Bobby Maximus, a former UFC Fighter, a BJJ World champion, the creator of The Maximus Gym and director of Project Maximus, joins us to discuss nutrition and supplements to optimize your workouts and recovery.
Episode 76: Reaching Your Maximus
The content of this podcast has not been evaluated by Health Canada or the FDA. It is educational in nature and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult a qualified medical professional to see if a diet, lifestyle change, or supplement is right for you. Any supplements mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please note that the opinions of the guests or hosts are their own and may not reflect those of Advanced Orthomolecular Research, Inc.
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Welcome to Supplementing Health, a podcast presented by Advanced Orthomolecular Research. We are all about applying evidence based and effective dietary lifestyle and natural health product strategies for your optimal health. In each episode, we will feature very engaging clinicians and experts from the world of functional and naturopathic medicine to help achieve our mission to empower people to lead their best lives naturally.
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[01:09] Cassy Price: Welcome to Supplementing Health. I’m thrilled to have Bobby Maximus, one of the world foremost fitness authorities on today to discuss nutrition and supplements to optimise your workout and recovery. Bobby is a former UFC fighter, a BJJ World Champion, and the creator of the Maximum Gym and director of Project Maximus, one of the country’s most elite and hardcore training programs. Welcome Bobby, thanks for joining me today.
[01:30] Bobby Maximus: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
[01:33] Cassy Price: For those of us who aren’t avid gym goers, the gym can be an intimidating place especially for those who have big goals with no idea how to tackle them effectively. So, what are some of the recommendations that you have for some of those who are early on their fitness journey?
[01:46] Bobby Maximus: You know a big thing that I teach is that the mind is more important than the body. Most of the time for most people they don’t need a specific workout program. Now if you are Michael Phelps or an Olympic swimmer, or Usain Bolt one of the best sprinters to ever live, sure you need a specified program but in the interest of this clarity most people are just trying to look a little better naked. That is all they want. So, you can almost do anything, and anything works. What I tell people to do psychologically is demystify the process. It doesn’t have to be complicated. you don’t need some special program; you simply need to move every day. You diminish it to nothing more than brushing your teeth. So, if you just look at it as basic self-care it takes a lot of the complication out of it. I think that is why people don’t get started because they assume it is going to be complicated.
[02:44] Cassy Price: So, do you have an all-time favourite workout, or does it vary depending on the individual goals or needs?
[02:51] Bobby Maximus: I don’t believe in go to movements or go to workouts only because people have so many different scenarios that they are dealing with however I will say that I prefer body weight movements that take half an hour or less that you don’t need any equipment for because then it eliminates all of the excuses. If you think about whatever scenario that someone is in, if you have kids and you are stuck at home and we saw this during the pandemic, there is no reason you still can’t train or workout or you still can’t be effective.
[03:28] Cassy Price: Absolutely, one of my biggest excuses is time. Like you said, parents working and all that sort of stuff, it is like “oh, I only have twenty minutes, what can I do that is effective in that time, right?”
[03:38] Bobby Maximus: Here’s the other thing that happens and I just want to get this point. I am sorry to cut you off, but it is not just the time training. It is the time that you have to close up the house, leave, drive to the gym, park, change, drive home. Your thirty or forty-minute workout, what does that cost you in a day? Two hours? A lot of people just don’t have that time. Whereas if you can work out with no equipment at home and just get it done you can literally be done front to back in thirty minutes.
[04:10] Cassy Price: When you are working with clients then, do you tailor their workouts to at home or to their schedules or preferences as well?
[04:20] Bobby Maximus: Yes. That is the number one determinate for people. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘the best diet is the one you can follow’? the best workout program is the workout program you can follow. It doesn’t make sense to me to write you a workout program that is not going to happen with your schedule.
[04:37] Cassy Price: So, when you take on a new client, do you work with them to try and determine what activities they like most? For example, some people are really drawn to cardio whereas others are more about strength and training and weightlifting, some like more group activities and others like more individual activities like yoga. So, do you take that into account when you are creating a workout plan for people?
