Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Ep 58: Using High Energy Flux to Eat More, Burn More Fat, and Build More Muscle with Brandon DaCruz

April 04, 2023 Brandon DaCruz Episode 58
Ep 58: Using High Energy Flux to Eat More, Burn More Fat, and Build More Muscle with Brandon DaCruz
Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
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Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
Ep 58: Using High Energy Flux to Eat More, Burn More Fat, and Build More Muscle with Brandon DaCruz
Apr 04, 2023 Episode 58
Brandon DaCruz

This episode is jam-packed with knowledge about energy flux and the high energy flux lifestyle. It comes from no less than Brandon DaCruz, one of the brightest minds in the industry. I start off by asking Brandon about his background and what led him to fitness and coaching. Brandon shares that he started being active in weight-restricted sports at 10-11 years old, during which he was exposed to low energy availability and developed micronutrient deficiency. Brandon then proceeds to tell us about the similarities between his athletic profile and that of the general population. Then, we dive into energy flux and its benefits, such as how you can eat more, burn more fat and build more muscle. Most importantly, we talk about how jumping in aggressively is not the key, but strategically easing yourself into a high energy flux lifestyle is the way to go. 

Brandon DaCruz is an online nutrition and physique coach, educator, internationally published fitness model, and National Level NPC competitor. He has been featured in publications like Men’s Fitness Magazine, Muscular Development, Bodybuilding.com, and the Alan Aragon Research Review, where he’s been a contributing author. He uses an evidence-based approach to help his clients achieve their goals sustainably.

___________
πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Schedule your FREE 30-minute Nutrition Momentum Call with Philip here.
___________

Today you’ll learn all about:

[2:22] Brandon's background and personal journey
[7:28] Parallels between the his athletic experience and the general population
[12:20] Why Brandon can relate with many people
[15:43] What is energy flux?
[22:29] Benefits of the high energy flux lifestyle
[34:58] The process of switching to the high flux lifestyle
[44:43] Body recomposition with the high energy flux lifestyle
[50:33] High flux state without the additional physical activity
[57:30] Where to find Brandon and learn more about energy flux

Episode resources:

πŸ“² Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


πŸŽ“ Join Wits & Weights Physique University

πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

πŸ‘₯ Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

βœ‰οΈ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

πŸ“± Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🀩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

πŸ“ž Send a Q&A voicemail

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Show Notes Transcript

This episode is jam-packed with knowledge about energy flux and the high energy flux lifestyle. It comes from no less than Brandon DaCruz, one of the brightest minds in the industry. I start off by asking Brandon about his background and what led him to fitness and coaching. Brandon shares that he started being active in weight-restricted sports at 10-11 years old, during which he was exposed to low energy availability and developed micronutrient deficiency. Brandon then proceeds to tell us about the similarities between his athletic profile and that of the general population. Then, we dive into energy flux and its benefits, such as how you can eat more, burn more fat and build more muscle. Most importantly, we talk about how jumping in aggressively is not the key, but strategically easing yourself into a high energy flux lifestyle is the way to go. 

Brandon DaCruz is an online nutrition and physique coach, educator, internationally published fitness model, and National Level NPC competitor. He has been featured in publications like Men’s Fitness Magazine, Muscular Development, Bodybuilding.com, and the Alan Aragon Research Review, where he’s been a contributing author. He uses an evidence-based approach to help his clients achieve their goals sustainably.

___________
πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Schedule your FREE 30-minute Nutrition Momentum Call with Philip here.
___________

Today you’ll learn all about:

[2:22] Brandon's background and personal journey
[7:28] Parallels between the his athletic experience and the general population
[12:20] Why Brandon can relate with many people
[15:43] What is energy flux?
[22:29] Benefits of the high energy flux lifestyle
[34:58] The process of switching to the high flux lifestyle
[44:43] Body recomposition with the high energy flux lifestyle
[50:33] High flux state without the additional physical activity
[57:30] Where to find Brandon and learn more about energy flux

Episode resources:

πŸ“² Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


πŸŽ“ Join Wits & Weights Physique University

πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

πŸ‘₯ Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

βœ‰οΈ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

πŸ“± Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🀩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

πŸ“ž Send a Q&A voicemail

Brandon DaCruz:

So along with improving a client's ability to adhere, this approach helps them to improve their appetite regulation and hunger control, as moving more actually makes us more sensitive to satiety signals, so we can more easily manage our hunger and regulator energy intake on a daily basis. So this is a multi pronged benefit.

Philip Pape:

Welcome to the Wits& Weights podcast. I'm your host, Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger. Optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition will uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Welcome to another episode of Wits & Weights. Today we're talking about energy flux and living a high energy flux lifestyle with the one and only Brandon Cruz, who I am stoked to have on the show today, he's gonna lay out the research, he's going to clear up the misconceptions teach you how to apply this concept to life. And we're gonna dive into body composition, metabolism movement, and as always upgrading and optimizing your results in the gym and in life. Brandon is in my opinion, one of the prodigies in the industry, when it comes to anything related to evidence based nutrition to change your body composition and physique, increase in performance and perhaps most importantly, coaching people from an informed compassionate place. Brandon's always dropping truth bombs on social media and in his chasing clarity, health and fitness podcast. And I've personally been listening to his work for a number of years, as he's been on countless podcasts since probably around 2020. And I'm honored to have him here to share his experience directly with the Wits & Weights community. Brandon is an online nutrition and physique coach, educator, internationally published fitness model and national level NPC competitor. He's been featured in Men's Fitness magazine, muscular development, bodybuilding.com and the Alan Aragon research review as a contributing author, brand and spent the past 14 years working in the fitness industry and believes in taking an evidence informed approach where he blends what's been proven in the research with his own anecdotal and firsthand in the trenches experience, having worked with over 1000 clients to improve body composition, optimize performance, and enhance health to help his clients achieve their goals sustainably. Brandon, after that introduction, it's totally an honor to have you on the show.

Brandon DaCruz:

Absolutely. Philip, thank you so much. And I feel like after that type of introduction, man, I'm done. I'm good. You covered it all. And we can let it be. But I hope that I'm able to rise up to those standards and really deliver a lot of value to both yourself, and also your audience.

Philip Pape:

Man. And I know you will, because you know, every episode, you're on every show, I want to listen to it, because it's such good information. And you mentioned even before we recorded that, you know, you fit a lot into a short time. And that's okay, right? Because we're gonna get a lot of value. So do my best. Yeah. So let's give the audience a little bit of a twist on that background. And it's small chance they don't know you yet. So you've had this impressive career, you continue to help countless of people. But I'd like to know, what were those one or two life changing moments that influenced the philosophy and the values that you have as a coach? Oh,

