Sitting down with professional CrossFit athlete and female metabolic damage expert Natalie Newhart to delve into how we can go from suffering through workouts to actually leaving the gym with our heads held high. She discusses how we can focus on an intention and truly dial in our mindset and awareness to have a good time no matter what while exercising. "Shift the energy inside of you, shift the vibration and you will never have a bad day in the gym."
Connect w/ Nat @natalie.newhart
Jade: [01:17] Ok, what’s up everybody? So, welcome to the show today. I got one of my dearest friends who’s just visiting me in L.A., and just beat my ass in a workout today as she always does, Nat Newhart. What’s going on Nat?
Nat: [01:31] Oh, not much. I’m happy to be here. Thank you.
Jade: [01:33] So good to see you. We’ve been hanging out all day, me and Nat, and just kind of talking shop, and I was like hey, let’s turn on the podcast and get into some stuff. One of the things that happened today that I kind of wanted her and I to talk about is just kind of let you guys know I’m – Nat is… she’s an interesting, she’s a very interesting, extraordinary human. She has been immersed in the CrossFit world for a long time and, you know, I want to brag on her. She’s very humble. She’s probably going to get a little bit embarrassed, but she has been one of the most elite athletes in the world. She was in the CrossFit games, what, 2013 was it? And has been immersed in this world, and if you train with her and see the kind of stuff she will do – sometimes I just like to just go and search her out on Youtube and watch all her old clips from the CrossFit games ‘cause she’s such a badass in this. We won’t necessarily get into a whole lot of your story, Nat, because people can find it – we can if you want to – but one of the things that I have found as being a bodybuilding guy, a guy that came from bodybuilding and really just trained for football and then just kept doing it… today we were in the gym, and today we were doing a workout called the Cali Bear, which is basically, typically it’s supposed to be 225 for men and 155 for women, and it’s basically a clean and a press every30 seconds for 20 minutes. It’s essentially a total of 40 reps, and I kind of said to Nat, so walk me through sort of how you do this, because I know she has a very sort of particular and very cool way of approaching workouts. For the workout, she kind of walked me through my nonexistent front rack position – I should put this video so you can see her, how perfectly her form is and how ridiculous I look – but one of the things she said is that when she goes in to the workouts now, especially if she’s going to do a hard workout, she will set two intentions. One intention in the workout is an emotional intention, and so she was coaching me today and said, hey Jade, focus on an emotional intention. What do you want to choose? And I forget what I chose now – oh, gratitude, because at first I chose generosity or something like that.
Nat: [03:42] Joy.
Jade: [03:43] Joy, that’s right. Then, you said, I’m going to focus on gratitude today, and I had a really great day yesterday, so I was like I want to focus on that. Then, she also said, now pick 1 thing in your movement to really focus on. So, she taught me the hook grip today, and was trying to help me sort of understand how to get my rack position a little bit more solid for the press. So, I focused on that. I’ll say one more thing about this and then I want you to walk us through why and how this is done. One of the things I found is very interesting, it’s very much like the first time you practice meditation. I was telling her afterwards, I was like that was so interesting because I go into the lift – because, remember, you got 30 seconds to reset, then you go back into this lift – and I would kind of approach it, and the first few seconds I would be in it and then I would immediately be out of it. And especially as the workout went on and it started getting harder, I kept having to remind myself go back to gratitude, go back to gratitude, don’t forget your technique. I can see how, very much like the meditative process as I practiced that, how that will sort of roll over. I want to know from you, tell us how you see this. Why is it beneficial to us and walk us through your process and how I can get better, and people like me can get better. Why would they even want to do this?
Nat: [05:03] Yeah, so like basically, I’ve pretty much spent a good 10 years just grinding through workouts. I just thought it had to be this process of suffering, and that the more you suffered the better. The thing about it is, what happened is I would do workouts with just wanting to go hard or go fast, and I had this expectation that I always set on myself, and so often did I leave the gym with my head down or beating myself up. It was just, you know, I was just always so hard on myself, and it wasn’t an enjoyable process. I mean, unless I won. If I won, or if I did well and I PR’d, then I was happy. But the thing is, from what I’ve – the transition that I’ve been through, like I love the gym. I’m an addict and I love it, I love what it does to my state of being, and I want to be able to go in the gym and have a good time no matter what, or have it emphasize my happiness every single time. I’ve been doing a lot of mental work over the past year, and what I notice is that when you focus on your emotions rather than the result, the weight, the time, the score, then I can really choose how I want my workout to go. What I’ve realized is when I align with a sort of – they call it a love-based state, where it’s like peace, love, joy – those things that we all really want to feel, when you just commit to doing that, not only – like you will perform in that way as well, like your body, your mind, your spirit will all perform very well and you’ll – it’s surprising. You’re just going to… it’s when you perform your best. That’s when elite athletes perform their best, when they’re in that flow state. But any person can get there by just shifting the energy within you; you know, the vibration. The point of this is that I never have a bad day at the gym. When I figured this out… I don’t have to get scared, I don’t panic, I’m just, I’m cool, I’m calm, I’m loving every second of it, I’m super present, and it’s really like gym meditation. It is my form of gym meditation.
Jade: [07:24] You know, that’s really interesting you talk about the flow state, because I have never heard anyone really describe how to get in it in that way. I remember playing football in high school, and I had this couple games where I just – I knew I was in it, I know what that feels like – I was a fullback, and they just kept giving me the ball. I rushed for something like close to 300 yards – as a fullback. Anyone who knows football, that’s almost impossible to do. And I look back now, and I’m like that was flow. It was literally a state of sort of… aware bliss is the only way I can think of it. I was so aware and so in tune, and so just in the moment that I would just find the holes and would immediately, I would break tackles. And I never knew – I remember being like that was amazing, what was that – and I never really knew how to get back to it. Also, in CrossFit, I find myself – because I’m not a CrossFit dude – I’m a big rhino, and you kinda laugh at this with me, but my cardio is horrible. To me, I’m just sucking wind and then I get panicked. So, I’m in this panic state. So, I think this is going to be incredibly helpful for me because you were just saying, look, when you get in that panic state, go back to that joy state or that gratitude state and focus on that. I can see how – I’ve never heard anyone describe – like that’s actually what can get you into the flow, where I wish someone had taught me that back in the day.
