Science journalist and executive producer at BBC Michael Mosley joins the Longevity Show. He talks to Jason about the research that shows living an intermittent lifestyle is better for your health as well as talks about his documentary where he had paradises living inside of him. Michael says on the show that the intermittent lifestyle can help cut down the risk of diabetes, cancer, and common diseases. He also talks about his book The Fast Diet and more on today’s episode.

Key Takeaways:
01:15 – Most people think interval training is about pushing yourself to the limit, but it’s really about doing 20 second bursts three times a week.
02:50 – Research shows that people who do an intermittent workout produce better and more efficient energy.
11:08 – Michael made a documentary about what it was like having parasites living in the human body.
13:54 – Intermittent fasting will improve insulin sensitivity and cut your risk of diabetes and other diseases.
16:10 – How long should you rest during your 20 second interval training?
18:40 – Take one rest day a week and switch up your routine regularly.

 

Tweetables:
“Exercise is about the intensity in which you do it, rather than the amount of time you spent doing it.”

“Parasites are the most successful lifeforms on the planet and we understand very little about them.”

“You will burn 3 times the calories running uphill than you would on the ground.”

Mentioned in this episode:
Fast Exercise: The Simple Secret of High-Intensity Training by Michael Mosley
Infested! Living with Parasites by Michael Mosley
The Fast Diet by Michael Mosley
www.fast-exercises.com
thefastdiet.co.uk

 

Intro:
Welcome to The Longevity Show. Informing listeners on important aspects on health, wealth and happiness to insure you live life to its fullest with fascinating interviews with top authors and gurus of the field. Along with the latest news in the science and technology of longevity. We’re going to reveal expert advice and amazing secrets of living a longer, happier life. And now here’s your host Jason Hartman.

Jason Hartman:
It’s my pleasure to welcome Michael Mosley to the show. He is a science journalist and executive producer at BBC, author of Fast Exercise: The Simple Secret of High-Intensity Training. Michael, welcome, how are you?

Michael Mosley:
I’m very good, thank you.

Jason:
Good, and you’re coming to us from London, England, today, right?

Michael:
That’s right and the sun is shining and the blossoms out

Jason:
Well, that’s kind of rare there, so glad to hear, in the city where it rains a lot. Good, well tell us about your book and your philosophy of exercise. I mean, I’m familiar with interval training and I see how it really sets up your metabolism for good things, doesn’t it?

Michael:
It does indeed. I mean, this is based on a lot of scientific research and the exercise physiologists, the sports scientists are coming around to the view that when it comes to exercise less can be more that it’s about the intensity that which you do it rather then the amount of time you spent doing it and that’s really quite good news for a lot of us who are time poor or who are reluctant to go out for long runs.

So, I got into this about two years ago. You talked about interval training, now many people when they hear the word high intensity training they’re terrified they are going to have to spend five minutes bursting their guts out or something like that. In fact, the regime that I talk about consists of doing short bursts of 20 seconds and really no more than three or four of them in a given day and probably no more than three times a week. So, it is a very small commitment of time, but it does have some very big effects.

Jason:
This is interesting. I want to ask you why it works, but I try to think of most things from an evolutionary perspective and, you know, if we were living in caves and we had to run away from a predator we wouldn’t run 26.2 miles. We would sprint a couple 100 yards, probably, right? Maybe that’s what we were designed to do. Certainly that’s the way my dog is designed. I mean, my dog can run incredibly fast, but gets tired pretty quick and it’s an interval trainer is the way the animal works, at least.

Michael:
Exactly and that’s when you watch children do things that’s what they do, their little burst and then they stop and that’s precisely the thinking behind it. I could have equally called it the caveman or cavewoman workout diet.

Jason:
It’s the Paleo workout.

Michael:
Paleo workout indeed, because when they studied hunter gatherers, people like the Hadza who live in Tanzania that’s what they do. They spend quite a lot of the day bursting around, they do a reasonable amount of walking, at least, the men do, they typically do about six miles, women sightly less, but they do have these sort of short burst interval of running, which may be 26-30 second flat out either to avoid being eaten or to catch something. They also do a little bit kind of strength training during the day, though they wouldn’t all it that, chopping down trees or something which basically gets those muscles going. So, that’s kind of the evolutionary argument and indeed a while ago, I wrote a book called The Fast Diet which suggested that the way we eat is we should also have these bursts of food and famine and that one prove to be spectacularly successful around the world as book.

