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589: Breaking Fitness and Nutrition Myths: The Key Secrets to Muscle Growth and Optimal Nutrition with Borge Fagerli

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589: Breaking Fitness and Nutrition Myths: The Key Secrets to Muscle Growth and Optimal Nutrition with Borge Fagerli

In today’s episode Ted interviews Borge Fagerli, one of the most knowledgeable trainers on nutrition and exercise in Norway.

They talk about Borge’s health scare and the changes he made to his diet and lifestyle. They discuss the importance of challenging beliefs and experimenting with different approaches to nutrition and training.

Borge shares his experience with LDL cholesterol and the need to consider individual factors when it comes to health markers. They also delve into the Myo-Reps method and its recent updates.

Borge explains how Myo-Reps training can save time and increase efficiency while still providing the necessary stimulus for muscle growth. They also delve into the balance between effort and recovery, emphasizing the need to listen to one’s body and avoid overtraining. Listen now!


Today’s Guest

Borge Fagerli

Borge Fagerli is one of the most knowledgeable trainers on nutrition and exercise in Norway. He has developed Myo-Reps scientifically proven to build muscle and strength with 70% less time spent in the gym.

An expert with 25+ years experience leading 5000+ people through complete mind and body transformations, Borge is obsessed with achieving optimal mental and physical performance through the most efficient strategies – because he believes that time is our most valuable asset.


Connect to Borge Fagerli


Instagram:  @borgefagerli 

X: @BorgeFagerli 


You’ll learn:

  • Debunking fitness and nutrition myths and embracing a holistic approach
  • The power of myo-reps in transforming your workout
  • Refining myo-reps: latest research and practical insights
  • The importance of recovery and knowing your body
  • Coaching strategies for optimal training and recovery
  • The holistic approach to fitness: beyond the gym
  • The role of coaching in achieving personal breakthroughs
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

294: 7 Secrets For Better Results In The Gym (And What Mistakes To Avoid) with Borge Fagerli 

569: How to Become Unstoppable In 2024 Series: Part 2: Mastering Your Training: The Exercise Blueprint For A Fitter, Stronger & Pain-Free Body 

546: Ted’s Fitness Journey of Excessive Exercise & Strict Eating (And The 5 Body Transformation Rules That Will Get You Into The Best Shape Of Your Life) with Ted Ryce 


Podcast Transcription: Breaking Fitness and Nutrition Myths: The Key Secrets to Muscle Growth and Optimal Nutrition with Borge Fagerli

Ted Ryce: Borge, thanks so much for coming on the show again. It's been a couple of years since we first spoke. And I know we have a lot to catch up on, but first of all, how you doing my friend? 

Borge Fagerli: I'm great, thank you. Thanks for asking. So, I am almost 50 now, so I'm doing the best I can to stay in shape. 

Ted Ryce: And that's exactly what I want to get into today because just to give the listeners some background, you came on, you were on episode “294: Seven Secrets for Better Results in the Gym and What Mistakes to Avoid”. And you are the person who created Myo-Reps, something that I've used a lot with myself, with my clients. 

And if you're listening right now, you don't know what Myo-Reps are, don't worry, we're going to get into that, but you need to stick around.  

And you also had a bit of a health scare as well due to a low carb high fat diet.  And so again, if you're listening right now and you think low carb is the way to go, well, there's some things that you should know about it. And Borge, I know you're going to, you're going to get into that today. So, talk to me about since we last spoke. Talk about your health scare, if you will. 

Borge Fagerli: Um, yeah, just, um, being proactive, I guess. So, I, uh, I thought I would do a complete health check and I went to a cardiologist and, uh, did, uh, you know, EKG and a stress test where you ride on the bike until you're exhausted and to record, uh, on an EKG if you have any extra systoles, you know, uh, if the heart beats double instead of single beats. 

And they discovered that indeed I did. And there was a lot of them. So, I was sent to an MRI and a CT and just to check on the status of my, you know, my calcium score and also like an angiograph where they took an image of all of my arteries. 

And I had a CAC score of 98, which is like borderline, like early stages of atherosclerosis. And just a week prior to that, I just got the results back on the day of this test that I had a really high level of oxidized LAL. So that indicates there's something going on and indeed the scans confirmed that. So, before that I had general again, I guess you could call me an LDL denialist, listening to all of the advice that, you know, it doesn't matter as long as you're lean and muscular and having high LDL doesn't need to be dangerous for you. And apparently in my case it was, so I had mild atherosclerosis and the EKG reflected that. There was something going on. The heart wasn't functioning correctly. 

So, I had to do a complete 180 and address that obviously, get my LDL levels down. And interesting thing I guess was that just by diet alone, I managed to reduce my LDL. I switched to like a higher carb, lower fat diet. I was very strict about my saturated fat intake. I will note that there is some hereditary stuff going on here. So I'm not saying that. 

You know, for some low carb can be really therapeutic as long as you're losing weight. I was already at a lean body weight. So it wasn't that I had, whether it's like an inflammation or, um, just. Like I said, in a hereditary condition that makes me susceptible to atherosclerosis, but, um, whatever the reason it was not very healthy for me.  

And the dietary changes, I dropped my LDL by 60% and I added a statin on top of that and managed to drop it like another 20 to 30%, which was kind of funny because the cardiologist claimed that diet would only reduce my LDL by 5 to 10% and the statin would reduce it by 70% and with me it was the opposite. And I managed to get my LDL really low.  

So, my last test was really promising. I'm also like using supplements and like Natto and you know, Vitamin C and just basically throwing the kitchen sink at it. But trying to be mindful of my diet first and foremost and just getting really lean first.  

I might have like a higher fat threshold or something. I was skinny as a kid and that could be why, you know, healthy body fat range is like 10 to 15%. I was closer to 15% and I was obviously not healthy for me. So, getting to 10% and also the dietary modifications, doing more cardio. And I managed to get my LDL down from the two fifties and down to 58. And showing some signs now of reversal so hopefully I can keep that up, I guess. 

