Jonny & Yusef

Habits & Health episode 12 Jonny & Yusef

Habits & Health episode 12 with Jonny & Yusef, who run the excellent Propane Fitness and Propane Business podcasts.

They are a unique combination of a world-level powerlifter and a doctor and have combined their knowledge of health, fitness and business to help thousands of people.

Some topics discussed in this episode:

  • Fitness
  • Recovery
  • Training to be a doctor
  • Target audience
  • Question yourself


Recommended Books
Atomic Habits - James ClearGetting Things Done - David Allen Essentialism - Greg McKeown
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The Jonny & Yusef interview link:

This video is related to an older episode featuring Geoff Girvitz

Tony Winyard 0:00

Habits and health Episode 12

Jingle 0:03

Welcome to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. Here's your host Tony Winyard.

Tony Winyard 0:19

Welcome to another episode of habits and health. My guest today are Jonny and Yusef from the Propane Fitness podcast and also the Propane Business podcast. They combine their knowledge of fitness and health and medicine and many other areas and created unique content which they help people with, they coach people in fitness, in business, in many different areas. So we're going to hear a lot more from Jonny and Yusef coming up. Please if you like this show, share it with anyone who you feel would really appreciate some of the content. why not subscribe, leave a review and hope you enjoy this week's episode. Welcome to habits and health My guests today, Jonny and Yussef. How you doing guys?

Jonny 1:09

Very good.

Tony Winyard 1:13

And you're up in Newcastle?

Jonny 1:16


Tony Winyard 1:17

You said it's snowing today?

Jonny 1:19

Not today, but it has been. So for the past like week or so. It's been intermittent. Lovely kind of almost summery weather. And then snap. So it really catches you off guard, you go outside in shorts

Yusef 1:37

nailed by the snowman. Yeah.

Tony Winyard 1:39

Yeah, but you guys in Newcastle go outside in shorts, even when it's snowing...

Jonny 1:42

Nice often is soft. We stay inside all the time. So we we haven't got the hard Jordy exterior. Unfortunately,

Tony Winyard 1:51

You don't have a Geordie accent either.

Jonny 1:55

I know. People can barely understand me with my Geordie accent. So I'm glad

Tony Winyard 2:05

You've got a fantastic podcast, propane fitness. From what we were talking about before the recording started. Is there another element to the podcast? Is it two different names? Or is it what is the situation with your podcast?

Jonny 2:19

Yeah, so we have we have two podcasts, actually. So we have I guess the business propane fitness is two things at this point. So we do online fitness coaching, and sell like online fitness products and whether a portal with a tonne of information and basically the content of our of our brains emptied into the internet, behind a login. And then we also teach personal trainers to basically model what we've done. So we have a business side of what we do as well. And that's called the propane business podcast or grow your online fitness business, because we couldn't get the propane business podcast as a name. So yeah, we have two podcasts now. The business wants more recent that's about a year old. I think the fitness one we've been doing since 2012.

Maybe earlier. Yeah. But it's I mean, don't go back any earlier than that. Because it's like, a plastic cup with a string between it. So pretty terrible.

Yeah, really is bad.

Tony Winyard 3:20

Wow, that's a long time nine years is not many people have been doing episodes that long. Yes. And what was it? Can you remember? What was your initial impetus to start? What was the idea?

Jonny 3:31

It was just scratching our own itch. We were very frustrated with how chaotic online fitness information was. And everything was really skewed by supplement sales and marketing, quick fixes and all that stuff. And we were like, right, we've just about found something that works and has produced results for ourselves. So let's just get that down on paper, and save people the time of, of going around the houses trying to get some results for themselves. And really, as Johnny said, The, the the next step of that was because the kind of topics that we wrote about tended to be quite nerdy, like we were really into leucine metabolism and carb backloading and alternate day fasting and all this stuff that general population fitness people aren't that interested in. We had a lot of personal trainers that became our audience. And then they started to sign up with us and ask like, Oh, well, can you help me set up my own online fitness presents? And how do I model what you guys have done then we will let you know what we should probably turn that into something more formalised, and that's how the second parts come about. So it was kind of an accident.

Tony Winyard 4:45

And your your backgrounds are quite different from what I know?

Yusef 4:51

So this is the problem

Jonny 4:53

with a constant problem. Whenever we do podcasts with both of us We have this similar question. And we both look at each other. And then I go to talk, but I think he's just gonna talk. And then he goes to talk, and he thinks I'm gonna talk. So we keep meaning to get paddles. As if there's a system that we just never got around to it yet. But yeah, we do have, well, we I suppose we have some similar background at the very beginning. So we actually went to school together. So a friendship goes back to like, 2006, or something like that, or used to train together in the school gym. And then both left and did I don't know how loud that banging is, is it gonna go up or go down. We both left school, went to university studied finance, career finance degrees, left and actually did finance careers. And it was at that point that things started to divert, separate, so Yusef, our latest have to use of steel, he'll be much better than me. But I left and did accountancy qualified as an accountant, and then quit that, just after I qualified and moved into working on propane fitness full time. And I've been doing that since 2006, to February 2016. To know,

and you suffered. So I was working in an investment bank. By that point, propane hadn't really like, certainly wasn't in a financial position to be able to support us. And so I was like, I should really, like I'm in choir, I want to figure out like, how does leucine actually work? Like that was the thing I was obsessed with at the time. I was like, well, the best way to do that is probably going to med school. So stupid naively, I was loud, I'll just, I'll go and go into that. So I, so I quit my job, I applied to be a doctor. And then seven years later, here we are. And during that time, that's where propane did start to take off. And now it's at the point where we're really looking to go all in on that.

Tony Winyard 7:10

And so you said, you did a seven year course to be a doctor, and he said, Are you specialising in any area.

