Charles Poliquin on Strength Training, Shredding Body Fat, and Increasing Testosterone and Sex Drive (#91)

The Tim Ferriss Show with Charles Poliquin

“The rule is: the basics are the basics and you can’t beat the basics.” — Charles Poliquin

Charles Poliquin (@strengthsensei) is one of the best known strength coaches in the world. He has trained elite athletes from nearly 20 different sports, including Olympic gold medalists, NFL All-Pro’s, NHL All-Stars and Stanley Cup champions, and IFBB bodybuilding champions. His clients include long-jump gold medalist Dwight Phillips, NHL MVP Chris Pronger, and MLB batting champion Edgar Martinez, among many others.

Poliquin is currently teaching advanced hypertrophy, nutrition, and strength seminars alongside one of my favorite athletes, Olympic weightlifting icon and medalist Dimitry Klokov.

Poliquin has authored more than 600 articles on strength training, and his work has been translated into 12 different languages. He has written 8 books, including his latest, a short gem entitled Arm Size and Strength: The Ultimate Guide. Find much more about Poliquin and his latest at

#91: Charles Poliquin on Strength Training, Shredding Body Fat, and Increasing Testosterone and Sex Drive

In this podcast, we frequently referred to my past episode with Arnold Schwarzenegger. You can listen to my conversations with Arnold here. In this episode, we discuss psychological warfare and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

Ep 60: Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on Psychological Warfare (And Much More)

This episode is sponsored by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is, inevitably, Athletic Greens. It is my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so. Get 50% off your order at Athletic

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive resultsClick this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run…

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: After listening to Poliquin, are there any strength or diet experiments you’d like me to explore and report back on? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Selected Links from the Episode | Facebook | YouTube | Google + | Twitter | Instagram

Show Notes

  • The story behind Charles’s passion for strength and how he quickly learned multiple languages [6:05]
  • Charles’s secret skill that only his best friends know [10:40]
  • How to eliminate stretch marks or loose skin after extreme fat loss [15:05]
  • Something Charles believes that most people find crazy  [18:20]
  • On taking huge doses of fish oil [31:35]
  • How to select a quality doctor who can administer and interpret blood testing [42:10]
  • Favorite go-to sources for research [50:50]
  • Thoughts on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) [53:50]
  • HRT challenges with DHEA-sulfate levels [1:00:05]
  • Exploring the use of Deca-Durabolin to support joint repair [1:04:05]
  • What Charles tries to eliminate from his home [1:06:35]
  • Thoughts on warmup routines [1:11:45]
  • The perfect preparation for strength workouts [1:14:40]
  • Most common post-workout mistakes [1:20:25]
  • Commonly neglected ways to decrease body fat [1:25:05]
  • On planning vacation first [1:34:05]
  • Common mistakes training female clients [1:46:10]
  • On CrossFit and training with Dmitry Klokov [1:48:50]
  • Favorite mobility exercises [1:57:40]
  • On the surprising side effects of kettlebell swings [2:03:55]
  • Thoughts on achieving maximal strength on a plant-based diet [2:05:35]
  • High-bar vs. low-bar squats. Sumo vs. conventional deadlift. [2:06:40]
  • Most bang for your buck tips to increase testosterone and sex drive [2:10:50]
  • The supplements everyone should take [2:14:15]
  • When Charles thinks of the word “successful,” who is the first person that comes to mind? [2:19:35]
  • Favorite documentaries and movies [2:21:35]
  • A purchase of $100 or less that improved Charles’s life [2:24:05]
  • On morning routines [2:25:40]
  • If you could have one billboard anywhere, where would it be and what would it say? [2:36:50]
  • Advice to your thirty-year-old self [2:40:00]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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321 Replies to “Charles Poliquin on Strength Training, Shredding Body Fat, and Increasing Testosterone and Sex Drive (#91)”

  1. Really enjoyed the podcast! I learned a lot and I really appreciate his experience however, I’m not convinced by his plant-based assessment.

    The article below is a little more inline with my thinking. Anyway, thanks for the info!!