Nat: [08:49] Me too. Me too. Like it – and it’s different from like the flow state I used to get with athletics – it’s this weird fulfilling feeling where, like if I’m focused on love, I feel love. I embody love, and like, I love the pain. I truly love the burn. I love that my muscles can get to that burn, and I love that my mind can stay calm in the midst of panic. It’s different, because it’s not like I’m just shutting out everything, I’m just focused intensely on one emotion, and it’s really weird.
Jade: [9:38] How it breaks down. I want the tangibles, so walks us through – and for me, there’s a couple things I want to talk to you about this podcast – but I just thought we would start there because it was such an interesting experience for me today. So, walk me through the tangibles. As I start to practice this, or if anyone wants to practice this, you know, like today, when I came away and you said yeah, that’s exactly right – I said, but ok, how do I do it? And you said, ok look, when you approach the bar before your lift, sort of think I’m grateful I get to do this, I’m great I can even lift this way, I’m grateful for my health, stepping up to this bar. I’m grateful that I have the shoulder mobility to push this thing overhead. I’m grateful that I’m hanging out with Nat and being able to be in this state, I’m grateful for that I can breathe like a damn rhinoceros and get enough oxygen, and I don’t have to worry about it. I’m grateful that I can do these things with my body because, I don’t know, 3 weeks ago when I had the flu and I thought I was going to have to check myself into the hospital, I certainly could not have done this workout. I may not be able to do it when I’m older, but walk us through any other tips you have. I want to know as you go into this workout today, how did you start it, how did you do the intention, and then what is going on in your head as you approach this. And do you ever slip out of it at any time, and if you do, how do you get back into it?
Nat: [10:54] Yeah. I do have a process. The first thing I do is when I’m warming up – yeah, usually about my warmup – I’ll decide if it’s going to be a green or yellow day, you know, depending on how my body’s moving, what my motivation is, what I’ve got going on that day.
Jade: [11:10] And you and I talk a lot about green and yellow, so let them know – so, green is sort of like this is a day you’re going to go hard.
Nat: [11:15] Crush it.
Jade: [11:16] Yeah. And yellow’s sort of like a day where you’re like, I’m not going to try to crush it, I’m just going to do my thing.
Nat: [11:20] Exactly. It’s like the 3Ps – perform, play, and peace out. So, green days are your perform days, like you’re gonna have heavier weights, have more intensity, maybe more volume; and then yellow days are my play days. It’s really just playing. Like, I’ll just… maybe I’ll do some bodybuilding stuff, or just a workout, but I’m doing 180s onto a box or something like that.
Jade: [11:47] Play for you is pain for me, by the way.
Nat: [11:49] Not if you use this sort of structure. But – what was the question? What did you say?
Jade: [11:58] Yeah, so I wanted you to just now walk us through how you do this.
Nat: [12:00] Oh, yeah.
Jade: [12:01] So, your process. You were saying – where I stopped you is you were saying I decide whether it’s going to be a green day or a yellow day. In other words, you’re deciding in your head one of the first decisions you make. So, you know your workout; we were doing the Cali Bear today. You know what you’re going to do, then you’re deciding am I going to go heavy and hard and just all out, and go for a PR and crush life, or am I just kind of going to stay a little bit lighter and play. And today I think you went a little bit lighter than maybe you normally would, although as heavy as hell.
Nat: [12:24] No.
Jade: [12:25] No, you didn’t. Ok, so you went hard today.
Nat: [12:26] Today was green.
Jade: [12:27] Ok, good. Cool. So, walk us through that. That’s the first decision you make. You’re like I’m going green.
Nat: [12:32] What intensity am I [inaudible]
Jade: [12:33] Does that intensity ever change once you get into it? Like today, I was thinking maybe I’ll go up to 225, and I stayed yellow today.
Nat: [12:40] Usually, I’ll know if I’m… usually I’ll stay with yellow, but sometimes if I chose green and I realize that you know what, this is hurting-
Jade: [12:50] It’s a little bit [inaudible]
Nat: [12:51] Yeah, then I’m just going to be ok with pulling back.
Jade: [12:53] I see.
Nat: [12:54] Because, I mean, I work out first thing in the morning, so depending on how hard I go then that will dictate how much food I eat. So, first I do that – I assess whether it’s green, yellow, red, and then I’ll set an intention. This is where I’m going to pick for one, for sure an emotional state. I want to choose how do I want to feel – how do I want to feel when I leave this gym, how do I want to feel when I’m doing this workout; and usually, it tends to be the same things that pop up. Like, love is always there because love is sort of joy and it’s just very powerful. But sometimes I’ll pick peace, or gratitude, or joy, or power, or strength, or confidence.
Jade: [13:44] You also said calm one time. I like that. You were like-
Nat: [13:47] Yeah, peace. Same thing.
Jade: [13:48] Peace, calm.
Nat: [13:49] Yeah. I’ll pick peace when – obviously like a yellow day. When I just want to stay calm and cool, and I just focus on that. So, I set the intention for the emotional part, and then sometimes I’ll pick a cue for the technical part. Maybe, ok, I’m going to really make sure I focus on my depth on my squats because I like to cut those short, or today, like for the power clean, I made an intention, ok, I’m going to receive the bar as high as I can because I tend to get kind of lazy and receive the bar on my chest – and it works. It’s just – the thing is, you can’t focus on too many things. It’s like two things max. An emotion and maybe a technical thing. But a lot of times I actually just focus on an emotion.