Brandon DaCruz:

man, that is such an interesting question. Because I think this is actually something I really don't get to cover is really like my background story as to how I even got into fitness, or how I got into coaching in and of itself, because my background is a little bit unique as compared to most people. So what's funny is oftentimes, I'll get on podcasts, or I'll have these interactions with individuals. And a lot of times it's about a very, you know, targeted, you know, topic, so energy flux, for instance, but I just get on and we start going right into the nation, yet rarely have I spoken about, like my own personal journey. So I hope, you know, I knew that you were interested in doing this. So I hope by doing so by sharing something with your audience, it will help to provide some insight as to why I'm so passionate about this, especially about coaching and then also why I'm always in this pursuit of expanding my education as my my goal in life really, on a daily basis is to learn more so I can serve more. So really, when it comes down to it, I had quite a bit of a different introduction to training and nutrition than many others that I've encountered and in space. And really what it comes down to is when I was a kid, you know, growing up, I was really competitive athlete, and I ended up becoming very focused, and unfortunately narrow mindedly focused in weight restricted sports, including martial arts, and then also endurance sports, like cross country indoor and outdoor track. And if you really think about the commonalities within these sports, you'll see that they have a weight control aspect to them, we're being lighter was seen as being an advantage. So I started getting told very early on we're talking 10 or 11 years old, by my coaches that I needed to watch my weight, I need to watch my food intake, which ended up resulting in me getting or developing disordered eating habits and suffering from what's now known, you know, what's been teased out in the literature as relative energy deficiency and sport. But at that time, that term hadn't even come into existence, because this was the early 2000s. And the concept of the actual concept of relative energy deficiency in sport wasn't recognized or quaint until the International Olympic Committee actually put out a consensus statement in 2014. So I'm about 14 years behind that, unfortunately. But um, I was basically in a situation of what's called low energy availability, where I would pretty much be training three to four hours a day, you're under fueling that activity in order to keep my weight down and stay within my weight classes. So doing due to being in this constant state of low energy availability, I developed a ton of micronutrient deficiencies, you're gonna notice a lot of commonalities of things I speak about, because of the experiences I dealt with previously. So if anyone's familiar with my content, they'll know I'm all about nutrient density. Well, it comes from the fact that I've suffered the ramifications of micronutrient deficiencies, I talk a lot about hormone health. And that came from literally having, you know, the hormone profiles of like an elderly individual in my teens due to this relative energy deficiency, and then also other injuries. So in my early teens, you know, I was dealing with all these issues, and what it really, you know, amounted to was having a spent about a year or period of time focused on rehabilitating these injuries. And at that time, my entire focus was on sports. So I did anything I needed to do to be able to get back into play. Well, luckily, despite the fact that a lot of these terms, and these conditions were unknown, in like the scientific literature, or even the medical, you know, community at the time, I was sent to a physical therapy clinic or facility ran by two individuals, one that happened to be a bodybuilder and nutritionist, and one that was a powerlifter. So really, what they taught me was, they really showed me the importance of building my body of strength training, resistance training, and all the benefits that I could have. And then they also educated me about the importance of nutrition and the need, or the benefit of fueling my body, you know, alongside the training that I was doing. So I literally was taught the exact opposite of what I had been doing for years. So this experience helped me to start viewing food as fuel rather than something I needed to restrict. And it also kicked off both my interest and my love for both nutrition for training. And this is, you know, surmounted into, like my greatest passion in life, like learning about these things, applying them and helping others. So it was natural that when I got into what I wanted to do, you know, later on, so I actually got into this condition at 11, I sustained, you know, I kind of continue that until 14. And that's really where I found educators that can help me along my journey. So I owe so much to Fitness First and foremost, but also, educating myself about it has been something that has really allowed me to help both myself get out of these chronic states of low energy availability and the things that I suffered early on in life, but also to help others. So I feel that as coaches, many of us gravitate towards covering topics and issues that we've dealt with, and helping clients avoid the mistakes and the bad experiences we've encountered. So it's one of my main goals with my coaching as I take what I call a health centric approach to coaching, right aim to bridge the gap between research and information, and then practical application by striking a balance between what's optimal for a client's goals and what's realistic and practical within the constraints of their lifestyle. Because, you know, a plan could look perfect on paper, but if someone can't execute it, it's useless. It's worthless.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. Yeah, man. So there's a lot of parallels in what you're talking about, with what I hear from the general population, even who who have not had the athletic background you did and go through the relative energy deficiency from that perspective, you've probably seen your clients yourself many average clients who have done the yo yo diets and they've been in this constant state of dieting, I imagine it's pretty much the same thing. It's the same concept. And I know I don't always think of it in terms of a micronutrient perspective, even though it's one of the consequences. But I think it's helpful for people to do that. And then you talked about the building and Food is fuel and, and adding, adding, adding, not restricting it's kind of the fundamentals behind a lot of what we're talking about here. So do you see that? Would you say the parallels are that close? Or are there some differences between that athletic profile that you experienced versus the general population?

Brandon DaCruz:

So I believe they they land on a spectrum? So what I was doing was training three to four hours a day, do I see that with my my lifestyle, our general population, right? No, but here's the thing with within my coaching, I don't coach just one niche. That's something I've never done. I've been coaching at this point for 10 years. And I never have, you know, a lot of people always ask me, like, what's your target population? Or what's your niche demographic? And I've never taken

Philip Pape:

what your ideal client avatar? Yeah, I

Brandon DaCruz:

get that question. Here's the thing I don't have when I specifically did that for a very purposeful reason. The reason behind that was I wanted to gain experience with people of all walks of life and all backgrounds. So really, if you were to ask me, like, what does my roster look like, I have everyone from lifestyle Leeson Gen pop gym, to I've taken guys to Olympia level stage, you know, that are competing at the highest level of sport in the IFBB. So I have such a wide spectrum of individuals that I work with, that it's caused me work no more. So what it's done is it's pushed me to learn more, so I could serve them better. And then also has really stretched the limitations of the bounds of my knowledge where I've had to keep digging, digging into both the literature and then also what I could apply in practice, and has caused me to learn a lot more. So at this point in my career, I work with a lot of, you know, business owners, I work with a lot of other fitness professionals. I work with a lot of advanced clientele. So the majority of people I work with at this point are intermediate or advanced, and they're really trying to get to that next level. However, I've worked with everyone you could think of with all different states have both, you know, in terms of psychological issues, but also physiological issues. So when we really look at the, I guess parallels between what I went through and what I see with the average clientele so if we really think about the average person, they've died many times in their life, I'll tell you, I do a very invasive or, you know, extensive consultation with people after that. And I've never, in the last at least five years, I have not had one person come to me once that has not been through multiple dieting cycles before. And that could be due to what I put out. So that's what I attract. However, the average person that I work with personally has went through multiple coaches, they've been through a lot of field programs they've read, they've lost weight to regain lost weight to regain. And again, they've been through these chronic cycles of yo yo dieting and this recidivism rate, where they've felt like a failure in the process, they've been able to attain a goal in terms of losing fat, you know, and we see that in the literature, we see that seven out of eight people that go into a fat loss diet, so approximately 86% of individuals who go into a fat loss phase will lose fat. So it's not that diets don't work. However, we do see a a very large recidivism rate where one year after completing a diet, generally 70 80% of individuals will have regained all the weight they lost. In two years of completing that diet, that statistic goes up to 85%. Within three years, we see between 95 to 97% of individuals who have lost weight will regain that weight. So it's not that we feel the actual weight loss process, we feel the maintenance process. And that's where I find a lot of lifestyle clients have been where they've been in this chronic state of over restriction and then over consuming. And so during the cyclical period, where they're never really at energy balance, they're never really fueling themselves appropriately. And they're also not where they want to be. So they continue to push themselves with this typical or prototypical approach of eat less, exercise more, and we're going to speak about some of the fallacies of that and why there's a better approach to it. However, there are a lot of commonalities between, I would say, within a spectrum, so I feel like I encounter or I see a lot of people in low energy availability, which is the number one underlying cause of relative energy deficiency, what do people have an heir to that total, you know, realm of relative energy deficiency, which we really do see in more athletic populations. So I have had individuals in CrossFit or in ballet dancers, I've seen endurance athletes come to me in that state. It's not as severe for most general population clients. But I will say, if you look a lot of my content, I cover a lot of the concept of metabolic adaptation. So you know, the down regulations we see that are diet induced, and I see a lot of people in a downregulated state.

