Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Stu: This week I’m excited to welcome Darin Olien to the podcast. Darin is a health and wellness expert, author, podcaster, and co-host of the Emmy Award-winning Netflix docu-series, Down to Earth. He’s known as the Global Superfood Hunter, and founder of Barukas, the most nutrient-dense nuts in the World. In this episode, we discuss his philosophy around nutrition, the principles from his book, Super Life, and chat about the exercises that keep him in great shape. Over to Darin.
Some questions asked during this episode:
How does the Superfood Hunter eat?
What can we expect from your New York Times bestselling book ‘Superlife’?
Tell us about Barukas and how you came to find them?
Get more of Darin Olien:
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The views expressed on this podcast are the personal views of the host and guest speakers and not the views of Bega Cheese Limited or 180 Nutrition Pty Ltd. In addition, the views expressed should not be taken or relied upon as medical advice. Listeners should speak to their doctor to obtain medical advice.
Disclaimer: The transcript below has not been proofread and some words may be mis-transcribed.
Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness, and human performance, in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve a long-lasting health. I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do.
Before we get into the show today, you might not know that we make products too. That’s right. We’re into whole food nutrition, and have a range of super foods, and natural supplements, to help support your day. If you are curious, want to find out more, just jump over to our website. That is 180nutrition.com.au and take a look. Okay, back to the show.
This week I’m excited to welcome Darin Olien to the podcast. Darin is a health and wellness expert, author, podcaster, and co-host of the Emmy Award-winning Netflix docuseries, Down to Earth. He’s known as the Global Superfood Hunter, and founder of Barukas, the most nutrient-dense nuts in the World. In this episode, we discuss his philosophy around nutrition, the principles from his book, Super Life, and chat about the exercises that keep him in great shape. Over to Darin.
Hey guys, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and I am delighted to welcome Darin Olien to the podcast. Darin, how are you mate?
Hey, man. Stoked to be here with you. Hanging out on the deck. Ready to rip.
You look super comfortable, and I love the sunshine in the background as well. For all of our listeners that are not watching this through YouTube, Darin’s sitting outside on a super comfortable reclining chair. Looks like you got a pool in the background, and the sun is shining on the hills. I would like to be where you are right now.
It’s pretty great. And like we said before the recordings, very similar to Byron Bay.
It is, we are surrounded by nature, and blessed with a great climate as well, couldn’t be any happier. But first up, for all of our listeners that may not be familiar with you, or your work, I’d love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself, please.
Oh man. Where do you begin? I think the early passions showed up when I was in sports, and going through awkward teenage times, and realized, “Oh, I have a lot I can do for myself.” And started understanding that nutrition played a role in how I felt, and certainly at that time how I looked, because you’re this insecure 16 year old. But really, the sports, and really trying to be the best I could in that. And that’s where I really excelled, and realizing that exercise, and nutrition played a massive role. From 16 to 18, I gained 50 pounds of muscle, and was playing US football in high school, and college, and basketball, and track, and things like that. And then to cut through, playing college football is where I beat out a bunch of guys that on paper, should have beat me out, but my tenacity beat them out.
But then I got injured. Getting injured threw me into this contemplative place in college, where I was like, “Okay, what do I want to do with my life?” And these worlds collided, where I was injured, and I couldn’t get better to play anymore. I turned my attention towards physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, and things like that, and realizing that this body, and this experience here was… And having a body was… Made sense to learn about it. I didn’t really know what the career was going to be, but at least it started me getting excited. And then really cutting through. I learned more of… I went into rehabilitation, a little bit. And out of school. And then got into nutrition, and hooked up with some doctors. And then nutrition started becoming. And then functional food, before it was in term. I started formulating with stuff. And then the more I looked at incredible foods and compounds, the more I wanted to go and see for myself these foods, and how they were grown, and who was growing them, and where they came from. And that started what’s termed as, the superfood hunting side of myself.
