Physics & Psychology of Injury Avoidance

There’s nothing less sexy than listening to two guys talk about safety for 45 minutes, but do you enjoy being injured?

Yeah, we thought so…

In this episode, Jarlo pulls from his decades as a physical therapy clinician to help you understand the physical conditions that lead to injury and the mental tools you need to stay safe, even while pushing your capabilities to get stronger.

A few topics covered:

DOMS, or muscle soreness – what it means and how to manage itTrauma – what causes it and how to avoid itRepetitive stress – the mindset shift you need to prevent it from causing problems

Click here to see all our podcast episodes.

👉 Get involved! Join the Board of Directors 👈

Vote on show topics, ask questions, and be part of the GMB community.

Resources mentioned

Understanding Your Injury & The 4 Common Types of Exercise InjuriesThe GMB Method – Our Proven Path to Total Physical ConfidenceLocomotion Exercises to Build Strength and Agility

Transcript of Physics & Psychology of Injury Avoidance

Andy: Welcome to the GMB Go Melt Butter podcast show. Today we’re going to be talking about a lot of important stuff related to pain and related to safety. And how we figure that into GMB. So, I’m Andy and Jarlo is with me today.

Jarlo: Hello, hello, everyone.

Andy: So, if you are new to the GMB world, then Jarlo is our physical therapist researcher. Has worked with many, many, many thousands of people physically in person on helping them overcome all kinds of injuries and things. And also, applying what we do.

Jarlo: It is true. I was thinking about it. So, I passed the 20 year mark last year. So, I think I’ve hit 21 years. And yeah, literally thousands of people, it’s crazy. I was even in a clinic … It depends on your clinic and your hospital where you’re at, but that wasn’t a place for a number of years where I saw four to five new people in a day. That was in addition to the eight to twelve people I saw that were regular clients. This is a 10-12 hour shift, so that’s kind of why there’s so many. But even then, in a clinic where I was, a regular eight hours a day is still a good 10 patients a day. It’s crazy.

Andy: So, just to put that in perspective too. You talk about practice and you talk about getting good at something. There’s a lot to be said for academic study and you’ve done a good bit of that as well. We now live in this information age where everyone can go on WebMD and Wikipedia and understand everything there is to know about anatomy and injury and all this stuff. But it’s a lot different from when you’re actually spending 10 hour days working with many people and getting your reps in, so to speak, on helping people with these issues.

Jarlo: Right. And there’s nothing wrong with WebMD and Google and Wikipedia.

Andy: Hell no. Learning is great.

Jarlo: Yeah. And it’s so much better than it used to be. When you would just have to take your healthcare professional’s word at face value. That’s not good either.

Andy: Or your weird uncle who once sprained his uncle and now knows everything there is to know about rehab, right?

Jarlo: Right. Or yeah, you have to depend on who went through it and they tell you what it is. So, it is. It’s a double-edged sword as the cliché goes.

Andy: Yeah. So, today we’re going to specifically talk about the safety and keeping yourself safe from injury. We’re going to talk about some of the mechanics behind it and we’re going to talk about some of the things sort of psychological and neurological, that also feed into this. And how we address that within our training and how you can learn some things that can help keep you safe in whatever you’re trying to do. I mean, at different levels. Extreme athleticism there’s a high risk of injury, but also for people that are coming out of a sedentary kind of situation, also a higher risk of injury. So, we’re going to get into that. What are some of the specifics we’re going to talk about?

Jarlo: Like we keep mentioning to people that email us or we talk to in different seminars. We’ve been doing this for a number of years now. GMB itself … where are we at? About nine years now. Before that, Ryan was coaching lots of people for a year. You were teaching and coaching before you were in your teens. Same time maybe with martial arts and with physical therapy. But also what we’ve had now is many years of straight up support. Like, people emailing us, messaging us, and literally tens of thousands.

Andy: I’d probably say multiple hundreds of thousands of direct messages.

Jarlo: Yeah. And so, that gives us … If you’re going to talk about science and evidence, that’s true data. That is true data. And it’s not anecdotal when you’re seeing more than and equals one. People are like, “Oh, it’s anecdotal.”

Andy: Well, each one is anecdotal, but when you start to suss out patterns over thousands of anecdotes then it becomes a research study in its own right.

Jarlo: That’s pretty much science, right

Andy: It’s like science adjacent.

Jarlo: It’s science informed, I think is the saying now. So, we’ll share. Well, specifics we can talk. We’re not going to say names of these people, but the really common things are people, they feel like … They come in and they write us, “I got hurt doing this” or “I started your program but three days later I got so sore I couldn’t move. What happened? Did I hurt myself?” That’s very common. It’s common enough that we’ve trained our trainers and support staff to answer these correctly, factually, and with empathy for these people.

Jarlo: So, one of the things to do is to analyze, well, when they say they’re injured and they got hurt, what does that mean to the person and what does that mean for us to try and help them?

