The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 2

Episode 4

S2E4 – Fueling Your Strength with Steph Gaudreau

Steph Gaudreau is a science teacher turned nutrition strategist and strength coach who specializes in helping women learn how to fuel, train, and recover properly. Steph identified the skewed perception of women in the weight lifting industry and became motivated to make change.

Deep dive into a discussion about the misconceptions surrounding food, muscle, and training while addressing the harmful perception of women within weight lifting. Steph identified the skewed perception of women in the weight lifting industry and became motivated to make change!

It’s time to challenge the BS status quo of the nutrition and fitness space; around here, we embrace lifting heavy and we don’t shy away from carbs”.

In today’s episode, we talk about the misconceptions surrounding food, muscle, and training while addressing the harmful perception of women within weight lifting. 

Steph hosts a podcast titled Listen to your Body that has gained the attention of over 4 million people since 2015. You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

To learn more about Steph, read her blog, shop, or participate in a program, visit www.stephgaudreau.com 

You can follow her @steph_gaudreau on Instagram and TheStephGaudreau on Facebook.

Head over to https://rebelhealthtribe.com/kit to get a free download of our loaded quick start guide to help you along your healing journey.  If you like us, subscribe, review, and share us with your friends, and come join our Rebel Health Tribe group on Facebook.

Listen to Episode #4

Deep dive into a discussion about the misconceptions surrounding food, muscle, and training while addressing the harmful perception of women within weight lifting. Steph identified the skewed perception of women in the weight lifting industry and became motivated to make change!
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Steph Gaudreau

Steph Gaudreau, NTP

About our Guest

Steph is a nutritional therapy, strength training, and intuitive eating expert helping women who lift weights fuel themselves better so they get stronger, increase their energy, and perform better in the gym.

In her best-selling book, The Core 4, she details a four pillar approach to getting stronger, embracing your body, and owning your power.

Steph is trained in biology and human physiology and is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and USA Weightlifting Sports Performance coach. Her weekly podcast, the Listen to Your Body Podcast, has 3.8+ million downloads. She’s an international speaker that has been featured in Outside, MindBodyGreen, SELF, and ESPN Radio.

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Podcast Transcript

Michael: Hello, and welcome to The Natural Evolution Podcast, produced by Rebel Health Tribe. I’m Michael, and I’ll be your host. Together, we will be hearing inspiring stories of healing and transformation, learning from some of the brightest minds in the world of functional medicine and holistic wellness, and exploring the world’s best health-related products, services, tools, and resources.

Michael:

Hey, everyone. We are live. Thanks for being here and thanks to my guest today, Steph. Thank you so much for joining us.

Steph Gaudreau:

You’re very welcome. Thanks for having me.

Michael:

Yeah, it’s going to be fun. I feel like I have podcast royalty on my podcast, and it’s the day my fancy microphone breaks. So for those who don’t know, I’ll introduce Steph real quick. She’s a good friend. I lived in San Diego for a while. We were local nearby, did farmers markets, [inaudible 00:00:58] dinners and things. And so I’m very excited to have you here and to chat about some things that our audience at Rebel Health Tribe doesn’t hear about too much. And I think that it will be a refreshing different topic for them to hear about and something that’ll serve them really well. So for those who don’t know, Steph Gaudreau is an NTP, which is a nutritional therapy practitioner. She is doing that, and strength training, and intuitive eating expert, helping women who lift weights fuel themselves better so they get stronger, increase their energy and perform better in the gym. Her bestselling book, The Core 4, details a four-pillar approach to getting stronger, embracing your body and owning your power.

Michael:

Steph is trained in biology and human physiology, high five to another former teacher, and is a nutritional therapy practitioner, certified intuitive eating counselor and a USA weightlifting sports performance coach. Her weekly podcast, the Listen To Your Body Podcast, has 3.8 million downloads. That’s crazy. She’s an international speaker that has been featured in Outside, MindBodyGreen, SELF and ESPN Radio, and she’s super fun and cool.

Steph Gaudreau:

Thanks.

Michael:

Thanks for… That’s quite the list. 3.8 million. Is that current?

Steph Gaudreau:

We’re almost at four, but keep in mind, I’ve been doing the podcast since 2015, so…

Michael:

That’s still pretty a lot. Does confetti or whistles go off out of your computer when you hit a million markers or just-

Steph Gaudreau:

I wish.

Michael:

So today we’re going to talk about probably some misconceptions and some misunderstandings around women and strength training, and working out in general, and eating and that whole combination there that tends to get influenced, for better or worse, by fitness magazine covers and things on TV and indoctrination of what’s supposed to happen or what you’re supposed to do or not supposed to do. Your journey goes from science teacher… We were both teachers in former lives. Science teacher. Was it nutrition first or strength training first, or what was your… It was Harder to Kill Radio, but was it… What was your first foray into this world? Was it the training or the nutrition, or did you kind of get into it both? Or how did that happen?

Steph Gaudreau:

Well, I’ve been an athlete my whole life since I was really young, competing in sports, and I found strength training in 2010 kind of by accident. I mean, I always knew what lifting weights was, but I didn’t really start to learn how to lift free weights until 2010. And my journey prior to that, the sport I was doing prior to that was mountain bike racing and triathlon, and my relationship with food and eating enough and understanding how to fuel my body was not there. And so really it sort of was a transition that kind of happened about the same time, where slowly I started taking steps to eat a little bit more relative to the amount of training and movement and stuff I was getting and what my goals were. And so it kind of happened concurrently. And then in 2013, I left the classroom and started running my own recipe website. So that was kind of the beginning phase of it. But it’s been a slow, gradual change and evolution over these last eight to 10 years of doing what I’m doing now.

Michael:

So the training, the food and the fueling all were kind of swirling around each other, just in different ways. And it sounds you started more with endurance training. The bike riding you were doing was more endurance training. And so I know there’s a tendency there in those sports world, it’s like, how hard can you work out and how little can you eat while you do it?

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah, absolutely. [crosstalk 00:04:57].

Michael:

Especially amongst women. I think there’s a lot more indoctrination there around you don’t want to get bulky or you don’t want to put on… all these myths that we can jump into. I love your social media content because Steph unapologetically challenges these statements like that. Stupid Easy Paleo is the website. I made a ton of recipes before we even met. I kind of fanboyed on you when I moved to San Diego and sent you a message and was like, “Hey, you make the best food, and I live in your neighborhood now. Do you want to have lunch?”

Steph Gaudreau:

Let’s be friends.

Michael:

Let’s be friends. And it worked. And I still use your meatloaf. I think we made it when we were here a few weeks ago.

Steph Gaudreau:

A little bit.

Michael:

Recipes, nutrition, training, different types of training, all kind of swirling together. And it seems you’ve really settled into where it all really aligns for you is challenging these industry, I don’t even what to call them, dogmatic industry type of things around women and training and eating. What are some of the biggest mistakes women who lift weights are making with their nutrition, and why do you think this happens?

