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Fit Expo Live Training Event Transcript

The complete transcript of my FitExpo talk on what a workout really is and how to better reach for your goals.

Fit Expo Live Training Event Transcript

Note: This tutorial video was recorded as a live Facebook event. The text below is an edited transcript of the tutorial intended to provide members with a convenient means of referring to and further researching the topics and content detailed in the video.


Thank you guys for coming and supporting the first year of the FitExpo here in Ft. Lauderdale, and thank you for coming out to listen to me. Now for those of you who don't know who I am, my name is Dr Jim Stoppani. I got my PhD at the University of Connecticut, specializing in exercise—particularly biochemistry, physiology, endocrinology. Many different areas but also biochemistry and nutrition. I did my masters on studying medium chain triglycerides. That was back back in 1990. You know what medium chain triglycerides are? You know coconut oil, what everybody's talking about today—coconut oil, saturated fats, those healthy ones? We were studying that in 1990 in the labs to see the benefits that those types of fats have.

Then I was senior science editor—I left academia after studying, at Yale school of medicine, how exercise and nutrition influenced genes in muscle tissue, which really is where all our results originate from. Everything we do and eat starts by activating or turning off—turning on, activating; or deactivating, turning off—genes, and that controls our proteins. Now most of us think of proteins as the ones that build muscle, but that's a small part of the proteins in the body. Most of the proteins in the body actually are functional proteins—they actually perform jobs. They do many important things in the body. And it's the genes that regulate how those proteins are made, and the jobs that those proteins do.

So everything we eat, every supplement that we take, turns on or turns off a certain gene. That's really how supplements work. And that's how exercise works as well: exercise works by activating genes in those muscles. That's one of the things that I'm going to talk to you about today, but I want you to understand where I'm coming from.

For those of you who don't understand my background, I'm not some tattooed powerlifter. I'm actually an award-winning scientist with research at Yale school of medicine, despite what I look like. And i'm telling you everything that's happening in the gym and in your kitchen is all starting at the genes, the level of the genes.

So how do we teach that to people who really can't even understand biochemistry? You know, to really understand genes—it takes a lot of knowledge to really grasp that. So my rule is to sort of simplify that and filter that information out for you. But I left academia to do just that, to be senior science editor at Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Muscle & Fitness Hers magazines, and I was there for over a decade filtering information that we brought out. It was a manual—Muscle & Fitness was a real manual of information—and I was responsible for taking the science and making it applicable. “What does this mean, what we're learning in the lab? What does it mean if you're turning genes on? How do we get real results?” That's what everybody wants, real results

So what I'm really here to talk to you about may actually surprise you. You know, I've done—I'm probably best known as the Shortcut guy, right? Shortcut to SizeShortcut to Shred, and Shortcut to Strength on Bodybuilding.com. Those are by far my most popular—and Bodybuilding.com's most popular—training series. They have something like over 100 million views, those series. They're probably the most popular training series in the world, with over a million people doing them. So I'm one of the few people who can honestly really say that I've helped millions of people transform their lives and their bodies through programs.

Waging War on Inactivity

What I'm going to tell you today is going to change your life. And it has to do with what a workout really is. You know we really don't stop to think about it. What is a workout? Well I can tell you what a workout is for a world-class athlete: a workout is a way to enhance their performance. But what about for those of us who don't compete? Why do we work out? To look better, feel better, a little healthier, perform better, right? But really what is a workout? A workout is all the stuff that our bodies used to do all day long, now collapsed into 30 minutes or an hour, or maybe even say for a whole 90 minutes. Maybe even do a two hour workout. That is not how our bodies work.

You can't sit on the bus or in your car going to work, for 30 minutes or an hour, and then get out and sit at your desk for, what, three hours until noon or so? And then get up and have lunch, and then go back and sit on your ass again. Then the day's over and you go sit in your car, or you sit on the bus or the train, and then you go home. And then you sit and have dinner. And then you sit and you watch TV. And then you go "When am I going to get my workout in? I'm too busy because I'm sitting all day. When can I do it? I just don't have the time."