Now, this pursues similar sort of idea that it’s about short bursts of intermittent stuff going on and that seems to be how our bodies work and as a molecular level what we know happen is when you do these short, short burst of intermittent training they produce more and better– more efficient mitochondria, these are like power cells in your muscles and what they do is they convert fat and sugar into energy and the more you have and the better working they are, the more power you will produce, but also the more fat you burn throughout the day, not just when you’re exercising, but in the hours after that. So, that’s one of the things that intermittent training absolutely seems to do far more effectively than just the standard jogging or strolling, it produces more of these mitochondria and that seems to be absolutely key to how it works.

Jason:
What is the speculation as to why it works this way or what is the actually science? I mean, if we know, but why does this work and then I’ve got a question for you more specifically on how to interval train properly

Michael:
Absolutely. As I said, I think there’s evolutionary reasons why this is happened. Most people they don’t know, they know it to be true and they’re equally perplex and surprise, because I was astonish when I first started doing this because I met up with a professor and he said to me, “I can change you. I can make to you healthy, I can make your lungs and heart stronger, and I can improve your metabolic fitness,” That’s the ability to metabolize sugar, “In just one minute of high intensity training done three times a week. In four weeks you will see change.” And I said, “That is impossible.” But he said,”Give me one minute.”

So, what I would do is I would get on my exercise bike, I would have a little bit of a warm up then sprint for 20 seconds against the distance, a bit of a breather, 20 seconds, bit of a breather, 20 seconds. Now, that is one minute of hard exercise though if you put in the breather then it probably adds up to about three or four minutes in total and I did that three times a week and I did it for four weeks, and at the end of that time there had been really big changes. I was completely God smack when he said, “That’s what we found, we’ve done lots of studies on this.” We know it to be true, we don’t entirely understand why it’s true, but there are probably about 15 universities around the world at this moment studding this.

They really looking to see how you can get the most out of least amount of time, because they, you know, people have been dishing out advice, you know, saying go and do 60 minutes, wherever, and 90 minutes a week and people just don’t do it, less than 20% of Americans follow the advice. So, what these scientists are doing is saying, “Okay, we can’t persuade people to go and do that, maybe we could persuade people to do this, and anyway it seems to be more effective.” So, that’s was kind of the thinking behind it.

Jason:
The way I was trained, and I went to an executive health screening several months ago and spend a full day there, it was very enlightening to do that, I never done that before. You know, they said, get your heart rate up about to 162, I think it was, and then let it drop to about 125 and as soon as it drops to 125 then get it up to 162 again and do that about five times and the thing is though it’s a little bit different than what you’re saying, I think because it takes more than 20 seconds for that to happen. I don’t know if I can get it up to 162 that fast, I can’t remember, I’m using a heart rate monitor, but…

Michael:
One of the things you’ll find is that in the first burst of 20 seconds it will not go up there, it will probably go up to about 125 maybe 130, the second time you do it, it will be up to about a 160, the third time you do it, it will probably be up to about 180. Now, the guy who did this originally, he did it about nearly 90 years ago, a guy called Gurheart, and what he did is he took some sprinters and he ask them to sprint for 200 meters pretty well flat out , pushing their heart rate up about, maybe we will do it for about 225 seconds and their heart rate will go up to about 170, 180, then he asked it to wait down till it drop to a 120 and do again. Now, he did that probably more frequently than even four or five times, these guys were really fit. Now, the guys he trained, two of them went on to become Olympic gold metal runners.

What is different is these techniques have developed over times and it’s no longer just confined to top athletes and are now using it for people who are more symmetry, people of middle age, people who are diabetic, people overweight, the principles are still the same. What Gurheart found was is just by doing this he could increase the heart volume by 20% in six week period, which was unbelievable, but he turn out to be true. There’s something about this intervals that does it, something about pushing your heart rate up.