Steph Gaudreau:

I’m going to start with the second half of that question first.

Michael:

Okay.

Steph Gaudreau:

It’s complex. The more you start to try to understand the genesis of all of this, the more you realize you keep peeling back layers upon layers upon layers. And in 2015 or 2016, we went to New Zealand and I spoke at a conference there. And my topic that I chose was… The title of the presentation was Beyond Toning. And it was really looking at why do women… Why are women so reluctant to lift weights? Why is there so much stacked against us? Where does that come from? And I’ll tell you what, I learned a lot of things. And then even now, six, seven years later, I’m still learning how these pieces all fit together. And on the surface, we can point to things like there’s just typically less exposure for women in terms of strength training.

Steph Gaudreau:

If you think about in high school, we had a weight room. We did one unit on lifting weights. And that was that. I was playing soccer. I was running track and field, indoor and outdoor tracks, because I lived in New England. I was an athlete and I was competing, but the girls teams did not get in the weight room and lift because… I don’t know, why not? I think slowly things are changing with some of that, but then ironically, a lot of the people who enter into a sort of a personal training relationship with a trainer or they want to go to the gym are women or women identifying individuals. And so we have this massive gap. So we have that. We have the pervasive narratives of just the world around us that tells us that women are weak and incapable, and we should be careful, we’re going to get hurt.

Steph Gaudreau:

This is one of my biggest pet peeves is anytime a woman’s like, “Hey, I’m thinking about lifting weights,” or, “Don’t hurt yourself.” The same thing is so rarely said to men. Oh, it irks me so bad because here’s some… So people say, “Well, that’s certainly… A lot of women are lifting weights.” Well, if you look in certain pockets, that is the case. And I think we can credit sports like CrossFit which has pros and cons. No sport is perfect or no athletic pursuit is perfect, but I think CrossFit did do a lot for women lifting weights. It reinvigorated things like the sport of Olympic weightlifting in the United States, the membership in USA Weightlifting grew by leaps and bounds. Power lifting has become more popular, especially with women.

Steph Gaudreau:

So we have this idea that yes, things are changing. But when we look at the overall picture, if we look at the… what does the research tell us? It’s something like in the United States we have the CDC/WHO recommendations for adults and activity, physical activity. It’s broken down into two categories, muscle strengthening activities, i.e., lifting weights, resistance training, and aerobic-based exercise. The amount of adults who are meeting the minimums in both categories is something like 23, 24%.

Michael:

I would guess that’s pretty high.

Steph Gaudreau:

But when we filter it out and we remove… And again, this was done with the binary of men and women, male and female. But when you filter the men out of the equation, for women, now we’re down below 20%. so we have a need, right? There’s a need for us to strengthen our bodies to move more. But also we have this messaging out there that we should be smaller, right? We’re not capable. If we are going to do anything, it should only be for the sole pursuit of weight loss at all costs. Doesn’t matter what happens with anything else. Being smaller is the best thing. And yet we also have these really difficult standards to try to fulfill. So look smaller, but not like that. Look maybe more muscular or quote-unquote toned, but not too much. And so we’re constantly pendulum swinging between what is the right thing? Do we try our very best by eating less and moving more to the degree that it becomes unhealthy? Or do we just give up and say like, “I can’t meet these unrealistic expectations.”

Steph Gaudreau:

So I think it’s really complex. Obviously we have things like diet culture and the diet industry. We have weight stigma. We have access in resource availability, for people in different communities and things like that. So it’s not an easy question to answer. And at the same time, I just think, you know what, we don’t, we’re not doing well enough by women. We’re just not. We collectively as a society in terms of this stuff. It’s frustrating. And at the same time, I guess I’ve kind of made it my mission to talk about these things and to raise these issues and concerns and say, “What’s really going on here?” I think also, people approach women like we’re stupid and we don’t understand any of this. And so yes, there is a narrative.

Steph Gaudreau:

We have these narratives of like, oh, well, we should just make long and lean muscles, or we should just focus on toning. Well, but what does that really mean? Maybe it’s because I am a science educator and I have a science background and I’ve been trained in all this stuff, but I think, you know what? We’re intelligent. Can we have a frank discussion? Maybe you come in thinking that I just need to look toned, but what does that really mean? It means we need to build muscle. Okay, how do we start to move you forward toward those goals? And so I think a lot of times it’s just assumed that we can’t possibly comprehend what this means.

Steph Gaudreau:

We’re not all meat heads. We don’t all care about exercise physiology and all of that nerdy stuff, although some people like that. But really, how do we talk about it in a way that is what it really is? When I say toning, we really mean build muscle, right? We can’t lengthen a muscle because it’s attached. It’s fixed. So we have these marketing terms. It’s all marketing, jargony speak. And then we end up, because this is the narrative that’s fed to us, we end up walking through the world as women going, “Well, I just want this. Well, I just want that.” And so I’m not at all blaming the individual who does come to a trainer or a coach or is online looking for programs and saying like, “This is what I think I want.” But as the professionals, are we out there also educating? Are we using evidence-based information? Are we understanding that the needs of women are slightly different than other clients? And how are we going to address that sort of stuff? So I think we just have to do better all around.

Michael:

There’s a lot there to unpack.

Steph Gaudreau:

Step off my soapbox now.

Michael:

No, you’re all good. I noticed too in high school… I played sports, and there was one girl that trained with us out of… the one girl that would be in the weight room. And it was a thing. It was like, “Oh, there’s Melissa. She lifts weights.” And she also kicked ass at all of her sports, was a state badminton champion, won the things that she played. I think there’s maybe a correlation there. But I remember her because it was her. It wasn’t them. There was one. And that isn’t something I ever really thought of or realized until now, that the girls’ teams didn’t train with us. And the different wording and lingo and language, I don’t believe any time I ever… And I used to be a trainer. I started in that. My background’s in exercise physiology. I spent time in gyms and I’ve never had anyone come up to me and ask me if I’d like to get more toned. That’s not words that are used with men.

Steph Gaudreau:

Exactly.

Michael:

And I’ve never thought about that either. And I was in the industry. And I think obviously there’s reasons why I’ve never thought about it, because it never applied to me. And men get to just float along in their little world where the fitness thing is catered to them. The languaging is completely different. And then I like how you mentioned the expectations of get stronger, but not too strong. Get thinner, but not too thin. Do this, but don’t do this. But do this, but do… If you try to find where the spot is that’s being pointed to amongst all that, it isn’t. There isn’t a spot. There is no perfect in the middle of all of that. It’s just a whole bunch of not thises. And if you’re-

Steph Gaudreau:

Well, it keeps us very busy.

Michael:

Yeah. It sounds exhausting.

Steph Gaudreau:

And distracted, to be quite honest.

