Today is a special one because it’s our first episode featuring a member of our Wits & Weights Facebook community, Josh Isley.
We discuss strength, lifelong health, training for events, avoiding overtraining, and lots more.
Josh Isely is a 42-year-old mechanical engineer who loves hunting the backcountry and mountains but who also rides a desk every day.
He was an athlete in high school and as happens to many people, relied on his natural abilities for too long and, in his own words, “let himself go a bit.” Josh was inconsistent with training and developed a bad relationship with food.
He spent the last several years training on and off for hunts and finally got it dialed in this year in preparation for a mountain goat hunt!
Josh still struggles with food and binging but is getting better all the time; his program worked well as he was able to climb much better than he could last year. He is now moving into recovery mode and beginning to prepare for New Zealand in the spring.
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Welcome to the Wits & Weights podcast, where we discuss getting strong and healthy with strength training and sustainable nutrition. I'm your host, Philip Pape. And in each episode, we examine strategies to help you achieve physical self mastery through a healthy skepticism of the fitness industry, and a commitment to consistent nutrition and training for sustainable results. Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Wits & Weights. Today is a special one because it's the first episode I've ever done featuring a member of our Wits, & Weights, Facebook group, and he's got a unique backstory. He's got some exciting, very interesting performance related pursuits that we're going to chat about. So I'm really looking forward to this conversation. We're gonna get into strength, lifelong health training for events, avoiding overtraining, especially as we age, and more topics just like that. My guest today is Josh Isley, a 42 year old mechanical engineer who loves hunting the back country and mountains but who also rides a desk every day, we can relate. He was an athlete in high school and as happens to many people. He relied on his natural abilities for too long, and in his own words, let himself go a bit. Josh was inconsistent with training and developed a bad relationship with food. He spent the last several years training on and off for hunts. And he finally got it dialed in this year in preparation for mountain goat hunts. Josh still struggles with food and binging but is getting better all the time, his program worked well, because he was able to climb much better than he could last year. And he's now moving into recovery mode, beginning to prepare for New Zealand in the spring. We were just talking about that. Before we started recording. Josh, I appreciate you coming on the show, man. I'm excited to get into training, nutrition, whatever you want to talk about. Yeah. Thanks for having me. Philip pape, I appreciate it. Exciting. Yeah. It's very cool, man. So in the intro, I mentioned how you're an engineer, 42 years old, by the way you love the outdoors, you have a desk job. And I can relate. I'm also 42 also an engineering background. And I'm also at a desk most of the day. So if you don't mind. Just tell us a bit about what you do. And maybe how you find time to go hunting and anything else about your background? Sure. Yeah. I mean, you said it in the intro, right. I, I was an athlete in high school, I've always enjoyed being active. I come from kind of an active family and my father was a good athlete as well, but kind of let things go after high school. I always loved hunting. As I got older, I found the mountains in the backcountry and really wanted to be able to do that. But I don't know if you've ever tried to climb a mountain when you're not in shape, but you can't cheat the mountain. So there's only only one way to do it. And that's to get in really good shape. And be consistent with your training. So I started taking lunch breaks and running. My knees kind of got beat up. So when I would walk, I got a bike this year, to try to limit the impact on my joints. And just made nutrition and weight training a focus of my life I made it made it a priority and started to build the discipline around that. I did a last year in Colorado, that was really high. And I really struggled. My joints hurt my muscles ached. It was it was painful. And it was kind of a wake up call that as I get older, I'm not going to be able to rely on my natural talents and abilities. And I have to put in the effort and the work to keep doing the things I want to do as we age. Fair enough. Yeah. So when you started climbing years ago, I don't know how long ago that was. But you said you weren't really in shape and ready for it. And it sounds like you've pushed yourself over the years, even as you've tried to train and keep up with that. Right? That initial climate was that? Are we talking rock climbing? Are we talking just steep kind of hiking? Not? Not just I know it's a lot to hike a mountain for hours on end? What are we talking about? Yeah, no, no technical climbing. I don't have crampons or ropes and carabiners and things. It's really just being able to move heavy weight over long distances for a long period of time. off trail, you know, being able to bend at the waist with 80 pounds on your back and go over deadfall there's a lot of beetle kill in places like Idaho and Colorado, right. So it's these animals have been hunted extensively for a lot of years. And they live in some pretty nasty places now, so to be able to take 1800 or 2500 feet elevation changes, right? It's really just climbing climbing up avalanche chutes, climbing around through timber up and over screen slides and things like that to get to where they are. Okay, and when you talk about carrying a lot of weight on your back and having to bend over. And you know, I think of these, we focus a lot on functional movements when it comes to training but then there are movements you need in real life that you don't necessarily use every day, but are special specific to something like that right? Like so I'm thinking of a good morning a back a barbell Good morning is like, movement, right? And now we're gonna change that was, as you found yourself getting a little bit more beat up from these more difficult climbs, what what was the biggest factor you you thought to yourself, I need to do better or if if I had done that over again, this is what I would focus on. Yeah, so that was the kind of the case last year I struggled with a few things and what I focused on in my training last winter, and this