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Episode 10: Out of Surgery and Onto the Stage with Shaun Stafford. Two-time WBFF world champion Shaun Stafford stops by to talk about buffets, injuries, and coming back from the shoulder cyst he thought at first was just gains.
Ep.isode 10 Highlights & Transcript ▼
- The madness behind the scenes at the Olympia expo
- How Shaun originally injured his shoulder and thought a large cyst "was just gains"
- "There's a 60% chance this is going to work…"
- Finding his "new normal" post-surgery
- When it's worth it even for a self-taught pro to hire a coach
- How to have shoulders without training shoulders
- His "weak link" program to do as active recovery
- "What would you rather do? Be able to play for 45 minutes with your boy without huffing and puffing, or be jacked and wear a large t-shirt?"
- His three phases of the perfect workout
Nick Collias: Hey everybody, welcome to The Bodybuilding.com Podcast. Nick Collias here, I'm some kind of editor at the website, some kind of website, I don't even remember what kind of editor I am. But we all know what kind of editor my co-host Krissy Kendall is, the Science Editor, because that's the word she chants when she whips me in the office for not using proper footnotes. There any studies on whipping people in motivation in an office setting?
Dr. Krissy Kendall: No, but that sounds like a great research project. Get IRB approval for that.
Nick: Or at least WBFF approval, right?
Krissy: Yeah. Same thing.
Nick: Because you could grant that, right, Shaun Stafford, our guest today. He's speaking for the WBFF today.
Shaun Stafford: Yeah, I can grant you the WBFF approval.
Nick: But we have to use a big feather to hit me or something.
Shaun: Exactly. It's weird if there's wings involved.
Krissy: I was about to say, "Can I wear wings?"
Nick: Anyway, our guest today is a two-time WBFF World Champion Fitness Model, hope I'm getting that right.
Shaun: That's correct.
Nick: All right, Shaun Stafford, Optimum Nutrition athlete. You may have met him over the weekend in Las Vegas if you were able to brave the lines. I heard the lines were rather insane.
Shaun: It was crazy. The lines for the Optimum Booth are always just ... I feel sorry for the people that get in them because it's three hours.
Nick: What do they get when they get to the front of the line?
Shaun: They get a high-five to start with ...
Krissy: And a shot of amino energy. That's what I heard.
Shaun: We try to hook them up with as much as we can whether it's a pre or an Amino Energy.
Shaun: Something to just calm their nerves, give them a bit more energy. We're actually trialing the new Opti-Bars this year, so it was immediately give them a handful of them. It's a bit like trick-or-treat.
Nick: Is there like a huge airplane full of bars that flies in?
Shaun: I think so. I think they come in on pallets.
Shaun: You see the storeroom back stage, it's just full of product.
Shaun: It's crazy.
Nick: Was that your major duty down in Las Vegas the last few days? Just hanging out in the expo, or ... ?
Shaun: Yeah. It was a real combination of working the booth, meeting the consumers, filming some content for websites and that sort of stuff.
Shaun: It's very hard to have a bad time in Las Vegas. Everyone seems to be there for the same sort of reason, just go have a good time. When there's that many sort of like-minded sort of fitness enthusiasts in one place, chances are it's going to be a good weekend.
Nick: Sure. I mean, there is one way to have a bad time, though. Chris Ullery, one of our colleagues here was telling me he ate boiled chicken breasts and broccoli on Friday night with somebody who was preparing for a photo shoot. That sounds like a pretty bad time.
Shaun: Yeah, that's ...
Nick: Were you able to eat down there?
Shaun: He's not living if he's ...
Krissy: No, I mean if you're going to be in Vegas, go to the buffets. Do something there.
Shaun: Yeah, we had our 30th birthday party. Optimum Nutrition's 30 years old, so we had a huge party on Saturday night. It started off at the buffet at the Wynn.
Krissy: Yep, that's good.
Shaun: Which was good.
Nick: Wow, just taking over the buffet. I like it.
Shaun: Yeah there was a whole ... I think there was like 60 of us. We felt sorry for everyone else in there.
Shaun: Because it's like a plague of locusts just came in and whoom the food was gone.
Nick: At that point it's like, all right, you need to get in the front of the line. You've been watching all of these other poor bastards for days in the line like let me go in front right away. We were going to talk about coming back from injury today as a general arc of this conversation. You did a cool piece for us earlier this year, it was a video that was a shoulder-friendly chest and back workout, I believe. Which seems funny, you never see the shoulder-friendly shoulder workout it's always shoulder-friendly chest work out.
Shaun: I don't think there is a shoulder-friendly shoulder workout.
Nick: No? Oh, okay.
Nick: There is just no friendliness involved.
Nick: But we understand that you came back from fairly significant shoulder injury in the last year or so, right?
Nick: Was that one of those, "You know I don't remember the last time I wasn't in pain" situations or was it one of those, "Oh shit, I just really injured myself?"
Shaun: Well, it was one of those things where I think I had ... I had a bike crash in 2012.
Nick: Yeah that will do it.