Michael:

If you can’t get it or you don’t have it or you’re not that, then you’re the problem.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah’s or you don’t belong here.

Michael:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve knocked CrossFit a bit over the years and I agree that it has done wonders for getting more women in the gym and for getting weightlifting back on the map, or I don’t even know back on the map, on the map, especially amongst women. And I think it’s done a lot there and I’ve like, loosened my stance around… You shouldn’t do tipping pull ups is now more like this got way more people working out. Whether or not some of them got injured or whether or not some CrossFit boxes aren’t great with safety and instruction, way more people work out.

Michael:

And it also seemed to be a way more inviting atmosphere for women to lift weights and be strong than what I’ve seen in the globo gyms and the other gyms where it’s like, “Oh, the women’s aerobics classes over there. This is where you go. And then the weights are over here, but you don’t need to go over there.” Also, I’ve never had anybody say, “Don’t hurt yourself,” when I’m on the way to the gym or I’m working out at the gym. I’ve never had anybody express concern for my safety or offer to help me or… Yeah. I can feel the ragey building up, so it’s…

Steph Gaudreau:

Okay, so when I learned how to coach Olympic weightlifting with my mentor coach here in San Diego, and I was learning Olympic lifting and I was learning when I first learned how to lift free weights in the CrossFit gym and all this stuff, trust me when I say there is no one who was more safety focused than me in the gym. I’m like, “Ooh, look at the end of that barbell, the screw is coming loose. Let me go get the Allen wrench.” I’m that kind of person who’s looking around me, very concerned about safety.

Steph Gaudreau:

And at the same time, when we say that to women, it is not a generalized, like, “Hey, make sure the space around you is clear so that if you have to drop the bar, be careful.” It’s the subtext of, you’re not capable. This is inherently dangerous for you in some way. You’re going to get hurt. And for women that are already a little bit sort of tentative about, is this something I can do, is this right for me, is this something I can build up to, putting that doubt and fear in people’s minds is just… It’s not okay and it’s not okay especially when it’s not something we tell men, frankly. It’s just not something we tell men-

Michael:

And men are more reckless and careless and dumb and do more things to hurt themselves by a wide margin. And I can say that, because in the last six months I’ve hurt my knee and my shoulder doing things that I knew better.

Steph Gaudreau:

Well, the ego is the most dangerous thing in the gym.

Michael:

And it’s like, well, I used to be able to hit the bag like this, or I could have done this before, but it’s fine that I haven’t done it in six months. It’ll be cool now. Women are, in my experience, much… Amira’s always the one saying, “Don’t do that. That’s dumb.” Or that you’re going to hurt yourself if you do that. Or when I hurt myself like, “Oh, do you think it was smart to do this thing that you haven’t done in six months and do it as…” So in my experience, women are often more cautious and more careful and more meticulous and pay attention to details and doing less reckless things and less careless things. So if anything, the warning should probably be the other way.

Steph Gaudreau:

Interesting.

Michael:

Yeah, because I’m guilty of it. And I’ve seen… If I made a list of the top 10, most dangerous, dumb, reckless things I’ve seen done in a gym, every single one of them was a dude. All right. So before we just spend an hour ranting about the bullshit and the languaging and all the things, what mistakes regarding… We’ll start with nutrition. Does this programming and indoctrination and questioning and marketing and propaganda and all this stuff, what mistakes does this lead to regarding nutrition for women who lift weights and work out?

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. Okay, so I kind of break this down into a few different categories. So we have to understand how does the dieting mentality, how does the messaging of the dieting industry and the dieting culture that we’re in, affect us as individuals? And of course it’s going to be contextual. Of course it’s going to be individual to some degree. But here’s what I tend to see is that first, people who are highly active do not take in enough energy to cover their daily energy needs. And this is very pervasive in a culture, of course, in our society where the dominant narrative is eat less. Now, does energy balance matter? Of course it does. Is energy balance influenced by things other than calories that you consume? Yeah. And so we try to boil it down into something that’s a sound bite and that’s one problem.

Steph Gaudreau:

So with women, I tend to see more or less that they’re coming in and they’re not eating enough food relative to their activity level. Now, if someone is not moving very much, they’re sedentary, obviously that means that their energy need tends to be lower throughout the day. But that’s not who I work with. Typically, I’m working with people who are lifting weights, they’re cross training, they are stressed. They have really active lifestyles. They like to do things. They like to go out in adventures, whatever. And the thing that matters is we tend to only think about this in terms of purposeful exercise, and say, “Well, I just need to make sure that the energy that I eat is giving me enough energy for my exercise.” But we need to remember that our daily energy needs, the biggest chunk of that for most people is our basal metabolic rate, our basal metabolism.

Michael:

Even when they’re training.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. If you were lying horizontal all day, watching Netflix, the bulk of your daily energy needs for your body are going to be coming from things like your cellular metabolism, your cell repair and reproduction, [crosstalk 00:22:26], moving your blood through your body, respiration thinking, the energy that your brain is consuming, all of those thing. Doesn’t even account for digestion, the energy it takes to digest and assimilate your food. So we have a big chunk of energy need through the day that is strictly going to that basal metabolic rate. On top of that, we stack things like our non-exercise activity, which a lot of people have heard of the acronym, NEAT, non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is just the amount of energy that you… See, I’m waving my hand right now. This takes energy for my body to wave my hand and to putter around my house, and do-

Michael:

Do the dishes, walk around, go to the store.

Steph Gaudreau:

Put a fork to my mouth, all of that stuff. So we have that. And what we tend to see where people think, oh, well, suddenly I’ve started to… Maybe my body weight is changing and going up. What we tend to see a lot is, and this kind of goes to the problem, the mistake here is we cut our energy intake too low. And now our body is trying to… Our metabolism starts to go down, adapt downward, to meet this lower energy intake. And our body starts to slow down. We feel less motivated to move. We’re getting less non-exercise activity. We’re sitting more, right? We’re more sedentary. We are just not doing as much. So even if you are going out and doing a 30 minute workout. Okay, so we’ve got basal metabolic rate, non-exercise activity. We have thermic effect of foods. That’s how much it takes to digest and assimilate in our food. It takes, for example, more energy to digest and assimilate protein than it does or carbohydrates. So again, we see women typically going too low protein. So they’re expanding less energy through that.

Steph Gaudreau:

It’s not a huge amount, but it does count for some. And then we have our purposeful activity, our exercise on top of it. So we have all of this daily energy need, but if we’re short changing ourselves on our energy intake, we’re not having enough energy to account for our immune system, our reproductive system, our cognition and all of that stuff. And over time, and it doesn’t take actually that much caloric restriction to make this happen, we can slide into a state called low energy availability, which means we’re not providing enough energy for things like recovery, repair, immunity, reproductive health. And so we start to see some of these issues happening with people.