through the summer, leading into this false Hunt was a lot of unilateral work, single leg stuff, right, if you slip and fall, you're gonna catch yourself with one leg. So a lot of unilateral work in Single Leg deadlifts, single leg squats, step ups, step downs, just things to be able to and then mobility, right. So even having the strength but being able to have joint mobility, everything's uneven, rocky terrain, slippery terrain, and things like that. A lot of core work, I could use a lot more. But I definitely tried to focus, focus on my core. And then as funny as it looked, I would take my backpack into the gym, and I'd wear it while I'm working out, I would try to do things with that backpack to mimic that it's hard to mimic that with free weights. So having that pack strapped on with a bag of sand in the back of it walking up and down stairs on the stairclimber or up and over plyo boxes and things like that. Nice. So specificity is what you're talking about is like just do the movement you need to train for as well as everything else. Unilateral movements. I think a lot of people, they're not a big fan of them in the gym, right? We focus so much on bilateral stuff squats, deadlifts, but, I mean, what would you say about those just for the general population? Even if they don't have to do an event like that? Is there value in doing those? I think so. Right? I mean, it's not as impressive to the lady sitting across the gym when you're only moving 40 pound dumbbells with unilateral movements. But I think that it's a novel stimulus for a lot of people who haven't done it before. And then you spend 12 weeks or eight weeks on unilateral movement, and you go back to a standard squat or standard deadlift, and I think you'll see improvement, it helped my joints, a lot of times my knees are pretty beat up so my knees will hurt. But the more that I focus on really good form and technique and strengthening those muscles and making the muscles do the work, my joints feel better. And then I'm able to move move better when I'm back into heavyweight. Okay, now, let's talk about mindset a bit, because I know you said you were inconsistent with your training, because you had some natural talents. And a lot of people struggle with that a lot of people know what to do they know how to do it even just don't do it. And rely a lot on willpower, you know, which is a finite resource or motivation, or hire somebody like me, who's a coach to kind of give him extrinsically. But why would you say that? That's, you know, motivation is not enough. And we need to, I think you call it build a discipline? Well, we were talking earlier about this. Yeah, well, I'm just like most other people, right, I get really motivated in spurts. And so it's really easy to go to the gym when I don't have a deadline at work, or I don't have a date or whenever else. My son doesn't need me for something. But I found that for me, what I needed to do was it was just like, I had to make it like brushing my teeth or cooking dinner or whatever else. It was just, it's what I did. And so there wasn't any excuse, or any reason to say well, I can't go it's just Well, I, I do go this is what I do. It's part of my day, it's in my calendar. For me, that's what it took. Because otherwise, the minute that I could find an excuse, I would, yeah, so it's what you did. I mean, that's the classic line. It's what I did, like brushing your teeth. And you mentioned a calendar that you dropped a little hint about one of the ways you do it is you schedule it in or reminders on your phone. How do you do that? Yeah, it's I don't, I guess I don't have a real calendar that I put it in, but it's just in my in my head and my calendar, the one thing that I would do is block off an hour and a half at lunchtime. I don't know about how your work is but if I have an open spot in my calendar, someone will fill it. So I would make sure that every other day I had an hour and a half to go and do my cardio. So I would run or ride a bike in the summertime or have a stair climber in my basement. And that was my time. It just if I didn't do it at lunch, I didn't want to do it. I could find a way to go to the gym after work. And I needed more time my gym routine was kind of longer anyway. And I had to drive I live in the middle of nowhere. So I had to drive and get to the gym. But I needed that that lunchtime cardio I found that if I tried to get up early, I couldn't get out of bed. I didn't wasn't motivated after work. My brain just was tired. I wanted to eat dinner and sit down. I couldn't do it. So I had to find a time that worked for me and make sure that that's just what I did. That was my lunchtime routine on Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays. I ran or biked or hike to a rock. Yes, that part of my part of my day. Yeah, and that's awesome advice. A couple of things. There's one the fact that you thought ahead and you planned it in, and you blocked it out, right? It's the same idea when people say they can't get enough steps. It's like, well, you know, find something you do every day and connect it with that activity, maybe it's lunch, and you're gonna eat out for half an hour, block an hour, like you said, out of your calendar block an hour. And that second half an hour is always going to be for walking. And what was the other thing you mentioned that, even if you do that, it has to work for you. So getting up early, and doing it late didn't work for you, just like, I can't train after the morning, because the day is just just gone for me. And some people are like, I couldn't train in the morning. So it's got to work for you. Yep. So now, I love the culture here of you working out and trying to stay fit, you know, regardless of age, age, just a number, and we're not in our 20s anymore. So we can't put in the same long, hard workouts every day, you know, six, seven days a week, like we would have liked to back then. How do we avoid overtraining, then? Yeah, that's a great question. And I didn't know the answer to that. So I was raised by parents who were entrepreneurs and small business owners, and they just worked and worked and worked. And my grandfather and my uncles were farmers, right. And so I was raised in this culture throughout the late 80s. And early 90s. It was nobody cares work harder, right? Just keep going. And so I kind of took that approach through high school and my wrestling coach was the same way. And I approached my fitness that way, and I found myself injured a lot. I mean, I was working through a doctor and growing poles, I ended up I still have an umbilical hernia, a lot of shoulder issues, right. And I