Philip Pape:

Yep. And I think it's important for the listener who's who's hearing this to say, hey, not only am I not alone in this history that Brandon's talking about here, just about everybody, you just said, pretty much every client you've seen has gone through this I have you have everybody has. So I mean, it's such a common thing that and so this is this kind of advice is applicable, even though you do also have that with that breadth and depth of knowledge. And I know you have that encyclopedic knowledge, always pull out on these podcasts. But before we get to the topic, I don't want to let you go too quickly on the personal stuff, because I do want to dig in one one more thing. You said you don't have too much opportunity to talk about that on show. So now I'm wondering, is there anything you've never shared on a podcast that you want people to know? Or would get people to know you better?

Brandon DaCruz:

You know, I don't know if there's anything in particular that I've held back purposely. But really, when it comes down to it, I think that what a lot of individuals have to realize is that when you see a coach that has a lot of experience and knowledge in a sector, it can come from multiple avenues. But when you hear me speak on a topic, a lot of people like you you just mentioned, like an encyclopedia acknowledge of things or an ability to recite a lot of information. And the real reason that I'm able to do that is because a lot of the things I speak on, I've went through myself, we're talking about I've went through periods of low energy availability, I've went through the body fat overshooting effects, where you know, I've competed 15 times on season offers, I'll tell you the first time that ever went through a contest prep, I texted my coach the morning after the show asking for what do we do now? You know, at the time, there was no reverse dieting. This is more than 10 years ago. And so I was looking for a plan to transition out. And he never answered me again. And so despite me paying for the, you know, you know, an elongated panic. It was like you got this stage and you're done. Go get a cheat meal. And I never hear from you again. And so I went through one I had actually a trip right after I had a business trip that I went on the I actually flew out the morning after that first show. So it's now in a new environment, I didn't have access to normal, you know, normal food. At the time, there was no Uber, there was no Uber Eats for that matter. And so I was really limited. And I ended up going through a massive rebounding that not only hurt me physiologically in terms of, you know, gaining excess adipose tissue, having inflammatory markers, you know, inducing greater levels of insulin resistance or losing insulin sensitivity. But it also psychologically hurt me because I went from being the best shape of my life. And two weeks later, when I returned from this trip, not only did I not recommend it myself, but a lot of my friends in the gym didn't either. And then I'm getting all these comments. So what a lot of people need to realize or what I would like to share with people is I've been where you are. And I've went through these experiences. And the reason I have such a great amount of knowledge on these topics that I speak on quite frequently is because I'm a big proponent of practicing what I preach. So I don't just you know, I always tell my clients I live in and I love it. So any of these things that you hear me speak about, I'm pulling from my own personal practice as well as having applied it with other individuals, but also a lot of the Reasons why I have a, I guess a depth and a breadth of knowledge on a lot of topics is because I've suffered from these things I've been insulin resistance, I've had you know downregulated bloodwork, I've went through the metabolic adaptations, I have seen what the, the negative consequences of being in a low fluoxetine that we'll speak about later, is where you're eating less, and you're essentially unable to do anything, you're pretty much you know, besides your, your exercise, and your training sessions and your mandatory cardio that you're doing, you're basically like a slug on the couch, because you're so downregulated in terms of all your internal processes. So a lot of these things, it's through the experience that I went through myself. And I think that's really what differentiates a lot of people. There's a lot of individuals within our space that claim to be evidence based. And don't get me wrong, they have a lot of intellect. And they have a lot of knowledge on a topic, but they've never applied it in the trenches. And that's what really differentiates coach's knowledge without application is useless. So you can know all the statistic, you know, all the studies in the world. But if you had the inability, or you don't have the experience having applied booths with actual individuals in the real world in a free living condition, you really need to be a little more cautious about how you put information out.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, I would never have worked with anybody unless I personally had gone through a transformation myself that took four decades to figure things out and get to scratching the surface of where you're at. And then actually starting to help people and realizing that everyone is so different. We're all the same, but we're different, right? So the principles apply to everyone. But the individual methods and applications may differ. So I want to unleash the beast here and get into the topic, right? Let's just talk about energy flux, and high energy flux lifestyle, because I don't think I had heard that term until you brought it up. And even looking at the literature. It's not it's not like all over the place, like some other topics. So what is it? What are the different types that someone can be in?

Brandon DaCruz:

Actually art. So you know, it's funny that you comment on that, because this is actually a an approach, which I'll definitely go into detail and explain. But I just want to give a little caveat, because it is something that I started utilizing in the trenches first. And I don't want to say reach out research caught up. But there's a lot of things that when we look at evidence based practice, it's a three pronged approach. So eight is the experience is the body of literature, what the literature states on a topic, then it is the experiences and the expertise of the practitioner, which in our case, heart is us as the coach. And then it's also the preferences and the abilities of the client themselves. So this was actually a philosophy or an approach that I didn't have an aim for. But I was utilizing since 2015, or 2016. And it was a rough approximation of what it is today. However, in 2018, they actually put a term to it. So Chris Melby, put the term energy flux to it. And so then at that point, I was able to pull some literature, but I was looking at things going back to the early 2000s, where there didn't have a term for it, but I was seeing the practical application and the benefits of it. So really, you know, energy flux technically refers to our state of energy turnover in the body. So basically, the concept centers around the relationship between the amount of energy we consume on a daily basis, and how much energy we expend through all forms of physical activity, including both our intentional exercise and our daily movement. So any forms of physical activity, which would essentially contribute to that physical activity energy expenditure. So essentially, what we're looking to do with using energy flux is to get to a state of energy balance, which can be reached using either a low or a high energy flux approach, which will depend on the amount of calories we consume, and the amount of activity we engage in on a daily basis. So if we're in a low energy flux state, we'd be maintaining our current body composition and our current body weight through eating a low amount of calories coupled with low activity levels. And as a coach, I have a ton of individuals who come to me who have either hit a wall or a plateau in their fat loss progress, or have, you know, this really long history of dieting, and when I do a consultation with them, and I look over their data, I'm looking over all their sheets, I usually find that many of them are in this low energy flux state, whether they intend to be or not, or whether they realize it or not. So this isn't a term that people come to me and say, Hey, Brandon, you know, I'm in this low flux state, can you get me out of it? I mean, give me some, right. But it is something that when you had the knowledge on a topic, you're able to, especially when you have knowledge on something, you also have experience dealing with it, you're able to spot it out more. And really what this comes down to is, it's because many have died using that prototypical eat less approach as their calorie intake has gotten lower, their total daily energy expenditure has dropped. And with that their metabolic rate has slowed down as well, as a result of the metabolic adaptation that comes along with weight loss. So from the energy in perspective, they're consuming very little calories, but the energy in like, what we have to realize is energy in and energy outside the energy balance equation are closely tied to one or the other. So as they've continued to eat less in an effort to lose weight, their knee levels have significantly dropped as well. And this is why, you know, many are in this low flux state, whether they realize it or not, as they've spent significant periods of time putting less energy into the system in the form of food, and they're getting less energy expenditure out as a result of eating less and thus moving less. So eventually, they get into this place where they either can't, you know, eat less, you know, they hit this wall, you know, I mean, whether it's for compliance or it's due to exhaustion or dietary fatigue or whatever it may be more or they incur so many adaptations on the energy expenditure side of things that they plateau and reach a state of energy balance. But they do so in a manner where they're eating very little and don't really have the energy to move much. So they're in this downregulated, low energy flux state. And this is what I often refer to as a restriction based model of maintenance. Meaning if we try to stay lean, using this approach, we're going to have to restrict calories long term over the long term to do so which if you really think about it, like if you're in this dieted down state, that's not only, you know, unsustainable, it's not realistic. And it's not a desirable approach for any of us. None of us want it, you know, we might do a 12 week or 16 week fat loss things. But we don't want to be that, in that perpetual state of dieting, we don't always want to be in this energy restricted state. Now, on the opposite side of the energy flux spectrum, we have what I refer to as the high energy flux approach. And when we're in a high energy flux approach, we're able to maintain both our body and our body composition by eating more and being more physically active, which allows us to increase our calorie intake much higher than it is in this lower energy flux state as the increase in activity is keeping us in energy balance. So we're able to eat more and stay lean, despite eating more, because it's actually acting almost like a buffer, that activity is buffering out those extra calories. So being in this high energy, flaxseed is more of what I like to consider an abundance based mindset or an abundance based model of maintenance, meaning you put more energy into fueling your body. And as a result, your body is able to burn more calories, because it has significant energy availability, to fuel all these processes. So fundamentally, when we look at the two, the biggest difference difference between whether we're in a low flux, or a high energy flux state is how active we are, and how many calories we're eating to match our level of activity. And here's the thing, I want to be very frank and transparent about this, because a lot of times when I speak about this on podcast, a lot of people kind of take the information that I that I put out there and they say, Oh, we can only do this through high flux. That's not what I'm saying, you know, you could stay lean through either approach. However, within my experience, coaching, I've seen the high flux model tend to work better, as most of us we have to be honest, we have to be transparent. Most of us prefer to eat more, it's less, it's much more sustainable. And also, most people not only from a physiological standpoint, but also a psychological standpoint, being in a state of chronic restriction is something many of us don't want to do, nor can do year round.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, I see that all the time branded with clients, a lot of female clients come to me they've been restricting for years, the first thing we want to do is get them out of that anymore. And they're so surprised often when they find it, they don't gain weight, right, because they're moving more as well at the same time, and then go into that fat loss phase and can eat two or 300, or more calories more than they had the last time they did this. And unfortunately, there's diets out there like some that I'm not going to name one starts with an O that actually encourage that low energy flux approach with hay, go on these restricted calories and stop moving. And it's just a