[05:00] Bobby Maximus: So, everything is individually tailored around lifestyle. That is why I brought up Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt at the start of the conversation. For them, they are different, they are tailoring their lifestyle around their sport because they are that dedicated. For most normal people, they have a full-time job, they have kids, they have the things that they need to do and their workouts have to fit their lifestyle not the opposite way around. Most people are not going to reorganise their entire life to fit working out in. For every athlete or client that I have, I do an intake interview. Their program is going to be based on a myriad of factors. The big ones are what equipment you have. Obviously, if you have a bunch of dumb bells and bar bells I can write you a different program than if you told me you had a yoga mat and a foot spa. The equipment is going to be a determinate. The time is going to be one of those factors. So, if you tell me you have a hour a day to train or you want to train an hour a day, your program would look different than a person who has fifteen minutes a day to train. Then the third is going to be what you like doing because if you like doing something, I am a big believer in this and you fit this industry with it but fun is a major factor in terms of your long-term health, commitment, viability for a program to be successful because if you are having fun doing something you will make an effort to do it more. If it is miserable you are going to quit. So, those three factors; fun, time, equipment. I will take all of those into account and then I will build you a customised program.
[06:39] Cassy Price: So, one of the things that you hear is that abs are made in the kitchen. So, clearly the idea behind that is that obviously you can’t be eating nothing but junk and expect that your pounds will melt away and it will eliminate those bumps and curves that you want to eliminate. So, how do you incorporate nutrition into the plans that you create for your clients?
[07:02] Bobby Maximus: Nutrition is important but is has to be in combination with the exercise. There is a phrase that you can’t outwork your shitty diet. While that is true theoretically that depends on how much work you are willing to do. If you want to work out six, seven or eight hours a day then you can probably eat whatever you want and be fine. Michael Phelps was proof of that. He was eating ten thousand calories a day, boxes of lucky charms, subway for lunch, he could do whatever he wanted. That is what happens when you swim for six or seven hours a day. On the other side of the coin, you can’t out eat poor work ethics. You can’t eat perfectly but if you are not working out or exercising you are not going to be fit. So, in the real world these things have to work in conjunction. Part of the program along with the working out we have got to worry about your diet and take care of your diet. Not a diet in terms of losing weight but your daily diet in order to fuel that activity.
[08:03] Cassy Price: Do you have any supplements that you recommend across the board? I know something like a protein powder or a BCAA is very common in the gym space but are there any others that you incorporate in every single program or do you tailor those according to the client as well?
[08:23] Bobby Maximus: You know supplementation has to be individualised. Programming has to be individualised. Nutrition has to be individualised but there are actually some universal truths with supplements that I believe. I believe that you need to worry about health before performance. People are worried about performance but the boost you are going to get from performance enhancing supplements like amino acids, creatine and things like that might only be 1-2%. We are looking at gains that high end athletes are looking at. For your average person if I can increase your health dramatically your performance will go through the roof. Almost every client I work with, I have on a really good multivitamin, a really good green supplements, a really good red supplement. A lot of people ask what a red supplement is. What is a red? Greens is spinach, spirulina, alfalfa, asparagus and stuff like that. Reds are your dark berries so filled with antioxidants. Then a fish oil. If you are on that and your health is good there is honestly not much more you need.
[09:25] Cassy Price: Are there any difference between those supplements that you recommended with what you would dose for genders?
[09:32] Bobby Maximus: No, because a lot of this stuff is based on your basic RDA which is your average person. So, theoretically a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound athletic man might need more than one-hundred-and-twenty-pound non-athletic female. They might need more but now you are getting into all kinds of craziness with blood tests because you don’t want to take a bunch of stuff indiscriminately. Basically, the multivitamin that I use it has everything that you need in it. It hits all of your requirements. It is safe for men and safe for women and let’s call it even after taking that. If you want to do dosing beyond that on individual things, I would strongly suggest taking a blood test. Then in terms of individual tailoring that is where other supplements might come in like protein. If you told me you eat meat five times a day and you think you need a protein supplement, the answer is probably no.