Ted Ryce: So many things and I know it's been a while since we talked, but I was a bit of a cholesterol and calorie denier, came from the low carb camp, was let's say part of the Paul Check, Weston Price camp cult. It's probably better, better term. So, you know, if it, if it, if your ancestors 500 years ago were eating it, it's fine. Right. Doesn't matter what what anybody says, especially doctors about cholesterol. Although I do want to get into what your doctor said about the statin versus diet, because a lot of doctors throw stats out there and a lot of doctors are wrong in this case.  

So, a couple of things I want to talk about because you mentioned personal fat threshold. And if you're listening right now, if you don't know what that is, what Borge is saying is that for him, it was healthier to be at 10% because 10% body fat, which is quite lean by today's standards.  

And the reason is because genetically some people, we know that Asians in general and South Asians typically have a lower fat threshold than, you know, than people in the West as example.  

But you're one of the exceptions. And I think I am too. I'm around 15%. I just have my blood done and my fasting glucose was a little bit higher than what I would want it. And, uh, it was normal, but not optimal. I, you know, based on the data I've looked at and my LDL cholesterol was a little bit high and I'm quite lean. And I was super active in those, in the three months, um, prior to getting my levels tested. 

And I think the big lesson here is that you can't rely on what anyone says. You have to rely on data and you need to make sure no matter who you're listening to, you get your blood test done.  

And if there's something off, it doesn't matter who said what. If we agree that a particular marker like LDL cholesterol or, um, whatever, C peptide, fasting, insulin, fasting, glucose, hemoglobin, A1C. If that stuffs off your diet isn't healthy. So,  anything you want to say about that? 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah, no, I completely agree. And I believed that was eating healthy. And, you know, I went all the way into like a high fat, low protein, carnivore diet for a while. And I basically did it all. And, um, I had some improvements in especially digestive function. 

But I couldn't seem to get rid of like this low-grade inflammation. So, I would always have like some muscle or joints being painful, my shoulder, my neck, my hips, my low back, and for whatever reason, you know, you can only speculate, but now that I've changed my diet, I got my body fat down. Um, I'm, I wouldn't say pain free, but I mean at 50. 

And even stronger than before, I do believe I built some muscle and which at my training age shouldn't even be possible, but it's like my body just sucked up all of those carbs because it had been deprived of them for so many years.  

So, I responded really well to the dietary modification. And to me, again, also with my clients, I tend to see that by sticking to a certain dietary pattern for too long works well for a while and then it stops working.  

And you can say that for probably any dietary approach. So, it could be the change in diet. I also, I should mention, I had some subclinical hypothyroidism. So, my T3 levels were always on the really low side, low end of normal range. And I would have a low morning body temperature and low pulse.  

And also, since switching my diet, I would. you know, things would improve dramatically there. So, we know that thyroid function is also connected to cholesterol levels and just, you know, correcting that and everything just fell into place. So, you know, I don't know yet, but perhaps in a few months, I will begin to have elevated HbA1Z levels and C-peptide levels, but... 

Right now, they're just exceptional. My C-peptid is actually below the normal range. So that shows that my long-term insulin levels are really, really low, even though I'm eating like more than 400 grams of carbs per day.  

So yeah, at least to me, I'm not going to make any blanket statements because there's obviously a lot of people that have responded really well to low carb diets, but it seems to be mostly a function of losing body fat and whatever regulates your appetite better.  

And I've seen people switch from higher carb to lower carb and be able to regulate their appetite and lose weight effortlessly, implement fasting, lose weight effortlessly, but I've also seen it the other way around switching from one to the other, going from fasting to more regular meals and losing weight and feeling better.  

I think instead of trying to rely on, there's this blueprint for the perfect diet for everyone all the time. You know, you need to kind of stop listening to everyone and instead try to be curious about your own data and changes and perhaps be willing to experiment more to see whether you can respond to the opposite. And I'm a first principles kind of guy.  

So, I try to avoid getting stuck into a rigid routine or mindset or dogmatic view of whether it's nutrition and training and try to entertain the opposite side of the spectrum and even try that out for myself to see if it might expand my understanding of things instead of boxing me into this philosophy or religion. 

Ted Ryce: I hope everyone out there listening pays extra attention to what you just said. And I think there might be some misunderstandings about coaches like yourself and myself. I don't, I talk a good amount of, let's say smack, if you will, to use an American like term, right? About low carb diets. But I don't have an issue with the actual diet. 

I have an issue with some of the beliefs of the more extreme elements or more extreme people rather that are vocal on social media, trying to tell everybody, you know, calories don't matter. LDL doesn't matter.  

But what I really like talking, why I really like talking to like someone like yourself,  is we just view it as tools. If you come and work with me and I know the same is true for you, as you just mentioned, I don't, I don't care about intermittent fasting or low carb or high carb or any of that stuff. I experiment with my clients until we find something that works. And that's what I heard you just say as well.  

And I think also, um, I think that it's really important for people to know that you and I don't have the answers if we start working with someone. We have starting points and principles that we follow, but sometimes, I mean, I'll give an example of recently, I had a client almost, uh, it wasn't quite maybe a protein sparing modified fast, which if you're listening right now, um, it's a high protein, very low-calorie diet but like almost like a modified protein, sparing modified fast.  

And he lost 10 pounds initially, but then started plateauing. And if you, and I believe in calories as a first principle or even belief is probably not the right term. I've been convinced through evidence, piece of evidence after piece of evidence, cause I used to not believe in calories.  

But if you were, if you didn't have critical thinking also realize the nuances in calories in calories out. You might think, well, I got this guy in like 1300 calories. I need to drop it lower because calories in calories out and he's not losing weight. But what I did instead is I bumped up his calories.  