    [Moderator: link removed]

  2. I think the focus on “meat meat meat” may work well for Mr. Poliquin for his desire to be in the 99th percentile on strength and muscle and he certainly has my respect, but the research about the negative health affects of red meat consumption, at least of the type the average person would eat, is overwhelming. I and many athletes I train with are 100% vegan and we are healthy and highly competitive. I also think a moral question could be raised about so much meat consumption beyond what anyone might believe is necessary to be healthy, and just to function at an elite level. Just my 2 cents, and thanks to both of you for all the other great info.

  3. hey tim, have you ever tried healthforce’s vitamineral greens and if so how do you feel they compare to the athletic greens you speak of so highly?

  4. It’s interesting how most of the comments are challenging Charles and his methods and research. I never heard him say his way was the only way to achieve muscle or weight loss. This is a well respected man in the industry with thousands of proven methods that speak for themselves .

  5. Hm, zinc recommendation seems very controversial, especially in the context of these two studies:

    It would be interesting to hear what Charles thinks of these risks. Perhaps it depends on a type of zinc is used or some other factors.

  6. I have found that the combination of using the Hard Style Lock on KB swings (and other exercises) and Jefferson curls a la Chris Sommer eliminates any downside for my lower back. Try this before dismissing the swing as a valuable exercise. I now do 100 swings in 5 minutes with a 40Kg. KB and am up to 60 Kg. in the Jefferson curl for 5X5 reps – 10 seconds up, 10 seconds down. Form and whole body integration is the key.

  7. Hi Tim great episode, thoroughly enjoying the podcasts.

    I was very surprised at his comments about the kettle bell swing (as I imagine you were).

    I would definitely be interested in another podcast as I think there is so much further knowledge that Charles has to give. Several areas for me are as follows, apologies if there are too many.

    1. His comment that foam rollers cause scar tissue, I would like some further information on this. What forms of self treatment should be used to greatest effect for muscular release, and how do you best follow these up with specific training to retrain the movement pattern to alleviate the original cause. Also are there dangers in the lacrosse ball muscular releases that are advised by Kelly Starrett (who I am big fan of).

    2. The shoulder. Charles mentioned in the podcast that he has several ways to retrain the shoulder. Does he have any advice on resources that would elucidate this subject further, with exercises to rehab the rotator cuff and baseline tests to judge the functionality of it.

    2b. Also one of the problems with rehabbing is knowing the length of time it takes to make positive change. Whilst doing test retest gives an immediate feedback (provided it is a self limiting movement) as to the improvement of the movement pattern. How long should it take to make meaningful change in the pattern and the muscle. This would be great to know as it would give a baseline of whether you need to change strategies for rehab or reexamine the root cause of the dysfunction. Particularly as this relates to ligament or tendon health.

    3. After listening to the podcast I went through Charles blog. One area I would like to know more about is stretching. And how to best incorporate it into a strength training regime. What his thoughts on yoga are, the good and the bad and how you can best integrate this practice into training for sport.

    Thanks again for a superb episode, the depth and breadth of Charles’ knowledge was a great surprise and just goes to show what it takes to be the top in your field.


  8. I found Poliquin’s comments on cardio equipment causing insulin insensitivity very surprising. It is opposite of what I have always read so I did some basic internet searches. I saw a lot of papers that seemed argue one way or the other for HIIT or steady state cardio as being better for improving insulin resistance but none that indicated steady state cardio actually increases it.

    Of course I don’t have a medical degree and I don’t train Olympic athletes. I would love more insight into Poliquin’s cardio statements.

    1. My gut feeling is that diet has an effect. I look at these part-time vegetarian ultra runners drinking beer and eating pizza after their 50 mile event, and they look okay to me. Maybe on the inside they are losing their insulin sensitivity but they are still skinny on the outside? But my gut feeling is: I suspect eating high-carb and doing cardio does not reduce insulin sensitivity.

    2. its because you cant have cortisol and insulin in the body at the same time, and long duration cardio increases cortisol.

  9. Would you please have a look at the Pilates as a type of movement? I hear so much from your podcasts about strength and very little about mind/body connection (unless I have missed that podcast somewhere). As a Pilates professional, it would be so helpful to hear you interview maybe Moira Merrithew or one of the older instructors still around that were closer to Joseph Pilates. Thank you, I am a huge fan of your work.