Andy: Like, objectively versus subjectively?

Jarlo: Right, right. And so, one of the things I think maybe we can start by talking about it is the dawn to the late onset muscle soreness. You know, the exercise soreness that everybody is aware of when they first start something new or even they do a little bit more than they’re used to.

Jarlo: So, this if we were going to classify in this injury categorization, this is when it’s overused. So, overuse is when your body used to a certain level of activity. And then, it’s the weekend warrior thing. It’s like when you’re doing your stuff, you got a regular job. And then, you go and you play a little bit of basketball or you play a pickup game of basketball on Saturday. And you’re doing good, you feel good. And then, the next day you wake up and you’re like, “What truck hit me on the way home?”

Andy: “Did somebody get the license tag number? Did I get hit by a bus?”

Jarlo: This is a real case. So, you’re just overzealous. You have a starting condition of a particular level. And you think you’re fine. You maybe feel fine during the activity. And then, it hits you later on and this is very common.

Andy: When you get into it, it’s fun. We all know psychologically too our feelings around something can change our experience. And when you’re having fun, you don’t realize how much you’re exerting yourself. People stop and pant for a couple of minutes and be like, “Oh man, I’m so worn out” but you still keep going because you like it.

Jarlo: Especially you go on to a site, like ours, and you look at a program. You’re like, “Ooh, that’s great. This is exactly what I need.” You’re excited. You buy it. You start it. And you’re not going to go in and just do a couple of minutes and go “Oh that’s too much.” You are. Like you said, you’re excited, you’re ready to go, you feel good. And so, an example of that is just that. And then, people email us and they’re like, “Oh man, what did I do wrong? I followed exactly what your program said. I followed it exactly as it said.” And we’re like, “Yeah, you probably did, but you are also probably just unfortunately not ready for it.” And so, one of our answers is do half of what you did, progress slowly from there, but most of all, just don’t stop. Don’t feel like you have to stop and “Oh, I got to go to the doctor.”

Jarlo: So, this is the thing. Everybody is like, “Oh, stop. Go to the doctor, go to the therapist.” Yes. I mean, you can’t go wrong with saying that, but you can also go wrong with saying that because what are you going to do? Make somebody stop a pretty reasonable exercise program and say, “Don’t do anything at all. Wait two weeks to go to the doctor again, x-ray.” That’s also malicious advice, I think.

Andy: It is. It is because what you’re doing is you’re creating expectations that a person is broken or needs to be at a 100% level before they can begin to even do simple things. But I mean, it sounds really simple advice. Just do half and build gradually back up. But this is exactly what’s done with pharmaceuticals and dosing.

Jarlo: Exactly.

Andy: There’s no exact, precise science of just how much you need. You have to try it and trial and error is the way that you adjust dosage. So, it only makes sense that for physical activity, that would also be viable.

Jarlo: And the same thing with medicine is that you don’t stop it. The doctor says, “Oh okay, don’t take it. And don’t take anything else. Obviously, nothing is going to help you.” Unless you’re fully allergic or fully whatever, but that’s not the case here. And this is critical thinking here. So, this is something that it’s when everyone is like, “Oh, they’re always going to say it depends. Well, that’s what it is, man.” I mean, come on now. We could make soundbites here and there and that’s awesome. Soundbites sells products.

Andy: Mm-hmm. And they help people sometimes.

Jarlo: Right. They help people sometimes.

Andy: But they can be distracting.

Jarlo: Of course they’re going to help people sometimes. A broken clock is right twice a day. So, what are you going to do? I think that’s a really common example. We can talk little bit more about … So, I mentioned these classifications of injury. So, another one is trauma. It’s just everyone gets that. You fall or you break your arm or you trip and you sprain your ankle. By definition, it’s an injurious event.

Jarlo: In terms of exercise, I mean, we can say all these things. Like, say, you’re doing martial art or you’re playing basketball or you’re playing soccer. Someone runs into you. Someone does that stuff. Of course, that’s an example of trauma. But when we’re talking about exercise and then solo exercise like we’re doing in our programs, it happens for a few reasons. Your body, you have a lack of control, the forces that are upon you when you say you do a jump or you even do a cartwheel or something like that. You have a lack of control there. And then, where is that from? Well, maybe it’s a little bit of poor technique, poor form. You weren’t ready to do the thing or you just jumped into it. So, all this stuff is relative to what your physical capacity is and how resilient you are. If you’re really new to things.

Jarlo: A good example is we do locomotion, right? We do the bear crawls, we do monkeys, and all that stuff. That’s on your hands. People aren’t used to being on our hands.

Andy: Most people are not.

Jarlo: Most people are not. So, if you jump into it and try to do all these things that you see on Instagram, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen?

