JF1797: How To Optimize Nutrition & Exercise To Perform At The Highest Level #SkillSetSunday with Nate Palmer
Nate is on the show today as a nutrition and exercise expert. Why is this important for us as real estate investors and entrepreneurs? If you’re ever going through your day and feel like you’re dragging, this is important information for you. Nate will walk us through what and when to eat each day to extract the most energy out of our bodies so we can perform our best all day. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
Best Ever Tweet:
“I like when people aren’t full from lunch, I find it easier to get the rest of the day done when you’re not full” – Nate Palmer
Nate Palmer Background:
- Coaches entrepreneurs to become unstoppable by weaponizing their nutrition and training
- Host of The Million Dollar Body podcast, Bestselling author of Passport Fitness
- Passionate about helping humans perform at a higher level
- Based in Phoenix, Arizona
- Say hi to him at https://n8trainingsystems.com
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast, where we only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Nate Palmer. How are you doing, Nate?
Nate Palmer: I’m doing awesome, Joe. Thanks for letting me come on and chat.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, my pleasure, and looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Nate – he coaches entrepreneurs to become unstoppable by weaponizing their nutrition and training. He’s the host of the Million Dollar Body Podcast, and he’s the author of passport fitness. He’s passionate about helping humans perform at a higher level, and he’s based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Best Ever listeners, first off, I hope you’re having a best ever weekend. Because today is Sunday, we’re gonna do a special segment with Nate called, as you know, Skillset Sunday. The purpose of Skillset Sunday is to help you hone a skill that’ll help you in your real estate endeavors… And certainly, fitness and nutrition is tied into what we do as real estate investors, and having the energy to do whatever we need to do to make things happen.
We’re gonna be talking about specifically how to optimize nutrition and exercise to perform at the highest level. With that being said, first, Nate, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit about your background and then we’ll go right into some ways to do that?
Nate Palmer: [unintelligible [00:03:19].24] for over a decade now. I’ve worked with a ton of different people from a ton of different realms, and what I’ve seen is that instead of thinking about getting onto a diet, which is I feel like a lot of what America does right now, if we can change the paradigm, especially of these high-performers, of these growth mindset individuals, people who can basically eat what they kill, work for commission, then you can change your entire life, because all of a sudden nutrition doesn’t become this complicated thing, it becomes all about performance and how we can maximize the way we feel, our energy, our mental focus and our clarity on a daily basis. So now we’re performing at a higher level, we’re thinking faster, we’re feeling better, and then we get all the physical benefits that come along with that. That’s what I’ve been really passionate about for the last couple years, and that’s where I’ve found the most joy, and I’ve also seen the biggest changes physically and mentally with all my clients.
Joe Fairless: So it’s starting with a mindset shift, if I’m hearing you correctly… It’s nutrition = performance; so if we associate nutrition with performance, then we don’t have to worry about dieting, and we really are going to be more focused on what we consume and what the cause and effect is for how we can perform. Is that accurate?
Nate Palmer: A hundred percent, Joe. And I know that the Best Ever listeners are growth mindset individuals, because they’re gonna be listening to a podcast and consuming your information – but no fluff, no BS information – to help them with their careers, with their investments, with their finances. So now if we just change the paradigm a little bit around nutrition to be the same thing, wouldn’t that be the best of both worlds?
Joe Fairless: Yeah, I like it. I like making that association in our minds. Besides saying that, how do you help entrepreneurs do that, and hardwire that connection, versus just hearing it on a podcast and being like “Yeah, that makes sense”, and then “Oh, shiny object over here. Let’s talk about something else.”
Nate Palmer: Great question. I think the first piece is education. Talking about that high-performance nutrition becomes a little less sexy, because we have to learn about not only what the macro-nutrients do – protein, fats and carbohydrates – what those do to our body and how they impact us, but also how our bodies are impacted by hormonal shifts and what we can put in to impact the energy output, to impact our hunger signaling, to impact our insulin regulation and our blood sugar.
Once you can learn those pieces, which is not as complicated as it sounds, then it doesn’t necessarily come down to “Clean versus dirty food, this food is paleo, this food is not.” But when you look at it, you go “Oh, that’s a protein, that’s a high-fat food; that’s gonna be a great way for me to stabilize my blood sugar and have energy all day long.”
Joe Fairless: Okay. You’ve got a book, you’ve got a podcast… In addition to the book and the podcast, what are some other ways to learn what the cause and effect is, and learn some of those things that you mentioned?
Nate Palmer: I wrote all this up into an eBook; I call it the Million Dollar Meal Plan. I created that to basically educate people on what these foods are, and then how to manipulate them to get the result that we want in our bodies, in our lives and in our careers.