  10. This was an awesome episode that I really enjoyed. It seems like a lot of his recommendations and metrics are targeted at men though – I’d love to hear how he’d adjust his recommendations (if at all) for women. Or maybe interview someone who trains women specifically!

  11. Hi Tim, the author of Quirkology is Richard Wiseman and not Wildman. He’s the Professor of Public Understanding of Psychology =) his books and videos are indeed awesome!

  12. If you do a q&a with Charles, would you ask him what he thinks of the barre method exercise for women? Is it a waste of time? Or a good start for people recovering from neck/back/shoulder injury?

    Thanks and great podcast!

  13. This interview rocked. I am interested on your response to Charle’s comments about kettlebells and goblet squats? Keep it going.

  14. Great podcast. All the health and fitness guys keep coming back to good diet and good sleep even if they are not aligned on the best form of exercise. What interests me is that several personal trainers I’m aware of who very vocally announce themselves as students of Charles and his methods are butchering his principles in their gyms especially around over complicated core routines on unstable surfaces e.g. bosu or swiss balls. I guess if you want to learn a man’s methods you listen to the man and not 2nd hand.

  15. Tim,

    Love the podcast for the most part. A few episodes are over my head but MOST are right up my alley. This one with Charles and the one with Matt Mullenweg are the only two that I replayed immediately after I finished it. Mostly because the content applied really well to me but the convos were a bit longer so retention on specifics was a bit low on my end, personally.

    I don’t know how feasible / useful this is, but have you thought about bringing on a VA to do a write up on your podcasts? Maybe in outline form. Your guests give great advice and it would pretty cool to go back to it in writing instead of trying to find it through 15 second fwds / rewinds in the podcast itself. Just a thought. Either way, looking forward to more awesome guests.


  16. This question is about the dosage that should be taken of gotu kola to tighten up loose skin. In the podcast Charles said 2 tabs 3 times a day for over 6 months to get results. What size tabs? Also where is the best place to buy this herb?

  17. Regarding Gotu Kola: What quantity should be taken for dealing with loose skin? Can it help with loose skin and stretch marks following pregnancy? Is it safe to take while breast-feeding?

  18. Any idea when a transcript of this podcast will be available. There is so much information it would be really helpful.

  19. Great Podcast. So much concentrated experience. Really nice.

    Charles mentioned, that some people need more Carbs than others. As far as i understand, depending on their origins (wether your predecessors ar from the Northpole or Equator).

    Could you use HbA1c to quantify wether you need rather 5-10% Carbs or 70% (as mentioned in the example).

    What i mean: You eat 70% Carbs for 1 week or 2. If the HbA1c-Level is still ok, you wouldn’t have to change anything in your diet.

    If you HbA1c-Level is to high –> less Carbs for you…

    Would that also work when the Insulin-sensitivity is already messed up.

    We’re developing blood tests (Vit-D, Iron, Vit-B12,…) that can be conducted from home (and than sent in to our lab). Unfortunately only Germany so far. I’ll have our R&D people have a look into HbA1c Testing from home. I would love it my self.

    1. The HbA1c measures glycated hemoglobin and is thus only truly useful after all the red blood cells have been completely recycled (i.e., every 90 days).

  20. While there was some interesting stuff in this podcast, it certainly was entertaining, honestly I think some of his advice is suspect. Poliquin trashes foam rollers, glute bridge, kettlebells… Some of the top professional sports trainers in the world use some or all of these. Mark Verstegen, coach of the World Cup winning German soccer team and a football combine specialist, Mike Boyle current strength coach of the Boston Red Sox and former strength coach of the Boston Bruins and Boston College Eagles hockey team, Eric Cressey, strength trainer to many current professional baseball players. They all use these types of things and many more coaches who I don’t have time to name. As for cardio machines, Joel Jamieson, strength and conditioning coach for several MMA world champions and some strongmen champions uses cardio machines with his athletes. So they are all wrong Charles Poliquin is the only one who understands? I find this hard to believe.

