February 7, 2023

10 Takeaways from Dr. Jaquish’s Appearance On the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast

It’s no secret that most people aspire to be fit, well-built, and muscular. But what if, after years of training, you realized you were going about it in all the wrong ways?

What if you had a better solution to achieve your goals?

That’s exactly what Dr. John Jaquish discussed in his recent interview with Ben Greenfield, a human performance consultant, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. If you want the rundown on their conversation, then scroll down to learn 10 takeaways from the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.1

1. Cardio for weight loss is a lie

Fatigued athlete after cardio

When asked why they do cardio, most people admit, “Well, I want to be lean.” But cardio is not an effective way to sculpt a lean physique, and here’s why.

Spending more than 20 minutes on cardio produces high amounts of cortisol in the body while decreasing the release of growth hormone and testosterone. This is important to know because cortisol’s main job is to break down muscle to protect your body’s fat stores.

At the same time, you’re tearing down muscle tissue, which ultimately will affect your metabolism, even when you’re not working out.

Obviously, this is the opposite of what you want to achieve when doing cardio.

Instead, look at cardio from our ancestors’ point of view. Move slowly throughout your entire day, like they did when hunting or gathering food. Overall, this approach to movement is better for your metabolism, promotes fat loss, and decreases the stress response2

On the other hand, too much time spent on cardio (like hopping on the elliptical for 45 minutes) prevents fat loss and inhibits muscle gain. Stop using cardio for weight loss and limit your sessions to 20 minutes to get maximum fat-burning effects.

2. Lifting weights is the wrong way to build muscle

Fatigued women after weight lifting

As Canadian physician and longevity expert Peter Attia3 claimed, “We overload joints and underload muscle,” and truer words could not have been said.

Quit using a vanity metric, like lifting weights, to look cool and to grow muscle. Not only is weight lifting a waste of time, but it’s ineffective since you’ll never reach your body’s full capacity for strength. At the same time, weight lifting overloads your joints, thus increasing your risk for injury. Because our bodies are best developed with heavy loads, you’ll need a better way to use maximum muscle loads without stressing the joints that hold our bones together.

Variable resistance training avoids that scenario entirely since it protects your bones and joints in a way that creates the highest amount of tension on the muscle. Plus, variable resistance is proven to be a superior way to strength train4, especially when doing exercises through a full range of motion.

3. Variable resistance training can give you faster results in half the time

X3 bar variable resistance training system

Limited on time but still want to get a great workout in? Variable resistance training is the way to go.

In addition to other benefits, variable resistance training is most effective for people who want to build strength, burn fat, and grow muscle. And it can do that in half the amount of time of other workout programs.

The X3 Bar system is the strongest variable resistance training system on the market. X3 includes heavy-duty resistance bands, a stabilizing ground plate, and a steel alloy resistance band bar.

For your daily workouts, all you need is the X3 bar system , your favorite playlist, and 10 spare minutes.

Here’s the basis of the X3 program:

  • Perform push/pull splits with at least 36 hours between the same muscle groups
  • Pick 4 exercises to lift to failure (around 15–40 reps each) using your full range of motion

Now, you may be wondering why we only recommend one set for each exercise.

Interestingly, the reason people do multiple sets in traditional weightlifting is because the stimulus is lousy and too low to truly fatigue the muscles. But, by using variable resistance, one set to failure is enough stimulus to produce incredible muscle gains.

4. Gains come from maximizing muscle hyperplasia

Man looking at stronger biceps after working out

Muscle hyperplasia describes what happens inside our cells when we gain muscle mass. Hyperplasia is necessary for all muscle growth and occurs when the cells in our muscles split to form new fibers. Like all living things, cells need hydration to grow, and muscle cells are no exception.

You can maximize muscle cell hydration, and therefore muscle hyperplasia, by taking a vasodilator (arginine, nitric oxide, etc.,) before your workout. Pair this with a 30 second stretch to relax the fascia around the muscle, followed by a small amount of carbohydrates after your workout, and you create the perfect environment for muscle hyperplasia.