Joe Fairless: Okay. And that is on your website.
Nate Palmer: Yeah, and I can give you a link for that as well.
Joe Fairless: Okay. But it’s on your website — I’ve got n8trainingsystems.com… Is that the right one?
Nate Palmer: It’s so clever that I spend 90% of my time explaining “No, it’s an 8. It’s not ate.” [laughter]
Joe Fairless: Well, you dug your own grave on that one.
Nate Palmer: You’re right about that.
Joe Fairless: Alright, so that’s on your website – the eBook The Million Dollar Meal Plan. Will you give us the cliff notes version of that, just to educate us a little bit during this conversation?
Nate Palmer: Absolutely. I think the first big thing is breakfast. Everyone does breakfast wrong, and it’s no one’s fault except for watching commercials all the time; they say “This is a healthy part of a nutritious breakfast” and they show you a big bowl of cereal, they show you orange juice, they show you milk, they show you toast… They show you all these high-energy, high-sugar foods. But in reality, what that’s gonna do is it’s gonna spike your blood sugar up.
If you think about that flow state as being — if you’re on an airplane and you’re in that comfortable riding zone that’s really smooth sailing; that’s like flow state. That’s where you wanna be. What happens when we eat a banana, or a muffin, or something like that, a high-sugar breakfast – we’re gonna spike ourselves up over that state, and then our insulin levels, for most of us who have a non-ideal relationship with our insulin, that’s going to bring us back down below the ideal smooth sailing state. So then we signal our hunger, so we eat another thing at like [10:30]. You’re like “Wow, why am I hungry? I just ate.” And then you go up, and then you’re back down, and then you’re up and then you’re back down, so you’re never really existing in that middle ground where we wanna be or where we feel our best.
So the way we start this is with breakfast. We wanna get out of that standard American breakfast, that standard American diet of high sugar, high carbohydrates, and we wanna think about our breakfast as being a high-protein, high-fat breakfast.
What I like to do is tell my clients “Pick two things. Find something that takes a little longer to make, something you can make with your family, whatever that looks like.” Generally, that’s gonna be like omelets, 3-4 eggs, some avocado, a little bit of cheese even is totally fine, and some vegetables. That’s a great breakfast.
If you’re someone who’s out the door at [5:30] in the morning you probably can’t cook up a whole omelets and make a whole thing of it, so I help those people get a good, healthy protein shake in their life; that’s going to give them the nutrients they need for the day, it’s gonna help them stay satiated and full, and basically level out their blood sugar so until lunch they’re feeling really good, really energized.
Joe Fairless: What about oatmeal?
Nate Palmer: I love oatmeal; it’s a non-gluten carb, but I don’t like it for breakfast, especially if you are in the trenches, doing your most important, hardest work for the day in the morning. I think it can kind of slow you down. It’s similar to having that Chipotle burrito at lunch, where you’re just like “I’m a little tired now. I wanna take a nap…”
So I think that oatmeal is great, I think it has a place in this style of eating, but it’s not breakfast time.
Joe Fairless: Okay. So breakfast – omelette, avocado, veggies, or a protein shake. No toast, no orange juice… Why no toast, why no orange juice, why not cereal?
Nate Palmer: Great question. Because most of those things for the most part, Joe, have a pretty simple, carbohydrate load. And those simple carbohydrates break down into sugar a lot faster in our bloodstream. And when we get that big boost of sugar, then we need our body to produce insulin to match it; and if you’re out of balance at all, if you’re carrying around more than 20% body fat, if you don’t necessarily feel 100% on a daily basis, most of the time we are what’s called “insulin-resistant” at that point. That means that our insulin doesn’t go up and match exactly the right amount for the blood sugar we have there. It’ll go a little bit up and then cause that rollercoaster of energy throughout the day, so we’re never getting into that smooth sailing, flow state that we want.
Joe Fairless: Okay. So we’ve just had an omelette for breakfast, and now it’s lunchtime. What do we do?
Nate Palmer: At lunch I like to eat a little bit lighter. A high protein – definitely some meats, or some eggs, something like that, and then a lot of vegetables. What this can look like is a big salad, which is great because if we’re on the road a lot, if you’re driving around, you can get a salad from anywhere; whether that’s Chipotle, or Wendy’s, or at a restaurant with a client. Everyone has salads. It just makes it really easy… And because we want to make sure that we have the energy for the afternoon. Because most of us will have that bigger lunch, especially if you go out with clients, and then you start feeling tired, you’re not necessarily willing to get on the phone and do the work you need to do, or it’s a lot easier to phone it in from that [2:30] point on, right?
