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58: Kettlebell Curious

Oct 27, 2020

Kettlebells offer a different strength training experience than traditional free weights and are an excellent at-home option for resistance training. Strength and conditioning coach Caleb Meyer give Scot and Troy some tips about starting with kettlebells and using kettlebells in your activity routine.

Thanks to PEAK Health and Fitness for connecting us with Caleb.

Episode Transcript

This content was originally created for audio. Some elements such as tone, sound effects, and music can be hard to translate to text. As such, the following is a summary of the episode and has been edited for clarity. For the full experience, we encourage you to subscribe and listen— it's more fun that way.

Scot: Making sure that this podcast can . . . I'm going to start over.

Troy: You can do this, Scot.

Scot: I'm a professional.

Troy: You are a professional.

Scot: In sports, what was the equivalent of what I just did right there?

Troy: Just like dribbling the ball off your foot if you were playing basketball, just dribbling it off your foot. Yeah, that would be the sports equivalent probably.

Scot: All right. And right into the hands of the defender, or is it out of balance?

Troy: No, just out of balance.

Scot: Just out of bounds? Okay.

Troy: Just bringing the ball down the court unguarded and dribbling it off your foot into the stands.

Scot: It goes out of bounds.

Troy: That would be the equivalent.

Scot: The podcast is called "Who Cares About Men's Health." We provide information, inspiration, and motivation to better understand and engage in your health so you can feel better today and in the future. My name is Scot Singpiel. I'm the manager of, and I care about men's health.

Troy: And I'm Dr. Troy Madsen. I'm an emergency physician at the University of Utah, and I care about men's health.

Scot: Go ahead and jump on in, Caleb.

Caleb: My name is Caleb Meyer, and I just really care about men's health as well.

Scot: All right. It's good to have Caleb back on the show. We talked about motivation first. Now, we're going to talk about kettlebells.

Troy: I'm clapping for Caleb, Scot.

Scot: Yeah. Nice.

Troy: I didn't want to give the wrong impression on our last episode. You opened with some applause for Caleb. You said, "I would clap if I liked him." And then just the moment never came along, so I have to give Caleb some applause. We're glad to have him back with us.

Scot: Yeah. Good. Wow, Caleb, you've got Dr. Madsen's approval.

Caleb: This is an honor. I'll find a way to get through this without getting emotional, but we'll see what happens.

Troy: Yeah. Try not to let it go to your head.

Caleb: No promises.

Scot: Anybody you'd like to thank on this momentous occasion that helped get you here?

Caleb: Oh, goodness.

Scot: You could thank Scot for giving you the microphone.

Caleb: Yeah. Scot brought me the microphone on Friday. So I'll thank him.

Troy: So that's worth something.

Scot: All right. This episode is called Kettlebell Curious because one of the things you need to do to stay healthy now and in the future . . . we talk about core four. We try to keep it simple because sometimes I believe that we, as men, can overcomplicate what we need to do to stay healthy. The things you need to do, the core four plus one more, are nutrition, activity, sleep, manage your stress, and the plus one more is know your genetics. And then, actually, it's plus a couple more because you should take care of those . . . if you've got any sort of addictive or dangerous behaviors, you should take care of those as well.

We're talking activity today. So I used to exercise at the gym before COVID-19. I don't want to go back into the gym, so I've been looking at some other forms of exercises. And we have these fitness bands, and during the time I had these fitness bands, I Googled . . . because this company that made them had a workout online. And then YouTube suggested another video I'd be interested in, and this was the same company talking about kettlebells. I really loved what I saw with the kettlebell workouts. So I'll talk a little bit about why I like kettlebells.

But first, we should say Caleb is an expert in this sort of stuff. So he works at PEAK Health and Fitness in the University of Utah College of Health. He's been a fitness trainer for a long time. He's been a coach. Actually, you've been a fitness trainer for three or four years. You're certified and the whole deal, right, Caleb?

Caleb: That's right, yeah.

Scot: Yeah. So you help people like me with things like this.

Caleb: When I can, yeah.

Scot: And I'm getting a freebie, so . . . It's why we do the podcast, right, Troy?

