Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 4 - Dr. Jason Karp - DO THE WORK - Part 1 of 3

And so it's just like anything else in life. You know, if you want to be an Olympian, assuming you have the talent to make that happen, you have to be willing to do the work every single day. 

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JASON: And so it's just like anything else in life. You know, if you want to be an Olympian, assuming you have the talent to make that happen, you have to be willing to do the work every single day. If you want to be a pianist at Carnegie Hall, you have to be willing to put in the work every single day to become so good that you get to the asked to the concert pianist to Carnegie Hall. That's different. If you really want to lose weight, you have to want it so badly that you're willing to do the work. Because it is a lot harder to get the weight off than it was to put it on. JESSE: Today on my show, I have a very special guest. He is the creator of the revolution, running certification for coaches, a USA track and field certified coach, author of over eight books and counting, I'm sure as well as a PhD in exercise physiology. Welcome to the show today, Dr. Jason Karp. JASON: Hi, nice to be here. JESSE: I hope the weather's okay, where you are, we're getting like getting ready to rain here. So, I hope the lighting in my office is going to maintain for our conversation here. JASON: I live in San Diego so the weather is perfect all the time. JESSE: Okay, so you have a little advantage over me, I'm in the Midwest so it's kind of up and down all the time. So we'll dive right in. So, you've written eight books, but I saw you kind of have a few highlights. And so I want to start with your book, Run Your Fat Off. Because, you know, I see all the time, there's all these suggestions about, you know, eat this, do that, like all these special kind of silver bullets almost for people to lose weight. And it seems like you've kind of distilled that down almost in the title, Run Your Fat Off. So, can you tell us like or tell me you know a little bit about like, what's the premise book? JASON: Well, I’ve known for a long time that running is perhaps the best way to lose weight, and especially to keep the weight off. You know, for many years, I've been running since I was 11 years old, and I eat whatever I want. But my weight has never fluctuate, it's never chin, I still wear the same now as I did when I was in high school, even though I - as much as I want to eat. People give me a hard time because I start most days with sugar cereal breakfast. But I’ve ?? 2:29> being a sugar cereal person and I've never counted calories, I've never looked at how much carbohydrate or fat that I eat. And so I've always known with myself that the reason why my weight has not changed over these years is because of the daily running. So, I wanted to write a book about that because all the books on weight loss, most of them focus on the food. Some of them focus on exercise, but none of them focus squarely on running, which is the best calorie burner. There's no activity that burns as many calories as running. Perhaps - skiing but that's not really accessible to most people on the planet. Running is accessible that every single human being on the planet. You don't need another person, you don't need any equipment, you just need a pair of shoes and you walk out the door and you go run wherever in the world you are. And so that's how I got the idea for the book is that knowing how effective running is for weight loss and how it's not really been touched by anybody else; I thought, well, I'm the person to do it. So, the whole premise of the book is using running combined with diet, because there are chapters in the book that talk about nutrition, and there's a menu for people because you do have to control the calories coming in. Now, the advantage that I've never been overweight, and so I never had to worry about cutting calories. When people ?? 3:49> weight, they're going to have to cut calories in addition to running or doing some other form of exercise. Right. So, that was how I got the whole idea to write the book effective. JESSE: So something I'm curious about, and I kind of run into this as well and I guess I'm pretty sympathetic to your message. Because I've also been running since I was, you know, 11-12, you know, and I've also never been overweight. So it's very easy for me to go, absolutely like that's right. But one of the things I kind of run into when I make a suggestion to somebody, like, kind of similar to what you're making is, how do I have the credibility to suggest that's how they're going to burn fat since, you know, neither of us have ever been overweight, and had to take it off, like had to go on that journey. So like, how do you approach that question when somebody says to you, well, you've never been fat and gotten skinny, you've always been skinny? Like you how do you approach that? JASON: A right. I love that question. Because you know, an oncologist doesn't have to have cancer in order for him to treat your cancer. JESSE: Fair enough. JASON: A psychologist doesn't have to have depression in order for him to treat your depression. So, I love it when I get asked that question because that just shows the ignorance of people that you know, you don't have to be fat yourself in order to help people lose weight, just like an oncologist doesn't have to have cancer, in order for him to treat your cancer. JESSE: That's fair enough. Fair enough. So, one of the things that, and we'll get more into your other book later, but this kind of leads a little bit towards it is that I always think about, you know, what the mental challenges that people go through. Because, you know, say somebody who's overweight, I don't necessarily see it as a physical failing and there are probably cases where it's a medical issue, but to me, it seems like there's something mentally missing. You know, could be an inability to go out and push themselves or, you know, some trauma in childhood, or, you know, we could dive into that if we're psychologist. But do you have suggestions as far as like, how do people make a mental change to, you know, actually get out the door and stay consistent with running? JASON: We, the first step is you have to really want it. I mean, in that book, I didn't want it to just be my voice and so I went out and found people who have lost a tremendous amount of weight, mostly through running. And they all without any prompting from me, they all said the same thing, that it took a 110% commitment from them and they want this more than anything else. And so it's just like anything