I finally got a chance to talk with Miguel Castro about fitness and diet and how he incorporates it in his busy life.
Miguel has an awesome story about how he lost quite a bit of fat and replaced it with muscle.
Full transcript below:
John: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Get Up and CODE podcast. I am here. I'm not alone this time. I'm actually here with Miguel Castro. If you’re in the .NET and development community, I'm sure you’ve heard of Miguel. He’s an independent consultant and he actually is a co-Pluralsight author. He’s put together some pretty awesome courses, especially the building end-to-end multi-client service-oriented applications. It’s a mouthful but I was going through that course myself and that was just awesome. So much great information there like to actually see the process of going through building a real big enterprise type application and not just showing you the highlight rules but going through that whole big process. I really like that and then Miguel has got another excellent course, Developing Extensible Software, but yeah. Welcome to the show, Miguel.
Miguel: Hey, thanks. I'm happy to be here.
John: Yeah. Did I get it all? Is there anything else you want to talk about? Introduce yourself to our audience here.
Miguel: Well, I'm just a code monkey like most of the guys and girls that are listening right now. I'm a consultant so I travel around doing training and consulting services for clients. Not a lot a long term contract work I do anymore, mostly short term architecture kickoff projects, that kind of thing.
Miguel: I’m all over the spectrum. I don’t specialize in any one thing. I'm not known as a web guy or a WPF guy. I do everything as that long course illustrates. That course is actually perfect. How can I put this? I'm a personification of that course. How is that?
John: Yeah, awesome.
Miguel: It is pretty much a representation of the skill set that I offer to customers, everything from the architecture all the way to the database and everything in between.
John: Awesome, yeah. That’s great. Yeah, I really like that course because, I think, there are so many people who are asking for like, “I don’t understand how to put it all together.” So many things focused on one thing, but then it’s such a hard—I remember when I first starting out too. I had such a hard time trying to figure out. I was like, “I think I could build an app” but I don’t know if I could like just do it all because no one has ever shown me that. I think that’s really useful to have something that finally shows you. Okay. Here’s from start to finish. Here’s how you do this thing.
Miguel: Yep, yep, and that’s why it took off. The course was released on September 1st, and by September 7th, it was number one.
John: Wow, yeah, that’s nice.
Miguel: It stayed number one for over a month then it dropped off as most courses do. Now, it is, I think, sitting a position 21 or something but it’s been in that range for almost six months now.
John: Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome.
Miguel: It’s still pretty popular.
John: Yeah. Well, that Scott Allen guy, he keeps on taking up all the slots.
Miguel: Yeah, yeah. I know.
John: Yeah. I guess we’re going to kind of be all over the board here with this. I have been wanting to talk to you because I know you’re big into the fitness side.
Miguel: I try to be.
John: Right, yeah. What do you do? What’s your kind of fitness life like the non-developer life?
Miguel: Basically, I just try to get to the gym as much as possible. I wasn’t always like that. People that have known me in the development community for a very long time know that it wasn’t always the case. There was a time that I was an overweight guy. Hell, at one point, my waist size was 41 which was pretty massive. I'm 34 now so a big difference, but it all started probably about 3 years ago. I did my over 40 physical that I'm supposed to do at 40 and I did it late. I'm 46 now so I did it at 43.
The cholesterol came back really high, and when I say high I mean I'm not ashamed to talk numbers with you. We’re talking 300 which is very, very high for cholesterol and also just general conditioning. They did the whole—when you turn 40 and you do the big physical and they put you on the treadmill and test your conditioning and stress, and all that stuff, nothing was within the numbers that doctors like to see and, more importantly, that I like to see.
It was a call to action. There was nothing wrong with me medically, thank goodness. They even did the cardio test and everything. There was no blockage in my arteries considering my high cholesterol which was strange, which means I have a really good heart. I have good —
John: Good genetics.
Miguel: Well, we’ll talk about that in a second. I don’t think I do but my organs are okay. Everything was fine. If there was any time to nip that in the bud, it was then. It was a call to action. I have a little girl. I have a 10-year-old daughter and a beautiful wife, and a family to think about. I don’t want to—well, let me negate that I don’t want to. I want to be around.
John: Yeah, exactly.
Miguel: It really does come down as simple as that. Essentially, I just changed my life. You and Eric nailed it in your interview when you discussed this and you talked about it as a change of lifestyle, not a diet. I didn’t go on a diet. I didn’t do this. I didn’t start doing more sit-ups. I just completely changed my lifestyle. It’s a combination of everything and it’s usually what I tell people when they tell me what I did to get in shape and to get fit, is everything. Get your lazy ass to the gym. Stop eating all that garbage. Just start learning about nutrition and how it all works and put it all together, because it’s a hundred variables that are hitting you.
That’s essentially what I did and I’ve been into it for really about 3-1/2 years, so it hasn’t been a long time. Considering my age, like I said, I'm 46, and this stuff, I’ll warn you right now. How old are you? You’re like early 30s, right?
John: Yeah, I'm 33. Yep.
Miguel: Yeah. It doesn’t get any easier.