Jade: [14:43] Ok. So, walk us through – so, we’re doing this workout, the workout’s ticking away, we get one rep down, 30 seconds go, we get another rep down, 30 seconds go – where are you saying and talking to yourself in this workout? Are there times where you’re – like I’m wondering, because for me I was, when you told me, because I was literally talking to myself; I was like, I’m grateful I can move like this, you should be grateful that you can even breathe right now, like you’re getting it handed to you, I’m grateful for any mobility I have in my shoulders, I’m definitely grateful that I can muscle this thing up if I need to, I’m grateful I’m under control. Are you talking to yourself through that?
Nat: [15:19] Yeah.
Jade: [15:19] Ok. Tell me how that’s working and how it works; because to me, an emotional state is tough. Like, how do you talk yourself into an emotional state?
Nat: [15:28] Well, honestly, what I often do is I’ll just repeat the word over and over and over. That’ll kind of get me into it. So, when I’ve repeated the word 30, 50, 100 times, my body will naturally start to embody that – like I’m just going to start to find reasons. But today what I did – this workout was different because it was a 1 rep every 30 seconds – but before I lifted the bar, I reminded myself, ok, I’m trying to receive it high, and I said to myself I’m grateful for having this gym, I’m grateful to workout with you, I’m grateful for my strong, powerful legs. And it just connects. The mind, the body, when it’s aligned like that, it’s just – yeah, you can do some pretty cool stuff. ‘Cause like, I haven’t cleaned that way in a long time, let alone without a belt.
Jade: [16:25] Yeah. I’m just going to tell them what you were using. So, I ended up going a little lighter today, 185. And what were you using, 155 or 160?
Nat: [16:32] 155. And I don’t practice any of that stuff anymore.
Jade: [16:36] And you know, it’s funny, if any of you follow Nat – I was just talking to a friend of mine who follows you on instagram, and she’s like, she’s really big, right? I’m like, she’s teeny-tiny.
Nat: [16:46] Oh, really?
Jade: [16:47] Because I think they don’t get a sense of your – how power-packed you are. You’re what? You’re 5-what? How tall are you?
Nat: [16:54] Maybe 5 feet.
Jade: [16:55] 5 feet. But also just all muscle, and so it’s funny, if you don’t see yourself in context – like, I think the same person saw a picture of you and I, we took a picture, and I’m not the tallest guy. I’m 5’10”. I’m average for a guy, and she’s like, oh my gosh, she’s so tiny. I’m like yeah, she is, but she’s also so incredibly muscular, which can make you look big in pictures and stuff. So, I just thought that was interesting. That’s one thing that I’m going to start doing a little bit because I tend to get very – I often times say never do someone else’s workout because you’re going to get your ass beat. And every time Nat and I are together, she ends up doing my workout. She’s also been CrossFitting for a very long time and I’m just into it, so I choose the workouts, and I’m usually the one getting my ass beat in them because I’m trying to keep up with her. But that’s the first thing I kind of wanted to talk to you about, is just sort of this approach you take to the gym just ‘cause I think it is really interesting and I thought I could benefit from it. And I just want to listeners to try to get a sense of this, because I don’t think we normally think this way at all. Normally it’s like, let me just get through this, I’m terrified, or I’m like, I’m in so much pain and this sucks, or let me beat this person, let me beat this person.
Nat: [18:06] Exactly.
Jade: [18:07] And instead, you’re in there being I’m grateful, this is amazing, I can’t believe I get to do this, oh my God this is wonderful, Jade’s here, we’re training, we’re having fun, that kind of thing. So, let me ask you the next thing though, and this is sort of where I think people can really sort of benefit from your expertise. One of the things that you and I share is we share this sort of understanding, sort of the science behind and the manipulation of keeping the metabolism healthy and functional, and even helping the metabolism recover when stress has been overdone. Any kind of stress, really, but especially I know for you, a lot of it has been training stress because you kind of got yourself into this sort of – it’s a bad word in our field now – but – I kind of like it – “metabolic damage.” Obviously, your metabolism doesn’t break, it’s just doing what it does, it essentially adapts. But it can adapt to the point where it is really struggling, and you can have symptoms of illness. So, what I want you to do is walk us through a little bit of that story, because I think when people see the elite nature of you, and then they can understand – oh my God, look what happened to her, this can really happen to individuals. Then, let’s you and I get into helping them understand nutritional training and lifestyle strategies, and even supplements maybe if you want to go there, to deal with this. But I really like for people to hear what happened to you, because I would think that most people think that doesn’t happen, and it absolutely happened to you. Walk us through what was going on, your training style, and everything you were doing, and how you essentially woke up one day with the inability to lose weight, puffy, feeling awful, not being able to function anymore, and going from this elite athlete state to this kind of beat down, tired, fatigued, sick individual.
Nat: [20:02] Yeah. It started off I think, I mean, I spent probably the past 10 years training about 5-6 hours a day for the CrossFit games.
Jade: [20:12] Which is fucking insane when you think about that. Like, listen, 5-6 hours a day, and that’s legit.
Nat: [20:19] Probably 5-6 days a week.
Jade: [20:20] That was your job, basically.
Nat: [20:21] Oh, yeah. Yeah. And it felt like a job. So, I did that for probably 8-9 years. Then, I did a bodybuilding competition, and I used the same approach that I was doing with CrossFit and I brought it to bodybuilding. I was like, I’m just going, you know, I’m going to win, I’m the hardest worker in the room, and so I trained 5-6 hours a day on eating very low calories. The first time it worked really well. I got super shredded, and then I signed up for another show and it didn’t work so well, and I actually ended up not doing that 2nd show. That’s when I transitioned back into CrossFit to compete, and I got back – so, this whole time I was training a lot, but this time, when I was actually starting to compete in CrossFit, it was during the open – I can’t remember what year it was, but within 2 months – I remember that I gained 20lbs in 2 months because I had a bathing suit that I bought in January, and in March I went to put it on – it was in the middle of the season – and I couldn’t fit a single leg in this brand new bathing suit that I had.
