#415: Juliet Starrett is a health and fitness entrepreneur, author, attorney, podcaster, and former professional athlete (and one of the most decorataed competitive whitewater athletes in the world)! Along with her husband, Kelly, Juliet Starrett is the co-author of the New York Times, Sunday Times, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Built to Move: the 10 essential habits to help you move freely and live fully (2023).
Go to builttomove.com to learn more about Built To Move or join the free 21-day Built to Move Challenge!
Balanced Bites Podcast #415 with Juliet Starrett
Welcome to the new Balanced Bites Podcast! I’m your host, Liz, a nutritional therapy practitioner and best selling author bringing you candid, up-front, myth-busting and thought-provoking conversations about food, fitness, and life. Remember: The information in this podcast should not be considered personal, individual, or medical advice.
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Now about today’s episode, I am thrilled to be talking to Juliet Star. You’ve probably heard of her before.
She’s a health and fitness entrepreneur. An author, attorney, podcaster, and former professional athlete, which I will reference in a few minutes. But she’s also the co-author of The New York Times, Sunday Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Built to Move the 10 Essential Habits. To help you move freely and live fully, which we’re gonna talk about today. She’s also co-author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Deskbound, standing Up to a Sitting World, which was published in 2015, and here’s where you might know her from prior to that. She’s the co-founder and CEO of the Ready State, which is a Media-based health and wellness company that completely disrupted the fitness industry by creating a completely new market category of movement and mobility. So the Ready States client list is like US military professional sports teams and Olympians, and thankfully also regular Joes and Jolene like you and me, and you don’t have to work one-on-one with them to.
Reap the benefits of their work built to Move is ready for you. You can get it now anywhere books are sold, and I highly recommend that you do so. Juliet also co-founded San Francisco CrossFit, which is one the regimens first brick and mortar affiliates back in 2005. And as CrossFit grew into a global fitness phenomenon, which I think is where may of us found each other.
The Starz built the San Francisco gym into like a paragon of movement. It was named one of the top 10 CrossFit gyms in America by Men’s Health Magazine. A lot of folks might remember the term mobility wad, which was where a lot of folks will recognize Kelly Star from. And you’d kind of think was like enough of a life’s mission for Juliet, but she also serves as board director and chairman of Standup Kids, which is a nonprofit she founded to fight the health effects of sedentary lifestyles. She received a Jefferson Award for public service for a parallel contributions as board director of liquid camp. Which is a whitewater kayaking summer camp for HIV positive youth and as board director and vice President for Girl Ventures, which is an outdoor adventure camp, nurtures resilience in leadership in young women.
So it’s just another, like another tally mark for why Juliet is just an extraordinary human being and we’re all so lucky she’s doing this work. So in addition to her success in business and law and writing, Juliet is actually one of the most decorated competitive whitewater athletes in the world. She was a US national champion in extreme whitewater racing from 97 to 2000 and World Champion from 97 to 98. Eight. She to the sport to become world champion in master division.
Like, gimme a break. It’s just so, so cool.
Juliet is also personally a survivor of both cancer and a Zimbabwean hippo bite, and I meant to ask her about both. But as you know, these interviews, they just go like. Quick as a flash. So I only got around to the Zimbabwe and Hippo Bite, but I’m hoping that I can get her on the podcast again in the future to talk more about menopause, about building muscle, about all [00:03:00] of her incredible work, about the movie references in Built to Move.
There’s just so, so much to talk to her about. She’s just incredible. She lives with her husband Kelly and their two daughters in San Francisco. So again, the book that I’m talking to Juliet about today is built to move the 10 essential habits to help you move freely and live fully. And folks, it is so good. Juliet is so good. This book is exactly what we need and it is a joy to read and Juliet is really a joy to have on. She is such an easy interview. I’m just so thankful that she took the time with me and is bringing this information to all of us.
Juliet Starrett: Oh my goodness. You look very good Morning. This is an official setup you’ve got there. I know. Same with you though. I mean, I feel like you have a curated bookshelf. Looks great.
Liz Wolfe: I have these plants from amazon.com. Yes. They do not require any light
Juliet Starrett: or air. Are they, uh, fake plants? Are they fake plants?
They’re absolutely fake plants. Yeah. We have a fake plant from Ikea right [00:04:00] over there. Okay. And we were just la we were just laughing and talking about it yesterday because of course, since it’s a fake plant, we’ve had it for like 10 years and it’s going strong.
Liz Wolfe: These, this is, um, called efficiency and optimization.
Juliet Starrett: is very important. Very important. Anyway, it’s so nice to meet you. Thanks for having me
Liz Wolfe: on. Oh my gosh. I’m so excited to have you on. If you’re good to just go for it, we can
Juliet Starrett: just go. Yeah, we can just go. Let’s go, let’s go. Okay,
Liz Wolfe: let’s go. Well, shoot. I didn’t have like my opening thing. Oh, here’s my opening thing.
Can we talk about the Zimbabwe and Hippo bite? I know you have so much to offer, but that’s where I would
Juliet Starrett: like to start. Oh, yeah, no problem. Um, well, I, I think I’ve gotta set that story up a little bit. Uh, I was a professional whitewater paddler after college. I joined this really weird fringe sport called extreme whitewater paddling.
And nobody in the United States does it, or not nobody, but it’s very small, very niche. But it turns out that around the world, it’s actually a big deal in a lot of countries like Japan and Eastern Europe, and they have a ton of teams. It’s very competitive. Their governments actually [00:05:00] support their programs.
But here in the US people are like competitive whitewater paddling, like never heard of it. And so I found myself after college. I just sort of lucked out and showed up for this tryout for a team in 1997. And I think because I had a combination of river guiding experience and I was a D one rower in college, I was, I was sort of able to like parlay both of those things and they had one open spot on the team and so I landed the spot on the team and four months later I found myself competing in the world championships on the Zambeze River in Africa.
And so, because we had. You know, we had gotten there two weeks early to train, and it’s really far to get there. Uh, we decided to stick around for a few weeks afterwards and do some traveling. And so one of the things we did is book a five day canoe safari on this section of river that’s, it’s in the lower Zambeze, it’s kind of an Eastern Zimbabwe.
It’s in a national park called Monopoles National Park. And we book, we book a five day canoe safari with our team. [00:06:00] And then coincidentally, my mom had actually flown by herself all the way there to watch our race and was joining us on this canoe safari. So it was my teammates, a couple of friends, and then my mom, who at the time was probably like in her sixties or something just for context.
And we go on this five day K canoe sari. And I knew that maybe this was so, and also for context, this river that we did, the Zambeze, Where we competed for, you know, two and a half, three weeks at the World Championships is one of the biggest sections of Whitewater on earth and has the rapids that if you, if you walk up to them, you almost laugh.
It’s comical that you can actually make it through these rapids, and they’re just, they’re gigantic. And so we had spent two and a half weeks, you know, on this sketchy, huge river, flipping our raft and competing. And it was just one of the wildest experiences in my entire, entire life. And so we’re thinking this canoe safari is gonna be how we like, relax and unwind.
And we get to the Putin and our guide does the safety talk for the, the canoe safari, and spends the entire safety talk, talking about. [00:07:00] Crocodiles and hippos, how many there are, and then brandishing the like three guns and five machetes, he has to sort protect us from these animals. And so we start off thinking like, oh my God, we’re thinking we’re going on this relaxing post-world championship bask in the glory of winning trip where we can relax and see some wildlife to thinking, oh my God, this, this actually is gonna be sketchier than rafting.
You know, huge classified of whitewater on the Zambezebezia River. And turns out on day two, we were given an option. The river’s like a mile wide, no rapids become super channelized. And our guide literally says to us, Hey, do you guys want to go through Hippo City or Hippo Bronx? And so I was like, I’m a little bit more conservative.