Steph Gaudreau:

You don’t need to be an elite athlete for this to happen. So that’s a huge mistake that I see with a lot of women that I work with is they’re bringing in their mentality that they’ve learned, which is we just got to eat as little as possible because that’s how we avoid the dreaded everything that comes along with our bodies getting bigger at all. And we start to move less. We start to notice things like maybe we’re getting sick more. We are having issues with our menstrual cycle, or even in men, having issues with testosterone and hormone production. We are starting to see more injuries. We’re starting to see poorer sleep, inability to focus. I mean, this stuff, it goes so much further than just in the gym and what you’re lifting. But that’s kind of another layer. So that’s one thing. And then related to that, I would say, secondarily is too low protein, being too low in protein intake.

Steph Gaudreau:

People tend to think protein is for meatheads and we don’t need very much. The RDA for protein has become mistaken as the optimal amount that active people, especially those who are lifting weights and participating in sport, need to eat. And that’s just not the case. It’s the minimum amount you need to avoid deficiency. And there’s a lot of stuff that persists out there. Protein is going to wreck your kidneys, and that’s just not supported by the research. So also with the rise of things like plant-based diets, we have to be a little bit cognizant of that sort of protein energy versus non-protein energy, right? So carbohydrates and fats compared to protein intake. Are we getting enough protein to support our muscle repair and recovery? And what’s the energy balance for that? Because we have to think about protein density.

Steph Gaudreau:

So for example, yes, peanut butter has protein, but relative to its fat content and it’s overall caloric content, it’s pretty low. So we have to-

Michael:

If you’re getting all your protein from peanut butter, that’s going to be a lot of calories.

Steph Gaudreau:

So we just have to be mindful about what are our typical choices. Are we finding a balance that, and I use that word loosely, but are we finding an intake that works for us and what our goals are? So eating too little, eating too little protein. And the other one, and I’ll probably be very unpopular for talking about this, is skipping meals. And obviously sometimes this is purposeful with tools such as fasting. But remembering I tend to work with an athletic population, when I talked about energy deficiency, there is such a thing as within day energy deficiency.

Steph Gaudreau:

So for example, if you wake up in the morning and, you get out there and do your workout, you’ve been sleeping all night, you’ve not been taking in any food, right? You’re in a fasted state when you wake up. Then you do some training, and now you’ve stacked up all of this energy expenditure and you’re midway through the day, and you haven’t eaten anything yet. And now your body’s trying to repair and recover itself from your training, and you’re also trying to make up this sort of deficit of energy intake for the day. And a lot of people just find that that’s really difficult to eat the amount of food that they need in a compressed window. For some people it works. There’s also some really compelling research, however, about eating in the earlier parts of the day, especially making sure you partition some protein intake into the earlier parts of the day because of the muscle clock and sort of how the metabolism works in terms of the circadian rhythm and your musculature.

Steph Gaudreau:

There’s a study that came out this summer that details that. Maybe we can link to it. Suffice to say, I tend to see better results of people when they start to front load their day. A little bit more with a slightly bigger meal, some protein. Obviously getting rounded meals is important, but not waiting until the later parts of the day. Because now we got more to make up. And especially if we are trying to be aware of how much protein we’re eating, protein is a little bit self-limiting because it’s so satiating.

Steph Gaudreau:

So it just tends to be really difficult for people when they go all day and then they get to that afternoon and they’re like, “I got to make up all this food,” because of the satiety factor. For some people, the psychological factor of look at all this food. This looks like a lot, and the mind trash that plays into that. And so that when I start to work with people and encourage them to eat a little bit more in the morning or start incorporating at least something small in the morning, I’ll tell you what, the decline in afternoon sugar cravings is enormous. The sort of bingey type overeating, uncontrollable eating because of ravenous hunger goes away.

Michael:

I’d like to briefly interrupt this conversation to let everyone know that we’ve got a free downloadable Foundations of Wellness Starter Kit, it’s available for you right now over at www.rebelhealthtribe.com/foundations. If you’d like a little help organizing and implementing all you’re learning from this podcast, a gift from our team over at Rebel Health Tribe, producers of this show. And now back to your episode.

Steph Gaudreau:

So a lot of the things that people struggle with, and then it gets to be a vicious cycle, if we just start introducing a little bit more food in the first half of the day, which would make sense with our circadian rhythm anyway, because we’d be up and about and looking… We’re not going to be looking for food in the dark. It just works so much better for so many people. And so I think that would be the third thing I would say.

Michael:

Beautiful. Yeah. I’ve witnessed that firsthand too, the last bit. I got on the, oh, I should only eat in this four hour window train for a while, and I made that not the morning. And I would eat from like 3:00 to 7:00 or something in the afternoon. And I turned into a maniac, with the afternoon, eating a bunch of crap I wouldn’t normally eat and eating a whole lot of it. And then being like, “Well, I didn’t eat all day, so this is fine. And da, da, da.” And then I noticed that I was having a hard time with work and focusing during the day and stuff. I mean, I’ve had some full blown circadian nerds on things that I’ve recorded too. And the food eating and movement are just as big a part of circadian rhythms as the light.

Michael:

Everyone talks about light/dark, and sleep, and screens, and get your light in the morning, and turn off the screens at night. And that’s all great. That’s awesome. And that’s one third of the thing. And eating affects the circadian clocks in our cells, and so does moving. And it doesn’t take an evolutionary biologist to realize that we would probably move and eat more when it’s light outside, and then not move and eat when it’s dark outside, because we have not evolved night vision goggles in our heads yet. And hunting in the dark, we’re at a distinct disadvantage against many other things that also like to hunt in the dark.

Michael:

So it was like go out in the daytime, find the food, do the things, eat the food, then come back by the fire and the safety and the shelter and relax and wind down. And I’ve found too that it takes a lot of unprogramming with this a little bit. Because in our culture, dinner’s the big meal. And breakfast is donuts and coffee and carbs and sugar and whatever for a lot of people, and then no protein, which that’s probably even worse than not eating. And then lunch is maybe a salad or somebody’s doing the soup or the healthy thing. And then dinner comes and it’s like this bonanza smorgasbord of all these things. And that’s a cultural thing in our culture too. In this society, dinner’s the meal. So it was difficult for me to shift to eating the bigger meal in the morning, eating a smaller meal for lunch.