Jade: [21:30] I remember you told me this story. I’m like, a leg? And you were like, no Jade, seriously, I bought this bathing suit and I couldn’t fit one leg in it, and it fit me. I don’t know why it makes me laugh so much because I’m like you sure it didn’t shrink or something?
Nat: [21:44] No. I hadn’t worn it. And that’s what I said! I was like this looks like a kid’s bathing suit, because I wasn’t weighing myself. When you’re an athlete, you’re just – you perform. I thought I was actually – I thought something was up because my gymnastics were getting so much harder, my muscle ups, all that stuff, and I asked my coach, I’m like, “Coach, I think I’m gaining weight. Like, I feel fat.” And he’s like you’re just a girl, you’re fine.
Jade: [22:10] Get over it. You’re absolutely fine.
Nat: [22:12] Exactly. I’m like, ok.
Jade: [22:13] Train harder.
Nat: [22:14] Yeah. Listen to him. But, this was a very real, you know, this was when I realized, holy crap, something’s going on here. Because I thought, I actually thought it was my girlfriend’s bathing suit. Turned out it was mine and that’s when I realized that, you know, I weighed myself and gained 20lbs, and I immediately went to the CVS or something and bought a glucose glucometer and it was reading high. It was in the 1-teens. So, that’s when I realized – I didn’t know actually what happened, because I wasn’t really educated in that right then. I was just educated on your typical calories in, calories out kind of thing. I didn’t understand that stress could make you fat, had no idea. Even my coach, my nutrition coach I was working with, he didn’t even think that; he couldn’t tell me.
Jade: [23:13] Well, even today I would say, even today people would – there are people listening to this, you know, popular people in our field, actually, and doctors and physicians who would say that can’t happen – yet clinically we see it. So, let’s stop. Let me just go back and reframe for everybody what’s happening. Here she is going through CrossFit, training for CrossFit, eating and training, she decides she’s going to do a bodybuilding contest. Those of you who don’t know, this is essentially – bodybuilding in general is pretty, if you’re doing it just recreationally, you’re eating enough and training enough. Some kind of eat more, exercise more. But when you get on stage, you’re doing an extreme version of eat less, exercise more. What’s interesting about your story, having done bodybuilding before, the average bodybuilder getting ready for a show trains maybe 2 hours, maybe 3 hours maybe if they’re crazy, but 2 hours is a long time to stay in the gym. So, you’re still doing 5-6 hours in the gym, eating like a bodybuilder, which these very low carbohydrate diets, calories falling, carbs falling up ‘til, and you get through the first one and look freakin’ amazing. Of course, this makes your mind go, oh wow, that’s great. The 2nd one, this is when your metabolism starts, and those of you who listen to my podcast know, this is where the metabolic compensation starts kicking in, the metabolic resistance starts kicking in, she starts not feeling well. Then, she goes back into CrossFit after this very depleted bodybuilding sort of foray, starts doing all the CrossFit training again, still all this training, and all of a sudden the metabolism goes nuh-uh, I’m not having it, and you end up putting on an excessive amount of weight in a short period of time. I won’t go too far into this, but I had a similar experience in my life where I was bartending, personal training, and going to medical school for about a 6-9 month period, and that’s where I actually – my thyroid essentially blew up and I gained 30 pounds over that time. My metabolism has really been the same since. But you and I share that experience and it was a highly stressful state for both of us. So, where did you go from there then? Now here you are 20lbs heavier, and you have this funny picture that you show, that you see sometimes, where it’s like you woke up in the morning, your face just looks like elephant man, and you’re like what the hell has happened to Nat? So, then what? How did you deal with this? Because, obviously, that’s not a fun physical state to be in. You’re actually prediabetic, even though you’re training like crazy and eating good; and psychologically, you’re probably looking at yourself being like what the hell happened to my physique.
Nat: [25:54] Yeah. Well, I realized very quickly that I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing, because I didn’t want – I mean, I want to compete and all, but the last thing I want to do is get fat from exercising. You know?
Jade: [26:12] Which say that again, right? That’s what’s so funny. In a sense, that’s exactly what happened.
Nat: [26:19] Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s funny, because I was using exercise as a means to, as a health, you know, something healthy, and that very thing went down to the extreme, made me fat.
Jade: [26:30] And let me – sorry to interrupt you, I’m talking a lot – but I do just want to say this for the listeners, here’s the one thing that I think Nat would agree with, and I just want to caution everyone, this does not happen to the vast majority of people. It does not happen to most people. However, the fact is, it does happen to a minority of individuals. And you’re kind of talking to 2 that it has happened to, and you’re talking to 2 people who see this. So, I don’t want people going around like I broke my metabolism, I broke my metabolism. What you have to understand is that it’s more that you stress to such an excessive degree that your body has started to manifest illness. It’s as simple as that. The body’s just doing what it’s designed to do. So, it’s not that you’re broken forever – although we do have some studies, like the Biggest Loser study, saying there are some metabolic changes that can last at least up to 6 years when people do this excessive dieting – but I don’t know that we want to call it, necessarily, metabolic damage, in the sense that it’s really something broken you can’t fix. Obviously, you have kind of made it back, so now I want to walk us through, and then you and I together can go through people who are dealing with this, you know, how to potentially fix it.
Nat: [27:39] Yeah. Well, nobody at first could help me, until I found you. So, I’m not sure how I found you. Oh, it was through the podcast, and I heard your story, and I was like that’s what happened to me!
Jade: [27:51] Now, see, I never heard you tell me this before. That’s interesting, ok.
