Steve Maxwell is one of the world’s most accomplished and well-regarded health and fitness experts – in addition to being a fitness coach, physical educator, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu instructor, trainer to high-level professional athletes in the MLB and the NFL, and consultant to various US government agencies such as the DEA, the Secret Service, and the FBI, Steve has been named one of the Top 100 trainers in the United States by Men’s Journal and holds a number of Pan-American and Worldwide Championships in competitive grappling.
Steve has been featured in many mainstream and industry-specific outlets, such as Men’s Health, Muscle Media, Hard Style, The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, and The Naked Warrior. Today, Steve continues his nomadic lifestyle, traveling around the world and sharing his insights and wisdom through his seminars and training camps.
This is my third interview with Steve, so if this is your first time hearing him, make sure you check out his previous appearances on Corporate Warrior!
- Steve Maxwell’s Official Website
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- Send Steve an Email
In this episode, we cover:
- Steve’s morning health routine and how he selects the concepts he incorporates
- The critical importance of movement and mobility training in staying physically fit as you age
- Managing stress and using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and CNS training to optimize when you train
- Tips, tricks, and hacks for frequent flyers and for improving the quality of your sleep
- … and much more!
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QUESTION OF THE DAY: How have you tried to adjust and optimize your training routine throughout the years in response to the effects of growing older? Please let me know in the comments at the bottom of this post.
Click the link below to listen from the exact time stamp on Overcast:
- Steve and I talk about the gap between learning something for the first time and actually applying and benefiting from it [6:03]
- How often does Steve do martial arts nowadays? [10:26]
- Steve talks about his mobility and movement routines, the neurological aspects involved, and why it matters for overall health and fitness [11:43]
- Does Steve think that everyone should learn a martial art to some degree? [18:37]
- Steve’s advice for people who want to start learning martial arts [22:55]
- Steve and I talk about safer, more sustainable exercise and physical fitness and why it matters more as we age [29:23]
- Is it reasonable to expect to be able to keep on doing the physical activities you enjoy doing – such as a particular sport – even as you grow older? [33:33]
- What does Steve recommend people do to maintain their flexibility and mobility? [34:47]
- Steve gives me advice on how I should play basketball [35:04]
- Is everything Steve does on his morning routine really necessary? Steve talks about the usefulness of the placebo effect, heartrate variability training, and CNS training [39:47]
- Steve on how he uses HRV concepts to determine the intensity of his exercise and the physical activities he does on a particular day [44:43]
- Steve on the apps he uses for HRV and CNS training (and what you should be looking for and observing) [47:45]
- Steve talks about using coffee and other stimulants to power through workouts at times when you shouldn’t be working out [49:45]
- On stress and adrenal burnout [52:25]
- Steve’s health and fitness tips, tricks, and hacks for air travel and frequent flyers [52:17]
- Steve talks about eye yoga and how he threw away his glasses improved his eyesight using eye exercises [1:02:48]
- Steve talks about tongue exercises (and how these have improved his teeth, gums, and digestion) [1:07:05]
- If Steve only had 5 minutes to do his morning routine, what would it consist of? [1:09:02]
- How does Steve decide which ideas and concepts to incorporate into his health and fitness routines (and which is the most important one)? [1:10:21]
- Steve and I talk about how to take good care of your skin (and Steve talks about his personal skin care routine) [1:13:08]
- How to stop snoring and how to breathe better in general [1:19:21]
- Steve on the criticism of the Buteyko Method [1:27:35]
- Does Steve maintain the same perspective on Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMFs) as he used to? [1:32:10]
- Steve talks about Vilhjalmur Stefansson (the very first low-carb researcher), the zero-carb diet, and his current approach to diet and nutrition [1:35:00]
- How to really know if your diet is working for you [1:40:16]
- Steve and I talk about getting effortlessly shredded by eating an all-meat diet, practicing intermittent fasting, and eating just one or two meals a day [1:44:39]
- What has Steve found to be the most effective way to improve his ability to do pull-ups with strict form and without experiencing issues with strain, and do reps really matter? [1:55:49]
- On reps never having been standardized and Time-Under-Load (TUL) [2:04:07]
- Steve talks about why he doesn’t track TUL and how he views and approaches training [2:05:40]