  21. Charles’s comments about gotu kola were intriguing enough to merit a follow up. If this actually makes a difference on loose skin, there a lot of people who would benefit from understanding this topic more in depth (slow carb diet beneficiaries). As others have requested, a minimum effective dosage, scientific explanation, and any case studies would be fantastic and greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work. I’m grateful for all you do.

  22. The guy lost me at explaining how using ice cold water makes better coffee. Am I the only one that finds this complete ignorance of basic science offending?

  23. Hi Tim,

    Thnx for this great podcast. I would very much be interested that you do a podcast with Dr. Hertoghe, I have examples of the treatments he gives to patients, and would love to get his explanation for all the supplements/drugs/hormones he prescribes to them. Also he recommends The therapy to +35 year olds, so you can try it too 🙂

    On a sidenote, have you thought of Deconstructing tennis? I think that would be a tough one, But i have an idea which coach you should try it with 🙂



  24. Largely good interview but as usual with Charles, he makes a few unsubstantiated claims about exercises that were frankly embarrassing when I heard them. #1 is Kettlebell Swings being dangerous (they’re not) and #2 being his unwillingness to accept that Hip Thrusts and Glute Bridges are valuable exercises for athletes and certainly for physique athletes. The whole notion of “functional” is problematic in the first place but Charles takes it to a new level. If what he is saying is correct, athletes should really only get stronger in one plane of motion — never mind the fact an athlete moves through many different planes. Besides, what makes a squat and a deadlift so functional? The hip joint allows you to bend at the waist while the knees allow you to squat to the floor. Very few athletes do this exact movement in their sport but of course getting strong in these exercises carries over in to athletic performance. Same with bridge and thrust movements, which incidentally better target hip extension in the glutes better than squats and deadlifts.

  25. Great episode, one of the best yet! I’d personally love to hear an episode focussing on correct training periodisation for those who lead a hectic work life as most of your listeners I’m sure do. It would also be great to get a professionals advice on recovery (as well as prevention) from overtraining/adrenal fatigue/CFS.

    Many thanks.

  26. Great podcast. First time listener. Read your books Body and Week. Looking for the transcripts, maybe I did a ‘man look’ for them, but after downloading twice I didn’t see Charles transcript amongst them. Plans to upload?

  27. Tim, could you clarify what Charles meant when he spoke of the 3 most important supplements he (and everyone else) “should” take. Mg, Omega-3s, Zn, at 2min 14sec mark.

    The GabaMag Charles referred to, contains no Mg-Threonate in it. Kind of strange given the fact that he stated that half of his daily consumption is in this form (2 grams)?!

  28. Charles also mentioned that Omega-3s deliver superior result if taken in conjunction with D3, K1 and K2. Some brands have these vitamins mixed in, but the dosages are alway different. Any guidance on what should the does of D3, K1 and K2 be?

    Great podcast Tim,


  29. Hola Tim

    Do you think it will be worth to interview top athletes with Diabetes type 1?

    In several podcast the subject about how insulin performs in gaining or reducing body fat had been raised.

    Other reasons that could worth the interview are:

    1. Comment the differences between ketogenic diet and ketoacidosis

    2. Comment the benefits of a slow carb diet. Awareness of the increasing number of people with diabetes in develops countries, significantly in the USA.

    3. Encourage teenagers with diabetes that they can perform any sports and live a far more extraordinary life than anybody else.

    Apart from your usual questions daily routines, meditation, books, etc. Please take a look on the following ones for your consideration:

    When he was diagnosed? How did he discover it? Did he fall in a diabetic coma?

    Good opportunity to explain the difference between ketogenic diet and ketoacidosis and the difference between diabetes 1 and type 2.

    Do you use an insulin pump or injections? Which type of Insulin fast or slow? Amount of insulin dose?

    What are your typical levels of blood sugar pre meals and 2 hours post meals? What are your typical levels of Glycosylated haemoglobin, HbA1c?

    What about during a competition? How do you manage your insulin dose and sugar levels? How often do you measure it?

    Have you suffer any hypoglycaemic events during competition? What happen? How do you avoid it? Same question for hyperglycaemic.