Now, the reason that I’m advocating 20 seconds and indeed because that’s what the research shows, the reason they’ve gone for that is that it seems to be safer then pushing yourself the longer. There’s these Insanity workout, where people do it for three or four minutes but actually you have to be insanely fit to start with. So, this is kind of more gradual process, you are getting your heart rate up there, but you’re getting it up there in stages rather then expecting to do it one go and the heart seems to respond better to that. So, that’s the only thing I would say what I’m doing is actually better, it is safer, it is more science based.

Jason:
The old saying, a picture say a thousand words, if you think that the picture is meaningful all you have to do is just go online and search a photograph of an Olympic athlete sprinter vs. a marathon runner and you tell me which one looks healthier.

Michael:
Indeed.

Jason:
Let’s switch the conversation just for a brief time we have left and let’s talk about parasites for a moment, you are also the author of– I think it’s a book, right? Infested! Living with Parasites, is that a book?

Michael:
It’s a documentary I made recently.

Jason:
Okay, fantastic. Well, you did amazing thing on that, that documentary where you infected yourself with a load of gruesome parasites by swallowing tapeworm to see how they affect the human body. I’m assuming you couldn’t get any government to do a clinic trial on this, so you had to do it yourself, right?

Michael:
Well, actually there are actually a couple of trials going on at the moment, but I couldn’t take part in them, so I thought it would be interesting to try this. So, what I did I went….

Jason:
Well, first of all, I wanna say thank you for taking one for the team, but tell us what happened.

Michael:
I actually took three for the team in the end, I went off to Kenya and we found– I decide to get infected with something called a beef tapeworm, because it is relativity benign it only infects humans and cattle. So, I got my wife’s approval, she is a doctor, she just wanted to make sure it was safe before I went off and brought something horrible and infectious back and I went off to Kenya we found some infected meat, cut off the tongue, remove the filth and I swallow three of them and then I wanting to see, you know, what’s happening. Interestingly for about eight to ten weeks I didn’t really notice a difference at all, I had no ideal if I was infected or not, but it was only when I swallow a little pill cam which takes pictures that I actually saw the tapeworm the first time and if you actually Google my name and tapeworm then you will see some sensational pictures of the tapeworm inside my guts.

Jason:
So, what were the consequences of this?

Michael:
One consequence was I put on a small amount of weight because what I think happens is the parasite that it was actually manipulating my appetite, made me more inclined to eat, particularly carbohydrates. I was interested to see what affect it would have on my immune system, because there is quite a lot of research which suggests that parasites can damped your immune system in quite useful ways, particularly if you have allergies like hay fever or asthma and I have mild hay fever, so I wanted to see whether it might improve that because there have been studies that suggest the infestation of parasites will do that and it had a small affect, but nothing terribly big, but it was just kind of interesting exercise.

Jason:
Right, right, I’m looking at these pictures now, they’re kind of gross, but I do recommend people Google that, as you mention. What was the point of that? What do we need to know about parasites?

Michael:
I think the parasites are fantastically interesting, they are the most successful lifeforms on the planet, they’re probably the most common lifeforms on the planet, every creature on Earth has several parasites. We probably have about 70 or 80 different parasites that infect humans and we understand very little about them at the moment. So, it’s really trying to encourage an interest in parasitology, because they all are this fantastically lifeforms, they manipulate us in ways we barely understand and modern science is beginning to appreciate the upsides as well as the downsides to being infected with parasites and they want to find out more.

Jason:
Very interesting. Is there anything else you wanna talk about before you go? The Fast Diet? Did you want to mention anything on that?

Michael:
Yes! No, The Fast Diet is something that I feel very passionate about because my particular passion is diabetes. My dad died of diabetes at the age of 72 and two years ago I went off and some blood done and I was told that I was basically a type 2 diabetic that my blood sugar way too high and that’s what got me started on fast exercises, because it improves your insulin sensitivity, but also got me going on the fast diet. The idea that if you do a pattern of intermittent fasting, a feast and famine approach that would improve insulin sensitivity and cut your risk of diabetes, and I wrote a book it became international best seller, but I just want more people to know about it because since I wrote the book there have been so many more studies, particular studies done by people involve in the field of diabetes research, all of which shows that this is really fantastically interesting way forward for treating bodies and a really common disease in which is only increasing worldwide, but particularly in places like the States and U.K.

