throughout the day, and hunger, craving, and appetite disappear.

Then the next level of that is, okay, how long can I go without eating? Or how long can I go until I get hungry and need my first meal? So that becomes, for a lot of people, I wake up in the morning, I have a cup of coffee or tea or something, I feel great. I go to work. I don't even think about eating until noon or 01:00 and a large number of people have adopted this compressed eating window where they only eat two meals a day.

I'm one of them, and I have friends that eat one meal a day. They're that metabolically tuned that the biggest danger they have is, oh, sh*t, I hope I ate enough at that one meal, and I'm not hungry. And the meal is very satisfying. You know, there's no deprivation ever mentioned in this way of looking at it. So I don't know if that answers your question, but that's.

So where I'm at is, I eat when I'm hungry. I don't eat when I'm not hungry. It happens that I'm not hungry most of the time. Also happens that most of the good things that happen in the body metabolically happen when we're not eating. All of the repair takes place when we're not eating.

All of the rest, and recovery happens when we're not eating. It's when we're eating that we're obligatory fueling and refueling and causing a surge in insulin and some hormonal adaptations to that. But really, all the good things happen when we don't eat, which is why fasting is such a popular protocol now. Well, if I could add something to that, because I've known about you and your work for a long time now, is that people would look at that on the outside and say, wow. So he must be very strict with everything he eats.

You actually have an approach when it comes to desserts, sweets, even. I think I heard you in an interview recently. You were in Europe this past summer, and you were having pasta at meals and other stuff that if there's a food that you want to try. I remember there was a talk that you gave at summit Powder Mountain way back in the day, and you gave a talk to people right before dessert was about to be served. And he said, you know, my approach is, you know, there's a cookie over there, there's a brownie over there.

It's like, okay, if I see it and I'm like, all right, this seems like something special, or I want to really try. It seems like a great chef might have made this thing. I'll go, I'll eat a little piece to get the point, and then I'm kind of done. I don't deprive myself. So can you just talk about that for a second?

Mark Sisson
Yeah. So that's based on my notion that foods like dessert have a diminishing or decreasing return after the first bite such that the first bite is amazing. It's on a zero to ten. If it's a great dessert, it's a ten. Second bite is a nine.

Third bite's a seven. Fourth bite is a five. And by the time you get to, like, do I finish this, then it's just an eating contest. Like, you don't really. You've lost the gustatory pleasure aspect of that, and now you're just like, okay, I have this thing in my brain.

It's hardwired into my brain that I have to finish everything that's on my plate. Well, you don't. And with dessert in particular, like, we go out a lot in Miami. It's just becoming the new restaurant capital of the world. And I don't ever order dessert if I'm in charge.

But I go out with a friend who's a great athlete, and he trains 5 hours a day, and he's still. He's six'three and weighs 155 pounds, and he orders dessert, and he orders usually for the table. If there's six of us, he'll order four desserts. I'll have a bite of this, a bite of that. I'll try some of that.

I'm done. It's not like I'm depriving myself by not eating more. It's that I'm actually enjoying the one bite. I'm getting the ten, the first bite of this one, and the first bite of this one. And by the time I've had three bites, that's not even qualifying as a full dessert for me.

And yet I got this amazing, delightful taste experience. And because I'm metabolically flexible, I don't do this every day or every night, but when I do it, it has zero cost to me. There's no impact. To me, the impact comes if I have more than that, and I know this is going to happen. If I have more than that, then I wont sleep.

So I also know my limitations. Im very susceptible to sugar at night, for instance. So knowing that I have a self regulatory mechanism that says, I know where my limits are. If I go to Europe, I have a half a plate of pasta, I know my limits. Look here.

Im like the anti wheat guy. Im like the anti grain guy. I'll have a bite of bread with butter on it once in a while. I don't deprive myself. I just know my limits.

And I know what happens if I go past those limits. And I know the short term price I'll pay. It's not taking years off my life. It's taking hours off my sleep, or it's taking hours of, you know, being in slight discomfort from bloating or something like that. I know what the, what the end result is.

Doesn't make me orthorexic, doesn't make. I just, I just happen to know my relationship to all these different types of food. And so I push the envelope. I'm like, okay, what? You know, I want to taste.

I want to try that, I want some of that, but I don't want all of that. I don't need all of that. I just, I just have this intuitive ability, which I want other people to develop, to know where the limits are. Well, it seems like part of developing that. And it's been something that I've been doing for a long time in my own life.

Sometimes for a long time, I went off of alcohol. I didn't grow up drinking alcohol. And then I took a really long break from it. And only recently have I started to try a little bit of wine here and there. And my wife really does not like this, but I'll order a glass of wine just because I'm interested in just trying it.

I'll drink a few sips, and I'm like, okay, cool, I got the point. I don't really feel like I want wine right now. I'm not depriving myself. I just wanted to try it, and then I'm done with it. And she's like, you're wasting the whole glass.

I'm like, I know, I know, but I just want you to try it. But that's exactly my point. When you have the means, nobody says you have to value, hound yourself down to, oh, I better finish this because I paid for it. I do that a lot where I'll go to a restaurant and I'll order a glass of wine, and it's not quite enough to finish my steak, I'll order another glass of wine and have two sips out of that and be done. I just wanted, I knew exactly what I wanted and I didn't want to.

Mark Sisson
It wasn't binary where I either drank the whole thing or none of it. I had a little bit of it. And I also recognize that some people feel like they can't do that, and my heart goes out to them, and that's the individual, oh, it's your microphone or alcohol or food, too, or other stuff. And it might be an opportunity to really spend a little bit more time on developing. What are the things?