And then for a good 15 years, I was running everywhere. Learning from the business side of it too. From the business side of it, how do you actually take this novel thing, or this mushroom, or this adaptogen? How do I formulate with it? How do I help the business side of it? How do I work with these indigenous people? How do we make it scale? And then that came, I started formulating for some companies, and Beachbody became a big place where I could put my passion. I developed a lot of products for them. And then I think the excitement of, and also the reality of seeing the world in that way, it always became, it’s not just about the food, or the supplement, it was about the environment. It was about the indigenous people. It was about the cultures. And so these worlds was coming together in all of these other passions that started. Cut to getting to do a TV show, getting to learn from experts in the environment. The world expands as you gain more knowledge, as you gain more wisdom, as you learn. Y
It’s been a journey. It sounds like it’s been a hell of a journey. And I think for our listeners as well, that haven’t put the pieces of the puzzle together. If they’ve seen the Netflix docuseries, Down to Earth, they would get a better insight into you, and the shenanigans that you get up to, and all the stuff that makes your brain, or excites your brain as well. But I remember I watched that when it first came out, and I thought, “This guy looks strong, he looks vital. I want to know what he does,” because I’m a child of the seventies, and the eighties. I was born in 72, so I’m 50. And a little bit like you, I’m driven to want to live my best life, because the world as we know today, it throws so many roadblocks at us. In terms of crazy Frankenfoods, and environmental pollutants, and toxins, and social media, and all this stuff that can side track us.
But we just get this one life, and we are exposed to this fantastic journey on a beautiful planet that offers so much. I love the fact that I’m talking to you, because you’ve done so much of the stuff that I would love to do, and find out all of the secrets from a lot of the elders around the world that have truly embraced the world in its natural state. For our listeners, you’re the superfood hunter. You’ve written a book called, SuperLife. You’ve got a gazillion hours and pages of content and assets online, and they can dig deep into that. I think the one thing that I’d like to ask, and almost cut to the chase, and dive into the cliff notes is, how do you eat then, today, given the fact that you’ve got a myriad of experience, and you’ve probably tried, and tested, and experimented on yourself through a whole barrage of foods, and nutritional principles. What is your philosophy around nutrition look like right now?
Certainly, that’s why I wrote SuperLife book, because it was so much of my philosophy. Even though they wanted me to write a book on super foods, I said, it’s really the foundation of how you live. That’s super important, and then you add things to it, or take away in the terms of, like you said, the toxins, and being aware of those things. The book has these pillars, but to summarize, on the one hand, the body is always seeking balance, and we’re seeking balance. The ironic aspect of that is, are we ever? It’s literally in a constant state of change.
Balance is the embracing of change. Listen, I went plant based many years ago. I think it was more of an experiment of… The more, and more dairy, and meat, and stuff I was forcing on myself. I just didn’t feel good. And then morally, and ethically, it hadn’t even lined up that I have this ridiculous care for all sentient beings, and animals. Not even opening up the can of just insane factory farming. That whole idea, I don’t care what side of the aisle on, but that’s just really silly, and horrible. So I went plant based, and being in the seat that I’m in, of being able to find the best foods ever, I was always like, “Well, if flesh of another being has compounds in it, well, how did they get there?” They’re a bioaccumulation. And there’s also now, from the modern world, there’s a bioaccumulation of toxins too. We have to be aware of…
And the caveat is, I’m not the guy telling you what to eat. I’m not going to, I don’t want that responsibility. You can eat whatever you want. You can sit next to me, and eat a steak. I don’t care. I care what goes on in me. I do not want that at all. I have no cravings for it. There’s no nutrient that I can’t find in plants. I eliminate the middle man. I eliminate death. I eliminate pain. I eliminate all that shit, for me. If you want information, I have information. From that perspective, I eat the hell out of plants all the time. I grow food. I grow sprouts. And I eat a massive bowl of fruit every day in the morning. Yeah, I do love supplements, because we’re also in this weird world. I created an adaptogenic, high functional, powdered formula. I think in this modern world there is applications for that side of us. At the same time, we got to use our common sense, man.
Our common sense of just, go to sleep early, wake up early, get your ass outside. I’m currently writing a book right now. This is how I do it. I have to be in touch with nature as best that I can. I have a zero gravity chair that takes less stress off, but also I get up several times, and move my body. We have to use our common sense. Diversification of plants, a lot of fiber, screw protein, of course we get protein when we eat a diversification of plants, but it’s fiber. Increase that fiber in soluble. So fresh, fresh, fresh food. I eat about two meals a day. I don’t snack in between. I drink a lot of water. And I use that common sense. I get outside, I’m not afraid of the sun, and things like that. In a nutshell, that’s how I live my life. And I like to throw weight around. I like iron. I like resistance. I like working out with intensity. I like sprinting. I like heavy weights, I always have. I like to activate my testosterone, and growth hormone, and go to that place that’s uncomfortable. In a nutshell, I don’t want to be limited by the body that is moving in a world that is on a clock.