Miguel: It does it, believe me. Considering my age and the fact that I did have a 40, 41-inch waist and I was probably about 50 pounds heavier than I wanted to be, I was pushing about 255, 260. I think I’ve done pretty well for the 3 years. I didn’t want to be overly aggressive in the weight loss because I wanted to also put some muscle mass on which I have. I think it’s difficult to do that if you get overly aggressive in the weight loss and just concentrate on dropping. I want to drop 50, 60 pounds in the next 6 months. It may be possible but I personally don’t think it’s going to be that healthy.
I made it a gradual process, just a really gradual process. I'm proud to tell you. My cholesterol is down to 200, completely with diet and exercise. My doctor wanted to put me on drugs which I don’t want to do. I’ve never been into drugs of any shape or form and I didn’t want to do that, and I really wanted to try my luck at doing it with diet and exercise, and lifting weights. I was able to do it strictly with that.
Now, I pretty much crossed that and people can’t see us, but you can see me. I'm doing the whole peak. You’re climbing a mountain and you get over a certain peak. After you get over that, things just become easier. It’s easy for me to eat healthy now. It’s easy for me not to eat the dessert. It’s easy for me not to snack in between meals with crappy snacks. I do protein snacks but none of the crappy stuff.
That’s not a challenge anymore and a lot of people think that that’s the hard part. How can you stand not eating? You’re a developer. How can you not eat pizza? Well, I'm human. I eat pizza once in a while, once in a long while, but I do do it. I'm only human and I'm a developer. I have crossed that line that I think anybody can cross where going to a user group 2, 3 times a month, and not touching the pizza that comes in is actually not a problem for me whatsoever.
John: Exactly, yeah.
Miguel: Not ordering the desserts after every meal is not a problem for me whatsoever. Things become easier, especially after you see results. I'm sure I don’t have to tell you have that. Success begets success when it comes to this, right? The more results you see, the more enthusiastic you feel about it. Now, I just couldn’t imagine not staying fit or having fitness not be in my life to the point that I go away at a conference and it’s always a crap shoot in a hotel, right? You may get a really good gym. You may get no gym whatsoever and anything in between.
Most of the time, sadly, I don’t get a very good gym at a lot of these hotels, or you go to Vegas and the gyms are 35 bucks extra per day. They charge you extra for that. Now, I miss it when I have to go through that. I love going to conferences and I still love going to conferences, but now there’s a part of me that’s like, “Oh, crap. I'm going to miss a whole week in the gym.” That sucks.
John: Exactly, yeah.
Miguel: It takes a certain amount of time to get to that point, but I can honestly guarantee anybody. If you can get to that point, it resets your entire mannerism, your entire well-being. It just resets completely to where if you’d go back to your old ways you completely feel like crap. I’ll eat a slice of pizza now and I know that a slice is not going to physically hurt me. I'm in enough shape where it’s not going to affect me if I just break down and have a slice of pizza. Mentally, I'm going to feel like a complete crap about it.
John: Exactly, yeah.
Miguel: It’s really weird. I'm going to feel like crap and then by feeling like crap mentally, I can almost get myself sick. My body starts to feel bad. I don’t know if it’s self-induced or what, but whatever the hell it is it’s probably a good thing because all I got to do to fix that problem is not have the slice of pizza.
John: Exactly, yeah. Well, you’ve replaced a set of habits. I think that that’s a key thing. It’s like having these habits and it takes time to form those habits, and then those habits stick with you and then that suddenly becomes the new normal. Once that’s a new normal then it’s like you say, like eating the pizza is not the normal. Then that feels wrong and going to the gym feels like the normal like you feel antsy when you can’t get out there and get to the gym, or you can’t go running. Yeah. That’s good.
Miguel: Like all other human beings, there are plenty of times, I'm sure you’ve been there, there are plenty of times that you’re like, “Oh, crap. I got to go to the gym.” Something is just holding you back. I live in the Northeast so we just had a winter from hell. It’s 10 degrees outside sometimes and I got to put out all my clothes and go outside, just so I can get to the gym and take them off again, that kind of thing. Get over it. That’s my advice if anybody feels like that. There is never ever a time that you leave the gym that you tell yourself, “God, I wish I wouldn’t have gone.”
John: Right, exactly, yeah.
Miguel: Never. The other way around happens all the time, but there’s never a time that you wish that you wouldn’t have made it there. Just get past that hump.
John: Yeah, see, I try to frontload my decision so that I don’t actually make the decision. I have rules for myself. I say, “I must do these things and then I don’t have to make a judgment call in the morning because it’s like, ‘Hey, it’s Monday. I'm going to the gym.’” It’s not like, “Should I go today or tomorrow?” No, no, no. It’s Monday. Therefore, today is the day that you go to the gym and then it’s like autopilot. Because you have this limited reserve of will power and every time you make a decision or you face a temptation, you dip into that pool. I found that —
Miguel: It’s a schedule, right?
Miguel: You have your workout. You work out in certain days. You know what exactly you’re going to be doing on those days. If you break that, now you have to readjust everything. I don’t want to readjust everything. That’s more work than what it’s worth.
John: Right, exactly.
Miguel: It’s easy for me to stick to my schedule.
John: Right. You’ve kept the weight off for now because you said it’s 3 years, but I guess you lost some. Anyone that’s made it this far you’ve passed, like you said, that sticking point. Now, it’s not just like you dropped weight and then you’re going to gain a bunch of weight again which is neat to finally hit that point where you know, because your body tries when you try to start to lose weight. It’s got like a set point and you have to reset that set point.