Andy: It’s funny with that example too because we have our wrist routine that is one of our most popular YouTube videos. We get so many comments from people asking, “This seems like a lot of work for wrist prep. Is this really necessary?” I mean it’s not for most people for all the time, but especially for handstands or locomotion work, yes, absolutely.

Jarlo: Absolutely. Well, unless, this is also we get a whole volume of emails, unless you are a car mechanic, unless you are a plumber. Unless you’re someone that really uses their … I had a patient years and years ago. He was a farrier. He shoed horses. This guy’s wrist and hands were strong as anything. Crazy, right?

Andy: That gets into your third category you had is repetitive stuff because a lot of these things, they build up strengths, but at the same time, it’s through doing the same things again and again and again.

Jarlo: Right, right. This is a good distinction I think for everyone listening to understand and probably relate to themselves. So, when we talked about overuse, which is like the weekend warrior thing. The overuse is activities that are beyond your current physical capacity to perform once.

Jarlo: Right. You did too much of once. It happens in one day. Repetitive stress is you did too much over time. So, that’s the distinction. You could probably do a thing once or twice, and then, rest, and then, come back to it a couple of weeks later and you might be fine. But then, say, you start engaging in an exercise program … or not even an exercise program, like a new physical hobby, whatever that is. Sports thing or dancing or all these things. And you don’t pay attention to what’s really happening to you. You’re like, “Oh, I feel fine. Oh, it’s a little niggle there. There’s a little tweak. Then I’m fine.” It goes away after a couple of hours. So, you do the same thing. And then, the stuff adds up. So, that’s repetitive stress.

Andy: I’ll also say that we tend to come up with a lot of sports or physical activity related examples of these things, but it’s just as true for other things. Like think about if you’ve gone through your life as most people do doing normal stuff until you’re 35 and you take up guitar. And you’re holding this seven pound hunk of wood and metal from a strap around your neck and holding up with your hand, trying to make these weird finger positions, and create pressure with your fingers. And then, your other arm, the elbow is working in ways that it’s never had to before. So, it’s just an example of when you go from zero to spending 15-20 minutes up to an hour a day doing something that is different. You do that continually, you do start to build in this case both novel stresses and repetitive stress that you aren’t used to.

Jarlo: Right. And we’re always walking a fine line between conditioning and repetitive stress because I fully believe that you can condition yourself to do almost anything, but it is such a fine line.

Andy: What’s the risk reward of doing so for some of these?

Jarlo: Exactly. Exactly. A really common thing … Well, not really common thing, but a thing that people can maybe relate to, either they went through it themselves or they know people, is the military bootcamp thing. So, the military bootcamp, there is … Well, again, I don’t know specifics.

Andy: I have not personally done this.

Jarlo: I have not personally done it. I don’t know how it is now. I’ve heard stories and I’ve had patients. I actually worked in an army hospital for one of my internships, but the whole thing is, there is no grades to it. You’re plopped in there. You’re put a 40 pound pack on you’re like, “Okay, you got to do three miles and come back.” And people either do well, they lose weight, they gain strength. But there’s also a very high percentage of people that just get hurt. They just hurt. And so, what do you do with that? You can always say, “Well, look at this guy” or “Look, at this woman. She did fine.” So, obviously the program is fine. “This other person that didn’t do well, well, just weak. He’s just weak. Oh well. Get to it. Get there until you get stronger.” That’s the one extreme.

Jarlo: The other one is that you carefully build up. You carefully build up. And then, you can do anything. Look at all these people running 50, 75, 100 miles.

Andy: Yeah. Ultra marathons is a whole weird world. I’m not going to get into whether or not I think that’s necessarily healthy, but you can train yourself to do it.

Jarlo: Yeah. Also shows the capacity, physical capacity, that humans can have. There’s humans walking around that lift a 1000 pounds. I think there’s about six of these guys now. Yeah. There’s a half dozen people in the world that we know of … there might be other people.

Andy: Might be more.

Jarlo: That can literally lift half a ton.

Andy: Just pick up a 1000 pounds from the floor.

Jarlo: Yeah. Unreal, right? And then, you have on the other spectrum. You have a person that can run a 100 miles. It’s unbelievable what we can do. We are both very capable and very fragile.

Andy: Yeah. So, let’s talk about trying to optimize for the capabilities while avoiding the risks of fragility.

Jarlo: Yeah. That’s basically what is. That’s the holy grail, isn’t it? That’s why everybody wants to train and it’s wonderful now when we talk about functional training. I’m working with our buddies and doing all these things. These are all relatively new things in modern culture.

Andy: Yeah. Especially if you look historically. I mean, there was no concept of this 100 years ago. Not even close. Even 50 years ago you had people specifically training to get better at different things, athletically outside of just happening to get stronger faster, whatever. But the degree to which they were able to be specific about that or apply to a certain outcome was a lot more limited than what we do now.

