- By Align podcast on September 10, 2021
Dr. John Jaquish: Tapping Into the Power of Variable Resistance Training, Inefficiencies in Standard Human Fitness, and Growing from the Inside-Out
Have you been going to the gym for years, working out with trainers or taking gym classes, but not seeing the results you want? In this podcast, Dr. John Jaquish discusses his scientific-based approaches and proven methodologies to get the fitness results you want.
Aaron Alexander: Welcome back to the Align Podcast. My name is Aaron Alexander. This is a place that we bring together the world’s leading experts in all things health and wellness and help you optimize your mind, body, and movement. Today’s gorgeous Align Podcast was with Dr. John Jaquish.
Dr. John would be quite notable for being the founder of the X3 Bar , also a company referred to as OsteoStrong, which I have been into to experience the interesting benefits of loading the bones with specific types of mechanisms and machines and such. Really interesting conversation. Interesting guy. He’s the author of a book referred to as Weight Lifting Is a Waste of Time: So Is Cardio, and There’s a Better Way to Have the Body You Want
I was excited to get to have Dr. John on the show because he has some controversial ideas that kind of go against the grain of what a lot of people are doing inside gyms. And so I think it’s interesting to feature these ideas for us to be able to chew on, just be open to varying perspectives.
Dr. John Jaquish: Most people want their fitness and health advice boiled down to a meme. A half sentence is all they’re willing to learn. It’s sort of like, we don’t want anyone messing with the forest. Okay. Well, great. Well then we’ll have 75 years of piled-up dead trees, and now we have fires that we can’t fight. So now you lose the entire forest as opposed to smaller fires we can put out. I think it’s very similar, like, cholesterol is good, cholesterol is bad.
Our bodies don’t make stuff that is designed to kill us. We don’t have a self-destruct system. Like, cortisol is bad. Well, until it’s not. Your body doesn’t make a bad hormone. I see the oversimplification. It’s like, oh, oh, I say this all the time. Oversimplification is another word for wrong. And we have a nasty habit of trying to make things so simple that ’everybody will understand.'
Dr. John Jaquish: I remember I was helping some writers that were doing something to put in, it was like myths of fitness, and they were going to put it in… They did put it in, I probably shouldn’t mention what paper, but they said it needs to be written at a second-grade level. And I’m like, “Well, I don’t know what that is.” They’re like, “Basically, we highlighted all the stuff that’s too complicated.” They highlighted like half the article. It’s just like, if you want me to get rid of all this detail, it’s going to be wrong. We’re talking about the myths of fitness, but dispelling the myths with simpleton speak is just going to make it incorrect in a different way. I wish people would have a greater desire to learn.
Dr. John Jaquish: Now, fortunately, with my products and my business, I figured out real quick, and I got a warning from guys like Dave Asprey, like, you don’t make a scientific argument to a fitness audience, because in general, the fitness audience is just not intelligent, and they don’t have the patience. They don’t have the patience or the ability to absorb science, and Dave was right. It is really sad because I’m trying to show there’s so much out there about variable resistance, right? Westside Barbell has broken, I don’t know, 400 world records out of one gym. How’d they done that? Well, they use variable resistance. They don’t use the same variable resistance system that I developed, but they use variable resistance. Louis Simmons, the guy who runs the place says that’s their thing. They don’t do anything specifically different other than adding banding to some of their weighted movements. Now, they use weights and bands. The body doesn’t know the difference.
Dr. John Jaquish: There is a ratio that one should look towards, where you can have X at the bottom of a movement and 1.2 X at the top, or you could have X at the bottom of a movement and 5X at the top. So which is better. I mean, I wrote a whole book, Weight Lifting Is a Waste of Time: So Is Cardio, and There’s a Better Way to Have the Body You Want is about. But to get to the point of discussing what the optimum ratio is, you have to be able to understand that you’re much stronger in certain positions than you are in other positions. And that right there is, a typical fitness audience is just too complex. They will not tolerate it.
Dr. John Jaquish: So what I ended up doing was after launching the company and just seeing sideways hat clowns just kicking and screaming over this stuff, I was like, okay, time to pivot. Pivoted to targeting busy professionals. Well, busy professionals are interesting because they don’t like their time wasted. They’re busy. The busy professional is probably not going to be the guy who goes to a gym for 10 years in a row without seeing any change whatsoever, but regular people do that all the time. So what ends up happening is these people, they went to whatever gyms for a couple of years and they’re like, I didn’t get s*** out of it. I had a couple of trainers and they didn’t do anything either. Then they read the book and they’re like, oh, that’s why I wasn’t making progress.
Dr. John Jaquish: There are multiple aspects the book covers of inefficiencies of standard fitness. I explain fitness is probably the most failed human endeavor of all time, because if you look at how many people exercise, about half of males in the United States exercise either at home, at least two times a week either at home or at a gym. Yet 70% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.
The top 1% leanest males in America are 10.6% body fat. The best 1% is almost at 11% body fat, that’s pathetic. 11% is like top abs. You can see maybe depends on your fat distribution, but it is just like, if that’s the best 1%, then stop defending what we’ve been doing. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to work for anybody. Everybody’s got different genetics, but at some point, you have to go, wow, 99% of the population is engaging in this, and what are they getting out of it? And then you have to ask yourself why has the medical community never really been behind recommending exercise?
Dr. John Jaquish: I know what the orthopedic surgeons will have to say because I go to a lot of those conferences because of my medical device invention, my bone density product. I don’t know if you’ve heard of OsteoStrong, but I developed a medical device-
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. I’ve tried it out.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. Oh great. Yeah. There’s a location in Austin. That makes sense. So seeing all of these things kind of coming together and having people having to understand some of the science of, really it just took me to get to just a different audience that would go, okay, yeah, I agree fitness might not be the most efficient approach as it is right now, so let me read this book or let me read this guy’s website. Right now we have 100,000 customers and they’re all happy. Most consumer products have a 30% return rate. We have a less than 1%.
Aaron Alexander: Can you get a bit into just the science behind variable resistance training? I mean, I think most people are probably seeing people putting chains on a bar if they’re on a bench press or something, or using resistance bands, so you’re getting that variable resistance when you have a more or less mechanical advantage as a lifter. Why does that matter?
Dr. John Jaquish: It mattered more to me than it ever did anyone else because of the bone density work. The OsteoStrong devices just get you in an impact-ready position. For example, for those who are watching, you can see my upper extremities, I got a 120-degree angle between upper and lower arm, and the back of the hand is in line with the clavicle. I can either absorb or produce the greatest amount of force in that position.
With my upper extremities, I can produce 2,000 pounds of force on the OsteoStrong device. That doesn’t mean I’m lifting 2,000 pounds. It means I’m creating compressive force in an optimized position so that I can influence the length of bone for a brief period, irritate the bone matrix. Within the bone, the bone looks like a honeycomb, right, all these little walls inside of it. You bend all those walls and distort, and then when they spring back into position, they’re stimulated to pull in minerals and re-calcify and become more powerful.
Dr. John Jaquish: When looking at what people could self create because that’s the way the device works. It doesn’t put the load on you, you put the load on it, and it analyzes that load and it finds a very specific, accurate position for you to be in to produce the greatest amount of force. It’s very safe. You can’t break your finger by squeezing a fist.
So your neurology is monitoring while you’re doing it to keep you injury-free. Now, as we were going through that, and especially when I did the clinical trial in London, some of the test subjects were physicians in the hospital. They volunteered because there’s like, oh, bone density? Sure. I want to be in that study. And they would ask me, they’re like, and these are all postmenopausal females, and so they said, “We’re pushing six, seven, eight, nine times our body weight just in like an inch of compression with the lower extremities. How does that compare to regular weight lifting?”