Yusef 7:16

So I'm at the point now in, so I'm a junior doctor, and I'm at the point now where you would go into specialty training. And so there's a natural career break. So for me, it makes sense to, to basically focus on propane, and there's no kind of penalty for dipping out at this point. If you do it mid specialty training or earlier, then you basically have to go back to level one. If to fight the boss at the end of level three again and then go to the checkpoint, and yeah.

Tony Winyard 7:51

what is your main aim? Who is it you're trying to reach? And how are you trying to help them?

Jonny 8:01

It's effectively us five years ago. And that's always been the, the target audience for ourselves. And it's, and it's what we recommend, coaches that we work with choose as their niche, one of the problems that you see people do is you might have a 25 year old guy with no dependents and no care responsibilities. He's got all the time in the world to train. And he goes, I'm going to work with single moms, or middle aged women or something, and you can go like, Well, okay, you can do but what will they see in you? Like, why would they see you as an authority? Or have any sense? Why would they recognise that you have any kind of recognition of what challenges that person is going through. And so, instead, it's much easier. If you're already a chapter ahead in your journey to someone who would have been in your position three, four or five years ago, then they're the perfect person to work with because you understand all of their struggles and all their frustrations intimately? And you can help them more closely with that.

Tony Winyard 9:09

And is it predominantly personal trainers? Or is there other other areas as well?

Jonny 9:16

Like on the on the business side of what we do, I think we would work with anyone that is a service based business basically. So the systems and the stuff that works in propane is the same whether you're teaching fitness, or I guess we transferred the same model to teaching fitness. We've done some lifestyle, habit development, coaching, we've done some meditation coaching, we've even done some, like more and more recently into like full business coaching. And we've used the same systems for all of those niches and markets. And we work with, I think, like we've got people we're working with Now, obviously, personal trainers, belly dancing teachers, yoga teachers, as a chef in there as a photographer. So you know, there's a there is a spectrum of coaches we work with, but there are They all are offering a service online. And I think Yeah, as you says, like the service offerings, we've added, I've changed as we have spent more time developing various skills. Because when we started prepping fitness, we had no idea how to run, prep and fitness. And as those skills developed, you realised that okay, if someone's right at the beginning of the journey, we can probably help them with that, like we made a tonne of mistakes in that process. So actually, here's how to just do that way quicker. And it's the same with pretty much everything that we are both interested in. We've been doing it a long time. I think once you understand that, you can package your expertise and sell it to people who are interested who are looking for a faster, more, or effort effortless way, that it's something if there's demand, then we tend to build products around that basically.

Tony Winyard 10:52

And I was I was sort of looking around your website and make it will probably take me about five years to look at everything is on there. Because I there's as I said to you before, there's like a million videos for a start. And I don't know how many podcast episodes was I? I thought I saw that you were one? tall, tall of tribes tribes of Tim Ferriss here tools of Titans, Titans, that was it? Yeah. We interviewed by Tim Ferriss,

Jonny 11:19

I wish we were no, we're always we, we basically asked each other the questions that are asked in the book. So we do, we did a version of that podcast, like two, three years ago, where we just went through those questions, which the questions are quite difficult, like what, you know, what's the most impactful purchase you've had for under 100 pounds? Or what do you have on a billboard for everybody to read? And we recently went back and did the same questions again, just as like a contrast and comparison. But no, we haven't been interviewed by Tim Ferriss. Okay,

Tony Winyard 11:57

I think I couldn't play the video. So I can't remember what the reason was. But I was intrigued by that. And so how, what did you find the difference between those two exercises?

Yusef 12:07

Hopefully, it was actually fairly similar. The answers we gave, which I think is, it's nice to know that, at least you're consistent in your in yourself with the answers you gave, you know, we weren't directly contradicting ourselves. But yeah, I think that from what I can remember, the answers were fairly similar,

Jonny 12:23

certainly in evolution of the thought processes, in that, and you can see, like a refinement of the methods that we've been using. And I think at this stage, it's been a case of like, we fumbled through, probably the first five years of propane was like a lot of failures, like failing hard, fumbling around, like making a lot of quite painful mistakes. And then as things start to refine, and you've find a model that works well, the challenge then becomes doing that model consistently and not getting distracted by the shiny object syndrome. And so I think we have become, to use Greg McKeown term more essentialist, as time has gone on, narrowing the focus of what we've been doing, and really drilling down on a single sales method, a single kind of content pipeline. And doing that, and a lot of that is done to Johnny's ability to just plug himself into Microsoft Excel, enter the matrix and just go hard on the numbers and kind of iterate on a very metric based sales method.

Tony Winyard 13:40

So you've really figured out the power of the niche?

Jonny 13:45

Yeah, I think we, it's really more about not necessarily the niche, but more the processes we have. So we, I think as you step into any world, whether it's fitness, habit development, self improvement, business, online fitness business, especially, you kind of you do a google a quick Google search to see what kind of information is out there. And then two years later, all you've done is accumulate all the 1000 possible things you could do. And the way that we appraise whether those are a good idea or not, is we just throw ourselves into each one of them fully. So we came from a place of having like 30 funnels and 20 products and lots of things in lots of different directions, very scattered focus. And so the past, and certainly 2020, and this year has just been stripping all of that away, and saying, well, we have our time and the cash and the business and the energy we're going to devote like how do we point that on just the things that are giving us an asymmetric output rather than spreading that very thinly. That you know, shines through and what we teach people as well. So if you if you had business coaching from us back in 2015, it would have just been a mess. Whereas now you know, where we're so confident on the one or two processes that we know work. That's what we teach. So it's kind of that that's the development.