That’s awesome. You’ve answered every question that I had on my list, I think we’ll wrap that up today. Thank you very much. And definitely, I’m very intrigued to dial into your exercise a little bit later, because I noticed on social media you did 34 and a half strict pull-ups, no mean feat for anybody that does pull-ups. We’ll talk about that, but that’ll be a little bit later. But to rewind a little bit to your philosophies around plant based, because I know that a lot of people, it makes a lot of sense for a lot of people. And we’re in a bit of a crazy time in the world today with all of this crazy stuff going on. And over here, at the moment, food and vegetables basically are going through the roof in terms of cost.
Organic fruit and vegetables now come at a really premium cost. And many of us, and myself included, don’t shop exclusively for organic fruits and vegetables, because it doesn’t make any financial sense. And I think I caught tail of an article that you wrote recently on washing veggies. My question to you is, if we can’t afford organic fruit and vegetables, but we do want to increase our vegetable consumption, how can we mitigate industrial agriculture, and all the tenants that come with it, in terms of pesticides, herbicides, et cetera? Because we don’t want that in our body. What are your thoughts on that?
It’s a great question. Obviously economics plays a massive role. We’ve shipped food around the world, we’ve decentralized our food production. Growing up in the sixties and seventies. You have to understand in the early 1900s, and not that long ago, we’re talking like a couple people ago. 90% of the people in this country, and also in most first, second, and third world countries, 90% of the people were growing their own food. We got so bloody convenienced by these fatal conveniences, that we stopped doing, and we started putting water on a lawn that has no function. We can actually reverse that right away. We can start growing food. Seeds are cheap, and one seed creates infinite. That’s the beauty of nature. It’s bountiful, and powerful, and abundant.
Getting to your question more specifically, I think everybody right now, in any living situation, can sprout. And what I’m saying, you don’t have to create trays even, or even any soil. You can sprout in a mason jar, and even have a cloth with a rubber band around it. I have lids for a dollar, you can put a lid, and screw on a mason jar of glass, and throw… So in a mason jar, a quart, you can put a tablespoon and a half of broccoli seeds, for example, you rinse, you soak it overnight, rinse that, and then you just rinse twice a day. And in about five days, that’s filled full. And the thing about sprouts, because they’re young, and they’re fighting for their life, each little sprout is a whole broccoli plant. They have an infinite amount of compounds that are antioxidant, that are these sulfur compounds. In this instance, with broccoli sprouts, sulforaphane, all of these anti-cancer properties, and the micronutrients are off the chart. For a few cents, you have created a salad. And you can literally do this right now. You can grow these things. You don’t need soil, and boom, you have a salad.
That’s excellent advice.
I think everyone can grow something, You can grow something on [inaudible 00:19:06].
My earliest memories are of picking fruits and vegetables from my grandparents’ gardens. And that’s just what they did. It was potato. We’re from Northern Europe, it was potatoes, and root vegetables, and things like that. And we had a greenhouse, and we grow tomatoes, and beans. And when I asked you that question about washing the pesticides and herbicides off the veg, ridiculously enough, it didn’t even occur to me that we shouldn’t really even be purchasing these things from the shop when we have the capacity to be able to grow it ourselves. And like you’ve mentioned, it doesn’t take a lot. Just got to have the time, or not the time, everyone’s got the time to do that, you just got to have the inclination, and the drive to do it.
You just get some organic seeds, and you just start. And listen, you fail, and you’re in a climate, I’m from Minnesota, so it’s like everything’s frozen. But you can actually build a little box. You can create a little… For the light to come in. And that’s thermally protective of certain plants, that you can still plant. You can plant potatoes, and carrots, and things like that, in the dead of winter, in Minnesota still. There’s things that you can still do. We are humans. We are resilient. We are smart. Let’s use our common sense.