Brandon DaCruz:

sub exercise exercise not effective for weight loss. That's what they'll say.

Philip Pape:

Exactly, exactly. It's crazy. Okay, so let's talk about some of the benefits. I do like to nerd out on this stuff a bit. Whether the listener too, does or does or not, but if they've stuck with me subscribe to this podcast they generally do. Some of the benefits are, are beyond beyond just what you said, which is the sustainability and the ability to eat more and do this for the long term. Things like thermogenesis and fat oxidation, right? And satiety, right, because you're eating more and health markers, like maybe we can explore some of those other benefits from high energy flux lifestyle.

Brandon DaCruz:

Absolutely. And so really, when it comes down to it, one of the primary reasons why I've spoken about the high energy flux lifestyle on so many podcasts over the years, why I've done presentations, like I've flown out across the country and done presentations on this. And why also I'm such a proponent of it is because, you know, because of the benefits that I've seen, not only myself because this is something I utilize day in and day out or during specific phases within my own life and have used utilize for years. But I've also utilized it with hundreds of clients I've worked with over the years. And as a coach, I try to take principles that are research backed, and then I try to find the best way to apply them to the individual client that I'm working with. And I found that the high energy flux approach has allowed me to get a great result in many of my clients and also have provided them with a ton of physiological, psychological and metabolic health benefits. So really, when it comes down to it, I truly believe that when it comes to coaching clients in the real world, we cannot separate a client's psychology from their physiology as our brain and body are closely tied, and the body isn't going to respond if our minds aren't in the right place. So one of the most important benefits that I see clients get from taking a high flex approach is being able to better adhere to eating a nutrient dense, micronutrient rich diet as moving more allows them to eat more and maintain a higher calorie intake which leads to many other downstream effects. So within that, you know this concept or this approach are really what I like to refer to as a lifestyle because it's all encompassing, it's just not just one thing, it's just not walking. It's it's a multifactorial approach to improving your body composition, your health and your life. But really within this lifestyle, we're gonna see better diet adherence and consistency, which when we really think about it from a coaching conceptual framework, that is the foundation Under making progress, we're not able to adhere to a program, we're not able to do it not only one, it's not about what you can do one day, you know, it's about what you can do day after day, and be able to stay consistent enough to elicit a compounding effect. And within that, we're going to be able to get clients because they're eating more, they're going to get more food variety, more food flexibility, they're going to be able with that increased calorie budget to get a greater micronutrient intake. So now we're going to upregulate all these internal processes, we're getting more minerals, more vitamins, and cofactors, necessary for not only energetic processes, but also for the upregulation of hormones. So I'll tell you personally, I have a lot of females that come to me in this low flux state. But also when I'm checking your bloodwork and your lab analysis, I'm looking at down regulations and markers. So from being in a state of low energy availability, I'm seeing down regulations and estradiol, I'm seeing down regulations and progesterone, sometimes they're suffering from amenorrhea, which is a loss of the menstrual cycle function. And really, technically, that would be the loss administration for three, three cycles, or more, or technically 90 days or more. But also within that one of the most common hormonal perturbations were hormonal dysfunctions that I see within clientele that come to me, or downregulation, is in thyroid production. So remember, thyroid is one of the most closely tied hormones to our metabolic function. So when we go into the state of low energy flux, where you're putting less energy into the system, you're getting less energy out, one of the ways in which our body does that you sit down regulate thyroid production, so we'll generally see decreases in T three, three, T three, T four and three, T four. And so within that you're burning less calories, because your body's trying to conserve energy in any way that it can. So we see hormonal downshift. But within this high flux model, I'm able to up regulate those processes, including increasing their thyroid production keys. Now, I'm not only providing them with enough calories to be able to upregulate that hormone production, but also the key and important micronutrients, selenium, zinc, iodine, things like that, that are necessary for the synthesis of thyroid and also the conversion of T four to metabolically active T three, I also within this increase in energy, we're getting improved energy levels. So along with improving a client's ability to adhere, this approach helps them to improve their appetite regulation, and hunger control, as moving more actually makes us more sensitive to satiety signals. So we can more easily manage our hunger and regulate our energy and take on a daily basis. So this is a multi pronged benefit. So not only is getting into this, this moving more eating more philosophy or approach going to allow you to eat more, so you're gonna be more satiated, but also, you're gonna be more sensitive to those be more in tune with your hunger cues. So you're not only eating more and getting fuller, but you're also having a better fullness response. And you're able to stop yourself from, you know, some of the, you know, I don't want to say bad, but some of the suboptimal habits that you might have had in the past and what I often get his feedback from clients that they feel fuller, and are better able to avoid a lot of the binge restrict cycles that they've had in the past, as now they're feeling themselves better on a daily basis. So it's not like they're going from their previous habits, which really was, you know, they were on one end of the spectrum where they were under eating during the week, and then going overboard on the weekend. So they were what I call a weekday Dieter, Monday through Friday, they're over restricting ourselves, they're skipping meals, they're fasting, they're doing all these, you know, fad diets, low carb, whatever it may be. And then on the weekends, they're going overboard, because now they have this insatiable hunger, and they have a dysregulation of their, their appetite in their satiety cues. And they're also in this low flux state where they're downregulated from having put themselves in a deficit where severe deficit all week, so now when they increase their calories on the weekend, they're more susceptible to that weight, and that that gain because now they're in a very large surplus, because they're in a state of positive energy balance. Now, when it comes to other benefits, you know, the high flux lifestyle is also something I've used to help my clients get lean and stay lean, as maintaining a high level of physical activity has been shown to be one of the key predictors of both Fat Loss Success and even more importantly, fat loss maintenance. And this is also something we see reinforced in research from places like the National Weight Control Registry, which if you're familiar with that it's essentially a database of successful dieters, and what habits they have. And so they look at individuals that have not only lost a significant amount of matter weight, but I've kept it off for a significant period of time. And what their data shows and finds is that one of the most common traits among those who have been successful in losing weight and keeping it off is they engage in very high amounts of physical activity daily. So what their studies have found is that those who have lost a significant amount of weight and have kept it off for a year plus average around 2500 calories burned through physical activity per week, where and when they actually did a step count estimate or they tracked these individuals actual activity levels came out to a little over 12,000 steps per day. So these individuals that are maintaining weight loss are engaging in high levels of physical activity. So they're hitting their steps, they're making sure that they're getting their walks in, they're very physically active. And that's one of the key principles behind being able to not only lose weight, because many of us can do that. However, being able to keep it off long term because a lot of these individuals have maintained they have to maintain at least 30 pounds of weight loss. However, the average person the National Weight Control Registry as of last update to it has maintained at least 30 kilograms So around 65 to 66 pounds over a course of three years. So that's significant weight loss that they've been able to not only lose, but maintain, which is a huge victory. Now, I've also seen many metabolic benefits in the clients, I've transitioned into high energy flux approach, as the increase in activity allows for better insulin sensitivity, better nutrient partitioning, and increases with called glute for translocation. So now we're able to upregulate the uptake of glucose in the cells without the need for insulin. And within that, I've also seen better blood glucose management. So for instance, one of the I really like habit stacking, so I'm sure you're familiar with James clear, you know, atomic habits, but I'm really like doing things where I'm adding an activity to already existing activity. So one activity we all do on a daily basis, no matter who you are, whether you train or not, we all eat. And so what I have my clients do is I had them utilize post meal walks. And that's been shown to cause a significant decrease in the area under the curve in terms of both insulin elevation and duration, but also helps with blood sugar management and regulation. And so this is something I see reflected in my clients facet and postprandial blood glucose metrics, as well as in their labs. As you know, I'm a big proponent of monitoring health, I always say healthy bodies responsive by so I'm big on monitoring things like insulin sensitivity, and and those who have had increased their activity and get into this high flux state. I've seen improvements in markers, like their HPA one see their triglyceride levels and their facet insulin levels, in addition to those blood glucose metrics that I track on a weekly basis. And so we're seeing multiple multipronged benefits. I mean, there's so many that we can go through from a metabolic health perspective to a training perspective, and, you know, anything that you want to get into.