Tony Winyard 15:08

So people are coming to you for coaching, are they? Do they normally say, right? This, this is the specific thing that I would like to learn from you. Or they just ask you for kind of general coaching, and what what typically happens

Jonny 15:23

is usually outcome based. So for business stuff, especially, it's usually people want to take a skill set they have, and monetize that online. There's obviously lots of different people with different opinions and advice on how to do that. And we have our own spin on that, that I think is a little bit different to the norm. For fitness stuff, it is typically strength based fat loss based, or sometimes people want to work with you stuff to try and flip around the living room in the same way that he can. Or you know, it might be, I'm looking to kind of improve in my career, and I don't know where to go. And can I want to learn more of like, he says, got tonnes of content on YouTube about productivity and how he manages his time he gets asked about that a lot. So we do get inquiries for that sort of thing as well. Because a lot of what we talked about in other podcasts, like modern wisdom is like the hacks the tricks, the ways that we sort of manager, an ever increasing workload. We get asked about that stuff, as well, as you people normally come with a question of like, I'd really like to achieve this. But I don't know how to. And I think you guys might know the answer. But I'm not sure. Can you help me? So that's typically how the coaching conversation starts.

Tony Winyard 16:35

And then what would you say in your development as coaches over the last few years, what has been the biggest change? What have you discovered about yourselves as coaches?

Yusef 16:47

That's a good question. someone at the door as well,

Jonny 16:54

too. So how convenient. Yeah. That's a difficult question. I just, I'm busy. Can you say the question again?

Tony Winyard 17:04

So I'm just wondering what you've discovered about yourself as coaches over the last few years as, as you've changed things?

Jonny 17:13

I think the

just kind of not answering your question. But hopefully this answers in in a way, I think the like, as, as we've developed as the processes we've, we use have developed and changed, I think the thing that I've become more aware of in my in myself, is how easy it is to, to make an emotional kind of knee jerk reaction to something. So one of the reasons why I lean so heavily on things like spreadsheets and numbers and data and all that sort of stuff is when you are ultimately your own boss, and a lot of the people we coach and teach on the business side of things, it's like it's just them, they sometimes don't even have a team or anybody else to speak to what I run a decision past. Sometimes, you know, you're in a room on your own in front of your laptop, and basically something appears on the screen. That's stressful, right? for a reason. That's like nothing that the bears are going to come get you but someone said something of notification, it's unpleasant. And you have to, like take that information, and process that in context, like how does this affect the next, this timeline, this timeline, this timeline, all these other things that I'm doing? And how do I react appropriately in proportionally to that. And I think the thing that I realised was, I need these systems in place to be able to allow me to make kind of the rational, objective, non emotional decision to stuff. So I think probably that my development over the years of coaching more and more people is I've relied more on how do I step away and give myself a bit of a gap pause to say, Well, how do I make the right decision? Even if it's like a client complains, or a client's got a problem or client doesn't know what to do? How do we come back to a principle or, like a framework that we can use? Or how do we look at the numbers of the situation to make the right decision? So that like, I'm certainly known or use of certainly describes me as the like the spreadsheet guy. But I think that is the that is the symptom, a symptom of a change in how I look at stuff, which is, you know, how do I not react emotionally to things? Hopefully that's answering answering your question, but I'm sure now you saw, she said and taken time away to go out the door with an even better answer.

Yeah, I have indeed been a very, very much agree with with Johnny's approach, though, which is to you develop your own set of algorithms, which are response to inputs, problems, things that come into your life. And over time, you have to iterate on those algorithms that they're either based on like, if this they're not criteria, or quantitative ones that you say, when this hits this number or when this is lower than this or whatever. Then after On this and do x y Zed tracking the numbers is important to begin with because, as Johnny always says what gets measured gets managed. And if you have an overview of all of the all the numbers, all of the kind of inputs that are coming into your life, you can then say, Okay, here's what I can, here's some conclusions that I can draw. Here are the lead variables, and here are the lag variables. And here's how I can act on them. And if I'm faced with this situation in the future, I know that the last 15 times this happened, this was the outcome 80% of the time. So I'm going to stick with this the great book by Ray Dalio called principles, which I'm sure you've heard of or read. And he dives into that hard. He's a hedge fund manager, very similar kind of analytical mindset. And it's, it's you're talking about, like, really the way that he trained his algorithmic trading system to work with the markets, and then how you have human input. And then you have like, what the computer outputs. And over time, they start to converge because the computer takes in as many variables as possible and produces a more and more refined results. And sometimes there's something that computer didn't pick up on, and then you go, Okay, here's something outside of the model that the model didn't account for, let's put that into the model. And now the models become even better. So I think that's one big part of it. So that's the system's approach, or the algorithmic kind of model to making decisions. In terms of wider systems, the other thing that I've learned is that you have to, to try and figure all of that out yourself, is such a long process, and we don't live for that long on this earth, that you probably, it's a waste of time to try and figure everything out yourself. in almost any problem that you want to solve as an individual, someone has already done it before, or someone's at least made several steps towards doing that. Most of the time, it's not someone it's a whole institution has got a system for it. So if you look at the times that you've made the most success with anything in your life, it's usually when you've entered a system that is pre existing, and a large number of very intelligent people have already made a lot of the mistakes and, and learned a lot of the lessons and turned it into a process. And then you enter that it raises your standards, it allows you to make the results a lot faster, because you're benefiting from centuries of of lessons and failures and everything in your skip the queue. And eliminates the kind of slipping back to the lowest common denominator because it's a system that is greater than you and demands more from you than you thought was was possible. So really, that that realisation is kind of coming round to thinking like, I need to stay stupid here, I need to not be so arrogant to think I can figure it out on my own. And also not think that just every time a decision comes up, I've got to like start from first principles and figure out how to do it, because instead it's most of it's been laid out for you and just a case of turning up and following the process.