Well you should actually be working out all day long. I don't mean going to the gym all day—I mean moving. Walking. Our bodies are designed to exercise all day long, and then rest for about 8 hours. And then get up and go at it again. Because it was about survival, and if you didn't do that, you died. So I laugh when people say "Oh I'm training five days a week for a whole hour. Am I going to overtrain? Is that too much for my body?" No. No, it's not too much for a human—it might be too much for your body, at that current time, because you've allowed your body to reach the point that that's too much. But the human body, it's not too much. It is not too much because we're designed to be moving. Lifting, hunting, farming, to survive—all day long, it takes. All day long. The only time you were allowed to sit is when you get a little break, and when you get to sleep.

What are we doing today though? We're sitting all day long, and you know what? We now have data—this isn't just me telling you sitting is bad, I'm telling you this because we have real research that shows that even people who exercise, if they watch more than 40 minutes of television a day, they're screwed. Doesn't matter. And I don't mean just a little bit of exercise, I'm talking about people who exercise fairly intensely for over two and a half hours a week.

So for those of you who are doing my Train with Jim series—my full-body training series—we typically train five days a week. Some of those workouts only take 30 minutes but they kick your ass, right? You might think that's enough. "Wow, kicked my ass for 30 minutes. I went crazy for 30 minutes straight." Oh yeah, you're going to look good. You'll feel good. But if you're sitting the rest of the day, that's not enough. The data shows those training intensely for more than two and a half hours a week, and watching more than 40 minutes of television a day have higher waist circumference—they're fatter.

Despite exercising more than two and a half hours, the ones watching television are fatter. They have higher blood pressure and higher blood glucose levels, which means they're metabolic disasters. Type 2 diabetes is right around the corner, and they're exercising two and a half hours a week. And they're going to get type 2 diabetes despite that, because they're sitting too much the rest of the day. And research shows—why is this happening? Research is showing now that when we sit for more than 30 minutes—and somebody let me know when it's 1:30 because you're going to have to get your asses up—if we sit more than 30 minutes, we start turning down the activity of enzymes involved in fat burning. And it's all through that gene activation. Enzymes like lipoprotein lipase, which is critical in metabolizing fat, burning fat in the body. Those genes are being shut down if you sit more than 30 minutes. Your ability to burn fat decreases from sitting. No matter how much you're exercising.

The 30/60 Rule

So I'm telling you, you have to—our bodies are designed to move. I'm not telling you you have to get up and do push-ups or go to the gym every 10 minutes. But if you're sitting—if you have a desk job, if you have a long commute—you have to break up your sitting. I have a rule that I call the 30/60 rule based on that data that shows those genes get turned off, involved in fat burning. Those enzymes that are involved in allowing us to burn fat are being turned down.

Based on that, 30/60 rule: for every 30 minutes you're seated consistently, you get up and you do 60 seconds of activity. It could literally just be walking to the water cooler or the bathroom, or doing stretches, or push-ups, or jumping jacks—whatever you want. Just be mindful of how long you're sitting consistently throughout the day.

It's interesting because society sort of makes these rules. You go to dinner, if you see those kids running around the table everybody's like "Oh look at those parents, they can't even control their kids. You should tell your kids to sit down." No! Actually, you shouldn't tell your kids to ever, ever sit down. That's the wrong message. It's the wrong message. It's crazy when we think about what we've done—society and the rules that we place on people, and the way it changes our activity. It's almost like you're forced to get lazy. When we get older it's expected, to not be so active. You're supposed to be chill as you get older. That's the wrong thing to do.

For those of you training with my Train with Jim series, like I said I have workouts going on every day—for those of you guys who aren't aware, if you go to my social media, these are my personal workouts. At least one of my workouts, because like I said one workout is not enough. I'm pretty active all day long. As a matter of fact they offered me a stool today, to sit up here. I said "I don't want a stool! The last thing I want to do is sit."

