Primal Blueprint Thought-Leader Brad Kearns on the Keto Diet – EP005

 In Podcast

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to carbs.

The conventional approach to endurance training promotes ‘chronic cardio’ and carbohydrate dependency. But there is a way to reset your metabolic clock with the keto diet, and today’s guest wrote the book on it – well, he co-authored it anyway!




Brad Kearns has been a well-known coach, speaker and author in the health and fitness realm for 20-plus years. During his nine-year career as a triathlete, he was one of the world’s top ranked professionals, amassing 30 wins worldwide on the pro circuit, and he still holds the Hawaii Ironman 18-24 age division American record at 8:57.

Brad has partnered with his former coach and fellow health and fitness authority Mark Sisson to lead the Primal Blueprint, a comprehensive ancestral health movement. Together they co-authored the 2016 release Primal Endurance, a guidebook that teaches athletes how to employ a stress-balanced, fat-adapted Primal approach to training. The duo has another book coming out this fall, The Keto Reset Diet. Today Brad joins Ali to discuss the basics of MAF training and his take on the relationship between peak performance and long-term health. Listen and learn how to leverage the keto diet to become a fat-burning machine and get free from carbohydrate dependency!

Topics Covered

[1:17] Brad’s partnership with Mark Sisson

  • Mark served as Brad’s coach 30 years ago
  • Introduced Brad to idea of balancing stress and rest
  • Developed Primal Blueprint together
  • Co-authored Primal Endurance
  • Releasing keto diet book this fall
[3:23] How Brad’s training evolved during his professional career

  • Overly competitive, Type A training early on led to injury, burnout
  • Learned from failures and good coaching
  • Eventually understood that health and fitness could be complementary
[5:09] The nuts and bolts of MAF training

  • 180 – age = training heartrate
  • Emphasizes development of aerobic base
  • Prevents injury, illness and abuse of cardiovascular system
  • Improves health long-term
  • Training slow helps you go fast
  • Proven true by endurance athletes for past 60 years (i.e.: Peter Snell)
[10:12] How taking ego out of the equation was the gateway to success for Brad

  • Developing the discipline to slow down led to national championship
  • MAF training gave him a new appreciation for what endurance sports are about (i.e.: connection with nature, energy, health and longevity)
[15:17] How to track your improvement with MAF training

  • Test on same course, conditions using 180 – age formula
  • Log mile times
  • As you get more efficient at same heart rate, mile time will improve
  • If you’re regressing, examine other factors (e.g.: stress, poor diet, lack of sleep)
[21:38] The fundamentals of keto

  • Ultra-low carb diet (less than 50 g/day)
  • Altered metabolic state burns fat
  • Free from carbohydrate dependency
  • Don’t rely on regular meals for energy
  • Cellular repair via intermittent fasting
[24:39] Brad’s experience with going keto

  • Maintained for 140 days
  • Not convenient or practical to maintain forever
  • Tool to bust out for metabolic reset
[31:50] The case for keto as a lifestyle

  • Human default position
  • Ensured survival for 2.5 million years
  • Records of people thriving for long periods and achieving athletic success
[35:29] Who should not do keto

  • Carb dependent for long period
  • Show signs of metabolic damage
  • But morbidly obese could benefit most from keto
[38:35] Brad’s health now compared to his years as a professional athlete

  • Peak performance came at significant cost to health
  • At 30, he got out of bed exhausted
  • Recalibrated goals to encompass wellness and longevity
  • Now has broader base fitness, healthier diet and higher testosterone levels
[41:48] Why fit endurance athletes develop heart issues

  • Overstress heart during workout
  • Sustain small scarring on delicate ventricles, inflammation
  • Leads to AFib
[44:56] Brad’s take on the relationship between peak performance and health

  • Humans built to push limits (‘Body follows the mind’)
  • Benefits include enhanced cognitive function and anti-aging
  • Only mutually exclusive if you ignore health and over-train

Learn More About Brad Kearns

Resources Mentioned

Primal Endurance by Mark Sisson and Brad Kearns

MAF Training

Dr. Maffetone’s MAF Methodology

The Joe Rogan Experience Episode 935 with Robb Wolf

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Jeff S. Volek and Stephen D. Phinney

Mark’s Daily Apple Blog

Books by Katy Bowman

Pre-Order The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson with Brad Kearns




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