Now, going back to your question. Okay, you don’t have that now. Okay, you have a family, you can’t grow all of that right now. But those plants where you have to buy conventional, then wash them, because the culprits of high pesticides are… Think of it in terms of this, if you’re not peeling it, there is a blast of pesticides on the cover of those crops.
Oftentimes they blast pesticides, even at the end of their growing cycle, and so there’s even more. Things like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cucumbers, those types of things, and a whole lot more, where they’re exposed, squashes and stuff like that, wash them. You are getting rid of most of that stuff. Now, conventionally grown food is inherently lower in nutrients, because you haven’t taken care of the soil like it’s supposed to. If not in the soil, it’s not going to be in the plant. There’s common sense stuff. In order for them to have this weak plant, which by the way, many of the compounds that are in these plants are also compounds that are fighting, and protecting itself from insecticides, and pesti… Excuse me, from insects. So because the plant is weak, it’s more susceptible.
This monoculture that we’ve created of growing plants, where you’re just creating weaker and weaker plants, which are then more and more susceptible of insects eating it. If we build soil first, we build the soil. We build it as strong nutrient rich, mycelium, fungi, protozoa, all these things. Now you have a strong soil creating minerals, and nutrients, that go into the plant. Creating a strong plant. A strong plant has higher amounts of antioxidants, and micronutrients. Therefore, you have a plant that is defending itself more, so it needs less and less pesticides, and herbicides. Now that plant is also stronger, you’re getting what may look the same, but getting higher nutrient value. Looking at this, if you can’t technically afford organic food, you have to look at, you’re actually buying more nutrient value. Maybe it looks the same, but it’s not the same.
You also have to look at it from a nutrient value perspective. You’re buying the nutrients that is more inorganic than say, a conventional, that is stripped of everything, but genetically looks the same. You just have to use your common sense. Now if you’re in an area, go look around, ask your friends, and your neighbors, “Hey, where are the local farmers? Where are the shops that supply these? Where are the farmer’s markets?” Support that. There’s always a way. And like I said, put seeds in the ground, and wash your fruits and veg. And again, it’s not about perfection, it’s about doing things a little bit better, and better and better, and better. And that’s what health is. The more nutrients, the more you celebrate good food, and eat good food, the stronger you’ll be, the more energy you’ll have.
And then the more energy you have, the more currency you have to contribute to your life. We have to open our [inaudible 00:24:51] as to how we’re living, and then continue to invest into that life that we want. And then add that up over time, and that is creating the best life ever. But it’s not just showing up with, it’s adding all these little things up. Not getting overwhelmed with all of these things to do, but just doing your best every day. We all know how fast time goes. Time goes so fast.
Yes it does.
We’re going to blink, and it’s going to be the end of 2023, the end of 2024. What are we doing? What are we doing for our health, for our life, and what do we want?
Boy, oh boy, you’ve smashed it again. You’ve answered all my questions. When people navigate over then, to adopt more plants into their lives, from a nutritional perspective, oftentimes we overdo it. It’s like anything. We embrace it. It could be whatever exercise principle now is the next best thing? You embrace it, you overdo it, you burn yourself out. I think the same could happen with any dietary intervention. And plants, and vegetables, and fruits, are a big one as well, because if you overdo that initially, you can find yourself bloating, and discomfort, and things like that. Do you have any advice for those people, maybe that haven’t taken particular care from their digestive systems, and they might just not feel great when they move over to more plants? And I’m thinking along the lines of maybe sprouting, fermenting, easing into it that way. What are your thoughts?
Great question. You’re absolutely right. You know, you read something, you’re inspired, I’m going to make a big salad. And you haven’t eaten anything raw in a very long time. Keep in mind, this is all now. It’s all coming out. It’s all about the microbiome. The environment you are producing from your actions, is the environment, and the mirroring of those microbes in your system, and on your body, and everywhere. If you are shoveling food in, you are feeding a level of bacteria in your body, and those bacteria will fight, and create an environment. It’d be like, if I am, I’ll use the example. If I take, let’s say let’s use ultra process food, which from a body perspective, it’s like complete garbage, because it’s really not even food anymore. It’s processed out of being food, but they’re still obviously selling it to you, and you think you’re eating something.