Are there any resources for somebody who's like, look, intuitive eating? If I let my body eat intuitively, I eat a bag of Oreos or I need a bag of chips or that. How does somebody strengthen that fruit for somebody who's listening, who's like, I don't have that intuition that's there. You just gotta work. It's a muscle, you just gotta work it.

But is it better to work on the emotional stories and the deeper stuff that are there? I'm not buying, rather than the food. I'm not buying that. I did for the longest time think that there was too much emotional baggage for most people, that unless they handled that, they could never handle the food stuff. It's almost like, I feel like you got to work this stuff out.

Mark Sisson
The stuff that happened in the past, it happened in the past, and it's not here right now. It's just in your brain right now. So if you can understand that, that they're just thoughts and they may be real and sh*t may have, you know, happened to you, that was horrible, but it's not happening right now. And in front of you is a bag of chips, and you're not going to fix the bad thought by eating a bag of chips. What you're going to do is fix it by going out for a walk, leaving the bag of chips.

Like I tell people, you know, all the time, when you're compelled to dip into the pint of ice cream that you inappropriately keep in your refrigerator or the bag of chips in your closet, take a moment and go, okay, before I do this, I'm going to go for a walk. I'm going to go for a 30 minutes walk and then see if you're still hungry when you come back from your 30 minutes walk. And in many cases, people are like, no, I put it out of my system, by the way, on the walk, I figured some stuff out and I'm good now, and I'm on with the rest of my day. So there are little tricks that we can employ that it's not the same for everybody, but you don't have to be beholden to the trauma that you claim drives your eating habits. Well, let's pivot into walking and continue down this theme of minimum viable dose, minimum dosage, optimal dosage.

That's there. How to get the most out of life, to live a long and healthy life. And on the topic of walking, we'll get to shoes here in a second. Walking is one of those things that you've said that as you've gotten older, now about to turn 71. When's your birthday?

Mark Sisson
July 14. Okay. Yeah. Happy early birthday to you. You've doubled down, maybe tripled down on walking.

Why is that? Well, it's available still to me. And one of the things that you face as you get older is your pending mortality and depending. Mortality is often very dependent on mobility. Like when you stop moving is when you start dying.

Mark Sisson
That's the stark truth for most people. The day or the minute you stop moving is the day you start dying. So the longer you can move. That's why you see people in other countries, particularly asian nations, 80, 90 years old, they're out doing tai chi. They're not doing ballistic, they're not jogging, and they're not running sprints, and they're at pole vault.

They're doing movement, easy, you know, hand waving movement and bending their knees and rotating and going through different ranges of motion, planes of motion movement. So, for humans, walking is a quintessential human movement. I mean, we populated the face of the earth by walking. We didn't jog from Africa to northern Europe, we walked. We didn't sprint to some other part of the world, we walked.

And we even the notion that we're persistence hunters, that we were born to run, we weren't born to run. We were born to be able to run. Because we walk so much and because we sprint a little bit, the quintessential human gait is walking. It's heel toe, heel toe walking. You try to do that heel toe running, and you'll get hurt.

And most runners today are heel striking runners. And the reason they don't get hurt immediately is because they wear these thick, thick, thick cushioned, stupid shoes. I digress. So, walking is something that everyone can do. It's a legitimate form of aerobic activity, of cardio activity.

It's a zone two type activity. Most people who run aren't very good runners, like of the millions of people in the country who, who claim to be runners and run marathons, a few percentage are, probably should be running. The rest should be walking. And my point is, if you, if the average finishing time for a marathon is 4 hours and 30 minutes, it's like ten and a half minute miles. I mean, you can walk 14 minutes miles.

The fact you can't run twice as fast as you can walk, why don't you just get out and walk more? And walking is, is anabolic. It builds, builds muscle. Running is catabolic. I ran 100 miles a week for seven years.

I lifted weights the whole time. I could not put on muscle. I lifted weights and I ate 40, 00, 50 00, 60 00 calories a day, and I couldn't put muscle on because running is catabolic. It tears up muscle tissue. So now you see people my age, people for my generation of runners who are 60, 70 years old, and they still run now they need hip replacements and knee replacements, and they almost all have heart issues from running too much, from overtraining.

And they don't have much muscle mass because they didn't do the muscle training. And now it's more and more difficult. And as you get older, lean muscle is the driving force. Right? Lean muscle is back to our conversation about protein and working out.

You want lean muscle mass. So walking is antibiotic. Walking is at least anticatabolic. Running is catabolic. So I say, why run when you can walk and get better benefits?

You can improve your fat burning capacity, your maximum aerobic function. You will not get injured walking. When you get injured running, what do you do to recover? You walk. It's like walking is just the quintessential human movement.

And the more we can do it, the better. Do you have targets that you share for people when it comes to, again, minimum viable dose, but also enough strain that you're getting some of these benefits that are there, right. And you don't need a lot of strain because one of the things about steady state cardio, which was, you know, for the longest time, steady state cardio was sort of the, that was it, man. That was what you needed to develop vo two max. Now it turns out that things like high intensity interval training, short bouts of sprints, do more to improve vo two max than grinding it out on a, on a six mile jog at ten minute mile pace.

And all you're doing is jiggling your fat tissue and cannibalizing muscle tissue and burning through glycogen, which makes you hungrier. Then it makes you hungry for more calories than you burned during the run. Running is a horrible way to try and lose weight. It's just antithetical. The people who say theyve lost weight by running are people who are, theyre able to overcome the natural tendency to overeat from having gone out and done a run.