just had this feeling listening to podcasts like yours and others, right? It was really great information, hey, it might be overtraining. So I actually went hired a personal trainer. To me, I felt like it was an investment, right? I pay health insurance and I go get a physical, I go to the dentist and take care of my teeth. Right? I put money away for retirement, why wouldn't I put the same investment in my body? So I squirreled away some money, and I hired her and she was like, Absolutely, you're overtraining, you need to need to back off, right. And so I think, just having that reinforcement from somebody else who I trusted as a professional, and then I was able to back things off a little bit and reevaluate. One of the problems I have is sleep, I don't sleep well. So I've been really trying to focus on that. And that's helped if I can, if I can get consistent sleep. And I don't push myself for two hours in the gym every single day. And I cut it back to maybe instead of three days, go to four days, shorter time periods or something like that and find what works, right. It took a while to kind of 00 in on what my body needed. But I didn't get injured after that. I had a lot better experience when I was able to stay more consistent. And so I ended up in a better place by doing less than where I was going by doing so much because I was constantly recovering from injury. Yeah, people need to hear that because I mean, we say 20s But really even starting in your late 20s, early 30s. These issues can start to creep up if you're overdoing it. And it sounds like before you got a personal trainer did did it enter your mind that you should do less? Or and you just didn't do last or did you not even consider it? Yeah. Oh no. I I struggled back and forth between this this inner monologue. I'm probably overtrained. Right, I can listen to Philip on on his podcast, and I can listen to these other people. And I can read these things. And I can look at I'm an engineer, right, I can look at everything that is happening to my body and how I feel and put the puzzle pieces together, then the back of my mind is, you know, put on your big boy pants to keep working hard. Yeah. I'm gonna lose my games. I'm not gonna be strong. Like, well, I can't take a day off because I'll eat too many calories. And I'll gain six pounds. But it's just it's, I think a lot of it has to do with what we're fed in the media to and through sales. People are trying to sell supplements or sell workout gear, whatever else it is. And I think we're fed a lot of misinformation. So yeah, I agree. And people come from from different angles. I know, a lot of my female clients, it's the idea of the more I move, the more calories I burn. That's how I keep the weight off. So of course, I'm gonna workout every day. And for guys like us, you know, we'd like to lift so on my Wednesday off day, I'm like, What am I what do I do? I guess I recover. So in for me, I was trying to be as strong as possible, but as small as possible. So I don't want to carry the weight on the mountain. So I don't want to be huge. I just want to be really, really strong and really, really lean. So we I was worried about the same thing. I don't want to put on a whole bunch of body fat and carry that up the mountain. So even though it's my off day, I'm gonna put 50 pounds on my pack and I'm gonna go rock for six miles, right? Well, you don't get a chance to heal. Yeah, fair enough. So that makes it even more difficult because now you're playing that game of strength to weight ratio. Same thing that a lot of endurance athletes go through. I guess I'm gonna go off on a tangent there, because I've worked with a few runners and it's always a balance of how much lifting do we do versus two training for your, you know, specific event and balancing recovery as well. Because I would love for them to work four days a week and get super strong, but it's going to beat them up and they're not going to be able to prep for the race, they're not going to get their their miles in. So what, what do you think about that philosophy training for that kind of event? Yeah, it's, it's interesting, I fight the same same battles. And what I found is I just split it down the middle, I was lifting three days a week and lifting heavy. And other three days a week, I was all about cardio and trying to get long distance endurance and muscle endurance. And so I was eating a lot of calories. So to try to keep that up, I was still in a deficit, but I was in when I quit. A week before my trip, I was 185 pounds, I was 10% body fat. And I was eating 3000 or 3200 calories, right, and I was maintaining or just just losing a little bit. So there's a lot of movement. But eating and feeding the body so that it could it could recover. But if I felt like if I just lifted and didn't do the cardio, it doesn't matter how strong I am. If I can't keep climbing, I can't keep moving because my muscles don't have the endurance. But I can I can run all day long. If I can't pick up the animal and put it in the backpack and carry it off the mountain, then then I'm stuck too. So I had to split it down the middle. Okay. And you said you were in a just a mild deficit going in and not even not necessarily trying to be it's just trying to keep up with the calories with Oh, I was trying to be you. Okay, so you were trying to trying to get the weight down in that way. Is that is that is that typically what's done as opposed to because I don't know, is as opposed to cutting ahead of time and then kind of maintaining or even trying to gain into the event? Just curious. Probably would have been better if I'd been gaining into the end of the event. But I felt like it did. Okay. Anyway, I, like we talked about before, I still struggle a little bit with my nutrition. And sometimes I go off the rails. And so I had done that. Earlier in the summer gained gained a little bit of fat back. And so I was still working on cutting that out you had to make my trainer wanted me to be eaten more for sure. Yeah, it's somebody went understanding on where I was going to be. It's relative to where you are. And you know, when you have an event, there's a time base to it that you just can't ignore, you know, the average Gen pop that has flexible schedule, can make it work, but you're like, I gotta go climb on this day. So it is what it is. That's reality. Okay, so continuing on with the training for old dudes. How do we minimize our impact on our joints? Because I'll tell you, I experienced this myself to just the joints are a little bit achy, a little, a little more alien as we get older. How do we minimize that? Well, that's a great