else in life, you know, if you want to be an Olympian, assuming you have the talent to make that happen, you have to be willing to do the work every single day. If you want to be a pianist at Carnegie Hall, you have to be willing to put in the work every single day to become so good that you get to be asked to be a concert pianist at Carnegie Hall. So, it's no different. If you really want to lose weight, you have to want it so badly that you're willing to do the work because it is a lot harder to get the weight off than it was to put it on. And that's what the whole industry kind of, you know, understanding that people trying to sell books and trying to sell their weight loss programs, they make it sound like, it's an easy thing to do, and it's not. People have to want to do this more badly than anything else they want in their lives because it's going to take a huge commitment. And so that's the first step is, you know, you have to make the decision, how badly do I want this and am I willing to put in the work to make it happen? That's why you know, once you gain weight, it's really hard to lose it. It's better to not gain it in the first place so you don't have to have a huge task of having to get the weight off. You know, it's like smoking, once you start smoking, it's extremely difficult to stop. The better strategy is to never start smoking in the first place. But having said that, you know, we live in a country where most people have weight to lose, and I think that's one of the reasons why we're not solving this obesity epidemic is because it is so hard to get the weight off and technology works against that. You know, the way our society is moving and the way it's always moved is it condones a sedentary lifestyle. To be physically active, you have to cut against the grain of society. Because everything we can do, I mean, we have computers in the palm of our hands now that our cell phones, a person never really has to get up out of their chair to accomplish anything anymore. JESSE: Right. I mean, it’s just point, click order, everything would come to you pretty much. JASON: So, that makes it even harder, because now people have to cut against the grain of that, in order do the physical work that it takes. And then the other side of the equation is with the food and food’s everywhere in our country. I mean, you walk 10 feet, and there's another, you know, place to eat. And it just our society is not set up to help people lose weight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. JESSE: So, I'm kind of curious, with the people that you interviewed, you know, they had that moment evasion, where, you know, the fires is -- I kind of refer to as a fire like the fires burning hot, like they're absolutely committed, was is there any kind of like, similar train between them or like similar thread where that motivation came from for them? Or like, did you discover where that motivation started for those people? JASON: Yeah, for most people not that not all of them, it was just a simply got sick and tired of being fat and out of shape. And they were having medical, a lot of them had medical issues, they high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and they knew that they were headed for a heart attack or some other problems related to obesity. So, they just all -- they all had the same central issue, they just they got sick and tired of being unhealthy. So, they made this change and it wasn't quick, it took a long time for them to lose the weight. But they started with small changes, they started by cutting calories out of their diet and cleaning up their food choices and they all started going to the gym. And they all said pretty much the same thing to me, they would get on the treadmill, and they wouldn't be able to run for more than 60 seconds. And then they - becoming marathoners and ultra marathoners, one or two of them did an Ironman triathlon. And if you had said to them at the start of this process, they would not have believed you, they would have laughed at your face. They started very slowly, and then little by little, they try to do more and more and more. And the body is very adaptable to endurance. You know, humans are endurance animals. And so 60 seconds became two minutes, which became three minutes, which became a half an hour, which became - and before you know it, they’re running 26 miles, running a marathon. But that process took a long time. JESSE: Yeah, like motivation is always kind of interesting to me. I had a high school coach always said that you can't coach motivation, either it's there, or it's not. So it's always interesting to me to figure out, you know, especially in your case, when you've talked to these people where they've been fat. And then there's something almost an emotional crisis where they like something breaks or something changes that you know, switch comes on or off, and it moves them in a completely different direction to where they’d been before. JASON: I agree and I think that's the source of change for anybody, or anything that they're doing because humans don't like change. To make that change, there has to be a deep seated reason for it, there has to be an emotional connection to wanting to make that change. Whether it's because you are afraid of having a heart attack because you're overweight, or if it's business related, or, you know, getting divorced, or whatever it is, there's got a - deep thing inside of you that says the risk of making a change is better than maintaining the status quo. So, for all those people I interviewed for the book, they all got to that point where they were willing to take the risk to make that behavioral change. JESSE: Do you think there's any way to -- I mean, from what you said, it sounds like, you know, a lot of people you interviewed came across something medical or some something kind of came to them that forced the change. Do you think there's any way to manufacture that because there's so many people that will start say, start a diet or start an exercise routine, and they'll fall off the wagon; is there any way to you know of to, you know, help manufacture that kind of emotional moment that gives that inner fire to get going? JASON: I think it has to be a want. I mean, Dale Carnegie talked about this in 1930, in his famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. To influence someone to do something you have to create in the other person and eager want. And so it really comes down to creating that eager want, they have to eagerly want to do it. And that's where the fire comes from to be motivated to continue. The reason why most new year's resolutions fail, the reason why most people