And I suspect many people are also shifting their diet around to getting rid of carbs and more protein centric, more of the healthy food choices in the first place, more nutrient dense foods.

Yeah, I think from day one into primal blueprint, I said move around a lot at a very low level of aerobic output. Find ways to move. Doesn't have to be walking. Could be, you know, could be easy swimming, could be just walking on a phone, pacing around the room. But find ways to be moving as much as you can throughout the day.

Twice a week, lift heavy things not five times a week. Twice a week, go to the gym and lift heavy, and then sprint once a week. And by sprinting, I mean give a max effort for anywhere from 20 seconds to a minute, four or five times in a workout. Those are the minimum effective doses. I just gave them to you.

So it's walk as much as you can, lift twice a week, minimum effective dose, and then sprint once a week, minimum effective dose. And if you look at those together, anybody who does that will get to within 85% to 90% of their potential maximum output. The rest is going to take way too much struggling and suffering and effort. Now, if you want to be a competitive athlete, we're talking about something else, but most people should not be competing. I mean, if you're, you know, hoping to finish a marathon in under 3 hours and 45 minutes, fine, you're not a runner.

I'm sorry, you're a jogger. And that's a great lifetime achievement to finish a marathon. But why would you do six of them a year at that same pace? Like, you're not getting any better and all you're doing is chewing up muscle tissue and agonizing over the days you miss running or the days you are injured because your form is improper, find a fun way to access good health and fitness. People say, oh, but Mark, running is fun.

No, I love running. You don't love running. You love having run. You love finishing running. You love how you feel after you get in the house.

But I guarantee you, while you're out there running and try running. And if you're one of those people runs with, you know, I listen to music while I run. That's great. You're listening to music, you're not running. You're listening to music.

Try running without listening to music and see how that.

It's a weird dynamic. I have a new book coming out in the fall. It's called born to walk. And I'm really excited about what we're going to talk about in this book because it really lays it out how walking is like. This is the real key to longevity and happiness and health, in conjunction with spending time in the gym and doing the hard work once in a while with high intensity training.

But walking is sort of the foundation of all of this. I love it. Well, on that note of both walking and running, a new project you're working on, that touch on for a second is that you're helping people understand how modern day shoes, I mean, the awareness is out. A lot of people know that dress shoes will you up? Heels will you up, yes.

But even on top of that, a lot of the modern day footwear that we have that seems like it has all this tech, it's not that great for your feet. Talk about that. It's horrible in most cases. No, the modern running shoe is too cramped. And even if it has a wide, you know, if you get aeee width, it still comes together at the toes and feet want to splay.

Mark Sisson
Feet need to splay whenever you put your foot down and roll off the front of your foot, whether it's walking or jogging or sprinting or running, metronomically chronic cardio, whatever you're doing, the feet want to splay outwardly, and then you're encasing them in this restrictive shoe that prevents the toe from splaying. Now, you've also put underneath it a thick layer of cushion, but the foot wants to feel what's underneath. We are born barefoot for a reason. We're born barefoot because the brain needs the information from the bottoms of the feet. It needs to feel the temperature, the tilt, the texture of the ground underneath in order to send a signal to the brain to immediately instruct the entire kinetic chain.

How do I curl the toes? How do I bend the arch? How do I roll the ankle in or out? How do I bend the knee? How do I flex?

How do I tilt the hip? All of these things that are built in shock absorbing mechanisms, we bypass all that information when we put a thick padded shoe underneath our feet. Now the brain has to guess, oh, I think I roll my ankle a little bit out this way. I think I bend my knee inward to compensate for that. Maybe I tilt the hilt.

And that's where people start to get injured, especially if in wearing these thick shoes. While they're running with bad running form, they don't get the immediate sensation of the pounding. But over time, what happens is all of those, all that bypassing information manifests itself in injuries up the kinetic chain. And ultimately, most of these shoes are, are higher at the heel than they are at the toe. They have anywhere from, you know, 7 lift in the heel and fashion shoes.

Forget it. I mean, boots and women's stilettos and heels, by the way, they look great, so don't stop wearing them. But not you, Drew. But, you know, the girls out there. Listen, like you're pointing at me.

I don't know what's going on here. But no, that shortens the calf muscle, which ultimately puts tension on the achilles and could cause. And then you've got plantar fasciitis, which is not really. It's a lack of, in many cases, a lack of blood flow to that plantar fascia area because you scrunch the big toe over against the other toes. All of this is like.

Mark Sisson
And then the shoe companies call it, like, the new tech, right? It's even softer, it's even more cushiony. It's even. Well, it's like walking on a bosu ball. It feels good.

When you're walking 20ft down the running shoe store aisle. Oh, these are amazing. These feel like I'm on trampolines. But then when you start living in them, running in them, standing around at work in them, and then your knees are going, which way do we go? Because we can't feel the ground underneath.

We don't know. So it's a real problem. And that's what my son and I started this company, Paluva, just three and a half years ago now. We introduced the first product a year and a half ago, and it is a shoe that has individually articulated toe boxes. So this is, if you've seen five toed shoes before, this is like nothing you've ever seen.

These are actually good looking, functional shoes that allow your toes to bend with the terrain. So if you step on a little bit, a rock or a twig or a pothole, or a divot or a crack on the sidewalk or a dimple on a sewer manhole cover, you feel it and it feels good. It feels like, okay, that's what I'm supposed to feel, what's underneath me when I say it feels good. I can, I can run on rocky, sharp trails. And it feels good because there's just enough cushion.

