Today our guests and host talk about what pushed them to start living healthier lifestyles and what they are doing to maintain it. Leonard was 280 pounds when he was 23 at his heaviest, Taylor was 19 and 287 pounds, and John was 320 pounds.
Leonard made a change due to having health issues with his heart, he got on P90x and after a year of it moved on to much better things, this got him to a muscular 190. John began because he failed a breathing test and only had 50% lung capacity, he got it into his head that he was a healthy person now and started using the elliptical and not eating junk food. Taylor was turning 20 as a milestone and decided to make a change by kicking soda, going vegetarian, riding his bike, and walking around more. His goal was never to get a six pack but just to live a healthier life.
It has been five years since Leonard's initial push to get fit. He says that the most significant thing has been finding a sustainable diet and exercise program that he can do for the rest of his life, well into his 80s. P90x is not sustainable, he followed it precisely for six months, but he was physically burning out and felt terrible.
Reading a book called the Primal Blueprint changed everything for Leonard. It teaches that manipulating your body composition is all about finding that balance of macronutrients and lifting heavy things while getting plenty of rest. Since he hated gyms and alpha attitudes, Leonard purchased a barbel, a squat cage, and some weights allowing him to take his body to the next level lifting heavy things three days a week. He blew through his weight stalls, cut down to sub 10% bodyfat, and developed significant musculature! Being a remote developer was the ideal environment for achieving these things due to the flexible schedule and ease of access to his home gym.
Finally, things are wrapped up with Leonard explaining how having a healthy body and exercising have given him mental health benefits. The depression and anxiety he used to struggle with have been helped by the changes he has made. Taylor leaves us with the advice to do this for yourself, not for anyone else, and to take your time and not get into a big hurry with it. It takes time.
John Lindquist: On the podcast today we have Leonard and Taylor and we're going to be talking about health and kind of changing your life and getting fit and that sort of stuff. So Leonard if you'd like to go ahead and start, kind of introduce yourself and maybe all your health background and every doctor you've ever visited.
Leonard Souza: I don't believe in going to the doctor. I think I know better. No, I'm just kidding. My name's Leonard Sousa. I'm an Engineering Manager at WebFlow and so my health journey, I had a pretty typical health trajectory for most developers and it didn't help that I sort of had kids earlier on and when I was 20, I had my first kid when I was 23. I was a developer and sympathy weight is real and I gained on ton of weight based on that and I was sort of a had a bit of a vegetarian for a long time. I didn't really understand what I was doing to my body. I'm not really against vegetarianism, but for me it's not really the right path. I basically ballooned up to about 280 pounds and I'm about 6'3" so it was a pretty hefty amount of weight on me and right around when I hit 30 I realized I really needed to make a change.
Leonard Souza: 'Cause I wasn't really someone who was generally out of shape before that point in my life, but I'd been out of shape for a good deal of time. I mean I had sort of a yo-yo stint when I was like 27 I was able to lose quite a bit of weight and sort of on Jenny Craig with my wife and it sort of came back when I was 30 and that's was about 2010. That's kind of when P90X was a big craze and I started seeing everybody doing that and it took me about a year to muster the courage to actually dedicate myself to something as strenuous as P90X and that is sort of what kicked off my journey towards trying to get fit, but it's evolved significantly since then. I not longer believe in P90X, but it was great to build a habit. It was a great starter kit if you will. We're gonna get more into that later.
John Lindquist: Leonard is very opinionated for people who are listening.
Leonard Souza: I am super super opinionated.
John Lindquist: It's weird to know that developers are opinionated.
Leonard Souza: Yeah it's odd, but we can get more into the how later, but that's sort of the beginning of it right?
John Lindquist: And numbers wise you were up to 280. Now you're down to 180 or so, right?
Leonard Souza: No, no, no. I had to keep myself around like 195 to 200 which is probably about 10 pounds more than what I weighed in high school, but I also can lift significantly more weight than I could in high school. I was rather thin in high school, so I'd like to think that I'm actually less body fat than in high school and much more muscle since then and that's really all what's being fit's about. Well actually that's not true. Being fit is about being healthy, but that's one of the metrics I follow, I try to go after.
John Lindquist: Great, Taylor you got a story to share?