And as you mentioned with your, your example, that people start losing weight again, and we can, we can kind of, you know, go back and forth and speculate on why exactly that happens. But I think that's only something that you would know if you actually work with clients and work with clients for a long time. What do you, what are your thoughts on that? 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah, I mean, that's just my experience as well. I mean, just as last couple of weeks, I have one guy switch from a lower carb diet to a high carb diet and another guy switch from a high carb to a lower carb diet. And they're both getting better results from it. So it's, it's again about being curious and I would say teaching your client to be curious, you know, whatever you're doing now, if it's not working. 

Let's experiment with something else. You know, let's, let's experiment with like a protein and fat breakfast. Let's experiment with a high carb, low fat breakfast. You know, if what you're doing now is on the opposite side of the spectrum and see how you respond to that. And, um, the, the human organism is amazing. I mean, it's evolutionary program to survive and to reproduce.  

Let's not forget that. So, at any one time, there will be hundreds, thousands of checks and balances and mechanisms that are like the central governor here or the CEO of the company will allocate incoming resources in order to maximize efficiency. And whatever it does need, it might store for a rainy day on the account. 

Or it can just spend it depending on how safe the environment seems. So, I mean, I've had the same experience as you with lower calories and lower calories, and for myself, I have the same exact response. If I lower calories, like to get really lean this time, I had to drop my calories down to 1900, and I was just freezing and cold and lethargic and just felt really crappy. 

Then I started increasing calories again. And I'm like five pounds away from my absolutely lowest weight and about the same body weight as I was before I started the diet, I was maintaining at 2,800 calories before. And if I increased that to 3000, I would start gaining weight. Now I'm at 3,700 calories and maintaining. 

And at every step of the way, I would increase my body weight slightly and then drop, increase and then drop. So, let's see how long I can sustain or maintain the body weight at this calorie level. I'm not really interested in seeing whether I can reach 5,000 because I'm just sitting here sweating right now and really warm and having a lot of energy, sleeping well.  

So, my healthy maintenance calorie level is apparently almost a thousand calories higher than my previous unhealthy high LDL cholesterol level. So, it is not a perfect math problem. It's more of a from an evolutionary standpoint. Does the brain perceive the environment safe or unsafe right now?  

And how does it respond to that by you know, saving, you know, thrifty or spend thrift, uh, that's like a genetic response to calorie increase or decrease. So, so there will be some fluctuations and, um, it will respond and change over time, and you probably need to be curious about what the next step would be to optimize that even further, instead of being, you know, boxed into whatever some online calculator said, or some dogmatic dietary philosophies are. 

Ted Ryce: Yeah, agreed. And another great example of how you have to, you would never know that unless you experimented with it and had the, for lack of a better word, courage to increase your calories. Cause so many people who struggle with being overweight, again, not your case or mine, but they also struggle with the idea of raising calories, especially if they're struggling to lose fat. 

But I'm curious, now I've had a lot of PhDs who study metabolism and I understand what the research says about why something like that happens. But in your, just in your experience, what do you attribute that to where, I know what you just said, it's like, well, your body is in, let's say, a state of thriving instead of surviving. But what mechanism do you think might be at play? Is it you're moving around more or, you know, like what do you think?  

Borge Fagerli: Well, I'm using Fitbit Sense, so I pretty much know that I standardize my step count. It could be fidgeting, it could be this NEAT, non-exercise activity thermogenesis. It could be TEF, my protein intake is probably 100 grams higher than it used to be, just because I enjoy that.  

Ted Ryce: Hmm, very important point. 

Borge Fagerli: Yes, it could be a digestive thing, eating more, you know root veggies, fruits, berries, perhaps there's calories lost in digestion and bioavailability, whatever. So, it's again not a perfect math problem. We know for instance that eating nuts versus nut butter or oil you know it changes how much calories your body is actually assimilating. So, there's probably some checks and balances going on there but 

Definitely, I would assume there's like at least a 10% difference, maybe 15% just from having a higher metabolic rate. And it's like really noticeable. Like my morning temp would be consistently, um, what would it be in Fahrenheit? I know in, in Celsius, it was like 35.9 in the morning and it rose to like now it's highly 36.6 or something. 

So that's probably like 97.8, 98.7, I think, is like my daytime temp and something like that. And it used to be probably three degrees lower. So metabolic efficiency, I think, everything is just working really well. But having more energy, you know, it's like hard to sit still now. Whereas before it was hard to move.  

So that's also V=very different. And I would probably be more sustained by cortisol and adrenaline and stress before. If I reflect back on how my days used to be, and now it's like more of a higher energetic state where I'm like tempted to move around more and I actually have energy to, I would tend to fizzle out around a 30 minute mark in the gym.  

And now I like keep going for an hour and sure, I feel that I've lifted heavy weights, but I'm not exhausted. I came back from the gym like an hour ago and I'm sitting here and almost jumping with energy.  

So, it's been good for me what I've done. And it could again, like I said, be the opposite. Maybe someone else would have had the same experience going from higher carbs, especially if it's of the process kind and, you know, way too high carb to protein ratio or something.  

And switching to a lower carb, more balanced blood sugars, whatever. But my blood sugars are perfect now. HbA1c level is great. My hemoglobin is great. It's better than it used to be. So that's also positive. And in general, all health markers have. 

Ted Ryce: Yeah. One thing I want to bring up is, uh, as you know, you're on social media like me, there's so much talk about testosterone and one thing I don't think people know, but competitive bodybuilders do is that, uh, well, I'll get, I'll give the example like this. I have a friendly acquaintance. His name is Kevin Haynes. 

So, he's a competitive bodybuilder, not like someone anyone would know, he's also natural. And what he did, and I think he did this with Brad Schoenfeld too, for those of you listening, Brad is one of the top researchers in the world on this stuff, right? Muscle growth and so anyway, and he's done some interesting studies on competitive bodybuilders.  