And I was like, hippo City sounds way better. And a bunch of my teammates are really agro and they’re like, hippo Bronx, let’s do the Hippo Bronx. Let’s go for it. And I think my mom was also pro Hippo City. Anyway, we were out voted, we go down Hippo Bronx and the river gets pretty channelized, like maybe [00:08:00] 50 meters wide and.
Uh, we are all silent paddling through this. I mean, I think we realized as we go into the channel that there are hundreds of hippos around us, huge pods of hippos. And you know, you can see some of ’em are near the surface, but you know, tons of ’em are underneath the water. And we’re just silently paddling.
And literally, I take a stroke and the next thing I see is I’m looking down the mouth of like a 4,000 pound hippo who’s charged us from underneath the water. And the crazy thing about hippos is if you see them, you can’t believe, like when they have those little teeny legs and they weigh 4,000 pounds, you can’t, you can’t appreciate that they’re actually super fast in the water.
Like there’s actually a ton of YouTube videos you can go watch about hippos chasing people in motorboats and stuff in Africa. And just for context, hippos kill more animals. I mean more humans than any other animal on earth. And. It. What’s weird about that is they’re vegetarians, but they’re just super territorial and really pissed.
And so we obviously had, um, you know, broken, [00:09:00] broken, that promise gone down Hippo, Bronx. Um, and without any wake, without any anything, this thing came us, came underneath our canoe and hit the canoe with like massive force. It felt like you were, it felt like getting hit by like a car, like in a car accident.
And we were tossed like 10 feet into the air and then landed in the water, which is extra bet. Um, So fortunately what our guide had told us in that, in that safety talk I mentioned with the machetes and the guns and everything, he said, look, they’re territorial. If you get thrown from the canoe by hippo, you just wanna swim away from the canoe.
You wanna get to shore or you know, get away from your canoe because hopefully the hippo will just keep attacking the canoe. So I thankfully was in the canoe with one of my teammates. My mom was actually in the boat behind us with a guide. So my poor mom witnessed all this, we’re tossed 10 feet in the air.
And I tell you, I was already in like swim strokes in the air before I even hit the gra, you know, hit the water. And we maybe [00:10:00] have like, you know, 50, it was about 50 meters to swim to this mid river island, and my teammate Brooke, and I just swam like the, it was probably the best swimming I’ve ever done in my life.
Just topsy, like I was just cleaning on the surface of the water and we made it. But, you know, it was that, that section, that little section of swimming was probably the most terrifying, you know, I don’t know, two minutes, one minute of my entire life, because I knew that not only was there one hippo that was actually mad, I had seen that there were hundreds of o other hippos around us on that trip.
We’d already seen like 20 foot huge crocodile, so there could have been a crocodile in the mix in there anywhere. And so obviously, unfortunately we made it to shore and we’re still here to tell the tale. But the other thing about it is our, our hippo actually did continue attacking the canoe. Um, and when our guide actually eventually recovered the canoe, Right where I was sitting, it was a really thick, heavy fiberglass canoe, [00:11:00] you know, really thick like, you know, sections to it.
And the hippo had actually, the big tusks of the hippo had actually come through the canoe right where I was sitting underneath. So there were like two huge holes. But because the hippo had come with such speed and force that by the time, you know, he or she executed the bite, I had already been, you know, I was already airborne by that point.
And so what our guide literally did was duct tape some Tupperware lids. Onto the bottom of our canoe. And this is 1997. Mind you, so like no cell phones we’re, we’re in the, I mean, I’m telling you, when we’re in the middle of nowhere, we’re like in the actual middle of nowhere, like actual middle of nowhere, no cell phones.
You know, I think if this had happened to me today, I would’ve been like finding cell phone service and been like, I don’t care what a caused helicopter me out of here right now. Yes. Um, but he duct taped some Tupperware lids on the bottom of the canoe where I’d been sitting. I actually had a small little cut on my foot.
That was my only injury, a small little cut where, you know, his tuss had come through and then the fiberglass had cut my foot and, but we had [00:12:00] to continue on this trip for three more days. And I mean, we were all like, I mean, I. I don’t think we enjoyed one second of it. And that was universal. I mean, my, obviously my teammate Brooke and I were terrified.
We were the ones who’d been attacked. But then everybody else, you know, we continued seeing pods of hippos and we spent the whole trip like, you know, zig-zagging around the river to try to avoid hippos. And you know, we definitely saw a bunch of other amazing wildlife, but I think everybody was totally traumatized.
And man, like when, when we got to the end of that trip, pulled up on a beach and there was like this, you know, big huge vehicle there to pick us up. I was like, okay, I learned my lesson. I’m not gonna go canoeing in Africa. Turns out that the locals don’t do that, um, because they probably know someone who’s been pulled into the river by a crocodile or attacked by a hippo and they’re wise to the fact that you probably shouldn’t do that.
So, um, So, yeah, that’s my story. And you know, the, the thing that’s been sort of fun about having this story is, um, I’ll just give you an example. I [00:13:00] was a, as you may know from my bio, I was an attorney for a while and we were always doing all these like icebreaker ga, you know, we’d do these, like, like, you know, we’d get together as attorneys and try to make connection and go to conferences and we were always doing all these icebreaker games.
And so, you know, anytime there’s like a two truths and a lie or introduce your neighbor, right? Like I can always bust out the Hippo attack story. In fact, I had one of my dear friends is also an attorney and her hobby is like making greeting cards on the weekend, which is great. But she was like, you know, I don’t wanna sit by you with these anymore because, you know, what I like to do is like, paint and make greeting cards on the weekend and you got attacked by Hippo.
And she’s like, I just seem so uncool sitting next to you. So, yeah. So I’ve been able to bust out that story for a while. But I mean, yeah, I mean, I will say that, you know, in all seriousness, there’s nothing more primal and. Terrifying than to be actually attacked by a large animal. And also when you’re in the extreme wilderness, I mean, the whole thing is just [00:14:00] insane.
And so, and and actually my mom was still a working journalist at the time and she was a stringer for the Los Angeles Times. So she actually wrote an article about it, which you know, again, was pre-internet, so I don’t know if it’s anywhere on the internet, but she actually wrote an article about like witnessing her daughter get attacked by a hippo on the Apei River.
Liz Wolfe: your book is great, but I have so many more questions about
Juliet Starrett: this. If you Oh yeah, please, please. Let’s go. I love talking about this.
Liz Wolfe: Well, first of all, one of the things, and I will draw a quick parallel to your book because one of the things I love about it is that it has these universal themes between like, I mean, you’ve worked with Navy Seals, like with the top of the top, like the top operators in the world.
But this book is also for like the normal, the normal among us. And so when you said this thing about the guy taping like duct tape with the um, Tupperware lids to the. Canoe or whatever I’m thinking. We, we used to have a farm and my number one tool on that farm was duct tape. And you might actually hear we brought some chickens home from the farm, so hopefully you [00:15:00] can’t hear this one.
We have one that’s a little psychotic. I actually
Juliet Starrett: can just hear
Liz Wolfe: it. That’s, that’s a chicken. I don’t know which one it is. Uh, it’s, you know, it’s hard enough to figure out where to record a podcast in my home as a stay-at-home mom. And now we have these chickens outside that are making noises constantly.
It’s fine. The HOA loves it. It’s great. But the, one of the biggest tools on the farm, Was duct tape. So I’m thinking, you know what? I have something in common with these like adrenaline junkies who are like out on the river with the hippos, and that is duct tape. It’s like the universal solvent is duct tape.
Juliet Starrett: duct tape is so important. I mean, in addition to all this, you know, intensive, you know, whitewater paddling in a competitive way, I did. I also was like a normal river rafting guide and I did a lot of wilderness trips on the Rogue River and all over California, you know, where we would be out for multiple days.