Troy: That's what it's all about.

Scot: So I was looking for somebody that knew something about kettlebells and I came across Caleb. So, Caleb, you train with kettlebells. Why do you train with them? Why do you use them?

Caleb: I just think they're a unique way to kind of do whatever you would normally do with a dumbbell and then some, and add a little bit of spice into your routine, change up the stimulus a little bit, alter that center of gravity of that implement that you're lifting, and kind of just change it up a little bit. I use dumbbells a lot. I use barbells a lot. I use bands a lot. Well, why not use some kettlebells and throw a little bit of a wrench in the system and make the body adjust to that too?

Scot: Yeah, because giving the body new stimulus is key to having the body adapt and staying healthy and whatnot.

One of the things that I loved about it when I was watching this video was strength training in the weight room is very linear, right? So you're moving the dumbbell when you're doing a curl in a linear way. You're laying down on the bench, moving the weight in a linear way.

And the kettlebell looked a lot more dynamic because you're in a standing position, you're swinging the thing around a lot, which . . . There's a thing called "swings," which engages your posterior, which really, in the gym, unless you're doing squats and deadlifts, you're not doing that a lot I don't think. You're standing and it's engaging your forearms all the time, and there's this aerobic component to it. So those were some of the things that I liked about kettlebells that's made me kettlebell curious.

Troy, how about you? Have you ever exercised with kettlebells?

Troy: Scot, I've got to admit, you've been talking about your kettlebells for a month now, and I honestly did not really know what a kettlebell was. I just had to Google it to see what a kettlebell is. That's why I'm trying to figure out why you would use a kettlebell. What's the advantage of this just over a dumbbell or something? But I think I'm kind of getting a better sense. I'm assuming it's called a kettlebell because it's got a handle on the top that looks like a teakettle or something like that. Am I kind of on the right track here?

Caleb: More or less, yeah. It was made by the Russians, so I imagine that, at some point, somebody just melted down a cast iron skillet and then just stuck a handle on it to carry it. And that was kind of the advent of the kettlebell, I would imagine. I don't know. I haven't looked too much into the . . .

Scot: The origins?

Caleb: The origins of the kettlebell.

Troy: They just took an old Russian cannonball and then melted the cast iron thing and made a top.

Caleb: Honestly, that may be exactly how that came about.

Scot: That's an interesting question you bring about. How did this thing occur? It probably came out of a necessity to have something to exercise with and they looked around, and they were like, "Well, we've got this and we've got that. Maybe we could put those two things together."

Troy: "We will combine it."

Scot: They're super versatile, too, I think. From the videos I've watched, you can use them in a lot of different ways too. You don't always just have to hold on to it by the handle. There's an exercise called a goblet squat where I think you can hold on by the handle or you could hold on underneath it. Maybe I'm doing that wrong. I don't know.

Caleb: No. You're 100% correct.

Scot: Yeah. Anyway, Caleb, talk to me. Let's pretend I came in and I said, "I'm interested in doing some kettlebell training. I'm brand new." Where should I start? What weight of kettlebell should I look at even getting to start with?

Caleb: Well, if you're looking at weights, you're going to be very confused right off the bat because kettlebells were made basically using the Russian pood. Now, one pood is about 36 pounds. And so you're going to see a lot of odd numbers on those kettlebells. It's going to be like 24, 36, 18. You're not going to see the typical dumbbell lineup of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, all the way up through whatever.

So finding one that's going to be good and in the middle for you that has some random eight or something at the end of it is not a bad option. So you're looking at probably like a 36-pound kettlebell or something, something in the middle, something that's going to force you to fight with it a little bit, but also something that's going to let you get used to it. That's always my advice.

Obviously, we're not lifting weights just to do it, just to have fun. We want to push the envelope a little bit. That's part of the whole process of adapting and that linear progression of getting stronger. But we also need to learn how to use the kettlebell. So, we don't want anything too crazy. It's not like we're going for two pood here, which is 72 pounds. We're going more for maybe closer to one pood. Let's stay closer to one pood.