    How many calories do you eat per day? What are the Percentage of Carbohydrates, fat and protein in your typical meal?

    Comments on the slow carb diet and the ketogenic diet. (Any insides from Tim self-experimentation. Give us an update. We like to hear about you.)

    Do you take advantage of your insulin requirements to increase/hack the performance of your workouts and training?

    What type of blood sugar meter do you use? (Any comments from Tim on the one used during self-experiments.)

    Any recommendation or message to encourage Young teenagers who has been recently diagnose with diabetes type 1

    Gracias Tim por compartir tus experimentos, difundir nuevas ideas y formas de disfrutar la vida.

    Pura vida amigo.


  30. Enjoyed the podcast.

    I would love to see a video or addtional explanation or a link explaining on how he makes his coffee.

  31. Guys, if gotu kola really worked don’t you think Charles’ chest would not display all that sagging skin? Just sayin’..

  32. Gotu kola – 2 capsules 3 times a day is about 3x the recommendation on some supplement bottles. 950mg per dose on Nature’s Way supplements, 3 doses is 2850mg, which seems like a lot…

  33. Interesting and well done episode! Charles mixes science and pseudoscience without blinking an eye. Some of what he says is so legit and much of it is complete opinion and conjecture. The problem is that he doesn’t seem to differentiate these in his own mind and therefore doesn’t differentiate them to his audience. Not all science is created equal, and he seems to cherry pick studies to support his opinion.

    As an interesting comparison, Charles mentions that foam rolling causes scar tissue (this doesn’t even make sense and there’s no research to support it). However, he claims ART breaks up scar tissue, which there’s no evidence to support, and the best evidence would say that it doesn’t. I think an educated listener (in these topics) can pick up a few pearls from Charles. I’d hate to be an uneducated listener trying to sort through Charles’ material.

  34. Hey Tim!

    I’ve only recently starting listening to your podcast but so far I think it’s excellent. I’ve recently ordered your 4 hour week and 4 hour body books and am eager to digest them.

    I just did a quick scan of the comments and it seems a few people have already referred to Charles’ response about about athletes on a vegan diet. The question from Mia that you asked him was about achieving MAXIMUM strength on a plant based diet. While it may be true that all the athletes, professional or amatuer, who have a plant based diet could potentially be even stronger if they ate meat, there is at least a great deal of anecdotal evidence from athletes who have done both, that their strength increased on a whole foods plant based diet.

    Like other commentors I would be very interested in an interview of some kind with a vegan athlete etc.

    Keep up the great work!

    Kind regards,


  35. I listened to this podcast about 2 months ago. I’ve had pretty bad sleep issues for the last 2-3 years. Based on Poliquin’s recommendation, I started supplementing fish oil and magnesium. I honestly haven’t slept this well since I was a teenager… Total game changer. The quality of my life has seriously increased. Thank you!!!

  36. Hey Tim,

    Charles never gave the name of the BCAA/Electrolyte complex of one of his students in Germany. Is there a way to track that down?



  37. So goblet squat is moronic and kettlebell swing is harmful… This is what annoys me about gurus (especially smart ones), for they skillfully mix awesome ideas/concepts with closed minded opinions and it’s impossible to easily separate what is what. I stopped a while back payining attention to the Strength Sensei website a while back for this very reason. I wanted to give him another chance, because he’s been recently called out by a lot of smart people because of his tendency to guruism and it seems they were right…

    1. I’m a little off put by that number too. The highest I’ve seen for a daily dose is 10 g, and that really requires regular blood testing to make sure you’re not blocking your inflammation pathway from working at all!! 1:1::Ω-6:Ω-3 seems to be the upper level, otherwise inflammation pathways (modulated by Arachidonic Acid/Ω6) are shut down, and then healing, and ultimately muscle development fail. In 4-5 months, taking 10g/daily I was able to get down from 15:1 to a little less than 1:1. Needless to say, I’ve backed down to 3g/d, which is what Barry Sears research supports for daily intake for normal individuals.

      Flip side, I’ve read that some MD’s who are focusing on this will recommend to take AS MUCH fish oils as possible without the discomfort of loose/runny stools, but if the patient can handle that, then to push higher. Again, I’m pretty sure this kind of protocol includes regular Ω-6/3 blood work to determine that the patient is at the proper levels.