But from a microbiological perspective, you are feeding the not good, or the microbiome in your system, that is not going to support a healthy immune system. It’s not going to support good serotonin, dopamine production. It’s not going to support the enzyme production of their microbiomes to convert food into nutrients. It’s going to thwart all of that stuff. It’s like if I were to take all my garbage, and throw it on the street, and see what shows up if I never have the garbage man show up. What happens when you feed yourself junk? You’re going to have… The microbiome acts perfectly all the time based on the environment. If you are not feeding your microbiome with the strong, healthy plants, full of fiber, and antioxidants, and richness, in that way, you are feeding the other microbes that are always there, but are left in check. We have levels of salmonella, E. coli, MERS, all of that stuff in our system right now. It’s just always kept in check.
This is the biome that we live in. This is the microbiome. COVIDs a part of our world right now. It’s not going away. It is part of our microbiome. It’s a part of our virology right now. As you’re eating junk, you are feeding the bacteria that shows up with that food. It’s like going back to this analogy. If I leave out food waste, or other kinds of waste, vermin, and other kinds of bacteria will show. Putrefaction will show up, and it gets nasty. That’s what happening inside your body. It shows up with what the environment is created. Going back to your question, if I start small, if I’ve been eating out it all the time, and everything else, you’ve created an environment in your microbiome that’s used to what you’re eating, and you might not be feeling all that well, you may not have all that energy, because that’s the environment you’ve created.
It may take a little bit of time to adjust the dominance of the microbiome. The one that’s actually out there to help kick ass for you. The one that’s has a strong immune system. The one that has high amounts of positive dopamine effect to the second brain that’s affecting your mental outlook. On and on and on. When you start, you may want to start with a diversity of plant soups. So it’s not so heavy on the fibers. You may not even take in that much fiber. You’re eating a high process food, you’ve eliminated fiber. You need fiber, and you need a lot of it. But maybe start with soups, and everything, that you’ve actually cooked a little bit. And then start with apples, and I like fruit alone, so eat fruit alone, eat in the morning, just eat regular stuff, quit mixing all of these things together.
Start simply, and then increase your vegetable intake. And then maybe a smaller salad. Maybe increase that sprout. At this point for me, my cravings for plants are off the chart. It’s as if a regular person is craving a chocolate cake. I crave the environment that I created. Over time, I crave the best food ever. And to myth-bust this thing. When people say to me all the time, they say, “Yeah man, but I just want to live. I want to just eat whatever I want.” Listen, I understand that, but I understand it from another perspective. I no longer, and this is my truth. I’m putting up my hand. This is my absolute truth. I do not crave things that are not healthy for me. I don’t. My little cheats are some super food cookie, or something that I found, and I make sure there’s no crap in it. I crave it at the end of the day maybe, or things like that.
But I literally crave this raw salad with tahini dressing, and ginger, and lemon, and all of these things, and throw on my Baruka nuts. I literally crave that as if it was someone else craving an ice cream. That’s the thing, we need to be patient with ourselves, and if we’ll allow ourselves to eat better. Because we know, you don’t have to listen to me and know that a salad, raw, healthy, amazing, organic, heirloom tomatoes, fresh strawberries, and blueberries, and bananas, and everything else, we crave that stuff at our core. You don’t need me to tell you that’s good for you. When you’re eating really good food, like the best, you’re like, holy, why would I need to have candy, when I can eat this Medjool date, that is organic, and exploding with incredible taste, and healthy sugar. Why would I need any candy? Because nature has already provided the best food ever.
Totally, a hundred percent. And I think it goes back to that phrase, we are what we eat. Because we literally are what we eat. Because the cells of our body come about from the raw materials that we provide them. If we are snacking on fast food and sodas all day long, then the body needs to try and assimilate the building blocks for our body from the raw materials that we feed in. A hundred percent. And I understand what you’re saying about the cravings as well, because as you adapt, and your microbiome adapts, and you start to feel better, and sleep better, and if you sleep better, you want to move more, and you’re happier in your mind. Then you start to crave those very things like sunlight, and exercise, and movement, and good food, and hydration. It’s an absolute life changer. I’m with you all the way on that one.
You did mention though, and I’m going to pick up on this. You mentioned Barukas. And I know that this is the super nut of nuts. And you went on a little bit of a journey to dive into the backstory of Barukas, and then you bought them over into more the mainstream world. I’d love it if you could tell us a little bit about what that nut is, how you came to find them, and why are they so special?