It's like nine total millimeters of separation from the heel to ground 5. Just a soft EVA cushion and then some wearable outsole. So articulated toes, a thin, flexible bottom that allows for ground feel, zero drop. So the heel is the same height off as the midfoot or the metatarsal iS. And, you know, the wide toe box goes along with the articulated toes.

It allows your toe to splay outwardly. So every time you take a step off, you're rolling off your big toe. Your big toe should be in the last point of contact with the ground. When you step forward or run forward or jog or whatever you're doing, that big toe. And the big toe is connected directly to the glute.

Everybody in the gym who lifts heavy weights and who's building their body up and is trying to build a booty understands that you cannot activate the glute without the big toe being involved. That's why people tend to want to take their shoes off when they're doing squats or lunges or any of that lower body work. It's because they want to activate the glute through the big toe. And so people take their shoes off and then they leave their sock on. Well, the sock does the same thing.

The sock constricts that even sometimes more than shoes, the sock constricts the big toe over and you lose that glute activation, which can sometimes manifest itself in, like, you're trying to do the work and the glute can't do the work. And so the stabilizer muscles around the glute are get called in and they go, well, we have to take on some of the load, and then you get tendency toward getting that part injured or dysfunctional. So we're all about, I mean, I say foot health is the new sleep. Like, foot health. Everybody in the world, your connection with the universe starts with your connection with feet on the ground.

Like, that's how you react to your environment is your feet. And if you encase them in these restrictive casts with thick cushions on the bottom and a raised heel, you're completely negating all of this amazing technology that exists in the foot that the body needs to maintain and build a perfect kinetic chain. I love it. You want to mention the company? We'll link it in the show notes as well.

It's called Paluva. Pluva. Paluva. So it's and then on Instagram we're wear Paluva.

W e a R, Palova. Like, put them on, wear them, wear paluva. I love it on Instagram. Sorry. And, yeah, well, I'm excited to try them.

You were kind enough to send me some, so I think they'll be arriving in a couple weeks, and I'm excited to try them. I've been a huge fan of, like, the whole barefoot, you know, trend growing up. I always wanted to be barefoot. I remember playing soccer as a kid, and I would play, you know, they move you around in a lot of different areas, but sometimes when I'd be the goalie, my coach would hate it. I would take off my cleats.

Mark Sisson
Yeah. And I would want to. Just cause you're more nimble, kick the. Ball with my regular fee. He's like, this is a liability issue.

So many steps on you is going to be a problem. But I always could kick further, I could run faster. I've always generally had a predisposition to want to be barefoot. And I started having some knee pain. This was, like, almost like, about six, seven years ago.

And I tried some of the original, like, toe spread out, barefoot shoes that are out there. I won't name any names, but they would work well in certain instances. But you and I were chatting a little bit ahead of time, and they wouldn't on, like, tougher surfaces. And I remember being in New York City, wearing them around on, like, the hard pavement over there and the gravel. And, like, my feet.

Mark Sisson
You're better off barefoot. Yeah. My feet would hurt. Yes. And I would tell everybody, like, these are like, great.

And they're like, dude, your feet hurt. Like, what are you doing? So I stopped. I got back on, like, the new balance Nike, you know, trend that's. A lot of people did.

Mark Sisson
Yeah. And then I got off of that when I realized, like, my knee was hurting. And a friend of mine recommended a different, you know, brand of barefoot shoes. And I've been. So your knees hurt when you started wearing the traditional running shoes of Nikes?

Traditional running shoes and nikes and everything. Same with me. I mean, I'm so attuned now that if I wear traditional running shoes and go for a two mile walk on concrete, my knees hurt. And they hurt because, again, the brain has no information. And so my knees, which are now used to, like, information from the bottoms of my feet, telling my exactly.

Mark Sisson
Every ten, every time my foot lands, it lands in a different position. But the brain knows that, and the brain's able to, like, within a split second, inform the entire kinetic chain how to orchestrate that goes away with these shoes. And that's why you got knee pain. And that's what happens to me. I can't do more than 2 miles walking in regular shoes without getting knee pain.

I know. And then God forbid you have a wedding, your son's wedding, or you have to wear dress shoes. It's like I'm just, how quickly can I get these things off? But that's exciting. I'm really excited about that.

Paluva. We'll link to it in the show notes. People can check it out on this similar train of walking. Doubling down on that. Right.

Doubling down on collagen, making space for a lot of these things. Intuitive eating. Another thing that you have deeply prioritized as you've continued to age gracefully and powerfully, as JJ Virgin would say. She says, I hate the term age gracefully. Age great, age powerfully.

Stretching. So stretching, you become even more a fan of. What does that routine look like for you? Can we translate that as recommendations to the audience? Yeah.

Mark Sisson
I mean, for me, it's because I do some repetitive motion, like when I'm paddling for an hour and 15 minutes and paddling hard on the water, I need to hang. Do a dead hang for a minute, minute and a half just to stretch out my shoulders and my elbows. If I've ridden the bike and I've been hunched over on a bike for an hour, I ride a fat tire bike in the sand. And it's a really amazing workout. It's the hardest workout I do all week.