And duct tape was like our most important, like it was like the most important thing. I mean, we would use it for aid situations, you know, to repair raft on the fly. I mean, man, like duct tape is a savior. We always have duct tape around. And [00:16:00] just at our house, I mean, we live in suburban California and we use duct tape a lot.
So for whatever it’s worth, I agree with you. Thank you. Cheers to duct tape and
Liz Wolfe: cheers to duct tape. Thank you. Duct tape. Thank you. Duct tape. Inventor guy or girl, I have a quick question. What is
Juliet Starrett: the word agro mean? God, you know, um, That’s a great question. I feel like that’s aging me because it’s like one of those phrases that you use.
Like I, I, now, I, now I have teenagers, so now I know all these phrases that, um, teenagers use, which I think are really funny. But agro just means kind of intense. All right. Uh, it, it, it definitely just means intense. Okay. I got
Liz Wolfe: it. Okay. With the, okay. This is the theme. This is where I wanna hover for a second, because I’m so fascinated by everything you do.
I mean, I’ve been following you and Kelly for years and years and years since I, I trained with Coach Michael Rutherford. I don’t, are you familiar with Coach Re? Yeah, of course. I mean, he absolutely changed my life, and this was 10 plus years ago, and I’ve been following you all, you know, loosely because I wasn’t on Instagram for a lot of that time, but through all the CrossFit stuff, you know, being [00:17:00] into CrossFit and then kind of leaning into more of a functional fitness set of values.
But I’m so fascinated at how you, as a human being, Have this history of absolute like adrenaline, just wild, like the pushing the bounds of like human experience. And you’re also here teaching people how to get themselves up off the floor. Right. It’s, it’s just wild. So I just wanna hear more, I mean, you went from like lo, I don’t know when in the journey was like lawyer versus extreme whitewater racing, but attorney whitewater racing, gym owner ready state, c e o.
Tell me more about this whole journey.
Juliet Starrett: Yeah, and I mean, I think what I can just do is start a little bit about, you know, explaining the evolution. I, I think what you’re picking up on is that, you know, I’ve evolved as a human. So when I look back on a lot of that stuff, I did all the adrenaline risk taking stuff I did in my twenties, man.
Like, I, you know, especially now that, you know, my parents really, I don’t think knew what I was doing. I mean, I think when my mom came to the Zambeze and watched the [00:18:00] World Championships and she actually had to make her way down the river, she was like, oh my God, this is what my daughter’s doing. Like, oh my God.
But, you know, that was pre-internet, so, you know, pre-internet, pre-cellphone. So my parents really had no idea what I was doing. And now when I think I have two teenage daughters and I think, man, I really want, on the one hand, I really want them to take risks and, you know, push the boundaries. And on the other hand, I’m like, man, I don’t know if as a mom I can, like, I could take it because I would have a, you know, I would be sitting on the sideline seeing exactly what they’re doing, thanks to social media and just how connected we are.
Um, So, but what I will say is I think, you know, that early experience I had, because I started working as a river guide and running trips in when I was 18 years old, which is actually a lot of responsibility. And in fact, I tell everyone that like to me the single greatest leadership school you can attend and probably is more valuable than business school is being a guide and not just a river guide.
Like any kind of guide, you know, I did that at a young age and my, the level of responsibility we had, I, I look back on it and I think, man, you know, were we mature enough to be [00:19:00] doing what we were doing at the time. But I mean, we were, you know, we had commercial driver’s licenses, we were driving school buses, picking people up at the end of trips, we were taking people on 2, 3, 5, 6 day multi-day wilderness trips.
You know, a group of us, 18 to 21 year olds where we’re responsible for people’s safety, for their fun, for making conversation, making all their food, carrying all their food, planning it, buying it, organizing it. I mean, you know, there was just getting to the river, you know, that was also pre like, Google Maps, we had to figure out how to get to like the Putin of the Rogue River in the middle of nowhere.
Right. So, so there were just so many skills we learned, you know, public speaking, being able to talk to anyone, learning how to not be easily offended, you know, there are just some skills that I learned as a guide that I think actually have been so important in my entrepreneur, the entrepreneur side of my life.
You know, I also, in the midst there, after I was a professional athlete, I was a lawyer for a little while. And you know, people ask me now that I’m an entrepreneur, like, you know, well, isn’t being a lawyer super helpful in being an entrepreneur? And yes it [00:20:00] is. The answer to that is yes. But I actually would say that being a guide and being a guide in, in my early late teens and early twenties actually was much more influential.
And on top of that, I just think, you know, being a guide and then really pushing the boundaries physically, um, and taking a lot of risk physically, I think also really set me up well for entrepreneurship because, you know, as you know, it’s, you take a lot of risk, there’s a lot of unknowns. You have to be really uncomfortable with that.
You have to, you know, sort of say, okay, I’m gonna jump two feet into this unknown class five. You know, rapid and hopefully I make it. And I think that that’s, there’s so many parallels to entrepreneurship there. Um, but back to your initial question about how I went from, you know, like paddling classified whitewater in, in four, you know, and like, you know, developing countries all over the world to writing a book about, you know, how to take care of your body and get up and down off the floor.
I think what you’re seeing there is sort of my evolution and, and actually spending the last 20 years in the [00:21:00] health and fitness business and really sort of growing up in that business and, and honestly seeing a lot of the things that I didn’t like and that weren’t working for us, and that we saw that in some ways we’d contributed to sort of this general madness in the health and fitness business about like, what’s what?
And really I think what we’ve, what Kelly and I have realized over the years is that, the basic principles are sort of the foundation of high performance. But those basic principles are also the foundation of all the rest of us, the foundation of us just feeling good, having durable bodies, being able to do the things we want to do physically.
So, so there’s actually so much overlap now, you know, people who are high performers can then take those, those foundations and optimize on top of that. But what we saw is that we, you know, in the fitness business, if you think about it, You know, if you think about it in business terms, like, you know, tho the people who are into health and fitness are like in this little vertical, you know, we’re like 1% of people.
We are into it. We like to talk about it on the [00:22:00] weekends. We love health and fitness stuff. We nerd out on it, right? Like, you’re like this too. You know, we, it’s just, we’ve take, we’ve taken an interest in it for whatever reason. Well, we’ve done a great job of making ourselves way better. Like we’ve optimized everything in our life.
Like we know exactly how many minutes we slept last night and what our heart rate variability was. And you know, we know what supplements to take and we know how to work out and when and for how long and how much to move in our days. Like we’ve really sort of figured it out for ourselves. But what we’ve done is left everybody else behind.
And I mean, I’m not stalking everybody else. I mean, I’m talking like I owned a CrossFit gym for 16 years and. You know, we had people coming into our gym who were checking the box of doing a workout every day, but man didn’t really know what to do for the other 23 hours of their day. And so I think, you know, over time we saw this huge evolution.
Um, we feel like, you know, we probably weren’t really even on, we were probably on Instagram before you, but, you know, we were a bit late to the party of Instagram as well. And what we’ve seen is that we have [00:23:00] fire-hosed the general public with health and fitness and nutrition information. A lot of our friends aren’t in that health and fitness “vertical”, but they care about being *healthy*. They want to be able to play with their grandkids, they want to feel good in their bodies now, they want to be out of pain, they wanna be able to do what they want to do physically, but they’re totally confused.
So, I don’t know if you feel like this, but Kelly and I think we’ve become kind of the, what we call a node in our community. So even though we’re technically like the stretching mobility people, you know, people in our community see us as sort of like the health and fitness leaders and will ask us, and you know, I have a lot, I have a background in nutrition as well.