This is a hell of a story. I was in the Amazon, on the eastern side of Brazil. And I think I posted… This is, I don’t know, 2015, 16, maybe 2016. And I had a Brazilian reach out to me, and he said, “Hey, have you ever heard of this Baru nut?” And I was like, “No.” And I always love it when I don’t know, because we cannot possibly know the bounty of this earth. He sent me all this data, all this research. Sent me on [inaudible 00:36:54] the stories, and he sent me a sample. First, I was reading the nutritional profile. I’m like, “What the hell? This is crazy.” I’m reading the nutrition, I’m like, “No way this tastes all that great,” because oftentimes you have something high nutrient value, it’s got bitters, it’s got tannins, it’s got pungents, it’s got something, because it’s got all of these properties.
I tasted it, and I was like, “Holy shit, this thing tastes like the best peanut ever, but better.” But it also has these, almost like a coffee cacao almond taste.
I can’t tell you. I literally consume it every day. And I’ve consumed it every day since I’ve found them. And I still crave them without fail. And the story gets better. I got them myself. I sent them to the labs I use, to validate the nutritional profile. In every category of virtually all micronutrients, and macronutrients, and fiber, and antioxidants. It was as if, every nut has a high degree of something, it was like, on every category, it had the highest degree of all of these micronutrients. And it blew, from a whole perspective, it blew every nut away. For example, it has over 350% more antioxidants than a fricking almond does. It’s got three times, two and a half to three times more fiber than any nut. And fiber is so important for all of the reasons I talked about before. And then you have micronutrients, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, which everyone’s low in, zinc, manganese, all of this stuff. Nutritionally wise, and then the taste was not a barrier. The taste was, anyone who loves a good nut is going to be blown away.
I’m like, “What’s the hook here?” Then I jumped on a plane. I met my friend in Brazil. And to know, here’s the big thing, it comes indigenously. We met all these indigenous foragers, and collectors. And it’s a wild food. It doesn’t come from conventionally growing. In this day, and age, to build a business around a wild food is really difficult, it virtually doesn’t exist.
Because the Cerrado is so big, this tree drops this nut. You can’t pick it early, because the nuts not formed. You can’t do it, you have to let nature do its thing in order for this nut to be available. We met with all the people. We realized that this is a wild food. This protects the Cerrado that’s being destroyed faster than any landmass. Being wiped out for cattle grazing, and all these other nefarious agricultural practices. This hit every box. And I knew at that point I needed to bring this to market. And because it was one of those, it checked every box, from the nutrition, from the taste, working with indigenous people, helping to save the Cerrado, by this tree, by this nut, that is revered by the people. And I was like, “That’s it, man. I got to get this nut out.” And selfishly, I love the nut so much, I needed to build a business so that I could continue to eat this thing.
Yeah, that’s the catalyst. That’s the biggest driver isn’t it? How can I solve this problem? Where can we find out more about them? You’ve got a website that explains all of the above, and more, and also allows us to purchase.
Barukas.com. B-A-R-U-K-A-S dot com. We also have distribution in Australia. We’re working on the rest of the world at the moment, but certainly the US. We’re expanding. We’re in a hell of a spot right now in terms of… I’ve got a new partner. We’re really excited. I’m working on, we’ve got a nut butter, it’s the best nut butter on the planet. We’ve got chocolate covered, we’ve got the trail mix of the dried fruit from the outside, that tastes like, in the US we call it a graham cracker, but it tastes amazing. I’m excited. I’m going to be working on a bar. I’m going to be working on some chocolate with it. I’m excited to bring this to the world, because it’s one of those things, there’s just no downside.
No, it sounds unique. We’ll drop that link in the show notes, and everybody can check it out for themselves, because it sounds, one of those things, it sounds too good to be true. But I’ve checked it out personally, and it seems like it’s the real deal, which is quite exciting.