I need to stretch my lower back muscles so I don't do this sort of. For me, stretching is filler time. So if there's a day I have a day off where I'm not going to work out, I'll still go down the gym and I'll just do some hang, some easy stretches, quad stretches, lower back stretches, pec. Pec stretches, shoulder rotations. I'm not into any sort of a regimen that I can advocate for somebody else, but for me, these are the areas that I feel need attention, and I never used to pay them any attention.

So now I'm like, okay, if I want to maintain mobility for the rest of my or as long as I can for the rest of my life, hopefully this is one other little thing I have to throw in there that doesn't hurt. It doesn't cost any money, it doesn't cost any time. It's not like I literally go to the gym and I'll be doing my stretches and talk to people. So it's a happy hour for me. It's cheers.

It's like a fun time for me. Right? And it's easy to fill it in and easy to give a day that would have been sort of like a day off, or I wouldn't say a wasted day, but a day that I don't work out, do something that's active. Because here I am talking about staying active throughout the day. And stretching is, is part of that.

Passive stretching is part of that. You know, you mentioned earlier that you look at a lot of these societies around the world where people are both aging but have mobility, because as soon as you stop moving, I think I even saw a podcast with doctor Rona Patrick recently where she was interviewing this guy who did a bunch of studies on cardiovascular health, and he found that when individuals that were part of one study, I don't know if he was involved with it or not, were linked in the show notes. Three weeks of bed rest, you aged more in a negative way than 30 years of general aging. Three weeks of bed rest, put that much aging on you. That's how powerful making sure we move is.

So you look around in these societies, they have something figured out. Tai Chi in Japan and India and other places where they walk for long periods of time. One of your neighbors is Dan Buettner, and he's the creator of the blue zones concept. Yeah. And I know that you and Dan are friends, and I know that you've also shared your thoughts on it.

And I thought that my audience would be very interested to hear, because blue zones had the Netflix documentary and the other things that are out there. You've already shared a little bit about your dietary approach that's out there and how long you've been talking about some of these bigger picture themes of not being so carb and sugar reliant and burning cleaner fuel to be metabolically flexible, prioritizing protein to the extent that you need to be able to do that. If you look at the blue zones from the outside, what are some additional thoughts that you have of where you might have a different view or you might have the same view that's there with them? Well, first of all, Dan and I just last weekend did an hour and a half walk together. So we were able to incorporate some of the blue zones and some of the primal blueprint into the same workout, which was walking, moving around a lot.

Mark Sisson
And that's where we agree. I mean, we agree that in terms of longevity, because that's his specialty, is how do you live to be 100? I think we agree that moving around a lot is primary. I think that calorie, not reduction or restriction, but an appropriate amount of calories, because no one in the blue zones, overeats. Right.

They eat an appropriate amount of calories. They stay relatively thin for most of their lives. And when I say relatively thin, I guess by that I mean they don't get obese, they don't get fat like we do in this country. Lots of community. So they're always, they're very social.

They're hanging out with family, they're having ritual meals with people a lot. They're doing a lot of organized gatherings where it's the same people that you've been around for much of your life. So that invokes, on his side, the local village. On my side, it's the Dunbar number, right? Which is the number of people you will meet in a lifetime.

If you were ancestral, if you were living 100,000 years ago, you maybe in your entire life met 155 people, and there were twelve that you were really close to. So there's those similarities. Dan and I both like drinking wine. And so he'll argue that the longest lived people in the world have a bottle of wine every night. Every bottle, or every day, or whatever the thing was in a 24 hours period.

I'm still willing to say that alcohol is that ethanol is a toxin, but you got to pick your poison. And I love wine, and I'm not going to give up wine just to live eight more weeks between the ages of 88 and 89. I enjoy the ritual, the pageantry of wine. I enjoy dinner with wine. So we agree on those, really, as he would say, we disagree on two letters, e n and a f.

In his case, it's bean, and in my case, it's b e e f. So beef and beans. He's like, everybody should have beans. A cup of beans. A cup of beans every day and you'll live four more years.

Please, Dan. And I say everybody should have beef at every meal. You live four more years, and if you don't, you live happier and you build more muscle. I don't know. But if you distill much of what we say on opposite sides of spectrum, we agree on far more than we disagree on.

And it really is just this final little protein component of food that we really are quite disparate on. Thanks for that. He was on a podcast with rich roll, and my name came up and somebody said, well, I really fear for his health. I'm like, my cardiologist wishes he had my blood work. My cardiologist goes, oh, my God, mark, your numbers are amazing.

It's like, well, I eat beef twice a day, and my cholesterol is 265. He thinks that's the perfect number. But my HDL is 85. My triglycerides are 45. My resting fasting insulin is, you know, 1.2 to two.

My a one c is 4.7. I mean, come bring it on. I, you know, my calcium score is close to negative, so don't worry about me, guys. Well, I appreciate you chiming in on that, and I also appreciate the way you do it in our, you know, somebody from the outside would say respectful, but you approach everything in your life in a very respectful way, and you can respectfully disagree with people, and you can respectfully acknowledge them for the contribution that they've made made towards things. On that similar note, where I asked you about the blue zones, I heard somebody recently ask you on a podcast that actually just came out earlier this morning.

I got a chance to watch it before I came over. It's a young gentleman. I forgot his name. It was in a very colorful studio. But he asked you about Brian Johnson.

There's a bunch of Brian Johnsons. When he asked you about Brian Johnson, the guy that spends $2 million a year on his biohacking, and you shared your thoughts there, and I want to say one thing that I really have appreciated. I've had a chance to have Brian Johnson on the show. He lives not too far away from here in Los Angeles. The thing that I appreciate about him that I am actually looking forward to more of that coming into the wellness world just as you are sharing your numbers.