Taylor Bell: It's quite a bit differently actually. So all through high school I worked at the local pizza place. Well this was before I was a developer obviously when I'm working at the pizza place, although shout out to all my pizza guys writing code on the side I guess. Anyways, so I was eating too much pizza and drinking too much soda, so when I was 19 years old the biggest number I ever saw on the scale was 287 and I know I got further.
John Lindquist: How tall are you?
Taylor Bell: I man 5'11"-ish and I know that I went higher up than that 'cause my size 40 jeans were too tight. Now I am 34, so I decided that I would become a vegetarian right before I turned 20. That was the last I ate meat and then I didn't eat fish or any other meat. I was strict lacto ovo vegetarian all through my twenties and dropped down. At my lowest I was like 182 for about a month or so and that took me years to get to and then I went back up and I've maintained around 185, 195 back and forth for the last, I don't know, five or six, seven years. I'm 34 now, so I just kind of decided to make a change. I didn't feel very good basically.
Leonard Souza: That informed my decision too. When my heart was skipping beats I was like, "I'm not gonna live until I'm 40." So that took a kick in the butt.
John Lindquist: For me, it's funny how similar Leonard and I are. We're the same age and same height and we're both white male and all that, but I had a similar story as far as having kids and I'm just jumping up a 100 pounds. I was 320 or more. I kind of avoided scales at the time and then over time I'm currently down to 220-ish. I'd like to be a bit lower, but food is yummy and it's kind of been a long journey as far as... Let's see, how long did I start losing the weight? Probably eight years ago is when I really started thinking, "This is too much." So let's talk about what kicked it off for me is when I was in like 320-ish and we were living in this house and I felt like I had really bad allergies. So I went to the doctor to check on the allergies and they did the prick test and they did a breathing test on me.
John Lindquist: I failed the breathing test so bad that the doctor said, "You know what? You only have less than half of your lung capacity with the way you breathe," and I said, "Well that can't be good," and I was snoring really loud at night. I was sleeping terribly. All the sorts of things that come with being overweight and he told me to my face. He's like, "You know what? You need to lose 50 pounds." That was the trigger for me. It was kind of like "F.U. I'm gonna go do this," sort of thing. Just someone calling me out on it because before that, my family's on the heavier side and hanging around with heavier people and so it was just kind of an accepted thing until Mister Doctor Dude comes up and says, "You know what? You need to do this. You are not healthy," and that's what kicked it in for me.
John Lindquist: So my mindset switched from eating candy and donuts and the whole whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and sugar addiction is real and all that, to changing my mindset of I'm the type of person who goes to the gym and I started on the elliptical. As wonderful of exercise that is, just getting that basic, that mindset in of "I do this every day. I eat healthy." There wasn't any meal plan. There wasn't anything other than me telling myself, "This is who I am now. I am not that person I used to be." Is there something that triggered it for you? For you two as far as was there a day or anything that kicked you in the butt? Said, "Not. Today's the day."
Leonard Souza: I think for me it's a different sort of process, but I think I definitely recall. I wasn't joking about the heart palpitation thing. I actually remember sitting there. I actually called the doctor. I said, "Look, am I dying? I think I might be having a heart attack," and they were like, "No. Your heart skips a beat sometimes," and I was like, "This seems like it's more than sometimes," and I knew I had a lot of weight on me. So and I wasn't feeling great either and I remember just I have two boys and they're pretty rambunctious and I remember keeping them in line is a bit stressful. There's correlations between that stress and the heart sort of jumps and I realized that I was like, "My kids are gonna kill me if I don't get this under control now," and I knew that the first step it wouldn't be medication or anything. It was "I need to lose weight and start exercising more."
Leonard Souza: It took me about a year though to muster the courage to really commit to it. So for me, I knew P90X was going on and it was a big phenomena back then and my buddies and I were talking about doing it and it took me about a year to go, "Okay, I'm at a point in my life new where I'm going to do this come hell or high water." I was just like, "I'm gonna do this every day and that's it," and that's kind of how I do things, an all or nothing venture, but sometimes it takes me a while to get to that point.
John Lindquist: Was there support there for you? Friends and family?
Leonard Souza: No, and I tend not to look for support there. I'm more of a lone wolf when it comes to that kind of stuff to be honest. I hate gyms. I really, really hate gyms. I like working out alone.
John Lindquist: Yeah the same here.