Michael:

And if I did skip a meal, it was the nighttime meal. Or if I did eat a tiny bit, it was at the nighttime meal. And it’s okay to go to bed maybe a tiny bit hungry, but not starving, but a little tiny bit, not stuff yourself right before sleeping. Because that’s a whole nother metabolic mismatch is we eat these meals at like nine o’clock at night, stick our face in front of a screen for an hour and then go lay down, and then be like, “I don’t sleep very good.” And it’s like, well… So I think that that’s important to point out is the intermittent fasting world and all of that. I think that they’ve just got the time flipped, and I saw much better… And for some people, especially if you’re training hard, it might just not be your thing at all anyway.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Michael:

Because you need to eat more. The body needs more fuel. Because what I gathered in your explanation about the base metabolic situation and the functions and all that, is not only if you don’t eat protein and food, while you’re training hard, are your training results going to suck and not get done what you want to get done and not see the results and not get stronger and all these things, it’s going to affect you in your basic primary physiological functions of thinking and hormones and digestion and things like that, which is going to lead to you going to the gym less, which is going to start this whole cycle of like, oh, when I worked out, I didn’t feel good.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah, absolutely. And you know what? A lot of people are familiar with the term female athlete triad, which was what we thought was only really affecting women in terms of things like menstrual disruption, or cessation of the menstrual cycle, completely hypothalamic amenorrhoea, and disordered eating, and osteoporosis or osteopenia, which is more fragile bones, less bone density. But in recent years that syndrome has been expanded because we’re starting to see it doesn’t just affect women. And so now the term that’s used more frequently is RED-S, which is relative energy deficiency in sport. And the whole thing that kicks off RED-S, which is the syndrome, the collection of symptoms, is not eating enough relative to the amount of energy that you’re expending.

Michael:

Interesting. I did my master’s in exercise physiology now 12 years ago. And that was only discussed pertaining to women and the female triad and all of that. And it would be lumped in with how women always tear their knees and need to be careful in training. And then that. Never mentioned in relation to men.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. Yeah. So RED-S is being talked about a lot more. And so people might be listening to this and saying, “Yeah, but I’m not an elite athlete. I’m not working out that much.” But they did a study. There was a study done in 2016 in New Zealand, and they surveyed women in a recreational athletic or recreational exercise in context. So these are not elite athletes. These are not Olympians. And this study outcome was 46% of the people that they surveyed were found to be at risk for low energy availability. These are recreational exercisers, right? So people who are not necessarily competing or not necessarily at the elite level of sport and performance.

Steph Gaudreau:

And I think it’s an interesting conversation to have, because again, we are bombarded by messages that we need to… Exercise is going to be the thing that helps us lose the most weight, which is not supported by research. Again, movement is wonderful. And-

Michael:

[crosstalk 00:37:51] say that one again.

Steph Gaudreau:

Building strength and building muscle and bone is so important, but the research has not shown exercise itself to be a significant contributor to long-term weight loss or long-term weight loss management, because it’s so-

Michael:

There’s literally an entire zillion dollar industry built completely around that.

Steph Gaudreau:

I know. I know. And I say that because yes, exercise, it has so many benefits. And I think we expand the narrative beyond just exercise as weight loss mechanism, because here’s the thing, even if you are someone who does want to decrease your body weight for whatever reason, it’s going to take… If that’s the goal that you’re hitching your wagon to, and you’re constantly comparing and saying, “This isn’t happening fast enough, this isn’t happening fast enough. What’s going on? Why am I not getting there fast enough via exercise alone?” The likelihood that you’re going to stick with exercise and get all of the other positive benefits that are associated with it, even things like mental health. There’s two meta-analyses, 2018 and 2019 respectively, that talked about the positive benefit of weight training on anxiety and mild depression and both.

Steph Gaudreau:

Are those the only things? No, of course not. But anyway, I think there’s an overstatement of… And this is why we see January, new year, new you. Just get in the gym. I think we need to welcome everybody who wants to go to the gym and not treat it like we’re like, “Oh, all these people are encroaching.” But I wish that there was a healthier narrative in place in the industry that A, doesn’t assume that everybody who comes in the gym wants to do it to lose weight. And B, talks about the other positive benefits. And we’re looking at, hey, you know what? There are other things that go into, for example, weight management, other than just the amount of cardio that you can do.

Michael:

Yeah, for sure. Well, I also run in circles where way more educated on this. So I think that some of my friends are more up on this than… The last podcast we recorded, I don’t know what episode or what order they’re going to air in, but with Dr. Jared Siegler, who specializes in neurodegeneration and brain functional neurology and stuff like that. I said, “What are the three…” He was talking about all these different neurodegenerative diseases and how it’s an epidemic of Alzheimer’s and dementia and all this stuff. And he works with it. And it’s like, if people really understood the amount at which those things are increased and how prevalent they are, there’d be alarm bells going off, and this would be like, hey, this is unsustainable. How do we change this?

Michael:

I expected him to talk about toxicity or maybe something more related to diet or circadian biology or trauma or something else. What are the three main factors that are contributing to neurodegeneration? And the first thing on his list, and he said it was 1 and 1a, is a sedentary lifestyle, that exercise, both strength training and aerobic exercise, increased blood flow to the brain. And studies have shown that it’s like neurogenesis. So for healing brain injuries and healing neurodegeneration, and doing these things and building new synapses in the brain and new connections, there’s something called BDNF for the brain nerds out there, and exercise spikes BDNF and blood flow in the brain and all these other things. And it turned into a discussion on exercise in a podcast about neurodegeneration. So it’s not just to lose weight.

Michael:

And I love that when those studies come out and show that weight loss alone is not a factor, is not a leading factor in weight loss, there aren’t studies that can’t demonstrate that it is. I was so confused because even in my master’s program, that’s what they taught us. And I’m like, “But wait, where’s all the science that made the entire curriculum of my training?” And there isn’t any. But you get the brain benefits, the overall benefits, for women especially, the bone density increases in osteopenia and osteoporosis. And I would guess the way things are headed, there’s going to be more of that in men, too, bone density issues in older age and things, because men are more sedentary and less physical and less physical jobs and all of that.

Michael:

So yes, exercise, because it’s awesome for you. And I love people like yourself that are really pushing that narrative, that it’s awesome for you and you’ll feel better and you get all these benefits, and that’s enough to be in the gym, and here’s how you fuel yourself to do it. So there’s mistakes there with nutrition. For those who are in the gym and doing the weights and trying to do the right thing, there’s also a whole bunch of bullshit narrative around what women are supposed to be doing when they’re at the gym too, pushed by the same… mostly the same money interests and magazines and things like that. So you talked about nutrition. Regarding the actual training or weightlifting or what you’re doing in the gym, what are the mistakes there?

Steph Gaudreau:

Oh gosh. How much time do we have? No, I think there’s… Okay, there’s this interesting sort of conundrum that we see. First of all, we have this narrative, don’t get bulky, or I don’t want to get bulky. Look, I respect people’s choices and autonomy to do what they desire with their bodies. Also, I’m a science-minded person, and I’m like, what does the science of exercise physiology tell us about lifting, for example, and how our bodies respond? It’s very difficult, especially for women, to put on a massive amount of bulk because we do not have the testosterone averages of a man. We just don’t. We don’t have the same testosterone levels. So there’s that.

