Dr. Doug McGuff, MD: Body By Science – #26

body by science
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Doug McGuff, MD, is an author, personal trainer, and practicing medical professional.  In an effort to prevent, and not just treat disease, Dr. McGuff has developed a unique system of weight training that promises results in as little as 12 minutes a week.  Along with John Little, a renowned strength and conditioning coach, Dr McGuff wrote Body By Science, one of the best books on strength, health, and fitness you’re likely to find.  Dr. McGuff comes on the show to talk about how you can enhance your performance, health, and longevity with an exercise program that takes only 12 minutes a week.

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Click here to download Dr. Doug McGuff, MD: Body By Science – #26

What We Cover

  1. How did you get interested in health and fitness?
  2. Can you share your definition of health, fitness, and exercise so we are all on the same page?
  3. Would you talk about how to balance the relationship between anabolism and catabolism to improve health and performance?
  4. What are the criteria for something to count as exercise?
  5. Can you talk about how exercise is a drug?
  6. Do you think running marathons or doing Ironmans counts as exercise?  Or should it be considered it’s own entity?
  7. What do you think of what most people refer to as “cardio.” Do you need to do “aerobic” exercise to keep your heart and lungs healthy?
  8. What role does nutrition play in improving body composition?
  9. What do you think are some of the flaws of barbell training?
  10. Do you think Crossfit is a good way to build strength?
  11. What do you think of explosive plyometric/olympic type lifting?  Will it really help the average lifter?
  12. Is stretching and mobility type work necessary?
  13. Is balance training like bosu balls and standing on one foot necessary to improve balance or proprioception?
  14. If someone is training for a specific sport, do these principles still apply?
  15. What is the best way to fatigue a muscle and produce growth?
  16. Can you talk about the specifics of your “Big 5” workout?
  17. If progress stalls, should you do more exercise or less?
  18. Does this mean you can’t train more than once a week?  What about other activities, do those have to be limited as well?
  19. Is this kind of training safe or useful for the elderly or people who lack experience?

Links From The Show


Body By Science by Dr. Doug McGuff & John Little



Consulting Requests for Dr. Doug McGuff (call 864-886-0200)

Food & Supplements

Upgraded™ Glutathione

Vitamin D3

Vitamin C


Upgraded™ Whey Protein

Flaxseed Lignin Extract

Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil Blend

Kerrygold Grass-Fed Butter

Grass-Fed Meat


The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

Body By Science by Dr. Doug McGuff & John Little

The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov

The Better Baby Book by Dave Asprey


Link to BBC article on sleep.

Wellnessfx Post (with a $100 discount!)

Dr. Ray Kurzweil

Listener Q & A Summary

  1. What supplements can you take to boost immune function?
  2. Should you sleep twice a day instead of once?
  3. Are flax seeds safe?

Biohacker Report

“Orbital prefrontal cortex volume predicts social network size: an imaging study of individual differences in humans.”

“Quality control, accuracy, and prediction capacity of dual energy X-ray absorptiometry variables and data acquisition.”

“Exposure to soy-based formula in infancy and endocrinological and reproductive outcomes in young adulthood.”

Questions for the podcast?

Leave your questions and responses in comments section below.

You can also ask your questions via…

The Bulletproof Forum



Listener Questions


In addition to eating a healthy diet, what supplements do you suggest to boost the immune system?


What are your thoughts on this interesting piece of research about sleep [link].


I know flax seeds suck as an omega 3 source as they are exclusively ALA. For omega 3s I take cod liver oil every now and then but mainly just eat grass fed meats/fish and reduce my omega 6 intake. However, is there anything wrong with ground flax seeds to add some crunch to meals?  I heard they have many of the same problems as soy in terms of phytoestrogens. What do you think of ground flax seeds (not flaxseed oil)?

Don’t forget to leave a ranking in iTunes.  It helps more people find our show.

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By Dave Asprey

  • Day

    Why no direct download?

    • Dave Asprey

      Working on getting that fixed!

  • John

    No mp3 enclosure in the RSS feed either!

  • TrueSummits

    Same as the other commenters – where’s the MP3?

  • Bodhibkb

    Need MP3. itunes sucks ass.

    • Hi guys, it’s fixed now. Somehow the code got deleted when it was published.

      • Bodhibkb

        Thanks Armi! Great shows guys.

  • Jonathan

    Hi Dave
    would love to know the rationale behind such large daily doses of Vit C (10g). Linus Pauling’s research on the subject has been discredited by the medical community yet you are still an advocate of megadosing – why?

    • Dave Asprey

      The medical community I have worked with for years does not believe Pauling’s work has been discredited. Neither do I. I take 10 grams because I am measurably healthier with it.

  • Zorica

    Regarding vit. C, do you have specific kind you prefer? For example, I know that there is camu camu, vit C complex etc. I had a Jamieson ‘high dose’ of 1000mg. I then also got some camu camu (500mg). Is the regular vit C OK, and what about ‘synthesized ascorbic acid’ which could be a problem with the Jamieson brand?

    Also for vit D, if I have exposure to daily sun with no sunscreen, should that be OK? I have gotten tanned since March, so I feel like I am OK.

    One more question, if one gets serrapeptase (in addition to the supps you listed, with Bulletproof diet), is it necessary to take probiotic?

    Thanks for answering all my questions.

  • Andyleefisher

    Hi Armi / Dave

    Attached is the latest results from my i3mindware progress – I’ve taken 2 days off during the process to date and have been very interested by ground gained.

    The dip came on a day following a particularly disrupted night with my 4 month old son! Does this curve reflect typical figures for those undertaking this training? I am very much looking forward to retesting my IQ at the end of the month!

    Thanks for all the material and guidance – now on day 18 of the bulletproof diet and IF protocol with butter / mct oil coffee in the mornings – due for another weigh in this afternoon but I know I’ve lost at least 15lb to date! Keep up the great work guys!

  • Question for the Podcast:

    Hey guys!

    I am so happy to have discovered your website and podcast! I love your approach to health, longevity, and self-improvement through self-experimentation.

    I have a question regarding optimizing my training.

    Background (feel free not to read): I’ve been eating low to moderate carb Paleo for nearly two years, and have lost 60 pounds, going from 200lbs to 135lb., and dropping from a size 16 to a size 4.

    Recently, I tried Jack Kruse’s protocols (Leptin Reset and Cold Thermogenesis), with great success. In two months, I dropped 10 pounds and dropped a size, following a 6-month stall. The Leptin Reset requires no exercise, so I haven’t been exercising at all until very recently.

    Last weekend, I did my first 5K Mud Run (Dirty Girl), and now and totally addicted. I’ve signed up for a 5K trail run next month, another mud run the following month and yet another one in the Fall. I have no interested in doing “chronic cardio” to train for these events, but I would like to improve my performance. Can you give me some suggestions of what sort of training you would do to optimize performance on these types of endurance events?



  • Adam Fiddler


    This was a great interview, and Dr. McGuff makes a lot of great points. While I do see the appeal of his approach on multiple fronts, honestly I was really surprised that neither you nor Armi took him to task for recommending machines like the Nautilus in training (though in fairness he definitely endorsed standard barbell training).

    I assume he’s way too smart and well-researched to subscribe to the common fallacy that strength and muscle are one in the same, but I just don’t see how anybody who aspires to high levels of functional strength (as opposed to just muscle growth or bodybuilding) is ever going to take that kind of approach seriously, since using something like a Nautilus machine completely ignores so much of the neuromuscular coordination that becoming strong relies upon.

    What I thought was really fascinating though was his discussion of tandem recruitment, and how he essentially explained why programs like SL 5×5 or 3×5 in Starting Strength are so successful.

    Thanks again for the great podcast. Also, I’m curious (to Dave), you talk a lot about your exercise fast, have you taken any totals (i.e. Squat+ Deadlift+Press) before and after, or just overall what kind of numbers have you been able to maintain or improve upon with your approach?



  • Laurence

    Outstanding podcast as usual. Thanks Dave & Armi.

  • Cody Loyd

    Here’s a question for you:

    in a few weeks I’ll be starting a VERY intense 3 week summer masters course (9 credit hours in 3 weeks) So i’ll be up late reading, studying, writing, researching and practicing. (i’m a musician getting a music degree)
    What the heck should I be eating if i intend to kick a whole ton of ass for 3 weeks straight, but have little time or interest in food preparation (minimal kitchen stuff in the dorm room i’ll be in, basically, fridge sink, and a stove top) Last summer, I did the same thing and lived mostly on frozen pizza, fast food and random processed stuff for sandwiches… not interested in doing THAT again, but grilling grass-fed steaks every night isn’t really what I’m interested in doing either.

    fwiw I already intend to drink plenty of bulletproof coffee 🙂

    • Dave Asprey

      Egg yolk smoothies with Upgraded Whey. Bring a blender!

      • Cody loyd

        On a related note… Do you know of any bio hacks for improving muscle memory? (as in practicing music)
        I am studying music conducting or, ‘waving my arms around’ and at this level, some of the motions and techniques can get rather specific and need a lot of practice to be able to perform them smoothly.

      • Gladina

        I’ll use that tip next time I’m on a condensed study period like that too! (Because we all know if they give food it’s usually junk anyway).

        What tips do you have for camping, as in tents and portaging? With minimal items to carry in my back pack.


  • mac

    Dave, what biohacking techniques did you use to reactivate your prefrontal cortex?

    • lukas piala

      HEG neurofeedback. They sell is on upgraded self

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  • Day

    This is an outstanding interview. Dr. McGuff is one sharp dude. No bs at all. Loved it.

    I have but one thing to add. It involves Bulletproof Coffee. If you have a coffee habit at all DO NOT try BC. I am now obsessed by it. It is so good and has such a positive effect on me that it is now the last thing I think of before I go to sleep and the first thing I think of upon waking. When I first read about it I didn’t find the thought of butter in coffee an appetizing idea, but upon trying it I’ve found it’s the best single thing I’ve ever had. The absolute best way to start a day. Thanks Dave…..I guess. I spend a lot of time on the road in Asia and I’m already worrying about the gyrations I might have to go through to get a morning infusion of BC. Is butter allowed in carry-on? I doubt it. Uh oh.

  • manom

    I was wondering whats the best supplement of magnesium. I read on the blog that natural calm is the best, but what about the citric acid in it? does it not damage your tooth enamel? Are there any other, better alternatives, like magnesium in chelated form in capsules?

  • David P

    Dave and Armi,
    I’ve had an issue with stomach distension for as long as I can remember. I am 29 years old, 5’7″, 160lbs, I eat a bulletproof and paleo diet most of the time (85%), I don’t exercise very often (but I have in the past and the distension was unchanged), I have a six pack when I flex, but my stomach sticks out pretty far when I relax. No doctor has been able to explain it and I have found nothing on the subject in my own searching. Do you guys know what could be causing it and how it can be fixed?

    Thanks for all you guys do. You have changed my life in a lot of great ways! (P.S. Bulletproof Coffee is the best)

    • Roger

      Hi David
      Did you ever get a reply to this? I have exactly the same problem and have a very similar profile! Please help!! E mail me on roger@aam.co.za. Thanks

      • Dave Asprey

        You’re most welcome. Try the TTAP we have on UpgradedSelf.com – it may be a postural problem.

  • Chris Highcock

    Great interview with Doug. I did an interview with him a couple of years ago,


    but you were able to go into much more depth.

    Thanks for this.

  • TMS71

    I’m sure it was the cover article of Scientific American that prompted the cool fact of the day. Great article. Everyone should read it. However by biomass our own cells greatly outweigh or outmass the bacteria so we are more bacteria than not in one sense but not in another.

  • TMS71

    Hey while I’m posting comments I have a question. In the podcast there are numerous times where comments like “Oh shit, we’ll edit that out” end up in the podcast or at least the one that is available by download from the RSS feed. I’m wondering if you guys are aware of this.

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  • BrandiLynn

    Hey fellas, loved this podcast!! Is there anywhere I could get information that yall talked about in reference to benefits of keeping ferritin low? I have a strange situation, as I have hemochromatosis and high iron saturation (normal H&H) BUT I have really low ferritin. I have had a partial gastrectomy, so I have been watching a large panel of my labs for the past 3 years (and only recently found out about the hemochromatosis after referring myself to a hematologist) but the low ferritin, despite double dosing the Proferrin ES (and no matter how much red meat I eat) is confounding!!

    Anyway, with the low ferritin possibly being beneficial mentioned, you can imagine that intrigues me and I would like to find out more if I could! Thanks!

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  • Jake

    Did he say “golly” AND “pissing into the wind” in the same paragraph?? Dude is the man!

  • Ginkgo

    For some reason, this podcast doesn’t show up in my podcasting clients: I tried both Itunes and Downcast. Just wanted you to know.

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  • Ilya

    Hi Dave, how come you guys stopped transcribing the podcasts? Is it possible for you to restart that practice?

    Thank you, Ilya

  • Terry

    Enjoyed the podcast! I’ve read Dr. McGuff’s book, and I’m looking to try out the BBS protocol to prep for softball this spring. One thing, though, I need some alternative exercises I can do with dumbbells at home for the Big 5 workout. Suggestions?

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  • I just listened to this for the third time. Doug’s descriptions of the metabolic processes, stroke volume, aerobic and anaerobic systems are second to none. I think this episode is a must listen for anyone who really wants to understand how to get the most value from their exercise regime.

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  • Terry Davis

    I want to incorporate this workout at home with Bowflex dumbbells and possibly resistance bands. Suggestions as to how to set up a Big 5 routine? Thanks!

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