[10:30] Cassy Price: What do you do for recovery? I know we talked a little bit about performance earlier on in the conversation, but recovery is such an important part, especially if you are working out every single day doing activities like strength training activities or weightlifting, it is really important to support the muscle regrowth. So, what are some of the things that you do for recovery?
[10:50] Bobby Maximus: Recovery is important for everybody. Let me make that clear. It is not just for high end athletes. I like to cover the basics first. So, there are three areas that we are going to hit. Number one is sleep. Eight to nine hours of sleep a night in completely black out environment. That will completely change your life whether you are working out or not working out, athletic or not athletic, sports or non-sports, it doesn’t matter. Eight to nine hours a night in a completely black out environment will help your hormone profile, it will help you increase testosterone, increase growth hormone, it will help reduce cortisol, it will make you more mentally aware. It really is a life changing experience learning to get more sleep. Two; no processed food. Get rid of it. When I say no processed food, you want to treat once in a while then go nuts but 95% of the time should be free and clear of processed garbage. That is number two. Number three is that once a day I want you to do one recovery activity. A recovery activity could be a sauna, it could be cryotherapy, it could be acupuncture, it could be a massage, it could be chiropractic, it could be a 30 minute walk but something to put something back into you. Something that puts energy back into you verses taking away. So, if you sleep and you are on a diet devoid of processed food and then you do one recovery activity a day honestly for a normal person that can be life changing.
[12:14] Cassy Price: Okay, for those that have suffered from previous sports injury do you have additional recovery recommendations or different recovery recommendations for them?
[12:25] Bobby Maximus: I mean it depends on what you are dealing with and what you have access to. If you just blew your ACL I would strongly recommend getting access to a hyperbaric chamber. Not a lot of people have access to that so that becomes problematic. So, PT at that point, physical therapy, could be a form of recovery by doing exercises to keep you healthy and strong. So, it really depends on the nature of the injury but again individually tailored.
[12:56] Cassy Price: At the beginning of our conversation, you mentioned that a big part of the fitness journey is the mental aspect. So, what are some of the things that your clients get out of following a fitness program beyond the physical benefits?
[13:11] Bobby Maximus: So, in terms of what you can get beyond just physical things from the gym, I think there is a lot of mental and psychological lessons in the gym. People learn, and this is something I work with my people on a lot, how to deal with self- limiting behaviour. This is something that affects us all. To a degree we are all a prisoner of the glass cage we build around ourselves. Shutting off negative voices. Goal setting. Learning how to fail in a safe controlled environment. These are all things that can really affect your life in a positive way.
[13:40] Cassy Price: You’ve been described as a keeper of authenticity, what does that mean to you and how do you maintain this mindset?
[13:46] Bobby Maximus: You know for me being authentic is actually a preventative measure against anxiety and stress. In today’s society I feel that most people feel anxiety and stress because they live in a perpetual state of cognitive dissidence where their words aren’t consistent with their actions, or their actions aren’t consistent with their reality. I try to be authentic at all times. What that helps me do is put my head on the pillow at night and fall asleep without anxiety because when you act in a manner that is against your morality you are going to have anxiety. If you are trying to lose weight but you are eating bad food, you are going to have anxiety over it. If you want to be more fit but you are not working out, you are going to have anxiety over it. So, I try to be as authentic as possible to keep the anxiety and the stress away.
[14:41] Cassy Price: So, throughout the different stages of life have you altered the nutrients that you use or that you make sure to get between when you were say training for UFC or other championships verses your day-to-day life?
