15 Nov 50 Things To Learn From 50 Episodes of RNT Fitness Radio: Part One
A year ago when we decided to launch the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, it was an experiment to see if 1) we enjoyed it, and 2) our listeners enjoyed and gained value from it.
While it’s nowhere near the behemoths of the Joe Rogan’s, James Altucher’s and Tim Ferriss’ of the podcasting world, I do like to think that for the audience we have, we’re able to provide a ton of value on a number of topics. With the core base being around fitness, we’ve explored topics relating to personal development, mindset, business, relationships and everything in between.
Arguably the most unique part of the podcast is when we bring on our own clients to speak about their journeys, what drives them, and how they integrate their fitness goals into their lives. This has been a real eye opener for many people on similar paths; hearing it from regular people outside of the fitness world on how they balance everything is always far more powerful than coming from us.
Above all, the best part about podcasting is that every episode provides a unique opportunity to learn something new. And with it being our 50th episode anniversary, I thought of no better opportunity for an article series to give you 50 things learned from 50 episodes of podcasting on the RNT Fitness Radio.
To listen to any of the podcasts below, either click the title to access it on the site, or type in ‘RNT Fitness Radio’ on any platform. If you’ve got any podcast recommendations for the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s part one…
On this Q&A with Adam, one of the questions revolved around diet breaks, and when to use them. Adam spoke about how the real reason diet breaks work so well for the average person (not extreme competitors) is for two reasons: 1) Drop in overall stress load, and 2) Increased compliance. By increasing calories and reducing your cardio for short periods, the odd snacking disappears, intensity picks up again, and you’re 100% nailing everything again.
The most common reason for ‘plateaus’ is simply a lack of compliance. So by introducing a ‘diet break’, a small raise in calories can create a shift in mindset that now allows them to create that ‘fire’ again, adhere to a proper deficit and start losing body fat again.
We talk about the importance of reaching your step target on a daily basis when chasing fat loss. On the episode Rawdon expands on the game changer effect of not only steps, but NEAT overall in combating adaptive thermogenesis.
He gives a cool example here about how one person that diets down into shape at two different times can have two very different experiences depending on their level of NEAT. For example, the first time round, you do all your cardio in the gym, so you have to get ready, go out, drive to the gym, park, etc. The second time, you buy a home treadmill, so now all the NEAT expended in getting to the gym disappears. This might sound trivial, but little changes in lifestyle like this can have an impact in how hard you go during a diet.
It was very refreshing to hear Josh’s simple approach to training in this episode. With a long track record of getting women lean and adding muscle to their frames, he explains here that doing endless sets of volume that many women fall into the trap of is a mistake. Instead, if you know how to apply intensity, you may need a lot less than you think.
For example, a beginner client may need 25 sets for sufficient muscle stimulation, but a more advanced client might need to drop down to 15 sets in order to manage their recovery, get stronger, and maximise their sessions.
The biggest mistake that you can make when coming to an end of a diet is to make a list of all the foods you want to eat and buy them all ahead of time. Mentally this sets you up for a disaster, and is going to put you in a difficult position as you transition to a more ‘normal’ phase. Instead, shift your mindset from wanting every food possible, to being able to be ‘normal’ again when out with your family and friends. Focusing on this social experience that may have been missed in the hard grind phase of a diet is what it should be all about.
Technology means many people are eating mindlessly without thinking about the texture of the food, the smells, tastes and even in a lot of cases, what they’re actually eating! Samir argues that staying conscious, mindful and present in the moment when eating can make a tremendous difference to adherence, satiety and learning your body.
Doing a photoshoot can be an intimidating experience for anyone. I’ve yet to see anyone with as good of an ability to calm someone down, ease their fears and make them feel comfortable as Ben does with his clients during a shoot. He said the number one mistake people make at a photoshoot is stressing out. Having worked with Ben on a number of client shoots, I’d wholeheartedly agree. I’ve seen it time and time again where a client walks in stressed, and it’s only when they relax and start to enjoy the experience that their physique is able to look it’s best. Ben makes an important point that everyone should listen to: If you’re not where you want to be on your shoot day, relax, you’re on your own journey, accept it, and know it’s not the end. If you’re doing a photoshoot, remember, you’re in the shape of your life, and a completely different person to what you were before!