Steph Gaudreau:

And so the conundrum comes in though where women tend to think, okay, so instead of lifting the heavier weights, I’ll maybe lift the lighter to moderate weights and do them for lots and lots of reps. Except for the fact that if we want our muscle to increase in size, we will tend to stick more to a range of reps and sets that promotes muscular hypertrophy, which is quote-unquote bulking. It is increasing the size of the muscle itself, either in terms of the number of fibers or the amount of fluid inside the cell. So women who do go into the gym, who are like, “Ooh, I don’t want to look bulky,” tend to stick to those lighter weights because they think that it’s going to prevent the size of the muscle from growing, which it’s actually doing the opposite. So for people who are really concerned with, I don’t want to look bulky, or I want my muscles to look smaller, knowing that it is controlled by other factors, for example, genetics.

Steph Gaudreau:

People are always like, “Your shoulders are so jacked. What do you do for shoulder stuff?” And I’m like, “I don’t know, a few sets of presses every week.” And they look at me like I must be lying, but just how I’m built, I tend to build more quote-unquote muscle tone in the upper part of my body. It’s just how my body put together. So if you want to get stronger, you do want to stick to a lower repetition relative to you heavier weight, if you’re really concerned about looking bulky or putting on mass. There’s a whole industry devoted to putting on mass. That’s the body building industry. And that’s going to tend to be more of that hypertrophy range, that middle range of reps and sets. I’m just saying, the things that a lot of women are doing because they’re trying to avoid the thing that they don’t want to have, are the things that they’re actually doing. So there’s that.

Michael:

Let me just see if my… It’s been a while for me, but I’ll dust off my physiology things. I wonder if this has changed. So the more reps, say above 15, 12 to 15, more sets, you’re doing really, lots of sets, multiple reps, over 15, 20. I’ve seen a lot of reps be done at one time with a light weight. That is actually more aerobic training for the muscles. It’s probably not going to build a lot of muscle. You’re not going to get a lot stronger. You’re going to be confused because you were just at the gym for two hours and nothing really seems to be happening. You might get a little sore, but you can lift lighter things a shit load more times. You’ll get really good at doing that.

Michael:

The heavy weights, lower reps, you’re talking about improved strength. That’s the way to get stronger, more strength and power. And it’s my understanding then that the muscles are stronger and more dense. Whereas the hypertrophy, which is muscle building, is in the middle. For me, I was taught six on the low end, 12 on the high end reps, maybe three, four sets. Pretty heavy, 70, 80%-ish up there. So hard to do that many, struggling on the last ones, but that will build bigger muscles. That’s muscle size.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah.

Michael:

But not as much strength as the lower reps, heavy weight make you stronger, which is the goal for a lot of people. Probably the most bone density benefits are there too. And it doesn’t make the muscles as big as that middle range of training, right?

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah.

Michael:

It’s those people that are… I’ve seen them at the gym. I think a couple videos were from you. There was some freak guy in San Diego that was small, and he deadlifted like a zillion… I don’t know.

Steph Gaudreau:

Like a 700 pound deadlift?

Michael:

Yeah. But he was little.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah, yeah.

Michael:

He looked little. I’m sure he was jacked, but he looked little and it was a demonstration of how dense muscles can be.

Steph Gaudreau:

Totally.

Michael:

Because he didn’t look like… He didn’t have muscles popping out of his ears or whatever. And he walked up and I’m looking at this bar and I’m like, “Yeah. Okay, sure, buddy. Whatever.” And he just rips it off the ground. I’m like, how the hell… Because the heavier weights, lower reps is denser, stronger muscles. So you avoid the big bulk that you can do with the stuff that you’re doing to avoid getting bulky, and get stronger. Was my cloudy summary of that, did that-

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah, that was good. So I think some people do want that appearance of having more muscle tone. So for that kind of person having a mixture of sort of strength but also that hypertrophy range would probably be beneficial. But for the person who’s really extra concerned about that, then biasing a little bit more towards-

Michael:

The strength.

Steph Gaudreau:

… the strength side of things can be useful. But in general, I’m not seeing… And I understand why this is, because A, there’s a lack of education and guidance. Sometimes women don’t feel comfortable hiring a trainer or working with somebody. And so one of the biggest overall mistakes is not loading your reps and sets appropriately. And you kind of touched on it there, but the last couple of reps and sets should feel difficult. It should feel challenging.

Steph Gaudreau:

If you’re doing like this and you’re like, “Hey Michael, how’s your day going today? Yep, I had a great weekend,” there’s no mind-muscle connection there. So the bottom line is if you want your workouts to really work for you, no matter what your goal is, you were trying to increase muscular endurance, you’re trying to put on some beef and get some, some musculature on you, or you’re focusing mostly on strength and power, is working to that higher capacity in the sense of it needs to be challenging.

Michael:

Well, otherwise your body won’t adapt to it. It won’t have a reason to.

Steph Gaudreau:

Exactly. Right. Exactly.

Michael:

Like, oh, I got to lift heavy things now because he’s lifting the things that are heavy, so we’ll get stronger. If you don’t send that message, why would it?

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. And it’s all relative. I think that’s the other thing people look at, for example, folks like me and see me deadlifting a lot of weight, and they’re like, “That’s really scary. I’m not there yet.” And my answer to that is progressive overload. You’re hopefully going to be following a training plan. This is why I really don’t recommend… Unless you’re just getting back into things and you’re trying to just generally move around, at some point, you’re going to need a training plan or to understand the fundamentals of creating your own training plan in order to work in things like the progressive overload that you need to, yes, like you said, have the adaptation to the training. We have fatigue, we have recovery, and then we have adaptation. We’re after the adaptation. And so if you only ever lift the same amount for months and years, you’re not going to give your body the stimulus it needs to actually create the adaptation, which is going to be increasing muscular size, capacity, strength, power, whatever it is.

Steph Gaudreau:

So yeah, you do have to gradually lift heavier, and your lower body muscles. The other mistake I see a lot is, and I’m not knocking these kind of combo exercises, but I see a lot of clean a dumbbell to your shoulder, press it overhead, and then do a lunge or something. I’m not saying that these are bad, but also, your upper body cannot move as much weight as your lower body can, unless something is abnormal or you-

Michael:

Or you’ve skipped a lot of leg days.

Steph Gaudreau:

Idiosyncratic with your body or I don’t know, maybe you have an injury. But in general because your lower body muscles are larger, we’re talking about glutes, hamstrings, that kind of thing, those muscles can move more weight. So if you’re only ever lifting to the capacity where your upper body can handle, you’re probably not giving the lower body the stimulus that it needs. So yes, combo movements can give you that sense of efficiency, and maybe even if you’re doing it at high enough capacity [crosstalk 00:53:02]-

Michael:

Or a warmup.