try to lose weight and then fail because they can't keep up the habit. It's because they don't really want it, and that's really the driver of it all. It's if you want something, then motivation is not a problem. You do it every day because it's what you want to be doing every day. JESSE: Right, right. JASON: If you really want to exercise, most people they do it because they think they have to, they know it's good for them. It's like eating your vegetables. Yeah, most people would rather have chocolate chip cookies than broccoli. But we know it's good for us, we don't really want to do it. It's the same thing with exercise. Most people don't really want to exercise. Theyou're not in love with physical movement, the way you and I are and most runners are. And so I think it really all comes down to either having that want yourself or finding someone who can figure out how to create that wants inside of you. The big thing that coaches do is to try to create that want inside of you and that's what drives the motivation. But I agree that it has to come from with inside of you, you can give the best pep talk of anybody in the world. But if that person doesn't have that fire inside of them, the pep talk is not going to work. JESSE: Yeah, sometimes if I'm talking to somebody who's not a runner, but they're thinking about it, I try to come at it a bit sideways, instead of just saying, okay, go out and run, I say find a group, kind of like, you know, when you're, I guess I'll go back to like my youth like youth group at church. kids aren't necessarily interested in the religion at that time, but they're interested in friends. So, I think about running almost in the same way where it's like, go find like a social group to get you running, and then you may discover, like some of the joys and benefits of running while you're in that social group and kind of build from there. JASON: I think that’s why we see so many groups around the country. There's so many running groups right now and it's blowing up how many, you know are in every place looking to join a running club, most running shoe stores have a group that meets once a week in their store. They're running groups all over the place, it's not hard to find them. JESSE: Right, right. So, this is -- I want to kind of go back a little bit. For the most part, it sounds like your formula is pretty much go run, burn calories and then I you know, I heard you say in another interview, don't replace those calories you just burned otherwise, you're basically defeating the entire point. So, I guess the question for me is like, why do you think people make losing weight so complicated, where it really just seems like it's calories in calories out? JASON: Because there's money to be made. That's really the root of it all. Those programs and all these books, and everyone acts like, oh, my book is different than everybody else's book, I've got the answer that you to make money. It really is a simple thing. In theory, it's hard in practice, because like I said before, our society is not set up to lose weight. People go on a run. And what may take them a half an hour to burn, they can get back in a matter of seconds. And so - don't really, you know they underestimate how many calories they're consuming, and they overestimate how many calories they're expending. So, it's very easy to get the calories right back and then the weight doesn't budge. You know you burned 300 calories, but then you come inside and have a glass of juice and a handful of pretzels, you get the calories right back and then your weight doesn't go anywhere. So, that's why it has to come from both sides, you have to expend a lot of calories and you still have to cut how many calories are coming in the door because otherwise your weight’s not going to move. But yeah, people try to complicate it simply because there's a lot of money to be made. Remember, the weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, money to be made off of convincing people that you've got the solution. JESSE: Yeah, so instead of making it very simple. So, thinking again, back to the people you talked to where you said, you know, they get on the treadmill, and they can't run for 60 seconds, or maybe that's all I can do. And they build up over time. You know, I've coached some athletes, and I've had various teammates over the years, as well as kind of friends that have gone on weight loss journey. So, I've seen, I guess, a whole spectrum of athletes, and it seems like everybody, myself included in probably yourself deal with kind of negative mental talk from time to time. To me, it seems like that's going to be even more so the case with somebody who hasn't, you know, run before or as you know, has this whole way to lose its kind of transformation. So, do you have any suggestions in the book or personally for how people could deal with negative like negative self talk? Like how do you cope with those dumps that creep in? JASON: I think everybody deals that from time to time, and ?? 18:02> tend to be hard on themselves. So, whether it's...or whatever you're trying to accomplish, I mean even I, myself working for myself, I deal with rejection and failure every single day. So, it's hard, sometimes not get down on yourself, but the way I deal with it, and the way I suggest others is to always keep the ultimate goal in mind. And then never move that ultimate goal. It's always here, you may have to take a different route to get there, it's not going to be a straight path, and it's never a straight path. Ask any entrepreneur, they'll tell you it's never a straight path. You just have to keep that goal in mind and focus on the individual tasks every single day that help you to move closer to that goal, despite all the setbacks, you know, maybe find another way around the barrier that you put up in front of you. But always keep the goal in mind. And then even though you have this big picture, you got to focus on the daily small tasks to help you achieve that big picture. If it's something like wait, loss, well, what can I do today, to help me achieve that goal of losing 100 pounds in a year. And there are specific things that I can do today, focus on those things. And then when tomorrow comes, what can I do tomorrow, which is now today, what can I do today to make that goal happen? And if you focus on those individual tasks then that helps to get away around that, you know, always feeling sorry for yourself or that little voice in your head saying you can't do this. Just block that out and focus on the specific tasks that you have to accomplish every day. Go to Part 2 Go to Part 3

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