If you’ve been reading my blog posts, you know by now that I love podcasts. And if you know anything about me, you know that I love sports and fitness. So, if you share one or both of these passions, I want to share with you my three favorite podcasts from The Tim Ferriss Show that deal with fitness and athletic achievement, and what I loved about them.
The Savant of Speed – Ryan Flaherty
Ryan Flaherty has trained some of the best athletes in the world like Serena Williams, Russell Wilson, and Meb Keflezighi. In this podcast, he mentioned how we can practically tell which athletes are going to get injured and which ones aren’t – and it comes down to the muscles we are all forgetting. The tiny, stabilizer muscles.
Most people’s weight room experiences look like this: work the big muscles, or at least, the visible ones. Quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps… if you know the name of it, you are probably focusing on it when you lift. A lot of people don’t specifically target their gluteus medius, or work on their ankle stabilization, or strengthen their rotator cuff muscles. But it is these muscles that are imperative to an athlete’s success because they can keep you in the game for longer, which will ultimately lead to better results.
Here are some of my favorite stabilizer muscle exercises:
Ankles – Yes, ankles definitely have muscles, and if you want to prevent sprained ankles (take my word for it, they aren’t too fun) then you definitely should stop neglecting ankle stability. The simplest and most effective way I have discovered to strengthen my ankle is to stand barefoot on a soft, plush surface (like a yoga mat) and balance on one leg. Then lean forward and touch the ground and come back up. It is not as easy as it initially sounds, and your balance will be severely challenged. This may work more muscles than just your ankle (bonus!) but it will definitely strengthen the stabilizer muscles in your ankle. It’s quick, simple, and super important!
Vastus Medialis – Do you know what your Vastus Medialis is? Don’t worry, neither did I. But once I did find out about it I was glad I did because this muscle is what protects and strengthens your KNEE. Most of the injuries I have witnessed are associated with the knee, so I was extremely eager to protect mine. The Vastus Medialis is on the inside part of your quad, which can be a tricky place to target, but I think I found a solution: single-leg wall sits. Even though generic wall sits are a very effective movement for strengthening your quads, single-leg wall sits force you to stabilize and balance yourself which strengthens the Vastus Medialis.
Hips/Glutes – I thought squats were sufficient for strengthening my glutes, but I was missing all the little (and important) muscles. If you want to protect yourself from leg injuries, have more stabilization in your pelvis, and be a more balanced person I highly suggest focusing on your hips and the Gluteus Medius. My favorite way to do that is lateral band walks. All you need is a small band that goes around your lower leg (most people place it just below their knee) and a little bit of room, and you’re good. A standard workout is to go ten steps one way and ten steps the other way and repeat. However, if that is too easy, look for a stronger band or walk farther!
Dorian Yates on High-Intensity Training, Injury Prevention, and Building Maximum Muscle
Although I am not training to be a body-builder, I was really eager to listen to this podcast because of what the summary said:
“We discuss specific workouts, how he warms up, the realities of PEDs, common mistakes, his relationship to pain, self-talk when setting records (or bouncing back), his favorite books, and much more.”
I really really really wanted to hear about Dorian Yate’s self-talk because he is immensely successful in his field. He is a six-time Mr. Olympia, and I mean, just look at him:
My biggest fascination is involved with how successful people from all spectrums of life think, so I knew I would probably like this podcast, and I was not disappointed.
The one thing that really stuck with me was his emphasis on recovery. Sometimes, I need to be reminded of that. I like to go go go but that doesn’t bring the best results in the exercise world. Dorian talked about how sometimes he would take a week off of training to allow his body to recover and that would actually allow him to come back stronger, which at first seems paradoxical because he took a week off training. But, it does make sense. Exercise is literally stressing and breaking down your muscles so they are forced to adapt and mend themselves in a stronger fashion. Keyword: mend. Your body can’t recover if you keep breaking and never start mending. He compares it to callouses – if you keep ripping your hands up and never let the callouses heal, your hands will start to look not-so-good and become weak and fragile. But, if you give the callouses adequate time to heal, you will be able to handle more.
Maximizing Strength, Improving Mindset, and Becoming the World’s Fittest Man – Jason Khalipa
Jason Khalipa is good at everything. He has to be, considering he is a CrossFit Games champion. The CrossFit Games test everything from standard aerobic fitness to basic strength to gymnastic movements. To help you get the idea, Event 1 of the 2017 CrossFit Regionals was:
For time, wearing a weight vest:
Then, 12 rounds of:
4 strict handstand push-ups
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups
Men wear a 20-lb. vest
Women wear a 14-lb. vest
Time cap: 25 minutes
(taken from the CrossFit website – link below)
I took away two great mental approaches from this podcast with Jason Khalipa.
- AMRAP Mentality
AMRAP stands for As Many Reps As Possible, and it is a workout staple for Cross-Fitters worldwide. Consider this workout: AMRAP push-ups for 60 seconds. That means you do as many push-ups as you can for that duration of time. This strategy is not only effective for gaining fitness, but Jason Khalipa also applies it to all other aspects of his life. BJ Gaddour writes in an article about Jason on MensHealth that “it’s the concept of doing the best you can and putting forth maximum effort with everything that you do.” Not only has this mentality helped Jason Khalipa achieve great athletic success, but it has aided him in starting his globally successful business (NC Fit) and helped him cope with his daughter’s ongoing battle with Leukemia. AMRAP isn’t just for the gyms – it’s for your whole life.
2. Life is good.
Tim Ferriss asked Jason Khalipa if he could put any message on a billboard for the world to see, what would it be? (1:01:00) And he replied – “Just be easy. Life is good.”
Basically, don’t forget about the amazing things you have going for you. For every one thing you think is negative in your life, you probably can find five positive things. If you are reading this, you are in the fortunate 51.7% of the world that has access to the internet. That means, according to Internet Usage Statistics from 2017, there are approximately 3,600,000,000 people who DO NOT have access to the internet. That is a pretty big thing to be grateful for, if you ask me.
He says, “I choose to look at the world in a pair of glasses, not sunglasses. I choose to look at things in a brighter light. ” (1:02:05).
In summary, don’t let a stormy day make you forget that the sun is still shining.
Thank you so much for reading! If you are interested in improving your athletic game or physical fitness, I highly suggest listening to these podcasts. I will link them below. If you have listened to any other podcasts on fitness that you enjoy, PLEASE comment below because I would love to check them out! And remember – don’t forget the little things, respect your recovery, have an AMRAP mentality and be grateful. Life is good.