Tony Winyard 23:28

And so I'm wondering, based on what you've just been saying, sounds like you're able to give your clients such help them so much more than you were five, six years ago.

Jonny 23:41

Yeah, yeah, I think that's true. I think the why was like so with one of the questions that one of the most common questions that our clients ask us is, as you said, such on before, like, Who do I who do I work with? And the reason we say, you for five years ago, is is because of that, right? Like you, I think you're always, if I think all of us, if we could go back and speak to ourselves five years ago, you had 10 minutes with that person, like what you could prevent or double down on, like the little tidbits of advice that would have just saved so much frustration or wasted time, money, energy, etc. He has it he has such an impact. And it's actually like, it would be hard to put a value on that in terms of the what that's worth to somebody. So I think like, just the more we learn, the better our coaching gets, the better our products become. And I suppose also the more sure we become on the stuff that we're teaching, because the more people you work with, the more you see the systems you've created and play out in the real world. Because I think the problem with coaching is he and this is kind of I suppose the problem with the market for coaching as well. You can have a result yourself for what you think is a reason. So you get people who are extremely successful and they try To rationalise the success and sell it was the following things. Like the reason I'm my business is doing this, the reason my podcast has made downloads is this system I followed. But actually, it could have just been five or six lucky situations that played out at once that you can't replicate. So it's like, Okay, I have I've had success personally, to assume you can just coach that is to presumptive, you have to then see that replicate somehow. And the more people you replicate that model with, the more wrinkles You see, in the process, okay, when we tried, when we taught this system to yoga teachers, this is what happened when we taught the system to this market, this is what happened, etc. And that feeds into, as he says, you kind of put that data back into what you're teaching. And it gets better and better and better over time, and more and more accurate. So I suppose from like a business perspective, where more and more confident now that when someone comes to us the first iteration of the process that we have them launch is more and more likely to work first time. And I think that'll, I don't think it'll ever get to 100%. Because there's no guarantees in these things. But it's getting better and better over time. So yeah, I think it's just it's, it's volume, you know, the more reps we've done, the more our skill set is, is refined in the back. I don't think that hopefully that never ends. And we always get better, and we can always deliver it when a service.

Tony Winyard 26:26

On other any not real, what was the most common issue you see with the clients you're working with? What are the problems most people are facing? And if there is one, you can think

Jonny 26:41

up? I've got up, I think I'll say something that will that will trigger something deep inside of us. So we were actually talking about this on a meeting earlier today, where it's like, we're always asking the question of how do we how do we improve the rate of success or like the speed that people have reached a certain point, and then the number of people who succeed with what we do first time and what sort of stuff. And the biggest sticking point is not actually like this stuff that people think so it's not the technicalities of ads, or funnels, or the software they use or anything like that. It's a usually a very basic self management problem of some most things that people really want to do, are incredibly difficult, and require a lot of work and require, like short term sacrifice for long term reward. So a lot of this stuff is like it can be exciting. It's the same with everything we teach, basically, whether it's ABS or business, it's not going to happen. Now. It's also not gonna happen by tomorrow. But the actions need to be done now and tomorrow, and the next day and the next day. So it's the biggest, the biggest challenge we face with helping people is ensuring they stay consistent with the basic stuff that sometimes isn't that exciting. Especially when, again, in both markets, the client in a world where the marketing implies that it's very exciting. So the marketing around improving your online fitness business is like 10 grand a day, 10 grand a month, easy, no problem. And then the fitness market, like everyone's seen fitness marketing, right around short term fixes. So that's the status quo. And we have to D train someone from thinking like that, and actually get them to think well, if you just do the following things consistently over the next 12 weeks, you'll be at this point, but you need to be consistent. So that's the SIP. I never thought that would be the case. Like I never thought that would be the the hardest part of coaching someone who are kind of the most consistent problem. But if we can just get someone to engage with the system, they get results. It's the gap that exists that we have to try and minimise.

Yeah, this is the concept of staying stupid, like, problem one is picking the right system, making sure obviously, if you pick a bad system, it's only going to make you as good as the system is. And then step two is staying stupid enough to just do the system. And when I say staying stupid, it's like not trying to be so clever that you end up like second guessing everything and overthinking and never moving forward because you're always trying to like and and we see that maybe more clearly with fitness. So with someone who's programme hopping, jumping between different programmes, or they they take a famous, you know, they take 531 and then they look at dog crap and then they look at you know, German volume training and they go right, I'm going to mix them all together and make the ultimate programme you will know like each one is a system in itself and it will work if you just do it. But trying to like make this Frankenstein doesn't work. So yeah, as Johnny says it's it's more the meta skill of just turning up and doing the thing, and not getting in your own way. And as glib as it sounds, and I you know, when I used to see this comment of people saying, how you do anything is how you do everything. And I'd always be like, Oh, yeah, great, very clever. But, but actually, the more, the more the more we've gone deep into the business stuff recently, the more that rings true,

Jingle 30:24

We hope you enjoy this episode of the Habits and Health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you're looking for deep support to create the health and life you want, we invite you to consider one-on-one coaching sessions with Tony. Coaching sessions give you personalised guidance to fit your unique goals and life situation. Only a limited number of spots are available, but you can easily get started by booking a free introductory call at Now back to the show.

Tony Winyard 30:52

You were saying Jonny about the people expecting results immediately In the last few months, it's become more and more evident to me that that applies to almost every aspects of life. You can think of it in, in like people the food they they want to eat up really nice food, regardless of how bad that might be for them. And the food that's good for them, they won't remember it might not taste great immediately. But although that's going to be better for them long term. And then it applies applies to the food that we eat. It applies to learn in a language it applies to learn in almost anything you can think of it soon.