Jarlo: Right. It was pretty niche. You were either training to be a marathon runner or training to be even like a body builder or a weight lifter or a tennis player. Any of that. It’s only been very recently that people think everyone should be strong and healthy and enduring. And then, that’s when we start having problem because who do you look to as a normal human being, a regular person, that’s not a professional athlete. Who are you looking to to provide you with that information? And what’s available out there? Well, it’s these other people. It’s these professional athletes. People that do it as their jobs and as their lives. And so, unfortunately they might not be the best people to tell you how to do things.

Andy: Right. So, let’s get into talking a little bit about physically, mechanically, how injury happens. And then, how that … Well, how to mitigate some of that, the safety issue of bringing it. How to avoid some of these things. How do injuries happen and how can we try to limit that.

Jarlo: Well, one of the reasons why in our method, the GMB method, we talk about the three primary attributes, which are human capability, the strength, flexibility, and motor control. And people have argued with this and are like, “What do you mean by strength? Or what do you mean by flexibility? And what do you mean by control? And what about endurance? And what about coordination?” All of these things. Well, these three things, first of all, they’re pretty intuitive. And it’s not that we’re saying, oh, strength has to be speed strength or strength endurance or absolute maximum strength. There are all these things. If you are walking around and you’re walking around and you try to lift something, like some groceries, while in your other hand you’re trying to make sure your kid doesn’t run through the street, that’s strength. That’s strength.

Jarlo: If you’re trying to … I love this one … fix your toilet or go on with a snake, you got to be flexible enough to do that. And control, motor control, is this fancy word. Everybody is like, “Oh, you got to do all these things. You got to have balls flying in your face. You got to move your stuff around it” and all these things that I see now. Yeah, that’s true. But really is can you balance yourself while you’re picking something up off the shelf? Can you do something while also looking around to make sure you’re safe? These are controls.

Andy: Can you walk around the living room strewn with toys and other hazards without tripping over something?

Jarlo: Absolutely. These are the real things. The more people try to critique it and drill down into it … And that’s what I mean by who you’re listening to. Who you’re listening to and what are their motivations and what are their things for their definitions. And not saying there’s anything wrong with it. But there’s a difference between someone who’s competing in the crossfit games and these guys and women are amazing. It’s different what their needs are versus … And your doctor told you you got to exercise now or you’re going to have a heart attack in 10 years. I had a friend. That’s what his doctor told him. It’s like, “You’re going to have a heart attack in 10-15 years.” So, what does that mean for you when you talk about these things?

Andy: Yeah. Also just say, just real quick a side on that topic, anyone who wants to lecture you on the semantic difference between flexibility and mobility, pretty much has some kind of stake in selling you something related to mobility.

Jarlo: Or flexibility.

Andy: Just going to leave it right there.

Jarlo: Right. And even they know. They understand what they’re talking about. They understand. But it’s a hook. It’s a hook. Also, not to say that they aren’t important distinctions, but really what does it mean for me? You have to look at it that. If everyone listening here just goes, “Okay. What does that mean for me?” That’s all you have to ask yourself.

Jarlo: So, in terms of us, we can in our method and working with our clients and creating our programs, that’s what we look at. We look at strength, flexibility and control. Improving the breadth. Sometimes the depths of one skill versus the other. But if we can improve it to that certain level where you are not bullet proof or unbreakable, impervious to trauma. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re saying is that these are classifications of injury. Let’s say, trauma. Let me talk about that. You can condition yourself to have a better, say, experience when you fall. We can go the really extreme route. There’s people that have osteoporosis, osteopenia where their bones are actually not as strong, not as dense. And the solution is to do load-bearing exercise. Maybe take medications and to have that happen.

Andy: And to build your control and balance and ability to slow and soften those falls when they happen.

Jarlo: Right. So, those are the things you have. This sort of medical approach to fix your structure. Then you have all of these other things that you can work on to either prevent or mitigate that trauma. And so, within ourselves, we can say, “Do I have the strength so that when I am running or jogging and I trip or I hit a pothole, do I have that kind of flexibility and that strength to survive that?” To get an injury that it’s bad. You sprained it. But it’s not so bad that you broke your ankle or you broke your elbow falling the way wrong way or you hit your head as you fall. So, that’s something there where you can talk about … I hate it when people are like, “If you do this routine, you’re never going to sprain your ankle. If you do this routine, your elbows are going to be steel cables” or shit like that. I hate that.

Andy: Complete bullshit.

Jarlo: Right. It is complete fricking bullshit. You get in a car accident, but you’ve done all these routines.

Andy: You will absolutely survive.

Jarlo: You will absolutely survive.

Andy: Not a scratch.

Jarlo: Not a scratch. The laws of physics no longer apply to you because you’ve done these routines.

Andy: Yup. Three easy payments of 19.95. It’s incredible.