Dr. John Jaquish: I said, “That’s a great question.” The regular weight lifting, people go to the full range. So database, 20,000 people, if you look at the data on loading of the lower extremities, they’re anywhere from a beginner, 1.3 times bodyweight to 1.53 for the average advance. Now, 1.53 probably doesn’t seem like a lot, but we’re looking at the general gym-goer here. When you compare that to what people were tolerating with the osteogenic loading with OsteoStrong, they’re looking at seven, eight, nine times bodyweight instead of 1.3 times body weight. Well, it just so happens that the minimum dose-response for triggering any response at all in the bone mass is 4.2 multiples body weight.
Dr. John Jaquish: So when you’re going to the gym, you’re lifting and you’re somewhere in average strength, you’re not doing anything for bone density, nothing. That’s why a lot of people see their physician and they think, well, I never have to worry about bone density, and then they get diagnosed osteoporosis, and they go, I don’t believe it. I’m so active.
Yeah. Right. But you’re not exceeding 4.2 multiples body weight, which is what’s required to trigger bone growth. So that was the approach here. But once realizing how many people, regular postmenopausal population, that’s not where most strength athletes come from. Also, these people have never worked out before, in their life, no exercise whatsoever, and some of them are approaching nine times bodyweight in this therapy. So I’m like, okay, we are dramatically different humans in our power-up capability from impact-ready range motion, which is not full extension. That’s what I just showed, the 120-degree angle right here. That’s a dramatic difference from what we can handle in the weaker range motion. So we need variable resistance.
Dr. John Jaquish: The problem with variable resistance research that had been out there was that the ratio of variants from weak to the stronger range was very low. If you use some weight and some variance, and then put it against people who are just using static weight, and the variance group, let’s just say for argument sake gains triple the amount of strength in the same period over the control group, what matters more, variance or weight? Variance. That’s the only answer.
So why don’t we just go to a higher degree with variance and forget about the weight? And then a couple of studies. That was my theory, and then I developed my product, launched the product, and then a couple of studies came out that showed that the higher ratios of variants were producing greater muscular gain and force output. So there was a confirmation that I was going in the right direction.
Dr. John Jaquish: Sales look great. Everybody’s been using it. Fantastic. A bunch of pro athletes using it. There are about 40 of them on the website. You can see pictures of using the product. The Miami Heat gave up on weight training. They even endorsed the book. They’re right there on the back. Yeah. I mean, pro teams don’t like giving access to their brand, but I got a special exception from the attorneys of the Miami Heat. They were like, “Oh yeah, you helped our team out.”
The priority of an NBA player is a little different than maybe you and me. Maybe my customers, getting as strong as possible is not like… they’re good where they are. They’re already in the NBA. What they want to do is avoid injury and continue to be strong and maybe get a little stronger, but mostly it’s injury proofing themselves.
Dr. John Jaquish: Because of the variable resistance and the high forces and the stronger range of motion, there’s a great study by Benjamin and Ralphs in 1996 that shows that compressive forces in these impact ready ranges of motion, they don’t call it to impact the ready range of motion, they call it just short of the walkout, I think is what they call, those high forces that are seen in those positions have a much stronger influence on the thickness of tendons and ligaments about fibrocartilage uptake. So we’re doing something very protective, and not only are we growing the muscle, but we’re growing thickness in tendons and ligaments, so weights never really were able to do because they couldn’t get to those high forces in those positions.
Aaron Alexander: Did you say there’s no improvement in bone density until you get to four and a half times bodyweight, is that what you said?
Dr. John Jaquish: 4.2 multiples of body weight.
Aaron Alexander: Does that exclude torsion and such? Say a person, it’s like, if you’re getting leverage on the bone via the muscles from say swinging a kettlebell or swinging a baseball bat or something, it’s not just straight compressive load, but there’s a lot of other outside forces other than direct compression down through the humorous, if you’re doing a bench press, I feel like it would have to be more and maybe it’s not, but I feel like it would have to be more complex than just getting up to four and a half. Or do you need to have four and a half times your body weight from those different pooling positions, or is that-
Dr. John Jaquish: That would be most likely because what they did to determine that number, and this study has been repeated three times, all of them with the same outcome, they would attach accelerometers to people and then have them go through a series of high impact activities, like, they would play soccer. These were all done in Europe, so a lot of soccer. And then some gymnasts and some runners, some sprinters. And it turns out that the people that absorbed impacts that were over 4.2 multiples body weight were able to build bone. Those who did not exceed 4.2 multiples body weight did not grow any bone. What the torsion dynamics in there versus the straight loading, there are elements of torsion in most human biomechanics, like you’re saying, there’s a slight rotation of the wrist, slight rotation of shoulders as you move your hand forward. That can’t be avoided, so it’s probably part of the movement anyway, but isolating one variable or the other would be very difficult. I mean, we would need to do experiments outside of the body.
Aaron Alexander: When you’re using the OsteoStrong device, or say any… OsteoStrong isn’t exclusively isometric. You’re going through a full range of motion, but it is going through the variable resistance as you’re going through. Is that correct? How does the OsteoStrong work exactly?
Dr. John Jaquish: No. OsteoStrong is compressive in a very specific position. So the range of motion in an OsteoStrong movement in the lower extremities may be an inch or two depending on how much bone compression you have, but the range of motion is very small. But the exposure to forces, because we’re using the impact-ready range motion, is incredible.
Aaron Alexander: How much of the strength gain that you’re getting is attributed to strengthening the nervous system compared to strengthening muscle hypertrophy or hyperplasia and specific mechanical changes to the muscle outside of just recruiting more motor units, because you’re giving it more of a blast.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. There’s always, especially when somebody starts with X3, the strength product or OsteoStrong, the gains that come right away, especially from a beginner who’s never lifted, a lot of that’s neurological-
Aaron Alexander: Yeah, of course.
Dr. John Jaquish: … like you said because you’re training the body to fire more muscle, so there’s no avoiding that. You can’t determine, I mean, unless you’re doing CT scans, limb pQCT scans, you could figure out how much change there is from a muscle mass standpoint regularly. But one of those scans is like 40 grand-
Aaron Alexander: Right. Worth it. Yeah.
Dr. John Jaquish: Let’s not… Yeah. I mean, there’s somebody out there that might want to find that. I think one of those scanners is like a quarter-million and I consider getting one just so I could show what happens to the people in my office as we’re doing it. I may end up doing that because it’s interesting.
Aaron Alexander: From your experience working with people from those limited ranges of emotions, how does that convert over to skill acquisition? Because so much of fitness is going through the full range of motion of movements. So if you’re isolating specific movements and you’re getting this impressive increase in bone density or the nervous system engagement, how does that relate actually to swinging the baseball bat or throwing the football, or sprinting down a track? Is there a disconnect or is it directly-
Dr. John Jaquish: Oh no, it’s much greater in this regard, and that’s part of the reason why the Heat was all about it. When you look at how we train with weights and how we move, the term functional training has been so overused. I mean the function of a muscle is to shorten, so you can call anything functional, right? I mean, just any bizarre type of bicep curl, people are like, well, I’m shortening my bicep, so it’s functional. Okay. But I would say that the reason it translates is that our activities of daily living, our activities and performance, we don’t use the full range of motion under unilateral force.
Dr. John Jaquish: Like when you sprint, you use seven degrees of action behind your knee, but you have 180 degrees available, so that is in no way full range whatsoever, not even close. That wouldn’t even be considered partial range if you’re lifting.
If you’re only using out of 187, that would be minuscule. This is like the people who just unrack their weight and then rack it. Right? You could even get made fun of for doing that with understanding because you do sometimes need a full range when you’re training, and we do know that full range training is more beneficial, but the loading in full range training is very limiting the way we lift with the same weight through a range of motion. Do you know who Dr. Peter Attia is?
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. Yeah. Of course.
Dr. John Jaquish: With podcast called The Drive.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah.