Leonard Souza: I like tackling things by myself. Now as far as accountability goes, there's interesting mechanisms there that I sort of stumbled across. For one, here's a silly one, but with P90X you have Tony Horton and he sort of keeps you accountable. There's something about that guy's energy which is really infectious and you kind of want to live up to that guy. You kind of want to look like that guy too and another thing that struck me about Tony is-
John Lindquist: He's so much older than you would think.
Leonard Souza: Right, he's in his fifties and look at him, right? And I'm like, "Man, I want to look like that when I'm in my fifties." So it's something to aspire to. We can talk more about how that changed into a different sort of sustainable routine because P90X is just not a good thing for the most part. As far as getting you into really good shape and also staying in good shape for a long period of time, but that was sort of the kick in the butt for me was the stress of holding down a developer job and having kids and just being overweight and then feeling it.
John Lindquist: I remember if my kids would run up the stairs, looking like, "Well, they're gone."
Taylor Bell: Mine was I had been struggling with my weight for several years, but it was really sort of just turning 20 as a milestone, so it wasn't, it's really easy when planning to do anything to say, "Oh I'll start on Monday." 'Cause Monday's the start of the week. So it was-
John Lindquist: We'll start next Monday.
Taylor Bell: Yeah, yeah. So it was kind of like, "Well I'll just do it on my twentieth birthday," and then I didn't necessarily plan to go a whole 10 years before I ate meat again and I know that Leonard's already alluded to him not liking the vegetarianism thing and I do eat meat sometimes now. Usually about once a month or so, but I haven't eaten beef or chicken. It's bacon. I eat bacon once a month.
John Lindquist: It's a good one if you're gonna have it.
Taylor Bell: Everyone out there's [crosstalk 00:11:09]. I didn't go straight to working out when I started. I used to like riding a bike a lot and then I was, I used to kind of joke that I looked like when the bear was riding a bicycle at the circus or something or it just doesn't look right. So the first thing I did was I quit drinking soda and that took off 10 pounds in a month right there.
John Lindquist: Such a good first step for anyone.
Taylor Bell: And then eat less pizza and just start riding a bike and walking around. It's kind of funny for me to be on the podcast with you guys because I feel like the imposter syndrome that I feel in the software developer sense of looking at what my experience and things are compared to what you guys have done is different but then what I realize that more than ever I need to not look at things as being a contest and so it's like looking at as far as my health and stuff is I still think that I could be in better, I know I could be in better shape than I am, but I'm better than I used to be, but if I compare myself only to others then I don't think that's the most mentally healthy thing to do.
John Lindquist: Right and let me say, I should have started with this which is congratulations on all the progress both of you have made.
Taylor Bell: Well you as well. It was an implicit congratulations in having the conversation I guess.
John Lindquist: And I'm awesome of course.
Taylor Bell: Of course.
John Lindquist: But you guys are too.
Leonard Souza: We're all winners here I guess is what Joel's trying to say to quell that competitive spirit there.
John Lindquist: So Taylor, did you have much support where people do the accountability?
Taylor Bell: Yeah, so I had done like, I had tried the Weight Watchers thing with my Mom when I was younger and I hadn't thought about this in a very long time, but one of the first times I really realized that I was going to need to change something was there used to be this thing that was Richard Simmons Deal a Meal and my grandmother bought that for me when I was 12 and I can feel my blushing right now so I'm really glad we're not on video 'cause I don't think I've ever told anybody that.
John Lindquist: It's just a secret between us now.
Taylor Bell: Which actually that brings me to another thing is that I don't share about the big weight loss that I did at all really. I have a couple of friends that I'm still friends with that knew me back then for lack of a better phrase, but I was always kind of reluctant to talk about it because I didn't want it to be like "Oh there's that guy. He lost 100 pounds," and then that's all that I've ever done and that's all that I ever will do.
John Lindquist: Sometimes I admit I still feel like the fat guy even though I know I'm not and some days I'm like, "Aren't I out of shape?" and then I'll do something, hop up the stairs just fine. Like, "Wait a second. I'm not." That was me before, not that person now.
Leonard Souza: You know that's interesting 'cause I feel that way too. I really do think it's a state of mind this idea of feeling fit because I think you could probably be in super duper crazy fit shape and still feel like you're out of shape and I think I know people that aren't in great shape that feel awesome all the time. I think it's how you approach it in your own head.