So people in our community approach us all the time about, you know, should I do intermittent fasting? What about keto? Should I try that? Oh, I have terrible back pain. My knee hurts. You know, Hey, I’m thinking about trying orange theory, or should I do CrossFit or wait, I probably should do yoga, but like, how should I balance that with weight training and what should I do?
And what we saw is that, Like we’ve done a horrible job in the [00:24:00] fitness industry of, of totally confusing everybody. We’ve focused too much on the shiny objects, some of which I really enjoy. Like Kelly and I love to sauna and sit in our cold plunge. We love those things like those. And you love to sit in your cold plunge.
I mean, I don’t love that part, but I mean, just checking. I love when I’m over, when I’m done doing it. But, you know, we, we love a, a lot of these shiny objects, but really a lot of these things are not relatable for the everyday person. They’re not scalable, they’re not accessible. And we’ve just left people in this conversation of health behind.
And so I think what, what you’ve seen over the years, if, if you looked back at like Juliet and Kelly circa 2012, we would’ve been like, you should probably be paleo and never eat a simple carbohydrate. And if you’re not CrossFitting, you’re definitely gonna die young. Like, you know, we, we definitely were. A little bit more to use the word we talked about earlier, agro, you know, even as soon as 10 years ago.
But I think, you know, what we’ve seen is [00:25:00] like, look, if, if we’re learning all these lessons, those one, uh, this one, we’re in this 1% group, we’re learning all these lessons and making ourselves better, and we’re technically the experts, and yet simultaneously obesity. D rates are up, diabetes rates are up.
There’s more knee pain, more back pain, nor more depression. More isolation. I mean, if you look at any health metric, We’re doing a horrible job. And if we, in the health and fitness business owning any of that, like we should give ourselves a D, like we’re doing a terrible job. We may have made ourselves better, but we are not doing a good job passing those lessons onto our larger community.
So I think what you’re seeing is sort of my evolution as a person, as a parent, you know, someone who also is busy and raising two kids and trying to figure out what practices make sense of my own life. So I don’t even know if I answered your question, but I think that’s a little bit about the evolution of how, you know, a little bit about my professional life and how this book came to be in the first place.
Liz Wolfe: wonderful. And I think this is an excellent time for a pickleball analogy. I mean, it is what’s not [00:26:00] a, what’s not a great time for a pickleball analogy, but I feel
Juliet Starrett: like fastest growing sport,
Liz Wolfe: it’s incredible and it’s not going anywhere. It’s absolutely fascinating to me. And this is where, you know, one of the things that Coach Rhett always said that I didn’t understand 12 or however many years ago that was, I’ve lost track of time.
He used to say like, I want you to be prepared for your life. Not the Navy Seals life, not rich Froning life. Who I guess is Rich Froning even a thing anymore. I don’t know if he’s, has he retired?
Juliet Starrett: I mean, I dunno. He’s pretty much retired, but you know, he’s around doing his thing. He’s, well, thank God he has a farm too.
He has a farm, so that’s one of the things he does.
Liz Wolfe: That’s amazing. Well, I mean, I think folks that my podcast audience will probably know that name more than they, like I just found out that Annie Thor daughter wasn’t like competing in CrossFit anymore. It’s just, it, I’m, I’m so, I mean, maybe she’s competing in CrossFit, but not like the winner of the games every year anymore.
Juliet Starrett: well, I mean, just quick fact check. She still is fully competing. Awesome. And I think she competed on the team last year. Got it. Um, versus as an individual, but I’m pretty sure she’s coming back as an individual. [00:27:00] I don’t know. I could have my facts wrong there, but she, she’s still in, she’s still in the mix.
She is one of the OGs who is still in the mix.
Liz Wolfe: Okay. That’s amazing. So, all right, so I’m not as out of the, out of the loop as I thought I maybe was. Maybe that’s by accident, but, but one of the things that Rut always said was, I want you to be able to like pick up a bag of cat litter off the floor and lift it onto whatever shelf it needs to be on.
Now, if I had a cat, I think I’d keep the cat litter on the floor so I wouldn’t have to up and down, but that’s, Besides the point, but my, my point here is what you said is so important that so many of us have left, left people behind, and we’re not seeing the advancement and the improvement in these metrics that would be so amazing to see.
That would mean such good things for all of us. And then pickleball comes on the scene and all of a sudden I start to realize that what people need is an accessible entry point, which I think is what you’ve done with your book, which I absolutely love. And to extend that analogy, you talk in your book about your dad and this [00:28:00] whole pickleball dad, your book thing.
I’m gonna, I’m gonna put it all together and put a bow on it. My dad is someone I’ve been concerned about for a long time because he’s, you know, the, the normal trappings of aging were, were catching up with him. We had some medical emergencies over the last couple of years. And I could not figure out how to sort of wrap him up in some of these ideas so that he could live a long, healthy life and be there for his grandkids.
And then again, pickleball comes on the scene. He’s so excited about it. He had such a blast with it. And that was this motivator for him to start doing mobility, to start practicing, to start working out in ways that he hadn’t in a really long time. And to start really paying attention to certain things that he hadn’t paid attention to before.
So I’m so thankful for pickleball for providing this entry point for so many people to realize — hey! I wanna do this thing, this athletic endeavor, this thing that is more than the sum of its parts. You know, it’s not, a hip CAR, it’s not some kind of mobility or foam rolling. It’s a thing that he can then say: what are these component parts that I need to perform better as an
[00:29:00] amateur recreational pickleball player at the senior center. And it’s beautiful. And I think you’ve done that with your book. You’ve broken it down to these, you have this overall goal of functioning better in your life. Like you say, our bodies are amazing. They’re meant to last a hundred years, so what are we gonna do with that?
And you’ve sort of put it together in a way where you can really see how you’re doing and maybe where you can improve, which I just think is amazing.
Juliet Starrett: I’ve only had occasion to play pickleball a couple times, but it’s been so fun.
And you know, I have no background in tennis. Didn’t grow up playing. I’ve never played tennis. In fact, the few times I’ve played tennis have been like, on vacation. And I think just because I, because I like muscular and kind of this CrossFit person, all I do is just like, you know, hit the ball like outside.
I can’t even get it into, I’m, I’m horrible at tennis, but also I’ve never practiced, you know, but Kelly and I went through this phase during the pandemic. Like everybody did some weird things in the pandemic, right? You just got into these weird routines and. We bought this like mini ping pong table during the pandemic.
It’s [00:30:00] like half-size ping pong table. And we had this thing where every night we played like one ping pong game against each other to the death. And we’re both so competitive and it was like, and we did it. I mean, I wanna say we did it for like 300 continuous days. Like we did not, cuz you know, we were just all stuck at home and it was like part of our nightly, like we’d have dinner, do you know, whatever, play our one game of ping pong on this little mini ping pong thing.
But what I actually found in the couple times that I’ve played pickle balls, I was like, okay, actually my ping pong skill is sort of translatable to pickleball. Totally. And I’m not like great at pickleball at all. And I’ve really only played three times, but like, I’m not horrible. Like I can get the ball, you know, I can get it.
The rules are pretty simple. But what I love about pickleball, and I agree with you, like I’m so glad it’s the fastest growing sport is, is this whole point you make about accessibility, which is exactly what Kelly and I are obsessed with now. Like how do we take. All of these complex things we’ve learned over all these years and make it accessible.
And you know, a, again, it’s also scalable. Like you don’t [00:31:00] need a million dollars. You can go get your pickleball set for cheap at, you know, big five or wherever you get your stuff and you can just go use, you can go play on a normal public tennis court. Like accessibility is the name of the game. And it’s so awesome to see that sport taking off because A, it’s fun, number B, it brings people together in community, you know, and C, it’s so accessible.