Dr. John Jaquish: He frequently says I don’t like weight training because it overloads joints and under the load’s muscle. And so the stronger we get, and every strength athlete slowly nods when I say this because when you’re in high school, your tendons and ligaments were stronger than your muscle. So you could go and lift, your muscles would feel it and all the force would go through the musculature, and then very quickly we all put on like 10 pounds of muscle when we first started lifting in high school.
Wow. This is great. Like, oh my God, I’ll be 275 pounds shredded by summer. Of course, after that 10 pounds of muscle, all of a sudden, like, hmm, my joints feel a little tender. And then over time, your joints feel a little more tender. And that 10 pounds that you gain in that first month didn’t happen in the second month. It was maybe more like one pound or nothing. And then that continues because as we get stronger, our tendons and ligaments aren’t getting any stronger, so we’re overloading them, but we’re not getting the appropriate load into the musculature.
Dr. John Jaquish: And so there’s also another really important point that has to do with tendon layout in humans. The people who can more easily put on musculature, these are the ones… Like my tendon insertion for my pectorals on my sternum, everybody is the same, but the other insertion point is variable. Most people have it right at the beginning of the bicep, right here, but some people have a mutation, so it’s down here, and those people have more leverage. There’s a bunch of studies out there that show the longer your tendons are, the more muscle you’re able to gain because you have a longer lever within your own body. Don’t confuse the word arm for an arm. The lever arm is just something that is used for leverage for those who are listening, and I know what that means. When you have more leverage on something…
Dr. John Jaquish: A person with that mutation, which is pretty much everybody I’ve come across in the NFL, they have more access to the same muscle in the weaker range of motion than regular people, and there are varying degrees in this. Some people have the insertion point be more in the middle, some people it’s just a little bit off where it is.
Now, there was a study, I think it was like the third reference in my book. There was a study that talks about how a quarter of people… A lot of studies, they already take weight training people and they do a study on them. But this took a sort of just slice the general population that didn’t exercise, 25% of people aren’t able to induce any muscle protein synthesis at all in any way whatsoever, no matter what they do with standard weights.
Dr. John Jaquish: Now, this relates to the tendon layout issue. Some people are at a very large disadvantage because their tendon is even higher on the bone, and they just have very little leverage on the pectoral. Even when they work out, it’s like, God, it’s like I’m hardly firing some of the muscles. When they train with variable resistance, that takes that advantage or disadvantage, whatever they have, out of the equation and everybody is on a level playing field because the leverage you get comes from the variable resistance instead of your physiology.
So now these people who have never been able to do much with weights, take advantage of the variable resistance to a massive degree, and we see people putting 20 pounds of muscle in six months, even people who’ve been training for 10 years and didn’t get a whole lot out of it. And so our forum, there are 30,000 people in there, you see that kind of story all the time.
Dr. John Jaquish: And then also they go, and I’m going somewhere with this because I did want to fully answer the question, which is, does it influence their functional strength? And then they go and they’re like, oh, I can lift way more weight now, but that’s not what I trained with. I just want to check my strength. For my test was pull-ups. I kept on getting bigger, but I could do more pull-ups, which you’re supposed to be the other way around, right, because they lose weight to be able to do pull-ups. That was in the very beginning when I was just testing, like, am I truly getting functionally stronger?
Aaron Alexander: I wonder if there’s an opportunity, if you would say you are learning, say like a muscle-up, you could get yourself up into the top of the dip position of the bar and slowly lower yourself down into doing the reverse of the pull-up. But if you can kind of freeze yourself, isometrically hold yourself in one of those positions, I feel like it would be a great opportunity to kind of overlay the principles that you’ve put together with OsteoStrong to be able… isolate. So merging skill acquisition with this, like the bottom of a leg press or some of the positions that you have in OsteoStrong, I feel like there could be a explosive opportunity there.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. You and I would probably be interested in doing those types of experiments. You’d be surprised how few people are out there. People are just like, I just want to look good in my shirt. That’s almost all the people I talk to.
Aaron Alexander: Until you experience the benefits of re-engaging some of the inhibited muscles or limited ranges of motions that you’ve had for the last 20 years, but they’ve just been shadows in your life. So then suddenly you have that moment of engaging that posterior side of the shoulder girdle, your lower traps or your glutes or whatever it is. And you’re like, oh, I literally, I feel like a different person as I’m walking around the world. So to be able to share those experiences, I mean, maybe it’s-
Dr. John Jaquish: It takes a lot of experimentation. I know one group of people that likes both X3 and OsteoStrong is the muscle activation therapy people because they’re doing what you’re doing. They’re making muscles fire that isn’t firing. First of all, they’re scouting the body for what’s not firing. Then they’re trying to get it to fire, and then they’re teaching you how to train those muscles so they keep firing and they don’t atrophy and things like that. And so because X3 lets you train with more weight and is much easier on joints, they like that because typically what stops muscles from firing is joint pain.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. The other thing that’s interesting from your perspective/other people’s perspective as well, but is the quantity of training, and I think that that’s a really rich conversation of how much training is too much training, how much training is just it’s like it becomes your kind of meditation or maybe your avoidance of life or what… you just become a gym rat. And at some point, perhaps you would have much greater gains if that truly is your goal by offering yourself a greater amount of rest. But it just becomes this habituation of just, I got to keep on training, keep on keeping myself fully inflamed all the time. But how much training is too much training? How much training is not enough training? I think that’s a really interesting conversation.
Dr. John Jaquish: When it comes to optimum training time because you got to keep in mind that when we train, the idea is to adapt, to trigger the body to respond. And so we want to go the most efficient path to have the greatest response in the body. Because X3 allows you to go to fatigue with so much force, here, I’m holding the X3 and I’m pushing out so that like here, I would be if I were doing a chest press, this would be 550 pounds, as I lower towards myself, it would be about 300 pounds right here, and then it would be closer to 100 pounds when it’s close to my chest. So I’m going through this chest press motion where the weight can change as I move. And then when I cannot get to that 550 out here, about right here it’s 550, when I’m unable to get here, then I just do shorter range repetitions.
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Dr. John Jaquish: So I do reps with 300 until I can’t do that anymore. And then my last repetitions may only be like one or two inches. So I’m fatiguing every range of motion independently, yet in the same set, leveraging the same hypoxia moment. I’m keeping blood from coming in, so huge hypoxic effect, really diminishing the ATP glycogen and creating phosphates, because I’m not resting. I’m going to fatigue first with high amounts of weight in the strongest range, then substantial amounts of weight in the mid-range. And then in the weaker range, I get to the point where I can’t even lift 100 pounds off my chest, which is total exhaustion, way more exhaustion than you can get with weight training. So in that one set, in that one experience, I’ve gone to a deeper level of fatigue than if I did multiple sets with standard weights.
Dr. John Jaquish: So part of the reason that I talk about how X3 is quick, you won’t have to invest the same amount of time. Now, I do know you’re coming at it from the opposite. People like training more and that might not be the most optimal one. You’re right. But the most optimal is the most optimal, and there’s research that would have us go in one direction versus the other. With X3, because the fatigue is so much greater than it is with regular weight training, we just have people do one set.
Aaron Alexander: And then how many breaks between that? Because I know certain, say, if you’re training somebody and you’re doing really heavy descending eccentric sets where you’re loading the person’s nervous system, after that, you probably want to give them proper multiple days or maybe even a week before reloading the system in that way, because it’s a big blast for the nervous system. Is it something that you do every other day? Is it something that you do once a week?
Dr. John Jaquish: Every muscle gets hit every 48 hours. We know from muscle biopsy tests that within 36 hours, almost no matter what you do. Now, you’re talking about the nervous system, which is not what I’m talking about. I’m just talking about muscle protein synthesis. Muscle protein synthesis ends within 36 hours, no matter how crazy, inefficient or shady your workout is, most would be attached to some of those adjectives whatever the program is. So you’re done in 36 hours, we wait for 48 just to make sure because muscle damage of course is inversely related to growth. So when you damage to muscle, your body’s protein synthesis has to do with repairing the damage, not making you any stronger. The adaptations that happen after that if there is time in that 36-hour window go towards growing new muscles.