John Lindquist: Interesting. What did you do to kind of keep it off or maintain over the years? 'Cause it's been, Leonard how long have you since the big turnaround again?
Leonard Souza: It's been about five years now since that initial P90X push time and for me though, the journey was much more about figuring out how to eat versus and how to balance a sustainable exercise program that I could take well into my, I mean I was planning on something I could do for the rest of my life, well into my eighties. That's sort of what I sought. So I began with P90X and I did six months of it perfectly. Everyday, well six days a week and you get one day off and by about month four I definitely made progress. I got down to about 205 pounds and that was pretty good considering where I was. I think I was around maybe 240 when I started, but I felt absolutely terrible. I mean it was great though because I finally could do some pull ups. I'd never really been able to do many pull ups in my life. I'd never been able to do push ups in my life and here I was doing quite a few, but the thing is the weight stop coming off.
Leonard Souza: I sort of stalled and I couldn't figure out what was going on for the life of me, but I also hadn't really given much thought to what I was putting into my body. I was given a lot of thought to how I was outputting from my body, but I didn't know how to change my diet. So I started exploring diet options and that's when things really opened up to me because I was-
John Lindquist: Science at all?
Leonard Souza: Yeah, well I got to a place where I was actually very demoralized. I was actually getting really depressed 'cause I was like, "Man I cannot make progress here and I feel terrible and I don't understand why 'cause I'm doing everything 'right.'" So then I came across, I started seeking stuff, and I came across Tim Ferriss's Four Hour Body which I thought was compelling and sort of opened my eyes to the idea of insulin and its effects on the bodies and how you can manage it by the foods that you put into your body. So I did that for a month or two and I saw progress and I was like, "Wow, this actually works," but I hated every single thing that Tim recommended that I eat. [inaudible 00:16:52] and stuff just did not work well for me and I felt better but not great.
John Lindquist: You hated it as in it didn't taste good or as in it didn't make you feel-
Leonard Souza: Something didn't feel right about it. There was just something that didn't feel right. So then I kept seeking, kept seeking and I came across a book called The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and that book I literally shed a tear when I turned the last page of that book 'cause it was so transformative. It presented several things to me, not just a new way of eating, but also a new way of approaching how to exercise and basically Mark distills it down to like it's a paleo inspired thing. It's not really paleo though because it's much looser. I'm not really much for hyperbole and so I was happy to see that it was a sensible approach to this idea of paleo which is basically this low carbs and also a certain type of activity style that matches what are ancestors did.
Leonard Souza: Anyways, after realizing that the diet game is about balancing macro nutrients and the exercise game is really all about lifting heavier things to the point where you exhaust the glycogen in your muscles and then you give your body a ton of rest and that's really the easiest way to put it. So what I then did is I ditched P90X... Actually I didn't ditch it, I modified it. I reduced my workouts to four days or five days a week and changed my diets to a low carb sort of diet and that worked really well for a while and then I kept seeking, kept seeking and I was like, "You know what? This body weight stuff, dumbbell stuff is not enough for me." So then I started looking to "Well how do I get into this, the barbell gang and into the iron gang," which I hated all of my life because I really don't like gyms and bros, or bros are fine, but I just didn't like the attitude, that sort of alpha attitude.
Leonard Souza: Anyways, Mark though changed my tune. He basically said, "You know we lifted heavy things back the day and if you killed an animal you carried it back." I think it probably weighed at 200 pounds, 300 pounds. That's what are bodies are sort of designed for. So then I came across Martin Berkhan's sight called leangames.com and Martin sort of just cut through all the crud in the fitness industry for me. Say the same thing for Mark Sisson and he prescribes a three day a week strength training program which is a lot less than what I was doing. It also fulfilled my, "Oo, I can do this for the rest of my life," kind of thing and it was all barbell driven. So at that point I had proved to myself that I was committed and I purchased a cage, a workout cage and put it in my office.
Leonard Souza: I'm sitting in the same office with the same cage that I bought five years ago and been using it since and I started lifting really heavy stuff three times a week according to Martin's theories and also to Mark's theories and then I also started doing intermittent fasting which is what Martin actually sort of conceived or made popular. I'm not sure if he conceived it but he made it popular. That was the key. That was the secrete sauce. Then I blew through my weight plateaus, cut down to sub 10% body fat, developed significant musculature. Was able to squat 420 pounds, deadlift 500 pounds, stupid numbers I never thought were even possible and the crazy part was I realized being a developer and working remote was the ideal environment to actually be able to achieve these things which you would think it would be completely opposite because I sit on my but most of the day, but that's actually a good thing 'cause your body needs to recover.