question. And that's probably your expertise, I can tell you what, what helps me. What I noticed the most is definitely my nutrition. If I'm eating garbage, I feel like garbage and my, the inflammation in my body and my joints hurt. Right? If I go out and have a pizza and a couple of beers and ice cream, I'm gonna I'm gonna hurt the next day I swell up. And it's it's a problem. So I really have to watch my nutrition. And then it's funny, how little outta How do I want to put this, just the smallest little difference in form. And technique can have a big a big difference. And for me just having a professional, look at my lifts and critique my form and give me direction on what I should or shouldn't do. And when I was fighting through some of the shoulder issues, like what other exercises to do that can mimic the same CNS response, but not do the same damage to the joint was really helpful to me. Yeah, so okay, it's a few concepts here that are a goal that I want the listener to get out of that. So starting from the first thing you mentioned, nutrition, right, I talk a lot about on the show about flexible dieting, and how most types of foods can work within your diet. But at the same time, you have to go by how you feel and how your body responds. And what you just said was if you eat certain things, and they tend to be more processed, or maybe higher sodium, or what have you, it ramps up your inflammation. And I think people need to really think about their bodies and listen to it and maybe even journal or document their biofeedback associated with their food to see if that affects them. Because yeah, you might be able to eat pizza within your macros. But if it beats up your joints, or if you have inflammation or an autoimmune disease, a lot of people have those now. There's insulin sensitivity is all these things that come into play. So that's that's a good takeaway. The other one about form is also critical, right? Because people will complain about my knees hurt, and it's because I'm squatting Well, it's probably because you're squatting wrong. And if you squat it right out actually might make your knees feel really good. Or if your knees hurt and you don't squat, maybe starting to squat and doing it correctly could help your knees right. So these are all really good concepts for I learned that just in the last year or so, right, I avoided some things because my knees are so beat up, I'll likely need both my knees replaced as what I'm being told now. But the more I lift, and even the heavier I lift, the better I feel. I think it increases blood flow, it helps to lubricate your joints. There's, I mean, I'm not an exercise scientist, I'm just an engineer. But anecdotally, what I have really are mechanical engineers. So that's, that's like I draw. Yeah, a little bit. But I just, I just know, when I'm consistent, and I continue to do it, I feel better. And so I've been taking some time off, when I got back here tried to recover a little bit, I was in the gym yesterday, for the first time after a few weeks off, and my joints are sore they are they haven't been used that way in a while. So it's gonna take some time to get back into it. But now today, I feel good. I feel better today than I have felt in a couple of weeks with recovery. And I think it's because I was in the gym and I was moving. A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion. So I think we got to keep, keep doing it. It's hard to get that activation energy to get into it when we're used to sitting around or it's easy to get comfortable being being lazy. And I'm guilty of it for sure. But I always I always seem to find that when I get back to it and I'm moving and moving some weight. I my mental and my physical health is is better. Man, I totally agree with you. And for people listening, like once you get into it. And that's the thing, getting that first habit going, you'll find that you might wake up and your resource on your knees are sore, and you're just kind of achy. But it's the day that you work out, right. And you got to get yourself in the gym and all of a sudden you feel great. And if you do that enough times you kind of program yourself to know that that will come from that kind of makes it a little easier. But I agree with everything Josh was saying. I felt it I've been there. Even this morning, it was just cold and achy and gwydion it got it done and you feel much better. And I think we get a there's some times I feel some stereotypes and we feel like well, I can't go in and I can't squat 300 pounds. So I don't want to go to the gym, right? I don't want to be embarrassed or whatever. I just say go and do it. I went in yesterday. And I used a 50 pound kettlebell and I did some squats with the kettlebell and I did some deadlifts with the single kettlebell like I was moving, no weight compared to what I normally move. And I did push ups, right, I just needed to get back into the routine. We don't have to PR every time we go in there, it's not what it's about. For me, it's just about constant improvement and keeping my body healthy. So I can keep doing the things that I love as long as I can do them. Yeah. And people don't realize how little how little activity it actually takes to maintain your strength. So even once you have your strength, you can go through periods, like you're talking about where the reps, the intensity doesn't have to be nearly as high, you're not trying to PR all the time, and you're not going to lose all your gains. Now, ridiculously low, like 8% of the intensity or something to maintain. Yeah, what 1/8? So let's that that's about 8% as well, it's 12 and a half. Yeah, yeah, it's really low. And that could be like, when people go on vacation, they say I'm gonna, I'm gonna be out for a week or two, should I train and lose all my games? The answer is you don't need to do anything. For a week or two, you know, like, you will not lose your case in a week or two, right? After about two weeks, two to four weeks, it starts to decline. And, and something as late as band work, if you're on vacation can be enough to keep it going. As much as we love our big barbell movements and think that's the be all end all. There's more to it than that. Yeah, I have a bag of bands that I take with me when I travel for work. Yeah, for sure. So I'm not sure if you know that I had back surgery. But you know, I want to talk about injury here. I had a micro diskectomy last year back surgery on my lower spine and then an emergency appendectomy two months later. But I found that that inherent base of strength developed over the years made the recovery pretty fast and easy. And I could get back to