[14:55] Bobby Maximus: Yeah, I mean in terms of nutrients if we are talking food as a whole, obviously when I was fighting in UFC if I had to fight the heavier weight class I would have to eat more food because I would have to put on more weight. If I had to fight a lower weight class, I would have to eat less foods so I could lose weight. On a basic level, yes. In terms of things, to be a high-level athlete for years, I am forty-three years old right now and arguably in the best shape of my life, the core rules of diet hold true. That is, I guess, proper health supplementation, no processed food, enough food to fuel activity, high quality sources of protein. These are things that have always held true. I suppose the only thing that has changed as I have gotten older is that I am now a little bit more willing to experiment. Ten years ago, I would have never taken CBD oil. Now it is something that I have started to take. It helps with pain relief. It helps me sleep. It helps to regulate my energy levels. So, like a good CBD oil isn’t probably something that I thought I needed ten years ago but I think I need it now.
[16:06] Cassy Price: Muscle building is one of the big reasons for people to go to the gym, especially for men in particular, obviously stereotyping here but generally speaking, they are trying to get that v shape, that triangular shape and obviously muscle building is a big part of that. What are some of the things that you can do to support that muscle growth?
[16:32] Bobby Maximus: So, there is two ways if you want the’ v tape’ I call it. You either have to shrink the size of your waist or you have to increase the size of your shoulders because that is going to create that, not illusion necessarily, but that is going to create that look you are looking for. The first thing I would recommend is, I am a big believer in the body weight exercises for the upper body, lots of pull ups, push ups and dips. What that is going to do is promote muscle in the right areas. It is going to give you nice, capped shoulders, it is going to give you nice traps, nice triceps, and nice peck muscles and goods lats. That is going to start to really influence how that v taper looks. At the same time, you probably to a degree want to stay away from heavier weights with excessive reps that are focused on the core. Things like back squatting and dead lifting because how are you going to get better at dead lifting and back squatting? You want to thicken up through the midsection and you want to shrink that down. So, for legs, one of the things I will recommend is lunges because it takes a lot of the pressure of the back and the core so that doesn’t have to thicken up. So, if you can do those tow things in concert then you are going to start to get that aesthetic physique that you are really looking for.
[17:43] Cassy Price: Awesome. That makes sense. So, then when you are working out bones and joints sometimes get forgotten or are the most likely to take on the extra pressure right when you are jumping and moving. So, what are the things that you recommend to maintain that bone health and make sure that you are preventing injuries in those areas?
[18:04] Bobby Maximus: Yeah, I mean the biggest thing with bone health is to just start lifting. There are so many studies that talk about bone density and joint health being improved from lifting. It doesn’t even need to be super heavy. It doesn’t need to be super complicated. Just even doing weighted carriers like weighted farmers carry and for people who don’t know what that is you take two dumbbells and carry them. It is pretty simple. That can start to strengthen up your connective tissue. That can start to give you more bone density. It can strength everything in your body. Work like that can really help. So, some type of resistance training or weighted resistance training can really help with that stuff.
[18:49] Cassy Price: Are there any myths about training or the gym that you wish you could just dispel for everyone?
[18:55] Bobby Maximus: Yeah, the big one of mine that I am on right now and it is because I have a twelve-year-old is that kids shouldn’t lift weights. It drives me nuts to hear them say that. Like it is going to shut off their growth plates or that it will stunt their growth, that is absolutely 100% not true. The Russians have done tuns of experimentation of this and the younger you can get kids to do resistance training the better. The caveat is that you don’t want to load them with heavy weights because you don’t want to hurt them. You want to use lighter to medium weight and you want to make sure they focus on form. They don’t have to go for dead lift on their backs. You don’t want to psychologically ruin them. Let kids be kids. If they are exercising a few times a week that is good enough, you don’t have to put them on some advanced program. You are not trying to build some superhuman athlete. In terms of lifting, I always say this for the people who have kids, if lifting is going to stunt their growth then why do you let them lift rocks in the backyard? Why do you let them play on monkey bars? They are physical creatures. They should be doing this. Frankly your body doesn’t know or it doesn’t give a shit if it is a barbell or a rock. It is still lifting. I think kids should be doing some kind of exercise. Maybe it’s bodyweight. Maybe it is running around. Maybe it is sports. Maybe it is practicing barbells. It is a myth that I hear again and again and again, and I can’t stand it.