Nat: [27:54] Then I think that’s when I signed up for one of your courses, and I went, and then you helped me figure out kind of what had happened. But before that, I realized I had to lay off the training, and what I was doing was not working, and so I had to pull out of the competition. That was extremely hard. And just pulling out of the gym was hard. I actually ended up, my boyfriend and I, we went camping for 2 weeks, we took the dirt bikes out because I couldn’t not go to the gym, like it would drive me insane.
Jade: [28:27] So he’s like, babe, I’m just going to distract you to get you somewhere else.
Nat: [28:30] Yeah. So, we went somewhere without wifi, without service, and we just camped. And that was perfect. But then when we came back, I started to get back in the gym again and the whole process started back over. Until I met you and you helped me figure out how… how to manage my intensity, and do it in a way that was going to satisfy my hunger for the gym but not beat myself up and lead me to the same thing. Then, what happened is when I was – all that free time that I wasn’t spending in the gym, I started to take it really seriously to recover more. You know, like walk, and I naturally just started to do things out in nature again, kind of things that I actually really enjoy, but the gym was my life that I never had time to do that. And things just started to – my body started to fall back in place. Everything just started to shift right back. So, once I got my – started to really take care of myself and managed my intensity.
Jade: [29:31] One thing, actually, it’s really interesting just to think about this, and I want to see your thought on this, but one of the things that you and both teach is we teach this idea of rest and recovery activities, almost treating them as workouts and scheduling them in. Things like nature walks out in green settings; these are relaxing walks. Things like physical affection, massage, foam rolling, mobility work, contrast hydrotherapy, creative pursuits. But one of the things I just recognized now when you were talking to me is one of the things you did, because I remember you told me this, is all this extra time that you had – this is one of the things that I love about you, you’re sort of a next level human in this regard – you started coaching people way more, teaching people way more. So, you went from sort of this self-focused, driven, all about me in the gym, and winning and winning, and performing and performing, and training and training, and one of the things that you did was begin to help others. It just dawned on me, think about that. You and I need to start including that in the list of rest and recovery activities, because there’s nothing more stress reducing, I think, than helping another human.
Nat: [30:32] Definitely.
Jade: [30:33] And giving of ourselves and our purpose. So, I’m going to start remembering to include that. Helping others is another thing that we as humans will reduce our stress. There’s no doubt about that.
Nat: [30:44] Yeah, I love that. That’s really cool. I’m going to use that too.
Jade: [30:48] But, you know, so here’s the interesting thing. Then, you started sort of being that ok, if I’m going to put out this amount of activity, I need to start equally looking at rest and recovery and repair and regeneration. You started to really put together a lifestyle that was still gym based, but also rest and recovery based. Walk us through, so people can kind of understand, I know it’s different for everybody, but what were some of those activities and how did they start to manifest? Like, did you go from 5-6 hours in the gym and then you were out walking 5-6 hours? Or like what actually was your time like now all of a sudden as you started to pull back? I mean, you still were training everyday, right? Did you go – like, I want to just know what the numbers were. Were you still daily in the gym and that was one hour now instead of six? And what else were you doing?
Nat: [31:38] So, it was slow. It was a slow – it was like a clenched fist, and you were just like just barely letting go, and then you realize that oh, I’m not fat, like, by not working out so much. And I feel good, and so it was just loosen up the grip a little bit more, and then, I have a normal life now.
Jade: [31:58] Tell me – ok, that’s interesting. So, tell me about that because I get that all the time from clients, and I know you do too, when we tell them stop exercising so much, and it’s a control point for them and they think they’re going to get fat; and some people do bump up just slightly for a second. Then, all of a sudden, they find, oh my gosh, I’m doing way less. I mean, how many emails and texts have you gotten like that from clients where they’re like you won’t believe it, and you’re like yeah, I do believe it. Tell us about that sort of part, that struggle where you were like oh my God, I’m going to get fatter now.
Nat: [32:28] Yeah, I was scared, but I didn’t have a choice, you know, so it’s actually really great that I was stuck where I was. I didn’t have another direction to go. That’s when I really started to see that rest days were an opportunity to burn fat. As long as I able to do my rest and recovery activities and keep my calories low, I woke up leaner the next day. That’s cool because, you know, we all want to look good, feel good, and… and not be obsessive with food. So, it sort of just reset everything, and it gave you a reason to go out in nature and just like, I don’t know, just – it was just a really cool outlet. But… yeah, you were saying like how did I get there. We started off, I was training 7 days a week. I would just start with, you know, had 1 rest day. Then, it was like well, instead of all the days that I was training, instead of them all being green, I made 3 of them yellow and 2 of them green – or maybe it was actually 3 green or 4 green. So, I just cut it down, like the intensity, which was a relief because I was exhausting myself in the gym. So, knowing that I gave myself permission to not kill myself in the gym, it was nice, and my body started to like that too. So, that’s just kind of what happened, is I just started to back off the intensity. Then, my 5 hours a day became 4 hours, became 3 hours, and so now I’m down to an hour, and it’s really cool.
Jade: [34:04] And it’s insane for you, right?
Nat: [34:06] Yeah!