Jonny 31:31

Yeah, it's I mean, it's something that I imagine both of us Yusef with with toy at uni. There's like a concept in favour of behavioural economics where they talk about the utility of timelines. So you know what, something's worth now versus what something is worth in the future. And how basically, one of the greatest problems in society is, it's hard to appropriately evaluate the reward received from that you receive from something today versus the reward you receive in 30 days from something so like, why is everybody not walking around with with great blood blood work? And why is disease not disease rates? Not an all time low? Well, it's because like the short term behaviours like smoking, being sedentary, overeating, over consuming calories, not exercising, has a higher short term reward. But like the difficult, The difficult thing now is the thing that's better if tourists in 30 days, right, and whoever the hell designed it to be like, that is sadistic and awful. But yeah, that's, I think it's the same thing with you know, as you say, procrastinating over a task now, because it's difficult, it's uncomfortable, you don't know what the answer is. or skipping the gym is the same problem as building a business. So whatever it is, basically. So it is unfortunately, sorry, go ahead.

Tony Winyard 32:49

Well, I was just gonna say what I find fascinating is that in a few books, I've been reading, that they've been having the same problems for the last 2000 years because our store and people like that we're talking about the same thing. Yeah, 2500 years ago, or whenever it

Jonny 33:02

was, yeah. Which I think just means where we're doomed. Aren't we like, no, if they haven't cracked in 2000 years? It's very unlikely that they're like the course you've just purchased Scott the answer. So

Yusef 33:16

well, what a damning indictment of modern modern life

Tony Winyard 33:25

returns itself me one thing I mentioned to you that I did want to touch upon at some point during the episode was recovery. And it's mostly because I know a lot of people who work out on a very frequent basis, and all different sort of skill levels of whatever it is they do. But the thing that's I come across a lot is how many people don't truly understand recovery. And these are non professional athletes. And some people think it's just a matter of taking one day off every couple of weeks, or maybe just having an afternoon off, or whatever the case may be. And they don't realise that the true growth occurs in recovery how important recovery is. So I'd love to get your take on the importance of recovery.

Jonny 34:13

Sure. So the body is built up of multiple homeostatic mechanisms that are balances on either side of a scale. And when you train, obviously, you're digging into your reserve into your recovery capacity. And I think the whole go hard or go home movement kind of ignores the fact that your ability to recover from the training volume that you accumulate, is commensurate with your ability to recover it sorry, the, the gains that you make are commensurate with the the ability to recover from that volume that you do. And so, sleep is a massive part of that, but also being able to switch on and off Have your fight flight response. The problem with modern life is that when we're sedentary when we eat dodgy foods and when we're sad our computers and we're we're, you know, we're on our phones all day and especially the notifications and the compulsive dopamine signalling that we all are thrown into with, with social media and everything. It's a recipe for anxiety. And if you look on Google Trends, for example, you can see the rates of anxiety climbing over the last 10 years like people searching for that term, even as gone through the roof. So we're, I think you're very right to say that recovery is a very unsexy, underrated topic, that is really the driver of people's progress. And so I think it comes if you want, you want to start with looking at sleep, because just something that everyone does, and most people do quite badly, despite the fact that it's a third of our life that we spend doing. And the best way to look at that is to say, what happens if we are under slept? Well, emotional regulation drops, appetite regulation is worse, we become more hungry, and we prefer naughty foods. We don't recover from our training as well, our blood glucose homeostasis is worse, our cortisol raises all these problems as a result of not sleeping properly. And then that causes us to then need more coffee, and then that affects our ability to sleep The following night, and then we create this this cycle. So a lot of people would be much better served, rather than trying to increase their training volume or worrying about training seven or six days a week to just drop, drop all that and just go a bit more minimal and focus on how can I get my, my sleep as optimised as possible. When you think of it in terms of, yes, you've got the two sides of the nervous system, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. One is mobilising all of the fatty acids and glucose and being able to draw on the energy that you have to expend it for something. But sometimes we get stuck in that. And actually, the parasympathetic is just as much required to repair and, and refill those reserves. So looking at some daily practice that you can do, ideally, double up do it before bed, and then you improve your sleep quality too, which could just be turning off all screens, closing the loops that you have with with work, stop looking at emails at a certain point of the evening, doing some stretching, winding down, maybe take some magnesium have a hot bath, all these things to just get yourself to wind down. Meditate, breathe, whatever you need to. And I think there's a much higher yield. result with that stuff than there is just digging the hole harder with training.

Tony Winyard 38:00

What would you say? Some, let's say two emergent examples. You've got one guy who's a regular runner. So he runs, I don't know, maybe each time he runs, he does 510 miles. And then you've got someone else who's doing CrossFit on a regular basis and that really going hard. If I mean, I know this is a bit like asking a question, how long is a string? But for those two examples, what, how many days? Should they be having like total rest? Or maybe respirate? Just they're not doing any workouts? But I just see them doing some stretching? I mean, would you be able to give some kind of loose advice for those kind of examples

Yusef 38:42

Go ahead, Jonny.

