Shrugged Collective

Hibernating bears may be on to something: why better sleep and fasting may improve your health, with Dr. Mike T Nelson — Muscle Maven Radio Episode #26

Ashleigh chats with coach and metabolism expert (and kiteboarding daredevil) Dr. Mike T Nelson about his latest research and coaching work, including a deep dive into metabolic flexibility, sleep hygiene, the differences between good and bad stress, myths around nutrition and training for longevity, and why hibernating bears might have the right idea on healthy living (anyone else want to sign up for the “sleep through winter” health plan?) This one is equal parts fun and educational – hope you enjoy it! 


Dr. Mike T. Nelson has spent more than 18 years of his life learning how the human body works, specifically focusing on how to properly condition it to burn fat and become stronger, more flexible, and healthier. He’s has a PhD in Exercise Physiology, a BA in Natural Science, and an MS in Biomechanics. He’s an adjunct professor and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He’s been called in to share his techniques with top government agencies. The techniques he’s developed, and the results Mike gets for his clients have been featured in international magazines, in scientific publications, and on websites across the globe. 


Minute Breakdown: 

4 – 15 Intro to Mike and his passion for kiteboarding and foil boarding, and a discussion of fun and dangerous sports in general 


15 –  19 Mike’s approach to coaching: a focus on time-tested fundamentals and research-backed information, with an open mind to “newer” concepts like red light therapy. Why it’s great to explore and play with ideas but while keeping scientifically-backed and solid principles as your foundation (ie, no such thing as shortcuts!) 


19 –27  We talk about his new chilly pad for his bed and research on temperature as it relates to sleep quality; connecting this research to his totally normal hobby researching hibernating bears, and  how they can sleep, fast, and lose fat without losing muscle   


27 – 34 We talk about the “training and eating for performance vs longevity” discussion, and why Mike rejects the notion that these two goals must be mutually exclusive. Why factors like muscle mass, aerobic capacity, and grip strength are better indicators of longevity than chronic calorie restriction (thank goodness)  


34 – 55 A deep dive into the concept of metabolic flexibility: what it is and why it’s useful; why keto may not necessarily be the best tool to make you metabolically flexible;  why reasonable fasting may achieve the same results in a more sustainable way; and why you don’t have to get rid of carbs entirely and deal with nasty keto flu transitions to benefit from metabolic flexibility 


55 – 59 Talking stress and inflammation, and the differences between good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress)  


59 – 1:03 How Mike quantifies health benchmarks and progress with clients, and why a healthy mix of data and experimentation can encourage anti-fragility 


1:03 –  I ask Mike about his FlexDiet certification  


Learn more at miketnelson.com, and say hi to Mike on Twitter @miketnelson or Instagram @drmiketnelson

Reach out to me on Instagram @themusclemaven to say hi and tell me what you thought of the podcast, head to ashleighvanhouten.com to sign up for my weekly health and fitness newsletter, and if you enjoyed the episode please share on social media and leave me a nice rating and review on iTunes!

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Anders Varner


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