Any time you get a moment to exercise—when you're at the airport, my god lug your—"Oh I've got to take the elevator because I've got my luggage. But later I'm going to go to the gym and deadlift 500lbs. But I'm going to take the elevator with my luggage because it's just easier." No! You just missed a workout! Take the luggage, put it over your head, and run up the stairs. Who cares who's looking? Everybody else should be embarrassed that they're on the elevator.

For those of you who've done my Shortcut to Shred: what do we do in the middle of the bench press? You get on the bench and do step-ups, right? And everyone in the gym looks at you like you're crazy. That's in a gym, they look at you like you're crazy—because you're not sitting in between sets. It's everywhere. Literally, society forces us to get fat. I'm the guy at the airport running up the stairs with my luggage over my head. I don't care. Like I said, everyone else should be embarrassed.

What time is it, is it 1:30 yet? I'll give you guys two minutes. And then be prepared, we're going to get up. There's plenty of room, okay? It won't be hard. We're going to learn something, too. So we're going to learn a little tip here. Because I like to exercise all day long, I throw in things like push-ups, doorway rows, step-ups, lunges, throughout the day. For those of you who bench press 300lbs maybe, even 200lbs, push-ups you can do all day long, right? So how does a push-up really benefit you if they're so easy? My body is too light for me to get an effective workout from a push-up. Well I'm going to show you.

Variable Rep Tempo Push-Ups

There are many ways that you can turn bodyweight exercises into much harder versions—without changing the weight at all. We'll just change up the rep: you can do rep speed, rep range. So what we're going to do today is we're going to change up the rep tempo on push-ups. Yeah, we're going to do some push-ups. So you guys are going to have to spread out a little.

So we're going to do 15 push-ups. Sounds pretty easy, right? For most of us, 15 push-ups. They're not going to be so easy. Just 15 push-ups. The first 5 we're going to do with an explosive tempo—as fast and as explosively as possible. Now why is that important? Well that movement—that fast, explosive movement—specifically targets fast-twitch muscle fibers.

We have basically—in real very simplified terms of physiology here—we have fast-twitch muscle fibers: those are the ones that are more powerful; they're strong, but they fatigue quickly. And then we have slow-twitch muscle fibers. Now there are many versions in between, but just so that we can be simple here, slow don't have a lot of strength, but they have a lot of endurance so they don't tire. So we have two basic different muscle fibers. The fast-twitch are the ones that get strongest, more explosive, and you grow them. So you want to target them differently, not just with the same 8 to 10 reps. Not with the same rep speed, slow and controlled. We want to mix it up, always.

Things like rep tempo are important. So first 5 are going to be done explosively. You can either do them fast, or you could do them explosively where you come off the ground like power push-ups. And it's brilliant to do fast, explosive moves first because you're not fatigued. Like I said, fast-twitch muscle fibers fatigue very quickly. So there's no point in training them when they're fatigued—they won't get faster and stronger if they're fatigued. So you want to do the explosive move first. This will serve as both our warm-up—because our body's going to be fairly light early on—and a way to specifically target those fast-twitch muscle fibers and get a bit more explosive power, which can then turn into greater strength on things like the bench press.

After we've done those 5, we're going to do what we call super slow reps. We're going to do it at a cadence of 5 down and 5 up. We're going to do 5 of those. Now that's going to increase what we call time under tension. And time under tension just means basically the time a muscle fiber is exposed to that mechanical resistance: our bodyweight. And so the super slow reps increase that time under tension. And they burn like you wouldn't believe.

Once you've made it through those 5, we're going to finish with just 5 reps done any way you can get them done. Trust me, after those 5 you're not going to be able to get many more. But if you can, feel free to keep going. Who's with me? Alright. For those of you who don't want to do push-ups, at least stand up if you can. Remember we've been sitting now—or you have, because I didn't take the stool—and by the way you don't have to sit here if you don't want. You can stand during my talk and exercise as well if you really want.