Jonny 38:47

Well, it might it might contradict what you're about to say, but I I'll try it, and we'll see. So I think I think it's quite, you got to be quite careful who you give that what you've just said that kind of advice, too. So I really agree with all of it. But it's, there's a fine line where it can all be taken as Ah, yeah, don't have to train Mike doesn't doesn't matter. Recovery is more important. So I think it does depend on what in the position someone's already in. So to answer the question, how would I approach that problem? Like how do I approach like mapping out a training week for someone who is a runner and a CrossFit athlete? I think the way I personally look at the balance of recovery and stimulus or recovery and training volume is like, What are you trying to improve? Or what you know which number you're trying to, like, what is the adaptation that you're trying to create? Because if if the adaptations occurring, so if if you're a runner and you're trying to improve your 10k, or if you're trying to like improve your math or whatever, the CrossFit, CrossFit type because it's it's easier to not know whether you're adopting or not, because there's no like consistent benchmarks but in my training, like if I'm adding Volume consistently, and I'm getting stronger than probably my recovery sufficient. Like if you're having consistently good training sessions, and if you're consistently improving, it's pretty difficult to do that. If you're not appropriately recovered, like so it that's why it very much depends on my view on on who you're saying that to. Because if someone's doing very low output training, or not really pushing the boundaries, it can be hard to know, well, actually, are they anywhere near the ceiling of what they could recover from with our existing a, the head of the sink analogy of like the size of the sink, the size of the flow call, the water is the volume. So you can either increase the capacity, the size of the sink, you can increase the rate of drainage? There's all this sort of ways of looking at it. But ultimately, if someone's sinks, just half full. Recovery is not really the consideration. So I would I would make the trading decision on are you are you improving or not, because if you're not improving, it might be a recovery problem. But it also might be that you're just not providing enough stimulus in the first place. So I would test both, and then arrive at this balance for your recovery capacity, because that is going to be different depending on like if someone's a hedge fund manager, and they're looking at stocks and shares until the market closes, and then waking up at 3am for when a certain market opens. Their recovery capacity is different from someone who works their own hours, etc. So I don't know whether that contradicts what you're about to say, you know,

that's a really nice analogy. And yeah, the question then is, how big is your sink? Isn't it? Because exactly the the answer that we first first gave, you know, you said, If someone's training six days a week, or should they are in the seventh, like in that situation, you've got someone who's got maybe a big thing, because they're an advanced, they've been training for a while. So they've slowly upgraded to the premium one from ocher, and Stonehouse. filling that top really, really fast, and what's happening is there's a bit of water spilling over, it's draining, they're actually doing a bit of excess volume that they can actually can they can recover from. So they're doing some wasted work. In that situation, you want to increase the drainage, improve their recovery. On the other hand, you might have someone that's got little sink, but drips of water going through and it's draining out easily. They're recovering, and they could benefit from actually a bit more volume. And then, with this hypothetical thing, if you drain enough water through the sink you It gives you money to buy a bigger sink.

So I think the best like the way to think of it is if you look at Matt Fraser, I know he's not doing CrossFit anymore, but the fittest man on earth, should he go from six days to seven days, he probably can. And it probably isn't a problem. Because he's got a huge sink, probably one of the biggest things in the world. And I'm really good drain, and he could have like a hose pipe, like a fire hose in there. And he would still be able to deal with it. So it does depend on like the starting situation, the goal. And I think most importantly, the like Northstar is if I'm doing this amount of work, and I'm improving, it's probably all fine. And you don't need to go down the rabbit hole of Am I am I recovered or not? Or should I look at my these different metrics because the it's very, very difficult to improve the skill without appropriately recovery. And so I personally I look at that and then make decisions off the back of it.

Tony Winyard 43:34

But on that day on the actual time they take to recover. Is it just a case of just total relaxation? Or is some stretches still okay on that recovery day? Or what would you say?

Jonny 43:49

there's a What's his name? Ben Ben pakulski. bodybuilder, he has got a great way of looking at this and he says even the word rest day. And there's a few actually there's a few terms in fitness like cheat day as well that I take issue with. But the word rest day he's like, I just call it parasympathetic day. You're not totally reframes it, because then it's like, oh, rather than just lying on the floor. You or you know, Netflix and Doritos. It's how can I engage my parasympathetic nervous system so you still doing work? You're still saying right I'm going to spend 30 minutes doing breath work or yoga or walking or some something that is still activity is active rest. Your you know you're getting your circulation, your heart rate going, all that kind of thing. But it's done in a way that doesn't dig into your recovery capacity, or at least compared to powerlifting or bodybuilding training. It's not digging into it with the speed. It's just taking a teaspoon and you know, something gentle to keep you moving and help help that process. Long So yeah, I would say look at parasympathetic days rather than rest days. In terms of specific activities, yet stretching fine. I know Kate Laughlin makes a distinction between stretching, and limbering. When limbering is kind of moving to the edge of your limit and kind of exploring the particular position is that you're wanting to do, but you're not going hard on the like, contract, relax and holding these positions slightly beyond your region, and so on. They're done less frequently and more intensely. The other activity you can do is walking, walking is always great. But if you've got Dom's, I find one of the best things to do. Let's say you've been squatting on Monday, and you've done a 10 by 10, slowly centric and you've been off the gym for months, and you made yourself really sore. And you've well over done your recovery capacity. On the Tuesday, you might be struggling to like sit on the toilet and stuff. So in that case, just do a set of 50 squats in the mid range of the movement with no weight, just enough to just get the blood going through the muscles and alleviate some of that soreness.