Miguel: It takes about 2 years to reset that. That’s what I was going to say next and I'm sure you know that. It takes about 2 years to reset that, but if you can get that set point reset, now that becomes what your body is used to. Any little bit of weight that you mistakenly or inadvertently gain above that is actually easy to take back off because you’re at a different set point now. It takes a while to get there.
The main thing I tell people is there is no magic pill. It pisses me off when I see crap on TV, the weight loss pills, the AB Cruncher. We know that spot reduction is a myth despite what any infomercial tells you. It’s just impossible to do spot reduction. The AB Crunch and the Ab-Chair, and the Ab this and now they got this device that looks like a piece of scaffolding that fell off a damn building in New York City. You can position it in all different ways to all these different exercises.
All that is just such a waste of money. It’s like supplements, right? Billion dollar industry, you got to know what to take. Otherwise, you’re going to spend yourself to infinity and buy all the wrong stuff. You got to just change your lifestyle and just get to the gym, and understand that there’s no magic pill. There is nothing that you’re going to take that’s going to make you burn fat without going to the gym.
You read the fine print on something like Hydroxycut or any kind of thermogenic. You read the fine print. It always says that this has been proven to work when combined with a regular exercise program.
John: Exactly, right, yeah.
Miguel: They put that very small and people don’t read it, so people go and buy a bottle of Hydroxycut or OxyElite, or any one of those and they start popping these pills that can easily be overdone. They wonder how come they’re not losing a pound.
John: Right, exactly, yeah. The other thing I think a lot of people fail to realize too that along with that is you’re going to be hungry. You’re going to be hungry. You’re just going to have to realize that it’s okay to be hungry sometimes if you’re losing weight. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be starving, but you’re not always going to not be—like there’s going to be some pain. I like the phrase, “No gain without pain, no pain no gain,” because it’s true like you’re going to have to make sacrifices. You’re going to have to slug it out for some period of time.
It’s going to be worth it, the reward. Then the other side of that is that when you’ve gone through this like you’ve made this accomplishment now, you feel good about yourself like what does that do to your confidence when you have—it wasn’t just handed to you. If you could just get it handed to you on a silver platter it wouldn’t mean anything to you. I'm sure like in your experience, I'm sure that going through this process probably had a boost in your confidence, right?
Miguel: Oh, without a doubt. It completely changes your mannerism and one thing that comes to mind anytime that I think about it, because I think about that a lot. I think about one of the driving forces in staying fit and staying in shape, especially at my age, is that I remember what I was like. Hell. I pick up a 45-pound plate to put on a barbell. I was carrying this stuff around, man. I don’t want to go back there and everything about you changes when you reach a point of physical fitness that you’re happy with and that you’re comfortable with.
What reminds me of is an interview that I saw with Sly Stallone a few years ago. Here’s an actor that is used to being in shape his entire life. We know him from the very beginning in Rocky all the way up to recently in The Escape Plan. He’s still in amazing shape and he’s 60 something years old. His physique is mind blowing, especially for a guy his age, right?
Along the way, he made a movie called Cop Land. Do you remember that?
John: Oh, yeah, yeah. He gained some weight for that movie. Yeah.
Miguel: He put on close to 30 pounds in Cop Land to the point that he had a visible gut. This is something that we’re not used to seeing Stallone with. He ended up taking it off because he couldn’t wait to take it off. He went out in a limb and he actually did this to get into the role so he wouldn’t have to wear a girdle or anything. He did an interview with Dave Letterman. Dave Letterman asked him that question, and I remember his response vividly because I totally relate to what he said. Completely, when he put that weight on it changed everything in his life all the way down to his mannerism, the way he talks, the way he approaches people, your self-esteem, your self-confidence, how you feel about yourself just standing in line at the coffee line.
You know what I mean? Stupid idiotic trivial things like that. Everything changes when you’ve reached that kind of gratification with yourself. You’re so proud of yourself on how you feel and how you look that it just completely changes everything that you do in your life and how you react with other people. It’s an amazing thing. It really is. I don’t mean for it to sound arrogant or anything. I'm speaking very honestly for those that have been wanting to cross the threshold and get into some kind of shape. We’re in a line of work where we live a very sedentary lifestyle. We just do.
John: Yeah, exactly.
Miguel: We have to proactively make a point not to stay seated all the time. If anybody needs the kind of boost to get into that, all I can tell you is if you do it you will never regret it because everything that you do in your life that impacts other people is just going to radically change. Everything about you is going to change and it’s an amazing feeling. I could never see myself going back to … and I was always an extroverted guy. I’ve been a speaker for a while even though I was overweight. I’ve always been an extroverted or friendly soul.
I never had social issues. I never had women problems. I had a great dating life when I was single. I never had any problems. I was always very tall. I’m 6’4”. The weight didn’t look obese on me like it would have if I would have been 5’4”. Despite the fact that I never had social problems or introversion, or anything like that, I still think that that’s very different now.
John: Right, yeah.
Miguel: It still was a massive change and I would never want to go back to lugging that 45-pound plate everywhere that I go.