training but everybody has a different situation. In terms of what interrupts their training, right? Injuries, maybe anxiety or depression, things like that. Have you dealt with setbacks like that? And then how did you deal with those? Yeah, I haven't had any major surgeries like that, in a long time, had a knee surgery back in high school. Of course, I was 16. So I healed quickly. Mostly, it's been nagging things, right, nagging muscle poles, things like that, that I've worked through. I do have some baseline anxiety issues, and my whole family has really bad anxiety. I'm not medicated, I'm able to manage it pretty well. But exercise is a big part of it. I do find myself especially this time of year when it started to get darker. We're about to change from daylight savings to standard time here in Wisconsin, where I'm at, it's going to start getting dark at 430. So I've traditionally found that that's a problem. Okay, and for me, the way I work through it is just cognitively right now. Um, there's things like CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, issues that you can read about and just talk through it. And I know that when it starts happening, I need to exercise because it makes me feel better. Even if I don't want to do it. I've built that discipline. And as part of what I do, then it's just like, just like going to work on Monday. Nobody wants to go, but it's what we do. So we do it, and I don't want to go to the gym because I'm feeling sad, or I'm anxious about work or whatever other thing, well, too bad. That's what I do. So I go, and it makes me feel better, and it pulls me out of it. So, to me, it's just about building the discipline in making it rather than trying to force it into something. It's not I make it fit my life. Right. So yeah, and that's amazing that it helps with the the depression or the anxiety. Is that physiological or is it the fact that you're doing something you enjoy doing? Or is it a little both? That's for somebody a lot smarter, okay. Just know, I just know it works. I mean, there's there's studies Josh, yeah, I'm sure there are, I'm sure there are studies out there, I don't know them and couldn't, couldn't cite them. But it's amazing. And the other thing, too, is just being outside, right? If I live out here on 40 acres, and I have a little bit of land, right Bo hunts do so I'll just go out and sit in my stand. And just being outside in nature and getting fresh air during the time of year when it's hard to get outside and get sunlight also really helps me one of the one of the major indicators of depression is the lack of desire to do the things that we normally would love to do. And so the way that I work through that is well, even though I don't feel like I want to do it, I know that's what I want to do. So I just, I'm gonna force myself to go, and I'm gonna go sit out there, and I'm gonna do it and baby steps, things like, Well, I don't really want to go for a walk. But I'm just going to put on my shoes. And if you put on your shoes, and you tie them and you lace them up, you're probably going to go for the walk. Right? So it's it's don't eat the elephant in one bite, right? Just start with, Okay, put your shoes on. Even if you don't go walk around the house with your shoes on, maybe you vacuum or do something. And then the next day, put your shoes on and go to get the newspaper and work your way into it. But don't give up. I mean, it's a digital society. And sometimes we think in in black and white and ones and zeros. And it doesn't have to be that way. If you start feeling for myself when I start feeling that way, and I don't want to go or maybe I haven't gone in two weeks like well, haven't gone in two weeks, it's all over. I'm just going to let myself go. Doesn't have to be that way. Right? You can say well, let myself go for two weeks or three weeks or a month or six months, whatever it is. Today's a new day and you can start over you can you can fix your nutrition, you can put on your shoes, you can go to the gym, even if you just go to the gym and sit on the bench. Just go there, get in the space, sit on the bench, maybe walk around and look. It starts that building up a practice. Do your inspiring I'm glad we have you on here. I hope everybody is listening to like I don't know if they're driving to the gym right now or that home or whatever it just take that step. Today's always a new day. Who cares what happened yesterday? I mean, same thing with nutrition. It's like, yeah, you binge eat yesterday, or you you know ate way more than you intended to, you're not trying to make it up or screw up with your plan today. Just start the new day and do it again. You know, perfect device that that's so good. Hey, this is Philip pape, letting you know that applications are now open for one on one coaching. If you're a busy working professional, who has tried dieting and exercising for years, with little in the way of results, and you want to lose fat, get lean or feel confident in your body without excessive dieting, cardio or restrictions. Just go to wits & weights.com/coaching to apply. I fight that battle all the time. I mean, I'm fighting it right now when I got back from my trip, I have not been eating well. I went to the grocery store, I've just had enough and I went to the grocery store and and bought healthy food and I made a good meal today and you start over. Don't just keep keep after it just don't give up. Yep, throw away the What the hell mentality and you know, take the step forward. It's a it's a, it's a long view, right? It's an infinite game, we're trying to stay healthy as long as we can. So while we have short term goals, or I have short term goals in between, it's also ultimately I want to be healthy into my 80s and, and so I can't get there if every time I have an ice cream cone or I drink too many beers I don't like just throw it away and it's all gone. Exactly, which is it's easy mentality to slip into. It's taken me a lot of years to come to that realization but I think that that that's what works for me and it has been working Give me Give yourself some grace, right? I mean, we're not perfect. For sure. Some grace, some self love. And you know it might be relying on the systems we've been talking about and might be taking the step each day it might be your support structure, somebody in your life that can support you. Lots of ways to get there but get there. Really good message. Yeah, that's a really I don't mean to go on a tangent but that's a really good point you just brought up and it made me think of something If you don't mind me just sharing your story, please. I think a lot of people