Just to add to the analogy, that ease of use there so that I think that when when I was more when I was competing a lot more in powerlifting, you would you would come across like the more serious people and the people who were like at the top of the weight class, whatever. And they basically while it's kind of professional sport, they still treated themselves like a professional athlete. But I think if you imagine tomorrow, you need to perform at your absolute best, you automatically think of today in a certain way. So you automatically think, Oh, I need to get an early night or I need to eat a certain way. There's an analogy that Kelly store at the becoming a supple leopard guy uses which is like turning the ship around. Which if you imagine like a plane lands, like an EasyJet plane lands, if it just like sat on the runway, and they didn't empty their bins and they didn't refresh things and tomorrow's I'll fly again, like it's in a pretty bad situation versus seeing it as well. What do I need to do today, for tomorrow to be a good training session? And that is the same. It's similar to what you were saying like, well, what are the things that I can do? It's not that I can't do anything. In actual fact, probably doing nothing's worse than having some kind of preparatory work in there. Whether it's like range of motion work or route specific recovery stuff, even mental recovery stuff to make to maximise on tomorrow. I think most most people I've seen who take their sport very, very seriously, look at it like that. And it's very, very rarely see them completely doing nothing for a day, which I always thought was strange, but makes sense. When you when the goal is like how do I perform on my best consistently day in day out? Like you're probably gonna have some kind of undoing or balancing the work that you did yesterday, the day before the week before?

Tony Winyard 48:03

What do you think about the sort of data that you get from these wearables on around recovery and so on? Any thoughts on

Jonny 48:11

that? I think I did a bit of a damning review of the aura ring recently, which I didn't mean it to be damning. I think it's a really cool bit of kit, like it's an amazingly interesting bit of hardware, like, for anyone that doesn't know, because if you're listening, it's a ring that you you wear, and it tracks your temperature, your heart rate, your heart rate variability, and your steps. And I tried out for a few months. And it's cool from a tech perspective, but it tells you what you already know, like, I was working night shift, and I was working night shifts, for example. And I got called to a cardiac arrest, doing compressions and my heart rate went up to like, I don't know, 110 120. But like, it's no surprise that you were in a high stress situation at two in the morning, what you've been like, you know, at the same time, if you catch a little bit of sleep, or you have a nap in it, it's tells you when you've been sleeping, and then the next day after a night shift it goes, are you You're pretty under recovered, you're like well, I know that I feel awful. So in my opinion, these tools are great to to like make us conscious of what we're doing and keeping us aware of our habits. But what would be even better to level up thought would be to develop the internal sense of feel. And usually it does correlate with that what the numbers are telling you. But if you can hone that and become really good at it, then you've developed an interoception you've developed an ability that you're carrying around with you all the time, which is pretty cool. The other problem I have with them or the And this will change if we can completely decentralised health data. Now, that's a dangerous concept, isn't it? Because if we do that, it opens up a whole bunch of worry about insurance companies and selling your data and commoditizing it and all that kind of thing. But let's assume that for research purposes, all health data was completely decentralised, completely open sourced. And it had a way of accurately tracking what people are doing, then the advances in medical science and in research will be absolutely exponential, it would be amazing. But until then, if you're just working with you and your smartwatch, and saying, like, Oh, I meditated today, and I slept a bit better, or I train today, and now like, my heart rate went up, and now I'm a bit tired. Like, we know that stuff already. Intuitively, like, it's not going to give you this like, amazing revelation. Unless we get, you know, 1000s of bits of data from millions of people.

Tony Winyard 51:06

Can you see any way that they might be able to improve that to be more reliable, more usable over the next few years?

Jonny 51:16

I think and this probably is going to happen, at some point is if Apple do it, I think Apple are probably the only company that I trust that what Johnny and I put in trust with, with this kind of thing. Just based on the fact that was it not they had a there were some kind of terror investigation, and it was locked on someone's iPhone and Apple were like, no, we're not opening it in the face of the court, which is, it's pretty cool to know that they're like, that's how much they, you know, obviously not not great for prosecuting the terrorist, but they really stand by the data privacy laws. So that would avoid some of the downsides of decentralising all health data. And they're probably the ones to do it because Apple Watches very advanced in terms of what they can track. Most people's phones truck is so many bits of data, and obviously steps and sleep and everything else. That it's probably the way to to get that sorted, as you said, Hmm.

Tony Winyard 52:21

Have you got any? What suggestions would you give to listeners as regards to habits and creating habits that are useful in terms of your sort of health and fitness that you've certainly been helping your clients with? Maybe? Yeah,

Jonny 52:43

it's quite hard to distil it down into a few things, I guess the set a habit that I think is pretty helpful, which actually ties back into the track of the wearables thing. I think the recovery side of wearables does not, I can just make with what you just said, like, I think it's not, the accuracy is not there yet, to be able to rely on something, you have to look at something in the morning and say, Yes, I'm not going to train today. Because there's just too much, there's too much variance and too much error in that. What I personally use wearables for is like, to ensure that I'm ticking boxes. So I think we, as we discussed before, like, just getting enough sleep is such a, it's such a grandparent piece of advice, isn't it, like make sure you get your eight hours, but it really is the thing that, you know, forget your gratitude journal and your green tea or your bulletproof coffee, whatever, like just getting eight hours of deep sleep in a night will completely change how you feel on a day. I think I see not being sedentary as, as a similar thing. So if I spend all day kind of like SAT, sat in the same position, not moving. You know, maybe I'll do a training session. But largely, I'm just like, satin so much. And I get not very much sleep, I tend to feel pretty rubbish. And that tends to compound and I feel worse and worse. So what I use a wearable for I just use a Fitbit, and I just track like a weekly step target and see a daily sleep target. And I don't think of it in any more detail than that. You know, as long as I'm ticking the box, like am I moving enough? Yep. Am I sleeping enough? Yeah, forget about it. And the wearable just allows me to make sure those things are happening. Because I think without that information, I'm not you know, as you saying like on the extreme ends, you'll know, like on the extreme, if you're completely sedentary, you'll know. If you're not getting enough sleep and you're very under under slept, you'll know. But I think both of those things have this creeping effect where you're getting like six hours, 56 hours, 46 hours, 36 hours 50 and you convince yourself more and more that it's okay, I don't need any more sleep, or before you know it, you're doing like 300 steps a day, but it's declined steadily over time. So it just is It's a way of enabling a level of consistency. So I'd say those two habits, if you do nothing else, like obviously, there's all the nutritional stuff, all the training stuff that has to I think match the person's goal. But I don't think there's anybody that I would work with that I would say, be totally sedentary and get no sleep. Like, it doesn't matter whether you're literally irrelevant of the goal. It is. It is those two things are the other things are the boxes are tick every day. So those would be the habits.