And I think, you know, the community piece we can talk about more. I think it’s so important. And I think we obviously saw in the pandemic that. Like Kelly likes to make this point that like a brain isn’t a brain unless it’s around other brains. Like the human brain is not meant to live in isolation. And we all think alone times 10 in the pandemic.
How important it’s to get together and, and how important it’s to get together and do things physically. You know, that’s often like the two things humans do together are we eat together and we can talk about nutrition during this talk as well. And I have a lot of thoughts there. We eat together as humans and we move together.
Those are the two [00:32:00] biggest ways that humans like commune together. And so, you know, we lost all that in the pandemic. I mean, maybe we were together with our families, but we lost all that. And then we also really lost this moving together piece. And I think it’s so important in this age where we’re hyper-connected, spending too much time on Zoom.
People feel isolated and depressed and you know, man, if a sport like pickleball can bring people together. And I love the story about your dad. I mean, you know, one of the things I like to, that Kelly and I are obsessed with, I’m sure you are too asleep. Mm-hmm. We consider sleep to be what we call a “keystone habit.”
And by keystone habit it’s like: good things come from being well rested. And it turns out that people who get eight hours of sleep tend to eat better the next day, they tend to be more creative and engaged at work and so they feel better about their work; they tend to have the motivation to exercise and move more the following day.
And so sleeping has this cascading impact on your overall health and that’s why we’re such fans of it. But it’s interesting to hear you say that about pickleball for your dad, [00:33:00] like pickleball is this keystone habit for your dad. He finds this thing. Yes. It’s a keystone, have every day, finds this thing and it has this cascading impact because he wants to be able to do that thing with his body.
And so he realizes, okay, if I wanna be able to do X, and it’s no different than him running a marathon, right? Like everybody who runs a marathon is gonna say, okay, in eight weeks time, I’m running a marathon, I’m gonna hire a coach and I’m gonna, you know, run two miles and then five miles, and then eight miles, and then 12 miles.
I’m gonna follow this program so I’m ready to run a marathon. Well, what your dad is doing with pickleball is saying, okay, I really wanna play pickleball now I need to think about working backwards. Like what are the things I need to be doing as a human to be able to continue to do the thing I love? So again, I didn’t, I, I don’t have a question or comment there, but I’m such a fan and you know, do you want me to tell the quick story about my dad as well?
Because we can, yes, we can. Pro dad goad, yes. So, My dad is like a lifelong mover, um, but never really a super formal exerciser. Um, [00:34:00] you know, he’s always loved outdoor sports and hiking and we did a lot of, you know, backpacking and hiking and camping as kids and we didn’t really have, we, we didn’t really have enough money to do like, fly places, vacations.
So we did a lot of like local, we lived, I grew in Boulder, Colorado. We did a lot of camping and outdoor type activities. My dad’s always had like a high drive to move, so he is always walked a lot. Loved hiking, backpacking, you know, he does go to the gym a little bit, but that’s sort of a side part of his, his routine.
So when, when he was 76, this was four years ago. And my kids were nine and 13. We really wanted to take them and him on a full length Grand Canyon rafting trip. And for, to sort of paint the picture of what this, like, I, first of all, anyone listening to this, if you have any inclination to do anything outdoors, this should be on your bucket list.
It’s like one of the coolest trips you can do on earth. Um, and you raft through the Grand Canyon for 16 days [00:35:00] and all the while you’re camping, sleeping on the ground. And what people don’t know about the Grand Canyon and what is so spectacular about it is, of course there are. Big, huge fun rapids and the scenery is epic and amazing.
But one of the things you do every day on a Grand Canyon rafting trip is all these side hikes. And it’s one of the most spectacular things about being down there and actually making your way all like 285 miles of the Grand Canyon is you have access to all these canyons that you can only access from the river.
And so you, you know, you pull over every single day and you hike up these canyons and get to these amazing, beautiful a hundred foot waterfalls and rivers with like crystal blue water and, you know, but these hikes are rigorous. They involve a lot of climbing and scrambling and, you know, shimming along cliffs.
And it’s hot. You know, oftentimes it’s over a hundred degrees. It’s hot and dry and, and so you combine that, you know, you’re rafting big, huge rapids all day. You know, hiking, you know, I don’t know, big, huge, [00:36:00] maybe five, eight mile hikes every single day. And then sleeping on the ground, you’re camping. And so it’s a physically rigorous trip and really difficult for a lot of people.
And most of the people on the trip with us, we chartered the trip. So it was all of our friends and some of my old river guide friends were actually our guides. And most of the other people on on the trip were like us. They were in their forties, you know, had kids of, you know, varying ages, but most, mostly people of forties, maybe early fifties.
And what they all said, all of our friends who came is, I can’t believe your dad can do this. Like, My parents could never do this trip. Like they couldn’t even do this trip for one day, let alone 16 days. Like they were blown away that my dad, Warren could pull off this trip. And so that actually really was one of the early impetus for writing this book for me, an early inspiration because after the trip I said, Hey dad, you know, everybody keeps talking and exclaiming how epic it is and amazing that you’re able to do this trip at 76 years old.
[00:37:00] What do you think your secret is? And he’s a scientist, so like a classic scientist. He said, well, you know, some of it is probably genetics. But he said, but honestly, I think the reason I was able to do it is I’ve never stopped moving my whole life. I’m always moving. That was it. Those were the two things he said.
Probably partly genetics. And partly just because I’ve kept moving. And so here’s my dad, 76 years old, he’s able to do a trip with his two grandchildren where he’s in the wilderness doing this amazing trip outside, enjoying like a lifetime, you know, bucket list experience with me and my husband and my friends and his two grandkids and all because he actually had the physical capability to still do it.
And just one quick story about him. He just turned 80 in February and he and his wife went down to Costa Rica and. On his 80th birthday, he went on a rafting trip on the Paqua River in Costa Rica, which has a bunch of class four rapids on it. [00:38:00] And that’s how my dad spent his 80th birthday was class four, rafting on the Paqua.
And then the next day he was like repelling off of a cliff and ziplining in the jungle in Costa Rica. And so, so I have this hashtag on, um, Instagram called Be like Warren, you know, but, but you know, Warren isn’t that special. And you know what I’ve learned in all my research around this book is that, you know, longevity and durability probably is 25% genetics, but it’s 75% lifestyle.
And, and a big part of that is just moving. As humans we’re designed to move, our brains need to move to function well, our bodies need to move to function well. And so, so Warren, my dad was a huge inspiration in wanting to write this book because, you know, as Kelly and I have gotten older, we’ve thought to ourselves, okay, well if you know.
We’re all saving for retirement. We save for a 401k. We have delayed gratification in that way. You know, we set business goals, we set life goals. It’s common. You know, [00:39:00] I, I made the marathon analogy earlier. You know, if you run a marathon, you’re gonna say you’re gonna know when it is in the future and work backwards.
Well, Kelly and I wanna do that with our own physical durability. And The key difference I want to make here is: we’re obsessed with the word “durability.” We actually don’t really care for the word “longevity” because we don’t really care if we live to be a hundred. I mean, it would be great if we live to be a hundred, that’s great.
But what we care about is, for as long as we’re alive, we wanna be as functional as possible. We wanna have as much physical capability as we can and as much mental acuity as we can. And what we don’t want is to spend the last 10 years of our life in bed in a skilled nursing facility because we haven’t set ourselves up to be ready to be old or avoid falls or all of the things that can happen when we’re old.
But what I will say is there’s probably a bunch of people listening to this who are in their thirties and they’re like, I can’t relate to that. Like, I’m amazing and awesome. I’m not even saving for retirement yet. I, you know, like, why would I care about this? Like, [00:40:00] I’m not worried about falling when I’m 70, I’m 30.