don't see food and nutrition and exercise the same way they see some other other things. And some of my friends and family didn't understand the struggles that I had with food and what it meant. Because if you look at me, even when I'm what I consider heavy, I don't look like I'm obese, right? So like, you would think of a normal fat guy or whatever. And so they're like, Oh, you're fine, you can have this dessert, or you can have that. And my response was, like, you don't understand this is something that's important to me. And it's not that I can't have it, I'm saying that I don't want it. And I'm trying to do something different. And what I need from you is that support and then understanding, right, you can do whatever you'd like, and put whatever you want in your body. But I'm asking you to respect my decision. And if I say I don't want it, say, Okay, no problem, is there something else we can get you? Or how can we support you? Right? As my friend and my family, you would do that for an alcoholic or somebody struggling with drugs or depression or having trouble with a relationship, right? You wouldn't say, oh, it's, it's fine. Just go date someone else, you'd say, How can I support you going through this, and it's the same thing, but I don't think that a lot of people see nutrition and exercise the same way. And I feel like it's the same. I agree with you as well. And that's courageous to ask somebody to make to support you and be explicit about your, your wants and needs. Because of course, I'm sure a lot of people feel they maybe can't do that or difficult thing to do. Yeah, it's a good message, just thank you for sharing that. So let's, let's get a little more a little less serious, maybe for a second and go back and talk about the training again, and you're hunting and I'm not a hunter, it sounds like a lot of fun. My perception of of what you're doing with the climbing through the mountains and punting the same time, it's like a composite sport, right involves both strength and endurance. And we already talked about the keeping your weight down, but staying strong, which are kind of contradictory, in some cases, depending on how your training is structured. So how do you manage that dichotomy? You know, the strength versus endurance? Yeah, I think it's like I said earlier, I tried to split it down the middle and train, train heavy, so I wasn't worried about like high reps or low reps, I tried to do different things. And so I would, I would run through a program for eight or 12 weeks, and I would do five reps or six reps. And then I'd go to a 12, or 15, or 20 rep program, just to keep keep scrolling, I don't think it matters so much what you do, as long as you're doing something to keep your muscles building and keep keep your your central nervous system, kind of surprised. So I've got a couple of programs that I bought, that I thought were good. I tried to do full body workouts, excuse me, very little of what I need is preacher curls or leg extensions, or things that are very isolating to single muscle groups. I'm usually, like I said, up down, climbing, kneeling, laying in uncomfortable positions for a long period of time, right. So I'm trying to move my whole body. And then different trying to find different ways to train for climbing. So bicycle uphill, heavy pack, hiking up hills, stairclimber spent a lot of time on a stairclimber. So I just split it down the middle and tried to do things that made sense, I would put on my pack and go out in public land and just go for a long hike, try to if you want to shoot free throws, you practice shooting free throws, I wanted to hike. So I practice hiking with a heavy heavy pack on. So that's strength and endurance both. Okay, and there's some I mean, there's some concepts in there that are rock solid, that you know, people need to understand one being specificity, which we alluded to before, and you just said it there. If you want to get good at something, do that thing. So if you want to get good at squats, do the squats. And then the other is the periodization. Right? We do it, we do it nutrition and we do it with training. You talked about different rep schemes and changing it up. And it's not that we're trying to confuse the muscles or make it variant for for its own sake, even though it could be fun. It's you're trying to be well rounded, right? You're trying to hit everything support everything you don't want to overtrain a lot of good reasons for that. Yeah, and for me, as I pushed in the lower rep ranges and started getting heavier and heavier, I worried about my my hernia a little bit. I worried about injury a little bit. So when I started getting up into i think i one rep max like 400 pound deadlift. And I'm like, Well, I don't need to pick up 400 pounds. So I'm going to start doing higher reps and lower weights, there's less chance of me getting injured. It's something I haven't done for a while. It's something different. So I'm transitioning into that for the eight weeks before my trip. Yeah, and that's a priority for you, you know somebody who's gonna go to a powerlifting meet they've got to get their one RM deadlift up, but that's not a priority for you so it makes perfect sense. Now, you, you mentioned you dialed in your training for the mountain goat hunt earlier this year. In British Columbia, I'm telling my my wife and kids about that, I think it's so cool mountain goat. It's just a unique thing. And it sounds, it sounds really challenging. It sounds fun because I just from what I've seen from mountain goats on any nature's show, you know, I know they could like scale the size of cliffs and whatnot. So tell us about preparing for that event and how balancing that with longevity and everything we talked about how you did that, and for these events in general, and for that event, specifically, yeah, so I focused a lot on climbing. And what I found is that coming down, sometimes it's harder than going up. And it's hard to train, it's hard to train that going going down in part. So for this hot I was in the Canadian Rockies, and I was carrying maybe 35 pounds on my back most days, right water, some foods, some clothes, we weren't carrying camping, so it was just hiking up every day. But it was 4000 feet of elevation gain up every day, from where we stopped climbing up through avalanche shoots and on trails and up creeks to get up to where the goats Live, which is way up above Timberline up in the rocks, like you were saying. And so I had focused a lot on training for the climb because I had such a hard time climbing previously. But what I'm finding is that I need to find a better way to train for