Dr. John Jaquish: This is part of the reason why muscle confusion doesn’t work, it’s because there’s extra damage when you switch from one type of movement to another because the body is not accustomed to it. No homeostasis involves, let’s say you switch from a mostly pushing chest workout to all flies because bodybuilders will do stuff like that. They’re like, oh, God, I can barely move my arms. I must be growing. And it’s like, no, dude, that’s just damage. You’re not growing at all. And so that’s a big myth that it’s been dispelled in research for 20 years and nobody knows about it. Hey, you do. Most people don’t.
Aaron Alexander: Something else that I think is a really interesting thing to see at least is practicing its various forms of blood flow restriction, and that’s something that-
Dr. John Jaquish: I mentioned hypoxia when you keep constant tension on a muscle. Now, because I’m so familiar with all of the research with variable resistance, it’s almost not applicable to have the same conversation about regular weight training because you’re pretty much when you’re extended with a regular weight, you might as well be resting, because most of the loads going into your bone, in your muscle are pretty much turned off. So like when you’re in the lockout position of a squat, you’re standing up straight, you might as well be at rest, I mean, though you’re holding a bar and it’s heavy and you’re not resting, your muscles kind of are. They’re barely fired.
So when it comes to variable resistance, if you maintain constant tension, meaning you don’t lockout at the top, meaning keep the knee slightly bent at the top of let’s say a squat, and then you go down to, like, let’s say parallel, and you’re slowly moving between the two positions, you keep that constant tension, blood’s not allowed to come back to the heart. So you get some blood flow in. Most of the blood flow comes when it ends, but you’re denying the heart any return, which is the same thing we see with blood flow restriction banding.
Dr. John Jaquish: But my point is your body can do this on its own. It doesn’t need the banding. The problem with the banding is your body knows a tourniquet is around something, which is why when you use a tourniquet, you have to use lightweight. When you don’t use a tourniquet and you just use constant tension and you’re using variable resistance, there is no limitation. So you can get the benefit of a super heavy workout, like my chest press, over 500 pounds, but I can still get the benefit of blood flow restriction.
Dr. John Jaquish: And also keep in mind the benefits of blood flow restriction are not local or systemic because you’ll notice when you do blood flow restriction of your arms, your packs will grow more. Well, you didn’t restrict the blood flow to your packs. Why did it work? Because it’s a hypoxic effect. When the heart sees a hypoxic effect, basically a part of your body disappears. When the blood’s not coming back, it’s like, f***, we don’t have arms. What do we do? Well, we need to grow some more muscle then. We need to make up for the lack of muscle it’s not seeing right now. So your heart can’t have a line of sight on the muscle, it’s not getting return blood flow. Therefore, it lowers myostatin, and myostatin is the limiter on our muscle growth. By lowering myostatin, we change our genetic potential, how much muscle we can hold for a brief period.
Dr. John Jaquish: That’s why you want to make sure you’re training heavy, not light like you do with most blood flow restrictions. We’re kind of getting that with the X3 protocol, but in a better way and without the limitations of having to train.
Aaron Alexander: After the training, what is the rest look like for you? Is every day an active rest day? Is it relevant the way that a person… The language I use is like the way that they inhabit themselves, the way they inhabit their body throughout the day. So paying attention to the way that they’re sitting, the way that they’re breathing, the way that they’re using… Every moment is fitness. You could have the story or the idea that fitness is a thing that you do in a gym, but the reality of your body, just like your body doesn’t know what a bicep brachialis is, or a pec major, it has no idea. Your body just knows one… It’s like there’s a poet that calls your body a party. Science calls your body, what is it? Religion calls your body a sin. Advertising calls your body a business. Science calls your body a machine, and your body calls your body a party. He says, fiesta because he’s Spanish.
Aaron Alexander: But we have all these stories of what’s happening with the body, but the body doesn’t understand any of that stuff. The body is always training. Is that something that you think about, like your awareness of physical positions throughout the day outside of training?
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. It becomes a bit automatic. I’ve noticed the better my abs get, this is new for me, by the way. I had great abs when I was a sophomore junior in high school. I wrestled. That was a while ago. I mean, I’m 44 right now. My abs disappeared after that, and haven’t seen them until I turned like 41, and there, my abs came back, and now they’re better than ever. I got veins showing in my abs and I’m really happy about it.
But I noticed and this is almost one of those synergistic things, like the fitter you get, you start noticing certain… I started looking at my abs in the mirror and I realize just when I’m checking them out, I want to contact them, and I’m holding like a partial vacuum. I had a pinched nerve somewhere in my left side of my body, and I’ve had that on and off for, I don’t know, forever, just something that every once in a while, I’m just like, ugh, my arm will just go kind of numb. I’ve had MRIs and they can’t find any particular hotspot, so it’s just like, all right, well, whatever. Never found a stretch or anything like that.
Dr. John Jaquish: Anyway, so I started kind of looking at my abs and just a little bit of vacuum just as I’m checking them out, that partial vacuum, whatever it… and this is a couple of years ago, I have a chronic numbness in my left arm. My whole life has gone like two days later. I was like, oh, that’s weird. I’m sure it’ll come back. It’s never come back. So something was having to do with my transverse abdomen that probably connected. I mean, it is connected to the spine. Something in there wasn’t firing right and was causing impingement and I fix the problem, like just having my abs show and appreciating them in the mirror.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. It’s connected to the diaphragm and it’s connected to the heart and it’s connected with all of that. You’re familiar with Buckminster Fuller. Yeah. If there’s contraction at any point in the body, contraction, especially as a product of instability or dysfunction or misalignment, and there’s a compensatory contraction, then that’s going to be distributed throughout the whole nervous system.
So I think oftentimes what we do is our solution, which is logical in a lot of ways is just get stronger, just add muscle, needs more muscle. Muscle, metabolically speaking, is great, cognitively speaking is great, for longevity is great, but then there’s also conversation around ease. And so I think that that’s like if we can have that balance of the yin and the yang, the rest and digest, and also like the go to war, then I think our war, we get more powerful in that end, and then our rest gets more powerful, but it’s like the pendulum needs to be able to properly swing back and forth.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. It’s like to have the primary movers all firing and able to grow, you need to have the stabilizers. I find that people don’t want to screw around with stabilization work. They don’t want to build skills. They just want to be big and strong. One of the best things about X3 is that it’s a free weight bar with variable resistance. Well, when you do an overhead press with a free weight bar and even more so with variable resistance, you’ve got stabilization firing all over your body, otherwise, you’d collapse, you’d tip over. And so oblique activation, quadratus activation, as well as abdominal and spinal rector activation. I mean, the more we load all those muscles unless you’re leaning against a wall, which you’re not supposed to be doing while you’re using the product, you’re going to be firing everything.
Dr. John Jaquish: If you’re not firing one of those things, you are unable to do it. You don’t have the balance for it. And so then you have to go to somebody who can potentially activate that. Or if you read a book like Pain-Free by Pete Egoscue, you can probably figure out how to start firing some of those muscles. I know that’s a very controversial book and I’m not sure you’re a fan, but-
Aaron Alexander: Oh yeah, no, no, no, Egoscue methods are awesome. It’s their subtle, like Egoscue and Feldenkrais and Alexander technique and principles from Ida Roth, those subtle, maybe in these worlds, we might call subtle body, kind of has a different definition, but those subtle aspects of movement, it’s like the parts that we don’t see oftentimes is the governing vessel or the foundation of the parts that we see.
Dr. John Jaquish: That’s right.