Jade: [34:07] Ok, let’s go backwards for everyone, because – I apologize, because I just like to kind of just do this – so, it sounds like Stage 1 for you was just awareness. It’s like, I’m stuck, I’m going to have to do something, and it’s uncomfortable. Stage 2 for you is this idea of being introduced to the concept of ok, I am going to start chunking my days into intense days – green days – days where I’m just sort of in that middle zone, I’m in the gym, but not trying to kill myself – yellow days – and then I’m going to look at red days. And red days for me, and I’d be interested in your red days, but for me, red days are where I do nothing but rest and recovery activities, and they also include very low calories. Maybe I’m fasting that day or something like that. But that seems like that was Stage 1 and 2. Stage 1 awareness, Stage 2 managing the intensity in your workouts by sort of understanding this green and yellow and red thing. And you’ve actually expanded and perfected this to a degree that I haven’t even. It’s like you’ve taken it to the next level, and I love to hear you talk about that; but then it sounds like there is a Stage 3 here, and a Stage 3 I want you to talk about, which is this terminology and vocabulary that you and I often use, and you refer to it differently than I do sometimes, but we talk about this idea of cycling E-L, E-L, and E-M, E-M inside of these training days. There’s certain days you’re eating like a damn horse, and other days you’re not eating like that. This was also, I think, an awareness thing that you started to do. So, walk us through, like if someone’s understanding this, where first you have to take that leap, which you did. Second, you really have to start understanding managing training stress with rest and recovery activities, and these 3 sort of degrees of intensities. And then, you have to start understanding how to now partition your nutrition inside of this. How did you manage that? What did you start doing differently, if anything, with nutrition?
Nat: [36:08] So, I just – well, back then I was macro, like I was all about the macros. I tracked everything. So, I held on to that and I had very specific – like I had high carb days on my green days, moderately carb on my yellow, and very low – as low as I can – on my red days while staying full and balanced and everything. But then I took it the next step further, which was – then I started to maybe not track one meal, or not track one day, and that was really easy to do on red days, and that was like me dipping my toe in the water a little bit. Like, releasing my grip off of the obsession of tracking food.
Jade: [36:48] Maybe a little more intuitive now on red days.
Nat: [36:50] Exactly. Which is perfect on a red day. Then, I started to do the same thing with the yellows. I was like ok, well, let’s try just not tracking one meal on yellow days, or a full yellow. Now, I just… I don’t track at all, but I have a really good awareness. I know, you know, like on my green days, that’s the days where I’m going to have more rice, maybe more pasta, maybe more fruit, stuff like that. I don’t even track how many meals anymore, but I will give my clients a structure because they do need structure.
Jade: [37:28] Yeah, I often times say this, and maybe you want to say something about this, but I often times say it’s very easy for someone like you to become an intuitive eater partly – well, not easy, because you still have to release the psychological grip – but you have a lot of reps in the kitchen, and on the weighing scale, and in the calculator, and on My Fitness Pal. You know pretty much what a 8oz chicken breast is, like that’s 300 calories and about 30 grams of protein, and you know that. You just start to know that. So, I often times say intuitive eating, which I think should be the goal for most people, unless you are a performer and an athlete, you’re maybe going to have to be a little bit more structured, but I think most people need to get there. However, I’m not so sure they can get there without a period of time where they are tracking and getting some reps. It’s kind of like a pilot who intuits something wrong with the plane. He’s not going to be able to know there’s something wrong with the plane unless he’s got a lot of reps in the air, and he’s sort of sitting – that reminds me of that dude Sully who landed the plane in the Hudson River in New York City, where he takes off and they’re telling him, you can make it back to the runway; he’s like, he feels intuitively something’s wrong with that plane. But the reason that he can do that is because as a pilot, he’s taken off thousands of times, he knows what that plane can do, and I think same with us. We can be a little more intuitive because we’ve actually had a lot of the reps.
Nat: [38:49] Exactly.
Jade: [38:50] So, I just want to see if you have any thought on that, or tidbits for people who are trying to make that same – because you’ve moved to a very intuitive state with training, a very intuitive state mentally and emotionally, and now in a very intuitive state nutrition – and you of all of people, you were a self-admitted fitness addict and obsessive-compulsive around nutrition, and now you’re the opposite pretty much.
Nat: [39:13] Yeah. I think the #1 thing is just really just… I think practicing awareness. You can do a lot of that in the gym, or on your red days, or with the emotional intention, or literally just sitting still, sitting quiet, going on walks without listening to anything, just starting to kind of listen to yourself. And the same when you’re eating, you know, like what are you craving, what are you hungry for. Because, I mean, people are always wondering well, how many carbs should I have, or what should I have; and it’s like well, what are you craving because you can eat a whole meal and maybe you’re, you know, because you didn’t have some type of starch in that meal, you’re going to continue eating until you have a cookie or something like that. Whereas if you just would’ve had the cookie in the first place, then you could’ve probably had a really small salad and you would’ve been good.
Jade: [40:12] And this where a good coach comes in. I do think people who don’t have this, they do need a coach for a little while. It’s kind of like training wheels, it’s part of the why people can’t necessarily figure this out. One of that things that’s interesting about Nat that you did today, I was like, it’s kind of like meditation, and you were like yeah, this is where I meditate. It’s interesting because I don’t necessarily see you cross-legged, index fingers and thumbs oming. You don’t meditate like that, but your mindfulness has been honed in very sort of frenetic, loud places like the gym, or the kitchen, or life’s going on around you, because you’re someone I know stays very busy, yet you’ve honed this mindful state. It’s almost like you’ve just decided that I train mindfulness when it’s most busy, and it’s served you. It’s a really interesting thing.
Nat: [41:02] Yeah. Yeah, it’s – I think it’s interesting too. I do meditate, probably 3 times week.
Jade: [41:09] A sit down.
Nat: [41:10] Sitting still and doing that, because I think that’s important too, by not moving, and not having to do something, and I think that helps. But, yeah, the gym is definitely – like sometimes I don’t listen to anything. Sometimes I’ll listen to meditation stuff, like meditative music and chants.
Jade: [41:26] That was hilarious when we were talking about that today, yeah.
Nat: [41:28] Yeah, and I just zone in. It’s like literally a time warp.
Jade: [41:31] Yeah, I asked her today, and I said what are you listening to; she goes, well, sometimes I listen to, you know, guru somebody, sometimes I listen to you on your podcast, and Tony Robbins, and others time I listen to like punk rock. And I was like that is hilarious. I’ve never listened to a podcast in a workout.