I think that, generally speaking, I think the world would be a better place, is if you're giving people advice on nutrition and you're telling other people what to do and how to do it, I think that you should be. I want to take out the word should. I think that the community could sort of encourage those experts that are out there to put their numbers out publicly. Right. What's your body composition?

Right. What's your Dexa scan show? What is your calcium score? Or if you've done CCTA, like a clearly scan, how much hard and soft plaque does that show? What does your fasting insulin look like?

What does all these numbers look like? And that way that the world could make a little bit more of an informed judgment. I think individuals like Dan Buettner, who I also very much respect, and all the things that he's brought into the world, and he's brought a lot of great contribution. And I believe that he believes that he has the right answer for people that are out there in the vegan community. And I was vegan at one point in time, a lot of the emphasis was on, let's say, just like, LDL or total cholesterol.

They've largely moved away from total cholesterol, and they've kind of focused mostly on LDL. But I don't hear a lot of vegans talking about what does their fasting insulin look like. I don't hear a lot of vegans talking about what does their calcium score look like or their soft plaque score look like. Again, if they did it clearly. What are your thoughts about that?

About people putting out their numbers in a more way that everybody can see and is, like, validated by a third party? I mean, I guess I'm willing to put my numbers out there, such as they are, but there's a lot of things that I don't even test for. Cause I just got my Vo two max tested for the first time in 40 years. Wow. What was your score, if you don't mind me asking?

Mark Sisson
38. I was disappointed. Cause I thought it was gonna be higher, but it's still in the top 5% of my age group. Yeah. Okay.

Now, here's my caveat, and here's my disclaimer. Okay. When I was a top athlete in my late twenties, I got tested. The Vo two max tested. I was in the top 5% of my age.

I wasn't the top 1%. I was. Did they have scores back then? Like, what was the score back then? 67.

67? Yeah. So that's, like, elite. No. Right.

Mark Sisson
That's top 5%, top 5% of my age group. Not top 1%, not top 0.1%, top 5%. But I was able to race at a very high percentage of that. What age. What age was that when you got that test done?

I was 29. Okay. Got it. So then, now, at. Now, here's the thing.

At 175 pounds. Now, I was 38. You know, this is expressed as milliliters of oxygen per kilogram per minute. Yeah. I got my test done for the first time last year.

Okay. So if I weigh the same as when I was 29, my score would be 45, and then I'd be in the top 0.01% of my age group, but I'm still in the top 5%. Meanwhile, I am so much stronger now. So I'm definitely in the top 1% of strength of my age, and I'm the top 5% of vo two max. Now, if you're looking at where these curves cross, they're not.

They're not. They don't go in parallel. You don't get stronger and higher vo two max. At some point, in order to raise vo two max, you have to sacrifice a little bit of strength in many cases. So now I've got this.

Now I'm thinking, okay, I'm exactly where I want to be because I'm in the top 5% that hasn't shifted in 40 plus years, and I'm now in the top 1% of strength, as measured by a number of different metrics that I could prove. But the thing that I was most proud of was when the technician finished doing the test, she said, I've never seen anybody heart rate recover as quickly as yours did from the max. Wow. And so that, to me, that's even more important than the vo two max was how quickly the recovery was. Anyway.

So I'm happy to put those numbers up. And then you put up, I got pictures of me doing x bar deadlifts and dead hangs and whatever. Now, do I want to shame everybody who's a guru into posting their numbers? I don't think so. I mean, I don't see what the benefit is of that, unless you're a.

If you're a personal trainer and you're. You know, I would say I want to look like you. I mean, I maybe use that. That sort of metric, but, um, I don't know. I'm.

I'm ambivalent. I don't need to see, uh, what Brian Johnson's numbers are. I don't know. Maybe. Maybe I want to see what Dave's.

Dave's numbers are. I think it's not about shaming. Also from my perspective is, is that it's very easy. As a wellness consumer, I always tell my audience, I don't. I'm not an expert.

I don't have any background. At the most, I get a chance to hang out with really cool people like you on these podcast episodes and ask great questions, and I can do some pattern recognition to try to at least bring my audience some value. Right? And then I'm transparent about the journey that I'm going on, talking about what's working, what's not working, as I'm unfolding. And every week, I have, and you guessed sometimes, too, because I published twice a week, and I'll hear very well meaning people say that, hey, this one thing is the root cause of all disease that's there.

Or then the next week, my audience hears that this other person thinks this other thing is the root cause of all disease. Seed oils. Right? Recent conversations two weeks before that, it was talking about somebody saying, we're you know, the fact that we're not getting enough sunlight, that's the driver of, you know, this component. And I want everybody to make the argument that's there.

And it's my job. I'm not a journalist, so I don't want to ask anybody got you questions, but I'm asking just genuine areas where I'm confused about there. But for the audience, I think as they're going on their own journey of improving their lean muscle mass, their strength, their vo two Max, they can look and they can see that. Oh, wow. You think that seed oils are the number one driver behind everything, but, oh, okay, you're not super, you know, fit for your day, or you have a lot of body fat that's there.

So if that's not exactly, like, working for you in that regard, are you saying that that's not important? So it's not about shame, it's more just about, if you're going to tell me you're a billionaire, I kind of want to see some sort of Russia. Is there something that's there, or do I. No, I get. I do get that.