Tony Winyard 55:32

You got any thoughts on that Yusef?

Yusef 55:35

Yeah, I agree. The power of the creep is, is pretty high. And it's, that's why like, we recommend people track the intake, for example, on, you know, My Fitness Pal. More recently, I've been using chronometer used to be old Oppo used like 10 or 11 years ago, and it's still going and actually, now that they've got a full barcode scanner, everything, I think it's better than My Fitness Pal. But as an aside, we recommend people do that. until they get really good at being able to like Eric Helms jokes about like, people being able to look at a potato and saying that 112 grammes, or, you know, like really accurate, and then you graduate from having to do that, because you got a good feel for it. Even when someone's an absolute Jedi Master, and they're able to just intuitively know what kind of macros they're eating or whatever, still recommend just occasionally, just track a random day. And just check that what you thought you've eaten matches up with what you have eaten, because it's very easy for overtime, just that drift to occur. And for you to just gradually be overreaching even by like one or 200 calories that will compound over a year or so. But just to have little checkpoints where you're like, hang on, am I still in line with reality here?

Tony Winyard 57:01

Well, if people want to find out more about you, where are the best places to look.

Jonny 57:08

So the two kind of hubs of what we do would be if you're interested in the fitness side of the advice we give the coaching we do, the products we have, it is If it's more the business side, it is with a funny story about the dash, and then we have podcasts for both. So if you'd like to listen to the podcasts, it's on the respective websites. There's further training and downloads as we have a macro calculator calorie calculator if you'd like to get that as well. But yeah, those two websites are the places to go.

Tony Winyard 57:43

And now I'm intrigued. about the funny story about the dash?

Jonny 57:48

Yeah, the the guy who was selling just propane, I think wanted 30 grand for the domain. So we were like, we'll have to give it a pass on this time.

It's the fact that Hank from King of the Hill, runs a propane business runs a propane gas business. So like the propane business podcast, couldn't get that propane business, we get a lot of Google search results for people searching for that propane business. So it's just very unfortunate that we didn't give it more thought when we expanded into business coaching that propane business maybe isn't the best thing to call it. But I guess we've got a we've got a story out of it. So both both of the business names started out as like, either a joke, which propane fitness was a joke that then turned into a 10 year saga. And propane business was a like a, it was an altar call, or a quick thing or something. That great podcast material.

So it just shows that if you want to set up a business, just pick the crappiest name that you can and it's guaranteed to do well.

Yusef 58:58

There you go.

Tony Winyard 59:01

Listen, just before we finish, I want to get both of your takes on Is there a book in the last few months or the last year or so that has really grabbed you for whatever reason that you would recommend to anyone listening?

Yusef 59:16

So for me, it's been essentialism by Greg McKeown and I think I mentioned that a bit earlier. It's a book that I a friend of ours, Chris kept prodding me to read it. And it looks a bit pop psychology, pop business can't really like I bet it's the kind of books that you can just summarise on one page. And you know, just do it Do one thing. And then, but actually, it digs deep into the practical applications of what it means to be an essentialist. And I'm very glad that I did. I think that's just because it's a book that met me at the right time. I was very and still I'm battling with being very fragmented in my focus with do lots of things. And it's just been a really good reminder for me. So I think over the last year, that's been a big one for me.

Jonny 1:00:10

I think we, because we spoke about this recently, and then we both arrived at the idea that the books we keep coming back to say the books we keep recommending to people, books will read multiple times, aren't like a single concept. It's like, an almost like a way of living or an operating system. So like atomic habits is a good example of that. Like, if all you did for the rest of your life was just apply what's in atomic habits, probably do quite well, quite a lot of things. A thing that I've, over the last year that's had, the biggest impact on me is a really, really ancient book really, in the context of like self improvement, which is just getting things done by David Allen. rereading that, and actually putting it all into practice. In a digital sense, I don't go around with with a label or in a Filofax, and all that sort of stuff. But the digital version of having a capture process having like a clear reminders, you can because you know, everything you need to do in a system is has such an impact on a day to day. So yeah, I'd highly recommend reading that if he's not read that if any of your listeners haven't read that. Highly recommend giving that a

Tony Winyard 1:01:18

try to use it. It's been a pleasure for the last hour. Thank you for for generously sharing all your knowledge and your experience. It's been a great pleasure. It's

Jonny 1:01:29

been a lot of fun. Yeah, thanks for having us on.

Tony Winyard 1:01:33

Next week, Episode 13, with Professor Vincent Walsh of University College London. He's a professor in human brain research and applied cognitive neuroscience. And he says his goal is to use neuroscience to improve high performance in sport, the high pressure decision making and advanced human brain stimulation in cognition and health. And he's particularly interested in sleep plasticity and extending classical findings to older people. And it's a fascinating discussion we have around sleep around learning around the brain. Yeah, I really, really enjoyed this maybe one of the best episodes ever. So that's next week, Episode 13 with Professor Vincent Walsh. I hope you've enjoyed this week's show with Johnny and Yousef. If you've got value from this, please do share it with someone who you think would also really appreciate some of the great information and suggestions and knowledge that Johnny and usif shared rivers, why not subscribe, and have a great week. See you next week.

Jingle 1:02:39

Thanks for tuning in to the Habits and Health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at TonyWinyard.comm. See you next time on that habits and health podcast.

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