Nat: [41:48] Very rarely do I listen to music now. It’s always something to feed my mind. I’m always feeding my mind or building my mindset.
Jade: [41:56] I’m always listening to angry hip-hop or Tool, or something like that. Alright, so before we go, what I want us to do is let’s give them sort of some take-homes in terms of like, let’s say this is someone who really wants to try this on their own, they found that they’re in some degree of metabolic compensation or metabolic resistance or metabolic damage, and maybe we even want to walk them through how to know. We can do that together, like how do you know and what are the stages of this that you and I talk about, and then the beginning sort of steps of how this would be. Like, how do you know when you’re in metabolic compensation or resistance or damage, and how you then get out of each of those.
Nat: [42:39] Well, metabolic compensation, I feel like everybody gets into that really quickly. That’s just your standard hunger, energy, cravings out of balance, your typical feels when you’re doing a diet.
Jade: [42:51] Yeah, which kicks in about how long for you? For me, it’s about 7 days.
Nat: [42:56] Dude.
Jade: [42:57] When’s it kick in for you? 4 days?
Nat: [42:58] Mine’s quick. It’s quick. Yeah, so I get in and I get out.
Jade: [43:02] I see compensation – when I start a program, first few days suck, but you know, you’re just getting into it. But then I get in a little groove for like 4 days, and then ope, there it comes. Hunger, cravings, I want a burger, pizza. That happens to everyone. For you, it happens about 4 days. For me, it happens in about 7 days. Everyone hits it. How do you deal with that? What do you typically recommend at that stage for someone who’s sort of in compensation, they’re starting to see the hunger and energy and cravings get out of check. I call that HEC out of check. What do you recommend they do at that point?
Nat: [43:34] Go to a different phase. Usually my go-to is a red day. So, E-L, E-L, where I reset. Because that’s where I can – so I don’t go into the gym, I go walk, I do all my recovery workouts, and I try to reset my hunger and just eat as little as I can. And because I’m not training, I should naturally eat less. It’s just going to be easier. That will usually, just even one day of that will kind of reset me. Then, maybe I’ll go into a yellow day, where I’ll eat some, exercise some, But, really, it’s just a matter of switching phases.
Jade: [44:14] Any phase will work. For me, sometimes I keep on the train, so I just bump up my cals a little bit, and that takes care of it, which bumps up my intensity. It’s kind of counterintuitive for a lot of people because they go, why would you eat less, and if you listen to what Nat said, she’s saying I exercise less and I eat less. What a lot of people don’t realize is that exercise is a hunger promoter, so by her taking the day off, her exercise is less suppressed. Also, by the way, food, because of some of its potent flavors, can stimulate you wanting to eat more food. So, what she’s essentially doing is saying I’m exercising less so I’m not as hungry, and I reduce my food intake, and my highly palatable food intake especially, and all of a sudden, I don’t need to eat as much, and I’m back to balance.
Nat: [44:59] And that’s on a good day, right? Sometimes it doesn’t happen like that. You know, sometimes when those cravings are out of whack – I’ve had my cravings out of whack one time where I… it was out for like 3 weeks, because I was moving too and that was a stress on me. That’s another good time where it’s like ok, well, if red days aren’t working, we’ll go green, because if we can’t control the cravings, well then, let’s at least utilize the calories that you are eating to build muscle.
Jade: [45:45] Yeah. It’s interesting, right? You listen to what Nat’s saying – she’s like, I can go E-L, E-L, which is eat less, exercise less, red day, little food. I can just keep training like I’m training, add some food in. I can do sort of this eat some, exercise some sort of yellow day. And a lot of people have done this, which can backfire, which is go into E-M, E-L, which is eat more, exercise less, a red day where you kind of have a cheat meal. That can work for some people, but that’s where I tend to see it go slippery slope because that cheat meal can turn into a cheat month. But, it sounds like what you’re telling us is when you hit metabolic compensation, you need to change up the relationship between training and nutrition, and try to match them. If you’re going to take a day off, take a day off eating, or eat less. If you’re going to train harder that day, eat a little bit more. Match those two up, because the way Nat and I like to talk about is the gap between calories often times is the stress that’s triggering the hunger and cravings. Whether it’s you’re being a couch potato or you’re being the dieter, both of those can relate to stress and cause hunger and cravings. So, that’s compensation. Now, let’s get into the next stage, which would be metabolic resistance. Walk us through what happens there. That’s when, you know, now, you’ve been kind of willpowering it and you’ve hit a plateau. You’re like, I’m stilling eating less, exercising more, I’m trying to push it, and now your body, the hunger and cravings are more, and your body’s now in a plateau and will not move. How do we jiggle ourselves off of this metabolic resistance state?
Nat: [46:52] Usually some of the symptoms with this is just going to be the next level, where you’re probably going to start to see your energy’s really up and down, or low motivation, sleep is going to start to be disturbed, and for women, the menses cycle is going to start either coming early or irregular, heavy or light or something like that. So, with that, I usually, you know, if the symptoms are worse, then we’ll go more towards a red day. Because that’s the thing, is I work with a lot of people that love to workout, and so a lot of times, going into E-M, E-M isn’t going to help them. What they need to do is just rest and recover.
Jade: [47:39] Yeah.
Nat: [47:40] So, that’s usually, you know, I’ll make – we’ll usually just go like a light, or maybe like a red-yellow day, like a reddish yellow if they need to get in the gym. Because it’s important that we keep them happy. I don’t want them depressed because they can’t go into the gym.
Jade: [47:54] And I typically, I think my approach there is I start to go back and forth, cycling back and forth. How are you on time?
Nat: [47:59] 15 minutes.