- Steve talks about the Forearm Forklift Lifting Straps [2:09:36]
- Why does Steve think that a lot of HIT trainers are out shape? [2:13:25]
- What advice does Steve have for night-shift workers regarding sleep, and what are Steve’s rules for improving your sleep quality in general? [2:16:17]
- How can you deal with elbow tendonitis (and tendonitis in general)? [2:19:14]
- What does a typical day for Steve look like, and what does he do for fun? [2:22:30]
- Is Steve open to doing a seminar in Ireland? [2:26:02]
- What has Steve changed his mind about with regard to diet and exercise in recent memory? [2:29:08]
Selected Links from the Episode
- Body By Science by Doug McGuff and John Little (Amazon US / Amazon UK)
- Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy | Gracie Combatives
- MMA fighter kills powerlifting champion in brutal street fight in Russia (Video)
- Marple Gracie Jiu Jitsu
- Systema (Russian Martial Art)
- London Real | The Hotel Workout with London Real and Steve Maxwell (Video)
- Tai Chi
- Super Slow
- Yin Yoga
- Placebo Response (Placebo Effect)
- Heart Rate Variability Training (HRV)
- Central Nervous System (CNS) | CNS Training
- Instant Heart Rate ( Download from iTunes | Download from Google Play )
- CNS Tap Test ( Download from iTunes | Download from Google Play )
- Ma Huang (Ephedra)
- Monster Energy | Website
- Rockstar | Website
- Fitbit | Website ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Glycerin Suppository
- Fleet ( Glycerin Suppository – Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Brain Sync | Meditate.Me with Kelly Howell ( Download from iTunes | Download from Google Play )
- Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Sleep Soundly Melatonin Melts ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Circadian Clock
- Take Off Your Glasses And See by Jacob Liberman ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- The Bates Method (Eye exercises)
- Let Every Breath… The Secrets of the Russian Masters by Vladimir Vasiliev ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Neti | Neti Pot ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Swedish Dry Brush Skin Massage
- Dr. Bronner’s Organic Soap ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Virgin Coconut Oil ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Sesame Oil ( Amazon Us / Amazon UK )
- Olive Oil ( Amazon Us / Amazon UK )
- Buteyko Breathing Technique | Buteyko Clinic
- The Oxygen Advantage: Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques to Help You Become Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter by Patrick McKeown ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Breatheology by Stig Avall Severinsen ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Pranayama (Yogic Breathing)
- Electromagnetic Field | EMF Health and Safety
- Pong iPhone Cases ( Amazon US )
- The Fat of the Land by Vilhjalmur Stefansson ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Bellevue Hospital (Oldest Public Hospital in the United States)
- Blue Zone
- Icaria (Greek Island)
- Glycation Theory of Aging
- The Glycation Factor: How the Recommended Healthy Diet Maims and Kills by Dr. Gregory Ellis ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Quinoa ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Chia Seeds ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Alan Aragon’s Research Review (Newsletter)
- The Fighter Pull-up (by Pavel Tsatsouline)
- Greasing the Groove (by Pavel Tsatsouline)
- The Pull-up Ladder (Method)
- Isometric Exercises
- Timed Static Contraction
- Forearm Forklift Lifting Straps ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Uniqlo | Website
- Abbott’s Ice Cream & Dairy
- Ear plugs ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Blackout Shades ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Eye Mask ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Nine Rules for Proper Food Combining by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- John Little (Listen to my previous interviews with John here: Part 1, and Part 2)
- Relson Gracie
- Donald Trump
- Hélio Gracie
- Drew Baye (Listen to previous episodes with Drew here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5)
- Dr. Doug McGuff (Listen to previous episodes with Doug here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)
- Bruce Lee
- Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko
- Patrick McKeown | Website
- Stig Avall Severinsen | Website
- Rickson Gracie
- Royler Gracie
- Royce Gracie
- Vilhjalmur Stefansson
- Weston A. Price | Website
- Dr. Shawn Baker (Listen to previous episodes here: Part 1 and Part 2)
- Dr. Gregory Ellis
- Alan Aragon
- Ryan Hall (Listen to my previous interviews with Ryan here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4)
- Pavel Tsatsouline | Website
- Stuart Smith
- Ken Hutchins
- Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
Andrew May says
Wow, that was a long haul…..would’ve been a lot shorter if Steve had left out the mega levels of woo! (I’ll DM you on Instagram re those rather than befoul your comments section though). Steve is just perfect to listen to when he sticks to exercise but the other stuff is painful listening.