Aaron Alexander: So if all we do is focus on the beach muscles or the parts on the outside, I think that there’s a pretty distinct plateau or roof to that. But to open the conversation up to the invisible, that’s when it’s like, oh.
Dr. John Jaquish: So what I’m doing is I’m having people self stabilize the variable resistance. When they do an overhead press, they’re holding three times what they can hold right here, up here. Well, what they hold right here is pretty much what they would normally press, except once they get over their head, they’re stronger, so we can provide them with a higher weight as the band stretches. So they end up training with more weight. That means the stabilizers have to fire more. And so they’re not doing stability work that they know of, but they are. And so I get it because they have the stabilizers, then the primary movers, the beach muscles can grow.
Aaron Alexander: What does your rest look like?
Dr. John Jaquish: Well, workouts quick, that helps. You don’t get bored of… I mean, the workout takes about 10 minutes.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. So that leaves you with the rest of your life.
Dr. John Jaquish: Right. Right. It doesn’t get in the way of my other stuff. Of course, this is my business, so I end up talking about it all the time. Yeah. It doesn’t interfere. Now, when I first had a prototype, it wasn’t my business, and was just OsteoStrong is all I was doing. I was flying all around the world, speaking at conferences, and opening locations all around the world. I’d fly 200,000 miles a year. I remember I did this trip a couple of times. I’d go from San Francisco to Chicago, to London, to Moscow, to Osaka, back to San Francisco. So literally around the world, I did that a couple of times, but I brought my X3 with me, and it’s 10 minutes a day. I’d wake up, do it, and then take shower and get on with my day. It didn’t interrupt me at all.
Dr. John Jaquish: It was really weird because I put on 30, yeah. 30 pounds of muscle the first year, and while I’m working with all these OsteoStrong people, and they’re like, what are you doing? You’re a different guy than you were a couple of months ago. And you’re in way better shape, but you’re certainly not working out. They don’t know. Yeah. I just did up my hotel room, because my X3 was living in my suitcase at the time. So I can always find 10 minutes to do it. The rest recovery, a lot of that has to do with the right nutrition. I make sure I get one gram per pound of bodyweight in protein per day. I also only have one meal per day, so that saves me a lot of time also.
Aaron Alexander: Are you paying attention much to the positioning of your body, say when you’re working on a computer? Are those opportunities for you and your perception of the way that you exist in your body, or do you kind of relegate paying attention to the body to when you’re training?
Dr. John Jaquish: Boy, I’d like to say it’s the former, but unfortunately, it’s-
Aaron Alexander: That’s okay.
Dr. John Jaquish: Keeping it real here. Yeah. There are times where I notice, wow, I’ve been sitting in just a f**** up position for a long time. I mean, people do that, and I’m aware of it from time to time. But when I focus on some research, I’ll kind of lean towards the screen, sticking the head forward, and get in that bad sort of position. But I think my traps, my spinal records are so strong. I never get any pain from it and I don’t have any weird biomechanics issues that I’ve triggered thus far since beginning the X3 Bar training. I think when you have the musculature, your body finds the right position to be in even when you may habitually get out of that position. But I still would prefer to be better and more conscious of it.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. Do you do any kind of visualization with your training? Because I think that’s another interesting component. When you look at most world-class athletes, there are… before, that you say, an Olympic weightlifter or a professional snowboarder, before they go into the motion, and there’s also a lot of interesting research that shows that visualization does have a neurological effect. Outside of visualization of just strength training, you’ve had a tremendous amount of success in your at least business life. It seems like success outside of business, it’s not the only measure of success. But is that something that you have leveraged in your life, or is that a bunch of new-age hooey?
Dr. John Jaquish: No, no, I do that. I’ve never talked about it before because it’s a cool question. I’ve been on 250 podcasts, man, and I don’t get many new questions. That’s a new question, and I like it, because yeah. Here’s an example. We have the elite band, which were six-foot-tall people. I am six feet. It’s a 550-pound chest press and a 615-pound deadlift. That’s the band, that’s an accessory. That doesn’t come with a standard x-ray for obvious reasons. Now, there’s a good third of the NFL players that I come in contact with and do some programming for where they get the elite band, but they can’t use it. They’re like, this is just too heavy. And you think, NFL, but they don’t do one rep maximums. Anybody that thinks that they do is just dead wrong, because they’ll risk their career by doing a one-rep max.
Dr. John Jaquish: So slowly the opposite of what they do. They’re training with lighter weight, slower. And then they do speed drills to make sure they’re not training themselves to be slower, they’re training themselves to be faster, but they’re still trying to get strength back. So when they start using the product, they get the elite band because they’re like, well, I’m in the NFL, so I got to have the elite band.
And then they’re like, “Hey man, I can’t lift even one rep of this thing.” And they’re like, “Do you use it?” I sent them a video where I’m doing 20 bench press repetitions with it. And they’re like, “What the f***? How can I get there?” “You’ll get there.” I tell them, “Watch me do it. Now that you’ve seen me do it, watch it, stare at it. You might be able to get a couple of repetitions. You focus on it.”
Dr. John Jaquish: Now, I’d say, suggest, attempt it and then go and do your training with the lower bands because you want to get benefit out of this. I want you to go 20 or 30 slow controlled reps because we go higher reps. After all, the weight is so high, because that’s a 350-pound band. So training with 350 pounds is fine. They’re not getting a week doing that. They train with the other band, but once they see me do it and I can prove visualization scientifically right now. Remember the four-minute mile thing?
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. Roger Bannister effect.
Dr. John Jaquish: Right. Roger Bannister. Normally, you do a four-minute mile. Roger Bannister breaks the world record. Does a four-minute mile. And then two weeks later, people were doing it all over the world, because they visualized it by watching him. Good. Right?
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. Is that something that you’ve used outside of just success with physical body strength? Is that something that you use in daily life? What does that look like for you?
Dr. John Jaquish: I mean, it can look different depending on… I do that in negotiation. I do that in… I’m in the middle of a hilarious negotiation right now with the rap artist and he wants a very high price, and I’m like, well, yeah, it’ll be a different rapper then, not you for that price. I’m kind of going through this exercise of when it comes to negotiation, whoever’s willing to walk away first wins, and that would be me. So I’m going to get what I want out of this guy. It’s not like, f*** him. I mean, he’s a cool guy. I like him. I want him to want to perform it in the net, but it’s just like, yeah, you got a pretty good idea. I know what you’re worth to me and it isn’t the price that you said, so we’re going to have to reassess.
Aaron Alexander: Have there been any books or philosophies or anything of the sort that’s been the most influential for you?
Dr. John Jaquish: Absolutely. Zero to One by Peter Thiel.
Aaron Alexander: Well, that’s a good one, yeah, that’s a good one.
Dr. John Jaquish: reat book. Yeah. If you read that book, that is my business model. It was bizarre. My co-author, Henry Alkire, comes into work one day and he’s like, “Dude, did you… because he knows I’ve met Peter Thiel, I don’t know. I’ve met a couple of times. We were neighbors. He lived down the street. He’s like, “How well do you know that guy?”
And I’m like, “Not well at all. Why?” And he goes, “Because I read this book and I swear to God, it’s about our company.” And so I read the book and I was like, wow, this is exactly my method. This is exactly what I do, and it has to do with discovering intellectual property, securing that intellectual property, and then explaining the intellectual property so that people can understand it. While what I said sounded simple, none of that s*** is, but that’s exactly what the book is about.
Dr. John Jaquish: Anybody, if I could stop at a gas station, they see me getting out of my Lamborghini and they’re like, “Dude, what do you do?” Physically, see, I’m younger and I got this badass car, and they just imagine I did something cool. And so I go, “Here’s the book you need to read.” I’m like, “I’m a research scientist. You don’t need to go down that path if you want to be very successful, but here’s what you do. You need to read this book.” That is my absolute best book.