But this guy, if you look at him, and you would say, well, guess his testosterone. You would probably guess very high. But generally it's about, you know, in the 500s is what he showed from his blood work. But when he lost, now he lost 30 pounds to compete and his testosterone went from in the 500s to like 76. It was in the double digits.  

And so, one thing that I see guys, if you're if you're trying to lose fat and you're like doing these strict diets and you and I, Borge, we're talking about like how sometimes you can have these issues where you are leading eating low calories, but it kind of puts you in this survival mode. And then you go get your test or your testosterone levels checked.  

And it's low, it's like, well, you know, you might want to try something different. You might want to raise your calories because that's one of the primary drivers of T level is how many calories you're eating.  

Of course, the macronutrient distribution and the micronutrients, the vitamin D and magnesium, all that stuff that we know. But, but like, did you notice a difference in your testosterone as well when you change? Did you test that? 

Borge Fagerli: Sure. Well, I've been on TRT for like 25 years, so that's kind of a constant. I had some years where I went off and I initially managed to get it into like 300s or something, 400s.  

And for me, like I seem to metabolize testosterone differently than others. I need to... On TRT, I need to be all the way up into 150 to 200 milligrams per week to even have like square in the middle of the range. Whereas others will tend to get the same response from half that.  

So, I don't know what is going on there, but you know, I've always had low testosterone levels and I wasn't able to improve it even further. Now I could probably, if I was courageous enough to go off right now and see perhaps this higher energy state, because again, in the past, when I went off, I would be on lower carb diets, I would be almost chronically dieting. And that definitely, the last time I did like a diet, when I was natural, not on anything, it dropped my testosterone by probably 50%.  

So again, the survival and reproduction mechanism is the body will not prioritize reproduction if survival is at stake. So not only calories, but also the quality of the nutrients is really important for testosterone levels.  

A lot of clients with really suboptimal testosterone levels lose weight and double their testosterone. So, it kind of depends on what your starting point is. 

Ted Ryce: Yeah, again, it comes back to what we said earlier. You got to use the data and you got to experiment. And if something's not working, you have to continue to experiment until you get it right. Borge, I'm really interested. Like what got you to shift your perspective about LDL?  

I know you had all these tests done and the doctor said, hey, listen, this is an issue. You should do something about it. You should change your diet. You should get on a statin, et cetera.  

But many people get their LDL tested and they flaunt it on social media saying, Hey, my doctor's wrong. I'm going to keep doing this because Sean Baker or whoever it would ever influencer or they're listening to said, it's not a big deal. And for Sean's credit, I don't think he's, I'm not sure if he said that or not, but he's that famous carnivore influencer. What got you to shift instead of double down on the low carb denialism? 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah, I wasn't any doctor. I got curious about like the repeat principles, the bio-energetic approach and where having a high metabolic rate, I always had those low T3 levels which concerned me and knowing that they were connected to cholesterol levels, that was also one incentive to try something else. 

I actually saw some posts about suffering heart attacks from lower carb diets and carnivore diets. They kind of, they're drawn out in the noise of all of the dramatic magic health transformations, obviously, but they were out there. And probably most of all, I started listening to Nutrition Made Simple, uh, Alan Flanagan. 

They have some great content and just basically showcased entire research fields where instead of thinking that everyone is a conspiracy theory, I thought, well, let me approach this completely free of any bias, just looking at the data as a scientist, curious scientist, instead of thinking that it must be this way or that way. 

And suddenly information kind of appears differently because you don't try to make it fit your preconceived notions. So from that perspective, it was almost silly to believe anything else that of course you can't prove something by using exceptions to the rule. 

So LDL is like an exposure over decades until something happens. So you can have elevated cholesterol for perhaps the last five years and have no sign of atherosclerosis or plaque formation or calcium score or anything. That that's not proof that LDL doesn't matter.  

I probably had it elevated LDL levels for the last 10 to 15 years, according to, you know, just going back and looking at the history of my blood tests. And so, this, this probably accumulated over time. It could obviously be that I have something going on since, you know, my teens or whatever, some hereditary thing or inflammatory thing.  

At this point, I don't know, but I tend to go with the with evidence, like the totality of evidence, where those who are born with a defect, where they don't have any LDL levels, basically never get atherosclerosis.  

That's a very good indicator to me. And you can have people with disease and atherosclerosis displaying low LDL cholesterol levels, looking at their history, lifetime levels. It used to be really high and that was really low. So, it can actually be a sign of disease that the LDL levels are dropping dramatically as somewhat of a response to them being really unhealthy.  

So that's not proof of anything. And so again, I just had to use the first principle kind of thinking to what if the opposite is wrong? And can I find evidence that the opposite is true? And I could. And it was kind of easy to disprove my previous beliefs when I did. I've done this with other things and tried to disprove what I believed and I wasn't able to. There wasn't enough evidence to say that I was wrong about it.  

So in those cases, it only strengthened my previous beliefs, but in this case, it really weakened my original standpoint. And it became very clear that you need to use a lot of bias and cherry picking and avoid looking at the large part of the science and just try to tell yourself that this is all paid for by, you know, funded by Big Pharma or something. 

And the more you try to do that to dismiss the evidence, I think that the weaker your stances. So that's kind of why I eventually started to loosen up my beliefs around this. And, you know, my blood test and my angiograph is ultimately what tells me that what I've been doing doesn't work. So I should definitely try something else. 

At the end of the day, that's all I need to know. 

Ted Ryce: Yeah. And, and to, to follow up points on that one is that I think it's very tricky. Nutrition is super tricky, right? If you're you and I. We've been in the business. We probably have our questions, but let's say you and I are at the point. We, we know what we know. We know there's more that we don't know. And we know who to learn from for the things that we don't know. You mentioned Gill Carvalho nutrition made simple. He's been on the show a few times, real++ly appreciate Gill and his hard work, even though he's plant based. 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. Yeah. Excellent communicator. And yeah, like you said, even though he could be full of biases, I think he does a really good job of presenting the evidence from an objective perspective. 