  38. I was wondering if there was a correlation between high omega 6/3 fatty acid intake/deficiency and mental improvements/degradation?

    Does an increase of these fatty acids actually make our bodies more equipped to absorb vitamins and minerals from food/drink/supps?

    1. Phil, I found an article on this just this week. Usually starts around 4g of intake. Its showing benefits both for ADHD & Alzheimer’s/dementia patients. Typically, that 4g level (or higher) needs to be a combination of EPA+DHA, and should be 2:1 for adults, 1:2 for children (DHA is a critical building block for the brain, as it amounts to 40% of the brain).

      Side note, I’ve had this thought on the subject of EFA’s & Ω-3’s: my mother seemed to be less aware of which child she was yelling at for the 6 of us. Considering EFA’s were not even on the radar in the 70’s & 80’s like they are now, I have to wonder if we children sucked her dry of her Ω-3 stores, and increased her troubles remembering which one of she was yelling at. We made a game of it then, but I seriously encourage her to take high doses of fish oils to help things out now (some Parkinsoniamism, not actual Parkinson’s).

  39. Tim, great episode, thanks for your time spent on this! One question though:

    You recommend slow carb (I read all your books), Charles recommends low carb, even for his athletes. I understand low carb for overweight people. But what would you/Charles recommend for somebody with ~15% body fat looking to cut down to visible abs without losing muscle?

    Looking at all the natural youtubers out there for instance, none of them use low carb but rather have high carb/low fat diets while lifting weights. Maybe a few weeks of low carb before things like contests, but overall they keep the carbs as high as possible while maintaining a caloric deficit of course.

    Opinions!? Thanks again!

  40. One of your best episodes. Loved that it was over 2+ hrs. long. Coach Poliquin is definitely a guy with a world of knowledge and experience. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. Get this guy back for Part 2 and Part 3 ASAP, Tim!

  41. Statements like “you can’t get strong without eating meat” really annoy me; especially when they are made on a podcast where the aim is to deconstruct excellence and unearth methods to obtain peak performance. The reality is that more and more athletes are removing meat from their diets and switching to plant-based eating because they are realising it increases their performance and decreases their recovery time. There are obviously a number of people out there who want to eat less meat or remove it from their diet all together because of the ethical implications and the environmental impacts but are worried that they won’t meet all of their nutritional needs and false statements like Poliquin’s end up being truly harmful. It surprises me that someone like yourself Tim, hasn’t experimented with a vegan diet, seen the positive results and made a permanent adoption. It would be really great if you could interview someone like Patrik Baboumian or Frank Medrano and help everyone realise what can be achieved without eating animals and fuelling the body with plants.

  42. Hello Tim,

    I was very surprised with Charles answer whan asked the question,

    “Can you be strong or strongest if you don’t eat meat?’

    His answer was no.

    That answer is as unreasonable as saying that a Gorilla , an Elephant or

    Rhinocerous has to eat meat to be its strongest.

    It is very disengenous to say these things unless you have lived it,

    and I am sure he hasn’t.

    Open your eyes Charles.

    Every serious athelete that has switched to Vegan admits to how

    they have become stronger and fitter, faster and healthier.

    Sincerely try it before you knock it.


  43. For those asking about Gotu Kola, on Charles’ website he sells it in 100mg capsules. He says 3 capsules 3 times a day, so I would assume he is taking about his stuff. That would be 600 mg per day. Nature’s Way brand is 475 mg each so 2 per day would exceed his recommended dose… Just a thought

  44. Poloquin is great for providing cogent, thoughtful advice. But some of this advice is just wrong. For instance, he lacks an understanding of mobility and says that using a foam roller is a waste of time. As long as Poloquin is citing all his mysterious evidence, he might want to look up the reasons that people do stability exercises and foam rolling. And really, what is the difference between strong man exercises and stability exercises? I realize Poloquin does not have formal medical training or knowledge–it’s more school-of-life type stuff. And I like much of what he says, but there were some serious wtf moments in this podcast where Poloquin went from thoughtful comments to putting his foot in his mouth in view of people who are in the medical and sports health fields. It’s difficult for Poloquin because he is trying to address too much with too little knowledge. And frankly the human body is going to make up for some of the shortcomings in his knowledgebase to allow him to falsely believe that he is correct about things like foam rolling. The fact is that people who are weight lifters need mobility the most; and people who are doing stuff like yoga need weight lifting the most. Regardless this was a great podcast and got me thinking about this stuff. I don’t know anything about Poloquin outside of this podcast but he was interesting to hear speak. I also appreciate his often crass, unpolished approach which was endearing.