John: Oh, yeah. I had a similar experience because I had gained a bunch of weight. I torn my pack and I’ve gone from being really in shape or being out of shape to being really in shape to being out of shape, and then now to finally like coming back to it. It really affects. It affects, like you said, all areas of your life and success. We’re being honest here, right? The reality of life is that people who are good looking who have as much as you can control which is your shape, your fitness, right, they get more opportunities handed to them because people want to do business with them, because they already assume good things about you just because we’re superficial and we have to operate within that truth. There’s a huge benefit career wise to being in shape to taking care of yourself that, I think, a lot of people don’t even realize.
Miguel: That’s only 50% of it on the way other people see you visually. The other 50% of it is how you carry yourself because of that.
John: True, yeah.
Miguel: All of that together is an amazing combination. It truly is. It isn't an easy road. Like I said, there’s no magic pill. Anybody who is looking for a magic pill, just stop listening now because it just doesn’t exist. Even when you cross the line, the threshold and say, “Okay, I'm going to do it or I'm going to hit the gym and start bettering what I eat.” Notice I said bettering what I eat and not this time to go on a diet. I don’t believe in “it’s time to go on a diet.”
Like I said, this is all about a change of lifestyle. Once you do that, it is a slow process and it’s going to be different for everybody. You made a comment earlier about genetics.
Miguel: I have been cursed with the worst genetics 2 parents can ever give to an individual. My body wants to be fat. At least it did at one point. I have trouble spots that I still, to this day, cannot get rid of. Abs are always very difficult to maintain, especially the older you get. Obliques, forget about it. That’s eating more. I have trouble spots. I have strength spots at the same time. My lats, for example, develop really, really fast, really, really easy and strong. I have parts that develop faster than others.
You got to accept that and you work on your soft parts a little harder than your easy parts. I push my shoulders more than I push my lats because my shoulders develop slower than my lats do. My arms, right in between. They’re pretty average. Maybe just a tad slower because of my age but it’s a slow process. You can’t get discouraged. You have to understand it’s going to take at least a year for any kind of decent results to visually show.
You’re in your early 30s. I didn’t do this when I was your age. That’s one regret I had. I wish I would have. In your 40s, it gets a little harder. I’ll tell you what. I work out in the gym with guys that are 60 years old that are in tremendous shape.
John: Oh, yeah.
Miguel: A couple of them didn’t start working out until they were 50, but they look fantastic now. It is possible. Things take time.
John: Yeah, yeah, that’s good. The thing for you, was it going to the doctor? Was that the catalyst that made you wake up and say, “I got to do something?”
Miguel: The result of the cholesterol was the big one. If I can nail down one thing it was that because that’s the one item that my doctor wanted to fix, and he wanted to fix it with drugs. I didn’t want to do the drugs. If I didn’t want to do the drugs I have 2 choices: accept a high cholesterol or try to do something about it in other way. The former was not an option. That’s how it got started. If I can nail down one thing, it was that item.
John: Yeah. That’s a much better choice. You made to lose it naturally because the drugs, sure the drug might lower your cholesterol but there is always a trade-off. No drug is magic. If something lowers your cholesterol, it’s harming you in some other way. You’re paying some price for that. It’s not like it’s a free thing, but what you did —
Miguel: Well, pay attention to a Lipitor commercial next time you see it on TV. The rundown of the side effects is longer than the commercial itself. That’s ridiculous, and all the drugs are like that. Besides the cholesterol medication I’ve learned from people that are on it that it’s one of those things that once you’re on it, you’re basically on it for life.
John: Right, yeah, exactly.
Miguel: I certainly don’t want to do that. That’s not the kind of life I want to lead.
John: Now, you brought up something that’s interesting because I discovered this too. You had sent me an e-mail about the meal like breaking up the meals, like doing the intermittent fasting versus the 6 meals. Maybe that would be a probably good topic to dive into here. I think we both had a similar experience of being taught one thing and then all of a sudden, I was like, “Oh. What we thought was right is not quite right.”
Miguel: It is and it’s more difficult when you throw it on top of the philosophy that we just finished describing, which is the change of lifestyle. Because of the fact that I can’t attribute my getting in shape to one thing, it’s a combination of a lot of things, I can’t tell you exactly which one of those things has worked and which one of those things has not had any impact because I’ve just done so many of them. You know what I mean? I’ve done the gym. I do the weights. I do the eating right. I do the sleep. I do all those things and I can’t tell you. If I were to drop one of them or change one of them, what’s going to be the outcome?
For the longest time, one of the first things that I do when I change my dietary lifestyle is I started doing the smaller meals but every 3 to 4 hours. I had a target of what amount of protein and carbs and total caloric intake I wanted to do per day or I needed to do per day. I broke that out during the day. I’ve always been taught that because your metabolism is highest when you’re eating … at least that’s the way I learned it. I'm not sure how accurate it is and I'm totally open to discussion on this.
That’s the philosophy behind it, right? Every 3 to 4 hours, you eat a little bit and it kicks your metabolism and keeps it burning. Because I was successful in losing a lot of fat and getting down to a 34-inch waist which I’ve stayed after 2 years now, it’s great, I don’t know if that’s because of the exercise program or is it because of the lower calorie, or is it because of the lower calorie and the way I’ve spread it out. If I were to change to something like IF, the only way to answer the question would mean for me to make a change and to see how it impacts me. You know what I mean?
John: Right. Well, that’s a good point. That’s the best thing and like we can read a bunch of studies. We can see what other people did, but at the end of the day we got to test it out on ourselves and see whether it works for us because there are a lot of variables in there too.