Jason:
Yeah, so is this like interval training with food?

Michael:
Yes, basically what you do is you eat normally five days a week and then two days a week, you tap your calories to about a quarter and surprisingly enough if you do that you will lose a lot more fat then you would on a more conventional diet, but importantly it also seems to improve your insulin sensitivity, so your body needs to produce less insulin to get rid of sugar in your blood and that is good, because high levels of insulin are associate with increase risk of diabetes, dementia, and common cancer like breast cancer and prostate cancer. So, you want to keep your insulin levels down, you can do it by intermittent fasting, but you could also do by high intensity training, both of them are really effective.

Jason:
Is there a certain ratio? It seems like you’re very interested in these ratios, you know, the fast diet is the five and two ratio, the interval training is 20 seconds and then rest and, by the way, back to the interval training, how long should it take to recover between the 20 seconds? It’s 20 seconds on and then, how much are?

Michael:
You should aim probably from a minute or two, you’d probably need longer to start with and in the end you will try to aim for a ratio of one to one. So, when you’re super fit, you’d probably do 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off, 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off and you’ll manage six or seven of those. When you start out, you’ll find yourself struggling to even complete one against high resistance and so I suggest you kind of build up over time, and yes, there is something that seems to be fantastically important about getting the ratios right and that’s what I write about quite a lot about in the book.

Jason:
Sure, sure, and with that is the only way we can really spike that heart rate enough for 20 seconds, is it all about running or can you do it with weight lifting, for example, or is it just you’re not going to get it up enough?

Michael:
You can do it pretty any way that gets your heart rate up. I mean, one of the most effective ways is to run up stairs because when you run up stairs, gravity is doing a lot of the work, holding you down, you will burn three times as many calories running up the stairs as you would on the flat and you will heart begins to pump, if you’re really unfit then start off by walking up the stairs. Some people haven’t even walk up the stairs for years, but if you do sort of 25-30 seconds of stair running, you will feel it and I can assure you your heart rate will shoot up.

Jason:
What about just running up hill? A lot of wind sprinters do that.

Michael:
Anything that basically increasing resistance, so running up hills is good, my wife is a doctor, she goes out regularly jogging, she goes to the nearest hill, she used just kind of jog over a steady pace, and now what she does is she jogs off to the hill, which kind of warms her up and then she sprints up the hill, walks down the hill, sprints up the hill, she does sort of three lots of short sprints and then she comes home, and she said that just improve her fitness no end.

Jason:
Okay, so the ratio I wanna to ask you about before you go, is in terms of days, should we be doing that interval workout every single day, seven days a week? Should we rest on the seventh day like God did? What do we do?

Michael:
You need to work everyday, you need at least one day a week when you’re not doing any of these stuff, what the research suggests is best to alternate. So, I write about it in the book, it’s basically one day you are doing, what I call fast fitness, which is these short burst, the next day you are doing strength exercises which are press-ups, squats, things like that and then you go back to the fast fitness ones. So, you’re giving your body different things to do, your body needs recover time, there are lots of really sophisticated biochemical processes going on that gets stir up by doing them, and so ideally what you want to do is do different parts pathways, do different stuff.

Jason:
Okay, good, good, well that’s great to know, and the entire fast workout how long does it take? I mean, can we spend a lot less time in the gym?

Michael:
Well, absolutely! Because the great thing is you don’t have to go to the gym. Normally it takes you a while to there, get undress, change, do the thing, come back. No, you can do all of this at home, you could do it in the bedroom, it’s going to take you a maximum of about five or six minutes.

Jason:
This is just joy to my ears and probably a lot of people listening. I love it! That’s fantastic give out your websites, if you would, and tell people where they can learn more about this.

Michael:
Absolutely, you can buy the book The Fast Diet and also the Fast Exercise at Amazon and any decent bookshop and I’ve got two websites one is called thefastdiet.co.uk where there is a big kind of support group and the other is www.fast-exercises.com.

Jason:
Well, Dr. Michael Mosley thank you so much for joining us today.

Michael:
Thank you.

Outro:
This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.

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