Leonard Souza: So anyways, that's the evolution that happened with P90X and to what I do today and to what I've helped many people do themselves and I've seen success with a great number of folks, not only through my own personal efforts in coaching, but also through, let's see Martin's clients and seen other people who do the same thing clients and it's been really rewarding that way. By the way I'm not like a coach or anything. I just do it for friends and stuff. I don't get paid for it. I just enjoy disseminating the knowledge because it's so powerful and yeah, that's sort of-
Taylor Bell: That-
John Lindquist: Alright Taylor, if you didn't have imposter syndrome before.
Taylor Bell: No shit.
John Lindquist: I shouldn't let you leave.
Taylor Bell: I was with Leonard up unto yeah, Four Hour Body Tim Ferriss book was transformative for me and then I have nothing else in common with that whole last story. I work remotely. I guess I have that in common, but yeah Tim Farriss's the Four Hour Body diet is actually what got me through my plateau twice. I plateaued at 204, 206. I was stuck between those two for a long time and then the last spot I was stuck was 191.5 and I was always that for days in a row and it wouldn't matter what I did.
John Lindquist: The scale was broken.
Taylor Bell: I honestly thought it was. But yeah so I, I don't like work out work out like that. I don't know if you guys remember the Seven Minute Workout thing from a few years back? So between that and this book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy which he has an example in his book about the magic penny where if somebody offered you three million dollars right now a penny that would double every day for a month, it's smarter to take the penny and so you think that seven minutes is basically nothing and for the first two weeks it doesn't really feel like anything, but then I did it for 30 days straight at seven minutes a day and then at the end I was doing 20 push ups instead of six. It's pretty good, but my goal was never to be like six pack and I've never had one. My goal is to feel better and I still drink beers, not as much as I used to of course, but I don't restrict myself "bad" stuff I guess.
Taylor Bell: Moderation is something that I learned more. One of my friends says that he'd rather not indulge because if he indulges then he has to work out harder and so I sometimes hear his voice in the back of my head, but I don't know. Did you say sub 10% body fat Leonard? Yeah I don't know what mine is but I know that it's not that. It's sub 100%. I know that.
John Lindquist: You have done wonderfully.
Leonard Souza: Well you know what I like hearing from you [inaudible 00:23:44] is I think the key is to start, to start with anything. Go walk five minutes a day. That's enough, I'm not kidding. Just go do something and build from there and what's weird is we're sort of these relativistic creatures. Absolute terms are very scary to us. So suddenly trying to go and lift 500 pounds from Day One is way to intimidating or it's impossible or you'll get hurt. You start walking five minutes a day, tack on another two minutes, maybe try doing a push up the next week and that seven minute theory, right? It's pretty brilliant. That's a fantastic way to get into it and that's sort of, I think that really works well for a lot of people. So I'm happy to hear that that worked for you.
Taylor Bell: And it's one of those, I think about in There's Something About Mary where it's like, "Seven minutes? No, it's six minutes," and that kind of thing. I fall in and out of it just like any other kind of, after a while it becomes a real habit and then things happen or you don't feel like it for too long and then it becomes harder to get back.
Leonard Souza: Something else you said that I really appreciate is everything in moderation [crosstalk 00:24:53]. I actually subscribe to the same exact philosophy and I found the reason that what I do is so magical is 'cause there's a lot of room for that. I drink a lot of beer. I still eat two pints of ice cream on three days a week.
Taylor Bell: Ice cream or Halo Top? 'Cause I found out that I can't eat Halo Top. Like I have the-
Leonard Souza: Yeah, there are certain ones that screw with you.
Taylor Bell: Yeah, big time.
Leonard Souza: Yeah stay away from those, but there are alternatives. You should try Arctic Ice or Arctic Zone, one of those two. Anyways, that one screws with my gut but hopefully will be good for you.
Taylor Bell: I'll let you know.