Mark Sisson
And, you know, I think, you know, the Instagram has been full of these international health experts in government who are, like, clearly out of shape, and here they are, the leaders of the health movement in each of their countries. I'm sure you've seen those, all the COVID experts, et cetera, you know, and I do get that. But where's the point at which the science is less valuable than, in other words, the message they're delivering is somehow less valuable than how much they've incorporated it themselves? And I'm not defending all these people, but I am kind of saying, like, Rhonda Patrick is a great example. She's very fit.

She's very healthy. She's lovely. She's smart. Should she be competing in bodybuilding competitions or in swimsuit competitions? Is that the metric by which we judge her evaluation of a study that says, if you eat fewer of these, your insulin resistance will change by this percentage point?

Where's the level at which she shows herself working out on the. On the rowing machine? She's very transparent. She looks great. I wish I were a little bit more ripped and a little bit more whatever.

So where's the line? Is all I'm getting at. Where's the line at which you say, well, that person just isn't exhibiting the physical attributes or hasn't shown the lab results that are consistent with the advice they're giving? Yeah, I would say, you know, knowing her work pretty well. I'm a huge fan of Rhonda Patrick.

She does actually a pretty good job in podcast episodes. She'll say, oh, I did this test, or this was my blood work, or this other thing. I think what I'm more looking out for, and it was just an idea where I wanted to get your thoughts on. Was that extreme. Now, the extreme other side where you clearly have individuals whose maybe you would look at them in their body.

Mark Sisson
Well, Jimmy, the late, great Jimmy Moore used to, you know, do you remember low carb living Levita? Low carb. I don't remember him. I've heard you talk about him before, but I don't remember him. He's in prison now, but, you know, always weighed 400 pounds and was telling everybody what a wonderful life keto was.

So, yeah, that kind of stuff you have to kind of laugh at. And I do go to some of these conventions, and I see people who are not representative of the information they're disseminating. But in the defense of most people, I want to. I do think that there's the scholars, you know, in the running community, there are people who've been running coaches their whole life who never ran well, but they have a lot of information about how to run. Does that.

Right. But they're also not the people that are out there that telling people this the exact way that you need to do things. Right. I think the podcast circuit gets a little bit more. No, no.

Of the person that's like, this is the exact root cause of all chronic diseases. I want to agree with you, but. Your body composition is 40%. Right. No, I've seen.

Mark Sisson
I see way too much of that, and I do roll my eyes, but, you know, I guess the original posit was, should everybody be compelled to put their numbers up there in order to justify. If you're telling people how to live and how to eat. Yeah, yeah. It's a thought experiment. No, no.

And if I could cut you off, where this came from, is that. That, you know, even though people might have different viewpoints on, you know, his, uh, his goals, how he's getting there, how he's going about it, the thing that I do appreciate about Brian Johnson. Yeah. Is I appreciate that whatever journey he wants to go on, even if people think it's crazy transparent. He's putting it all transparently.

Mark Sisson
Yeah. And, um. And I just. I just appreciate that. Yeah, right.

I appreciate that. Yeah. Yeah. Mark, this has been great. You know, just a few more things that I want to get a chance to touch on.

As we wind down over here, I wanna come back to alcohol. We just, over the last year and a half, two years, there was a big focus. I've even had many experts on my podcast come. And really the message was, hey, we used to think that alcohol had some therapeutic level below these numbers, and now the train is more. It's just not really providing any value.

We're not sure if any of these studies make any sense at all. And you've shared earlier about how you enjoyed wine and how it's something that you incorporate on a pretty regular basis in your life. You still have all these other healthy habits that are there. I wanted to get your stance on the recommendations for alcohol within that context of people are trying to figure out where do they stand with it? I'm sure you've seen this from the outside of how far it went in one direction.

Was there anything beneficial that came out of that period? Oh, that period. Oh, then it was beneficial. That period of like, people saying, like, hey, look, we all need to like this idea that we've been telling ourselves that there's something beneficial coming from alcohol. We need to sort of go much far in this other direction.

Mark Sisson
Oh, yeah, that's still there. That pendulum is still way out there where most people are saying any amount of alcohol is bad. Yeah, I'm saying, you know, that's like saying any amount of sugar is bad. I mean, I've said over the years, I've said, the less sugar you burn in a lifetime, the better off you are. Right?

Does that mean that zero sugar is ideal and all sugar is toxic? No, of course not. So there's a point at which too much of a thing becomes a bad thing. Sugar is a great example, but in terms of alcohol, I enjoy the mild buzz I get from it. I don't.

I can't smoke weed because I cough too much. I like edibles once in a while, but they make me stupid. So wine's kind of my go to, you know, just to take the edge off and have a nice, easy evening again. I understand where people are coming from, but sometimes when you say the dose makes a poison, I'm not going to recommend that people have, like some sugary, fruity drink with an umbrella on it that's going to have all sorts of problems with the delivery system of the tequila and the syrupy stuff they put in it. On the other hand, the wines I drink are zero sugars added.

Lower in alcohol, lower in tanninso not as much in the way of histamines.

I never get drunk. I don't abuse the privilege. I don't drink except at dinner. It's part of a dinner thing for me. So for me, it works and it's part of my enjoyment of day, of the day of life.

And so at the end of, again, a lifetime of maybe doing this, if it cost me what I mean, six weeks on the back end, six months on the back end, between the ages of 90 and 91, it's a trade off that I'm willing to make. Is there a minimum viable dose? The way you're talking about this, with other things that you feel like, okay, great. I know that I'm not going to have more than. Yeah, yeah.