Jarlo: So, all I’m trying to do or all we’re trying to do is inject a little bit of critical thinking into this process. That’s why, yes, if you’re stronger, if you’re a little bit more flexible, you’re going to be a little bit more resilient. And you can do that over time. And also, when you mentioned earlier, the balance and the coordination all that. That’s something that people actually are just understanding more now, again, outside of the rehab world.

Jarlo: When we talk about overuse and repetitive stress, this is something that, again, it seems pretty obvious and common sense. Like, “Oh, you did too much for today” or “You’re doing too much over time.” But how do you actually regulate that?

Andy: Right.

Jarlo: Right. So, how do you …

Andy: How do you know that it’s too much before you wake up the next day feeling like
you got hit by a truck?

Jarlo: Exactly. Exactly. And so, one of these things that we do is we always talk about quality of performance and how much effort you’re doing. And always emphasizing … This is another thing. It’s like, “We have to have perfect form” or “Your technique has to be solid.” Again, that’s not what we’re looking for. Otherwise you can do anything because you’re learning how to do something and we’re telling you you have to be perfect while you’re learning how to do it. My brain just exploded.

Andy: Not quite an oxymoron, but it’s at least unreasonable.

Jarlo: At least unreasonable. So, that’s why you have all these things. You’re like, “Okay. I’m going to teach you progression. I’m going to teach you how to slowly build up to it.” That’s the awesome thing now about the internet and social media and all these things because to see all of these dozens of progression, dozens of scaling down or scaling up. That’s super important. Of course, of course. But there’s also how you approach that particular movement. It’s also how you think about it and how you judge yourself doing it. So, it could be that. Like, “Oh, I’m doing the simplest version of whatever movement is out there. I’ve looked it up. I’ve looked at the progression. And the first YouTube I saw, it has this thing.” And that’s awesome. It’s probably safer than jumping into a handstand or jumping into whatever, a back flip. But what does it really mean to do that movement? What does the quality? How are you judging the quality of that movement? And so, we talk about that, rating a performance, rating your quality.

Andy: But I think that to give a non-exercise idea of this too, we tend to think that these progressions, well, they come from some master coach who obviously knows everything and that this is the one set in stone way to do it. So, you have to do exercise one, then two. And then, you jump from two to number three. There’s no 2.5. there’s no 2b that’s a little to the heft of that. It’s a straight line. Is the way we work through it, but that’s not really repeatable in things that aren’t a carefully crafted program.

Andy: So, how can you learn to progress your level or reduce the exertion so you don’t hit that overuse threshold, right? How can you reduce the level while still playing your basketball game? Because that’s the example. You’re in the middle of this basketball game. You start to realize, “Oh man, I’m not built up for this. I’m going to wear myself out.” What can you do to finish the second half of that game, and so, have fun without pushing yourself past that point. Well, that’s where really understanding progression and regression comes in because you can say, “You know what? I’m not going to spread down anymore. I don’t have that.” Or “I’m going to lay off some of these jumps and I’ll let someone else take the rebound. I’m not a professional. It’s okay. I’m going to take all my shots from the floor now.” You can do these things that it seems like they’re very small, but they are regressing the amount of effort that you have to put in, the exertion that you have to put in to complete the activity that you’re doing.

Andy: And that is what is really important. It’s not just an exercise thing, but it’s how that teaches you to adjust up or down in this semi-linear, but also a lot more discrete, or less discrete, than most people try to make it out progression thing. You’re not just jumping from level one to two. There’s a lot of gray area in between there. And you should feel fine adjusting that up or down depending on how you are performing.

Jarlo: Absolutely. This kind of relates back to talking about how physical culture started and what the majority of the time it’s been. And it’s been for sports. That’s why we have so many examples been for sports, been for these kind of competitive activities. And so, right there, there’s the mindset and say you’re working out at home. You’re starting a program. Even though you are not a professional athlete, or doing a sport, the mindset is there already because that’s all you’ve seen and you’ve all had exposure to. It’s like winning. I have to do more. I have to do this. And so, that mindset is actually a detriment to you because you can’t do what you just said and what you said about being aware of my quality of movement. And oh no, I can feel it. I couldn’t just go ahead and do a few more.

Andy: I’m just going to finish up today.

Jarlo: I got to run down there and get that ball, so the other team doesn’t make a point. So, we got to win this game. Oh yeah, we won this game, but then, now you’re so sore you can’t move for two days. That’s not winning. That is not #winning. And so, these markers right there, I think, are something you can relate to and think about right away too is “Am I breathing too hard for what I’m actually doing? I don’t have that control when I’m landing.” It’s like, “Oh I really felt that in my knee that time. It wasn’t too bad and it went away, but the next time …”

Andy: Yeah. So, “Oh, I felt something in my knees, so I’m going to do a four more hard jumps because that’s what’s on the schedule. This is material that you’re always saying is the most difficult word, I think, in our vocabulary is appropriate. How does someone know what’s appropriate for them? It goes back to what you’re saying about just cutting the volume in half and building that up slowly. It’s really hard when you think the program tells you one thing or you’re supposed to be able to do something to come back and say, “I feel like this is the right level for me and I’m not ready to go the full reps or the full time or as hard as I would like.”