Aaron Alexander: You’re one of the few people on the planet that’s kind of reached the summit of your first mountain. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that book, The Second Mountain. Have you ever heard of that one before? So you very clearly reached the summit of probably what would be your perceived first mountain. Was there a significant moment where you’re like, aha, I’ve reached my “dreams”? At that moment, if there was one or maybe some period of your life or something, did you feel any different, or was there a letdown or dissatisfaction, kind of the earth effect where astronauts go up into space and look down at the earth, and then they come back and they’re like, this is amazing, but they come back and they have this depression because now there’s nothing else to achieve. And they’re like, oh my God, what am I supposed to do from here?
Dr. John Jaquish: No. There’s a thing, a mental exercise that we teach in my fraternity. It’s about the moment you achieve a goal, you set another goal. And the reason is a lot of fraternities have the problem. Were you in a fraternity in undergrad?
Aaron Alexander: No, I made fun of fraternities.
Dr. John Jaquish: No. It’s okay. I did too. Yeah. It was mostly because ours was just somewhat better than the rest of them. Let me explain that. That sounds very prideful like any guy would say.
Aaron Alexander: No. That’s great. I support you. Be proud. I love it.
Dr. John Jaquish: No. But I mean, we did more community service than all of the other campus organizations combined. There are 100 guys in my fraternity and there are 35,000 students at school, but we did more community service than the rest of the school. We were just a machine of civic responsibility, raising money for charity. Almost everybody had a 4.0 GPA. We were just awesome. We threw pretty good parties. We weren’t known as the party chapter at all, which some of the guys were like, ah, I wish we partied a little hard, yeah, but then we’d probably get a few more losers, and then we wouldn’t have the good GPA. So it’s a trade-off.
Anyway, a thing we would do in my fraternity, you would not have made fun of if you had gone to SAC State, that’s where I did my undergrad, by the way, that’s the number one university on highway 50, it wasn’t exactly the academic masterpiece, but I don’t believe in academia in general. I think there’s a lot of nonsense hoops you got to jump through, and what you’re taught is pretty much what everybody else did. You’re taught the opposite of creativity.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah.
Dr. John Jaquish: I have three degrees and I don’t think much of standard education. I like my Ph.D. experience because you’re taught to do some s*** that nobody else has done. You don’t get to graduate unless your dissertation project tests a theory nobody else has ever tested. So you’ve got to come up with something new. Love that. Anyway.
Aaron Alexander: That’s beautiful.
Dr. John Jaquish: The thing in my fraternity and fraternities have this problem in general, excessive high-fiving. This is probably why you made fun of fraternity guys. What happens is a fraternity gets to the point where they achieve a goal, let’s say they raise a million dollars in a year for charity, or they have a great event and the whole campus is impressed, and it’s on the front page of the paper. And then they spend the next year excessively high-fiving and toasting their success, and then they realize in that year, the only people they recruited were idiots who just want to party hard and get with the good house. But then all of a sudden, you go to do it again, and a couple of key guys graduated, and then you got a couple of new guys who really aren’t there for the work, they’re just there for the celebration, and then you’re screwed. You’re not going to have the same level of performance you did before.
Dr. John Jaquish: What you do is, and we go through this exercise, any time that somebody either individually or the whole fraternity achieves something great, you’re allowed one day to pat yourself on the back. And then the next day, everybody in the fraternity is like, what’s next? What’s your next goal? And we hold each other accountable.
Some guy gets into medical school, and I was like, “Great. Great. What’s next? What are you doing next?” Of course, what do you mean? I’m going to medical school. No, no, no, no, no. What’s your next goal? Like, you’re going to graduate with honors from medical school? If so, you better get some of your books ahead of time and start studying already. Don’t just sit on your ass and wait to start kind of thing. That was a great lesson that we had in my fraternity, because it was almost like peer pressure, almost like bullying into goal setting, and I like that.
Aaron Alexander: Did you feel like you’ve reached a point of… Did you feel content or satisfied or successful at a deeper level than monetary success in your life?
Dr. John Jaquish: Absolutely. Yeah. I’m not a particularly materialistic guy. I mean, yeah, I’m a cool car and I got a couple of cool places to live, but other than that, I don’t need anything.
Aaron Alexander: What do you attribute that sensation to? Because I know a lot of, what would be deemed to be highly successful, like ultra super performers that are complete, they’re just wracking internally. There’s the carrot that keeps spinning and push forward. There’s this ongoing sensation of dissatisfaction. Are they two separate equations? How do you address that internal part? Are they connected? How does that work?
Dr. John Jaquish: I believe the problem has to do with getting lost in the material. One of my favorite movies is Fight Club. You work your whole life working a job. You don’t like to buy s*** you don’t need. Everybody should watch that movie and pay attention to that. I mean, yeah, did I need my Lamborghini? No, no, not at all, but I like it, so that’s fine. But do I need five of them? No.
People were like, well, you get this other one, this other… Just f*** it. I only need one. I can only drive one car at a time. I put limits on myself, and also just not getting lost in that whole, like, what is the next lavish thing I’m going to do? That’s a toxic way of thinking. Yeah. I just never really got into that. I try and participate more in a lot of charity stuff. I know that sounds kind of cliche, but that’s satisfying when you can help out more, write a bigger check for a charity organization, you’re able to do more…
Dr. John Jaquish: Bill Gates said this, “Being worth 20 million is awesome because you get all the choice, you get all the houses. You can sort of stay at any great hotel or resort, go anywhere in the world you want.” But he says, “When I was worth 20 million, I was so happy. When I was worth 200 million, I just had more bulls***. It was the same life as being worth 20 million.” I also think the $20 million numbers, I don’t think people should shoot for that because that’s kind of an outlier number and not everybody is Bill Gate.
But what he’s saying is there’s a limit to what will satisfy you, and then everything else would just be a pain in your ass. I can attest to this. Having multiple places you live, it’s just like, you can own your stuff or your stuff can own you. All of a sudden, you’re calling maintenance people, gardeners, plumbers. It’s like, f***, where’s my time? Can I just sit on my ass and watch a zombie movie? Because that’s cool. I’d rather do that. So yeah. There’s a balance, and you don’t want to get caught up in having your stuff own you.
Aaron Alexander: How have you navigated that, owning your time?
Dr. John Jaquish: Well, just the decision I made. I mean, honestly, I could probably credit the movie Fight Club. Yeah. I mean, it’s just as simple as that. I don’t feel like there was any sort of sacred text that I read that was like, hmm, got to do this. No. When you walk into my place, it’s super minimalist. I have great furniture, but I don’t have any s**_ I don’t use. Everything that’s there is something I use, and I see successful people sort of just collecting, not garbage, but it might as well be garbage because it’s just s_** they don’t need. And so you just don’t… One of the most satisfying things I do is the cleaning and getting rid of stuff.
Aaron Alexander: Right. Yeah. I can tell.
Dr. John Jaquish: Constantly deciding I don’t need this, I don’t need this, I don’t need this. I’ll go on a trip. I got a rolling bag that I checked with my X3 in it, and usually, there’s a bunch of space in there. Of course, now I have a fiance and she’s like, oh, that’s space for my shoes, which is not why I had the space, but okay, but that’s it. She thinks it’s funny that I’ll go on a two-week trip with almost nothing with me, but I’m planning on doing laundry on my way.
Aaron Alexander: Do you feel like you’ve had multiple iterations of yourself, or have you had this consistent version of yourself?
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. You always have to be looking at yourself and saying, what is the me that the customers need? That’s a great question. Wow, I like that. Yeah. What about me is most useful to the customers? And so I like participate in our forum on Facebook. The X3 of our user’s group is 30,000 people. Most of the questions are terrible, and people stop paying attention. They didn’t watch the first training video, but they start asking questions before they watch one video, which is kind of normal internet behavior, so there’s that. But then, yeah, probably every day, there are two or three really good questions. Not only do I try and jump on the new stuff, but I try and become enough of an expert on that area that I can speak to multiple points of research or maybe both sides.
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Dr. John Jaquish: If somebody wants to bring up carbohydrates, I can have you be a carbohydrate fan, I could have you never want carbohydrates in your diet, or I can tell you both sides and I can tell you there’s a way to get a benefit on carbohydrates without having the detriment. That’s of course a longer lecture, but I got to that point because at first, I just want to simplify it and just say, just don’t follow with carbohydrates, not that great. Yeah. There’s a muscle glycogen thing, but your body can adjust for that via gluconeogenesis. I realized, because I was listening to the customers, there are some people, and I mean, this is a straight-up dysfunction, but if everybody’s got a similar dysfunction, or let’s say if half the population has similar dysfunction, we probably can’t call it a dysfunction.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. Normal.
Dr. John Jaquish: … sort of new. Right. When people started telling me, I can’t give up my pizza. And I’d be like, “My pizza? Do you own the concept? Or do you feel so attached to the concept of pizza that you feel that it’s part of your soul?” I think the answer is yes.
Aaron Alexander: Of course.
Dr. John Jaquish: No. I mean. I think somebody would just need to have their ass kicked for saying something stupid like that. But since I’m not, I’m like, okay, let me see what I can do to maybe make it so that people could still get away with eating some garbage, but maybe it’s not so damaging. And so I ended up leading me to a place where I started looking at triggering hyperplasia by over-hydrating what would be normal in a muscle and then stretching that muscle. So you get a pump and then you pair that with glucose. You want to try and get it to be glucose.
I’m sure some people get some fructose in there, which is not going to do them the same favors as the glucose. But they get some glucose and I pair this with a vasodilator, and then workout, and then they do some stretching which forces like a tremendous pump. And then they’re stretching the muscle, which as we know from bird models, and it was professor Jose Antonio at Florida State. He’s the number one protein researcher, but his doctoral dissertation was on the stretching thing.
Dr. John Jaquish: Well, he didn’t do it with hydration, he did it on birds, which have different muscular hydration and different tensegrity in the muscle. They have much harder partially contracted tonic contraction muscles than humans do. But you couldn’t do this to a human in a clinical trial, so he did it with birds. He had them stretched out so that their pectoral muscles were in as maximum stretch without injury positions as they could be.
Within, I think it was 48 hours, you’d see 140% growth in those tissues. Now, birds are different than us, and also, people who do yoga don’t grow muscle growth doing yoga. So stretching isn’t it per se, but that combined with the hyperhydration and the workout and then the vasodilator, so we have as much blood flowing into the muscles as possible, then stretching the muscle, the indications are very strong that we are inducing hyperplasia. That’s one of the last chapters in the book. Also, it’s funny. I say it’s an advanced technique. Of course, every beginner wants to do it, right?
Aaron Alexander: Yeah.
Dr. John Jaquish: Like, day one, oh, advanced, oh yeah, that’s me.
Aaron Alexander: You mentioned the thing about my pizza. I think there’s a similar thing that people limiting language people will use is my back pain or my addiction, and they self identify with these ailments. That’s an interesting thing. I wonder from your perception, I would imagine from listening to you speak that language is really important to you and you pay attention to it.
Why do you think it is that people do that in general? Have you noticed yourself kind of buffering yourself or kind of hiding behind limiting language like that in the past? And if so with you or with others in general, how does one start to unwind that and step into their empowered version of themselves free of the barnacles of pulling themselves down?
Dr. John Jaquish: You got to own what you’re trying to do, and you’ve got to own… Here’s one, you got to own the challenges. I don’t call them problems, I call them challenges. Challenges are something positive. A problem is like, I just cut my thumb off. You can call it a problem, you can call it a challenge. If it’s a challenge, well, let’s get that on ice, and let’s get to the emergency room right now. It’s just a better way to look at things. The biggest defining factor there is ownership versus victimhood. If you own something, even if it’s some s*** you didn’t even do, like various challenges with…
Dr. John Jaquish: Here’s one. I had some challenges when it came to some customers who were using the product incorrectly. And so instead of saying, oh, these people are just a problem, to hell with them, what I needed to do was show people a better way and why you want to do it this way, how you can’t be sloppy. People were just being sloppy and rapid with their repetitions, and you’re not firing as much muscle.
I came up with an analogy that resonated with people. If you draw a straight line on a piece of paper, if you do it fast, it’s easy, if you do it slowly, it’s much harder. When you stabilize a weight that you’re lifting, if you’re doing it slowly, you’re firing a lot more stabilization muscle than you are if you’re doing it fast. Now, nothing wrong with lifting with speed, especially if that’s your sport, but we’re not perfecting a sport in general with X3, we’re trying to get as big and as strong as possible.
Dr. John Jaquish: So for that, you need all the stabilizers working before the primary actors can grow, so slow and controlled. As soon as I made that video, everybody changed back to slow and controlled. And so I didn’t see, well, I could have been a victim. I could have been like, ah, my customers are stupid, but I can’t do anything about it. But no, they just needed a better set of instructions.
Aaron Alexander: It’s like having a growth mindset instead of looking at something that says, they’re after me. What’s happening? It’s happening to me or it’s happening for me. Your perspective of the day’s challenges dictates your reaction or your response.
Dr. John Jaquish: It’s funny you say that. I feel like everything happens to me.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. Which you sculpted that story. That’s just a story, just like religion is a story, just like philosophy is a story, just like everything, it’s like, we’re all authors. Jordan Peterson has an interesting program of reauthoring, I think is how he calls it.
Dr. John Jaquish: Interesting. I didn’t know that. I’m a huge fan. I missed that. I got to check that.
Aaron Alexander: That’s the really interesting thing. It’s like, or Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey, we’re all the heroes of our own story and we’re all following a similar story arc. We’re all living parallel lives essentially, but with a few different appearances, but the core of it, I think is very consistent, and we have the power to write the story if we can have the spaciousness to witness that and then begin to take control, I think.
Dr. John Jaquish: Here’s an example of exactly what you’re talking about. The story, like my fiance, she says to me six months ago or something like that, she says, “Have you ever cheated on anyone you ever dated?” Now, of course, judgment comes along with anything I say. So I’m like, okay, the answer is, “No, I haven’t.” She’s like, “Yeah. That’s what I thought because you don’t have all the exes I met or seemingly… I think you’re cool.” Yeah. She goes, “Well, why didn’t you do that?” And I’m like, “I never want her to wake up and think I was that guy.” I mean, was in cheating relationships where women, were… I mean, I caught them being unfaithful to me. Yeah. Sure. Happens to everybody. But that doesn’t mean I should go out and do it, because I want to know when I wake up in the morning, it’s like, I’m not an a**- hole. I just want to say that to myself every morning, I’m not an a**-hole.
Dr. John Jaquish: Other people, yeah, they might be, or maybe they’re justified in what they’re doing because they were in such a crappy relationship, they just needed something to derail them so they could get on with their lives, I see that and I don’t think that’s the most positive way to go. Certainly not the way I want to treat people. But when I think back on what I did with my day when I go to sleep at night, do I want to be proud of everything I did, or do I want to really-
Aaron Alexander: And then there’s an opportunity to have compassion for the so-called assholes because they’re probably coming from a place of feeling hurt or scared. There is some inciting trauma at some point in their life.
Dr. John Jaquish: I think you’ll resonate with this. I don’t believe in any human emotion other than two, there’s fear and there’s love, that’s it because all hatred is just fear, all anger is just fear. When somebody says, I hate that guy, it’s like, okay, what did he do to you or what are you afraid he could do to you? That’s why you’re saying that. If you realize it’s just fear, well, fear is simple. When you see it as fear, you can just stop being fearful.
What am I fearful of? F**_ nothing, I guess. That’s not productive. Just sitting there and being fearful, that’s like crazy people living in bunkers, never go outside because of that s_**. I don’t want to be one of those. I want to just live my life. Was I afraid , like, boy, during the lockdowns, I have my own business, so I didn’t need to lock the business down? I told everybody that works here, if you want to work from home, you can work from home, but it’s not going to be a problem, but I’m going to be at the office every day, and everybody was here every day.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah.
Dr. John Jaquish: Funny thing, I did get coronavirus. And then of course, once I did, I had to stay away from everybody, which that’s just being responsible. And so it was funny because nobody was afraid of it. People were like, oh, yeah, well, if we get it, we get it. No big deal. But nobody, nobody. It was just me.
Aaron Alexander: What’s interesting about all that is all the philosophical stuff, it trickles back into our mental, emotional, biological, cellular, structural, muscular tendonous health. And so if you’re coming from a place of fear, contraction, resistance, bracing, that’s going to feed into the way that you sleep or don’t sleep, that’s going to feed into the way that you choose to train or not to train, that’s going to feed into your willpower or your… It’s going to feed into the way that you interact in relationships, interact in your business. And so I think that the isolation of fitness to be just exclusively compartmentalized into fitness itself as opposed to separate from mindset and everything else I think is the stretch.
Dr. John Jaquish: Yeah. It’s part of the whole story of your life and defeating every demon or challenge or whatever. When you choose fitness, and also taking care of yourself and being in great condition, especially being an outlier, that’s tough. It’s tough to even as I said, most people don’t even get in shape at all. Most people go to some sort of fitness venue or do something fitness related and they get zero results. And so it is very satisfying when you conquer just a single aspect when you realize you can lower your percentage body fat when you realize you can have those abs. Then all of a sudden, all those insurmountable things that you used to think, I can never do that, you’re like, oh yeah, I can do that.
Aaron Alexander: This is the thing that I think you would find interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this on here. Not that it’s some huge discovery, I think, but I felt this for a while that our physical composition outside of…
We have genetic dispositions like ectomorph or mesomorph or whatever. But I think that we have this our self-identity, the structure of what we believe to be and what we believe to look like, our fat composition and muscle composition, and if you have abs or don’t have abs, or muscles, or whatever it may be, I think that our visual depiction of who we are has a major impact on the way that we produce ourselves. If we have a perception of ourselves of being… Oh, it’s like, I’ve heard with finances, it’s like your financial thermostat. Like you have it set to, I make $50,000 a year. So if I start to suddenly make $80,000, how do we get that back to $50,000?
Dr. John Jaquish: Right.
Aaron Alexander: I think there’s a similar physical thermostat of sorts, of the way that you appear when you look at yourself in the mirror, every time you do, you’re almost like resetting back to your visual depiction of who you are. And if you can start to tap into that, I think it can have a really meaningful impact. Isn’t that kind of interesting? But then it’s like rewiring your story of who you are. And then that informs your reps and your sets and your VO2 max and your nutrition and all of that. But we talk about the details because that’s where we can quantify the science. But I think that subjective experiences inform the details.
Dr. John Jaquish: Here’s a technique that I use that your listeners will probably get a kick out of exactly what you’re talking about. We always want to reinvent ourselves so that we are better versions of what we have become thus far. Like this is setting the next goal, right? There’s, it’s okay if I move my goalposts. It’s okay for Anthony Fauci to do it to the whole country.
Aaron Alexander: Nice. Well placed.
Dr. John Jaquish: So I can move my goalposts, right? I can just keep on setting new goals and new goals and new goals. In one thing I do to help to hold myself accountable, I paint myself into corners intentionally. When I was coming out with my first book in 2012, I told everybody that I was writing a book, everybody, and that it was going to be a total disruption to the bone density medical industry. I just wouldn’t shut up about it. And so after I told everybody, it was like, now I got to write a book, right? I told my parents, I told my relatives. I called everybody in Belgium. So I got to come out with a book. You’re going to love it. It’s going to be cool. Everybody who’s in my family who’s a physician was like, wow, that’s fantastic. I can’t wait. Now I have to do it. Otherwise, I’m going to look like total deep s***. I did that. I did that with this one also. This is my second. Yeah. You paint yourself into a corner.
Dr. John Jaquish: I know a lot of bodybuilders, to make sure they know how to get in condition, they’ll just schedule a photoshoot-
Aaron Alexander: Right. They have accountability.
Dr. John Jaquish: … and they have to do the whole protocol of dehydration and then adding in carbs at the last minute so they get hydration and muscle without subcutaneous hydration. I don’t know how that works. I’m not about it, but I know they do that, and that’s how they hold themselves accountable. There’s always a way where you can grab another lever that you didn’t think you had and have more control over yourself.
Aaron Alexander: Thanks so much, man. I look forward to getting to share a conversation in person. It’s always so… Yeah. Doing this remote, it’s better than nothing, but I like it… I think that there’s something special about it, especially now you mentioned the present political times and such, I think that that’s another major component to mental, emotional, cellular, structural health is community.
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Dr. John Jaquish: Totally.
Aaron Alexander: The longest longitudinal study in the history of… I think it was done at Harvard. Started in their 30s, and they tracked people’s lives up into their 90s, and most of them are dead now, and they found the thing that was the strongest correlate to their health was community and connection. Once again, it’s coming back to that.
Dr. John Jaquish: We’re going to have huge depression problems as a result of… You can’t see people’s faces anymore, because everyone is wearing a mask.
Aaron Alexander: And so I wonder how we can take the same mindset that you outlined, that growth mindset on that and say, okay, here’s the challenge. Great. It’s like the Krishnamurti quote, my secret is I don’t mind what happens. It’s like, okay, cool, Fauci, great, mask, great, vaccine, great. Where’s progress? Where’s progress? I think just even the seed of that idea, perhaps that will have a grander impact on people’s mental, emotional, physical wellbeing, if we can say, okay, cool, here’s the challenge, as opposed to here comes the… this political situation is happening to me as opposed to for me. How is it happening for me?
Dr. John Jaquish: I hate saying this. This situation has been for my business because people are working at home. They’re being chased out of gyms by the police, the city council, by even gym owners or other gym-goers who are just, I guess people would call them Karens, they’re just bitching about everybody else. And it’s like, lady, I can’t work out if I’ve impinged my breathing. Everybody just wants to work out at home, because they don’t want to have to deal with that crap. Yeah. In this situation, I hate saying it. I’d rather just be a normal America where we’re not tearing the economy of the world apart or abandoning 30,000 people in a dangerous country, but that’s just me.
Aaron Alexander: Yeah. I’m sure there’s some way that it’s happening for is my hope. Where should people go? What’s the best direction to point people from here?
Dr. John Jaquish: I do the most on Instagram, but I have a landing page that has links to everything. It’s doctorj.com, D-O-C-T-O-R, the letter j.com. People have trouble with my last name. And then you can find there are links to superior exercise take you to X3. Spirit nutrition takes you to Fortagen. And then my Instagram, YouTube. As I said, I do the most on Instagram.
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Aaron Alexander: Love, man. Well, I appreciate you sharing today. Thank you so much for making time to do it. I hope you guys enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. If you did, you can share it on the gram. You can tag me @alignpodcast, but also tag Dr. John over @drjaquish on Instagram. He’s got something like over a million followers on there, so reasonable chance that he or I will reshare your post. It’s always sweet to see what you guys are into, which parts you liked the podcast, and just greatly appreciate you all tuning in and sharing and hopefully implementing some of the information that you gathered from this. If you have grabbed the book, The Align Method, that is stupendous, very kind. I hope it has been supportive in your life, and that’s it, that’s all. I hope you guys are having an excellent week, and I look forward to sharing another conversation with you in a few days.
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