  45. Hey, Tim! Great episode! Could you make an episode about skincare? We always get advice for our bodies, but never for our faces and/or hair. I’m sure there must be someone like Charles who can give out uncommon advice for skin as well.

  46. Just a heads up, the fish oil Charles suggested is Omegavail as you noted but he suggested the one with vitamin D and vitamin K1, K2.

    [Moderator: link removed]

  47. That was a great show. As an entrepreneur developing a high nutrition energy bar and a chinese medicine grad student, Charles’ style and methodology is right up my alley. Thanks so much for bringing us these great resources. Especially useful was his info about zinc, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. As a result of listening to this show I have decided to develop an energy bar with Goat Whey in it.

  48. (Swings )How did the information from Charles change how you feel about swings and would you change your mind about having them in your book?

  49. Great show…. First time listener

    Charles had some golden nuggets!!

    Thank you for hopping on the shoulders of others that went before you. You truly have a very big passion…. To teach, to coach and to learn………

    All my best


  50. Hi Tim,

    Loved the podcast!

    1. You guys switched topics when you asked Charles about his tips for fat loss. But more specifically, I’d love more info/tips for those of us who are skinny fat. We train, eat, etc. but our genetics fight tooth and nail to keep our bf% high and muscle mass low. And include alternatives to Olympic lifts (which is often suggested) because I have Advanced degenerative disc disease. Which means my back is awful and Olympic lifts are out of the question. (As are kettle bell swings and many other options that stress the back)

    Anytime a person researches this it always comes back to the same answers: lift heavy, eat more, less carbs, more fat, lift less, rest more, etc etc. One article says one thing, one article says another.


  51. Loved the podcast. Recently I came across a training method being used by some high performance rugby players in the UK and, after doing some research, discovered that it’s called Occlusion training… does Charles or Tim have any feedback on this training method? It’s not mentioned in the podcast or The Four Hour Body which is why I ask.


  52. At around 48:30, Poliquin talks about a study from Sweden that shows that people who train with weights 3 times per week have chronically elevated liver enzymes. Can anyone direct me to this study?

  53. Great Podcast. However, I’m confused about his guidelines for magnesium supplementation. The dosage on most products seems to be measured in mg but he is recommending 4gms/day for males which is 4000 mg. That is almost how much magnesium is present in an 26 capusles of 150mg each which seems excessive. Am I missing something?

  54. This one is in my top five for sure. How do you raise your DHEA-sulfate levels? Is that the reason for the 30mg of Omega 3s for 6 months straight?

  55. I’ve been using Gotu Kola religiously for the last 6 months, been using Nature’s Way Gotu Kola 2 capsules 3 times a day. I’m actually in my 7th bottle as I’m giving it a little bit more time. I still have loose skin, just saying. Mr. Poliquin says that the effect is over-night, so we’ll see. I have my 8th bottle as well, so I’m giving it a little bit more time. FYI, I was 358 lbs at my heaviest and now weigh 190 lbs, so I know I have excess skin, it’s not just fat.

    1. Yes, please let me know the results – my girlfriend has been trying gotu kola for 3 months and it would be good to get a success story to keep the motivation up.


      1. Hey Tommy, Have you been trying topical application of Gotu Kola? A salve with Gotu Kola applied directly, was mentioned in the podcast as being effective. As well Vitamin E topically will preserve the elasticity of the skin. Best of luck and please do keep us updated on your progress.