Joe Fairless: Mm-hm. The response from someone is “A salad doesn’t fill me up.” What do you say?
Nate Palmer: That’s totally fine. I actually prefer if they’re not filled up. Because if you think about it, back when we were a hunter-gatherer society, it wasn’t like you’d just be like “Man, I’m hungry. We should go to the fridge and grab some mammoth burgers.” It was like “Man, I’m hungry. We need to go hunt an animal. We need to go actually out into the jungle and kill something and eat it.” So what happens then is your body switches into a sympathetic nervous system state. Sympathetic is most often known as fight or flight, but it’s a spectrum. If you have that sympathetic nervous system lightly turned on, you’re gonna be more focused, you’re gonna have more clarity, you’re going to be more in that zone, ready to hunt, ready to work, be creative… I find it’s a lot easier to be on camera, or sit down and do long periods of writing… Anything like that is easier when you’re just a little bit hungry, or at least not full. So I like that, if people are not necessarily filled up from lunch.
Joe Fairless: Not all salads are created equal. What are some things to watch out for when you order a salad?
Nate Palmer: Great question. Again, I would try to keep the carbohydrates kind of minimal here’s, so that’s avoiding croutons, anything crunchy in the salad, and also avoiding creamy dressings. It doesn’t need to be a high-fat lunch as well, but fats are okay, so I always advocate either a vinaigrette or an olive oil and vinegar dressing. That’s the best possible option.
Joe Fairless: Okay. So adding slabs of bacon, or a steak – you’re all for that?
Nate Palmer: Yeah… You definitely wanna make sure that it’s not just a bacon salad, right? We’re still eating for performance here… [laughter] But I think that having that framework is more important than necessarily me spelling out all the rules. Because if you [unintelligible [00:12:48].08] steak and a bunch of eggs and throw some Ranch on it, you’re like “Wow, that advice that guy gave me was total BS! I’ll maybe just try with some chicken and less dressing next time, see how it goes.”
Joe Fairless: Right, right.
Nate Palmer: A lot of this is all about figuring out what works for you too, so that’s why I don’t necessarily like to give you “This many grams of carbs, this many grams of proteins…” It’s kind of a testing, retesting, seeing how you feel, making sure that you personally are dialed in for your energy… And I think this framework is helpful, but not necessarily a scripture, you know what I mean?
Joe Fairless: Yeah, I get it. I like that. And what about dinner?
Nate Palmer: Dinner is awesome, because if we’ve been eating pretty light all day, that’s when we can have that oatmeal, that’s when you can have some more carbohydrates…
Joe Fairless: You celebrate with oatmeal? [laughs]
Nate Palmer: Whatever… I’m eating oatmeal for dinner [unintelligible [00:13:35].11]
Joe Fairless: I’ve been so good all day, I’m gonna have a big ol’ bowl of oatmeal for dinner to celebrate… Said no one ever. [laughter]
Nate Palmer: Okay… That’s fair.
Joe Fairless: Okay, what do we eat for dinner?
Nate Palmer: So this is when you can go home and you eat with your family and you don’t necessarily have to cook something for the kids, and then for yourself that’s separate; you’re not eating tilapia and asparagus. It’s a little bit more — my clients, these entrepreneurs that work really hard all day, they’re able to go home and break bread with their family. So for dinner we’re gonna have a carb, a protein and a vegetable. That can be rice, that can be potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta sometimes… And what the great thing about that is – once we have that higher carb diet at dinner, we actually go into that parasympathetic nervous system state; that’s a rest and digest state. So that sleepiness you get at [2:30] – well, now we’re gonna use that to actually increase the restfulness of our sleep, and give us more energy into the next day.
Joe Fairless: I like that.
Nate Palmer: So it’s kind of contrary to this — I’ve heard a lot of people say “Yo, don’t eat carbs after six, seven, eight o’clock”, and that’s just an arbitrary rule.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, that makes sense. That will also help with people who have a hard time sleeping. I didn’t hear any dessert during any of these meal times. [laughter] For people who enjoy dessert, what are your thoughts?
Nate Palmer: I think desserts are totally fine. If you have some sort of physique goals, if you’re like “Man, I wish I could lose 20 pounds”, probably not best to eat dessert every single night. But with a program like this, if you have dessert after dinner a couple nights per week, and really just pick something that you love and enjoy it a lot – I think that’s totally great, and it fits with the plan perfectly. Because the dessert is not necessarily gonna put you into a high-performance mode; you’re not gonna crush a piece of cheesecake and then wanna go to a big meeting, right? But if you’re at home and you’re watching HBO, why not? This performance eating plan gives you that flexibility.