Scot: Yeah, sure. I've also seen there are a lot in kilograms as well. So that's what I ended up getting. I ended up getting a 35-pound because my research led me to that. But also, the guy that I bought them from off of a used website had a couple other ones too, and I decided to get a couple lighter ones so I could practice form.

I know I have a couple weak spots, like my shoulder. Pressing over my shoulders is kind of hard. And I'm really glad, actually, that I got those lighter ones because I can swing that 35 and I can do some of the exercises that I've looked up on the internet. But sometimes, pressing overhead is a little challenging.

Troy: I mean, that seems like a lot of weight, though. Just for the average guy, starting out with 36 pounds . . . Do you find that that's pretty reasonable with the kettlebell exercises?

Caleb: Sure. Yeah. I mean, think about once you get used to the kettlebell, it's not really that much different than using a dumbbell. So it's possible for us to do basically any exercise we would do with a dumbbell with a kettlebell. It really is just a matter of learning how the kettlebell changes the way your body has to manipulate it.

Because of the fact that it doesn't . . . with a dumbbell, that handle sits in your hand. That weight is on either side of your hand in the traditional dumbbell fashion. But with a kettlebell, now that weight is sometimes behind your hand, maybe it's in front of your hand, maybe it's over the top of your hand. It's not in your hand. So adjusting for that with your body is a huge piece of the puzzle.

So you're right. Thirty-six pounds, 35 pounds, whatever that is, that is a decent amount of weight for sure. But again, it's nothing to be too intimidated by because once your body learns, once you get a handle for how to manipulate that kettlebell, she starts moving pretty well.

Scot: One of the exercise routines that really intrigued me, they call it hard-style kettlebell, which it revolves around these things called swings where you actually swing the kettlebell out in front of you, and then you do a . . . what was that called? Not a hip flex. What's that called, Caleb? A hip hinge.

Caleb: Yes.

Scot: You do a hip hinge, and then it comes back kind of between your legs, and then you thrust your hips. So it's a posterior chain. It's the glutes and the hamstrings and all of that. So that's the hub. You do 24 swings and then you do 12 of another movement. So maybe you'll do an overhead press or you'll do a clean or you'll do something like that.

Caleb: Sure.

Scot: Really like that kind of exercise because it looks very dynamic. When you go into the gym, the only time you're really working the posterior chain is if you do squats or deadlifts. And that's one or two exercise, right? There's so much other time you're sitting there on the bench with the cable machine working your back or you're just standing there curling the dumbbells, but this is constantly involving that posterior chain, which I think is neglected in today's modern day lifestyle where we're sitting all the time. So I really dig that.

Do you have any tips for starting out? So that little routine that I sent you that I talked about, the hub and spoke, I've been exercising long enough to know that probably 35 pounds starting out with the number of reps that they were recommending is going to kill me. I don't think that's a good idea for me to do the first time because I'm going to be so sore. I don't know that I'm going to be able to do it again. So what would your advice be for me as a beginner starting out with my exercise routine with kettlebells?

Caleb: Well, I guess tip number one, I think you just hit it right on the head right there. Start conservatively. Whether it's the number of reps you do or the weight of the kettlebell or things like that, give yourself some time to get used to the kettlebell. You've got to learn how to use it first.

That center of gravity of the kettlebell is not in your hand. That thing can yank you all over the place. So you try to put that thing overhead, all of a sudden you weren't ready for it, and now all of a sudden you're falling backwards because you weren't ready for that kind of weight to shift like that and there it is. Now you're gone. And that can lead to injury. That can lead to looking silly. Looking silly means you'll never come back to the gym, and all of a sudden we've totally defeated the purpose of the kettlebell. You know what I'm saying?

So we've got to make sure that we're . . . let's get used to the kettlebell first. That's definitely a big piece of the puzzle.

And then I think because it's so different, people can be almost kind of afraid of it, because you always fear what you don't understand. Once you have that grace period of starting conservatively and getting to know the implement, it's time to start getting aggressive and start going for it. Get a little bit angry about it and start throwing that kettlebell around.

Scot: You know what? You're right. I kind of sniffed around it a little bit. I kind of messed with a little bit. I watched some of the moves to make sure I had the form right. But it feels good to get aggressive with the thing when you've got that kind of heavy weight, once you're feeling a little bit more comfortable with what you're doing and making sure you're not going to hurt yourself. You're right. I love that. Get angry with it.

Troy: Caleb, you totally missed this because we don't have your phone number so you weren't on the text, but Scot just texted me picture of himself next to his microphone getting aggressive with the 10-pound kettlebells. So Scot is really feeling it right now.

Caleb: I like it. Get aggressive, man.

Troy: Yeah. He's getting aggressive right now. I love it.

Caleb: Yeah, throw that kettlebell around a little bit. See what you've got. Let's see what you can do.

Troy: Just don't break the mic.

Scot: I decided to keep this 10-pound up in the office so whenever I take little breaks, work breaks, I'll just do a few exercises with it.

Caleb: There you go. That's good.

Troy: Nice.

Scot: All right. So start out conservatively. Get to know that form through that process, but then after you get a little bit more comfortable, get aggressive with it. What other tips do you have for me starting out?

Caleb: Don't limit your imagination. There are a lot of things that we can do with kettlebells that we maybe can't do as easily or as efficiently with a dumbbell that are really great movements, things like farmer's carries, things like that, just some good heavy movements that we can really push into, or stimuli that are really good different angles for, say, our shoulders to be working at, things like that.

I have a list of exercises here that I think are really great movements to be doing with kettlebells. These are the things that I really like to do when I'm using a kettlebell.

Scot: What are some of the exercises that you wrote down that I should try?

Caleb: Other than the swings . . . I mean, that's the top exercise you've got to be doing, kettlebell swings, for sure. If you're going to use a kettlebell, you might as well swing it. Then we talked about farmer's carries a little bit, but I'm a huge fan of the front rack position using kettlebells. So this may be something that would maybe be a little bit more clear for those of you who . . . listeners and for maybe some of our hosts who are like, "The front rack position? What in the world?"

Troy: Yeah, like me.

Caleb: It's basically a way of holding the kettlebells in front of you basically creating a cradle with your arms. So I'm holding the horn of the kettlebell in my hands, and then the bell of the kettlebell is resting as I hold the kettlebells close to my body. So, basically, my thumbs are on my collarbones, and I'm holding that kettlebell on my bicep, tricep, forearm, that little cradle that's created by holding it in that position.

Scot: Yeah, by having your arm bent . . . Troy, if you want to prank a friend and pretend like you've taken a picture of your bare butt, you know how you make your arm to look like a butt? That's what this is.

Troy: I've got to say I've never done that, but intrigued. Very intrigued.

Caleb: It's vivid and knowledgeable is what that is.

Troy: It sure is. I just learned something new. I love it.

Scot: I'm doing that rack right now. That's cool, yeah.

Caleb: Yeah. So that front rack position, I think, is an excellent position to . . . you can do walks. Like that farmer's carry, you can do walks from that position, squats. I think front rack kettlebell squats is probably my favorite move to perform in that position because it's just so valuable for upper back strength as well as, obviously, the strength you gain from a squat. It's incredibly valuable for that shoulder stability. I mean, you're working all kinds of stuff with that. So I love that front rack position.

You can do a ton of stuff from that position on top of the fact that it's a good starting position for, say, an overhead press as well. It's a good place to start. So that's a super valuable position, that front rack. Experimenting with that front rack position is going to be definitely on my list of things that we've got to do.

Scot: And straight wrists. I don't know if you said straight wrists or not, but yeah, keep those wrists straight.

Caleb: Absolutely right. And then I really like doing single arm bench press stuff with kettlebells as well, like floor presses or just standard bench presses. And the reason for that is, again, the change in stimulus. So, if I'm laying on my back and I put that kettlebell off my head, if I have the kettlebell resting on the back of my forearm, that's going to change the way my shoulders have to engage in order to move that weight and in order to make that movement happen.

Scot: So you gave us four. Do you have one more? We have a solid five?

Caleb: I would say anything overhead. That would be my last thing. So single arm overhead holds or presses, or you can combine. Here's one for you: single arm overhead hold walks.

Scot: I actually was experimenting with just single arm overhead holds and it's fascinating what it was doing to my back and shoulders just holding that weight up there.

Caleb: Yep.

Troy: Are you holding it the same way where it's resting against the forearm, where it's kind of . . .

Caleb: Right.

Troy: So same thing as you do with the bench?

Caleb: That's a great question there, Troy. You can do all these stuff with . . . So I have the kettlebell resting against the back of my forearm. There's nothing really saying I can't keep that kettlebell resting against the front of my forearm. Or if I really want to get dicey with it or really work that stability, I can tilt that kettlebell so that the bell is on top of my hand, and now I have to balance that kettlebell as I'm doing the movement.

So you've got a lot of different things that you can do. Because of the center of gravity being outside of your hand, that stimulus is all kinds of different and it really forces you to interact in a different way with the kettlebell and really, like I said, get imaginative.

Troy: I like it. Like I said, I came in to this having to Google what a kettlebell looked like and I'm kind of intrigued. It seems like something . . . like you said, it's a little more versatile. You can mix things up a bit more with it, got a few more options than just having some dumbbell around, which is what I have.

Caleb: Well, the real opportunity here, too, is that for everything that I can do with two kettlebells, doing it with one also further changes the stimulus. Say I'm doing a front rack kettlebell squat. I've got two kettlebells. Well, now just do it with one. So now you've got to balance a different way. You're engaging your core in a totally different way.

I've got to do a farmer's carry. Well, now instead of grabbing two kettlebells, just grab one, carry it down there, switch hands, come back. All of a sudden, now you're really changing up that stimulus on yourself.

Single-arm kettlebell swings, you ever tried those there . . .

Scot: No. I haven't tried that yet.

Caleb: Yeah. Give that a shot some time.

Scot: I've done some of the other single-arm stuff and what I really like about that is over the years of my life, I've developed some imbalances. And as a result, what happens is . . . maybe it's an injury. Who knows what it is? Then I start accommodating, right? By far and away, I've got some issues with my right arm doing overhead presses. And doing that single-arm stuff really brings that to the forefront and helps me work through it. So, hopefully, I'll get some balance back again, which I know is going to benefit me in the long term.

Caleb: Absolutely.

Scot: Do you have any final thoughts about kettlebells? Troy, do we have you excited about them? Are you going to go out and see if you can find one? They're pretty hard to find right now.

Troy: I'm excited. I know. My biggest barrier to getting them is hearing your story about finding a kettlebell guy, meeting him in a parking lot, and buying the kettlebells from him as he opens his trunk. Then you inspect the kettlebells and made a purchase there. That's probably the biggest barrier for me right now. But I am. I'm intrigued. I kind of like this idea starting out at one pood, which is 36 pounds.

Caleb: Yep, every single pood.

Troy: I will lift my pood and . . . I am intrigued. I'd like to try them, yeah.

Caleb: Just let yourself have fun with them. Kettlebells are so good for core stability, joint stability, functional strength. You're really diving into a really versatile tool, so let the . . . This is actually kind of a time where I do encourage people to use the internet because so many people have thought of so many things. Go on YouTube and type in "kettlebell workouts" and you'll find . . . I mean, it depends on how many pages deep into YouTube you want to go. I know the dreaded two-page curse there is very real. But go find some stuff to do with them.

It can be such a versatile tool, and really, it can help you with whatever your goal is. You want to get big? Are you going for hypertrophy? Kettlebells can do that. You want to get really strong? Kettlebells can help you. There are some serious benefits using those kettlebells.

Scot: Thank you very much for talking me through some kettlebell exercises. I'll check back in with you and let you know how I'm doing here in a couple months, Caleb, and thanks for caring about men's health.

Caleb: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Scot: Time for "Odds and Ends" on "Who Cares about Men's Health." Just one item today, Troy. We're going to talk about next week's episode with Dr. John Smith. So one of the things we're trying to do with this podcast is just really normalize the fact that it's okay for men to talk about their health. It's okay to be concerned about your health and just really approach it head on, right?