But I guess that would be an example if I know where my limit is with wine, you know, and I. Know, is that typically a glass for. You that's two glasses. Yeah. But not four.

Right. But the quality is a huge part of that quality. Dry farm wine. I pretty much only drink dry farm wines at home. And then if I'm on the road, if I'm in Europe, these are almost all old, dry farmed by law in much of Europe.

So you can't do the additives there. You can't irrigate. So it's the same kind of thing. In fact, Todd at dry farm wines gets much of his wine from Europe. On the other hand, if I'm in northern California, I can't drink one glass of a thick, leathery, chocolatey fat California cab.

Tastes like cough syrup to me. Yeah. And you feel like sh*t afterwards. Yes. Yeah.

Last question here. As we all continue to age and we have started to design our life the way that we want to knock on wood, that people get a chance to head in that direction, so much of life becomes about joy for you right now at where you are in life. Having had some incredible career success with primal kitchen and even before that, your personal brand, the books that you've written, having crafted a beautiful life around you, the base of a very strong body, physically and also endurance. What are some things recently that you've doubled down on or given more priority to that add a significant amount of joy, no matter how small or big they are. What are some things that really drive joy for you in life?

Mark Sisson
Well, I've been married 34 years. I have two kids and I have two grandchildren who just arrived last night to visit for a week. And then we're going to go off to, the whole family's going to a dude ranch for a week after that. So I'll be with them for two weeks. Grandchildren are amazing and just total delight and a source of joy.

You know, I'm picking and choosing the times that I work, so I'm not. I don't feel overwhelmed by having to do stuff at work. I have a good team at Palova. It's actually run by my son, who's the CEO. So I do what feels right to me.

I'm doing podcasts in support of Paluva right now. I've got this new book coming out that I have a writing partner. So we, you know, I'm able to spend a lot of time doing the things that I want to do and talking about the things I want to talk about. Whereas maybe in a previous part of my life, I had to suck it up and do things that weren't as pleasant for me. I had the luxury now being able to just pick and choose, which I think is a huge privilege for me and something I think I earned over a lifetime.

You put in the work. Yeah, I put in the work, for sure. Other than that, it's like I still think that no matter how much money you have, how well off, how many things you have, it doesn't affect the way you appreciate a hike in the mountains, or it doesn't affect the way you enjoy a brisk swim in the ocean or time with your family or a dinner with friends. All of those things. There's no difference whether you are living hand to mouth or whether you are extremely well off.

Mark Sisson
All of those life events are available to be appreciated and enjoyed for what they are in the moment. And so for me, it's just being able to identify this moment right now as fantastic and being aware of the moment right now and being able to extract the energy out of the moment and the grace out of the moment and the enjoyment and the contentment and the fulfillment out of each possible moment. And I think in the past, I would have, like, when I get to this point, I will be able to enjoy this, you know, or when I. When I have this much money, I'll be able to get there. And so the advice I have for any young person is don't.

Don't bypass the moments, right? Let enjoy, like, while you're building your business, spend time with your wife and your kids or your friends or your family, or, you know, play the game of golf with your buddies on Thursday afternoon or whatever it is, you know, like, while you're building your business, do not bypass living your life. And so that's kind of the aha. Moment that I've had. That's a great message to end on.

Mark, super appreciative of you coming on the podcast. As I've mentioned, I'm a huge fan of your work, and I have been for quite some time. It's had all sorts of reverberations in our industry. And I also appreciate the fact that you are also willing to be very open about things that you've changed your mind on, how you've refined stuff, what matters to you at different life stages without it being, you know, this is the thing that everybody else has to do. You're just talking about your own journey.

And I really appreciate that. And I also, as somebody who works with his family, my dad was involved in one of my previous businesses. My sisters are both involved in my business right now. I love the fact that you work with your son. And I think in the background, I'm hearing some shopify dings go off, which is a beautiful thing.

It actually is music to my ears. Sorry. Because I think that's dot. That's That'S a happy sound to my family.

Mark Sisson
I love the fact that, you know, that you acknowledge it. Yeah. But I really want to thank you for coming on the podcast and talking about some of the things that you have prioritized, especially as you're really thinking about life, longevity, meaning joy, happiness, as you continue to age powerfully on this planet. So thank you. Thanks, Drew.

Appreciate it. Yeah. We'll link to everything below your instagram, your personal website, Mark's Daily Apple, as well as primal kitchen. I'm a huge fan. Got a chance to play a tiny, tiny little piece in that investment process for your support.

And of course,, which everybody should check out. So, Mark, thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Hi, everyone. Drew here. Two quick things. Number one, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. If you haven't already subscribe, just hit the subscribe button on your favorite podcast app.

And by the way, if you love this episode, it would mean the world to me. And it's the number one thing that you can do to support this podcast is share it with a friend. Share with a friend who would benefit from listening. Number two, before I go, I just had to tell you about something that I've been working on that I'm super excited about. It's my weekly newsletter, and it's called try this.

Every Friday. Yes, every Friday, 52 weeks a year, I send out an easy to digest protocol of simple steps that you or anyone you love can follow to optimize your own health. We cover everything from nutrition to mindset to metabolic health, sleep, community, longevity, and so much more. If you want to get on this email list, which is by the way, free, and get my weekly step by step protocols for whole body health and optimization, click the link in the show notes that's called try this, or just go to that's dash and click on the tab that says try this.

Top Longevity Tips From The Fittest and Most Muscular 70 Year Old I've Met With Mark Sisson (2024)


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