Right. But it turns out that the things that we recommend people do in this book, Not only are gonna help you have a durable body now, but also into the future. And so, you know, again, like I said, these things in this, the practices and tests in this book are the foundation of high performance. So if we go in and work with an Olympian or high performing CrossFit athlete or elite military units, these are the things we check in on first.
You know, we start by saying, you know, are you eating fruits and vegetables and protein? Are you sleeping? You know, do you have a breathing practice? Are you working on your balance? Do you have full range of motion in all your joints? These are the things, the questions that we’re asking these high performers.
And it turns out in a lot of cases they aren’t. Because what happens with a lot of high performers and also with cross, like I would say CrossFit athletes, because these are the people I know, like these are my community. You know, if you, for example, go to a cross a class, which you obviously have, [00:41:00] you feel heroic, And you should, because you went in there and you did like 27 million keeping pullups and you used a barbell and you breathe hard and you know you like, you feel heroic after doing a cross to class.
Right? But what we learned over the years owning a CrossFit gym for 16 years is that we’ve told people that health is you check the box if you’ve exercised. That’s the message people have gotten. Check the box of health because you’ve exercised, you’re done, you’ve done your one hour workout. Check the box, you’re healthy.
Well, it turns out that there are so many other important components to health and to feeling good in your body and. And oftentimes athletes or weekend warrior athletes especially, are the, the first people to actually not be doing those things. You know, they’re like, okay, yeah, well I crossfitted today.
So I just said for the entire rest of the day, I never moved. I never moved my body at all. And I get it, it’s heroic to do a CrossFit workout and you often do just wanna lay there on the couch after you do one. [00:42:00] Mm-hmm. But again, like CrossFit ath, you know, weekend, you know, everyday CrossFit athletes are often the worst.
Like they don’t, they CrossFit and then they sit for the remainder of the day, or they aren’t focused on their sleep, or they can’t quite get their nutrition in order, or they haven’t focused on their range of motion. And so what we’ve seen is, again, these same challenges that our high performers are having with the fundamentals are also the same challenges that everyday people are having with the fundamentals.
And I get it again, it’s fun and like more cool on Instagram to be like, I’m taking these cool supplements and I biohack the crap outta my life. But you know, again, you can’t skip the basics.
Liz Wolfe: You can’t just biohack the crap outta your life. That’s just not how it works.
Juliet Starrett: No, and you know, I give a lot of credit to the biohacking community for like, you know, pushing the boundaries.
A lot of, you know, what’s possible and you know, we were in sort of into biohacking when it first came on. I, you know, I give them a lot of credit for like, you know, sort of broadening our greater horizons and make helping people think outta the box. But I think one pitfall of, of this sort of [00:43:00] biohacking mentality is that you can skip the fundamentals.
That you can take a, you can take X supplement and that you don’t need to worry about eating fruits and vegetables or food. Right. And so I think we, again, loss of forest through trees a little bit there. Yeah. You really, you can’t skip the basics. Like no human can skip the basics. No professional athlete and no everyday person.
You have to do the basics. Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: Well, okay. Quickly, I want to just rewind a little bit and make a comment around so much of what you’ve said that the, we talked a little bit about the brain and you said, Kelly said something about the brain is not. Brain, unless it’s with other brains. What was it? Unless it’s in Yeah,
Juliet Starrett: no, with around other brains.
Yeah, around other
Liz Wolfe: brains. You have this really compelling, compelling graphic about this in your book. I actually sent it to the, the, um, principal and my kid’s teacher at her school because it was so compelling. It was about how. A kid’s brain, like these different regions of a, uh, pre-adolescent child’s brain light up after a 20 minute walk.
And it was so [00:44:00] interesting to me, the relationship between, you know, brain, of course brain and community, but also brain, the brain and movement. And it’s really like they are part and parcel to one another. One cannot be extracted from the other in this entire analogy. And how important movement is for actually integrating information and to overall brain function, period.
So we are tackling several really important things with these keystone ideas that you have in the book. And I don’t think I, I, I said this in the introduction, which I always record separately, but this is, again, 10 tests and 10 physical practices to make your body and your brain work better and probably work better together.
Juliet Starrett: Yeah, so there’s two things. You know, I read this book a long time ago that really influenced me. It’s, it’s, uh, called Spark written by a Harvard guy named John Brady. And, you know, one of the quotes he has in the book is that movement and exercise are like miracle grow for the brain. So I think, you know, there’s a lot of, I, I think we think of, I think we’ve been taught to think of aging as sort of this like n.[00:45:00]
Downhill process, right? Like no matter what, everything’s going downhill. But there are a couple things that actually don’t necessarily have to go downhill. One of them is your brain function and the other one is your range of motion. So it turns out that you actually can grow new brain cells, but the way that you do that is through movement and exercise.
That’s like, you know, like he says, it’s like miracle growth for the brain. And you know, there’s been so many studies that have come out about kids and adults who, you know, Move more. And actually, you know, they, they can be more creative. Kids can pay more attention. You know, you know, kids who have a d d and a d h ADHD function way better, for example, at a standing desk or in a movement rich classroom environment.
Because in order for their brains to actually work and be able to focus, they need to be in movement, right? And so we’ve taught kids over the years, like, you gotta sit still to learn. Well, for a lot of kids, sitting still is like the worst way to learn. Their brain turns off when they’re sitting still.
You know, there’s a lot of kids who, as you know, every kid needs to move a lot. But there are certain types of kids, you know, and, and boys in particular more than girls, [00:46:00] have a stronger desire to move and actually need to be able to be in movement in order to learn. So there’s so much connection between movement and the brain.
And, you know, like, we’re doing this podcast and I’m here sitting at, I’m not sitting, I’m standing am my standing desk. Um, And I’m fidgeting and moving around, but I’ve learned over the years that, you know, there’s a thousand reasons why I prefer to stand. Uh, and I do sit throughout my day as well. By the way.
I’m not standing the entire day, but there’s certain things I’m doing, like being on a podcast and talking to you where I find that my brain is so much more on if I’m just standing here, you know, and you’ll see like, I don’t know if this is on video, but like I’m gonna be changing positions a thousand times during this podcast just cuz I’m standing here.
So I have my foot up on a bar underneath the desk. I’m just in doing a lot of little micro movements or what they call fidgeting. But I found for me, if I have the ability to move a little bit while I’m working and thinking and communicating, I actually am more creative. Mm. I can pay better attention. I can listen better.
You know, the same thing goes for me. I love a [00:47:00] walking meeting and one of the reasons I love a walking meeting is, number one, I’m obsessed with getting walking in steps. Yes. Um, And, but number two, I actually find that I can, I can pay attention, be a little bit more creative, more attentive. And you know, there’s this weird thing about Zoom and they’re just starting to study it now, but, but you know, I think that they’re realizing that like staring at people when you’re meeting all the time isn’t the best way to like, think and learn, especially when you can see your own face that, that, like, that messes up your own brain in a weird way.
Cuz all humans are like, whoa, look at my face, I look weird or whatever, Uhhuh. And so they’re actually, you know, starting to realize that there’s something really powerful about like, walking right next to somebody and listening and talking, but you’re not staring at each other’s faces. And that there’s really something very powerful about how that works in the brain and how we can communicate and connect and listen to the person that we’re walking with and be creative and thoughtful and innovative.
And so, so anyway, I’m a huge fan of the walking meeting. I really am such a believer [00:48:00] in the connection between movement and exercise and brain health and. What I also know is I think, you know, anybody who actually follows the 10 practices in this book on the regular. One of the things we’ve realized, you know, because the, all these practices are interconnected, you know, when we wrote this book, you know, we have a chapter on breathing and we have a chapter on nutrition.