John: It might be that some people could do IF and do fine that IF, intermittent fasting. Some other people, when they only eat two meals a day they’re going to pig out. They just can’t help themselves because they get so hungry that they end up eating a thousand more calories than they would have if they broke their meals up. It might not even be the science behind the thing. It’s just when you try and do this thing, how successful are you going to be at executing it and then how is it going to work for you?
Miguel: Exactly, exactly. In all honesty, I got to learn a little more about this. I’ll do a little more reading on it and I like to talk to you a little more about it, how to properly do it. I was already reading some articles on intermittent fasting and some people go as much as 24 hours in between. Do one meal a day. I don’t know. Your reply in e-mail nailed it when you said you have these habits ingrained into you. I’ve had these 5 to 6-meal-a-day habits ingrained into me for the past 3 years. It’s going to take some selling for me to understand how doing one large meal a day.
Think about it. The calories, if I'm bringing in 1800 to 2000 calories a day which is about the same as you actually from the show that I heard, anywhere between 1600 and 2000 depending on the day, right? If you’re going to do that in one meal, pardon my language. That’s a lot of freaking eating.
John: Unless you stop at the right place, unless you go to cheesecake factory or McDonald’s.
Miguel: That’s not going to happen.
John: Yeah, exactly.
Miguel: I haven't eaten in McDonald’s in 15 years and I'm proud to tell you. My 10-year-old daughter has never walked in to a McDonald’s. She’s learning stuff the right way from the beginning, something I didn’t do growing up in a … See, that’s the problem. I grew up in a Cuban household so need I say more?
John: Yeah, it’s interesting. I'm doing the intermittent fasting thing and, for me, it was … because I was doing some really strict diets before because I did bodybuilding shows before and I did fitness modeling before. I was very, very strict like 6 meals a day. No salt, no pepper, just fish, fish, chicken. For me, I was like, “Whoa, wait a minute. I can eat the same clean diet and if I could just put into 2 meals and I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to cook all this food” … I was like, “If it works at least 90% as good as the 6 meals a day, it’s going to be so much easier for me.”
That’s why I moved and migrated over to it because I was already used to something that was really, really hard to do. This was just like, “Yeah, I’ll do it.” It is interesting, the studies I’ve done.
Miguel: You didn’t feel overly full. If you take your whole caloric intake of one day and split it into two meals, those meals are still … they’re pretty large. They’re the equivalent of what used to be three little meals for you. You didn’t find yourself to a point where like, “Oh, man. I can’t eat no more. I’m getting really full.”
John: I hardly ever have that problem.
John: I could easily sit down any 15000 calories at one time. If I let myself go, I can just eat. I love to eat.
Miguel: I know the feeling. I'm an expert at Brazilian barbecue steakhouses so I know exactly what you mean.
John: Yeah. I don’t know. It takes a little bit of getting used to it. Like I said, for me, it was a little easier because I was on such strict diet plans for a lot of times for these. There’s a difference, I think, between dropping weights to like get to a normal 10%, 12% body fat or whatever which is good, but then dropping below that is like insane. The difficulty becomes much harder. All your hormones are working against you to trying and keep you there. Because your body is like, “Hey, I'm in starvation mode. I'm not going to lose any more fat. We’re going to sacrifice muscle. I'm going to make you extremely hungry. You’re going to be cranky.” All these defenses come into play.
Miguel: It’s a hell of a science. Well, not say easy but it’s very doable to get into decent shape to be happy with yourself. If you’re going to go further like you have and start doing like real bodybuilding and getting into that low body fat where you get cut and ripped that’s not an easy road.
John: No, no, it’s not. It’s not but yeah. That’s the thing like I think too. Because sometimes when people listen to the show, they’re like, “John is doing all this crazy stuff,” but it’s like, well, no. If you’re just like 20 or 30 pounds overweight, just trying to lose the 20, 30 pounds, man it’s not that hard. It’s just changing your lifestyle a little bit, getting a little bit more exercise. That’s going to come off a pound a week or half a pound a week over a few months. It’s going to come off easy. You’re not going to be killing yourself to do it. Sometimes I make it sound like it’s harder than it is, but yeah.
Miguel: When you’re doing something like a show, would you go as far as to say that whole strict super diet that you do for fitness modeling or for a bodybuilding show, or something like that that’s not a permanent thing. There’s a certain goal to reach that and then it changes afterwards, right? I think everybody body builder has what they call the off-season and the on-season.
John: Because I’ve done that for such a long time, it’s easy for me to change it. I still eat pretty much the same foods like I eat a lot of eggs, and chicken and broccoli. I like those foods now. To me, it’s like, I don’t know, it’s not super, super strict, but it’s like, “Okay. This is just default mode for me.” It doesn’t look too much different from a super strict diet, like someone looking at my diet would be like, “Oh, man. That’s hard.” To me, it’s like, “I’ve been doing this for years.” It is my lifestyle.
Like I said, it’s whatever you’re used to becomes your lifestyle. There were points in my life where I went to fastfood every night after work. I couldn’t think of what else you would do like that’s how you get food, right? That’s drastic, but I was so used to it. It became the thing that you’re used to.