While this was an episode about goal setting, I explained how having the 5 pillars of success, as taught by Craig Ballantyne, is so critical if you want to improve any aspect of your life. Whether it’s business or fitness, if you’re not 1) planning, 2) having accountability, 3) surrounding yourself with positive social support, 4) having a powerful why, or 5) creating a big deadline, you’re going to struggle achieving any goal. I learnt this from Craig who taught it in relation to life and business in general, so adapting it to body transformation as I speak about in this episode helped solidify the principles.
Self-awareness is such a rare but critical skill to have. Shyam talks in depth here about the importance of paying attention to what your body is telling you, and adjusting accordingly. It might sound obvious, but not many people actually do it. For example, knowing whether you train best after 2 or 3 meals, whether you digest a certain food well, or whether you’re strongest in the morning or night time. Shyam goes on to make a very valid point in that as a client, your responsibility is to be self-aware, and to bring the information you process on how your body feels best to your coach.
When Emily was telling us that her real ‘secret’ to dieting success as a client was keeping her diet as basic and similar as possible on a daily basis, it was music to my ears! She talks about how it makes her food shop easy, takes all the thinking out for her, and allows her to have as much control on different variables as possible. This is especially applicable for those in the ‘nitty gritty’ phase of dieting, where mentally and physically it’s getting tough, but the goal is in sight.
In Leigh’s experience, he sees the biggest mistake people make is becoming overwhelmed by the details, and beating themselves up over ‘perceived failures’. For example, if your step goal is 10,000, but you only reach 9998 a day, you don’t need to beat yourself up over those 2 lost steps. I really liked this point made by Leigh, as it gives people the freedom to accept small wins, rather than beating themselves over not achieving perfection, and forgetting the bigger picture.
When Jason was explaining his philosophy on muscle growth, it was cool to hear he was singing from the same hymn sheet as us. He made an important for many trainees to bear in mind: your weight training should always be focused on building strength in a wide variety of rep ranges. It shouldn’t be hard and heavy when training for muscle, and then circuit style for fat loss! The only difference between the two phases should be diet and cardio prescriptions. This was one of the key points made, but his other points on programming; from varying rep ranges within the week, to milking a program for what it’s worth, and even his use of back off sets, were all very similar to our own philosophies.
After leaving the corporate world to pursue an entrepreneurial desire to scratch his own itch, David created a unique gluten free and lactose free iced coffee brand called Get Nourished. As anyone running their own business will know, there are always going to be highs and lows. What David mentioned frequently through this episode was the importance of staying level headed. Not to get too excited with big highs, and not to stress yourself out during a low. Instead, staying level headed can give you better perspective, and keep you in the journey for the long run in a much healthier state.
Body transformation is as much of an art as it is a science, and at RNT we often rely on our ‘eye’ and intuition when it comes to making changes. When dealing with the body in the real world, it’s never a hard science. Which is why, for example, whether you pull from fats or carbs when creating a calorie deficit doesn’t matter. It’s all about creating compliance. Once a maximum calorie target is set and a minimum protein threshold is reached, how you allocate your carbs and fats will depend on your preference. Of course, to learn your preferences, and knowing how your body will respond to different macronutrient ratios will come with time, so if you’re a beginner, just follow the plan. If you’re more intermediate and advanced, this is where sharing what you’ve learnt by your body’s reactions to different foods can be very useful in creating the best diet for you.
During the episode with RNT coach Ben, he talked us through some of his crazy dirty bulk experiments when he was younger. The highlight was his 2000 calorie post workout meal, which involved a blend of whey, ice cream and honey, along with a pizza and a bag of skittles, washed down with a bottle of Lucozade! The problem was, his surplus was so high he was at the point his body was getting really good at getting fatter and fatter. This is a mistake many make, and Ben really hones in on the importance of getting lean first, then building in a methodological manner, as opposed to going on a ‘see food’ diet that usually ends up going terribly wrong!
Modern age thinking has everyone wanting everything now, with a constant search for instant gratification. Josiah explains the importance of playing the long game, staying consistent, and focusing on enjoying the process by ticking off a daily checklist to achieve his fitness goals. As a father of two running multiple businesses, he’s extremely time poor, so needs easy ‘non-negotiable’ lifestyle habits to implement on a daily basis. For Josiah, his are: a 30 minute walk, a nutritious ‘power smoothie’ for his first meal, and a lengthy fasting period in the morning so he can be more productive with his work.
I really enjoyed talking to Chris about his thoughts on productivity, creating flow state and how to get more done in your day. Chris stresses that like building muscle, improving your brain state, or creating flow, requires a lot of practice. Like going to the gym, it becomes easier the more you do it, so it’s critical to ‘show up’ everyday. During your daily practices, Chris talks about using various rituals, tools and habits to help you, such as coffee, fasting and different music, like classical or binaural beats.