Philip Pape:

And I think, I think, I think people are sold on this read as potentially a really good, good idea. You know, you were actually I've probably the first person I heard talk about the postman walks and comparing it to type two diabetes medication. And I tend to refer to that a lot when people talk about blood sugar regulation.

Brandon DaCruz:

Absolutely. And that's actually a fascinating study that they've done on that. So if you want me to expand on that a little bit more, just so the audience gets a little understanding of that. I've been doing it. Alright. So in the early 2000s, they did a lifestyle intervention study. And really what that looked at was looking at the number one prescribes, which is a great drug. It's called Metformin. And now I see that, and keep in mind, some of the experience that I had my father died of diabetes, so I was, you know, helping a diabetic my entire life. But also, I've worked with many people with pre diabetes, insulin resistance, type two diabetes, and even type one diabetes. And now the number one prescribed drug for type two diabetes prevention, and treatment is a drug called Metformin, aka glucose rush. So what they did was, they took a controlled study, and he did a three year long term study looking over the course of different interventions. So they had a control group, they, which did nothing, no intervention, they had a lifestyle group within that lifestyle group, but they had to do was 150 minutes of walking, you know, just brisk walking and physical activity per week, plus, they had them lose 7% of their body weight. And so it was both diet and lifestyle intervention. So both movement and, you know, nutritional interventions, and then they had a Metformin group only. But within the Metformin group, the caveat to that is that they use a dose at the higher end of the spectrum. So it was if we're going to see significant reductions in the industry, or the likelihood of type two diabetes development, we would see it from that high dose, I believe, if I'm remembering off the top of my head, it was around 1800 to 1800 50 milligrams. And now the top end of what you would see endocrinologist or doctors prescribe Metformin that is 2000. Now the starting dose is 500. So this was a very potent dose of metformin. And so within that, they tracked people over the course of three years. And they found that those in the lifestyle group were twice, those who utilize the lifestyle intervention, meaning walking consistently over the course that three years and they lost and maintain that 7% reduction in body weight, we're almost twice as or twice as unlikely to develop type two diabetes as those Metformin groups. So that's where we get that that quote, where walks the post meal walks are twice as effective Estimate form, and I believe it was, it was like a 30% difference between the two. So it wasn't exactly twice however, it was very significantly sets are statistically significant in terms of the differentiation between the improvements and the reductions in type two diabetes, advancement in the lifestyle group as compared to the best drug we have in the market. So when I say movement is medicine, I mean, there is some we have research and then we also have like the practical things we see in the trenches. And so it really, that's just research that reinforces so many of the benefits that we see, especially from like a blood glucose perspective and metabolic health perspective, we see that, you know, it lowers the insulin area under the curve, it lowers blood glucose levels. And also really, when it comes down to it when we have muscle muscle is our biggest metabolic buffer, it essentially acts as a glucose sink. So the more muscle you have, the more you move it, the more it's almost like a drain. So if you have the sink, muscles, a sink, you keep building muscle, you're gonna expand that sink so you can you could fill up more water, more carbohydrates in that sink, but also, physical activity and training acts as a dream. So the more activity you do, the more active you are in your day to day life, the more you can drain that sink and put more in there. So it's it's almost like allowing you to Increase your carbohydrate uptake, your carbohydrate tolerance, and then your ability to live a life of abundance because a lot of us like eating carbs, we like, you know, having high carb meals and things that's where we also don't want to suffer the deleterious effects of things like insulin resistance, pre diabetes, or type two diabetes, which is on the rise, especially in today's generation,

Philip Pape:

a lot there man out there to unpack right. And so, I mean, the principle that we're talking about here is the energy flux, lifestyle, the movement, the being active, and training and building muscle and all the things we talk about all the time as, Hey, these are the big pillars of, of a whole body, you know, nutrition approach and living a healthy lifestyle. Also have the side benefits of all these health, health health benefits and let you eat more. Who doesn't want all of that? Hey, this is Philip. And I hope you're enjoying this episode of Wits & Weights. If you're finding value in the content and want to stay up to date with all our latest episodes, be sure to hit the Follow button on your favorite podcast platform. By following you'll get notified whenever a new episode comes out. And you won't miss out on knowledge and strategies to level up your health and fitness. All right, let's get back to the episode. So somebody might be listening and thinking, okay, from a practical perspective, if I had the the typical story most people have of the yo yo dieting, and I want to start this and I have a little excess weight to lose. Because what we're talking about her mostly is either maintenance or fat loss. Generally, maybe we can also talk about on the building side where this is relevant. But maintenance and then fat loss. Where would someone start? Because I'm guessing you don't want to just get them right into fat loss and the stressor that comes with that, as well as all the other habits that they haven't developed? How exactly would you walk them through that to develop an energy flux lifestyle, and then say, Okay, now let's hit the gas pedal, because this fat loss is going to be so much easier.