I had a whole heap of questions about SuperLife, the book, and also your podcast, but I realize we’re coming up on time, and I’m conscious of your time as well. Before we wrap up, I’d like to touch on your exercise thoughts, and principles. Because I mentioned previously at the start of the show, you’re doing 34 and a half strict pull-ups. Which is, again, pretty crazy if you like to do pull-ups, and I’ve been doing pull-ups all my life, and I can’t do 34 strict pull-ups. I’m keen to understand what is it that you do to maximize your strength, your fitness, your vitality, from an exercise, and movement perspective, because you mentioned a little bit before that you mix up lots of things, but what are you currently doing?
I always love to do those things where it’s like, “Oh let me just see how many I can do.” And keep in mind, this is that age old thing where people say plant based people can’t get protein, or can’t build muscle. Well that’s just a bunch of lazy bullshit. That said, that was just a fun thing for me to do. But I always loved pull-ups, ever since I was 16 years old. And I think it’s such a great upper body movement. Bodyweight stuff is just, I think, underutilized. You can easily do that stuff. I think for me, aside from being aware of your body, and body position, I come from a rehab background, meaning that I taught people how to move correctly, and rehab things. I love strict forms. I love to be aware.
That aside, things like, always squats. I like log pulls, and pulling things heavy. I like deadlifts. I love stiff legged deadlifts. I love to do legs. I love, love, love. If you just did legs, you would increase growth hormone, and testosterone, just by that leg intensity alone. That’s like if someone’s thinking in our age bracket, or above, or even below us, lift heavy. Again, make sure your form is there. And also, it’s not just try to max out. Think of heavy, but also think of intensity. Today we did a back, and chest routine. A bunch of guys, buddies of mine, we just grabbed a weight, and just go as efficiently, and as effectively as you can. Just take this weight, and get 50 reps. We had pull-ups, just do 50 reps, and as quickly as you can recover, jump up and continue.
I just busted out my 30, but I actually had weight. I put 25 pounds. I hung on with 25 pounds, and banged out like 22 with weight, 25 pound weight. And then I dropped the weight, and then I finished my 50 with bodyweight. And then I jumped to a 60 pound chest press, and I busted out 30 reps with 60 pounds, and then I jumped to 45 pounds, and busted that out to get my 50. It doesn’t mean that you need to go as heavy as possible for three reps. I don’t believe that. I believe just that intensity, and then shorten the windows of rest. Those HIIT trainings. I love a leg day. I love a leg day, but being creative. One-legged squats, and split squats, and lunges, and all of those things where you can kind of protect yourself. I don’t really put a lot of weight on a squat on my back anymore.
I’ve had too many football injuries, but I do love to find that protection. And so lunges, and one-legged squats, where I can really lock in my form. I love that stuff. For me, at least three days a week I’m doing weights, the other days we’re now going to the beach, and so we’re getting a lot of creative stuff, and I’m getting back into sprinting on the sand, which I love. And that’s intervals. And again, it gets me all fired up, because I feel like I’m young. I feel like I’m going to go to two a days, and train for football again. It gets those juices going that you just, I literally feel like I’m 18 again when I start doing that stuff.
That’s amazing. And when you mention that as well, you’re really getting yourself in an uncomfortable zone. And especially with things like soft sand running. If you train in the soft sand, when you run on concrete, or on the grass, boy, you just feel like a gazelle. You’re the fastest thing around. And the same with you’re talking about weighted pull-ups. When you take the weight off, you feel like you have wings. It really is time under tension, as you say, and just strength.
I interviewed a longevity specialist a while ago, and I said to him, “Look, what’s the secret? What’s the one thing that we could all take away, and apply to ourselves.” Thinking that he would say, “Oh you got to take this supplement. It might be a resveratrol, or a metformin or something along these lines.” And he thought about it for a while, and then he said, he just said two words, and he got close to the camera, and he said, “Lift weights.” And that was it. And he just said, “You lift weights, everything changes. It’s a game changer, for as long as you can keep lifting weights.” And I totally get it. And when you tell me what you’ve just told me, it gets me excited, because the feeling that you get when you do this stuff, and you’re just strong, and energetic, and you’re faster, and fitter, and it’s like you can live forever. I love it.
Totally. And it also, it applies in your life. If I need to work on my property, and I need to dig a ditch, or I need to jump on my tractor, and I need to cut a tree that died, and I need to cut it up, I can do that stuff, because I don’t think about it, because I’m trained. I’m strong. I had a little, probably from hitting people as a kid with a helmet on, I had a little neck thing that I had to back off, and I was looking at my function, and where all that stuff. But now that I’m through that little injury, I literally told my girlfriend the other day, I’m like, “I got to get it strong again.” And she looked at me, she goes, “What do you mean, you’re already strong?”