Joe Fairless: Okay. And what about working out? What are your thoughts on working out, so that we can set ourselves up for success to have peak performance?
Nate Palmer: I think that’s a great question, Joe, and I think that a lot of people, especially recently in the past couple of years, have been very into wellness, rather than necessarily training. And I think that training is kind of the second step. Once we get our nutrition dialed in and we have a little bit more energy, then we can amplify that by adding in a training or a workout component.
There’s a couple different things you can do to get the best results, but I always advocate at least getting four days per week of some sort of exercise, even if it’s only 15-20 minutes in the morning, and I love the idea of bodyweight movements and bodyweight exercises. The reason for that is that bodyweight stuff is a lot more bang for your buck. Think about the difference between doing a pull-up and then doing a lat pull-down on the machine. When you’re doing the pull-up, you’re actually — if we’re going back to that paleo ear, caveman times, pulling up tells your body… Your body doesn’t know that you’re not being chased by a saber-tooth tiger; all it knows is stress. So when you’re pulling yourself up, your body thinks that “Hey, we need more muscle tissue to get up, and we need less non-functional tissue (fat) that’s keeping us tied to the ground.” So in order to get more of those things, we have to kind of shift our muscle-to-fat ratio. So that’ll just happen more naturally doing body movements, rather than doing dumbbell movements, or machine movements, or things like that.
Joe Fairless: Will you just elaborate a little bit more on that – the difference between a pull-up and a lat pull-down, where you’re basically doing the same motions? Why is the pull-up better than doing almost the same thing on a machine?
Nate Palmer: Yeah, totally fair. So a lat pull-down, or a biceps curl, or a benchpress – anything where you’re moving an external load through space – is called an open-chain exercise. The counter-move is like the pull-up or a push-up. If you can get the same load, that’s gonna be a better exercise for your body in total, because it’s a closed-chain movement, which means that you have to think about actually moving your body through space; you have to continue to build deeper and thicker neurological pathways from your brain to your muscles, and you’re gonna activate more muscle fibers, which results in bigger muscles (which is great), more calories, and then the ability to burn more calories later because the muscles have grown and need to be replaced.
Joe Fairless: We don’t need a home gym then. We just need a spot in our room and just do bodyweight exercises… At minimum, right?
Nate Palmer: Yeah. Have you used a TRX before?
Joe Fairless: Yeah, I have.
Nate Palmer: That’s one of my favorite tools, because you can take someone who’s really strong and you can give them really intense exercises. I’ve used it with my grandma; I brought her in and had her use that as a support to do squats, and rows, and things like that… But it’s a super-versatile tool, because — I think just straight bodyweight exercises in your room can get boring after a while.
Joe Fairless: Right.
Nate Palmer: If you can get past that, or you find something that does work for you – that’s one of the greatest things you can give to yourself as a gift.
Joe Fairless: Was yesterday a typical day for you in terms of nutrition and fitness?
Nate Palmer: Yeah.
Joe Fairless: What did you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Nate Palmer: Yesterday I had a protein shake; I had 50 grams of protein, and it has 4 grams of carbs in there… And then I had two tablespoons of peanut butter in there, with some coconut milk. So pretty high-fat, high-protein.
Joe Fairless: What protein mixture do you use?
Nate Palmer: I use a whey protein isolate. I get it from a site called True Nutrition, because I can basically edit the flavors, and additives, and stuff. I always get a vitamin and mineral boost, because I live in Arizona and I tend to sweat out most of my minerals.
Joe Fairless: Okay, cool. Lunch?
Nate Palmer: Lunch was fajitas. I had fajita vegetables – onions, peppers – and then chicken thighs. I ate that with some guacamole and cheese, and no tortillas.
Joe Fairless: Okay. And then dinner?
Nate Palmer: Dinner – my wife and I went on a date; it was our eighth wedding anniversary, so we went to —
Joe Fairless: Congratulations!
Nate Palmer: Thank you. We got some Greek food. So I had a big plate of the Basmati Rice, I had some of the gyro meat, I had some hummus, a had a pita, and a couple glasses of water.
Joe Fairless: Props to you for remembering what you ate yesterday. I don’t know if I’d be able to remember what I ate yesterday, especially on the spot like that… You didn’t have any alcohol. Do you drink any alcohol?
Nate Palmer: I do, but I try to keep it to the weekends, or very seldom on weekdays at least.
Joe Fairless: Okay, and what do you drink when you drink?