Miguel: Sure, sure. I remember reading an article, an interview with Hugh Jackman when he was doing Wolverine. He went through this thing that became later known as the Wolverine workout, right? His body fat went down to I mean, it was, Jesus, like 6% or something and the guy was massively ripped. When he was describing his lifestyle, he himself said that it was just unsustainable after the movie. If you look at Hugh Jackman when he did Les Miserables, for example, when he went on the song and dance bench, he looked nothing like he did when he did Wolverine. It was a massive difference.
Same thing with Chris Hemsworth, the guy that played Thor. After he finished the movie, he changed radically. If you look at him when he did Rush, totally different physique when he did Rush. Hugh Jackman said he was getting up at 4 o’ clock in the morning to eat a dozen egg whites because they didn’t want to … back to the topic of eating every so often, right? They didn’t want him to—the trainer didn’t want him to go too much time without protein intake.
You look at some of those. Some of them are really extreme. Some of those workouts and diet plans were really extreme. That’s not what the devs out there need to do. That’s now what we’re saying that they need to do to make sure we get that clear.
John: Yeah, and then some of the things too like some of those diet plans or the workout plans. It’s really designed for someone who is on stuff. When you look at the Fitness Magazine workouts, they’re really designed for body builders that are on juice because you’re not going to get the same results. You can’t work out that often, do that and expect to gain that thing. Even a lot of times, I think a lot of people don’t realize this too. A lot of movie stars, when they drop weight, when they get really shredded and ripped, I mean hey, I'm going to be totally honest with you. If someone is to pay millions of dollars to make a movie and the key thing I need to do for that movie was to look as ripped as heck …
Miguel: You’re going to write up for three months.
John: Yeah. I’ll do whatever, whatever drug or whatever I need to take to do it. I don’t care if it’s legal. We’re not talking about I want to go to the beach. If I would do it, I'm going to assume that a lot of actors that get shredded that they’re going to do it too.
Miguel: I’ve read actually that they have, that they actually have, a lot of actors that we know for exactly those reasons. A lot of it is that they’re put into these timelines, to these crunches, where you’re going to play this role in 2 months so you better get your ass in a certain shape in 2 months. The truth of the matter is that it’s physically impossible to synthesize that amount of protein. You can’t just up your caloric intake and hit the gym more, and expect that to build more muscle because your body is only going to synthesize so much protein. That’s where anabolic steroids come in because that’s really all they do, is they help you synthesize more protein.
You can’t just juice up without the diet, without additional food. Otherwise, you’re going to screw yourself up. You’re right, they do do that because it’s just physically impossible to do it otherwise. They can’t, not under those time crunches. We’re not getting paid millions of dollars to do that kind of fun stuff, unfortunately.
John: Don’t do it. If you’re listening out here, if you get a movie role, they’re going to pay you millions of dollars, okay. Use your judgment. If you’re just trying to look better, go and do the work and you’ll feel better about yourself if you do the work and you earn it, versus you take the cheat road which—these guys also, they have doctors that are assisting them in this. It’s not like they’re –
Miguel: Oh, constantly.
John: The pro body builders, they’ve got personal doctors. They’re doing it safely. You can’t do it safely. I can’t do it safely. That’s why I don’t touch this stuff. I never touched any of that stuff because I can’t do it safely. I’ll kill myself just trying to do it or I’ll end up with man boobs or something.
Miguel: That’s absolutely right or tearing a muscle off the bone like Dorian Yates did on his bicep. He tore his bicep, dislocated his bicep from the bone like a drag car loses the tire around the wheel. It was a massive injury. You can injure yourself significantly. Hell, I’ve injured myself in the gym or even right now, I don’t know what the term for it is. The common term is golfer’s elbow. It’s like tennis elbow is on this side and outside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is on the inside. I have to watch the positions and I have to adjust myself and use the pain to tell me my limits. Don’t get on painkillers. Everybody says, “No, no. Just take some ibuprofen. The pain will go away.”
Yeah, pain will go away but then you screw yourself up in the gym. I did that and I ended up having to take a whole week off, and then I came back and I did 2 weeks moderate. Then I had to take a second week off because of a conference. That was just last week. This week I was back on full force, but even full force I can feel certain pain in certain positions. It’s easy to injure yourself.
Like I said, age is a factor. You can injure yourself easier when you’re older. I'm 13 years older than you are. There are certain things that I probably got to watch what I do with my back, that kind of thing, you’ll get there, or hopefully, you won’t. You keep yourself strong at this age and you’ll be a lot stronger when you get to be my age. You can put up with a lot of that. I'm an overachiever so I tend to push myself. When I want to have a certain goal I tend to push myself sometimes beyond what I'm capable of handling.
That’s pretty good if you’re going out for the Navy Seals, but it’s not good if you’re a 46-year-old developer [crosstalk 00:38:53]. I have a family to take care of because I’ve been laid out because of a pulled back or a messed up shoulder. You mentioned your …
John: The pec area.
Miguel: The pec. I’ve pulled my rotator cuff before so I know what those injuries are like. One good injury will knock you out of the gym for 2,3 weeks and negate a lot of work that you’ve spent a few months doing.
John: Oh, yeah. Well, even if I could go back in my 20s if I could tell myself, “Hey, just chill the weight down a little bit. Your back is going to hurt when you’re 30,” I wish I could do that but —
Miguel: I’ll never admit this to her and thank God my mom does not listen to this podcast, but I can hear my mom’s voice every day, “Don’t slouch, don’t slouch, don’t slouch,” and me brushing it off. “Leave me alone, leave me alone.” Now, I feel the effects of 15 years of slouching when I was a kid, of not walking straight all those things.