the descent. Okay, right. And that concentric part with the heavy load and slippery and uneven terrain that really pounded my joints and my quads pretty hard. And my hips. So that's something I'm still searching for, was thinking about how to create a treadmill that ran backwards and I could point downhill and go downhill with. Yeah, yeah. Right. Because you think of like your shins and your knees and the things that kind of get pounded even when you're just going for a hike and you're coming down the mountain from a different movement pattern that is interesting, right? Do they have other specialized movements that are loaded that that mean I do, I do step ups and then I step off. So I'll put several benches or PIO boxes together in a row and I'll step up, step down and step up, step down and go across them. But I can't get the same as like putting a treadmill or stairclimber up and going for an hour, an hour and a half right. When I came down with my goat I shot a really nice seven year old billy goat this year, he probably weighed 250 pounds. So the guy was with and I both carried out packs full of meat and hide in the head and horns. And I think my pack was 75 pounds when I got out and that's with all my water gone, I'd finished my water. So I had four litres of water. So it was at eight, nine pounds. So water, so I was probably at five pound pack coming down, which isn't super heavy, but it was steep going up. At the top, it was about 40 degrees, it was hand over hand over foot climbing and then coming down that gravity just keeps pulling, never stops. So that's impressive, man. I mean, it's four and a half hours, it was a four and a half hour hike down the mountain with the goat. I think it took us about five to climb up there. And that's you did that for a while. And that's what the go and then you said each day you would also go up whether you had whether you had a kill or not. Obviously, you're going up and down multiple days. Yeah. So now and then you have another hunt coming up in New Zealand. And you mentioned kind of moving into recovery mode. And now you've you take lessons from each of these hunts, I'm sure to improve your training each time. But you're also getting older, right? Everything's getting more beat up. So what does that look like in preparation for the spring hunt? Yeah, so my plan this winter is to put on some muscle and gain gain a little bit of weight and just get my get my engine kind of revved up to build some strength so that I can cut, I'm gonna cut back again, I like cutting into the event so that like the week before I can start eating more. Maybe that's not for everybody. But that seems to work well for me. So my plan this winter is to is to build and try to build, build some more muscle. I'm already up to 210 pounds. So I put that weight back on pretty fast. I'd like to put on, you know, five or six pounds of muscle if I can. And I'm sure that'll come with it plenty of body fat. And then yeah, I'm going to try to figure out a way to train the the descent a little better. And keep after my climbing, I really felt good to be able to climb, I carried a lot more weight and I was able to just go up, up up up, but I didn't get tired. And so that was the first time I've had that. And that felt good. So probably do a lot of the same things I've been doing, try to find in a way find a way to add in some some descent training, even if that's just finding a hill out here that I can walk up and walk down over and over again. Yeah, you go on the bleachers, rocky style, you know, up and down. And for people listening, you know what you just said? The how you felt it was easier after you had done that training to go up this next time. And for anybody listening, you know, you don't have to be a mountain goat climber to get that same benefit from training. I mean, I've had clients who are in their 60s never trained before, and they say hey, I went to a football game and I actually wasn't out of breath, you know, going up the bleachers. And it's all relative to you. And I think that's the value of of what we do. So you met you mentioned nutrition a little, I want to get into that, because that is also my space here. I know you had, you said you had a bad relationship with food and struggle with the urge to binge, what strategies have you developed? Because now you're obviously dialing in and you're cutting, you're bulking, you're doing what you need to time with your training. And you have some what seems like good control over that or better control? How have you gotten there? It depends on the day. To me, it's really all mental in my, to me, it's all mental, right? If I get a craving, I mean, I've got some strategies, but I cave, often, right, I just, I just do, I was raised on bar food and eating ice cream every night before bed, right? Just like most of us in sugar, cereal and everything else, right. And so I've got a couple of tricks, right? I tried to keep a lot of healthy choices around. If I if my refrigerator is empty, I'm going to go down the street to the bar and get a burger, right. It's just it's, it's easy. And so if I can make it convenient. For me to eat healthy, I do a better job. If I have food, if I meal prep, if I spend a couple hours on Sunday, or whatever making meals or I put a roast in and I have a roast and I have the sweet potatoes already cooked, right? It's easy to grab them and throw them in the microwave and make a good choice. So I had to come to terms with the fact that I'm lazy and I'm going to make a lazy choice. Sometimes I need to have things available. They're easy for me. speaking my language, just your speaking. I remember calling people years ago, they're like why? Why do you strength train, I'm like, I'm lazy. This is the laziest most effective way to train that I've ever found, you know, I get to go three days a week and take a bunch of rest time between sets. You're over there on the cardio, I'm lazy. It's kind of a, you know, it's a self deprecating kind of thing. But there's some truth to that. And the common theme of what you just said, and people need to hear this is mindset and planning. And they're actually two halves of the same thing. Because the reason you plan and think ahead and meal prep and so on, is to take out the mind later on right to take out the decision making an emotion as much as you can. I mean, if you go out to dinner, and there's a buffet, and there's some amazing food that you just can't help, you know, it's going to be tougher, right? But the planning is the key. So yeah, it's great. I think understanding understanding your your brain or your body or whatever is controlling