Jarlo: Right. And that’s why in our programs, we either have this repetition and set range where we’re like, “Hey, we put two to five sets of six reps to twelve.” And people are like, “So, which one do I do? Which one do I do? Why are they a range? Why aren’t you telling me three sets of six? Or four sets of two? Why aren’t you telling me that?” We don’t know. Actually, you don’t know until the day it happens. And then, that could actually change … That’s real and mindful thinking. That’s why it takes a little bit more time, but it’s also a much more valuable use of your time than “Oh look, this spreadsheet tells me I should be able to do 67.5% of this repetition maximum right now.” And so, we have in our programs we have these ratings of quality, ratings of ease. You could do it from one 1-10 or 1-5, 5 being the best. But we started talking about it a little bit more descriptively. We’re snappy. We’re solid.

Jarlo: And then, in terms of exertion. Well, how hard should you train?. Not like we don’t want you to work out hard or train hard. You should when you’re capable of it. But if you’re hitting 10 hard and you’re just dying every time, every exercise, that’s not right.

Andy: Ultimately, what’s the goal? Do you want to be able to do just, say, for example, 10 reps and it took literally everything out of you? Is that better than you do 10 reps and you can probably do 10 more? Which one is better? The second one is clearly better, so why do we value this all out effort? You need to put in effort to get to the point where it’s easy. But the goal is still for it to be easy.

Jarlo: And that’s the nuance of it because we should. We should value hard work. We should value hard consistent effort over time. That’s the formulas for success. But look at that over time variable. The hardest you can work out right now, yes, that’s great and good for you and it probably give you a little bit of good mental strength, but you can’t do it tomorrow. You can’t do it next week. Or worse, and this has happened to people. You can’t do it for another month or two. You are not better.

Andy: No.

Jarlo: You did not win that workout.

Andy: Right. Cool. I think this starts to get us into the psychology of things.

Jarlo: Oh yeah. Everything is psychology though, right?

Andy: Sure.

Jarlo: Everything is your brains. We are just jelly wrapped in a meat.

Andy: Just for context, Jarlo believes in the simulation theory and is actively counting down to the singularity. So, this is the culture bubble that he’s living in when he says this.

Jarlo: I’m just waiting so I can upload my consciousness into whatever bio form …

Andy: Massive AI.

Jarlo: Right. I can’t wait. But well, that’s what I mean by everything is psychology. That’s what it is though. You’re buying these physical training programs and you’re looking up and being inspired by people doing things. It’s because you have the desire to improve yourself, which is awesome. But you have a desire to improve yourself. And that automatically brings in all of these psychological components. The winning mindset. Winning or beating. Even what is that cliché? I don’t have to beat the guy next to me. I only have to beat myself.

Andy: You’re being chased by a bear, you just have to beat the slowest person.

Jarlo: They still have that mentality. Even if you’re not worried about someone else, which come on now. Everyone is worried about the person next to them doing better than you are. Are you a monk in the mountain?

Andy: You can talk about playing your own game and it’s important to build that self confidence. I mean, that’s a theme of what we’re trying to do too, but we are social animals.

Jarlo: We are social animals. One other reason why we’re doing these things and a desire to improve ourselves is because we have families or we have loved ones or we have people around us that we want to be better for. And so, again, this is all nuance stuff. This is all very hard to talk about and not having a nice quote overlaid over a mountain. And so, that’s why we have these podcasts and we have these things we can actually talk for a little bit longer than 20 seconds.

Andy: Yeah. So, a lot of this stuff, when you’re working out and when you’re training yourself physically, you understand that you’re conditioning your body. But a lot of times, we don’t realize that we’re also conditioning our minds. And so, this is why it’s important when you think about undoing this to beat the next guy, of doing this to beat my body into submission, I’m doing this to overcome my weakness, or whatever. All of these messages that we tell ourselves are things that we are conditioning ourselves to do. So, we look at these athletes, we look at these coaches, and that’s also conditioning our belief of what’s possible for us. But the way that we’re thinking of these things as we do it is also conditioning the way that we think about it, which changes our proclivity towards pushing ourselves too hard or trying something that we’re not prepared to do, putting ourselves in an unsafe position because someone told us that we should just fucking man up, right?

Jarlo: Exactly. And so, that’s what we mean by the psychology of it. It’s not that “Oh we have to go to therapy and do all these things before you can even exercise.”

Jarlo: Another thing which is very useful is people are like, “Okay. What is your motivation? What is your why?” And I think that’s great. It’s awesome. But it’s also doesn’t have to be that granular and that specific and making you cry before you work out. I’m being facetious there, but you know how it can go. We always tend to over complicate things. We always, we always, we always.