Jade: [48:00] 15 minutes, cool. I kind go cycle back and forth on time. So, I’ll go E-L, E-L maybe for a week, E-M, E-M for a week, E-L, E-L for a week, E-M, E-M for a week, so it’s sort of this back and forth for me to try to jiggle them off. But, sometimes you’re right, that can be tough, especially when you work with a clientele that’s a little bit more exercise fanatical. So, let’s get into this last stage. By the way, if you listen very closely what Nat was saying about the first part, compensation is really about hunger cravings. Then, the second part, resistance, is really about – notice how she said ok, now, you still got the hunger cravings, but now you’re seeing sleep disruption, fragmentation of sleep, you start seeing mood changes, you’re not feeling quite as vital, and your energy starts to become a little bit unpredictable and unstable. You see the difference? So, I often times talk about HEC – hunger, energy, and cravings – H-E-C, and then metabolic resistance is a little bit more about SHMEC – sleep, hunger, mood, energy, cravings – start to go out of check. When Nat and I use these kind of terms, we also – SHMEC and HEC are really just an indication of biofeedback – all biofeedback – so menses would fall into that, libido would fall into that, erections would fall into that. The reason I bring up libido, menses, and erections is because we humans are built for reproduction, and if we’re under too much stress, our body doesn’t want to reproduce, which is kind of what begins to happen as we go from resistance into “metabolic damage,” or probably a better thing is metabolic damage, metabolic dysfunction, or even metabolic disease. This is where you start getting now you might have actual hypothyroid. Now you may actually lose your menses. Maybe men are not being able to maintain or sustain – gain or maintain and sustain erections. Maybe women start to lose their libido. You start to see where that whey protein shake that you use to tolerate just fine starts to cause a lot of gas and bloating. So, now all of a sudden, it’s not just sleep, hunger, mood, energy and cravings, it’s libido, menses, erection, digestion, and even migraines and other things. And this is where people might show up and be like I need Nat, or I need Jade, or I need my physician to help me out with this. Now, what’s your approach here once people hit this state, which you hit this in a major way when you and I first met.
Nat: [50:16] Yeah, so usually when they come to me with that, when they’re experiencing all those systems – and typically, the digestion is always, like that’s always a key thing. You know, they’re bloated all the time, they’re gassy, and maybe that have a water-logged look. So, that’s usually some classic signs. But, I’ll take them through a, basically, a metabolic kind of rehab. I’ll go pretty intense for the first week where we get maybe 2 days in the gym, maybe 3 days, that are really light days, and we focus on just a lot of recovery and low intake of foods. It’s basically kind of like a short gut protocol for 5-7 days, and we’ll see, depending on how much change happens within that week, if there’s a large drop in weight, then we realize that there was a lot of stress on the system. That’ll indicate to me ok, how extreme is this, do we need to go into a full gut protocol, or can we start to – or maybe they don’t lose that much weight, so they just needed a break for like a week. The tricky thing for me is, since I work with people who love the gym, it’s just ok, we just got to keep them in there enough to keep them happy, but just make sure that they don’t go super hard.
Jade: [51:41] Yeah. What’s really interesting for me, and I know you run into this too, people – the idea that you’re cutting down food, and a lot of people go why would you do that, they’re needing nutrition, they’re training too much, and part of the reason that we do that is because their system can’t handle it. The gas and bloating and all the digestive stuff that comes up at this point is telling you. You give them more food, it actually, they can’t do it; their whole system needs a break. And by the way, this is where I start to lean very heavily on adaptogens and stuff like that, which I’m going to have my brother, Dr. Keoni Teta, who’s more of an expert in the area than me, come on and talk to you all about adaptogens. But that’s where Nat and I start working with adaptogens. So, you can see as we had this conversation with Nat, there’s sort of like this very interesting 3-part process to this – managing training stress and understanding how to address that, when to go hard, when not to; managing sort of the lifestyle, emotional states, and how you manage that kind of stuff in the gym, and mindfulness and the awareness around this; and then this idea of managing macronutrients and sort of balancing that with exercise, where we start to have this conversation of vocabulary around eating less and exercising less, and eating more and exercising more, and eating some and exercising some, and understanding this natural progression that people can go through. So, this is essentially where I don’t do a whole lot of this work anymore, so normally I’m sending them to Nat when people are just like hey, are you still seeing clients? I’m like you need to see Nat, this is what she does. Tell people how to get in touch with you and how they can work with you if this is something that is going on with them. Where can they find you? How do you work your consults and that kind of stuff?
Nat: [53:18] So, the easiest way to find me, I’m most active on instagram. My handle’s @natalie.newhart, and if you want a free resource, I actually have a downloadable guide for women specifically, and it’ll tell them how to tailor their diet and exercise with their menstrual cycle to get the most benefits. And not only that, but women who love the gym and don’t want to get themselves into this situation where it’s constant burnout, it cycles their diet between green-yellow-red, and then I also have a black week.
Joe: [53:49] Yeah, so it’s interesting, you have a free thing that teaches them this whole thing we just talked about.
Nat: [53:53] Yeah.
Jade: [53:54] You definitely got to go hook up that thing.
Nat: [53:56] Yeah. So, that’s the link in my bio. You can get that for free, and-
Jade: [53:59] By the way, just let them know how to spell your last name. Natalie, how do you spell the Newhart?
Nat: [54:03] Newhart is N-E-W-H-A-R-T. But, I have – I’m on the instagram daily. You can always reach out to me there. I interact with everybody. The other thing is, if you want to schedule a 30 minute breakthrough call, I’ll spend 30 minutes reviewing kind of where you’re at, what you’re struggling with, what your goals are, and really pinpoint where your weaknesses lie. I’ll run them through a system that I have to really see what they need to be working on to start seeing results. That’s available to everybody, and you can go to talktonat.com, or you can just reach out to me through instagram and set that up.
Jade: [54:45] Cool. I love you, buddy. Thanks for coming to visit me in L.A. and see you soon. Thanks for being here everybody. We’ll see you on the next episode.