Ted Ryce: Agreed, and he's not afraid to share information. He's he's able to say, Hey, listen, this plant based thing, it's an ethical thing. I don't even I don't even remember him talking about it too much on his videos. But I've hung out with Jill a couple times when I was in Portugal.  

The thing also is that what I was going to say why nutrition is tricky because you can get very lean in a calorie deficit, but you can still have some issues, especially with cholesterol. It might be harder with metabolic issues like fasting, like your C-Peptide, your markers of insulin resistance, in other words. But with cholesterol, it's something that you need to take into account. e 

And like you mentioned, when you did the carnivore thing, you can still have gut health issues, even if you're very lean. And you can also have a lot of psychological issues too, as we know from the bodybuilding community, but we'll save that for another day.  

So, it's really tricky if you're listening and you're, you know, some things are independent of each other. You can be quite lean, but not as healthy as you think on your way to developing heart disease simply because you have this genetic predisposition to it and you're putting too much butter on things because all your favorite influencers do that.  

Borge Fagerli: Fat bomb coffees and stuff. 



Ted Ryce:  Yeah, exactly, fat bomb coffee, that's what bulletproof coffee should be called. So keep that in mind. And also about the challenging your confirmation bias, challenging what you want to believe is true and asking yourself, well, why do I really believe this? If, and why am I so resistant to changing my belief if people who aren't obviously like, I don't receive any money from drug companies and I don't, I think they're a necessary evil, right?  

Someone's got to do it, but I also think they're mostly responding to supply and demand, right? They're going to sell drugs that people need and people who won't change your lifestyle. I mean, you know, anyway, so, so ask yourself that question.  

Borge, I want to change gears a little bit. I want to talk about Myo-Reps because, man, when I was in Medellin, right before the whole pandemic started, I got locked in a one bedroom apartment. I was in Columbia, Medellin, Columbia. 

 And I had bands, I have body, I mean, I'm sorry, blood flow restriction cuffs, and I had Myo-Reps. And I got into great shape. Now I'm not someone who is super strong or super jacked to begin with. So, I just come off of a cut, but man, my body completely changed and I attribute the Myo-Reps along with, and I got this idea from you. 

You talked about using blood flow restriction along with Myo-Reps. If I remember correctly, when I had you on the show, again, episode 294, for those of you listening who want to go back and hear Borge back then. But what has changed about Myo-Reps? Cause I've seen you made an update. 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah, new research has surfaced. They did a study at the University of Tampa and just a lot of the meta reviews looking at proximity to failure further pushed me in the direction of you know, originally I always emphasized managing fatigue instead of chasing fatigue, but these latest meta reviews on failure and fatigue and understanding the fatigue mechanisms and how they can affect not just later sets in the workout, but also subsequent workouts.  

You know, they prolong the recovery time before you can actually stimulate the muscle to grow again.  

So that and also the effect of higher rep training, where just the perception of effort and the metabolic stress and the burning sensations from doing a lot of reps tend to make motor unit recruitment slightly lower probably because we consciously or subconsciously hold back but also because the fatigue affects our ability to recruit muscle and so the refinement is more emphasis on one to two reps in reserve.  

I brought the rep range down from I would tend to recommend 20 to 25 reps. Now I tend to think maybe between 8 to 15 is a good range, 10 to 15 or thereabouts. I've seen more evidence of the auto-regulation of volume. So, when you see a significant drop-off in performance from one set to the next and in the Myo-Rep set it's the Mini sets, that's a good indicator that you should probably stop. That you have induced a sufficient stimulus.  

And at this point, you're probably just inducing way less stimulus, but way more fatigue and the fatigue you need to recover from. So, a better separation between stimulus and fatigue where probably many are still thinking that fatigue is equal to stimulus, where in fact it's just an unavoidable byproduct of stimulus.  

So, we should seek to enhance stimulus, increase the stimulus as much as possible, and motor unit recruitment as much as possible by any means necessary while modulating or managing fatigue the best we can, and make sure we are recovered from that fatigue before we even try to stimulate muscle growth again. So that's, I guess, the overarching refinements of the method. 

Ted Ryce:  You talked about a couple of things. You, you had the rep range. It was higher 15 to 20. And I think minnow also, maybe it was you, maybe it was minnow. It's a few years now, but did even up to 30. And then you would have these many sets just if you're listening and, um, don't have never used Myo-Reps before. 

And these mini sets, they were up to five reps. And you would, let's say, let's say I did 17 reps with a pushup with bands, because that's actually what I did in Medellin, uh, being resisted pushups. So, 17 reps with a band. And that was a couple reps in reserve. In other words, if I would keep pushing it, I would hit failure in another two to three reps, but I stopped. 

And then I started doing mini sets of three reps. It's what I usually shoot for. And as soon as I, you know, do a set of three reps, take a few breaths, do another set of three reps, take a few breaths. And as soon as I either hit five mini sets or I drop a rep or more, I stop. And what you're saying now is that you've lowered the rep range to say 8 to 15. So, we're using a heavier load and we're still doing the same thing with the mini sets after, is that correct? 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah, still three to five seems to be a good range. I mean, if you're doing like an eight or a max load where we're kind of borderline where it's probably maybe even better to do traditional sets, but let's say 10 reps and perhaps you can, on some muscle groups and for some individuals, you need to do only two reps to properly balance the stimulus to fatigue. 

So, two to five, perhaps, instead of three to five. But you know, these are nuances that it's more, at that point, you should probably know your body pretty well.  

So, you know how far to push it. So, here's the thing. We can say now with a study from University of Tampa, that Myo-Reps is just as effective as traditional training, they produce the same effect.  