Brandon DaCruz:

Alright, so I'm going to try to do this as concisely as possible because it is a very detailed process. So if I was to take you through my process, we'd be on an hour consultation just discussing it just for you and I. And so I have so many different client avatars or different demographics that I work with that it's very client specific and person Pacific. However, the it comes down to a fundamental principle of coaching wishes to meet the client where they're at. So we have to get some things, we have to get some fundamental principles in check first and foremost. So first, I need to see their baseline level activity, I need to see their nutritional intake, the consistency, their dieting, history, their bloodwork, many other variables to take into consideration. However, if I have a general lifestyle client, for instance, if we do like a case study right now, and I have someone that comes to me, and they have say, 20 pounds, 30 pounds to lose, like the average average person that would come to me 30 pounds to lose, and they're in a state if you want to get that.

Philip Pape:

Can I throw you some more variable? Let's say, let's say she's perimenopause, a female. Okay. Right. And getting that AB AB for abdominal fat, you know, with with changes, has hit many plateaus and feels like she just can't lose weight. It's just not possible. She can't lose weight. Right. And maybe she's straining maybe she's not she's probably not doing it properly yet. Right. And doesn't get maybe gets 5000 steps a day. That some good data to start with?

Brandon DaCruz:

Yeah, absolutely. So first and foremost, if I get anyone in perimenopause, I'm going to do a large educational component on the efficacy and the necessity of resistance training. Because what do we see in perimenopause and the transition to menopause, which could be a five to 10 year transitionary period. And I tell you, I work with so many women in that transitionary period, what we see is we see perturbations in their hormone production. So essentially, what ends up happening is they're getting menstrual cycle dysfunction. So we're seeing elongated menstrual cycles, we're seeing the loss administration eventually because that is what the menopause is, is 12 months without without a menstrual cycle. So within that, we are seeing down regulations and extra dial production and progesterone, but with that decrease in estradiol comes deleterious effects to cardiovascular health. So we see lipids increase, we see a higher propensity to cardiovascular disease, we see increased adiposity. But oftentimes, you actually look at the literature, women that are going through perimenopause don't actually gain an excessive amount of weight, it might be a few pounds, however, what they do is they have a higher predisposition towards storing fat instead of subcutaneously to visceral adiposity. And now the visceral adiposity is in the central cavity. So we see it around the organs and around the gut. So that's why we'll see women, a lot of times they'll have your waist expand, you'll have, you'll be taking on more of an Android fat pattern, which is more along the lines of how guys store fat. And what comes along with that is if you actually looked at the literature before with pre menopausal women as compared to men, men are at a much higher predisposition towards cardiovascular disease because of our predisposition towards storing visceral adiposity. However, once we get into perimenopause and postmenopausal females, their propensity or their likelihood of cardiovascular disease increases astronomically. And that's because of the downregulation. And estrogen along with the decrease in estradiol comes a loss in bone mineral density, which is where we see an increase in fracture risk, we see osteoporosis and all these other deleterious effects of lowered bone mineral density. So the first thing I'm doing is getting that female increasing energy flux through resistance training, which is an approach I take with them. Any, because many people come to me, they're already, you know, resistant training junkies, I normally work with intermediate individuals, I never be honest with you at this point in my career, I never had someone come to me at this point where they say they've never touched me. So it's never like I have a newbie that hasn't had weight training experience. However, this was the case where this individual either didn't have a training experience for has just won a prolonged period of time, without retraining, if I hadn't put you know, we had a, you know, essentially a prioritization list, I'm gonna make sure they resist and train first. And technically, that's going to increase energy expenditure. So we're going to increase energy flux through that increase in movement. And I'm gonna get her doing laps around the gym and increasing steps through that. And then, but you said 5000 steps, that's, that's spot on, you know why, because right before COVID, they had done some analysis of the average American step count, and the average was around 5100 steps per day, that's what the average American was getting pre COVID. And so within that she's getting 5000 steps per day. But really where we see like the baseline level needed for I don't want the optimal metabolic function, but enhance metabolic function is around 8500 steps per day, however, we have to realize the integral part of coaching is meeting people where they're at. So within energy, first, what I would do is first and foremost, just like I would do with her body weight, and with her calorie intake, I want to get a maintenance on everything, I want to get an ability to register exactly what she's doing consistently, not just one day that she gives me data for. So I would do is over the course of one to two weeks, I would track specific variables, I would have her track her body weight daily, so that I can ease out any fluctuations in body weight and get an average weekly scale weight. First and foremost, then I'm going to look at her average caloric intake and see if she anyway, is she losing weight, if she's maintaining her weight over two weeks, her weight staying stable, enter calorie intake stable, I know what her maintenance calorie intake is. And then I'm also doing the same thing with step tracking. So I'm having her get a pedometer or a Fitbit weren't wearing something that can consistently it doesn't have to be it's not about the accuracy, it needs to be about the precision and the reliability of data. So there's a difference between, you know, accuracy, and then validity and reliability just needs to be reliable. Because a lot of these fitness trackers, they're off, especially in terms of their energy expenditure stuff, so I don't utilize it for that. However, even if they're off 10% on steps, it doesn't matter, because I just need to see what her baseline is. So if she comes in, and over those two weeks, she is stable at 1600 calories. And she is currently you know, her weight stable at 160 pounds, she is she eating 600 calories, and she's at 5000 steps per day. This is where first adjustment I'm going to make as on the nutritional front, so I always say eat more, move more, it's not move more first, because that's a big misconception, a lot of people automatically go to the move more first, really, I want to get her into better nutritional habits. First and foremost, I want to put energy into the system. So she has both the the energy from a fuelling perspective to engage in more activity. And also she's going to get an upregulation in energy production and just most likely non exercise Activity Thermogenesis just due to eating more and fueling yourself better. Obviously, I'm going to modify the quality of the diet, the food choices and all those selections from within that I'm going to slowly titrate it up. So a big fallacy that I see is that people will take a very drastic approach to energy flux with the approach that they take. So one of the you know, I'll tell you a perfect example. I recently just had someone contact me. And essentially what they did was they asked, or they told me a situation where one of their coaches had heard me on a podcast. And so he wanted to apply this energy flux approach. However, one of the issues with that was he aggressively increased steps way to in way too quick manner. So in this specific instance, this person went from 8000 steps that they were doing consistently. So they had track steps before they were an experienced trainee, they went from 8000 or 1000 to 15,000. Now, here's the thing that makes no physiological or rational sense, as what programming variable within coaching, would we double in the span of a week, like, Phil, hear me out, if you saw someone come to you and they had doubled their training volume in a week or they had doubled their calories in week, that drastic of an increase, not only is going to put so much stress in the system, it's going to throw so much noise into the signal, we can't even differentiate what's going on or how compliant that person can be or how consistent they can be with that. So really, it's about meeting them where they're at. If she's at 5000, I may just make a bumpy week of 100 calories and 1000 steps, see where she can respond. And from there, I'm gonna be moderating both her biofeedback in terms of how her body composition changes, especially we've added resistance training, we've improved your food quality, we've probably increased protein, you know, now she's most likely I see a lot of women in this situation where the recumbent and so she haven't had improvements in body composition, first and foremost, but also energy, she's going to have higher amounts of energy expenditure. So we've upregulated all these systems that have been downregulated. And that is an important component of people are especially women that are in perimenopause, because what we see is they have a redistribution not only of body fat in terms of storing more visceral fat, but they also have the loss in lean body mass due to the decrement in the hormones that they have. So that's why I said I would start with resistance training with this female in particular, because we need to offset that we need there's a catabolic stimulus in the system, essentially which is perimenopause. However, we need to balance that out with the anabolic stimulus of resistance training which is going to increase muscle protein synthesis. We're going to Couple that with nutrient timing with proper protein intake on a daily basis, as well as a protein distribution, making sure that she has many meals throughout the day in order to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, say every three to four hours. And we're going to be able to improve her body composition, her energy expenditure or energy levels, and really take a multifaceted approach to putting her into his eye high energy flux approach, but also mitigating a lot of the symptomology that she'll be experiencing due to being in this transitionary period to menopause.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, yeah, that makes makes such sense. And I love that you just jumped right out with a strength training pillar number one, because that's, that makes such a huge difference. I've seen that with clients. And I do have more new newbie clients that haven't trained. And it's so rewarding to get them into that and just all of a sudden see all these extra benefits, you would you wouldn't think, including moving away from that obsession on the scale, as you started to see, you know, your waist size go down and the visceral fat start to get reduced and you feel better and all these things. Well, what am I community members she had asked Carol, he wanted to ask you a question about body composition, body recall, and fat loss for women over 40. Which is why I asked these questions because I have a lot of clients like that. And you basically just effectively laid out the fact that even at this maintenance level, you can start to achieve the body recomp. Is there any anything else going? Like? Would you keep a client like that in that state for quite a while just take advantage of that.