Leonard Souza: But the crazy thing is that I think you have to find ways of keeping yourself motivated by giving yourself those small luxuries. Almost as rewards for the hard work that you put in. The whole idea of "I have to work out harder because I ate more?" See that's totally flawed 'cause you can't. The body's actually only capable of burning about five to six hundred calories at most a day and then after that it goes into a weird sort of flight or fight mode and it doesn't make any more progress. So there's no point in trying to burn more than that many calories a day. You just have to adjust your diets to account for the energy that you took in versus what you want to put out. So yeah, I mean I think that it's important to find something that gives you those luxuries too and I think that that's also the reason why I'm really excited about what I do 'cause I still get them.
John Lindquist: It's funny you mention that. If I treat food as a reward it always just triggers my insatiable appetite for sugars and carbs and then I spiral out of control again. I don't know if that's just a mental thing for me or an actual physical reaction to eating sweets or whatever. I can eat junk food when it's not a reward, if it's just something with lunch or something with dinner or whatever, but if I use it as a reward system then I start cheating.
Leonard Souza: Like a cheat meal?
John Lindquist: Yeah. Just anything like that. The worst is celebrating, hitting a particular weight.
Taylor Bell: Celebrate by offsetting it back to where you started.
John Lindquist: Yeah and that's what I still struggle with. It's "Yay, I made it to 210. Let's eat cake."
Leonard Souza: My wife is the same exact way and I don't do cheat meals anymore by the way. I actually think they're worthless and I mean they can be useful on a rare occasion if you're really, like maybe during Thanksgiving or something or on a holiday, but you're just sort of participating, but I found that it's much better just to spread out tiny rewards, tiny rewards that don't trigger that heuristic of "Well, I just ate all this stuff. There's no point in continuing trying to be healthy." 'Cause it is a real struggle. My wife, she can't do it either because I was trying to experiment cheat meals with her and she'd just go completely off the wagon after that. So was like, "That's cool. We'll just figure out other ways." So we do it like a cheat, I'm sorry not cheat meal, do it like a cheat day... Sorry, cheat days are what screwed her up, but then we do like a small reward like a cheat meal like maybe just a dessert and then maybe just once a week and that was enough. It's just enough when it doesn't trigger that weird bounce back, rebound thing.
John Lindquist: Let me just throw in to the maintenance stuff for me, like the way I kind of kept it off over the years was my family was really into running and I've always hated running, but my sister challenged me to run a half marathon and if you challenge me to do something I kind of take it personally. I just have to, I [inaudible 00:28:38] about it. So I just stuck to it and I ran a half marathon. That kind of got me into shape to play basketball and play racquetball and those have been kind of my go to fitness things. I've worked with Leonard the last couple of years as far as trying to get into his [crosstalk 00:28:55] of [crosstalk 00:28:58].
Taylor Bell: Yeah choose his instead of mine I think.
John Lindquist: Where he calls basketball play and racquetball play and those don't count as exercise. Leonard's lifestyle's a hard pill for me to swallow. Because there's so many things I love to do that Leonard frowns upon.
Leonard Souza: You totally can do it. I just say you have to account for it. If you're going to play basketball, you have to account for it. It's not that I don't want you to play basketball, have fun. It's not like make your life miserable so you look good. That's like the dumbest thing to do ever. Anyways, go on, sorry.
John Lindquist: I was just going to say if I play basketball and racquetball and basketball, three days a week I do that, then I have no energy to lift or sometimes that amount of cardio will make me so hungry I just can't stop eating and all of this sort of stuff. So those are still things I'm struggling with daily. It's never over. The health is a daily, it's a lifestyle and all the cliches that people say.
Leonard Souza: Little bit of back story for those who may not know. So I advocate for no cardio or just low, low aerobic like walking at the most. Hiking's fine. Anything where your heart rate's below 65% because anything above that you start to produce weird hormones that your body thinks it's running away from something and it does weird things to your biology, but that's all in the palm of [inaudible 00:30:29]. It's manageable maybe. I don't know.
Taylor Bell: I'm going to-
John Lindquist: I just love sports I guess. I love the competition of it.
Leonard Souza: Yeah no that's great and that's important.
Taylor Bell: I'm going to have to read these books. That's like the only, besides the seven minute deal, I ride my bike. I found out that I got a bike trainer that you hook your bike wheel in to and my bike wheel fit under my standing desk where I can type and pedal at the same time and I have not disclosed that I do that publicly until right now. It's really silly. I feel silly a lot which is why I work out alone. My-
John Lindquist: Do you lock the door before you start pedaling just in case-
Taylor Bell: Don't come in.