Troy: Right.

Scot: So we're really going to test ourselves coming up next week because we're going to have our urologist on, Dr. John Smith, and he's going to talk about erectile dysfunction. It just doesn't get anymore "I don't want to talk about it" from a guy's standpoint than that right there.

Troy: If you want to talk about stuff guys don't want to talk about, that's kind of the measure of . . . as much as someone doesn't want to talk about something, that's it right there. And we're talking about it.

Scot: Yeah, we are. And you know what? I think that made me kind of rethink about . . . For the most part, us men don't usually talk about our health or health concerns with our buddies or other men. And that, to some extent, probably should change. This is something we could discuss. But a lot of times, we don't even discuss it with our partners or our wives, right?

Troy: Sure.

Scot: So this is one of those things where if this is something that's impacting you, that's absolutely something you should talk about with your partner.

Troy: And I think, unfortunately, like you said, for so many people, you just don't even take that first step. You're embarrassed about it, and then it becomes an anxiety thing, like, "Oh, I'm just going to fail and I've got an issue, but I can't do anything about it."

Again, that's the goal of what we're trying to do here in talking to Dr. Smith next week, is to say, "Hey, this is something that a lot of men deal with, and you can talk about it, and it's not a big deal to talk about it." Your physician has heard about it. Your spouse, I'm sure they're aware that there's an issue there and they want you to talk to them, or your partner, or whatever the situation is. They want to talk about it and they want to help you.

Scot: It's so hard though to not do that, right? At the very least, you should be able to talk to your doctor about it. So we're going to talk about it next week. I'm really hoping that there will be just some good, solid advice that if you are a man who is dealing with this or has dealt with it . . .

Troy: Scot, I'm sorry. What are you doing . . .

Scot: He's going to give us the hard facts.

Troy: You're just pitching them underhand, slow pitch to me, just waiting for me to hit it out of the park. But I'm not going to go there.

Scot: Dr. Smith is going to give you the straight-up information.

Troy: I'm not going to go there. I see what you're doing. You started out pretty strong too. Now you just keep them coming, so . . .

Scot: I didn't realize I was doing that until you called me on it, so that's kind of fun.

Troy: Sure you didn't.

Scot: Yeah, join us next week with Dr. John Smith on "Who Cares About Men's Health" as we talk about a very sensitive topic, a topic a lot of guys would like to hide under the towel. I don't know. I ran out of them.

Troy: Under the towel.

Scot: Erectile dysfunction next week on the show.

Troy: And it will be a serious discussion. It's not going to be Scot dropping puns the whole time.

Scot: Well, joking about it sometimes is how us guys deal with things.

Troy: It is. You've got to be able to joke. Absolutely. But we don't want to make light of the situation.

Scot: Absolutely not.

Troy: But you've got to go joke around a bit, yeah.

So, Scot, do you consider yourself a procrastinator?

Scot: Yes. I'm terrible.

Troy: You do?

Scot: Yes.

Troy: You're in school right now. This is a tough time, and the assignments, you're kind of putting it off to the last minute?

Scot: I need a deadline, and I usually take full advantage of that deadline.

Troy: You're right up against the deadline and then it happens. It's interesting because I think procrastination is something we deal with a lot and it frustrates us, and maybe we don't get the task done. We don't do it as well as we want because we're trying to get it done at the last minute.

So I ran across an interesting article here called "Eight Ways to Curb Your Procrastination." It's from BBC Future. They went through some tips, I think, that may be helpful for you and your schooling. I don't know.

Scot: All right. Maybe this could be the core four too. Nutrition, activity, working on your sleep, your mental health, all of these things oftentimes require you to do something, and a lot of times, we might put those things off for various reasons. So maybe we can tie that back into this.

Troy: Exactly, in terms of making these changes in our own lives. So the first one is don't rely on willpower alone for motivation, which is kind of interesting. Sometimes we're just like, "I'm just going to gut this out and get it done," and that often does not work.

Scot: Well, the other thing with willpower is with my procrastination, I get down on myself. "What's wrong with me? I don't have the willpower, apparently, to do this."