Other comments though: Lawrence, if you’re eating a potato every day you’re not doing “zero carb” this is why I have such a problem with this N=many thing, it’s totally uncontrolled.
When I was a teenager I did a martial art called Hapkido, there’s a class in Ennis I see online http://irelandhapkido.com/ it’s a very comprehensive art and a little out of the ordinary which is nice.
Oh, one thing that made me smile was, like Steve I am an enthusiastic eater of bones, get yourself a stock pot!
Andrew May says
Also just watched the London Real hotel video. Seriously some of the most ridiculous stuff I’ve ever seen!
Hey Andrew – I appreciate your point regarding the woo and understand where you’re coming from. I’m skeptical, but if it works for Steve, then fair play to him. I think there may be some value in it, especially the skin brushing? But I need to look into it more.
Lol. I know what Zero Carb is Andrew 😛 and I I know I don’t do Zero Carb. I’m low carb – I love a cheeky potato or some rice in the evening. I just said I’m interesting in the movement and if it is or isn’t potentially a superior way of eating to other diets. N=many is not controlled and self-reporting so I hear what you’re saying but it’s better than nothing? And a good start? Maybe some of the results from the N=many will trigger RCTs?
Thanks for the martial art link. And yes, I’m keen to make some stock! 😀
Matt Ely says
Great interview, Lawrence! I am picking up the book, The Oxygen Advantage, that Steve referenced. If anyone out there is intrigued by Steve’s comments on improving his eyesight, there is a website call endmyopia.org that explains it all and can show anyone how to improve eyesight and eventually eliminate dependence on eyeglasses.
Hey Matt – glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the feedback. It certainly was something different! (Steve’s routine ????????) haven’t looked into the eyesight stuff too bad. Well designed studies probably don’t exist (as Steve has said) but if they do, please point them out ????.
Matt Ely says
They aren’t well designed studies, for a variety of reasons. It can be shown that excessive near work (such as 10+ hours per day of looking at screens) in contrast to our evolutionary history causes a spasm which can induce myopia (search on google scholar for “near induced transient myopia” / “pseudo myopia” or “ciliary myopia”) AND that use of distance lenses for near work causes myopia to increase (search on google scholar for “hyperopic defocus”), but it’s an inductive leap to reverse engineer what research there is into a process whereby anyone can eliminate the need for eyeglasses.
What you end up with is more of an n = many type of situation. If you think that people think you’re nuts when you tell them that they only NEED to train once per week to get most of the strength gains their genetics will allow, it’s nothing compared to trying to convince people that nearsightedness isn’t purely genetic and that it can be reversed. Way off topic in terms of HIT, but I can’t help but share when the opportunity arises!
Appreciate your sharing your view on this Matt. Very interesting indeed!
Matt Ely says
Glad to share! I’m continually impressed at the breadth of subjects that come up and listening to podcasts. Hopefully, it’s to all of our benefit!
Appreciate your view Andrew. Where I disagree is I think that for Steve – he thinks it works and it takes him ~15min per day so he doesn’t mind. I don’t currently do it myself (even though I committed on the show), but I’ve taken some bits away to think about and research.
Re N=many – I see what you mean re N=Many being based on self reporting which could be influenced by cognitive bias etc, but I am treating as an N=1 with no expectation of a results (100 push-ups per day and a 5min cold shower everyday). I tracked my weight and waist circumference at the beginning and will measure at the end. So there is value in it for me at the very least, and the same is for anyone who wants to do N=1.
Andrew May says
“Magical thinking” doesn’t make something real no matter what the practitioner believes but it’s a dangerous mindset to. be in, accepting nonsense as real erodes the perception of reality. Massaging your ears for whatever imaginary benefit might not hurt anyone but using homeopathy or to treat serious diseases and all kinds of nonsense is in exactly the same mindset.
Fair play on the N=1 side of things, I did one recently myself with mixed results.