John: All right. Well, awesome. Anything else that you wanted to cover here? I think we covered a lot.
Miguel: No. We did. We talked about all the things that I wanted to discuss, particularly this meal thing. Like I said, to me, the verdict is still out on it. You’ve been doing it for about a year, you said, the IF.
John: Yeah, yeah. There’s actually a good book I read. Well, okay. I'm going to recommend this book but it’s got a lot of profanity.
Miguel: Anybody listening to this podcast that knows me is probably wondering why I haven't been cursing up a storm.
John: Well, I try to keep it pretty clean for them. I would think like the audience for this podcast I would think if you’re in your car like picking up the kids from school and stuff, I want you to have the opportunity to listen to the podcast and not have to like …
John: Anyway, it’s called Man 2.0. It’s called like Reengineering the Alpha Man. It was two guys or at least one of the guys that wrote for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s webpage. It is kind of a testosteronic type of book but it’s not like douche bag alpha. It’s like they redefined it. I would call the way they define alpha as being a gentleman, being the 1930s version of a gentleman. Being tough and standing up for other people, not being a pushover and being a man’s man type of person. The book, they go into IF a lot and they go into the science behind it. I thought that was really good. I felt like everything in that book like the advice in there was pretty dang solid stuff. It’s packaged in a surfer guy, bro kind of way, but it has really solid advice.
Miguel: It’s a dude’s book is what you’re saying.
John: Yeah, yeah. It’s more of a dude’s book.
Miguel: Is it this one: Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha: A Real World Guide to an Unreal Life?
John: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. It wouldn’t be a book that Iris would have liked on the podcast.
Miguel: Well, Arnold did the foreword for it.
John: Yeah, yeah. Arnold liked it but Arnold is a man’s man. Sly is a man’s man.
Miguel: I’ll have to check it out. Cool. You just cost me some more money.
John: Yeah. I didn’t even get a commission on that one. Speaking of which I better mention our hosts or our sponsors, I’ve said it a lot of times, but, really, if you’re looking to start a podcast, signalleaf.com. They sponsor our podcast. If you go to signalleaf.com, you can easily start your own podcast. Really cool. I just put out a list of developer podcast out there and I found that there’s a lot but there’s not a huge amount compared to a lot of the other industries. There’s a lot of open areas for starting a podcast, especially niche ones.
Surprisingly, you won’t believe this, Miguel. I didn’t find a podcast about AngularJS and no one has come forward with one yet. It’s a great opportunity.
Miguel: I haven't learned Angular yet. I do SPA using Knockout. Knockout and Durandal. I'm on that side. Good or bad. Everybody has their own opinion, just a different product. I haven't learned Angular. It’s on my list. I'm a consultant so the most tools I can stick into my arsenal, the better off I am. I’ll get to it eventually. It’s just I have so many things on that list right now. Hell, I'm not a hundred percent up the speed on everything Assure yet, and that’s been out for a little while. It’s just too much stuff that we’re being hit with, man.
John: Yeah, that’s way too much.
Miguel: It’s more of a reason. It validates everything that we’ve talked about in the last hour, right? I lead a very busy life from the comfort of this chair, but it doesn’t make it any less busy. I'm the king of over-committing myself. So far, I’ve never let anybody down, but the fact that I over-commit myself and I still get the job done can only translate into the fact that there’s stress there. There just is. I got a dozen clients at one thing is from me. I got the Pluralsight courses so I got Jason Salmon. If he’s listening right now, Jason, leave me the heck alone. I got him on hounding me for courses which is fine. That’s what he’s supposed to do. It’s his job.
There are just all sorts of things. I speak at 12 to 15 conferences a year and that’s actually quite a lot. I want to tone that down a little bit because a lot of these conferences want unique materials. You got to write material plus the New Year comes up and you have to write new material for the year’s conferences. Speak at user groups. There are all sorts of things that I'm involved in and all of those things are all jumbled in this cornucopia of code, right?
The only way I can fight a lot of the stress, and believe me, my wife will tell you. There’s time that I walk upstairs and she can just tell by the look on my face that I’ve had a hard day. Hard doesn’t translate to bad so she asked me how my day has been. I said, “No. It’s actually been a really good day.” She goes, “Why do you look so stressed?” because she can see it in my face. Well, that’s because I’ve been juggling a hundred things today, but I got those hundred things done and it's tremendously gratifying.
Because there’s stress involved there, the fitness part of my life now is an incredible offset to that. You really can physically harm yourself with all that stress if you don’t have an out of some kind, an outlet. You can physically harm yourself. There are ulcers that you can get. There are all sorts of problems that you can cause. Hell, there’s even studies that say that some cancers are caused by excessive stress.
The term I’ve made myself sick is very literal. It’s not figurative anymore. Being a gym addict and a diet—and I'm not going to say that I'm a hundred percent religious about it because I'm only human. Everybody strays here and there. At least having those things in my life is a really good offset for all the stress that I carry because of work. Because of that, I can honestly say I'm a very healthy person, medically speaking. I’ve never had any medical problems. Even at 46, I don’t have any medical issues that I know of. I don’t hurt on a regular basis. Hell, even if I start to feel a little bit of back pain from this chair, the gym actually fixes that. It doesn’t make it worse. You know what I mean?