It’s very rare that plateaus in fat loss are real. Nathan argues that when you come across a plateau, it’s usually down to two main reasons: 1) lack of adherence; it’s important to recheck everything you do on a daily basis (if you think you’re already nailing it), and watch out for the little things that could be taking you out of a deficit, 2) you’re not working hard enough; meaning, you either need to increase your expenditure, or reduce your calories.
Episode 18 – The first place you start healing in your life is yourself… until you heal yourself and come to terms with those demons, you will screw up every relationship that you encounter that rubs against those pain points (Paul Carter)
There were so many nuggets of gold in this epic episode with Paul, but the biggest lesson I personally took from it was the importance of working on yourself and your inner demons before entering a relationship with someone else. You see this all the time when people mess up relationships because they haven’t deal with past pain points, and when these are triggered, it can send you into an orbit that causes irrational thinking and behaviour. Paul stresses why you must spend time to come to terms with why this happens in order to lay these demons to rest, and lead a more secure and whole life. What this’ll allow you to do is then enter a relationship from a position of giving, freedom and autonomy, as opposed to asserting controlling behaviours on the other person.
Dave’s been around more elite level athletes than just about anyone, so when he came on the podcast, I had to ask what his thoughts are on what it takes to go from good to great. If we take genetics out of the equation, Dave believes the ability to pull back, and know when to do it, is the real differentiating factor. Alongside this, it’s critical to learn to listen, and be coachable. When going from good to great, there are so many factors involved that you need to be able listen to objective feedback and apply the lessons being taught.
Vince juggles many hats in the day, and talks about the myth of work-life balance. Instead, he believes in a work-life mix, whereby his businesses, family and social life is all intertwined into his days and weeks. During the hustle of the week, the one domain he believes most people fall short on is your relationships (romantic, friendship or family) and not being intentional with them. Everyone is busy, so you need to book time slots in your week to have date night, family time and time out with the boys (or girls).
There comes a point in any muscle building phase where you’ve probably gone too far, and need to take a step back. When you’ve been eating in a surplus for a long time and body fat starts to accumulate, you’ll start to notice your training pumps weaken, your digestion worsens, your joints may ache, and vascularity reduces. At this point, you’ll want to run a 2 to 6 week mini cut to regain sensitivity and start building muscle again. During this, you’ll want to go hard, and focus on getting ‘in and out’ as fast as possible. Energy stores will be high, so there won’t any risk of muscle loss either.
Throughout this episode, Christian explains the importance of understanding your personality, your neurotype and your brain chemistry in order to thrive in different situations that you come across in your life. It’s impossible to give blanket statements here; instead, the best thing to do is listen to Christian as he discusses different examples and case studies of how your neurotransmitter profile can affect your relationships, stress management, training, nutrition and habit formation.
One of my biggest learnings from David over the years is the ability to ‘bring everything to failure together at once’ when you’re training. So when speaking on the podcast, I asked David to explain his philosophy of focused intensity. David talks about setting up an optimum environment, so when you approach anything, everything is programmed in your brain. You don’t ever want to just train, you want to train with extreme focused intensity. Training intensity isn’t something mystical, it’s mechanical. Which is why breathing cadences, tempo consistency, intra-set pauses can all be manipulated to increase intensity and maximise your efforts.
Lou is a legend in the fitness journalism and writing world, so to hear from him about what it takes to be a better writer was awesome. His best piece of advice was that no matter what era you’ve come from (60s, 90s or more recent), you absolutely must be able to master the room. You need to be able sit in a room alone, with no entertainment, no validation, no one sitting over your shoulder, and just write. If you can handle being lonely, being insecure, and unsure if what you’re writing is any good, and you can do it regularly, preferably daily, then you can be a writer. Whatever can get you into the room, whatever can get you so excited about what you’re doing, and whatever makes you forget the outside world, that’s what you need to write about.
Shona passionately explains how it’s weird now that there’s such a dichotomy between people in the fitness industry and people in the philosophical, emotional and psychological industry, when they’re so intertwined. She mentions how back in the ancient Greek times, many of the dialogues between philosophers such as Socrates and his students were done in gymnasiums. Health back then was about health of mind, health of emotion and health of the body. And now, it’s completely the opposite. Many of the so-called ‘fit’ and ‘healthy’ people are so out of touch with their emotions, and lack the self-awareness of their inner psyche. Shona talks about how in order to attain true health, we need to bring these two elements together.