EP 1134

1134. What You’re Getting Wrong About Exercise

Sal Di Stefano, host of The Mind Pump Podcast, joins me to take on weight training vs. cardio, why veganism is dangerous, and why reverse dieting may be key.

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In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

I’m pumped to welcome one of the hosts of the Mind Pump Podcast, top trainer and entrepreneur Sal Di Stefano. Mind Pump pulls back the curtain on the health, fitness, and nutrition industries, cuts through the pseudo-science, and offers science-backed solutions for enhancing performance while emphasizing health.

Sal started his journey in the gym at age 14, and I admire how he’s steadily grown a meaningful business around biohacking fitness.

On today’s episode, we take on some weighty topics like weight training vs. cardio, why veganism is dangerous, and why reverse dieting may actually be the key for results. Sal explains his fitness philosophy, which focuses on functional movement, reframing your mindset around exercise, and consistency above all else.

We also get into the nutrition side of things. Sal and I break down how much protein you should be eating per day, plus our favorite proteins—and the evil ones we avoid. We also talk carbs. Do they make you fat? How do they impact performance? What are the best sources? Then, we get fired up talking about how you can fire up your metabolism.

This episode is for everyone, from gym newbies to serious bodybuilders. And check out my episode on The Mind Pump Podcast to get a double dose of me and Sal (watch or listen).


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“Everything is telling people from every angle to do things in a way that's going to make them sick, fat, and unhealthy. To be healthy is an act of rebellion.”



Are Bodybuilders the Edgiest Biohackers?

  • How Sal became passionate about fitness
  • Why bodybuilders are the experimenters of strength training
  • How to get the average person to keep consistent results


Strength Training vs. Cardio

  • Read: The Resistance Training Revolution
  • Why strength training is the most aligned exercise for our modern life
  • Is endurance cardio bad for you?
  • How strength training speeds up metabolism
  • How building muscle improves mitochondrial health


Understanding Strength Training as a Longevity Tool

  • How strength training is connected to longevity
  • Why building strength is important for mobility


Moving Toward Functional Movement


Reframing Movement in Your Mind

  • The long- and short-term benefits of movement
  • How to treat exercise like skills
  • Attaching movement to habits you already do
  • Exercising as nourishment, not punishment


Why Veganism Is Dangerous

  • Why promoting veganism pushes people toward processed foods
  • The least evil plant-based protein


Do Carbs Make You Fat?

  • The difficulties of measuring metabolism
  • Carbs’ impact on strength and cognitive performance
  • How many carbs a day Sal eats
  • Health first, aesthetics second


Should You Reverse Diet?

  • What is reverse dieting?
  • Why Sal puts some clients on this protocol
  • Eat more, increase your metabolism?


How Much Protein Should You Eat?

  • Sal’s recommendation for daily protein intake
  • All the factors that impact metabolism
  • The ideal protein intake for longevity
  • Debunking the mTOR argument
  • What is the limit for too much protein?
  • Hitting protein targets while intermittent fasting


Is There Any Good Reason To Eat Chicken?

  • Sal’s take on chicken
  • Why he tells his clients not to eat chicken breast


Winning Carb Choices

  • Sal’s favorite sources of carbs
  • Oxalate content in carbs
  • What’s causing the uptick in allergies in children?


Sal’s #1 Recommended Supplement

  • Sal’s hierarchy of supplements
  • Research about creatine and hair loss


The Single Biggest Fitness Mistake

  • What people get wrong starting a fitness journey
  • Why sustainability is the real goal


Dave Asprey’s NEW Book ‘Smarter Not Harder’ is out now: https://daveasprey.com/books

Mind Pump Podcast: mindpumppodcast.com

Mind Pump Training Protocols: mindpumpmedia.com/maps-fitness-products

Mind Pump Instagram: @mindpumpmedia

Sal’s Instagram: @mindpumpdistefano

X: @mindpumpsal

TikTok: @mindpumpmedia

YouTube: @MindPumpShow

Enjoy the show!


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Not Harder

Smarter Not Harder: The Biohacker’s Guide to Getting the Body and Mind You Want is about helping you to become the best version of yourself by embracing laziness while increasing your energy and optimizing your biology.

If you want to lose weight, increase your energy, or sharpen your mind, there are shelves of books offering myriad styles of advice. If you want to build up your strength and cardio fitness, there are plenty of gyms and trainers ready to offer you their guidance. What all of these resources have in common is they offer you a bad deal: a lot of effort for a little payoff. Dave Asprey has found a better way.

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