Alright, let's get into the push-ups now. Can somebody hold the mic for me while I do push-ups? Anyone? Just hold it right here, because I'm going to be right here. Actually, let me take these shoes off. Can everyone hear me? Alright, so first 5 are on my cadence. Are you ready? We're going to go down, and up and then you count when you're done, "One." Let's try this. Now we're going to do super slow, ready? Ready, last 5 you do on your own, any way you can get them. If you want to go more, go for it. You ready?

How about that pump? Alright, does everyone have a new appreciation for push-ups and bodyweight exercises? Throw that in throughout your day. Don't worry, you won't overtrain. It won't ruin your bench press. Trust me, it'll only help it. Alright, now that you guys have exercised with me, I'm going to open the floor to questions. So this can be any—try to focus on—I'm going to be back tomorrow to talk about nutrition, so today if we can keep the questions to training. Do we have a mic for the audience? Oh, awesome. So if you have a question, just come up and say it into the mic. Don't be shy, any training question that you have.

Jim’s Backstory

Question: "How exactly did you start off doing your training and being a personal trainer?"

So I grew up weightlifting, pretty much, as a kid. I was lucky enough to have a father whose father was a professional boxer. He died very young, but physical activity has always been a part of my family history. Even on my mother's side—she has a cousin who was on the US Olympic weightlifting team back in the '60s. So I've been exposed to strength sports from a very early age.

My father had an old school homemade gym in the basement, and so I would train—I wanted to hang out with my dad, so I trained a lot. And he would buy Muscle & Fitness magazines; back then they were called Muscle Builder. So I would read the magazines about nutrition and training, and every once in a while there were these science articles about muscle fibers—like I talked about today, slow-twitch and fast-twitch—and I was so fascinated that there was a whole world where people are studying how to get bigger, stronger.

So I continued to read—I mean, when I was 12 years old I was cooking my own meals, training. I have posing photos from when I'm like 11 years old. And then I started competing in bodybuilding as a teenager, and because of the knowledge that I was just reading on my own people sought me out for personal training as well. And so at 18 years old I was training people nutrition-wise and supplement-wise and training-wise, hanging out in the gym at the time—that was like my first lab, was the gym.

So when I went to school I studied—I got into sports medicine. This was 1986 when I graduated high school, there really wasn't a big exercise science movement yet, and it certainly wasn't strength training then. Any exercise science was aerobics. Everybody was talking about the benefits of aerobics, and so this is early on—we don't realize how young our knowledge is on exercise. Like I said in just 1986, people were not studying how muscle gets stronger and grows. All we had was—we had data but it was from athletes in the gym, that was the lab, you know? So when I got into it, it was a developing field—studying how muscles get bigger, and stronger. I just wanted to learn as much as I could.

So when I went to school I just took classes like comparative physiology, learning why a camel's innards are different from a human's, because you learn—it helps you better realize what the limits of human physiology are, and helps you better understand. I took genetics. I just kept studying everything that I could. And I took any opportunity that I could to work in the lab or get involved in a research study. I was just very hungry for knowledge. But I was always taking that knowledge that I was learning and storing it in the back of my mind for "how is this going to help me and my buddies and my clients in the gym?"

And then I literally just started taking the research I was doing at Yale and writing articles about what this would mean in the gym, or for your diet. I sent them off to Muscle & Fitness, and Joe Weider got the articles and they loved them. And they asked me to leave academia. So I left Yale School of Medicine to take a job at Muscle & Fitness Magazine. My colleges thought I was crazy. "You're going where?" I won, that year, the Gatorade Exercise Physiology Young Investigator Award for my gene research. So I was going places in the world of academia. They're like "You're going where? To do what?" I said no no, this is what I meant to do. This is going to allow me to bridge the gap between what's going on in the lab and what's going on in the real world.

I had a background in writing. I was always interested in writing and I had a minor in English, and so I was able to take that other ability, that interest, and combine it with my interest in science and fitness. So it's really not what did I do that you really want to learn from, other than learn everything you can—never stop learning, take every course you can, anything you learn no matter how obscure it may seem is never a loss. Never a loss.

Anything—any experience, any work experience you've had in life, always store it back because someday those experiences and those things that you learned through those experiences, you may be able to take and do not just what you love but combine them. I was able to take what I love about writing and getting people information with my hunger for knowledge, and what it really means in the gym. So I just started writing. And then I realized that the print was dying, the next thing was digital—so I started doing videos. And then social media blossomed and I just took to social media just because it's a way to answer people's question in my free time. I'm in line at the grocery store and helping somebody help figure out how to better take creatine.

So it was just being hungry to learn, and then hungry to explain to people and not be afraid, because people are going to come at me. Any time you're out there saying "full-body training is better", people are going to attack you. It takes courage to be out there. That's why a lot of people don't want to come out and say that, they're afraid to take a stand and say "This is my belief on how to take creatine". I know, I've conquered it. But where that confidence comes from—a lot of studying, backed by information, and working with a lot of people. The bottom line is: don't ever waste an opportunity to learn something. Hope that's helpful.

Cycling and JYM Supplements

Question: "I'm taking all of your products. Only your products. Is there—as my friend asks—a honeymoon period where you should back off?"

The supplements? No. So the thing about—obviously people ask me this when they ask about supplements, "Should you take a break from supplements?" Depends what the supplements are. I'll give you the most extreme example of why you don't have to worry about my supplements, because I can only talk about what's in mine. My Alpha JYM, which is a testosterone booster—most people tell you "you have to cycle a testosterone booster", right? No, not mine. Why is that? Well, I don't use any testosterone analogues.

The reason you have to cycle those testosterone boosters is because they don't maximize your body's ability to make testosterone, they just maximize your testosterone levels. Meaning, they sort of supply ingredients that mimic testosterone. So your body has higher testosterone, or an analogue which just means a molecule that mimics. Does the same thing, it's just not the one that your body makes. When that happens your body's own production shuts down. It's just like taking steroid injections. Same thing. Because you're getting an exogenous—an outside source—of testosterone. I have none of that.

A female could take my Alpha JYM. She would get completely different benefits, but the ingredients—if you look at the research on ashwagandha, ashwagandha has numerous health and performance benefits for males and females. Just so happens that when males take a certain dose, their testosterone levels increase, as well as their sperm production and activity. What the main ingredients—the ashwagandha, the fenugreek, the eurycoma—these are all just herbs that provide numerous benefits. And again, in a female it's not going to change her testosterone at all. It would just provide health and performance benefits. I'm not saying a female needs to take it or should, but she could. All that product does is really maximize your body's ability.

So if you stop taking it? You're not going to maximize—it's like should I take branched-chain amino acids because it's going to maximize my protein synthesis? Well if it's maximizing my protein synthesis should I stop taking it for a while? No, because during that period you're no longer going to maximize your protein synthesis and there's no benefit there. It's not like "oh I'm overloaded, now my body needs a break" You're just providing nutrients that optimize—it's like should I stop eating? I mean, maybe for a few hours if you're fasting, but should I stop eating for a week? No! Am I overloaded on healthy fats and essential amino—no, you're not overloaded, they're essential for your body.

So the ingredients that I'm providing you are literally nutrients that are optimizing—there are no negative qualities in those ingredients that provide so—literally, and I'm not just saying that as a sales pitch, what it's doing is protect the cells in the testicles and allow them to function better. And it does that by eradicating free radicals specifically in those cells, which decreases your testicles ability to produce testosterone. So stopping taking something like ashwagandha would only be negative, you see what I'm saying? It's not one of those where it's an overloading thing—it's an optimizer.

Again, like I said, because you're not getting that exogenous—same with a vitamin or a mineral, you're getting a higher dose because of the benefits that—it's an essential nutrient, and you're giving yourself a high enough dose that all the systems of your body are now optimized. And that's really why you only take my supplements. That's literally how they're formulated. The way that the supplements are formulated it's not even the individual—it's the way that they work together.

With the Vita JYM, Vita JYM has no calcium at all. Now there are a couple reasons: first reason is that calcium interferes with the uptake of other vital nutrients like zinc, which I also don't have but for another reason. But calcium interferes with the uptake of other nutrients, so if you have calcium in your multivitamin? It's blocking other things. Secondly, they're now finding that supplemental calcium—remember the research that showed calcium has benefits like fat loss, obviously bone benefits? They're now finding that calcium supplements—calcium citrate, things like that, calcium carbonate—may not only not be providing the same benefits that real calcium that we get from milk, that form of calcium, natural calcium. They may actually be harmful. It may actually increase the risk of heart disease due to calcification of arteries. Supplemental calcium.

So where do you get calcium if you're only taking JYM Products? Pro JYM. Each serving of Pro JYM has 425mg of calcium from the milk that the Pro JYM came from. So take my multivitamin which has no calcium for two very specific reasons, and then take the Pro JYM to get the real calcium that you need, and then you take the ZMA—not because ZMA is some test booster or sleep aid—ZMA is just the best way to get zinc and magnesium. You want it separate from your multivitamin. So the whole line is meant to work not only so that you never have to stop but so that they all work together.

Knowing a Good Program When You See It

Question: "I have a question regarding different exercise programs. Each program claims to be the best, or it gives the best results. If you look at a program, what components should a program deliver to make you say this is effective?"

First thing I'll say is do you know how I tell what the best program is? It's easy. Anyone can do it. It's the one you're not doing. That's the best program. Serious. The one you're currently not doing. And what I mean by that is you need to change everything—everything! I mean, this is why there's a study of strength training. If you study strength training, we've broken it down into—"What is a workout?" right? I asked you about earlier—but really academically, a workout is composed of mainly about what used to say five, now I'll say maybe six acute variables

The exercise you choose—are you going to do the bench press or dumbbells; are you going to do cable fly, that's the first variable. Second variable is the order of the exercises—are you going to do a bench press before flies, that matters right? That's the second variable. The third variable is intensity—how heavy; are you going to do sets where you're limited to 3 to 5 reps or sets where you can get 25 or more. That's the third variable. The fourth variable is how much are you going to do—are you going to do 1 set and move on? Are you going to do 10 sets of 10? Fifth one is rest—how long are you going to rest in between those sets. And then we can add a sixth one where we say rep speed, we can talk about how fast or slow.

So what you want to do is you always want to be changing up those variables. And you can debate whether you want to change them every three months, or every three weeks, or every three days. That should even change, the way that you change them up. So really, the easiest thing to do is to keep changing. Seriously, keep changing. For a strength athlete, they never want to stick—a powerlifter, let's take a powerlifter for example—powerlifters do not go in the gym and throw on as much as they can bench press and do 1 rep because that's what they do in competition. Specificity of training would say they should just go in and do 1—no! Yeah, a lot of them used to do that. Now we know actually doing high reps sometimes is better for that athlete who is training for only 1 rep, believe it or not. It's changing up those variables and having a plan. That's why I have endless programs, because there's no one program that's the answer. Because it can only be the answer for a short period of time, because everything works, but nothing works forever. That's pretty much what we've discovered in strength training. Everything works; nothing works forever. By that I mean keep changing.

I appreciate your time, guys. Tomorrow as well I'll be back. I'll be talking about nutrition and specifically a lot about intermittent fasting, so again appreciate you guys coming out to hear me, and I really appreciate everyone's support in the first year of the FitExpo. So thank you guys.


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