But Myo-Reps is more efficient because you save 70% time doing that. So, the overall volume is lower because you're using the activation set, the first set to get into the proper balance of stimulus to fatigue where motor urine recruitment is high. 

And rep speed is beginning to slow down. And that's the point where we have the highest mechanical tension is due to the force velocity relationship for those who are interested in researching that. And just to stay there, to have enough fatigue and metabolic stress to maintain high motor equipment, we just do these short rest pauses. 

It's a short pause and then you keep doing reps to maintain, to stay there. So, it's like a set extension where we just getting more muscle building reps in a shorter amount of time, instead of resting for two to three minutes and having to do another 10 reps to get to those last most effective reps in essence. And so, if you know your body well and you know your proximity to failure, then Myo-Reps will kind of ensure that you get within that range because you're just doing these short rest periods.  

So, it kind of pushes your effort and more your recruitment higher. I've looked at EMG and different data seeing that with Myo-Reps, as long as you keep reps in reserve, you can actually increase more your recruitment.  

But if you go to failure and you're doing higher reps, and maybe even doing drop sets, more your recruitment tends to drop due to fatigue. So, so that's where I, you know, it seems like just a minor detail, like just a small nuance in difference between going to failure and managing, you know, avoiding failure, but it's actually quite important to get more stimulus and less fatigue.  

The study showing that Myo-Reps or rest pause training is more effective than traditional. They usually compare a traditional group staying further from failure. So, what rest pause does in those studies is pushing the participants closer to failure where their training is more efficient and effective.  

And where it's equal, it's where the traditional group is training to the same approximate proximity to failure like everyone is trained to failure or something.  

So that kind of tells us that we need to get within a certain proximity to failure to even get any training effect at all, unless you're a beginner or some muscle groups probably don't, like the slope of the curve of these effectiveness of reps is probably different between muscle groups and how advanced you are and how you know, what exercise you're doing or whatever.  

But in general, it kind of needs some high effort, slower reps that are slow due to fatigue or the load being heavy. 

And so, it's a balancing act and beginners probably can't do that. You need some training experience to understand where that point is. But on the other side of the spectrum, if you're used to or have the personality, where you just want to go balls to the wall and no pain, no gain and, you know, high effort all the time, go to failure all the time, rest pause over Myo-Reps probably isn't very good for you because it just increases fatigue even more than doing traditional sets.  

So, that's where they kind of see the whole picture better now with more nuance and detail. 

Ted Ryce: That is such a hard lesson to learn too. So, I just want to just recap what you just, the, the two most important points. I think you, you mentioned is number one, if you're a beginner, just, just go and do regular, what are called straight sets, do a set, just start to learn your body, learn where that failure point is. Experiment with a few reps and reserve. See if you're right. Push it to the max, hit failure. Again, safely get a spot if you need to.  

But you really have to learn your yourself. You have to learn where to push, when to back off. But for the biggest issues that I've seen just in training in general, and also with my clients implementing Myo-Reps is that they just, and right. It makes sense to do this. You are numbers oriented. I want to make more money. I want more reps. Right. But as you pointed out.  

And this is a nuance, I think, similar to what we talked about earlier with the calorie deficits and the diet and fat loss. And it's not a perfect in versus out, right? It's if you push it to the edge, you may not be able to recover for that next session and do more reps or be able to lift more weight.  

And if that's the case, you could be in there saying, you know what, I'm doing everything right, but I'm not getting results. And you're not doing everything right. You're absolutely doing the opposite of what's right to do. 

You're in there and you're pushing yourself hard and patting yourself on the back and hey, hard work, you know, it isn't easy. But it turns into this thing where you're kind of chasing that fatigue like you, that term that you used earlier, Borge, instead of chasing results.  

And what I teach my clients, and then I want to hear how you coach your clients on this, because I think this is such an important point and why so many people feel like they're working hard, but not getting results. I tell my clients, I don't care about your workout today. I care about this workout and how it affects the next workout and the workout after that playing more like chess for lack of a better analogy. It's like, I want you to win the game, which is getting in much better shape, building muscle, et cetera. 

It's not about like, hey, I went in and did a great job with this workout. I'm always thinking about, okay, how is this workout going to affect my next workout? And if I generate too much fatigue, and also, I think we should mention if I don't sleep well, if I'm too stressed, if I have too many cups of. Right. Too many cups of Brazilian coffee that is way higher caffeine content than it should, then it may cost me. Can you talk about how you coach your clients on this subtle but very powerful shift. 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah, it's like, it's difficult to be there in the gym with them, but the training log and their feedback tells me most of what I need to know. You know, we always used to think that we need progressive overload to stimulate muscle growth.  

I believe that if you stimulate muscle growth and recover, then you will be able to progressively overload. So, it means that your program is working. 

If you're able to consistently add reps or load or both over time, I would at least give it like three to four weeks because at some point you won't be able to add five pounds on a weekly basis, obviously. But that kind of indicates that you now have the right balance of effort and recovery.  

But at some point, you will see perhaps there's like two different, two different training logs, two different types in the gym. You will have those. I don't do all Myo-Reps. I also do straight sets on many exercises.  

And if I see something, something like 10, 10 on three sets, that kind of tells me either you got a really great work capacity or you're probably not pushing hard enough.  

So that person, I tell them, try to push harder. Let's try a couple of weeks where we just do one set and you make sure to really hit failure as long as you know, it's safe to do so. Obviously, I don't do that on squats. And for some, that's just what they need to start growing again. On the other side of the spectrum, I can have those there. 

You know, used to grinding, used to pushing hard and you will see like a set of 10 and then a set of six. And that tells me, okay, you're either pushing way too hard, you're not resting enough, or you just, you know, constraints in your recovery ability.  

Or you just have like poor work capacity or perhaps whatever is, you know, jeans or something, something that indicates that you should probably hold back more. 