your desire, right. So I know people who can go out to dinner and they're like, Well, I want dessert. And so excuse me, they can have like one piece of pie, or they can have, you know, a handful of chocolate chips and they're fine. If I eat a handful of chocolate chips, I'm going to eat 6000 calories. There's just no two ways about it. So when I'm training, I have to get rid of all that stuff. I can't go, you can't do it. And that's just what I found about me. I'm, I'm a I'm an all or nothing kind of guy. Right. And so that's just what I've had to figure out. And so that's where I struggle with the binging right, because once I let go, I might eat 10 or 12,000 calories in a day. If I start in the morning with pancakes and syrup. It's I have a hard time rein that in. So I really have to watch it. And I tried to make other choices like I found that if I take yogurt, and I get a good 2% Greek yogurt, and I put frozen berries in it, and maybe a little bit of honey, I can I can use that as a substitute. And then I didn't eat the ice cream. And I don't eat the whole thing, right. And so I made up kind of a route Yeah, substitute for what I would normally want. It's just got the cold, and I've got the little bit of sweet. And it also helps if I can get off of sugar for two or three weeks, then berries and oranges and other things taste sweet again. Yes. And so I can use that. Right. And I really struggled with that transition once I've had Ben and Jerry's for a couple of nights in a row. And then I go and have yogurt and berries. Well, this tastes like garbage, right? But it's because my receptors or whatever it is. And your brain is like Well, that's not sugar. So it just takes a little bit of time and then I get back into it. That is so true. desensitizing yourself is actually a really good strategy. I mean, we talk about that with clients all the time of substituting because if you just try to cut things out, let's be honest, you try to cut things out, you're gonna be tempted, right? And I like how you control your environment by cutting them out of your house. That doesn't mean hey, if you really, really really want ice cream, okay, we're gonna go drive to the high quality ice cream stand with the mom and pop flavors you can't get anywhere else. We're going to enjoy the experience. We're gonna have our ice cream, maybe, I mean, maybe you the type you do that and then you're gonna go buy 10 gallons of ice cream. I don't know. Everybody's different. But you got so many so many so many golden statements and what you said that people can take and not everything. Not every technique has to be used by everybody. But you know, three or four of the things you mentioned are going to be are going to be key controlling your environment. You know, substitute Green, I think, did that really start back in? Like, I don't know, maybe it was before paleo, but I feel like they came up with all the cookbooks where they had substitutes for every, everything that could, you know, baked good. Brownies. Exactly. Actually, even my wife when I was when we first met, I was very picky. I didn't eat any vegetables. I very few unless you count corn and potatoes as much I was in the same boat 20 years ago. And you know, she did she bought a book by Jerry Seinfeld's wife that was written for kids to for mothers to make food for their kids and sneak vegetables in to delicious thing. So she would put spinach in brownies and kidney beans in mac and cheese and got me to eat vegetables over time. So we can we can sort of fool ourselves till it becomes the norm. That's that's what we eat. Good stuff, man. What else? I guess we've covered a lot. Is there anything else you want to cover that I didn't bring up? No, I mean, I guess for people listening, like, even if you're not a hunter, right? Anything you want to do. And it can be as as big as climbing a mountain, right? I climbed Kilimanjaro. And that was a great experience, or it can be as as every day is I want to be able to, you know, walk my grandson down the aisle, and I couldn't walk before, right or I struggled with being able to stand for long periods of time. Right? I think anything that brings value to our life can be enhanced. If we are stronger. I think just moving moving our bodies, helps with our mental health, it helps with our physical health. It helps stave off injury and disease. And I'm not a doctor, but I've seen it time. And again, those are my friends and people I know who are are constantly active. Just have, I think a fuller and richer life. And then ultimately, in my view anyway, we're only here for a short period of time as well enjoy it, do what we can do enjoy it, right. And so the more we can move and feel strong and feel grounded, the better we can enjoy the time that we're here. Awesome, man, I couldn't say it better myself. I do want to I do want to reiterate what you just said, though, that we might as well enjoy it. Because I think a lot of people think of fitness and nutrition as some sort of sacrifice or difficult thing that makes your life less enjoyable. And what you just suggested is doing those things allows you to enjoy your life for longer and do the things you want to do. Yeah, and find something you do like right if you don't like to lift weights, but you love to run and I guess run right but or go outside and pick your pick your child up your grandchild up and go for a walk carrying your kit. Just go out with the dogs and didn't hold rocking, throw something right have just exercise and moving and being being out and being part of the world. Yep. All right. Well, we couldn't agree more. And this was this is an awesome conversation. Thanks for coming on Josh. One of my best guess, because you just covered everything. And it was probably a personal experience. I'm serious. I think people listening can relate. Because people struggle with this stuff all the time. And I think you had a lot of really cool things, people are gonna probably listen to this again, and try to really tease out what can help them. So this was fun. I'm grateful you took the time to come on the show and talk about your experience. Now. Thanks for so much so much for having me. I appreciate it. You're doing great work and a lot of a lot of stuff that I did pulled out of your podcast. So thanks for all your help. Absolutely. More to come. Thanks for listening to the show. Before you go, I have a quick favorite ask. If you enjoy the podcast, let me know by leaving a five star review in Apple podcasts and telling others about the show. Thanks again for joining me Philip Pape in this episode of Wits & Weights. I'll see you next time and stay strong.