[20:22] Cassy Price: Do you have an age at which they should start lifting and more of an official way? I ask because my six-year-old loves lifting weights and working out with me but I always watch her and I am worried about her form, like you said, because I don’t want her accidentally injuring herself when she is doing things that are not quite right, do you know what I mean?
[20:44] Bobby Maximus: For sure. I think that is different between different children. You have got to understand, this is my career. My career. Since the day they were born they have been in the gym. Not literally the day they were born. My baby probably three weeks into life was in a little bucket seat or whatever those carriers are called and watching me train. They have been exposed to it their whole lives. The likelihood that my six-year-old picks it up faster than your six-year-old that is probably pretty high. Some kids have a natural affinity to it. Some kids are clumsy AF. Some kids are really put together and get perfect form. I don’t know if there is a certain age for that. As long as your kid has proper form, I think they could do it at five or six. Now, in terms of an official program that is where the psychological stress comes into play. I want to teach my kids that exercise, again I will go back to start of the podcast, that it is like brushing your teeth. It is just something you do for basic self-care. I don’t want it to be hard. I don’t want it to be miserable. So, we are eleven years apart, but we were probably taught the same things. Exercise was punishment, have you ever been punished with exercise? I have. What have you done now? You have associated exercise with negativity. How are you supposed to go and get motivated to workout? I don’t want to get punished by choice.
[22:15] Cassy Price: It is finding what you love about it, right? It is finding your way and actually enjoying it.
[22:20] Bobby Maximus: Think how people phrase things. Do you say I have to work out or I get to go work out? Usually, it is I have to go work out. You have already set a negative tone. People only work out when they are fat or lazy or feel bad or they have to or they are sick and they need to. Whatever happened to making it fun? So, for me up until a kid is fifteen or sixteen years old, I want all physical activity to be under the guise of play and fun. So, my twelve-year-old, I encourage him to do things gently and if he wants to work out he can work out, if not that is okay too just go outside and play. You have to do some physical activity, but I don’t think it is smart to put kids through a rigorous physical training program because I think you are ruining them psychologically and putting in a very negative association with exercise. That is why if you have a negative association with exercise, do you know how hard it is at thirty or thirty-five years old to drag your ass into the gym everyday and workout? It must be miserable, right? Whereas if it has always been fun or something that you and Mum or you and Dad did together, and it was surrounded by good feelings and good times then that would be different.
[23:26] Cassy Price: Absolutely. I think that is probably one of the biggest challenges for a lot of people is finding that motivation and that desire which when you are doing something that you love and is fun is easy to do it compared to when it is a chore or seen as punishment or something you hate and have to do.
[23:53] Bobby Maximus: That’s exactly it. I think that starts with your upbringing.
[23:57] Cassy Price: So, if any of our listeners wanted to start with one of your programs is your website the best way for them to do that or is there a better way for them to start working with you and with your program?
[24:10] Bobby Maximus: I think there is a couple of ways. Number one they can go to my website bobbymaximus.com. There you will figure out a way to email me. There is a contact form. You can find my Instagram handle. That is a great way to get a hold of me, Instagram or Twitter. If you go to @bobbymaximus. Generally, just contact me directly for high end one on one training. So, I have got services for people who maybe can’t afford that. I have a book called Maximus Body that is out with Men’s Health that you can Google or buy on Amazon or whatever you want. I have a program with a company called Ladder that is guided training through an app and it is my program so you have access to me there but if you want private training contact me and we can talk.
[24:53] Cassy Price: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. This has been really great, and I think you have got a lot of really good philosophies to help people get started and figure out where they want to be on their fitness journey.
[25:05] Bobby Maximus: I really appreciate it.
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