132: Dr. Martin Gibala – Working Out for Busy People: Getting More Done in Less Time

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  • March 17, 2018
Martin Gibala


Available On:

Whole Life Challenge Podcast on Google Play
Whole Life Challenge Podcast on Google Play
Whole Life Challenge Podcast on Google Play
Whole Life Challenge Podcast on Google Play

Dr.  Gibala is a professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. He studies the integrative physiology of exercise from the molecular up to whole body level, including the impact of training and nutrition on human health and performance.

Gibala’s research on the physiological adaptations to interval training has attracted immense scientific attention and worldwide media coverage. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, the results of which have been featured by outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Vox, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and Conan. He is the author of a bestselling book, The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That’s Smarter, Faster, Shorter.

This was a fascinating podcast conversation for me. I geek out on this stuff, because I’ve been doing different versions of interval training for decades. It was fantastic to talk to someone who spends his life studying the effectiveness of interval training, to get his specific perspective and recommendations (of which this interval is full of!)  Martin is incredibly personable, sharing stories from his life and lab, and puts things into very easy to understand perspective about training effectiveness. It also had the bonus effect for me of motivating me to get out and do some intervals on days when I only have 15-20 minutes.

Check out the convo – I know you’ll be glad that you did!

Andy Petranek Whole Life Challenge

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Episode Notes – #132: Martin Gibala

  • BOOK: The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That’s Smarter, Faster, Shorter
  • Can you run a marathon with just high intensity interval training?
  • “Make your hard days hard, and make your easy days easy.”
  • How is it that ultra endurance, aerobic athletes use high intensity, non-aerobic workouts to improve performance?
  • How little exercise can you get away with and still see health and fitness improvements?
  • Why cycling is the a great conditioning tool for people with knee injuries.
  • What is the 1 minute workout and why does it actually take 10 minutes?
  • What is a black box system?
  • Interval training is appropriate for almost any person of any age. So scale for age and fitness level, adjust the intensity and duration.
  • How do you do Intervals with bodyweight, calisthenic workouts.
  • Andy’s Living Room Workout Series
  • Intervals use fuel at an incredibly high rate when compared to traditional training – like the difference between the use of fuel in your car for repeated pedal-to-the-metal bursts and the use of fuel while on cruise control (steady-state long distance training).
  • What is the best training method and program for muscle hypertrophy?
  • All things being equal, a varied approach to fitness will provide the best all-around results.
  • How and where to begin with interval training if you’ve never done it before.
  • The magic of the 10 x 1 interval workout
  • How do you decide what work/rest ratio is best.
  • If you’re a beginner, should you intervals be shorter or longer?
  • Should you train with a heart rate monitor?
  • How good is the 220 minus your age formula for you max heart rate?
  • How important is your resting heart rate as a measurement of fitness?
  • Current and exciting new things Martin is studying in his lab.
  • Using sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) for improving training adaptations.
  • Which are the best fitness classes for improving your performance?
  • Resume virtues vs. tombstone virtues
  • Interval training allows you to get more done in less time – perfect for busy people.
  • Morning routine – the daily habit Martin has cultivated for over 20-years.
  • Modeling virtuous behavior for his family and kids.

Connect with Martin Gibala

Selected Resources from the Episode


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If you enjoyed this podcast, here are some others to check out:

67: Charles Staley – Secrets of a World-renowned Trainer
57: Matt Fitzgerald – Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle


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Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.

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