What else can you be doing to hydrate your muscle cells?

Aside from the recommendations described earlier, you can also add glycerol and creatine monohydrate into your workout regime.

5. Selecting the right variable resistance training bands

X3 variable resistance dynamic training bands

Enormous gains in strength and size can come from training with variable resistance bands, but not with just any bands. To see maximal results, you need high-density bands that don’t snap under heavy loads or misplace force through joints that are prone to injury.

These characteristics are what set the X3 apart from competitors’ bands on the market.

Admittedly, certain resistance bands are capable of producing a ton of power.

However, they will also lead to injury if used improperly or manufactured from petroleum-based materials. This becomes an issue since bands made from petroleum-based materials have a tendency of stretching out and breaking over time.

More importantly, high-density bands, like the X3, need to be attached to an Olympic bar and ground plate. The X3 Bar and ground plate protect your joints and tendons, specifically in your wrists and ankles, from unnecessary force. Without them, variable resistance training under heavy loads is basically ineffective and extremely dangerous.

6. All workouts should use these exercise science principles

Man using a tape measure for his chest muscles

Curious to know what an effective training regime should include? It comes down to these 3 exercise science principles that most workouts lack: (1) maximizing muscle hypoxia, (2) incorporating stability, and (3) lifting heavy.

  • Workouts should maximize hypoxia (low amounts of oxygen in the muscle cells) in the working muscles to prevent myostatin from being released. This is crucial since myostatin prevents the “good stuff,” like muscle cell growth and hyperplasia, from happening in the muscles. The best way to maximize hypoxia is through blood flow restriction or heavy variable resistance training.
  • Workouts should incorporate stability for a high growth hormone effect. This is most evident in studies comparing growth hormone responses during squats (high) versus leg press (low).
  • Lastly, you need to lift heavy in order to see any results. While this may seem intuitive, most people fail to include this in their workouts. Without it, you’re not going to see significant changes in your testosterone levels.

The only exception to this would be blood flow restriction training. When using a tourniquet to restrict blood flow, your body will prevent you from lifting heavy loads due to a principle called neural inhibition. But, using variable resistance bypasses this issue while still allowing you to lift heavy through the entire range of motion.

7. Don’t get caught up worrying about your muscle fiber type

Man taking a rest after working out

It’s common to see people fretting about their “primary” muscle fiber type and how it plays into their training regimes. But, focusing on your muscle fiber type is pointless when it comes to strength training. Simply put, your primary muscle fiber type doesn’t matter when it comes to building muscle, especially putting on size.

Think about it this way: Fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers refer to the speed at which the cell turns on. Therefore, strength training as we’ve described recruits every muscle fiber. Just do a full set to failure using your full range of motion, and you’ll utilize every muscle fiber in the group.

8. The real truth about hormones during exercise is…

Man and woman bonding after working out

Like we mentioned above, a rush of hormones is released when the muscle cells are in a state of hypoxia (low levels of oxygen). One of the most effective ways to induce muscle hypoxia is through blood flow restriction training since it causes a release of growth hormone and testosterone. However, none of that compares to the hormone response that comes with a high-intensity, high-load training protocol.

Studies5 have compared testosterone responses during blood flow restriction training with light loads to regular training with heavy loads. Researchers found the testosterone response to be higher when lifting heavier but similar growth hormone responses in both groups. So, long story short, you still can see a hormone response during blood flow restriction training, but heavy training is always superior.

But, the one thing that doesn’t promote a good hormone release is cardio. In fact, doing more than an hour of cardio prevents the release of growth hormone and testosterone and, instead, protects your fat stores6. And, like we previously discussed, long-term cardio does absolutely nothing for your metabolism.

9. Drugs don’t enhance your progress

Man holding steroids

Ideally, the more muscular you are, the leaner you are. Statistics show that, over the past 50 years, the top percentage of males who are considered to be “lean” have an average of 11% body fat7. That’s not very impressive if you ask us.