It’s just something else that I’ve added to my life and that’s why I think you’ve hit a great niche with this podcast. I think it’s something that’s been needed for the longest time. It’s awesome. I'm going to push it to all my friends. I'm sorry that I didn’t before. I didn’t even know that you were doing this, to be honest with you. You got to get your marketing.
This is information that listens to all the other podcast. You listen .NET Rocks, fine. It’s a great podcast. You need to come listen to this one too because this, in my opinion, is just as important information as the stuff that’s going to teach you technical knowledge. The 2 really are going to go hand in hand. Otherwise, the truth is you’re not going to be around to continue doing that great code.
John: Right, exactly, yeah. That’s a really good point, especially with the stress point. You gave me an opening to lead into one thing I'm going to plug here for me. That one is sponsored but I don’t really usually plug anything on this show. I think people that listen know this. I do have my first big product launch coming out next week. This show should be airing Friday and then Thursday of the following week. I’ll be launching my How to Market Yourself as a Developer course. The relation here is that the things that you’re talking about like you build up this big audience of—you’re going to all these speaking engagements and you build up this consulting business. I don’t think you’re knocking on doors asking for clients. I think clients are coming to you.
Miguel: Oh, 99% of the time, yeah.
John: Exactly. That’s the kind of situation I'm in now. I'm sure you could probably vouch for it too. I'm not going to ask you your hourly rate, but mine started out a hundred dollars and it went up to 200, and it went up and up and up. Now, I say, “Wait a minute. You don’t want me to do this because I have to choose from them.” I had no idea that that was possible to be able to make that much money as a software developer until I started marketing myself. Pluralsight definitely helped get my name out there. Just a little bit of name recognition goes a long way.
That’s why I put together the course. If you go to simpleprogrammer.com/signup, you can get on there the course is going to come out on Thursday. You get a hundred dollar discount on the complete course. It’s 2 complete video courses, how to branding yourself and then How to create a blog to tour or go through all that steps, and then four books and then I’ve got eight developer interviews in there with guys like Bob Martin, Jon Skeet, a whole bunch of stuff. It’s like a huge, huge package and this is the only time that I'm going to be plugging this for that launch next week.
Miguel: You should plug it at every show. What are you talking about?
John: Well, I don’t like to sell too much stuff.
Miguel: Hey, the truth is people are coming to these podcasts to get good information, to get good fitness information from this one and a little bit of technical stuff. You just gave them some good information there. That’s a great result of spending an hour watching this thing or listening to this thing.
John: Yeah, okay. Well, yeah. Listen to Miguel. Go sign up. Check out the course and yeah. Like I said, it’s all the things that I wish that I knew when I started as a software developer, like if I knew those secrets I could have been at the level that I'm at now billing hundred dollars an hour without knocking for clients. Don’t go and put a post on Craigslist or work off oDesk. You can build things in a better way if you know how to market yourself if you get your name out there. Speak at conferences, do podcasts, write blog posts.
Miguel: There’s a certain hourly rate that you can justify by knocking on doors. Anything above the certain rate, the people got to come to you.
John: Exactly, yeah.
Miguel: You can only bill it if somebody comes to you. It becomes one of those, almost looks like desperation type of thing. You know what I mean?
John: Exactly, yep, yep. All right, well, thanks for doing this show. I really appreciate it. It’s just great to talk to you. Definitely, I'm going to have to have you come back on this show. We should meet up if you’re going to be … I think you’re going to be in Orlando, right? You’re going to do that conference. I'm over here in Tampa.
Miguel: Oh, you’re in Tampa. Yeah. I told you what I call Tampa, right?
John: Yes, yeah.
Miguel: I know that area well. I grew up in Miami. I spent 20 years in South Florida.
John: Okay, yeah.
Miguel: I’m from a little town just north of the Keys called Homestead.
John: Okay, okay, yeah. That’s where that Coral Castle is, right?
Miguel: It’s exactly right.
John: I was just there when I went to South Florida Code Camp. I said to my wife, “We got to visit the Coral Castle.” She’s like, “What? What the crap is that?” It’s a skinny short guy that moved all these coral blocks.
Miguel: It’s still there. It’s still there and they were so hungry for tourism. At one point, they made the entrance fee 10 cents.
John: Yeah. Wow. Yeah.
Miguel: It’s definitely a cool place. That’s where I grew up and I graduated from Homestead High and I went to college down there. I’ve been to Tampa many, many times. I'm a cigar fan. You guys have Ybor City which is important.
John: Yep, that’s true, yeah.
Miguel: Tampa has got a definitely special place in my heart. I got a lot of friends out there too. You’re a developer evangelist. A Microsoft DE out there is a good friend of mine, Joe Healy, and my very good friend, Russ Fustino is up in New Port Richey.
John: Exactly, yep.
Miguel: Nice area. Better weather than we have here. That’s for sure.
John: Yeah. I can’t complain. All right, we better wrap this thing up. Don’t forget to check out the website at getupandcode.com. If you don’t mind, if you enjoy this podcast, Miguel wants more people to find it. Hey, get out there and go on iTunes and give us a rating. Give me five stars, leave a comment, so other people will find it and it will be easier to find out on iTunes. Have a great week, have great workouts, and take care.