Brandon DaCruz:

So honestly, if we go to the the topic of body recomposition, which is something I find fascinating, but first and foremost, there is that when I go through literature, I am looking through every single section, you could think of methodology section, I'm looking through limitations, I'm looking through the the author's discussion. And what's really interesting is there's a study that it's it's billed as a protein study, it's by long on April 2016, I believe it's the best recomp study that we have to date, they actually put these individuals there were former rugby players that had been D trained, they put them in a 40% deficit. So technically, they're not at maintenance, they're in a severe deficit. However, they did molt, they took a multifaceted approach. And so what they did was they utilized it was two groups. So they had a low protein group and a high protein group, a low protein group was at 1.2 grams per kilogram per day. And the high protein group, I believe, was at 2.4 grams per kilogram per day. And so utilize, and we're going to really speak on focus on high protein group, because those were the most, I guess, astronomical benefits that we saw. And something that's really applicable to anyone that has a body recomposition. All

Philip Pape:

right, just to convert that that's a little over a gram per pound. Absolutely. So

Brandon DaCruz:

2.2 grams per pound, would be technically one gram, so we're looking at about 1.1 grams per pound. So a high protein approach in a deficit. And so what they did was they use a multifaceted approach. But if you were to just read the abstract, you would never see this as a study, you really have to get the full text, if you look through all this stuff, but really, when you tease it out, they took the multifaceted approach. And this is what they did. They did a high protein approach, they use a large energy deficit, but they utilize it over a short period of time was 30 day trial. And so within that, they use six days of resistance training. So they did a combination of high intensity interval training, as well as you know, you know, higher volume, so moderate to high volume resistant training, hard training sessions to failure. So we have an effective stimulus. And then they had an activity component, which you have to really like tease through, you know, they don't actually overtly say that. But when you actually look at their predominant in their activity, data, they ravaging 12,000 steps per day. So it was multifaceted. High protein, there was high protein, moderate carbohydrate in that higher protein group, low fat. They did, it was an extreme deficit. That's not what I'm recommending. But they saw one of the most substantial increases in fat free mass and a loss in body fat within that 30 day period. And so they showed substantial recomp. So this is where we take those findings. And we apply it a little bit differently to someone that wants to recommit maintenance. So we're we include all these components that are necessary for body recomposition. So we're going to look at high protein intake, first and foremost. So we're maximally stimulated muscle protein synthesis, you know, if that person's at maintenance, or even if they're in a slight deficit, because really, when it comes down to body composition, I really like putting people right in a slight deficit, so we're oxidizing body fat. So we'll put them in a slight deficit, we put them at a higher protein intake. So they have, they're able to maximize muscle protein synthesis, you're able to rebuild and actually build tissue. And then from there, we're gonna utilize the combination of resistance training. So other high intensity effort is going to be in the gym. And then outside of that, we would use walks, we would use steps to get low intensity activity, that's non stressful. And actually, when you actually look at the the benefits, or the research behind walking, it's one of the only activities where it's going to, you know, not only decrease stress and cortisol, but you know, it's something that it's one of the only physical activities that are actually going to decrease cortisol and it puts you in that parasympathetic state. So it helps to balance out

Philip Pape:

the stress. It's a form of recovery. It's a form of cardio that helps you recover. Yeah. And really, when

Brandon DaCruz:

we look at like, I'll tell you, from my own experience with trainers, with trainees is actually seen improve their training performance because they have an upregulation their training capacity, so that improvement in aerobic fitness has a ton of carryover into their training performance and the recovery capacity. So not only is a recovery capacity improved in between sets, so I'm talking about you know, if I was to tell a client to do a higher rep set of hacks was prior to doing or utilizing this higher energy flux approach. They're gasping in between sets and they're needing three to five minutes. What they're able to do is really improved their work capacity, but it's mainly through the fact that they have better aerobic fitness, they have better nutrient delivery, they have better blood flow, which is helping all the recovery capacity, but they have better endurance and better aerobic fitness in between sets and in, in between workouts. So we're seeing this benefit, this multi pronged benefit. And then from there also, when you're more active, you have better aerobic fitness, you have better cardiovascular fitness, it applies to not only in the gym, a lot of times, we are always thinking, you know, especially as trainers, who is thinking very narrow mindedly in the one hour of the day that we spend in the gym, but it's benefiting all other aspects of our life. So with this woman, if she's a mother, for instance, I work with many, you know, mothers are business owners that are women that are, you know, typing individuals, they have so much going on, they're highly stressed. So now, instead of having them any hate classes, you know, breaking down their body in a catabolic state, and they're overly stressed and adding to that allostatic load, all their their stresses are contributing to, you know, decreases in sleep quality and increases in cortisol and all these negative ramifications. What I'm doing is I'm helping them distressed by doing an activity like walks in nature, I'm having them walk post workout, I'm having them walk in the morning and really be able to center their circadian rhythms. So they have better sleep quality at night, they're really focused, they have the recovery capacity and the ability to put all their intensity for that one hour of the resistant training session so we can maximize the body composition benefits. And also, we're getting the ability for them to eat more and get all the benefits of that increase in energy availability and micronutrient availability.

Philip Pape:

Awesome. Yeah, I know that we talked about that all the time here. And it's one of the things that was a revelation to me, Brandon, back when I started training properly for the first time and realize it didn't really have to do any cardio as we know it, you know, and just walk more. I think it's a it's a wonderful thing, right? It's a wonderful way to live. So what about on the What about on the building side, it would seem to me that just by naturally being in a calorie surplus, and building muscle and training, you're, you're kind of naturally in a high energy flux lifestyle, I mean, is there a way you couldn't be in a building phase.