Ted Ryce:  Holding back being defined as less or more reps in reserve. 

Borge Fagerli: Like, yeah, one, one to two reps in reserve. And for some that's really hard, you know, you know, I kind of have to do that. Find the rep to feel like I'm training. And so, they're emotionally driven basically, you know, they have associated that feeling with progress.  

But I mean, the numbers don't lie, you know, they're telling us that you're not progressing or actually regressing. 

So, you need to, I have this exact conversation with my girlfriend yesterday, because she's doing that. And then funny thing is she's only doing like one or two sets on some exercises, but still regressing. And so, it's the overall lifestyle and stress and all of the constraints are there. So, you know, normally you would probably be able to recover from that, but now you're not and the numbers don't lie. So, try to hold back a little.  

And I like the traffic lights analogy. We all know that at certain cities or traveling in a certain direction, if you adapt your speed perfectly, you will hit the crossing exactly when the light turns green. And if you keep doing that, you can have all green lights all the way through the city. But if you constantly just hit the accelerator hard and you hit a red light, then you need to push on the brakes really hard. 

And then exactly as the car stops, it turns green and now you can accelerate hard again. It's like really exhausting way to drive and it wears out the car. But, but if you adapt the speed just right, then you can just surf through and you save a lot of time and gas or, well, you know, electricity or whatever. Uh, that's kind of where the analogy breaks down, I guess. 

Ted Ryce: Yeah, that is such a great, I've never heard that one before, but it, but it is, it's such a great, if you understand this idea that we're talking about, it really is a great metaphor, great analogy. Forget which one it is, but yeah, sometimes you go fast. Sometimes you need to back off and you know, because you know you're doing it right. Cause you keep getting the green lights. 

And the green lights in terms of training are, you're going up, you're doing more reps, you're able to add a little bit more weight. Yeah, you're putting on more muscle. And I want to say something else, because I think this isn't said enough. 

There's a group of people, probably the ones who tend to push it too hard, the mental toughness thing. And there can be this. David Goggins, you know, what came up for me is like seventy five hard disciples, right? They're like, I'm working out twice a day, forty five minutes. I'm taking photos and reading 10 pages and doing it for seventy five days and no cheating on my diet. And it's just like, listen. 

The mental, the things that are really mentally tough or, or the things that you really don't want to do that you actually have a hard time doing for me, I'm a Brazilian jujitsu brown belt.  

You can put me with the world champion. Um, you know, which I've rolled with those guys before, whether I win, which probably won't happen or lose more likely, I'm okay. It's not mentally tough for me. Why? Cause I have so many reps doing it. 

But if you ask me to go give a speech, now that's a mentally tough thing. And I think in society, at least in American society, I know you're in Norway and you perhaps are more relaxed.  

Oh, same thing. Yeah, it's like we get off on Americans and I guess Norwegians too get off on like this, this toughness thing, but really it's not toughness. It's only tough if it's actually tough to do it. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about whether what you're doing is tough, that's tough for them.  

But what's really tough is sometimes getting to bed on time, not having the second cup of coffee so that you can sleep well, or paying for a massage instead of going and hitting a workout because you need some downtime. So really be honest with yourself because your results are what matter more than anything. 

Borge, I would love to hear a little bit about, you know, you mentioned the situation with your girlfriend. We talked about, we, we touched on how stress and things outside of training can affect progression.  

Can you share a bit about your perspective on that and how you coach your clients to realize there's more to, um, there's more to getting in great shape than just pushing in the gym or even eating in a calorie deficit or as we mentioned, the right foods or perhaps raising calories. There's more to it than that. How do you coach your clients on that so that they appreciate the holistic approach? 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah, you know, it can be really extensive. I try to read people from how they communicate, especially those that tend to write just pages and pages of all kinds of details and questions. That tells me they're, well, kind of like me. I tend to overthink. And mental stress.  

Ted Ryce: the engineering mindset, right? 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah, exactly. I mean... We have good data showing that just students during exams have like, they need double the recovery time than students outside of exams.  

So mental stress definitely affects the physical response to stressors. It's like the sum of stressors, stacking stressors on top of each other.  

So I kind of cringe if you have someone already stressed out of their minds and chugging Brazilian coffees or coffee in general, and doing cold showers and sprints and intervals and heavy lifting and metabolic workouts and CrossFit and whatever, and just trying at the same time to balance the work, life, family, all of the pillars of their life. And I mean, it's probably not sustainable.  

So just creating some awareness. I have some mapping exercises I do where we go through like a typical day or week, you know, what's positive for you, what's negative and what's neutral, kind of get a feel for, you know, do you prioritize things that energize you and bring you joy and pleasure? Or do you have a lot of things going on that are just draining you? And do you handle that well, you know? 

I also like to use the Eisenhower matrix, which is basically just go through both activities and people in your life and see, you know, what's, what's important and what's urgent. And you know, what's not important and not urgent. And it's like one, I guess, Warren Buffett said, it was, it was a Charlie Munger said that write your bucket lists. Now remove all of them except for the three top items and focus on those. 

So just instead of having to deal with everything at the same time, you either prioritize what's important and urgent and you plan in the calendar what's important but not urgent. And if it's not important but urgent, then you have to get someone else to do it for you. Delegate, trust someone to do it that to them is maybe more important or. 

Um, something they enjoy doing. And if it's not important or not urgent, eliminate it, you know, remove it from your life until it becomes either urgent or important. And, um, just, just kind of go through that to get a feel for the external factors. And then I will mostly or always look at how they're managing their thinking and their internal system basically.  

So, there's like three levels I like to go into, which is the content of their thinking, you know, the what I tend to look at the strategy of thinking, how do they manage to have like a fixed or growth mindset?  

Do they, you know, engage a lot of energy with their thoughts and, you know, think that they can solve all problems by just thinking about them. And then at the very top level, you know, do you understand the fact that you are thinking the metacognitive model? So, where meditation teaches you to be the observer of thought instead of the thinker.  