      2. Hi Patrick

        Not been doing the topical gotu kola, as I’m not sure if the shop-bought creams have any effect, compared to the bioavailable pharmacist version Charles mentioned. No effects as yet, but I’m not sure my girlfriend has been sticking to the doses religiously, as life is so busy (might rule out time for cream application)! I hope others can post success stories, as I can’t help but feel a little dubious about the whole “miracle overnight skin shrinking” thing!



  56. Tim! Great podcast and guest as always. I looked through your future podcasts and didn’t see what I am about to request. Can you please get a podcast together that involves Charles poliquin and pavel tatsulin and kelly starrett? I would love to hear hem discuss their differing opinions on health and wellness, and to also see where they all lineup together. Thank you for all that you do. Keep up the great work!

  57. Tim, with all the talk about health research it sparked a suggestion for a potential interviewee: Dr. T. Colin Campbell a biochemist from Cornell University. He is commonly known for his book, and respective work, “The China Study” which focused on plant based nutrition and its effects on chronic health. Especially after Charles comment about how you “can’t look at the world through a straw,” I think it would be interesting to hear from Dr. Campbell on his explanation of “reductive” versus “whole” science. Which, perhaps, would open the gates to other like-minded thinkers across diverse fields of study. At the same time, it would be interesting to know what Dr. Campbell has to say about his proposed diet being effective for perfomance-based athletes and not just for the health of the general public which I think caters towards your audience since there has now been a few episodes regarding strength training/performance. Plus, I think it’d be cool to hear from somebody that doubles and triples the age of your average interviewees (This comment has no intention to take away from ability to interview awesome people. You do a great job at that!)

  58. Great show

    Not sure this is my thing in terms of workout/nutrition beliefs. I am fan of Phil Maffatone and Stu Mittlemen. I don’t think these methods are in alignment. One method is about endurance the other seems more power based. But what I am sorta intrigued by is some of the divergence in basic health and basic fitness.

  59. Tim,

    It would be great if you did an interview with Ian King (the legendary strength coach)! He worked with Poliquin also and as I know they have great respect for each other. Personaly I would love to hear it. Great episode.

  60. I would like to hear his viewpoint on Cancer and arterial plaque in regard to paleo eaters. Some of your guests seem to think low glycemic is the way to beat cancer when most alternative health people will tell you that by avoiding Fat and Meat, you can cure even advanced cancer. In fact the vegan diet is known to increase testosterone and drastically lower igf-1. For further reading google Mount Athos Monks “Despite their average venerable age, the 2,000 monks living in 20 ancient monasteries have virtually no heart disease, no cardiac arrests and no strokes, a zero-incidence of Alzheimer’s disease which astonished the researchers conducting the various studies, and unusually low rates of cancer, which in the case of prostate cancer is 4 times lower than the international average. The latter finding is even more remarkable when you know that the monks in that particular investigation were aged between 50 and 104. Their rates of lung, bowel and bladder cancer are zero.”

  61. Just listened to this. First, his anti-kettlebell comments was the first time I ever heard that. Any comments on that Tim? Second, with the various forms of mannesiusm he mentioned is there a preferred place to purchase? Same with Zinc. Also more details on this in the future would be great.

  62. First off, Charles is my favorite person that you’ve had on The Tim Ferris Show and I’d love to see him back on no matter what you talk about. However, the topic I’d most like to hear him cover is the Braverman test and how to treat the results for each neurotransmitter dominance type. For example training, diet and lifestyle tips for dopamine dominant athletes.

  63. He Tim, love your show. Thank you. I am from the Netherlands and I was wondering what the name of the female doctor from The Netherlands is that Charles was talking about at 42:20

    Cheers Sybren

  64. I want to know what he Charles does when his 15-year old has had a bad day at high school and just wants to chill in front of the TV and binge on cookies and ice cream. Seriously, I’d love to know how he interacts with his daughter and if they even HAVE carbs in the house. When a parent is an expert in a field, the dynamic between that parent and child is fascinating to me.

  65. When Charles recommends 4g/day of magnesium, is he referring to elemental magnesium, or the chelate dosage?

  66. For those who did not know, Charles Poliquin passed away in 2018 unexpectedly. Charles was a friend and I trained with him. May he RIP.