Episode 87: Brad Kearns and Mark Sisson


Description: Brad Kearns visits with Mark Sisson to discuss the delicate balance between striving for ambitious peak performance goals and pursuing longevity. Sometimes it’s a delicate balance that even the most experienced athletes might screw up by getting a little too ambitious with their performance goals and compromising health in the process. Mark mentions his lifelong athletic, competitive mindset that essentially leaves him with a 62-year-old body and a 21-year-old’s competitive intensity.

Aging gracefully is an important concept to embrace, which will enable you to set appropriate goals and accept an inevitable gradual decline in fitness that comes with chronology. Brad and Mark offer suggestions to recalibrate one’s competitive goals based on age and lifestyle circumstances while covering other interesting topics in this landmark broadcast that will change the way you think about fitness and longevity.

Show Notes:

  • How do you balance peak performance and longevity if you’re a competitive athlete? [02:30]
  • How should you respond to the inevitable decline in performance that happens with age? [4:30]
  • The importance of changing fitness goals and perspectives over time. [06:30]
  • The cardiac risk factor of endurance training over time. [10:00]
  • Should you ever go above 90% of your maximum heart rate? [13:20]
  • When should endurance athletics take the sideline to other pursuits? [16:00]
  • All things considered, how important is sleep in the equation of avoiding burnout? [20:20]
  • What’s the future of the endurance and CrossFit movements? [21:40]
  • Why we should avoid extremes. [23:10]
  • The importance of knowing what you can get away with. [26:30]
  • What’s the best angle the primal movement should use to permeate mainstream culture? [28:20]
  • Some of Mark’s concerns about our increasingly digital culture. [30:50]

Selected Links from the Episode:
Running on Empty
Primal Endurance
Phil Maffetone

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4 thoughts on “Episode 87: Brad Kearns and Mark Sisson

  1. kem johnson

    I want to hug you guys. I have a couple of years on you, Mark, I have been waiting for a discussion on aging athletes and this one was great. The best podcast yet.

    I won a mountain bike race for the first (and only) time when I turned 55 a fortnight previous to the event. I was chuffed but of course there was a 55 year old woman in the next round of prize giving that was twenty seconds faster than my time! Worries over.

    Now my goal is to stay ahead of my beautiful wife (a decade younger than I) whilst ski touring. I can still manage that; but only because of the craft I have accrued from many more days out than her. Oh, we just had a marvellous day out on our magic steep Kiwi corn, in the sun, above the clouds, no one else for miles… magic.

    I’ve never been a competitive athlete, but a professional one for the last three decades so the chat about balancing effort, repeatability, injury prevention and enjoyment hit home. Can I learn more?

  2. Ben

    As an athlete who is now going into my mid forties, the discussion about how to stay in the game longer really hit home. The one thing that I think was missed is the importance of skill gained by experience. Yes, most serious athletes in their twenties can out do me in terms of raw physical ability, but after nearly three decades of my sport, my technical skills are way beyond theirs not to mention my understanding of good tactics. I still can hold my own against most guys half my age.

    The one aspect of the podcast that really did upset me was the discussion about sleep. I get it that sleep is important. I try to get plenty of it, but in honesty sleep is the hardest part of the equation to get. Please, please. please, drop the blame game that it’s all about screen time or artificial light. That’s bull! Sleep is hard. Our body’s have evolved to avoid sleeping and fight off sleep. In the wild the all sorts of bad things can happen to you when you are asleep and you are defenseless against them. In our civilized world, it’s not much different. I know for me, my body rebels against sleep. My mind fights it worrying about all the bad things that can happen when I am asleep. Quit blaming people for sleep problems and offer some helpful solutions.

  3. kem johnson

    Ooops. I just signed on for my first running race; half marathon trail run. Walked it dozens of times in the past and training as been the twice weekly lifting heavy things at the gym and a once weekly two hour trail (undulating with a 650m elevation gain at the turn around) run with the dogs. Hope it works. Nice to know, too, that the run is pretty easy after an overnight fast.

    It’ll be a oncer; some of the old climbing wounds are speaking to me.


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