Well, I’m sure some people are gonna say, well man, there’s 5,000 books on nutrition. And you know, James Nester wrote a great book about breathing, but what we didn’t see was one book that said, okay, this is the, these are the things you need to do as a human. These are how all of these things interact with one another because they do.
Right. Like we think breathing and focusing on breathing is important, but not in isolation. Yeah. Food doesn’t happen in isolation. You know, let me give you an example connected to my obsession with walking. We did a bunch of work with the delta force and you know, the war fighters who are in the Delta force obviously have a very stressful job and sometimes struggle with sleep.
Go figure. Um, just like probably many people [00:49:00] listening to this podcast, well, The military has access to every epic technology out there. Sleep tracking every possible medication, every hack you can think of for sleep, well, you know what they prescribe. Their first order of business that they prescribe for their war fighters who are struggling to sleep is walking 15,000 steps a day.
They’re given a step tracker and they’re told you have to walk, se you have to walk 15,000 steps a day because it turns out that it, for most humans, in order to develop enough sleep pressure to be able to fall asleep at night, you actually have to have moved enough throughout your day. And so isn’t that interesting?
Here’s an organization that has access to. All the best technology, every research study, every, everything that relates to how we can sleep better. And their first order of business is, hey, you may be, you know, carrying heavy things and doing all the physical things that you’re doing is part of your job as a, as a military person, but you’re actually [00:50:00] not getting enough total movement in your day and you need to move more in, in order to develop sleep pressure.
So that’s just one of the examples in which Kelly and I see all these behaviors are tightly coupled and don’t happen independent of one another. You know, I actually start planning for my sleep because I’m obsessed with sleep early in the day. One of the ways I do that is I also love coffee, but I’ve learned over the years that if I have coffee after one o’clock in the afternoon, it negatively affects my sleep.
Same with eating. I, you know, Uh, like one of my downfalls as a human. If I could do this and not have a negative impact, I would love to like eat dinner and then eat cereal after dinner. That would be like absolutely the greatest joy, like cereal for me is like the greatest thing ever. But what I find is if I eat dinner and then eat cereal and go to bed full, I don’t sleep well.
Yeah. If I fall asleep with a full stomach, I don’t sleep well. And then again, because sleep is a keystone habit than the next day, I’m more likely to make poor food choices, be less motivated to work out. Won’t be as attentive, as attentive at work and so forth. So I think what we really tried to [00:51:00] do this book is really show people all the ways in which all of these behaviors are super connected because, you know, we’re the human being, the human body is complex and connected and help people sort of put together how all these behaviors, a, are connected, and B, how you can fit them into a busy time crunch life.
Because I think one of the myths that happens and Instagram hasn’t helped with this, is that people like us who work in the health and fitness space, you know, that were waking up in the morning and spending half an hour meditating, doing our gratitude journal, you know, working out, then awning, the nice bathing, then I meal prep for my entire day.
Liz Wolfe: conscious
Juliet Starrett: parenting and, and then a conscious parent and you know, whatever. And, and meanwhile what we’re doing is like screaming at our kids to like grab their backpack and making breakfast and lunch it like what, what our lives look like, what probably most of your li listeners look like. Like our mornings are not about ourselves.
We’re getting kids out the door. You know, we spend most of our day in front of a computer. We’re not. Spending most of our day exercising. You know, we often get, you know, we often have to leave the house [00:52:00] without having packed a lunch and we gotta figure out how to best manage, you know, and then we come home at night and we’re tired and make our kids dinner and help with homework.
And, you know, we often only have, you know, an hour before bed to chill and relax and do whatever we do. So, you know, the thing we’ve really tried to do in this book is help people envision, you know, f first of all have help people understand, number one, what the basics are. Number two, how they’re all connected with one another, and three, how they can fit them in as part of a busy time crunch life, because we also have one of those.
And so, you know, we’ve figured out how to do these practices on the periphery of having a very full, busy life and busy job. Yeah, that’s the
Liz Wolfe: key. And you, you did, you did that so, so well. As I was reading, I remember I was in the breath section and I was like, this has been my problem. I know there are great books about breath out there about breathing.
I know there are breath people, but anytime anyone has ever mentioned something like that to me, I’ve been like, Ooh, I can’t read a whole book on that. Like, that’s just too much. I can’t absorb all of that [00:53:00] information at one time. But you did that, you put all of, you know, I don’t wanna say you summarized things, but you put all of these things together and did exactly what you just said, is you have put them together in a way that’s accessible and doable.
And this is probably the first time I haven’t been really, really intimidated about adding these things like breath work and really tackling sleep and putting all of that together in my life. I, I have a two and a half year old, so it’s just hard right now in general. So hard. It’s so hard. But you really did, you put it together so, so nicely and I can’t, I mean, I can’t say enough about the book.
Juliet Starrett: Yeah. Well, thank you for saying that. And you know, first of all, all, you know, we do have these sleep minimums in our book, and I would say that like, all bets are off if you have a kid under two. You know, I mean, of course that was one of the most difficult times of our lives because we, we love sleeping.
We love sleeping. When our kids were little, our kids were not great newborn sleepers. Um, you know, and then I think we, we struggled the same way all other parents do, where you, you know, you get your kid in this like perfect sleep routine and then like something happens, they get cold or their teeth come in, or, I mean, you name it.
Yes. It’s just like [00:54:00] always this constant, it’s a constant thing, you know, you’re just always behind from a sleep stand standpoint. So, you know. Young parents of young children get a free pass when it comes to sleep. And it’s all about just like doing your best, your level best to get as much sleep as you can.
Yes. But yeah, I mean, I think, you know, you, I think one of the things you’re picking up on is one of the things that I’ve been frustrated with in this business is like, ma’am, as a busy working mom and you have to prioritize what health practices are important to you. Are you gonna go to like a one hour breath class or a one hour balance class?
Or I mean, like, no wait, you’d be like, check that off my list immediately. Do not have time for that. Like, you know, what I have time for as a busy working mom is one hour of exercise and I really love to exercise. Mm-hmm. So I, I prioritize that in my life. And I, I don’t do that by the way, seven days a week, but you know, as often as I can, you know, I try to work out five or six days a week and we love to mountain bike on the weekends and so forth, but, you know, there are days when I don’t even have time to get my one hour of exercise in, you know?
But, but what I’d like to say is that, You know, there’s so much movement built in to [00:55:00] this. The practices we suggest and built to move in the form of walking, taking care of your soft tissue, sitting on the floor a little bit in the evening, that actually, you know, if you have those days, which everybody does, where you just do not have time to formally exercise, you actually can feel pretty good that you had a movement rich day and that you really checked a ton of boxes in, in terms of taking care of your health, making sure that you’re continuing to be a durable human.
And that’s apart from exercise. You know, one of the things that we’ve learned in, one of the things we’ve learned researching this book is that there’s this whole field of called sed, it’s called sedentary research now, which makes sense because most of us are spending most of our time sitting. And so there’s actually a lot of money and effort going into figuring out what that, how that impacts the human body.
So there’s been a lot of studies that have come out about our sedentary and. And connected to that, and I mentioned it earlier in my obsession with walking is there’s a lot of research and information about non-exercise activity. And [00:56:00] the technical term for that is non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
Mm-hmm. But what that means, and they call it neat. Mm-hmm. The, the acronym for it is neat. So what that means is all the movement you do throughout your day that is apart from formal exercise. So cooking, dinner, gardening, you know, any kind of walking you’re doing is non-exercise activity. What I’m actually doing here at my standing desk in the form of fidgeting a lot is, is not also non-exercise activity.
