Podcast #19 w/ Jonathan Bailor of SlimIsSimple

Today I got to Interview Jonathan Bailor from SlimIsSimple. I hope you enjoy it!

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Ari:       Hi, welcome to the podcast, today we’re talking with Jonathan Bailor, the founder of SlimIsSimple.org.  Hi Jonathan.

Jonathan:        Hey, how’s it going Ari?

Ari:       Good. Thank you for your time today.  Can you start off by just telling everybody what slimissimple.org is?

Jonathan:        SlimIsSimple.org is a new non-profited initiative we started up to provide modern nutritional and exercise curriculum to everyone especially in the education institutions and I know that may sound a bit odd.  If you think about, we are all still taught the same nutrition information and the same exercise information we were taught decades ago.  We don’t perform heart surgery we did decades ago and we don’t use the same computers we used decades ago.  But we still get taught to eat the same things which have actually led to one of the worst obesity, diabetes, and heart disease crisis this world’s ever seen.

Ari:       That sounds great.  There are probably lots of people that make that plan but how are you doing it differently?

Jonathan:        Well first of all we are non-profit.  We’re not selling anything, Ari.  What we do and what our first product was, was a full length animated educational video.  Think about it as a little bit like Schoolhouse Rock’s, right?  We all saw that in our youth and it helped to teach us about conjunctions.  Conjunction, conjunctions, what’s your function?  Ours are similar to that in the sense that they are just a free, visually attractive, high production value educational videos that we hope both children and adults can benefit from.  The number one question I get is, where’s the call to action? I want to watch the video, where’s the call to action?  There really is no call to action other than just be healthy.  I think that’s a big difference you’ll see with our effort.  There is no go buy this or go do this, it’s just here’s information to help you be healthier.

Ari:       What is your background?  What led you on this path to creating this?

Jonathan:        I’ve always been interested in health and fitness.  I was actually, in my earlier days, I was a trainer and this is what really got me interested the underlying science of weight regulation.  At that time, I was trying to gain weight.  I was trying to become bigger though most of my clients were trying to become smaller.  I was trying to eat many, many calories and I was telling them to eat very few calories and exercise obsessively.  Neither one of us were achieving our goals.  But I was a trainer and I was supposedly an expert.  I had gone done the traditional path and learned the traditional methods how to do this and it wasn’t working.  I wasn’t the only person who was facing this.  I then spent, to make a long story short, the next 10 years reading over 1100 scholastic journal articles and studies and speaking with researchers over the phone.  Very few people read academic journal articles.  If you do it and you contact the researcher and say you’re work is brilliant, will you answer some questions, they are usually happy to talk about it.  The goal of this effort is to take that very, for a lack of better terms, boring and complex biological and metabolic science and turn it into practical steps and lifestyle that we can all apply to live better.  The challenge is we are taught the same things about nutrition that we were taught decades ago.  It’s not as if nutrition has just paused, there’s a bunch of research and progress being made there but we’re not told about it.  Our mission is to tell people in a fun and compelling and actionable way how they can live modern nutritional science rather than archaic nutritional theory.

Ari:       What are some of the salient points that you have sort of come up with from all that reading and research.

Jonathan:        Well a lot of it, the good news is that there’s nothing new under the sun, right?  A lot of it is just getting back to basics.  A lot of really brilliant people have been saying this for some time, we’re just hoping to stoke the fire.  A lot of it has to do with just eating food and when I say food I mean eating things found directly in nature.  For example, there’s no such thing as a bread bush.  Wheat found in nature is not something we eat.  We don’t eat wheat off the stalk.  However, we are told that healthy, whole grains should make up the vast majority of our diet.  If you look at the current American diet, it’s something like over 40% of our calories are coming from low fat, sugar soaked products, and wheat and grain based products.  At the same time as we’ve shifted our diet more towards these processed fat and processed starch and processed sweetener food products; our bodies are just breaking.  Our rates for diabetes have risen over 100,000% in the past 100 years.  The rates of obesity are nearly 20 times higher than they were just a century ago.  This is all due in large part the shift from us eating food - again, food is defined as something found directly in nature - to eating manufactured food like products.  When it comes to practical tips, things like if it doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen chances are it’s not going to be very helpful to your health.  Stick to the perimeter of your grocery store and stick to things that have short ingredients list; things that your grandmother would recognize versus these synthetic engineered products that we’re being sold nowadays.

Ari:       Sure, that obviously makes a lot of sense and that’s definitely something I purport with my readers and listeners.  What about fitness stuff?  What are you recommendations as far as fitness?

Jonathan:        Well, what the modern research of fitness shows, and it’s similar actually what we just mentioned about food, the quality rather than quantity. Just going back to food for one second and then I’ll get to fitness.  What we’re told is all quantity based just eat less.  So just take less of your current diet, which may or may not have made your diet better or may or may not have led to a body composition your happy with and just eat less of it.  That is not an effective approach.  Taking an already metabolic damaging diet and just eating less of it is a bit like smoking less to avoid lung cancer.  It may slow the process but it’s not actually solving the problem.  But that’s all we hear about is quantity.  The same thing applies to exercise; all we ever hear is quantity so just do more.  Just go jog more.  Just exercise more.  Well, the only way we can exercise more is by doing low-quality exercise because by definition, for example, you can’t sprint as long as you can walk.  If I told you, Ari, you need to exercise for 20 hours a week, by definition you would do very low intensity exercise because that’s the only way you can exercise for 20 hours a week.  What modern exercise science shows is that to really accrue the metabolic benefits and the hormonal benefits that can come from exercise, increasing the quality or the intensity while also increasing the safety of our exercises is very important.  Rather than saying exercise more what we should be being told, if we were being taught modern exercise physiology, is exercise with more resistance more safely.  Instead of just pounding it on the pavement longer and longer and longer and breaking down your joints, maybe try some slow and controlled positions training.  This is not to say that being active is bad, we should all be active.  I consider that baseline; I don’t even consider that exercise.  We should absolutely walk everywhere and the more active you can be the better.  But if it comes to choosing between just going on the treadmill for 2 hours or doing some safe yet heavy resistance training, the science is very, very clear that the safe and heavy resistance training will accrue us more metabolic benefit.