Andy: You don’t need a grandiose vision of the uberman or uberlady that you’re going to become, or the perfect example for your children or whatever. You don’t need that in order to take small steps to improving yourself.

Jarlo: And that’s what it is. What can you do right now and you ask yourself that. Or what am I really doing this for? And then, whatever pops into your head for that second. “I just want to feel a little bit better” or “Man, I’m thinking my stomach’s a little bigger than it should be.” That’s fine. I don’t think you need to analyze it further than that, but then you have to think for yourself, “What does that really mean? And does that mean I have to kill myself for it?” And the answer is no. It’s almost always no, unless, again, your doctor says you’re going to have freaking heart attack so you better go walk in that treadmill at least five minutes.

Jarlo: And that’s always the answer too. It’s like some people always they email us, they’re like, “How do I get motivated? I’m doing good, I’m working three, four, five times a week, but some days I just don’t want to do it.” And that statement right there. They’re saying they’re doing three, four, five times a week, but they just don’t want to do it one day. What’s in that statement? Well, maybe you can take that day off.

Andy: Maybe you do it two or three times a week instead and see how that feels.

Jarlo: Exactly. And so, that’s the critical thinking work. But as opposed to someone who’s saying, and we had this email in particular, “I’m about 300 pounds. It takes me a long time to even get up the stairs. Can I do your program? I’m really motivated.” And we had to say, “Probably not. Probably you have to work on just little bit more working on your diet. I gave him … or him or her, I forget … I gave them a pretty good thing to follow for a little bit. That’s the difference between saying, this other person saying, they’re pretty regular working out. They just have a little lack of motivation for a day or two. I’m not going to tell this other person that’s overweight like, “Oh, maybe you should listen … don’t do anything then.”

Andy: Yeah. So, it’s tough. If someone’s having trouble walking upstairs, well then, jumping into an exercise program might be too much. They might just need to walk on a flat surface more while continuing to improve their diet, their sleep habits, things like that.

Jarlo: That’s a thing to where that person should be actually trying to develop a habit of doing something every day.

Andy: But at the same time … Yeah, exactly. It’s building these four habits. We can’t assume fragility either.

Jarlo: Right. Exactly. And we’re not saying “You got to do our program then six days a week or you’re never going to get any better.” You can see the similarities there between talking to that person and then talking to another person where that’s not their problem and their issue actually isn’t that they’re not consistent. They’re just saying one day a week. They’re feeling bad because they’re not adhering to this program of six days a week. And then, you have to approach that person and go, “No, you’re doing fine. You are actually doing fine.” But you don’t say that to the person that is couple hundreds pounds overweight. They aren’t doing fine.

Andy: And again, that’s then just identifying what is appropriate for you. What’s appropriate for you. There is what your goals are, there is where you are at, there is problems you’ve had, and there’s just finding what’s the appropriate activity or level that’s right for you at this moment, which that there is the art though.

Andy: So, this is one of the things that when we are talking about GMB programs and our method and what we try to do is there’s a couple of ways that as a non-professional you can go about trying to figure out what’s appropriate for you. One is that, well, you have to learn everything and you have to go read all these books, study this stuff, and become an expert. Well, I think that that is a bad approach for a lot of people. I think there’s some value in understanding things that you’re interested in. I’m always going to applaud people that want to learn stuff. I learned when I was 16 how to do minor repairs on my car, but I’m not going to try to replace an engine on myself because that’s not my hobby, so I’m going to usually defer to an expert.

Andy: And then, that’s the second thing. If you don’t want to try to become an expert yourself because you don’t have the time, don’t have the energy, you have other things that are more important to you. Completely viable. Then the other option is to go seek out expert advice. And this is why we get a lot of questions. Very, very specific questions. And there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, but very, very specific questions from people that are like, “Well, I’ve done this, this and this, and I’m here and I want to do this. And I’ve tried this. What should I do?” And that can help a lot. I think that asking expert advice is very important and clearly GMB provides this as a service. This is something we do. It’s kind of how we pay for our families to eat food and stuff, so I’m not saying this is bad.

Andy: But I also think that there’s a point where you want to get to where you need less and less specific expert advice. Where you might continue to need expert guidance to help keep you on the path, but you don’t need them to answer every day “how many reps should I do today?” This is why you go to a personal trainer is that person says “Mmm, today maybe we should swap out the squats for lunges” or “Today we should do eight reps instead of ten. Oh, you can do an extra set. You’re doing great.” That’s why you pay the big dollars for a personal trainer.

Andy: But then there’s a point at which over time you need less and less specificity
from an expert. And this I think is one of the things that we try to do in GMB since we have this education background where we’re teachers. Is we’re trying to teach you to be able to understand that you don’t need to be an expert to know what level is appropriate for you, how do you find appropriate. And this is why we focus on practicing, rating your quality, rating how easy it is for you. To be mindful and be aware of how you feel and how you’re performing as you do this stuff so that you can learn. This is the third approach to figure out what’s appropriate is to learn yourself well enough that you can kind of suss it out as you’re getting there.