Troy: Right. And then it just kind of cycles down, like, "I'm not going to get this done." And we're just relying on that willpower to get through it.

Scot: But that's not the smart way to do it.

Troy: It's not.

Scot: And as far as willpower, for physical activity, I've heard that sometimes you need to make things easy for you. Don't depend on the willpower. You run every day. You don't give yourself the choice. So pick a time that you're going to go exercise. Maybe even put the gym bag by the door before you leave for the day so when you come home, the gym clothes are right there. Make it easy as opposed to depending on your willpower.

Troy: And make it habit. For me, it's funny. I would say 30% of the time I go out to run, I do not want to run, and my willpower would not get me out there. So you can't rely on willpower alone to do this stuff.

The second thing is look for the positives in the tasks you keep postponing. And this is an important one because a lot times, for me, a lot of the tasks I'm working on are writing research papers, or trying to review papers, or revise, and it's not a task that I often enjoy. So you've got to find the task. I'll say, "Hey, I'm going to work on this and I'm going to be playing music in the background. And I'm looking forward to listening to the latest on this Spotify playlist or whatever, see what else is out there." It makes it more fun.

Scot: Yeah. So try to find the joy, which could be hard at times.

Troy: Number three, plan ahead. That kind of goes without saying. I think that's something we try to do. The deadline is out there. Break it out into stages. "This is what I need to get done to meet this deadline." That one seems fairly intuitive.

And reduce the effort involved. You kind of alluded to that with, "Have the gym bag ready." Let's not make this task more difficult than it needs to be. Set ourselves up for success for this, whatever we're trying to do.

Number five is reward yourself. Is this something you've tried to do with your school? Like, you say, "Hey, if I get this done or I do this this evening, I'm going to do something more fun"?

Scot: That's never worked for me because I will not do the task and still take the reward. So that one is not effective.

Troy: So you would have failed the psychological experiment where they give a kid a marshmallow, where they say, "If you don't eat the marshmallow, I'll give you two marshmallows in 15 minutes."

Scot: Well, I hate marshmallows, so that one really wouldn't work. But I do get the point, yeah. And I think that's another lesson to learn from this. You've got to find these things that work for you. And that reward thing is just never going to work for me.

Troy: It doesn't work. So maybe it's going to work, maybe it's not. For me, I like that because I say, "Hey, if I do this task, I've got this evening off. We're going to go out and get dinner," or something, and I will enjoy dinner a lot more knowing I got this thing done today than if I didn't.

Number six, promote a more realistic view of your future self. That's kind of an interesting one.

Scot: It is, right? And I'm thinking about, again, what we talk about on this podcast, exercise or nutrition. You picture this perfect version of . . . you're eating just the healthiest foods and your physique looks perfect, but it's just probably never going to happen.

Troy: Realistically, it's not going to happen. So be realistic about what you expect. Accept yourself, accept your faults, and try and be the best self you can with those faults. But I think that's an interesting one. Again, be realistic not just about the task but about who you are.

Scot: I go for about 80%.

Troy: Eighty percent? Eighty percent is good.

Scot: Eighty percent perfection.

Troy: Yeah, 80% is good. That's great you just accept it and say, "I'm not going to be perfect."

Number seven, kind of along those lines, is to be kinder to yourself. And that's probably about not beating yourself up when you don't get things done the way you want it done. Be kinder. Look at the positive, like, "Hey, at least I got this much done."

Scot: That's powerful for me. In the realm of diet especially, I will maybe not make the best choice, and I used to beat myself and accuse myself of not having willpower or, "You're weak," or, "Well, you just screwed that up. You just as well not do any of it."

Instead, look at the situation and go, "All right. I slipped here, but I've got the opportunity tomorrow to be better," or take a look at the situation and go, "Why did that happen?" And for me, it was because I wasn't eating before I left work, and I learned if I eat before I leave work, then I don't make those poor decisions at home. So don't beat yourself up. Try to turn it into a constructive.

Troy: Yeah, absolutely.

Scot: That's my advice.

Troy: Makes sense.

Scot: Is that 80% good?

Troy: That's 80% good.