But to me, I just love going in that space, or just taking it up another notch, because I know it fuels me. And a quick little secret. I’ll give you a secret to pull-ups. Right now I always loaded up with weights. I can, right now… I’ll probably, I’m going to do a video on this just to show it. I can do probably… I’m going to out myself right now. But if I put 60 pounds between my legs, I could probably bang out, for sure, five to probably eight. Pretty great form. And that is the key of you seeing the 34.
Because I’ve loaded myself up. And I haven’t done shit form. All of my ancillary muscles, and my shoulders, and my positioning are solid, because I haven’t jump steps. I’ve made sure that my form, and when your form’s correct, your muscles are moving in the alignment that they were built to move in. Therefore, your gains are going to be exponential. When you work on that form, and then you build from there, you can go bang out 34 pull-ups.
It’s amazing. I love that feeling as well, because we do a strength protocol, and we hang a 20 kilo plate on a belt as we do pull-ups. And that’s three to five at the most. But once you take that belt off, you may as well be full of helium. You are floating. It’s easy. I love that approach, because you can apply that to so many other things in life as well, just to become more resilient. And as you say, in 30, 40 years time, when we need to get up off the toilet, or out of bed, we can do it because we’re strong.
Exactly. And another key to all that stuff, just because I’m thinking about it. It’s very safe to do essentially, and that’s eccentric work. We’re always thinking about pushing with our chest, or whatever, or pulling with our… but going slow on the way down, and even holding. Today at the end of our insane workout, we did holds. That tension of isometric, and isotonic work, is so incredible for the resiliency of the tendons, and ligaments, without causing. That can just be bodyweight. That can be at the end of a leg workout, just sitting in a squat position against the wall, and holding that for three minutes, and watching your legs freaking shake like crazy. And then that’s resiliency of the mind too.
A hundred percent.
All of that stuff. It’s very rare that people ask me these questions, and thank you for that, because I love shit. I still love working out even, though it hurts me. It hurts, it’s pain, it’s all of that stuff. But when you realize you bring it on as a friend, this is your friend, and your ally.
It’s your best friend. I love that. The time under tension, and when you realize, if you’re dialing into holds on your workout. Theoretically, you could be doubling the time that you take to work out to hold that weight. And so you’ve got maximum effort, and then you can just embrace recovery, sit in the sun, eat your superfood, and there you go. It’s a happy life. Fantastic. Well look Darin, this has been fantastic. You’ve shared so much. Last question. What’s next? You mentioned you were writing a book, and you must be the busiest guy that I’ve spoken to in a long time. What else have you got on the horizon?
For a year straight, I never took a day off, and so I’m just now… That gives you a context of what I’m doing. But this book I’m writing on fatal conveniences. Deep dives on fast fashion, and toxicities, and EMFs, and the food industry. Peeling back the research. Letting the research lead. I got a team of researchers helping me. That I’m trying to finish. I’ve got season two of Down to Earth coming out soon. I can’t say when, but it’s all in Australia. The Aussies are going to love it. Also, working on another TV show, which I’m not going to reveal much, but it’s… I’m so excited about. And then my podcast. And Clean Energy Technologies that I’m deep on, and have partnerships with. Just excited about it. And again, I have to be mindful of all of this stuff I’m excited about, but I lose balance myself. Taking a day off, and making sure that I’m loving the people around me, and not completely in my own silo. But yeah, excited.
Fantastic. For all of our listeners that no doubt will be super enthused, they want to find out more, they want to read SuperLife. They want to order their Barukas. They want to listen to your podcasts. They want to figure out where they can dial into Down to Earth. Where can we send them?
Most things, darinolien.com, if you sign up for the newsletter, there’s cooler deep dives, and rabbit holes, and @DarinOlien on all the social media. You can follow Down to Earth. We have a website. We’re going to be putting up some stuff there soon. Social, all of that stuff. But Darin Olien, you can find me.
Awesome. This has been so good. Can’t wait to share it. Thank you so much. Much appreciated.
Thanks Stu, Appreciate it.