Steph Gaudreau:

A warmup, or you feel like you’re kind of getting a little bit of that glycolytic breathlessness, and that’s your jam. You like to breathe hard and sweat. Great. But if your focus is on things like strength development, then you need to think about, I’m going to need to lift heavier on my lower body than I can on my upper body. And so that’s another space where I see people be a little bit confused in the gym is lifting the same weights that they can for things like lunges and squats and deadlifts that they can for their upper body. And they’re just not giving their body enough stimulus to actually create an adaptation.

Michael:

That makes sense, and mirrors what I’ve seen a lot too, when I was in that world. And I know you’re really, really great about this and you even have resources on your site. Some people are probably listening, being like, “I don’t know how to do it right to lift heavy.” You don’t need to work with a trainer forever. I would highly recommend, if this is interesting to you and you want to start lifting weights for strength and try it out, that you do find someone to work with to assess your form and get you started in the right range of weights and exercises that work for your physiology and your skill and your coordination, and that it’s just learning any other thing to do. And so we’re not saying walk into your nearest gym right now and throw the most weight on the bar that you could possibly lift and then get under it and try to squat it.

Steph Gaudreau:

No, no, not at all.

Michael:

And I know you’ll you preface that, and you’ve got great resources on your website. I can almost hear some of the like, “Oh, I don’t know how to do that.” And that’s okay. There was point where Steph didn’t know how to lift weights. And I’ve watched… Amira got into weightlifting and I had trouble teaching her how to do a squat with the right form. And she went to… I think it was your gym was the first one she went to in San Diego, the CrossFit gym. I think it was that one. And nine months later she is in a power lifting meet, doing squats. And so it’s a skill just like anything else. You’re not going to be perfect at it right away. And I like what you said about it’s relative, what’s heavy.

Steph Gaudreau:

Oh yeah.

Michael:

Because I’ve seen your videos this week. Don’t downplay your awesome deadlifts. I was like, “Damn.” And I can’t do that right now. So it’s all relative. It’s what’s heavy for you. And it doesn’t matter. There’s that edge too, of looking around in the gym, being like, “Oh, I’m not lifting what that person’s lifting, so whatever.” And who cares?

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. Yeah. Look, for the person who doesn’t want this to become their job or consume their life or compete, that’s okay. You’re still going to get a huge benefit if you can focus on those main movement patterns. We’re looking at two, maybe three full body sessions a week. Yes, starting off at weights that are appropriate for you and slowly increasing over time. And I’ll tell you what. I’ve been lifting now since 2010, and what has been sort of my peak has… It’s up and down. It’s up and down. I’ve had times where I was focusing more on dumbbell workouts and jujitsu. And now I do jujitsu and I’ve been doing a little bit more barbell lifting. Over time, that journey is going to change.

Steph Gaudreau:

And I highly recommend too, what you said. Even if you can save up and work with someone in your area for two or three months, just so you can get the form… And form does not need to be perfect, and everybody’s body is different. But you can understand the fundamentals of this movement and gain enough confidence. Even understanding how to use the weights. How do you make your way around a weight room? What is the etiquette? How do you load a bar properly? How do you drop a bar properly? Or how do you lap a set of dumbbells to do some incline bench presses or something like that. Just working with somebody who can guide you and understand your goals and where you’re trying to go, even for a short time, can be super, super helpful. A lot of people reach out to me and say, “How can I get started? Do you have a program for me?” At this point, I still don’t have a program for just uber beginners who have never lifted, because I really do think it’s hard to teach it virtually.

Michael:

I don’t believe that it can be really well done virtually. You could give feedback on form, but even that is the second level. Like you mentioned, how to get the dumbbells up, how to do this, that type of stuff. And there’s hands. There’s touching, there’s queuing. There’s feel this, do this, feel this here type of stuff that I think so too. I see so many of those programs marketed, “Launch your weightlifting the right way.” And it’s like, yeah. I don’t even know. Even if we were on Zoom and I was like… I don’t feel like it’s the same.

Michael:

I know we don’t have a ton of time left. I do want to ask, your book’s The Core 4. And I think you focus a lot around four keys to unlock your strength. And so I know we took up a lot of time with the other conversation, but I wanted to hit this before we went, and then we can about how people can find you and what you’ve got there for them when they get there. But what are these four keys to unlock your strength?

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. So in my group program, we cover these four fundamental things. The first one is fuel. So here’s the thing, I believe that food and nutrition is obviously a piece of the puzzle, but I also think that food is more than fuel. So that’s my perspective on things. There are some coaches or people out there who are like, “Food is just fuel, and it’s just a matter of calculations and spreadsheets.”

Michael:

That makes me feel so sad.

Steph Gaudreau:

I’m like, the food’s also delicious, and it’s culture and it’s connection and it’s tradition and memories. And it’s more to me. It’s more than just that. So that’s my approach to things. And so I also take sort of an additive more, I guess you could call it holistic approach to that. So if somebody’s listening to this and you’re thinking, “I have already done the macro apps, and the weighing and logging of all my food and I don’t want to do that again,” then come, just DM me or message me because this is really the space that I operate in. And I feel like a bit of an outlier most of the time.

Michael:

That’s a controversial thing to challenge, the food is just fuel dogma in the training world sometimes.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah.

Michael:

Because then they’ll say you have some sort of eating disorder. I don’t know. There’s all kinds of nonsense.

Steph Gaudreau:

It’s interesting.

Michael:

Wait, you also enjoy food?

Steph Gaudreau:

It can be enjoyable.

Michael:

What’s wrong with you? Yeah.

Steph Gaudreau:

I know. That’s the biggest part, I guess, of what we do, is looking at the hierarchy, if you will. For example, in the performance space, a lot of people are like, “Supplements are the most important thing.” And I’m like, “Supplements can be useful, but they’re… also don’t supersede what you decide to put on your plate three to two to four times a day. That matters as well.” And we talk about things like pre and post-workout. How do you decide what you need? How do you build a plate of food? And that kind of stuff. So that’s the first key.

Steph Gaudreau:

The second key is lifting. So obviously some of the stuff we’ve talked about today, just sort of cutting through some of the BS with training. And then also how to empower people to go out and find a coach or find a trainer. And one of the people in my program actually at one point was looking for a new trainer, and based on some of the things that she was learning from me, like, okay, you don’t want to be looking for things like progressive overload. And just empowering people to understand how to assess what they’re using, whether it’s a gym, an online program or whatever. She ended up firing the trainer because he just wasn’t up to snuff with what she wanted. So there was that.

Steph Gaudreau:

The third key is recovery. So really looking at the different pieces of recovery, and again, looking at the conceptual principal nature of this, like, why does recovery matter? How do we start to incorporate more recovery? Because this is really where we get the benefits of our training. And then the fourth one is calm. I call it calm because calling it stress management for a lot of people is just already stressful, but really looking at the impact of things like stress, that not all stress is bad, and how we actually get stronger when we incorporate stress. Because we need to create, for example, micro-tears in the muscles and recover that. We need to put force on our bones so that our bones start to lay down more minerals. That’s how we get stronger bones. So understanding the role of stress, how to deal with the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, how to look at either biofeedback from your body and/or data from wearables and stuff like that, to sort of inform your training and start finding the best mix of things for you. So those are the four keys: fuel, lift, recover and calm.