Jarlo: I think you made a very important distinction there and it’s over time. You have to practice to be able to do this. You cannot be expected. Some people can maybe, but again, most people can’t be expected to know this immediately as you start doing things.

Andy: Some people will pick it up faster than others, but usually, that means that they’ve learned it in another context. It doesn’t mean that they just get it. So, don’t compare yourself to somebody that gets things faster than you. They’ve learned this in another context. Still, it takes you the amount of time it takes you to learn these skills and it is a skill that you have to develop.

Jarlo: And that’s the mindset that if we’re going back to this psychological thing, but that’s what it is. The mindset of learning, growth mindset, and the mindset that everything is a practice. In our method, we have preparing yourself for training. We have the training practice. We have pushing yourself in training. And we have the play part. So, this is kind of going back to the converse of what you’re saying is you have other people out there going, “Well, just move. All you have to do is move, man. Just play. Just let your body do what it needs to do. And then, you have it inside you. Wow.” That would be great. Just move, man. Just play. That’s the opposite of having someone teach you how to do things or telling you you got to do this reps and this exercise. Now you have the complete opposite of “Oh, just have some open space and move your shoulders and where does your body want to take you?” “I don’t know.”

Andy: Most people don’t know what to do with open space. Where does my body want to take me? Usually to the couch, man. And I’m saying this as someone that’s done martial arts for 35 years. My body wants to take me to the damn sofa.

Jarlo: Exactly. So, again, these are really like … This is always if you can make an argument, you just find the extremes, right? But there are actually people saying that. We’re not making this up. It’s not a strawman. You would just go and google it. Just google “just move man” and see who comes up.

Jarlo: That’s why it’s funny because in our method we have a very specific definition for what we want. And few years ago, we made public our specific definition of play. Our definition of play is an exploration within your capacities. Within your capabilities. It’s something that what you do when we say explore and play is not something new. It’s not something new. How can you do things when it’s physically totally new to your body? And I remember we got pushback on that where they’re like, “What are you talking about? Kids play. Kids do all these things. We need to play. How are you constraining play?” I’m like, “Dude, what is your definition then?” When they say it, it was so loose, so ill-defined that it’s meaningless.

Andy: It’s not a definition.

Jarlo: It’s not.

Andy: Yeah. The thing is we want to define within a context of that makes sense so that we can say, “Yeah, just play with this movement a little bit.” That’s useful to people that are working on something.

Jarlo: And going back to our topic of safety and injury, how does that fit in there? Well, of course. When are you getting hurt? When is a person getting hurt? When they’re trying to do things physically. When they’re going beyond their capabilities.

Andy: Going beyond their capabilities.

Jarlo: Hold my beer. I got this. So, if you’re telling me that’s play, well man, that’s terrible. That is straight up bad.

Andy: So, we’ve covered a lot of ground on this as we are wont to do.

Jarlo: yeah.

Andy: So, we’ve talked about specific kinds of injuries that are very common and how we’d like to develop the capabilities and attributes physically that can help you avoid these things. And also, the art of knowing what is appropriate. How to know where you are at and that’s a skill which takes practice. We’ve talked about the psychology of training to avoid this stuff and how your psychology can predispose you to injury if you’re no careful too.

Andy: A lot of this stuff is mixed up very, very tightly integrated and intertwined when you start practicing and thinking about this stuff. So, it’s always really interesting. What would you say maybe Jarlo most important thing in terms of physical training for people that are following some sort of program? Let’s just go on and assume GMB clients because, hell, they are nice people. What is the most important thing for them safety wise?

Jarlo: I think the most important thing safety wise is to realize fully and genuinely what your current condition is, and what goal that you have set for yourself. And what is that area in between that level of where you are at and the area of what you want. If it’s very wide, if that area is very big, you’re going to have to be more patient with yourself. I think that patience is a big part of the injury of trauma and overuse and repetitive stress. I think, being impatient is a very common factor in between all of those things. And being impatient implies a lot of things because you have that mindset “I got to push myself” or “I got to do this” or “I really want to lose those 20 pounds. That means I got to do this now.” And really, you don’t have to do it now. You have a lot of time. Hopefully, we all have a lot of time to get to where we want to be.

Andy: Cool. Thank you. Well, that is going to wrap this one up and we will chat more later. Thanks for listening.

Jarlo: Thank you.

Be sure to catch the next episode by subscribing to the GMB Show:

Subscribe to the iTunes podcastSubscribe to our YouTube videos

The Future is in YOUR Hands!

Left to our own devices, we’d soon be churning out episodes on the sorry state of Mexican cuisine in Osaka. Answer these questions and tell us what you want to hear:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *