Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 7 - Matt Bach - HEALTH BEFORE FITNESS - Part 2 of 3

Yeah, I actually went through, I was never tested that quite that low. But it was first brought to me as a potential issue actually by-- I was post college and I started meeting with a nutritionist who was actually like a bodybuilder like one of these, like, super jacked, there's no way he's not taking steroids, sighs, bodybuilders like very big guy.

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JESSE: Yeah, I actually went through, I was never tested that quite that low. But it was first brought to me as a potential issue actually by-- I was post college and I started meeting with a nutritionist who was actually like a bodybuilder like one of these, like, super jacked, there's no way he's not taking steroids, sighs, bodybuilders like very big guy. And he measured body fat on me and just by the amount of body fat I carried and where it was placed, he was like, you might check that out. And at the time-- MATT: What was your percentage? JESSE: At that time? MATT: Yeah. JESSE: I think it was like 11-12%, something like that. It seems to stick around there. I think I've gotten as little as eight. But I have a hard time getting real lean. I actually usually, so like I'm hanging out with all the guys at nationals and kind of like high level guys. I always describe myself as the fat guy in the group. I’ve never had a six pack ever, which that's like he was like, with the amount of training you're doing, it seems very odd. I tested a low 300. So, technically, I was still in range, I think was like 311 or something like, just barely in range. MATT: So, did you ever noticed some of those symptoms I was mentioning? JESSE: Yeah. No, I definitely did. And you're talking about it and so I was wondering if you’d read Cody Beals blog posts about it because he definitely talked about it. I kind of commented on his blog with him and had a very, very short chat. But yeah, one of the things my coaches wanted me to do this year is like, go back and test it again, make sure everything's right. I just haven't out of probably laziness more than anything, laziness and busyness. But yeah, it's like, so it's always kinda interesting. It's not really talked about that much, presumably a very, very common experience, because we have such high levels of cortisol and that suppresses testosterone production, as far as I'm aware. MATT: Yeah, there may be a link between cortisol and testosterone levels. And it's definitely, in almost all cases. So, I do some consulting on this to like, people who have these issues are noticing the symptoms, sometimes they'll come to me through my website, and then ask for some consulting. So, it's I'll either do like a 30-minute phone call or I'll do a more in depth consultation. Or they share with me lots and lots of data and things that they've done in the past or like whole write up on what their food is like, and all of this. So, I'll go over with them and then provide recommendations and how they can correct things. And it's pretty prevalent. You really, most people don't know about it so they don't know, what they're going through what they’re experiencing, but it's more than just being tired. It's often, biological to. JESSE: Yeah, I mean, like you mentioned, people say, well, I'm just training a lot, so obviously, I'm tired. I think at the time being younger I always was the about 22 at the time that I did that test, it was definitely like, well, of course. I think it was probably an issue all throughout college, I had a terrible time getting to sleep in college. Either it would be I couldn't sleep more than four hours a night or I'd be sleeping 11 to 12 hours a day, one or the other and just chronic fatigue, and then racing for seasons as well. Yeah, so I can definitely like sympathize with that. I think I had read something or maybe it was in another podcast you did that you were, I don't know that you were the lead, but you were helping with a study on endurance athletes and testosterone. Did you guys find enough participants, how did that all go? MATT: Yeah. It's being conducted right now, I think it might still be going or maybe they're just wrapping it up and writing the paper. But it was done at Rutgers and they found it up participants so, I'm not sure the exact number that they had in the end that completed the full study. I need to check in with those guys again and see how it went. Because at that point, I was just trying to help get it started and then at that point, it was in their hands, they had to do all that they had to do to be really rigorous and independent and kind of like an unbiased about everything. And so I left it in their hands for the most part. But yeah, I do have to check back in with them and see how it all went. JESSE: Okay, I was like because I think the podcast I listened to was like from 2016, you had mentioned it something about it being a year long. So, it's like, all right, maybe the results will be back in from that and we can kind of figure out like, as far as the periodization training cycles go and how that affects people. So, it’s a little disappointing you don't have any evidence for us or results for us quite yet. MATT: Yeah, maybe we'll have to do a follow up one. I could tell you just from my ?? 5:04> one experience, that when I increased training, my T levels went down. When I reduced training my T levels went back up. There's definitely some cyclical nature to that. But the studies should help with that more. JESSE: So, I'm kind of curious, like, in your opinion, if there's-- I mean, is there any way to have a high level of training and also not majorly adversely affect your testosterone? MATT: So, I do believe, and I have some evidence just using myself and some of the athletes that I've consulted with, that you can train at a pretty high level and a pretty large amount of volume, and still have relatively normal testosterone levels. And what I mean by that is, well, Cody is a great example. Actually, Cody had problems before, but he's restored his, he was back in the middle of the range. He is intense training, he won couple Ironmans last year. And yet, he has normal testosterone levels still, and I touch base with him every once in a while to see how things are going on that front and on other fronts. And he's done a great job of finding that balance that works for him. And it's not surprising that a lot of Ironman athletes do pack on a few extra pounds. I think Mark Allen is the one that's famous for saying something like you got to be fat in July to race well in October. Like you can't always be really, really, really lean year round or you could end up with these long term issues, like hormone issues. So, a little bit of like pack out a few extra pounds could be a good thing. Plus, it's just good to be as an Ironman athlete, like it's better to be strong and healthy and fit than it is to be ultra lean and sort of strong, and probably chronically unhealthy, if you wait long enough. JESSE: I think both in like running culture and triathlon culture, there's a lot of, it's almost like a pissing contest sometimes like about how lean or how little people weigh. Like, that's the measure of a great athlete. It’s like, no, I'm super light or no, I'm lighter than that and where, it doesn't always actually equate to real results. I wish I could remember this female pro, she's a runner. And I read an article about her where like, people would almost like snicker at her because she's like so much bigger than all the other girls. She’s not big by any means, just like everybody's a rail, and she's not. And then she goes on to essentially beat everybody, talks about her experience not being so thin and being stronger instead of just lean. MATT: Unfortunately, the trend seems to be, I forgot what the phrase was. But it was something like strong as the new thing or something. Like for women if you've got some muscles, like these days, that's becoming much more accepted, that you're strong, you're fit that versus just being this rail, who's not fit, not working out, anorexic maybe like having maybe some eating disorders of some sort, and you're ridiculously thin. That's, I think, kind of coming out of popularity, which is kind of a good thing to say, well, definitely a good thing to see because it's encouraging hopefully, people to be more healthy and not just totally living up to the way that people want them to look. JESSE: Yeah, I think sometimes, I guess I agree with that ethos but at the same time, I think it can get a little bit overboard. So, I have a tough time with like, how do you balance like a new - geist, with actually finding an optimal way to live, if I can phrase it that way, like, really that that balance where it's like, you're not going overboard. You're still able to have a happy life you're not so obsessed about whatever it is that you've gone past the point of positive gains into over exhaustion or whatever it is that it's negative, be it your health or your mood or whatever it is like that. Because there's always the newest thing. I don't know if it's kat over keto, but like that diet is a new thing. There's always a new diet. So, I guess I'm always a little bit skeptical, not necessarily about being strong, but just whenever a new focus like that comes into play, I always kind of step back and think, okay, what efficacy does this have? And are there any necessarily bad, like, negative side effects to whatever it is that’s happening? MATT: Yeah. My rule of thumb is if it's extreme, it's probably not good. JESSE: Right. MATT: So, for me, I practice a lot of balance now and I think that's just been the trend over my life. Like there's been periods where I've taken things to the extreme and sometimes I've kind of regretted that I've done it because sometimes when you take it to the extreme like that you end up in trouble. So, balance tends to be best also for performance in many cases, and longevity in the sport. JESSE: So, I want to jump back a little bit. So, you worked on Wall Street for nine years and kind of curious, like, what did you do on Wall Street and how was your time there, I guess? MATT: Yeah. I got a degree in, my undergraduate degree was in finance and investment management. And right from there, I went to work for a firm called JWM Partners, which was John Meriwether’s second hedge fund. So, if anybody's in finance, that's listening that remembers John Meriwether, he blew up long term capital management and spectacularly. And it was the first hedge fund ever bailed out by the government, the US government. So, then people apparently were stupid enough to give him money again, and he started another fund. And I worked there until that fund went down. Not so spectacularly, but it went down as well. So, I was there for five months and then from there, I went to Direction, which is a leveraged ETF provider, I was a trader and Portfolio Manager for them. And then I went from there to Scout Trading, which was a small broker dealer, it was a high frequency trading firm. I was the trader for them and helping develop strategies. We were a prep fund. So, we had money from our partners, the people who were running the farm and running the firm and we traded their money and whatever money was made, went back to the partners and us in terms of bonuses. So, it was kind of a fantastic opportunity. We ended up shuttering the firm though, and they moved me over into - Partners, which is a hedge fund that was focused on statistical arbitrage and it was a sister company to Scout Trading. So, I just moved over from one company, the next same boss, same guy running the firm. And so that was my journey in Wall Street. And I was there for nine years and it was it was good. Like, I love finance. And I love the markets and numbers. I'm good with numbers. But while I was working on Wall Street, I was marathoning. I was doing triathlons ever since 2010. And while I was there I was that's when I won Ironman Maryland 2014. I was still on Wall Street. 2015, I did Kona, I was 72nd there, I was still in Wall Street there. 2016, I was doing a lot of training until then the issues arose, and I ended up stopping for a while. And then I decided I want to make a switch here, I want to make a full switch like a career move to something in my passion. I wanted to come to athletics in some way. So, I couldn't become a pro triathlete or I decided I didn't want to try going down that path anymore. But this opportunity was kind of was always in the back of my head to work at UCAN. I started using it before Ironman Maryland and had a huge success with it. And it kind of unlocked some of the potential that I knew I had. So, I ended up coming on full time with them just four months ago. And I graduated like I said yesterday from my MBA program. So, the career move is complete. JESSE: Okay. So, I know Cecilia had recommended I talked to you and she described using very smart guy. So, it's always curious to me, like I had another friend who's also in triathlon, and he wants to be an investment banker or at least last I talked to him. I don't need to know your salary, that's not important but we know, generally, on Wall Street, people are having pretty good success financially. I would assume your upside’s probably not as high at UCAN, unless you're getting stock options of some sort? So, like, how do you walk away from a salary that most people would be? very happy to ever reach? MATT: Yeah, the question for me was, do I want to continue working on Wall Street, and commute 30 plus hours a day, and work eight to 10 to 12 to 14 plus hours a day, and not know my kids and make 2, 3, 500,000, possibly many millions of dollars in a year if things go well, is not outside the realm of possibility? Or would I be would I be happier working for 100K, 150K, 200K for the rest of my life, like no more than probably that amount of money, but be really happy doing it, and passionate about what I'm doing and knowing my kids and having better life or work life balance? Would I take that? Absolutely. And that's what I'm doing right now. JESSE: That's fair enough. So, as an entrepreneur, myself, I kind of get mixed messages from various, I'll call them gurus, but business people. And there's one in particular that always likes to say work life balance is bullshit. Like, either if you want to succeed, like businesses war, there is no such thing as work-life balance. And then you get other people there, like build a lifestyle business so that you can have the time with your family, time to go on vacation, all that kind of thing. So, it’s just both messages are out there and I think for different people, they certainly resonate. So, it's always like, it's just a personal curiosity of mine to hear how you come to that decision, just because for people that don't have money, it can be such a focus to say, if I had X dollars, I would be happy. MATT: Yeah. Well, one of the things that kind of illustrates it for me, why would I want to work on Wall Street and make millions of dollars, and I don't even get to spend it with those I love? I'm always working, so what good is it? I mean, to me anyway, that's my view. I want to be able to spend it with those that I love, not let them spend it while I'm working. JESSE: Right. So, this is a little bit like I don’t want to call it an esoteric question, but kind of off the cuff. I have an opinion on what money is and I won't share that quite yet. But I want to see if you have an opinion on besides like, numbers or physical paper, like, do you have a thought on what money is. MATT: So, the way I view it is that everything is relative. And if somebody were guaranteed to have, I think there's been studies done on this, I'm almost positive there has. If somebody literally makes more and more and more and more money over time, and so their standard of living goes up and up and up and up throughout their life like are they going to be happier than somebody who makes more money than that other person ever made in one year, and then it plummets down to nothing, like they lose all their wealth somehow. But that person is probably a lot less happy even though they had a bunch of money. Because the expectations, I think it's kind of like that. That's my view is like you want to know that things are better in the future, have this hope and that tomorrow is going to be even better than today. And having that I feel like kind of contributes to at least for me, my happiness. JESSE: So, I kind of think about money is like, I don't know if you've ever gotten this, but there's this kind of mentality where it's like people who make a lot of money are evil or bad. So, I think it's definitely played out as like Wall Street versus Main Street and that kind of stuff. So, that's part of my kind of curiosity, since you actually did work on Wall Street. Though, I think that's completely wrong like, in my opinion, money is a stored value. Like as an entrepreneur, the way I view the creation of money is like I have to provide value for it to come to me. You don't just take money from people they give it to you because you've given them more than what they believe the value of that money is. If something is worth $20 but I only provide $10 worth of value well, somebody has an option, they're probably not going to make that trade. But if I provide $50 of value but I only want $20, well, that should be a no brainer. So, anyway, we’re getting real involved in money like it’s just not a conversation you can have with just anybody. Go to Part 3 Go to Part 1

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