Michael:

I’m actually a convert on some of the wearables. I was a curmudgeon. I don’t know. I was like the old man who doesn’t how to work the VCR, so TVs are bad. But there’s some concerns in this functional medicine space and things that are legit with high EMF exposure and things like that. But there are some now that are very conscious of that, the companies, I mean, and the products and things. You know Jessica Drummond, I believe.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael:

I had a podcast conversation with her recently about women’s health. And she works primarily with pelvic pain and women’s health. And a lot of things that she found were correlations in their lives to stressful events or stressful relationships or things about work, and then their symptoms would spike or whatever. She had every one of her patients start wearing… I don’t remember which one. It wasn’t an Oura Ring. It was something that gave more real-time feedback that they could check all the time.

Michael:

And it would show them… It was heart rate variability. And it would show them, every time I’m around that person, my heart rate variability drops. Which we’re not going to get into heart rate variability here, but you don’t want your heart rate variability to drop. Bad for recovery, bad for training, bad for sleep, bad for all-cause mortality, you name it and you don’t want low heart rate variability. And what she found was that compliance with setting boundaries, which was what she was talking about, was that it helps her clients, patients set boundaries of, when I have to go to that place, I can physically see it affecting my body. Or when I have to engage with that person, I can physically see it affecting my body. Or in the training aspect or the eating aspect, it’s like, I under-ate these three days and I’m seeing it affect my body, or I over-trained these three days and I’m seeing it affect my body.

Michael:

I was converted because of the capability that it gives coaches and practitioners to really show the people like, hey, this is viewable now. It’s not just you have to take my word for it. If you’re using one of those things for your calm part of your program, they can… Literally you can see now because magic. You can see that person stresses me out and my body responds in this way. Or I stayed up till 1:00 in the morning last night, watching Netflix, and my body responded in this way. And for a lot of people, just feeling not awesome isn’t enough. Seeing the number tank on the thing, that’s enough. And that helps with compliance. It helps with correlating this equals this.

Michael:

And so I’m a convert, and I think that that’s brilliant to use them for that. And I think that’s a very well rounded approach, and I think that the work that you’re doing and what you’re advocating here is really a fresh breath in the just smog-filled world of nonsense when it comes to nutrition and eating for training. I mean, I was, at a master’s level, taught basically that you want to feed people as little as possible and beat the hell out of them as much as possible, and that will get you the results that people are going to be paying you to get for them. And somehow that’s still prevalent. We’re in the 1950s a lot when it comes to the fitness and nutrition world.

Michael:

So I give you kudos for your loud announcements and calling bullshit on things that… I love the memes that you share about like, “Do you know how many miles you have to walk to cover that pie that you ate yesterday on Thanksgiving?” And it answers, “Who gives a shit?” or whatever the thing is. Those type of things, like, “Oh, I ate this thing this one time, so I have to run 19 miles.” So like that. I love how you challenge all of those… just indoctrinated nonsense that so many women are walking around with that are harmful. It’s like we’re laughing about it because it’s silly, but this stuff is harmful for people.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. A hundred percent.

Michael:

And I know that when you challenge industries in their dug-in, financially motivated, dug-in, dogmatic type of things, that there’s backlash there and it’s not always the easiest thing to do.

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah.

Michael:

And Steph’s super tough and super strong, but you’re also a caring and sensitive person. So I just want to acknowledge that sometimes that’s probably not easy-

Steph Gaudreau:

Thanks.

Michael:

… to receive that kind of… I don’t know, backlash or arguments, or people like, “But I read this thing.” And they’ll send it to you and whatever. And like everyone that I try to bring in here, you’re trying to help people. And I think this is really valuable work and information. So if people want to learn more and check out, you mentioned a group program, you do one-on-one coaching, you have a group program. There’s some do it yourself programs on your new site. We’ll have links below and everything to make it easy, but where would they go and what are they going to find when they get there?

Steph Gaudreau:

Yeah. So you can go to my website, stephgaudreau.com. And yeah, you’ll find the group program, which if what we talked about with the four keys is interesting to you, I tend to launch that every few months. And so we’ll get in there, do some live teaching and coaching, and you get to learn directly from me in a group setting. So that Strength Nutrition Unlocked, you’ll find out on the website, currently enrolling for that. I have one-on-one coaching. So I truly believe that there is no cookie cutter.

Steph Gaudreau:

I am also under the belief that if you want to work one-on-one with somebody, it’s really getting in there and communicating with them and getting as face-to-face as possible, which for us these days is Zoom. So I do a lot of really custom one-on-one coaching. And for most of my clients is in this universe of yes, the fueling and energy management, and how do we build a day and build the systems and skills that work for you, is something that I do a lot of. And I love that. So that’s my one-on-one coaching. And then I have some one-on-one… Or sorry, I have some DIY fitness programs if you want to have a barbell program, if you want to have a more flexible kind of dumbbell program you can do at home, I have that stuff on the website as well.

Michael:

Perfect. I’ve seen your evolution from where you started, where it was Stupid Easy Paleo and Harder to Kill Radio, and I’ve seen different iterations. And it really, from my perspective, has been kind of swirling around this thing that you seem to have found. And I’m glad that you have. And it seems very settled, and it seems like it fits you really well. And it seems like playing around a different… of food and exercise and this and this and this. For me, it just visually, for people who can’t see the camera, it’s swirling around this moving target. And I feel like you’ve really latched onto that moving target, and that it feels aligned. It feels really aligned.

Michael:

And it feels like all of that got you to this, of being able to combine these things into something that really helps a population who needs some reeducation and some help and some guidance and some support. Group programs are awesome for that aspect of it, for going through it together in a cohort and support, with others and the teacher. And so thank you so much for coming on and for sharing all this, and for forcing me to dust off some of my old physiology training and things.

Steph Gaudreau:

You did it.

Michael:

So maybe I’ll go lift a little in your honor today. And thanks a lot, Steph. It’s always great to connect, and we’ll talk again soon.

Steph Gaudreau:

Thanks for having me.

Michael:

And that wraps up another episode of The Natural Evolution Podcast. Thanks for listening. And please check out the links in the show notes below to learn more about our guest and grab your free downloadable Foundations of Wellness Starter Kit, which will help you implement what you’re learning here and make powerful shifts in your health and your life right away. Just go to www.rebelhealthtribe.com/foundations, and you can be started in only a few minutes. If you enjoy the show, please drop a rating, review or subscribe to stay in the loop with future releases.