What’s even less impressive is the fact that 6.6%8 of men over the age of 18 admit to trying steroids/performance-enhancing drugs at least once. If we compare that against the top 1% of men who are considered to be lean, then that means almost everyone who has used steroids in the past has failed to become “fit.” Clearly, these drugs are not the gateway to perfect conditioning.

It should also be said that, in the past decade, steroid use has been trending upward at an alarming rate even though it doesn’t enhance progress and comes with a hoard of serious complications. Depending on the dose, people who take steroids are at risk for9 organ damage, heart attacks, poor kidney function, or even death. Steroid use also has serious psychological effects10 like low libido, aggressive behavior, and irritability.

10. The fitness industry fails to make you truly fit

Gym interior with multiple treadmills

There’s a glaring issue with the fitness industry, and it has everything to do with the mentality that it promotes.

Somehow, people have convinced themselves that they need a structured gym culture to become fit. They think that the only way to achieve their dreams is by walking into a fancy gym with large screen TVs, magazines, juice bars, and hot towels. But that doesn’t necessarily produce results, athleticism, or all the things we talked about in this post.

Instead, try taking your health and your fitness into your own hands. Figure out how to creatively and proactively design an environment that allows you to be active anytime, anyplace. This could take the form of trail walking, kettlebell workouts, or using the X3 Bar in your garage. You’ll quickly see that fitness doesn’t require $90 monthly memberships or towel service to produce results.

We challenge you to break out of the old fitness mentality and consider what variable resistance training can do for you. Not only does the X3 Bar have thousands of dedicated users, but it’s trusted by licensed rehabilitation professionals in clinics across the country. Find out for yourself why the X3 Bar and variable resistance training is a superior strength training approach, a fact-based by research and exercise science principles.

A portable, all-in-one home gym system


  1. Weight Lifting Is a Waste of Time (So Is Cardio, And There’s a Better Way to Have The Body You Want). ↩︎

  2. Podcast episodes ↩︎

  3. The Drive Podcast ↩︎

  4. Andersen, CE, Sforza GA, & Sigg JA. (2008). The effects of combining elastic and free weight resistance on strength and power in athletes. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Mar; 22(2): 567-74. ↩︎

  5. Jespersen, J. G., Nedergaard, A., Andersen, L. L., Schjerling, P., & Andersen, J. L. (2011). Myostatin expression during human muscle hypertrophy and subsequent atrophy: increased myostatin with detraining. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 21(2), 215-223. ↩︎

  6. Janssen I & Ross R. (2001). Physical activity total and regional obesity: Dose-response considerations. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June; 33(6 Suppl): S521 – 7 ↩︎

  7. W. E. Buckley, C. E. Yesalis, 3rd, K. E. Friedl, W. A. Anderson, A. L. Streit, J. E. Wright. JAMA. (1988) Estimated prevalence of anabolic steroid use among male high school seniors; 260(23): 3441-3445.Anabolic steroid use by male and female middle school students. Pediatrics. 101(5): E6. ↩︎

  8. W. E. Buckley, C. E. Yesalis, 3rd, K. E. Friedl, W. A. Anderson, A. L. Streit, J. E. Wright. JAMA. (1988) Estimated prevalence of anabolic steroid use among male high school seniors; 260(23): 3441-3445.Anabolic steroid use by male and female middle school students. Pediatrics. 101(5): E6. ↩︎

  9. Althobiti SD, Alqurashi NM, Alotaibi AS, Alharthi TF, Alswat KA. Prevalence, Attitude, Knowledge, and Practice of Anabolic Androgenic Steroid (AAS) Use Among Gym Participants. Mater Sociomed. 2018;30(1):49-52. doi:10.5455/msm.2018.30.49-52 ↩︎

  10. Piacentino D, Kotzalidis GD, Del Casale A, et al. Anabolic-androgenic steroid use and psychopathology in athletes. A systematic review. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015;13(1):101-121. doi:10.2174/1570159X13666141210222725 ↩︎

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