So basically, separating yourself from the constant internal dialogue or monologue or whatever. There's a lot of these voices going on, depending on how schizophrenic I guess. 

But just going through all of these external and internal variables, it's like a game changer to some people because it creates a lot of these aha moments where, oh my God, I can't believe I keep doing this and it's just draining me. And I feel like I need to, well, did anyone tell you that they need that?  

No, they didn't. I just thought so. And so many of us are living our lives because we try to think or we think we know what others are thinking about us. And the fact is we can't, we don't. And others probably don't think about us in the first place, they're thinking about themselves.  

Everyone is just running around thinking that everyone else is thinking about spending a lot of time trying to control that. So, a lot of factors here, they're the most, things I'm the most passionate about because I've seen, we can put the diet and training on automatic, just get a basic template in place and spend the next few to three months just working on their mindset and thinking and external variables and just doing some housekeeping there and it completely transforms them.  

So, so that's just, I'm getting goosebumps just talking about it. And it's, uh, it's just been, um, what has kind of light the spark in, in my coaching, uh, career again. 

Ted Ryce: Love hearing that. And it's one of the reasons I enjoy having coaches as opposed to influencers on the show is because influencers typically talk about shining infrared light on your balls or the perfect, we haven't talked about biohacks or supplements or what have it. We haven't talked about a lot of that stuff or specific super foods, not that your food choice or supplements or things that could be considered biohacks aren't important, but it's the stuff that we're talking about that makes the biggest difference, especially the behavior change, the, the CBT, the cognitive behavioral approach to helping people reframe their thoughts and change their behavior. 

That's where coaches, great coaches, and I just had another conversation recently with another fantastic coach, Kirk Parsley, former Navy SEAL and medical doctor who also does health coaching. And it all comes back to the same thing, right? It comes back to what we were talking about today. And I just love this conversation. 

I really appreciate this conversation with you today and I appreciate catching up and sharing coaching ideas and perspectives on helping clients. And I want to say to the listeners, if you've been listening to me and you've heard me say, hop on a call with me and hire a coach, and you've been on the fence about it for whatever reason, and you're listening to Borge today and it's hitting home for you, reach out to him and hire him. 

I'll do the plug for you, Borge, because there's a lot of people who listen to the show and they're not working with me. And if you're waiting for someone to hit home with you and you resonated with what you hear today, reach out to Borgie and you can do that at his website, And of course, a little tricky to spell and say, because it's Norwegian, if you have American language base like I do. So.  

Borge Fagerli: I'm just going to a quick comment on because I've had so many clients tell me that, you know, I would begin to discuss the concept or a tool or a framework. And then, yeah, I know, I know that I know all about it. I read a book about it. Is there a wall? Have you actually integrated it or tried it? No, but I understand it cognitively. 

Now let's try it, you know, do it with me, you know, close your eyes or take out the pen and paper and let's go through the exercise or the model together. And they get some huge insights from that. So, it's like we can understand something at the surface level, but we don't get any actual correction. 

Unless we actually go through it and get engaged with it. So, and that's where I think a good coach comes in because he is able to guide you through it and actually create a transformative, uh, correction, mental correction and life correction for you.  

And even I, as a coach have my own coaches and I believe all coaches should have a coach because again, I read two to three books every week and listen to podcasts and know all of this stuff. But it's not always easy to do it by yourself, but someone can calibrate and coach you through it and you can achieve breakthroughs that you were never able to do on your, on your own. So, so it's just not a plug. I mean, find someone else, go to Ted. I mean, it's, it's not important, but I would just encourage everyone to at least try a session with a good coach and see what it can do for you. 

Ted Ryce: Yeah. Well said. And like you mentioned, I have my own coaches from so many different areas. And I think it's obvious with sports, right? Nobody would say, well, I watched a few YouTube videos. Let me go and compete in a tennis match, but we don't realize the same thing's true. It's still skill acquisition. It's still mindset. It's still, you know, there's things that experts, yeah, exactly. 

There's things that experts can teach you that it's just very difficult to learn on your own. And you already know if you're a person who can learn on your own, because you already have the results. Actually, you and I, I mean, I didn't have coaches when I first started out, although it was in health and fitness, although I did have some mentors, some of which weren't very good either, but we had it, we had a knack for it. We had a gift for it. 

And that's why we do it professionally. But if you have a gift in a different area, and this is a problem for you, health and fitness, or could be, like you said, Borge, it could be relationships, could be a different area. For me, I have a business coach. Cause that's my, I'm a great coach. I don't mind saying, um, I feel confident saying I'm world-class at coaching. I've been doing it for long enough and made enough mistakes to say that confidently.  

But with business, I got to, thanks man. But with business, I got a white belt, you know? I'm a white belt. And maybe with a few stripes these days, but still learning. So Borgie, such a great conversation. And you know, I ended up learning a lot myself. Anywhere else you want someone to go after listening to this episode? 

Borge Fagerli: I'm most active on Instagram. I started posting on Twitter. So, you know, slowly trying to understand that platform. I will at least make an honest effort there.  

I'm tempted to try LinkedIn, but I won't until I see that I can do something on Twitter. But yeah, Facebook seems to be dead nowadays. No response or engagement on anything, anymore unless you pay for it. But my website, newsletter, Instagram, Twitter, those are the main channels. 

Ted Ryce: Excellent. And we'll have the links to all those on the show notes for this episode, which we'll be able to find at Borge thanks so much, man. And we got to, we got to do this again soon. We can't wait another couple years in a pandemic, uh, to get in the way, but really appreciate you in all seriousness, really appreciate you coming on today and sharing your wisdom and time. 

Borge Fagerli: Yeah. Thank you, Ted. It was a pleasure and an honor. Thanks for having me. 

Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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