Ari:       It’s interesting for me because I have a 13 month old son and I work from home and my wife is at home and I haven’t for a number of reasons, one of which is partly an experiment, but I haven’t been to the gym in almost 2 months now.  It was interesting psychologically but I have found that being active with my son and wife at home, I haven’t gained any weight.  I don’t look any different.  I don’t feel any different except maybe the therapeutic aspects of going to the gym or the mentally therapeutic aspects.  It’s in fact kind of experimenting with the quote, unquote “with just an active lifestyle”.

Jonathan:        Well, Ari you make a great point, too, because we tend to think the reason we believe that just doing more exercise.  Like regardless of what it is, just go do more exercise which is in it of itself questionable.  Just take any pill; just take a pill.  No.  What you’re doing matters immensely.  We tend to think that that causes us to burn calories and if we burn calories we lose weight and everything is good.  We don’t have time to get into all the biology showing that is not the complete picture.  But what the studies show very clearly is that when we do more of this traditional exercise, the number one thing it does it make us hungry.  If we are eating a nutritionally inadequate diet and we go for a jog, we may burn 170 calories but then we come home and we’re freaking famished so we eat 500 more calories of a metabolically damaging diet.  Not only are we at a state of caloric surplus but we’ve taken in all those chemicals and we’ve taken in all those hormonally damaging substances as well.  In some ways, if we don’t exercise smarter the wrong kind of exercise can be counterproductive to our health.

Ari:       Right, absolutely.  The word that balances the word basically and being more effective rather than just giving more.  Less is more as I like to say.

Jonathan:        When it comes to exercise Ari, you’re spot on because the only way to exercise to really cause the hormonal and metabolic changes that we’re after is to use a level of resistance and safety that is self-limiting.  You can’t do a lot of a very intense effective exercise.  Just like if you were prescribed a very potent form of medication, you can’t take a lot of it.  It’s self-limiting.  As we dial up our effectiveness, we have to dial down the quantity.  You’re exactly right.

Ari:       That a very apt analysis especially.  Now, I personally find health and wellness to be a cornerstone to productivity because as I like to say to people I can make you as technologically efficient as you want to bebut if you’re not sleeping right or you’re not eating right, you’re not going to get to that 100% level or even exceed that 100% level of what your potential possibly could be, as somebody who is putting out there a way, in my opinion, being more productive.  What are your personal top three productivity tips that kind of keep you on the up and up?

Jonathan:        I would say the number one tip is a proper diet and I know that’s not really a tip but let me give you a little bit more detail what I mean by proper diet.  We need to eat nutritious food and nutritious foods are non-starchy vegetables; vegetables that you can eat raw is generally a great way to identify whether or not it’s a non-starchy vegetable.  To eat nutrient dense sources of protein.  Really any kind of seafood and grass fed meats, ideally.  To enjoy whole foods fats, things like nuts and seeds as well as low fructose fruits like berries and citrus.  These foods are unequivocally the most nutrient dense and providing your body with the most nutrients as possible will enable you to be productive in a way you never even imagined.  It’s just like putting premium gasoline in a car will make it run better.

Ari:       Is that one or is that all of them?

Jonathan:        Yes, that’s one.  Number two is I would say exercise more intelligently.  When I say exercise more intelligently I mean using more resistance safely.  Instead of feeling that you have to spend 20 hours a week doing cardio, which is what a lot of us believe, experiment and educate yourself on how to resistance train safely and intensely.  Not only will you achieve more benefits but you will dramatically reduce the amount of time you have to exercise and that of course will allow you to be more productive.  Then, tip number three I would say is always look for ways to focus on quality.  Not only with food, eating higher quality foods and with exercise doing higher quality exercise, it also just in your general interactions.  I find that doing less but with higher quality often yields better results.  That’s true for exercise and for food it’s a little bit of a paradox.  You want to eat more higher quality food but for everything else it fits.

Ari:       Those are great.  I always love asking that question because people from different walks of life always have very different approaches as to how they are more productive.  Those are really great.  Jonathan, I really, really appreciate you taking the time to tell us about what I think are ground breaking changes to the way people live and eat and move.  Where can they go to find out more?

Jonathan:        Well, if you just want to check out SlimIsSimple.org.  We have a very minimalistic website.  It’s really just our first animated non-profit education piece and it has an about page.  It has a little bit more supporting information and some behind the scenes footage.  Or you could just go on YouTube and type in slimissimple.org and check out our video and hopefully it can help you live a better life.  There’s some other resources, some other websites that just provide other great information that we link to as well.  Just helping people to get educated.  So, SlimIsSimple.org.

Ari:       Great.  Well, Jonathan, thank you again for your time.  I really appreciate you telling us all about this.

Jonathan:        Hey, thank you for having me Ari.