Scot: Because that's all I . . .

Troy: You passed.

And the final one is talk about yourself in the right way. I like this one because they actually allude to the . . . they do this example here. They talk about not describing yourself . . . if your goal is to run, not describing yourself as someone who sometimes goes running, but describe yourself as a runner. Talk about yourself in the right way, in positive terms, like, "I'm a runner." I'm not a jogger. I'm a runner. I don't jog. I run.

So I think if you talk about yourself in those ways and you set yourself up, like saying, "Hey, this is who I am," maybe you're not quite there yet, but you're 80% of that, I think that helps you out in terms of these tasks as well.

Scot: Time for "Just Going to Leave This Here." It could be random thought. It could be something to do with health. It just depends. That's part of the fun. We're going to find out what Troy has for "Just Going to Leave This Here."

Troy: Scot, well, I'm just going to leave this here. There was the COVID haircut, the self-do haircut. And then I think the COVID cut, at least for me and several of my colleagues, just sort of devolved into not getting a haircut.

I was kind of liking it long, though. I was seriously thinking about just letting it grow from months and months and months. And then, finally, Laura said to me, "You really need to get your hair cut." And the best part is Laura is the one who cuts my hair. She has cut my hair for years and does a great job.

Scot: This makes no sense. Laura is your wife and you went with the COVID cut as if you . . . we're going to a place to get . . . but she's right there. She's in your bubble, man.

Troy: I know.

Scot: So what was your problem?

Troy: I think it was a solidarity thing. I've noticed so many of my colleagues have done the same thing. One of my colleagues, Matt Fuller, he is now sporting a full-on man bun and it's awesome. Another one, Patrick Ockerse, his is really getting long. So I think it was a solidarity thing, like, "Hey, we're all in this together. Let's just grow our hair out and do this."

Scot: Got you.

Troy: And finally, I got the feedback from Laura that, "No, this is not going to work. You're not doing this."

Scot: The wife trumped the solidarity with your coworkers as often can happen.

Troy: Yeah, exactly. As often happens.

Scot: Just going to leave this here. I came across this interesting article that talked about sleep and the flu shot, and this is crazy. So, anyway, there's a research study and this article from CNN talked about that if you short-change yourself, sleep, if you don't adequate sleep the week before the flu shot, it could reduce the production of antibodies as a result of the flu shot up to 50%, which is massive.

Troy: That's a huge reduction.

Scot: And the individual that they talked to in this article said that that could almost render the flu shot useless. So that is part of one of our core four, getting adequate sleep. It can impact our health in so many ways and getting the flu shot is apparently one of them. So, if you get adequate sleep beforehand, at least a week up until it, then you will produce more antibodies, which may make you more immune.

And just in general, the article goes on to talk about the health benefits of sleep and also the benefits to the immune system in general. So, if you're cheating yourself in sleep, you're cheating your immune system. That's the flu, COVID, colds, all those sorts of things. I'll put a link to that article in the show notes so you can read about that.

Troy: See, that's not news I wanted you to share, Scot, because I just got my flu shot and I got it at about 3:00 a.m. on a nightshift. I was at work and they're like, "Hey, anyone you need a flu shot?" I said, "Yes, I do." So I don't know. Hopefully, it still works. Hopefully, it's still effective.

Scot: Yeah, I hope it does too. And if you haven't gotten your flu shot, do it for yourself and do it for all the other people in your life and in your community as well.

Time to say the things that you say at the end of podcasts because we are at the end of ours. Troy is going to handle the how to get in touch with us. I'm going to handle the thank-yous.

Thank you for listening. Also, be sure to subscribe, podcast player of your choice. That way, we are in your podcast inbox, I guess, to call it that, every single week. And if you could leave a review, that would be very much appreciated, because it does help other people find this podcast that might enjoy it.

Troy: You can contact us, We're on Facebook, Website is You can contact us by phone as well. Leave a voice message, ask a question, give feedback. That number is 601-55SCOPE. You'll reach our home offices in Quitman, Mississippi. We'd love to hear from you. So thanks for listening. Thanks for caring about men's health.