Nate Palmer: I go with the sorority girl special, so I’m always drinking Vodka Tonic, or Vodka sodas.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, yeah. Almost as clean as you can get when you’re drinking alcohol, right?
Nate Palmer: Yeah. I feel like it’s a great way to not wake up with a hangover, so it doesn’t impact my training schedule. It also provides a little bit of hydration, and then there’s also no caloric mixers in there. When you drink alcohol, your body kind of goes into shutdown mode, because you’re basically poisoning it with the ethanol. So while it’s ringing the alarm bells and shutting everything down, everything that you’re intaking, like the cranberry juice, the coke from the Jack and Coke, or those [00:20:35].13] that’s all getting put into fat storage. So I would like to set myself up in a way that when I do drink, that I’m not recovering for three days.
Joe Fairless: No snacks in between meals yesterday?
Nate Palmer: No, I’m not a big snacker. I try to just — if I feel like I’m hungry, either grab a big glass of water, or go do some work.
Joe Fairless: I told you before we started recording I’m selfishly gonna really enjoy this conversation, and I’ve enjoyed it even more than I thought I would… And I thought I’d enjoy it a lot. So props to you. Thank you for sharing valuable information. It’s all connected – our body and how we perform, is directly tied to our nutrition and our fitness.
Anything else as we wrap up that we haven’t discussed, that you think we should, as it relates to your expertise?
Nate Palmer: Yeah. One thing that I’m really passionate about is having people drink water in the morning. A lot of people will get up and grab some coffee first thing… But there’s two things about that. Number one, you’re breathing out moist air all night, which is actually how you burn fat; it’s at night, it’s not in the gym. So when you wake up, you’re generally dehydrated. So the best thing you can do for your body is put 24 ounces of water in your body first thing when you wake up.
The second thing is wait an hour before having that first cup of coffee. We do that because when you wake up, your cortisol (stress hormone) – a lot of people associate it with body fat, but it is necessary and good – spikes up to wake you up, to get you moving. So at about an hour mark that cortisol starts dipping back down, so that’s when we have that first cup of coffee, and we can actually kind of jump off the sympathetic nervous system experience that we got from the cortisol and use that to jump right into a little bit of a higher caffeinated, higher productivity.
Joe Fairless: I’m getting something right then. I’ve been drinking a liter of water with a scoop of wheatgrass for the last four years.
Nate Palmer: Oh, nice.
Joe Fairless: Yeah. And my wife does the same. She doesn’t drink a liter of water like I do, but she drinks a glass and a half of water with a scoop of wheatgrass every morning when we wake up. She drinks coffee though; I’m gonna tell on her. She drinks coffee. I don’t drink coffee. I stay away from caffeine.
Nate Palmer: Okay… That’s probably better.
Joe Fairless: But there are many things that you discussed that I am not doing, that I will start implementing because of our conversation… So thank you so much for being on the show. How can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you or learn more about what you’re doing?
Nate Palmer: The Best Ever listeners can get in touch with me on my website, n8trainingsystems.com. I have a lot of articles up on there. Then I’m also pretty active on Facebook. I have a really great Facebook group called Optimal Self Fitness Nutrition and Mindset. We’re always talking about cool little ways to optimize your body, optimize your brain, get more out of your day.
I’m just really trying to help people reframe nutrition, which has become this clean versus dirty dogmatic debate to “How can you become more, rather than less? How can we stop talking about/toning down on losing weight, but instead be, do and have more?” [00:23:25].06]
Joe Fairless: And what is the structure in which people pay you to work with them? Will you talk a little bit about that?
Nate Palmer: Yeah, so I work with a lot of clients one-on-one; we do some coaching — basically, it’s problem-solving, habit and lifestyle development around the idea of performance… So figuring out how they can eat the right breakfast, make sure their family has the right food, where are they going for lunch when they’re eating, and as well as we do a deeper dive into training. So I work with a lot of clients one-on-one that way.
Then I also have a course called The Million Dollar Body, where I break down all these topics into depth, and people can access all that information on their own.
Joe Fairless: Excellent. For the course and the training, how do people learn more about each of those things?
Nate Palmer: For the course – I am just releasing that in the middle of June.
Joe Fairless: Oh, this episode will be airing after that, so… The course is out, people! Go check out the course.
Nate Palmer: And the best way to connect with that would be via Facebook, and we can just have a conversation to make sure it’s the right fit for you.
Joe Fairless: Cool. Alright, good stuff, Nate. Hey, thank you so much for being on the show; I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you again soon.
Nate Palmer: Thanks a lot, Joe.Follow Me: