Dr Raymond Prior: How to Perform like the Top .1%

The final episode of our series with Dr Raymond Prior to help you crush 2024 is on a variety of topics.

Dr Raymond Prior: How to Perform like the Top .1%

The final episode of our series with Dr Raymond Prior to help you crush 2024 is on a variety of topics.

The final episode of our series with Dr Raymond Prior to help you crush 2024 is on a variety of topics. In this episode we cover: 

  • 2:05-  Habits of high performance of the top .1% 
  • 10:15-  How to get effective sleep and the importance of sleep 
  • 22:00 – Caffeine: How it actually works, how to use it and what NOT to do
  • 32:30 – Creating the best diet for you 
  • 36:10 – The importance of mindfulness to performance and how to start 


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Dr. Raymond Prior: Most people’s lives would be significantly improved devoting eight hours to sleep every night and trying to get as close to the same sleep schedule As you could so one of the things about a cold plant is it will Decrease inflammation don’t know if it was an actual study or something on the internet.

Richie Burke: But yeah, that is , not true at all Hey everyone, welcome back to milwaukee uncut sponsored by central standard distillery produced by story mark studios and in partnership With on milwaukee, this is our final episode of our series of Three with Dr. Raymond Pryor, feel free to go back and listen to the last two.

If you have not already after this one, he’s one of the most sought after performance consultant in the world. Works with a lot of professional athletes, Olympians, executives, Grammy winners, Emmy winners. He is great at what he does. And this episode is all about optimizing your life. This may be the longest episode that we’ve ever posted, at least in a long time.

I thought about breaking it up, but instead. There are timestamps in the show notes. So if you do want to skip ahead to a certain section, I think all the episodes, all the information is great information, but feel free to skip ahead. You can just go to the episode description and there are timestamps in the episode.

The topics we cover are habits of high performers, how to get the best sleep possible, how much sleep you actually need to be getting and the importance of sleep. Caffeine talk a bunch about caffeine. Ray blew my mind. With this section. Apparently I’ve been doing things wrong for my whole life and there’s a good chance you’ve been too.

We also talk about dieting and mindfulness. So a lot of great topics on today’s episode, before we dive in, I want to say thank you for all the recent support. The show has been getting a lot of traction, especially on our Instagram accounts, to make sure you’re following us on there, there’s a lot of great clips from the guests.

And if you do leave a review on Apple, Apple podcasts and put your email or Instagram handle in the review. We will reach out and send you something to show our appreciation that helps the show. All right, let’s dive in with dr. Raymond Pryor two caveats before we dive into this conversation. The first is very very few Really high performers are optimizing anything For example, work with a couple of pro hockey players they Like, they’ll probably wake up, depending on the travel schedule.

Dr. Raymond Prior: Let’s just say it’s a home schedule, just for the sake of the argument. Probably wake up at about 8am for morning skate. They then go eat. all the body work they need to do, whether it’s seeing the trainer, getting a massage, doing whatever. Some of them have a yoga routine where it was basically just like, what do I got to do to take care of my body today?

Then they’re going to have a, usually a video session, something in the afternoon where they’re meeting with the team. They’re talking about the game, doing whatever. Okay. Then there’s usually another meal. They’re probably then in the locker room playing cards or video games for a little bit because it’s too far to go home, you know, or not enough time to go home and come back.

Then they do, you know, warm up, whatever. Then you then play your game, which you’re just getting wrecked during that game, even if you’re a third liner. Like, playing five minutes of an NHL hockey game is just a full on beatdown. Then they have their post game usually like interviews and all that stuff, then they work out and then they go home and they’re still so jacked up from the day.

They’re probably not falling asleep till three or four in the morning. Right? So in this scenario, eating schedule is not totally optimized. Body care, certainly not optimized workout, not optimized sleep, not optimized. So as much as I think the word optimization is a bit of a buzzword now, Optimization is not required for high performance, nor are most high performers optimizing most things, okay?

There are some examples where you might see that. For example, equipment is really easy to optimize, but in terms of like, what we’re getting from ourselves in these scenarios, it’s not always the case. So, and with that, the other caveat that I would add is, seeing really, really high performers, It would be a misconception or a myth to think that they all have really high performing habits, or that they are not performing well in spite of a few things that are Perhaps self imposed and getting in their own way, right?

Many people who are really high performers do indeed experience some significant anxiety sometimes some depression They don’t all have the best like i’ve been to the olympics and been in the athlete village before I promise you They’re not all eating super clean most of them are not sleeping as well as they could some of them are probably drinking and not eating the ways they could so I would Many high performers are not all of them are so i’ll just put that as a bit of a caveat to our conversation.

Having said that, what I would say about the highest performers and the most consistent performers that I’ve seen, one of the things, the common threads between them, there are a couple and I’ll speak more from the psychological standpoint because that’s more my expertise than anything else. The first is they have a habit of being present a lot more than not.

It’s not that they don’t ever think about the past, because if you don’t, it’s very difficult to learn. It’s not that they don’t ever think about the future, because if you’re not planning for the future and deciding what you, what future you want to move toward, it’s very difficult to actually do that.

But they have a tendency that when it’s time to be present or most valuable to be present, they know how to do it, and they’re not leaving it up to chance that hopefully I’m present at the time when I need to be present. Most of them are pretty good about taking care of their body. they are listening to, you know, for example, on the PJ Tour and LPJ Tour, I would say the highest performers are not the people that are hitting the most amount of golf balls.

They’re the people who are hitting the amount of golf balls that is best for them that day, which might mean none at all some days and might mean just a couple. It also, there might be days when it’s quite a bit, but they’re very picky and choosy about where they put their focus, their time, their energy.

And then another common thread is that the highest performers, don’t get me wrong, they want to win. They want to win. All the time, they want to win big, and they want to make a lot of money and do all the things that come with that along the way. They are far more disproportionately intrinsically motivated.

They are motivated far more by their craft, than they are the byproducts of it. Now, don’t get me wrong, they enjoy them, but those that I would say are the highest performing, the thing itself is the primary motivator for them, not all the extra stuff that comes with it. Because again, you’ll. Those things won’t carry you through the times that are really hard and they won’t even carry you through the times that are really good, not for very long.

So those would be some of the common threads that I’ve noticed for sure. And for those who didn’t listen to our goal setting episode, we go pretty deep into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and the importance of setting goals that you’re intrinsically motivated by or just the likelihood that you’re going to achieve those over a long span of time.

Richie Burke: So we won’t go too in depth on this episode, but make sure to go back and listen to that one of you. Have not already in on the flip side, I’m sure you’ve worked with a number of people or witnessed a lot of people who are maybe full of potential, whether it was in the business world or in the in the sports world or music world who had loads of potential and talent, but did not live up to that.

Dr. Raymond Prior: And what do you see on the flip side? A little bit of, you might say, kind of a mirror opposite. So first of all, I would say that one of the, which we might talk about here in a bit or in another episode. That what’s really, really predictive of people’s trajectory of their growth is whether they have a fixed or a growth mindset.

That’s a really strong predictor. And with those tend to come a variety of different behaviors and habits that tend to facilitate performance or perhaps start to limit it. We can get into that in another episode. But I would say people who have a lot of ability but have a really difficult time tapping into it, one of the common threads is They use outcomes to determine how confident they need to be.

Like if I make this sale, then I’ll feel confident that I can make another sale. Or if I hit it, have a good score in this round, then I’ll feel like I can play well enough in another. And what starts to happen is they start to become dependent upon outcomes. The limitation to this is we can’t control outcomes.

By definition, outcomes exist in the past and the future, not the present. So once even an outcome that has just happened, by definition, as soon as it happens, it’s over. So we don’t have control of them. They are not in the present. And what happens is if I need them in order to feel confident, my threshold for confidence gets lower because it used to be, well, I had to do is hit one good golf shot or have one good sale.

Well, now I need to, now I need three. So here again, we see the shelf life and the building tolerance to these that starts to make my confidence less stable as it goes on. So if your primary means of Being confident is produce outcomes or past success that tends to be a very fragile model at the top levels of sport where if you’re not playing with confidence more consistently, you’re cutting off access to your own ability.

It’s another way of saying anxiety for many people. And then what we’re seeing now, too, there’s just a mountain of research that shows that if you’re not sleeping enough, Consistently enough, your brain and body just do not have the capacity to be able to keep up with people who are. Mm hmm. And we’ll dive into that more on the growth mindset episode as well as stable confidence versus unstable confidence, which it seems like unstable is when you’re reliant on Outcomes and external factors and what you’ve done where stable confidence, so you can be more in the moment and as much more effective.

Internally driven, internally driven. Okay. speaking of, I want to run down a list of about seven. You can call them habits or the things that people can do to optimize or maximize performance. You brought up sleep. What’s your take on it? How important is it? Yeah, it’s not my take. I can just tell you what the research tells us that essentially anything less than seven hours of sleep a night is by definition sleep deprivation. as I mentioned in the previous episode, everything about us, physically, psychologically, emotionally, neurologically, our immune system, our nervous system, our hormone release, all of those are regulated during our sleep. So if we are not sleeping enough, you know, think about us human beings. We’re kind of we’re kind of like batteries we have like a battery.

We have a recycle rate or a refresh rate that is by definition, the amount of time it takes for us after sleeping to diminish our focus and energy to the point of deficiencies. And for us as human beings, it’s somewhere between 12 and 16 hours. Which means we need eight hours of sleep. Like we could do a whole episode on sleep.

The research around it and how it impacts our mental health, our physical health, our performance our focus, our immune health, our ability to battle things like cancer are, it’s indisputable. And the hard part right now is that culturally we tend to have this attitude of like, I’ll sleep when I die, or I like to burn the candle at both ends or you know, sleep is for the weak.

And the bottom line is the research shows the exact opposite. You know, for example, if I, if I sleep deprived you for a full day, Like just a, you know, you pull an all nighter. You would be far better off being well beyond the legal limit of intoxication doing your job than you would be if you were sleep deprived.

And the idea that we can operate on low sleep is a process that sleep scientists call baseline resetting, where we just get used to operating on less than optimal sleep levels, optimal again or near optimal. And even though we think we’re doing okay relative to what we could be, we are not. And for those of you who are like, no, I can, I can do just fine on less than a full night’s sleep, a full night being eight hours devoted to sleep.

If you took the number of people in the world who can operate on less than seven hours of sleep without deficiency, and you rounded it to the nearest whole number and expressed it as a percent, that number is zero. So there’s essentially a genetic anomaly that allows some people to operate on less than eight hours of sleep, and it’s by definition zero percent of people.

Richie Burke: One thing I did want to ask you, and I’ve, I’ve, don’t know if it was an actual study or something on the internet, but I saw it where it was like, What’s important is you get, you know, seven or eight hours, an average of seven or eight hours of sleep over a week. It doesn’t matter if you get 15 one night and three the next.

Okay. Yeah, that is not true at all. in fact there’s a thing that most people, that I know I was particularly familiar with this when I was younger, we call this either localized or social jet lag. Which is, I sleep, this sleep schedule, Sunday night through Thursday. But then Friday through Sunday or Thursday through whatever, I sleep a different one.

the more you are shifting your sleep schedule, there’s another way of saying slip, shifting your circadian rhythm, which is your internal sleep and wake clock, the more you shift it, the worse your sleep is gonna be, the less depth of sleep you get, and the deeper our sleep is, the more recovery we get, and the more you’re disrupting your ability to get the full amount.

The bottom line is if, if most people’s lives would be significantly improved devoting eight hours of sleep. Devoting eight hours to sleep every night and trying to get the same as close to the same sleep schedule as you could That would be but but the idea that you can sleep a ton on the weekend to make up for being sleep deprived all week Is not true.

Not accurate. Okay, it is not but you’re aware of people saying that I am aware that there are there are a Variety of different and this could go for any topic by the way, not just sleep, but When it comes to sleep the research around it is really important because it often dispels a variety of these myths that we tend to think are true, but really are not.

There was one, I know someone emailed me a while ago asking, well, I need to get eight hours of sleep at a time. Could I just take like 15 minute naps? Like once every hour, I’ve heard of that too. Or like four hours of sleep. Yeah, it is. Please do not for anyone listening, please do not do that. It is not good whatsoever.

So if you understand sleep. And again, this could be an episode all itself, but the bottom line is there’s a reason that we need to devote eight hours of sleep at a single time to it. And you can’t just break it up over the day. And that’s because our, we sleep in cycles of varying depths. And if you’re only sleeping 15 minutes at a time, it is not enough time to get into both the full range of sleep for an extended period of time.

Now that’s not to say that taking a nap every now and then isn’t helpful. There’s a bunch of research that says that it is. But if your sleep schedule is, I’ll get two hours here, 15 minutes here, 12 here, you are not getting anywhere near the sleep that you really need to get. Got it. quick, any tips for people to get better sleep?

Yeah, a variety of them. So first and foremost, the strongest predictor of good sleep is devoting eight hours to sleep per night as on as close to the same sleep schedule as you can. Now, again, I’m not a purist on almost anything, and there are life demands and performance demands that don’t always allow that.

We often as human beings sacrifice sleep in order to do certain things. I want to get up early to go do something, or I’m going to go do something on the weekend that’s going to require me to stay up later. But the closer you can be to sleeping on the same schedule that devotes at least eight hours to sleep every night.

The better your sleep is going to be. Your brain will start to want to fall asleep at that time and want to wake up on it as the more you do that. another thing people can do in the morning our brains are the primary external signal for waking and sleeping for us as human beings is light, specifically sunlight.

So in the morning far people would be far better off instead of Jumping out and just drinking a cup of coffee would be actually go outside and get direct sunlight Now you don’t need to go look at the sun itself But just being outside and being exposed to sunlight. There’s a part of our brain It’s called the suprachiasmatic nucleus Which is just a big fancy latin word for saying thing that gets light from the sky and tells our brain to wake up You That thing when it gets exposed to light through our eyes essentially it starts our waking and it also helps to time sleep.

So it goes, Oh, we’re awake now, the light. So it goes, now we’re going to be awake. And in this many hours, we need to start getting ready to sleep. So it times our sleep clock. Similarly in the evening. So if you were going to be around like sunset, so we would call this low sky sunlight. If you go out, like perhaps you can go walk your dog or do something, just go outside for five to 10 minutes.

as the sun is setting. That starts to, it starts to almost like double check our sleep clock and it also makes our eyes less sensitive to light for the rest of the evening, which pushes us toward sleep. there are a variety of other things that people can do. Your sleeping conditions matter if they’re too hot.

So the internal regulator for our sleep is body temperature. Body temperature, like all of our organs don’t always necessarily speak the same language, you know? So the way that a liver enzyme would communicate might be different than how like a neuro neuron might communicate with the neurons next to it. body temperature is the universal language for us internally. So if I took your body temperature and turned it up enough, you would be awake. If I turned it down enough, like if I could just dial it, you would fall asleep. So we want, okay. are to essentially to help push us towards sleep. We want to move our body temperature down and then keep it down while we’re sleeping.

This is why if it’s too hot under covers, you might wake up cause you’ve like kicked off all your covers because your body’s like, this is just too hot to sleep. So the two things you can do first is take about a three to five minute hot shower. before bed, like half hour, 45 minutes before. What that actually does is it increases our core body temperature.

And then our nervous system snaps back by going, this is too hot. And it releases all that heat through a process of vasodilation, which is essentially means like through our skin and it’ll drop our body temperature by about a degree or a degree and a half. And that’s all we need to start to move us towards sleep.

And then in our actual sleep conditions, assuming like we might call normal sleep attire, shirt, t shirts, jammies, whatever. You’re going to want your sleeping conditions to be about 65 degrees, maybe a little bit cooler, right about in there. Of course, you can wear covers and do whatnot and you want it to be really dark and quiet.

And if you can do those things, you’ll be giving yourself a good chance to sleep pretty well. There are a variety of other things that you can do too. I would also recommend to people cutting off caffeine at about, assuming you go to bed at about. again, well, whatever your bedtime is, go back 10 hours and cut off caffeine from there.

Caffeine has a really long chemical half life, which means it takes a long time for it to wear off. And so if you’re drinking caffeine at three, four in the afternoon, It has a very good chance of keeping you from falling asleep, which means you’re not going to sleep very well, and then you’re going to need more caffeine the next day, and then I lean on the caffeine.

It becomes a cycle where, like, I drink more and more caffeine to cover up for the fact that I’m not sleeping well and feel tired, and that’s keeping me from getting the sleep that I really need to feel more energized. And the other part, for anybody out there who’s like, well, I could drink a cup of coffee and just go right to bed.

There are many people that that is the case. But one of the things that caffeine does is not just keep us from falling asleep, for most people, but for almost all people, it keeps us from getting very deep sleep, which is the sleep where we feel most recovered. And so even if you could drink coffee and just fall asleep, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting very deep sleep.

Richie Burke: Good depth of sleep. So the more you can limit that particularly in the afternoons, the, the more you’ll be teeing yourself up to be getting a good night’s sleep and feel tired enough to, to go to sleep. And I’m guessing limiting social media and screens before sleep is very important. Yeah.

Dr. Raymond Prior: Especially scrolling social media. There’s a, there’s a big trend right now of people buying like blue blocker glasses, like the blue light tends to be the type of light that keeps us awake. But if you could, you know, if everyone in the world, like an hour, hour and a half before they went to bed turned off screens and picked up a book or just spoke with the people around them in, you know, dimmer light, they would have an easier time falling asleep.

Like the screens, not there’s two things they do. The first is there’s light in our eyes, which communicates waking to our brain. And the other is, is that it’s like it’s active, really active thinking in a way that reading and conversing isn’t. And that oftentimes also keeps us awake. So what keeps us awake at night is either our nervous system is upregulated enough, meaning it’s.

wanting to be awake and our own thoughts. So if I give myself something worth thinking about, it’s communicating to my brain, this is worth staying awake for. And if my nervous system is upregulated, which oftentimes means my body temperature is higher than it would be if I was sleeping, that will also keep us awake.

I want to move to caffeine. You gave some good advice to cut it off 10 hours beforehand. I’ve also heard it’s bad to take right when you. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not actually doing anything for you. Expand on that. Yeah, so caffeine is an adenosine antagonist. Adenosine is this chemical in our bloodstream that, when we are sleeping, it clears it out.

And as soon as we wake, it starts to build, like, think of it like a river flow, or even like a, you had an hourglass, and if you flipped it over, like, the sand starts falling, so sleep flips the glass for us. So in the morning, our adenosine levels, or we might, if you were looking at this from very scientific terminology, we call it sleep pressure, our sleep pressure is at its lowest.

We’ve just slept, so the sleep has remove the adenosine levels or reset them so they’re at their lowest point. What wakes us in the morning is a burst of cortisol. It’s kind of the last, there’s many things that kind of kick us toward waking, but the last is a burst of cortisol, which is another way of saying adrenaline.

So what wakes us in the morning and gets us moving at first is our adrenal system. Our adenosine system hasn’t even really kicked in yet. It’s at its lowest flow. And so if you’re drinking coffee in the morning, what caffeine does is it goes into our brain and it binds to the sites where adenosine would normally bind to, right?

So think of it like it parks in the parking spot for adenosine. And so it’s blocking it. If, you know, again, if you’re using the hourglass analogy, it just levels, like it just cuts off the sand flow. Well, in the morning when we first wake up, which about the first 90 minutes, there’s really no adenosine flowing.

And so if you’re drinking coffee, that caffeine is indeed parking in those spots, but there’s the adenosine is not trying to park there to begin with because there’s not enough. So if I wait 90 minutes or two hours from waking, when my adenosine levels are actually starting to flow. When I drink that caffeine, it then actually blocks a larger flow of adenosine.

So it’s actually, I’m actually getting the waking effects of caffeine. And then what that also does is the ripple effect of that is, because I have blocked that flow later in the day, I’m far less likely to experience the afternoon crash. Where if I drink caffeine right away, it’s not blocking anything.

So I’m really not getting the waking benefits to begin with. And then because it’s not by the time that caffeine starts to wear off, now it’s starting to really flow and I get that afternoon crash. And then oftentimes then what we do as well, then I better drink caffeine then, and then now I’m drinking caffeine late in the afternoon.

That is then probably disrupting my ability to go to sleep later on. question, what if you work out really early in the morning? Like, you get up and you essentially, you’re at the gym a half hour after you’re awake. Or is that, or should you wait, ideally wait a little longer to go to the gym? Like, whether you’re working out or whether you’re just sitting around your adenosines.

At its lowest level. So if you drank that, if you pound a bunch of pre-workouts, much, much, if you drank a bunch of, of caffeine right before you worked out, if it’s within the first 90 minutes of waking it, if you felt any waking effects, it’d be more placebo effect than anything else. Interesting. Okay.

You’d be far better off just working out. So exercise increases core body temperature and promotes waking for us. So. You know, even my morning routine is essentially like the dog goes out, dog gets fed, I do my mindfulness routine, then I go straight to working out, I come back, I tend to like, I got some emails and stuff before I have sessions and meetings start for the day, and then I don’t have my, I have a cup of coffee every day, usually right about two hours after I wake up.

After the workout. After the workout. It does feel really good after the workout. It’s actually doing something for you. Okay, that would make sense. Thank you for explaining this to me after 35 years of not really Caffeine is the second most traded commodity in the world. Behind oil. But one of the least understood about how it works for people and if you understand how it works You can get more out of it You know, I even had a friend who they asked me about it Not that i’m bragging but I was like, well, this is how denison works and your sleep works and over a year she spent like many hundreds of dollars less on starbucks because the one that she was buying didn’t have to turn into three for the day, so Hey everyone, it’s your host ritchie burke.

Richie Burke: Thank you for listening to this episode of milwaukee uncut I highly recommend all of Ray’s advice and tips if you are looking to optimize your life The guy clearly knows what he’s talking about. So continue listening I also want to take a minute to thank the sponsor our friends over at central standard distillery And I know this is an episode on optimization, but sometimes You are just looking for a different kind of optimization.

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But anyway, central standard on a serious note, a lot of great people over there and. They do have some healthy options if you are putting Ray’s advice into action, which I do for the majority of my life or the majority of my time. They’ve got some great mocktails over at the craft house, some awesome salads.

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All right Let’s get back to today’s episode with dr. Raymond prior That makes sense. speaking of ways to wake up. I want to touch on cold plunging. It’s something that I reluctantly tried in may going in lake michigan and then got hooked on it because I felt great afterwards Can you? And now my, my morning routine is basically stumble out of bed straight into a cold shower for like a minute or two and then go work out opposed to pumping a bunch of caffeine in my system, which I’ve done for years when I, right when I wake up, but I won’t be doing anymore.

Dr. Raymond Prior: can you touch on cold exposure? Yeah. Cold. There’s a bunch of research around it now. It started off pretty Pretty small, but the sample sizes in the studies are confirming what the early studies showed, even though they were smaller samples. But essentially what it is, so again, our dopaminergic system works like a scale between pleasure and pain.

When we just go straight to pleasure, we get a longer, deeper snapback of pain, which is why, like scrolling through social media in the morning, the first thing if you wake up tends to make people feel kind of crappy throughout the day. Okay. Cold exposure to us is painful. Like it doesn’t feel very good.

Some people learn to kind of like it, but ultimately like it doesn’t feel great for us. So it tips our nervous system scale, our dopaminergic scale toward pain first. So when we sit in it, and again, you don’t need to get it to the point that you’re frostbitten or anything like that. But if you’re sitting in uncomfortably cold water and it doesn’t have to be water but that’s the one of the more easy ones to get access to because it’s either a shower or a cold you know cold plunges are becoming very popular these days ice bath whatever so two things happen one it tips our scale toward pain first Then we get this longer, deeper snap back again, cause that’s how our nervous system is designed, which produces for us these kind of longer and spiked levels of norepinephrine, which is just adrenaline and dopamine, which just another way of saying energy and focus throughout the day.

And that’s why if you did a cold plunge for three minutes, it will suck while you’re in it, but you will feel better afterward. It’s the same process of how it works for exercise. Except it’s just a really, it’s a, it’s a more of a shock to our nervous system than perhaps a long time on a treadmill.

You could do it by doing 30 minutes on a treadmill, or you could do it in two or three minutes. So you can do both and many people do both. Yeah, I do. But it’s a really safe and healthy and more effective means of waking because the second thing it does is it pushes our core temperature down. So our nervous system snaps back by increasing it.

Increasing temperature is just another way of saying more waking regarding cold plunging. I I’d say the effects of that Lasts much longer for me than exercising if I do a good one I actually like go in the lake michigan when it’s 55 degrees in there. It’s cold You get you get quite the kickback. Yeah, and for the people wondering like how much time Research basically shows that it’s It’s a total of 11 minutes a week, so that you could do all at once, or you could space it out into smaller amounts.

I usually do three to four per week, so I don’t do it every single day. And then the other caveat with that, for those who are working out, you’re going to want to do that before you work out, not after. So one of the things about a cold plunge is it will, decrease inflammation, which sounds really good, but you have to keep in mind our inflammation process is, or response is what helps our muscles and tissues heal and grow.

So when you’re working out, it’s breaking down your muscles and it’s creating damn micro damage to them. And then it rebuilds stronger. So if I do cold exposure after it disrupts, protein synthesis, and it disrupts anabolic processes, which means it keeps them from repairing and growing. And so if you’re gonna do your cold exposure, you want to keep it before your workout’s, not after.

Particularly for those who are trying to build muscular strength, it feels good before workout. You just kind of, I feel like I better and I move better. Well, and that dose of norepinephrine and dopamine is gonna make your workout feel better. So, I mean, when I have my hardest workouts, I am a hundred percent doing a cold shower before I go do them.

Richie Burke: Let’s talk about dieting. Actually, I’d like to give my dad a quick shout out. He took a 14 second cold shower yesterday. Good for him. 14 seconds is a good start. JB. First time in there. so I want to talk about diet. There’s a ton of, there’s a million diets out there. what, what do you advise as far as like eating clean goes to people?

Dr. Raymond Prior: Yeah, this one’s a little bit beyond my scope. Do you want to skip this one? I just, well, I’ll give, I’ll give some basics and it’s different for everyone. And again, I’m not a purist and the research that I have read around our caloric intake and whatnot is. It’s pretty straightforward in terms of the general parameters.

Now it can look a little bit different for different people. But the bottom line is staying away from fried foods, processed foods, really sugary foods, like kind of all the basics. Those things for us, not only are they empty calories, but they increase ongoing inflammation. We do want an inflammation response, but not ongoing.

Because that, essentially what it does is it stretches the vasculature in our body, and without it being able to not be stressed for a while and recover, it’s essentially the formula for like, cardiorespiratory disease. Right. So, fruits and veggies lean meats, and making sure that you are not, overeating portions, again, depending on what it is you’re trying to do.

So again, I’m trying to paint with a broad brush here, but a lot of people overeat portions here in the United States. Yeah, we have a tendency to do that. I’m my wife and I went out to eat a little while ago and we have actually moved toward a policy of we order an appetizer and then we share an entree.

Richie Burke: Bre and I do that. Yeah, because we used to get a appetizer and then our own entrees and we, there’d either be too much food to finish or we’d finish it. And I’d be like, I. Grossly overeat. I can’t move. Right. Portion consciousness is important. Again, eating is a source of dopamine for us, which is why if we eat really fast, the enzymes in our liver and in our gut don’t quite move fast enough to tell us you’re full until after we are beyond full.

And if you’re using food to, feel good. Not just I like the taste of it. And for sustenance that it can obviously become kind of a weight issue and a health issue. But ultimately what I would encourage people when it comes to diet is you don’t need to eat like an Olympian or how we think Olympians typically eat in order to be healthier.

If you improve like our sleep, if you improve by 20%, 30%, 50 percent that compounds over time in a really significant way. So let’s say You’re like, well, I’m really hungry, but you can cut your portions down by a third consistently. That makes a huge difference. You know, like the analogy that we used to use in grad school when we were talking about adherence to diet was like, imagine you have somebody who eats a cookie a day.

Well, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I feel like, well, what if that person ate half a cookie a day? When you’re talking like the difference between like 300 and more cookies versus a hundred and like, that’s a lot. And then you think about how much we typically eat, it’s, it’s way more. So it depends on what you’re doing, you know, not everybody’s trying to cut calories or watch their weight, but for eating, again, the basic guidelines are the ones that tend to take control.

And then now we oftentimes have people who have different food allergies and stuff. So it might be important for people to talk to somebody who’s more informed than I am, like a nutritionist or a dietitian or something like that. The one last thing I wanted to talk about was mindfulness and that’s importance and what you recommend for, for people.

Sure. let’s define mindfulness for those listening. mindfulness is a fancy way of saying Attention or awareness, but it’s a very specific type of awareness. It’s built on three elements. element one is what we might call intention, which basically means it’s a proactive awareness.

Everything about us for human beings, the first line of information processing is awareness. Like even if I’m been on this couch like coughing, what tells me I need to cough is I become aware that my throat is dry or something of that nature, or I become aware that I need to eat because I become aware that I’m feeling hungry, right?

So awareness of things is what allows us to go, Oh, well then what do I want to do about it? Now, certainly, A lot of our pro, our reactive awareness is really valuable, but if you’re trying to thrive, having a more proactive awareness where you can be aware of something before it might think something might play out or as it’s playing out would certainly be more valuable than after.

So intention is the first pillar. So the second pillar is acceptance. Acceptance in this case means I can feel something. I can think something. I can be aware of it as it is without me needing to change it to something else. What that might look like is I’m paying attention to perhaps I’m feeling anxiety.

So I’m proactive with that by paying attention to, Hmm, I’m noticing I’m feeling anxious. The acceptance part is like, okay, I’m feeling anxious. I don’t need to try to jump out of this feeling. I don’t need to try to turn it off or I need to fix it. Like I can just be anxious, right? And what this does, it’s allows us to sit in discomfort long enough where our brain and body don’t start to see it as something that is a problem, right?

It can just be a thought, can just be a feeling without it being a fact. You know, you could have a thought that is something like, well, what happens if I jerk this tee shot left? Well, a mindful. accepting response to that would be, well, that’s just a thought about what might happen in the future. It’s not a certainty.

It’s not a fact or a precursor to the future, right? Or I’m worried about an interview that I have tomorrow. Well, that worry is just about, about the future, not the thing itself. And the last one pillar of mindfulness is groundedness. Groundedness is another way of saying being present. So in our current experience, not trying to jump out of it and escape it or focus on things that aren’t actually happening in the moment.

Where mindfulness practices come in is it trains us to start to pay attention to things both internally and externally through these three pillars, meaning I’m going to pay attention to more things on purpose. and proactively, as they are, not what I wish they were or think they should be. And I’m not necessarily going to treat my thoughts and feelings as facts, simply because they exist.

In which case, then I’m not being dragged around by them, simply because they exist. And I’m going to be present more often. And again, on a neurological level, being mindful is really important to us because even in uncomfortable states, is a high dopaminergic state for us. So the more present we are, the happier we’re gonna be.

There’s actually a variety of studies that show people who are present more often are happier, healthier, higher functioning human beings, and they feel better. And in large part, it’s not because they don’t have challenges in their life. It’s not because they don’t have funky thoughts and feelings. It’s just that they are tuned in to the moment that they’re actually in.

And what that does is, it pairs your dopaminergic system to being present. And when we are present, we have more autonomy. Autonomy means I have more say in my life. Because if I’m off all worrying about the future, let’s say I’m worried about the job interview tomorrow, and I just get sucked down that rabbit hole, I’ve also ruined my evening.

That’s not right, whereas if I’m present, I go, Ooh, I’m, I notice I’m feeling anxious. Well, what is this about? Oh, this is about my job interview. Well, this is a thought about me falling on my face during that job interview, not the actual real thing. Well, what is going on right now? Oh, well, you know what’s going on right now?

I’m having dinner with my friends and we’re talking about the Packers. Well, now I can actually tune into the thing that I’m doing in a much more enjoyable way and get, not get sucked down a rabbit hole. Not because I turned my thoughts off or I fixed my anxiety, but because I paid attention in a way that allowed me to shift my focus to the thing that I’m doing right now.

So now my evening’s not ruined, and I didn’t ruin my job interview before I got there, which isn’t really a thing anyway. So it’s not a surprise that if this becomes a pattern in people’s lives, that would lead to a happier, healthier, higher functioning life. Versus, when I’m, I become aware of something that, I mean, I’ve been at dinner with my friends talking about the Packers, but really the whole time I’ve been worried about how I’m gonna eat it in my interview tomorrow.

So not only did I, was I not even aware of it to begin with, cause I wasn’t paying attention. Two, I just assume I’m gonna ruin this interview and I just, I guess it’s gonna happen, I guess I’m resigned to that. That doesn’t feel very good. And I missed out on this awesome conversation about the Packers with my friends and we were joking around so I missed out on Two moments in my life and decided the future one is not so good.

And so we can see how, when we start to develop a more mindful awareness, which again is not a state of Zen where I don’t have thoughts or I don’t have feelings or everything’s wonderful. It’s just me paying attention to my own experience as it’s happening right now allows me far more choice to be able to choose what I do with my time, my focus, my energy.

It pairs my dopaminergic system to being okay, not feeling okay all the time, which is great. And when we are present, it is a psychological state where our prefrontal cortex is online, which is another way of saying the part of my brain where I can make rational, thoughtful, creative, insightful decisions about what I want to do and how I want to do it and who I want to do it with.

is online rather than me just being in defense mode all the time. So it’s, long story short, this mindful awareness and the mindful practices behind it allow us to be in a state where we can be uncomfortable, be uncertain, perhaps have some funky thoughts, and maybe even have some challenging, difficult things happen to us, but still give us the most room to choose how we want to pursue the things that are important to us.

And I’m, I’m guessing be more accepting of certain situations as well, which we’ve touched on more in depth in past episodes if people want to go back and listen to that. Yeah, because the mindful awareness is accepting of things as they are. This is important because, look, it would be nice if we could just wish the world to be what we think it should be, but that’s not how it works.

Right? The world works on the laws of physics. And the bottom line is, if I wish life was easier or I wish they would just give me this job without having to interview or I wish this person or I think the world should, I shouldn’t feel anxiety anymore and all these things. They’re just wishes and they’re just shoulds.

But when we deal with things as they actually are, even when they’re less than ideal. One, we become more capable of dealing with those things because we are dealing with them as they are, rather than we think that they should be. That gives us more control, more autonomy, and allows us to be present more often.

You know, if we’re kind of using that interview example, like, Well, I shouldn’t feel anxious about this interview. Well, you are. And so if I tell myself I shouldn’t, which by the way, if I told you you’re feeling anxious about a job interview tomorrow, you shouldn’t be feeling anxious. Do you feel better or worse?

Worse. Worse. So I’ve now made myself feel worse. What if I said, oh, you are, you are feeling pretty anxious. Like I can see how you would feel that. What is that anxiety about? Now you’re dealing with the anxiety at the source, which is you’re projecting a future that you are seeing play out in an awful way, even though it hasn’t actually happened yet.

And then you can actually go, okay, well, hold on a second. Am I just projecting this? Or is there something perhaps I can do to prepare a little bit better, et cetera? Like there’s options there for us. Whereas if we’re a little bit more mindless in that situation and unaccepting of things as they are, we don’t really get those options because we’re trying to deal with something that doesn’t actually exist.

Raymond, how can people get started with mindfulness meditation? What are some, what are some ways you recommend to people need to be doing this for a full hour is a few minutes a day effective. What do you, yeah. the vast majority of research shows that the minimum dosage is about 6 minutes, maximum dosage is about 20 per day, per day.

So, whereas a cold, cold exposure would be 11 minutes per week, this is a little more that we want to be going after and a little more consistently to be effective, okay. A little bit more structured in terms of the amount of minutes and how frequently. So, what I would recommend to people is just start with like, even if, so six minutes is the minimum dosage, but you can work up to that.

And it can be difficult for people, like let’s say you have a mindful practice where you’re just sitting with your thoughts without trying to do anything with them. So I’m just going to observe my inner experience, meaning my thoughts and feelings, and do nothing with them. and just allow them to be, I don’t need to solve them, I don’t need to problem solve anything, I don’t need to figure anything out, I don’t need to turn my thoughts or feelings off.

I’m just going to sit with them for five minutes and, but you can only do two right now, do two. Work your way up to six. The other thing you can do is there’s a ton of different options now as mindfulness becomes more popular where you can get something like a guided meditation script or guided mindfulness practice on basically any topic.

YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Netflix, I think there’s a ton and now those can be really helpful means to get into understanding like just kind of the flow of a mindfulness practice. At some point though, I would recommend to everybody, and again, this is not my personal opinion, but what the research shows is the, at a certain point you want meditations and start guiding your own.

Interesting. Right? So if I have somebody else guiding me and my focus to my breath, although that can be helpful for me to figure it out, I need to be able to do that in the situations that are most meaningful to me. I can’t be following somebody else’s voice. So if we’re using a golf analogy, think of it, those practices or like the analogy I use with a lot of people is like, they’re kind of like the floaties when you’re going swimming.

Floaties are great when you’re getting ready to go start swimming and you’re going to learn like, Oh, this is what the water’s like. But if you really want to figure out how to swim, like you got to take the, the floaties off, you know, and so the more you’re able to guide your own practice, even though it might be clunky at first, it’s actually a stronger means of developing a more mindful awareness.

So you can think about mindfulness practices as like an awareness workout for your brain and yourself. And when you start removing, you know, the floaties or the training wheels, we might say you become a better rider or a better swimmer. How do you guide yourself? Is it, do you recommend people just sit in silence and pay attention to their thoughts or focus on their breath and just note what’s happening or how, and kind of bring it back to the breath when they catch their brain wandering in a complete rabbit hole.

Like what, what is a self guided mindfulness practice look like? Yeah. Self guided mindfulness practice looks just like the ones that are guided, except you’re the one guiding it for yourself. And so if you look at mindfulness practice, they tend to fall under two categories. They’re single point and contemplative.

Contemplative is another way of saying I’m just paying attention to what I’m thinking, to what I’m feeling, or my direct, immediate experience, but just not doing anything with it. My friend, Pete, who is the Director of Mental Training, I’m not sure exactly what his job title is with a professional hockey team.

His analogy for it is, it’s like, you go into a cabin in the woods, you open all the doors and all the windows, whatever, so whatever could fly in or walk through does, and you just sit there. So if a bear walks in the front door, great. If it’s just a bunch of squirrels scurrying around, also great. And you’re just learning to sit with whatever thoughts and feelings you have without needing to do anything with them.

So essentially you’re just treating them as thoughts and feelings only, not as facts, not as things you have to problem solve or figure out, and certainly not as precursors to the future simply because they exist, right? So that would be a basic contemplative practice. a single point practice would be you are bringing your focus to a single point.

And the most common and the most historic for about 2600 years now is what we would call a breath centered mindfulness practice. Your breath in this case is the single point for your focus. And what that practice looks like is a bit of a three step process. Kind of flow. The first step is you are paying attention to where you physically experience your breath.

So you’re not just breathing for the sake of breathing, which is something we’re doing all the time. You’re actually paying attention to where you physically experience your breath. So when our brain and our mind moves away from the present moment or it flies, us trying to move thoughts with thoughts is often not super effective for us.

When our thoughts are kind of flying all over, it’s far more advantageous for us to come back to the body, which is why a physical tangible, like if I told you, how do you know you’re present right now? You can like, well, I’m touching this thing or I’m feeling this far more than some, you know, metaphysical or philosophical.

Well, I know I’m here in this moment because what other moment could I be in and et cetera, right? So what we would call a mindful breath or a connected breath is you’re actually paying attention to like the physical, sensation that tells you you’re breathing. You know, many people say it’s the feeling of air coming in their nose and out their mouth, the rise and fall of their abdomen or their chest.

You know swimmers often tell me they can hear their breath when they’re swimming or in the pool because, you know, they’ve got earplugs in and obviously the water amplifies that sound. And so it’s not just breathing and you’re not breathing for the trying to relax or to calm down. You’re paying attention to how you physically experience your breath.

That’s, that would be kind of the first part of the flow. Okay. The second part of the flow is inevitably in your practice. Let’s say you have a six minute breath centered practice. Your focus is going to shift away from your breath. Like our brain is designed to move, right? Which is perfectly fine. It might go to the worst case scenario of your job interview.

It might go to what’s for breakfast. It might go to my breath feels weird today. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. We, these are natural shifts in focus for us. And when these happen, we simply recognize them. So again, this is our proactive awareness. So I’m connected to my breath. My focus is on how it physically feels.

And when it shifts, I go, Hmm, how about that? My focus has shifted to, and then fill in whatever blank. Then we use that. The third part of the flow is using that as an opportunity to bring our focus back. to the physical sensation of our breath. So it’s, if we’re using our breath as the anchoring point to the present moment, it’s essentially my breath is the present moment anchor.

So I’m present. I notice not if, but when my thoughts shift somewhere else, and I use those as an opportunity to come back to being present. And what this mindfulness practice trains us to do is one, Be present on purpose when we want to be by connecting to a physical tangible moment or sensation in the present To notice sooner and more efficiently when we shift away Because there are times for us to think about other stuff But there’s also times where it’s much more helpful for us to be present So this allows us to essentially train and practice noticing these shifts and then using those as an opportunity to come back to being present.

And what that allows us to do is go, I know how to be present. I can recognize when I’m not and I know how to be present again, in which case then you don’t need to go to a round of golf or a board meeting or an interview and go, okay, I got to be 100 percent present 100 percent of this time, which is a bit of an impossible task, but you can go, I’m going to be present at the times when I need to be present.

I’ll be able to sooner know when I’m not and then be able to come back. And then surprise, surprise, our brain starts to rewire in a way as we engage with these practices where it wants to be present more often and it helps pair our Dopaminergic system to being present because we’re giving it training on hey, just be present.

You don’t need to be here but also on your phone or you don’t need to be here and also thinking about this like just be here and research shows that at about 14 days of these practices, you start to really notice like your brain start to go, Ooh, okay, this is less clunky than it was before. And at about 30 to 45 days, your brain is starting to rewire and you start to crave being present.

The practice starts to become really enjoyable. And for people who make it part of their lifestyle most of the research shows that like, And you wouldn’t be surprised if you make something part of your lifestyle that it has a ripple effect of benefits. Most research shows that there’s people who practice mindfulness regularly are happier, healthier, higher functioning.

They have better relationships. They’re more open minded. They get sick less often. They are higher earners in terms of income, like all of these things. They have Lower rates of anxiety, lower rates of depression, higher life satisfaction, they tend to be better romantic partners, better friends, like there’s a, just an ongoing list of benefits to it so it’s a very long winded way of breaking down like a couple of simple practices.

But a simple Google or a simple Spotify search of mindfulness practices will bring up a ton. I would always recommend to somebody who’s just getting started on just find one that just kind of resonates with you or you like Even if it’s just a couple of minutes Start with something guided so that you can kind of get a feel for it And then once you kind of go like I think I could run myself through that start doing that.

Mm hmm It’s like any of the things we talked about on this episode if you You If you just start and you kind of evolve and stick to it over time, you’re gonna see ripple effects in all sorts of areas of your life. That’s right. And you’ve just got to kind of stick with it as it gets kind of difficult.

Although this thing with mindfulness is many people find it clunky at first but that’s not the majority of people. Most people go, oh man, that felt really great not to have to think about a thousand things. Or if I did, it was no big deal. Yeah, and I would say even when it does feel clunkier, your, your mind wanders a lot more than you would like it to.

You still feel better than you did when you start, when you have your eyes closed and kind of shut that off for ten minutes and you like it. Because it’s okay, it’s okay for it to wander. Right. Right, so the misconception that would be mindfulness practices are these like no thinking, no feeling. They are free thinking and free feeling, which if I told you Sometimes you get great ideas during it too.

I was told most contemplative practices that athletes tell me when they’re like, man, I had this great idea about this, or I found a real sense of clarity about this. It’s oftentimes because they were just letting their thoughts Trail somewhere without going. Oh shit. Don’t think about that or you got to be thinking about this instead And so it is or without checking instagram every three minutes Or without distracting yourself like, you know The long and the short of it is a lot of the things we’ve talked about are distractions Whether it’s scrolling through something trying to figure out what the job interview is going to do tomorrow That’s not even here yet and all of these things and being distracted is a low dopaminergic state for us Like, if you got back to, you know, we asked a question a couple episodes ago, like, why do we feel such anxiety too?

We are distracted a lot. And being distracted by the future that hasn’t happened yet, not planning for it, but worrying about it, doesn’t feel very good for us. And we do that a lot. And what our mindfulness practice is, is like, look, you got thoughts about the future, but like, how about being now? And then, Oh, you had another thought about the future?

How about being now? And the more you do that, you kind of go, Oh, well, how about being now? And then when we’re now we have choice, we have options. We have. More engagement and more meaningful and effective ways with the challenges and the adversity we face, but also the things that are more important to us.

Richie Burke: And we can more freely pursue the things that are important to us. And that feels way better than the alternative. Thank you for tuning into another episode of the Milwaukee Uncut podcast sponsored by central standards, still reproduced by Storymark Studios and Impact. Partnership with on Milwaukee, please share this episode with others that you think would benefit from all of the topics that Ray went over today, and please subscribe and review the podcast on Apple.

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