Brandon DaCruz:

So here's the thing, there is a difference, you can technically be from the literature perspective, in a high flux state by just eating more and having your body weight go up. However, you're not getting the actual advantageous benefits that I'm speaking about all being a high flux state. So for instance, if you are in a building these however, you are becoming more sedentary, really, you're just allocating time towards the gym, and towards eating high amounts of food, technically, you are in a high flux state because your body weight is going up. So it's increasing your energy expenditure. Keep in mind that one of the the largest amounts, you know, if we look at our total daily energy expenditure, 50 to 60% of the calories you burn per day comes from our BMR, which is mostly tied to our amount of fat free mass and our total body mass in general. So for instance, feel if you're to gain 20 pounds, it's going to you know, increase your BMR, whether it's fat, or it's muscle, and so within that you're burning more calories, and you're technically eating more calories. So technically looked at it, and we're really technical about it, you're in a high flux state, but you're not in a high flux state that could apply to people that are overweight, actually. So actually, in the literature, they have sections where they look at obesity as a seed of high energy flux, but it's a negative adaptation of high energy flux, because your body is burning more, just due to the fact that you have more fat free mass and fat mass. And you're eating more, however, you're suffering from insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and all the deleterious effects of, you know, being, you know, over fat essentially. And so we want to make sure that we're coupling activity with the increase in calorie intake, as well as with the, you know, progressions, were making our training. So I would keep someone in a higher energy flux state and make sure that their step count is I don't want to say massively elevated, but is that a state at least at 500 steps or more per day, just due to the fact that we see better insulin sensitivity, we see better blood glucose clearance, we see better triglyceride clearance in resistance are in challenge tests, when someone is at 8500 steps per day or more as compared to 5000 steps and 2500 steps. And they've done, you know, exercise resistance studies where they've looked independently at those who have lower step counts, and they do exercise, but they don't get the metabolic benefits. So here's the thing. And this is a massive thing for those that are resistant training, especially to building things because, you know, I remember this philosophy where I came up in the board's early on in the 2000s. And a lot of the guys in the powerlifting, gym Wendler and guys like that, what they would say is, don't walk, if you could sit, don't stand, if you could lay like this, this philosophy, like do less essentially. And that's great for not expending a lot of calories and massively increasing your body weight, but a lot of deleterious effects come with that, you know, increase, increase in insulin resistance increases in fatness, you know, you know, triglyceride levels being off, you know, higher cholesterol, all these you know, higher blood pressure, all these deleterious effects. And we want not only a lean physique that looks well, we want it to, to function well and internally look healthy. And so within that, I would make sure that someone is at least staying active going for postnatal walks, I'm monitoring their blood glucose as well. So I'm looking at their indices of insulin sensitivity and that everything is going in a progressive fashion and within there's going to be periods of time that you're in a progressive building freeze for an extended period of time. And those markers get out of line, even if you're doing steps and that's where we pull back and we use a phasic approach, utilizing the principles of nutritional periodization to utilize something like a mini So I'm big fan of about a four to one paradigm. So four times the amount of time building. So say for instance, I'll give you a perfect example, if I had a client and we went through an eight month building phase, and now they're starting to see some of the detriments because we can't push just with like, with all things in life, you can't push in one direction too much before facing some consequences of that, or pacing, some pushback from the system. Because there's a price at play in everything and physiology for every give me there's a gotcha. So you keep pushing on the building phase, you keep pushing in a surplus, you're starting to amount and accumulate more body fat, you're starting to see decrements in your insulin sensitivity, your blood glucose is starting to rise, you're starting to see your appetite regulation be diminished. So now you're, you're constantly full, you're having digestive issues, you know, you just really don't have the desire to, you know, eat first and foremost, but also you're seeing decreases in your training performance, because you're constantly lethargic, that's when we need a pullback, and we utilize something like a mini cut or cleanup phase. And we would utilize something like an aggressive deficit for a short and truncated period of time to alleviate a lot of those symptoms to drop off some body fat to increase insulin sensitivity to, you know, regulate your appetite again, so you actually have some hunger. And so it's this push and pull as all systems in life. And even within the concept of energy flux, it's not that you're in a high high flux approach all the time, or that your steps are constantly, you know, if I have a client and you know, during their fat loss phase, they're at 10,000, that doesn't mean during their building phase, it goes to 12,000, their next phase, it goes to 50,000. There's titration in and out of the system. So based on their goal, there's a lot of times for instance, um, you know, one of my clients, he has a very successful podcast himself, Jeremiah, they're called the Living lean podcast. And, you know, recently, I had him at a certain step count during his fat loss phase, I had lowered it during his reverse dieting phase, where his recovery dieting phase, and then we were in a building phase, and I had kept it constant, because we were really seeing a lot of progress. His he was maintaining a great body composition, insulin sensitivity was in a great place. And he was someone that suffered from Dawn phenomenon. So he has elevated fasting butcher in the morning. So I want to keep that in place. However, we've gotten to a stage where he's eating so many calories per day. I mean, his training days is over 4200 calories per day, and we're really pushing things. And he's seeing a stall in body weight. And it was because he ended up, you know, he admitted this later, but he was doing a little bit more steps than I had programmed for him. So yeah, so he was he was essentially expending too much energy. And that's where that's a tool. And we have to realize everything within coaching, whether it's energy flux, nutritional periodization, its macros, anything that we utilize our tools, and we have to utilize the right tool at the right time. And that doesn't mean that's another another misconception. energy flux isn't always about titrating up, or it's not about hitting a specific amount, it's about taking someone where they're at. And especially if their goal is to lose fat, or get lean and stay lean. It's about titrating up from where you are now, and incrementally increasing calories and steps, you know, in a manner that we're seeing positive indices or positive improvements in your biofeedback, your body composition, how you feel, how you look how you perform, however, there's going to be negative drawbacks. So I've had people, you know, contact me that they're like, Hey, man, I'm doing 30,000 steps per day, you know, do you think I should go up? And I'm like, you know, I need some context. First and foremost, however, you know, it seems like you're doing an awful amount of activity. And they're, you know, and they're in a situation where they're not gaining any muscle or they don't know their performances or any see detriments. And that's where I'm like, listen, it's not always yes, I see that the the statement, eat more and do more, however, it's relative. It's relative, where you're at what your goals are, and what your body's responses. And what you have to realize is, there can be such a thing as too much of a good thing. Sure.

Philip Pape:

Awesome, man. Okay, this is great listeners are gonna love this. We talked about a lot. I know you have a hard stop and like three minutes. So the You said you'd be willing to come on again, because I have about a million other questions. And normally, I would ask this question. I don't want your answer today. But the listener is expected and it was what one question Did you wish I had asked, and what is your answer? Well, we're gonna hold that so that the next time you come up, you can be prepared. We'll ask that at the end after we get to the rest of our questions. So where can listeners learn more about your in?

Brandon DaCruz:

Absolutely my man. Well, listen, guys, I am always available. This is something education is a big component of who I am as a person, I really believe in empowering others through education. So first and foremost, you guys can all find me on Instagram at Brandon Tucker's underscore, I've not missed a post since 2017. So that was a vow or a promise I made myself I would get back into the community. So every single day, you're gonna see an educational post. Another thing you guys can all contact me on email, which is betta Chris fitness@gmail.com. And the third thing is I host a podcast. So this is something I actually didn't mention in my intro, unfortunately, but I host a podcast I was on. Phil mentioned, I've been on like 200 podcasts. But finally last year, a close friend of mine convinced me to do a podcast of her own so it's called the chasing clarity, health and fitness podcast. And it's done with a very good friend of mine and fellow gym owner and coach himself Jeff black, and I would love you guys to check it out. I'm sure that we have a very similar, you know, audio your audience or listenership. And so I would love to be able to educate you guys in that capacity as well.

Philip Pape:

No doubt and I'm a listener myself so guys, I'll put the IG and email and chasing clarity podcast and since you are listening to a podcast, very easy to just go find it and follow it right now. Brandon, man, thanks so much. It's been a pleasure. are truly an honor to have you on the show.

Brandon DaCruz:

Of course my man looking forward to round two already. Likewise,

Philip Pape:

if you've been inspired by today's interview, and are ready to take action and build momentum on your health and fitness journey, just schedule a free 30 minute nutrition momentum call with me using the link in my show notes. I promised not to sell or pitch you on anything, but I will help you gain some perspective and guidance so we can get you on the right track toward looking and feeling your best

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