But you know, we, my vigorous nodding. Does that count? Yeah. Vigorous nodding counts. Perfect. But you know, we’ve come to realize that this non-exercise activity and non-exercise movement actually may be the most critical thing to having a durable body. You know, what they’re realizing now is that the, oftentimes the difference between people who struggle with their weight for whole life, for their entire life and don’t lifetime weight control, is actually not that one hour formal exercise.
It’s actually the difference is the amount of, uh, total daily movement. So there are plenty of people who struggle with [00:57:00] their weight and still exercise for an hour a day, but oftentimes the difference between them and people who do not struggle with their weight is the people who don’t are doing a ton of additional movement all day long.
They’re getting a ton of non-exercise activity in addition to or apart from that formal exercise. And, um, you know, obviously the data is bearing that out to be true because, you know, as we talked about earlier, it’s like, People are going to the gym, man, it’s like a trillion dollar industry. People are going to Orange Theory and like people are doing it.
They’re getting the message, they’re going to spinning classes and belonging to gyms and spending a massive amount of money doing this. But you know, again, most people are doing that for one hour and then spending the entire rest of their day sitting. And so, you know, one of the reasons I’m obsessed with walking is, is a, it’s the easiest way to get non-exercise activity.
It’s a great way to connect. You know, there’s so many little ways you can add in walking in your life, but also I really do, I, I’ve come to believe that non-exercise activity, whether it’s walking or gardening or whatever it is you like to do, is really the difference between [00:58:00] lifelong weight control and not having lifelong weight control.
You know, you can have a, you, you can need some fun stuff if you’re moving a lot, you know, and I think that’s the other thing is, I mean, man, you and I could have a whole podcast talking about how the fitness business has lost its way when we come to, when it comes to nutrition. I don’t even know if we have time for that today.
But, but again, you know, Thinking about how all these behaviors are connected. You know, it, it’s our mental health. It’s how our tissues feel in our body. But to the extent that like, to the extent that anyone listening to this might think, oh my God, I can’t do all this stuff. Like, you can, you can’t actually fit these things in.
And you know, I think the brain experiment that I’d like to have everybody listening to this do, uh, think about is, you know, how can you create an environment in your life where you can move more? Because nobody has more willpower, nobody has extra time. You know, you can actually do all the practices in this book largely by just filtering them into the things you’re already doing in your day.
[00:59:00] Or you can do them in five, two minute, five minute, 10 minute increments and make a really big difference. So I’ll tell you a story. Since you have a two and a half year old, we had little kids and we owned a gym and everybody thinks when you own a gym, you just work out all the time. But oftentimes gym owners never work out.
It’s like this weird irony. You know, you own a gym and you’re like, wow, I used to exercise and now I don’t. So we had little kids. We were, we were running businesses, we were working really hard. We were tax dressed under Slept, and Kelly developed this workout that he called the 10 10, 10 at 10. And it was, 10 air squats, 10 sits, 10 pushups for 10 minutes at 10:00 PM because literally that’s all that we could fit into our days.
And, and I, I’ll tell another story. We have a great friend of ours named Dave Spitz, who owns a gym in the Bay Area called Caltran. That’s mostly a sort of Olympic lifting gym. He was a Olympian, or he was, he trained to be an Olympic lifter in the Olympics. He didn’t actually make it, but that was his goal.
And he [01:00:00] now trains Olympic lifters at this cool facility in the Bay Area called Cal Strength. And like many gym owners, he owned a gym. He, when he first opened his gym, he found that he never exercised and he simultaneously had little kids at home and he put on some weight and he was like, wow, you know, here I am coaching the best of the best.
I was, you know, I was on, I was training for the Olympics myself and like now I don’t even recognize my own body. And I have little kids at home. I own a gym and I’m totally outta shape. And so, He developed this mantra, we actually talk about it in the book, but it’s called Never Do Nothing. And I love this because again, I think we’ve told people that health has to happen in one hour increments.
That health has to happen when you put on your shoes and get in your car and drive to your exercise class. And that’s not the case. You just, the goal is never do nothing. And it turns out even 10 minutes can actually make a difference if you lose control of your day. From a movement standpoint, man, you do have 10 minutes at the end of the night before you go to [01:01:00] bed to sit on the floor while you’re watching TV and do a little mobilizations.
Or you do have 10 minutes to go take a walk around the block with your dog. You know, you do have 10 minutes to, you know, eat, cut up some fruit and eat it. I mean, people have got 10 minute increments and most of the things we’re suggesting here can be done in your home in short increments. And, and the way to think about this is all these habits are like compounding interest.
You know what we say about a mobility practice, which is one of the habits, is very difficult for people to incorporate into their lives as number one, do it in front of the television because the data shows everybody’s watching television at night. So do it in front of the TV doing something you’re already doing and just spend 10 minutes on it.
Focus on an area of your body where you feel stiff or sore, and just get a little bit of physical input. Because if you think about it in terms of compounding interest, that’s 10. If you do it 10 minutes a night, that’s 60 or 70 minutes a week, right? And if you compound that over weeks and months, think about how much soft tissue and, and if you think about it as like care [01:02:00] and feeding of this carcass that is your body, like it’s the care and feeding of the carcass of your body.
If you compound that over that just 10 minutes a day, over weeks and months and years, that’s actually a ton of good work. And I think that goes to this principle of just consistency, doing a lot of little things, but consistently, they’re not sexy, but they’re doable. They’re doable amongst a busy life and that, you know, the principle should be never do nothing.
Never do nothing.
Liz Wolfe: Oh, I love that. And this reminds me a little bit, and I know I only have you for like another minute, but I’ll throw this in there. Anyway, just for the sake of talking about myself, I have a fitness program for moms. It’s called Athletic Mom. And one of the things that we developed for it was a five minute daily fix.
And this is why I connected with your book so, so much. It just came out at the perfect time. It was so validated and it just made me feel like I was on the right track. How much you can do with five minutes. It is insane. It can set the entire tone for your day or for your, the quality of sleep. It’s [01:03:00] extraordinary what you can do with that.
And that’s where I want people to feel like a hero. Like, yes, you feel like a hero after you do CrossFit, just like you said at the beginning, right? But if you can fit this stuff in, You should feel like a hero, like feel validated. Don’t feel like you’re lame and you can only do five or 10 minutes.
Juliet Starrett: No.
Feel good about it. Yeah, it’s enough and it’s expansive and it compounds and really can make a difference. And you know, I think if people just leave this and they’re like, oh man, I thought I, you know, just never do nothing. Five minutes can make a huge difference. If you do five minutes of one thing day after day after day, it really does add up.
It can make a huge difference in how you feel in your body. Yes, it’s
Liz Wolfe: incredible. Uh, and so are you, I keep joking about how I have this, um, Juliet star at Venn Diagram where you’re here in the middle and then there’s like Jill Miller and Katie Bowman over here, and then Stacy Sims over here, and you just kind of bring it all together for me.
Juliet Starrett: Yes. Oh my God. I, I’m, so, I just have to say I’m so, um, influenced by all of those women. They’ve all just been so influential in my personal life and in my own thinking and in this book. And [01:04:00] so, um, cheers to all them. And I’m honored that you think that I’m in their company because I’m such fans of them.
Liz Wolfe: gosh. You absolutely are. So the book is, this probably won’t make it this, this won’t be in the video, but the book is built to Move. I’ve got it right here. And would you like to tell folks where to find the book and your 21 day challenge?
Juliet Starrett: Yeah, you can just go to built to move.com and sign up for our 21 day challenge.
It’s free, it’s meant to be a companion to the book, but there’s video demonstrations and you’ll get an email a day for 21 days. And the goal of it is really just to help you figure out how to stack and fit these behaviors into your everyday life as a normal human. And you can find me on Instagram at Juliet Star.
Liz Wolfe: Cannot thank you enough for your work and for giving us your hour today. Really, really
Juliet Starrett: appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me.
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