Will Fugate says
Regarding the forearm forklift and Steve wanting to add more loops, it might be worth checking out the suspension trainer/isometric strap made by Sierra fitness equipment. From the website: heavy-duty 15 foot long one inch wide webbing with numbered loops along its entire length every 6 inches, you can set up the suspension system, adjust it, and perform whatever exercises you wish with maximum speed and efficiency. It might be a little bulky for Steve but what be what he is looking for. I have no affiliation. http://www.sierraexercise.com/suspension.html
Nice one Will! Will check it out. Thanks for contribution.
James Atkinson says
Hey Lawerence here’s a pdf copy of Fat of The Land by Vilhjalmur Stefansson someone put online. I actually have a hard copy, it’s amazing book, it covers much more than just his own time with the Inuits, but since it’s rare, the actual books are expensive. So he and a former member of his team spent a whole year being examined by the doctors and all they did was thrive. And later, he went back to following it to his death ,and so did his wife.
As far as some of the other subjects Steve talks about, there’s a reason why he tends to be one of the most popular guests on any podcasts he’s on. Part of it a lot of people are envious about his lifestyle, but bottom line he gets results too. And this idea people have in Western countries that there should be a ” study” first is laughable, since they don’t take the time to think that there usually has to be some sort of financial gain for anybody to Fund a study in the first place. So you have people like Dr Baker and Steve saying, “Here are the results i get,why not try it your self”. Also while i don’t necessarily agree with everything Steve has to say either, the other big thing with him unlike a lot of people that are on the internet passing themselves off as exercise experts is he’s been in the trenches for years and years and gets actual results with all walks of life including high level athletes. Any way here’s that book for you https://lookaside.fbsbx.com/file/The-fat-of-the-land.pdf?token=AWz7pRxh35fxOfY1yN6aQiSWWFwvbVaYEqVwqzaWCpURe1C4WTO7tmIfzmCy6XR859ILRrOssWFhalr_CjW6FUjGMovjrzLSmqWNLGT1TC94_oX_pXzje6I5jRPPRbMya2RAU23E7o-7MqKsh62513hy3Fx_1D1gf8fE4-6y-6RUKw
Nicely put James. I agree with much of the above, and you seem to have a rationale approach to this stuff.
James Atkinson says
Thanks Lawerence i appreciate that. I always try to ideally think of that quote that Bruce Lee made popular,“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” Even to people i dislike, or disagree with a majority of the time, in all aspects of life, like work etc. Easier said than done sometimes, but the fact is if they’re good at something in particular i ideally keep that aspect in mind. I figure i don’t have to hang out with them ha ha. But i’ve noticed most people if they dislike someone, for what ever reason, that’s that, no matter if they could benefit in some way themselves. And of course the other big negative with human nature in general, a lot of people are more concerned about having their beliefs challenged, that they could be handed a solution in their lap, for you name it ,but they refuse to even attempt it because it challenges their belief system.
Andrew May says
The thing is the despite the woo I actually really like Steve, he’s an affable guy and really inspiring otherwise when it comes to training he’s just top notch. Personally I have very few actual beliefs, I don’t mind being challenged and even proven wrong. I’ve definitely lived by that Lee quote in exercise without really knowing it, I believe I’m learning, discarding and adapting every day. Also the greatest thing happened, I literally DID have the solution handed to me in HIT and Lawrence has provided me with a gold mine of information here….I’m just more likely to be buying a “forearm forklift” than an appointment at my local “Rolfer”.
Touché! And appreciate the compliment. It’s awesome to know that my show/blog attracts very smart and critical people.
Completely agree. Love that Bruce Lee quote. Used it to wrap up a recent episode. This is exactly the perspective I try and take now.
Andrew May says
“This idea people have in western countries is that there should be a “study” first is laughable”
The West, where all of modern medicine was developed, saved millions of lives and continues to advance with proven scientific techniques. You’ll notice that “ear yoga” for instance hasn’t cured all deafness in India if you don’t mind me putting up a little straw man for you to knock down. And the financial gain thing? Pharmaceutical/supplement/fitness/lifestyle companies could potentially make millions if they could prove some of these quack methods really worked. Here’s a quote from Ryan Hall from this very podcast series “In science we are not interested in subjective measurements, only objective ones”.