John Lindquist: ... someone tries to sneak in?
Taylor Bell: No I don't, but since I work remote I get time when my wife's not here that I don't have to feel like... I don't know. I don't know why I feel so embarrassed, is not quite the right word, but I don't know. I think it's funny, it's funny just talking about it right now to me. It's not-
Leonard Souza: I think it's brilliant. I think you just, for one as far as competitions go you just won out of the three of us.
Taylor Bell: And I'm so competition averse. When John is like "Somebody challenges me and I take it personally," and it's like someone challenges me and I give them the finger or something, I don't know.
Leonard Souza: You should create tablesunderdeskbike.com and just have your stats on there and just share it with everyone all the time.
John Lindquist: The live webcam in your office.
Leonard Souza: Your feel just off of the bike itself.
Taylor Bell: Oh man. I'm sure someone out there would be super into it.
John Lindquist: I bet you they would. You'd probably get some profit with that, man.
Leonard Souza: But back to the idea of maintenance, I don't think I answered that. For me, so what I do is I do something called nutrient partitioning and that means I'm low carb on my rest days and sort of high carb on my workout days, but that also means I modulate my fat and my fats and carbs on those days and I keep my protein consistent and really it's a dance between those three macro nutrients. That's what I've found the easiest way to keep weight off consistently. So on my rest days I eat maybe about 30 grams of carbs. That's definitely in the ketogenic range. It's not quite ketogenic, but it definitely gets you there if they're long enough and on my workout days that pumps up to about 280 grams of carbs, but there's a really great reason for that and Martin sort of extols this on his website.
Leonard Souza: When your muscles are exhausted of glycogen, your liver is seeking glucose so it can convert it into glycogens so it actually takes that and shuttles it into your muscles which helps with the repair process and makes the active hypertrophy or the active knitting more muscle together. It accelerates it. So you actually are supporting muscle [inaudible 00:33:24] by eating those carbs on your workout days if you're lifting really heavy stuff and getting to the point of exhaustion, but for anyone if at the end of the day, this whole equation, the whole game, if you want to keep weight off, if you want to manage your weight, it's all about managing your carbohydrates. That's really all it is. If you keep your carbohydrates under a certain level, like under 50 grams of carbs a day and you eat as much protein as you want and sort of keep your fat maybe around 40% of your body weight in grams, whatever that is, which is a healthy hormonal sort of level for body fat or for eating fat.
Leonard Souza: You will lose weight and one of the things I discovered through this whole journey is that losing weight is actually not the hard part. It's actually finding something that keeps the weight off, but then also putting on muscle. That's the hard part and that's when you shed weight, that's when it reveals what's underneath and it becomes interesting in that aspect too, but anyways, carbohydrates man, that's it. That's all you have to worry about.
John Lindquist: Which requires actually tracking them and looking at food labels.
Leonard Souza: It does.
John Lindquist: I found, it was really interesting, following Leonard's advice and doing it with the plan that he's talking about, it's like how much water weight I would drop and how I would feel less bloated. I was thin, but because the health plan you gave me I would finish less bloated. So there's that extra sense of feeling lighter than anything else.
Leonard Souza: Yeah, your body needs water to process carbs and that's why [crosstalk 00:35:06].
Taylor Bell: Can you drink too much water? How much is too much?
Leonard Souza: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Taylor Bell: I'm asking for a friend.
Leonard Souza: So water, hydration's a funny thing 'cause everyone's like, "You gotta drink four liters of water a day." All of that is bunk. It's relative to you and really what I look out for and forgive me for TMI, but it's really the color of your pee. If your pee's almost clear, then you're good. You've drunk enough water. If it starts to get highly colored then you need to drink more water and if it's totally super clear, I actually think in my own personal experience, some people can tolerate that, but that tends to start giving me headaches. So really it just comes down to the color of your pee. So if that's four liters, that's awesome. If it's two, great. 'Cause you can't, certain foods hydrate you really well also. So you can't just rely on a number of cups and those sort of generalized statistics of "Do X to achieve X" generally doesn't work. You have to have another performance indicator in there. So just the color to get you.
Taylor Bell: I just had an app idea.
John Lindquist: There you go.
Leonard Souza: Toto. And also too, tracking too, you brought that up John and tracking is really rough and it's really rough especially in the beginning because you just don't want to deal with entering all the macro nutrients into any app ever, but it is pretty critical in a lot of ways until you're really well established, then you already know the foods you're eating and you've already sort of pre-calculated in your head, but another critical component of tracking is not to track your weight so much 'cause weight is usually a false-y sort of metric 'cause it can lead you to believe things that aren't true, but it's also to measure you body size sites so your waist in three different areas, your arms, your legs will give you a much better indication of where you are, truly where your body is versus how much fat you have versus how much muscle you have outside of getting a dexa scan or what not which actually tells you how much skeletal mass you have versus muscle and fat, but measuring yourself weekly or bi-weekly is critical. That's another as well as tracking.
Taylor Bell: Do you weigh yourself every day?
Leonard Souza: No. I weigh myself once a week. I can probably punt that to once every two weeks. So I have a weigh day. It's like on Saturday mornings and it's consistent, consistent with the amount of food content in my stomach, with the amount of elimination, the amount of I wake up, I just basically undress, hop on the scale and go measure myself every Saturday morning and so there's eight sites I use a tape measure to measure on my body. That's what I track when I cut versus when I bulk and that's also another strategy for maintaining weight is to constantly alternate between bulking and cutting cycles. So right now I'm cutting 'cause during the winter I generally gain a little bit of weight from all the holidays and fun which I allow myself to do because it's healthy for my brain and then I sort of shed that weight towards the beginning of the year.
Leonard Souza: So right now I'm cutting. So I'm looking for mostly the sites around my midsection, my midriff if you will, to decrease because with men, fat patterning in men, we tend to lose our last bits of fat around our stomach and our back whereas women tend to lose their last, when I say last bits of fat I mean like when you start getting down to really low fat body percentages around, they lose weight in their thighs and arms last. So they look for those measurements to decrease and then I look for, men should look for midsection and back while also trying to increase how much you're lifting 'cause that's a very good indication that you're putting on muscle while losing weight which is the golden goal. It's also hard.
John Lindquist: So just to wrap up here, let's leave this motivational, inspirational words to anyone who's made it this far and who wants to make a change in their lives I would say that the difference I feel now between the way I felt years ago with being 100+ pounds heavier than I am right now. It's again I feel like a completely different person. I feel like I have completely changed my life around and that I can jump and I can run and I can play with my kids and I can go on hikes and just have, life is more fun now and it's an incredible feeling. So it think just to echo the idea of just starting, whether it's that five minute walk or the seven minute, whatever, getting into dropping soda or starting to track food or whatever it is that initial step if you need to take it just take it and move forward. I'm going to turn it over to you guys. Any inspirational words?
Leonard Souza: Well I know for myself there was a bunch of unforeseen consequences to it. Yeah, of course I wanted to look nicer and all that stuff and that's a bit shallow, but at the same time it's nice to feel good about how you look 'cause it feels good in general, but for me I didn't realize that the whole paleo thing would lead to sort of a change in my chemistry. So I used to struggle with pheno depression and anxiety like most people, but I had to contend with it quite a bit and I noticed in the past five years of my life and this is the first time in my life, I'm 38 now. About three years ago I noticed a marked decrease in those feelings, this overwhelming dark cloud inside where you don't have much hope and today it is gone and I don't know if it's just because my body's rewarding me or if my chemistry's better or my gut health is better or whatever, but whatever I'm doing has completely reversed those sort of psychological difficulties that I once possessed.
Leonard Souza: That alone I would take that any day even over looking fit or what not. That for me has been everything. It's made me more mentally healthy. It's also made me, my mental abilities, it's increased that, my output I can do a lot more now and just look forward to where it takes me. It's been a huge boon and that's why I also try to help people with it too and I'm more than happy to. If anyone's listening to this that wants some advice or wants to talk about it I'm more than happy to sit down with you and just walk you through it.
John Lindquist: I don't snore any more so my wife doesn't wake up in the middle of the night. We both sleep well. There's silly things.
Taylor Bell: I just realized that it takes time and do it for yourself. Don't do it for anyone else and don't get in a big hurry. That's kind of my philosophy on life anyway I suppose.
Leonard Souza: That's a great philosophy.
John Lindquist: Alright, thanks for listening everyone.