Shaun: It was one of those things were I tore my labrum pretty badly back in 2012 but I had so many things on and there was enough muscle mass around the shoulder that you can kind of just deal with it and get on with it.
Shaun: So many people that get hurt are not hurt bad enough that they stop. They kind of just muddle through and they forget actually what it feels like to be 100% fit. Then being 80% fit kind of feels like 100%. Eventually it's 70% and then 60% until you get to a point where your body just goes, "You know what? Something's not right."
Shaun: For me it was a case of ... I just started to lose control of my left side. I work out ... When I was in Australia, I work out one day and it was just sort of shooting pain into my shoulder to the point where I couldn't sleep. I said, "Something's not right here." I went to get a scan and that's when they found a sort of golf ball-sized cyst in the labrum. It was kind of depressing the nerve.
Shaun: Basically the nerve supplying all the elevation to my shoulder was just shut down. It's amazing what you can get on with when you're actually that messed up.
Nick: A cyst developed somehow in response to the ...
Shaun: It was in the tear, yeah. It had kind of been sitting there under the radar growing for about three years. Everyone was like, "Did you not see it? Isn't it like a big lump?" And I was like, "No, I just thought it was gains."
Nick: Any kind of growth ...
Shaun: Yeah, any kind.
Nick: Lots of tape measures going up.
Shaun: Exactly right. I just chalk it off. Progress.
Nick: I hear that from people all the time though. Like, "Oh my shoulder mobility should this or that" because of a car crash I was in five years ago and they think that their life went on a different path at that point. There is no going back from it. Is that kind of what you thought? Like yeah, this is part of my body now.
Shaun: I kind of thought, yeah, I was still getting sort of sports massage or physiotherapy or osteopathy at least once a week trying to just muddle through it. But it was only really to the point when it really had a significant impact on the things I could do that I thought hey, something's not quite right here.
Nick: Surprising those people weren't saying, "Hey dude, Shaun, you got to get that thing looked at. Something ain't right here."
Shaun: Well this is it. The therapists that I was seeing kind of said, "Yeah, very similar to a rotator-cuff tear or something like that," which there is not much you can do. Then one of them said, "You know what? The symptoms kind of don't quite match up. I'd get a scan because I think it could be a cyst." Lo and behold, they have a look in there and ...
Nick: Your rear delt is too large and too round.
Shaun: I'll tell it to you, you couldn't see any cyst because it was deep in sort of the labrum. You wouldn't know there was a cyst there. It was only ...
Nick: This is hardcore anatomy chat right here …
Krissy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Fascinating. What was the recovery like once you ... Did you have the cyst removed?
Shaun: I had 6-point surgery so it was almost a full reconstruction. When they went in there they kind of said, "Look, we've got to remove the cyst."
Shaun: "We've then got to free up the nerve, because they were depressed. Then we've got to sew up the labrum."
Shaun: "If we're going to do all that, we might as well shave a bit of bone off, clean this out, clean that out ..."
Krissy: While you're in there.
Shaun: It was literally ... I think it was very much a case of while we're in there, we'll just try to do everything we can to make it as successful procedure as possible, which left me pretty banged up.
Krissy: Yeah. I think for a lot of people that's a reason why they don't get surgery and why they settle with 70% is going to be my new 100%. Like, I'm okay not ever feeling good because I don't want to have to go through six surgeries and the recovery and ... I think mentally that is the toughest part, is accepting that. Then yeah, after that, you're not going to be able to do anything and it's going to be a slow, long recovery coming back.
Shaun: Yeah and you know the surgeons are pretty open with you. They give you a, "This has a 60% chance of working so, we're going to go in there. We're going to chop you up. We're going to try and fix you but chances are there is a 60% chance this isn't going to work."
Krissy: Yeah, geez.
Shaun: I think when you look at those odds and you say, "This is going to be not only six months on the sidelines but almost 50/50 that you're not actually going to be any better at the end of it," I think that's what puts a lot of people off. If I was going to give advice to people, 70% are against having surgery or 80% having surgery and you're not an athlete or you're a social sportsman or ...
Krissy: Yeah, yeah.
Shaun: I would probably give surgery a bit of a miss if I could. I'd say I'd avoid it at all costs, you know. You can get physio. You can get osteo. You can get soft tissue work and you can get by still feeling good and not go through the trauma of having ...
Krissy: Yeah, yeah.
Nick: It's hard though, with athletes and even people who just kind of want to be athletic. There is just kind of a badge of honor that starts to develop. I'm sure you saw this when you started doing all this rowing. If somebody gets a tweak, they wear it as a badge of honor. It's like oh this is just part of the game.
Nick: You know?
Krissy: Yeah, yeah. Like how many ice packs can you wrap around yourself after practice or something because of how banged up you are but you will never stop. I'm just going to keep going, keep going.
Nick: We talked about this a little bit with Mark Bell. Powerlifters are just notorious for ... They've got their laundry list of complaints all the time.
Shaun: Those guys, they push themselves to the limits. Their thing is to pound every time ... They measure in such small margins but it's just progress, progress, progress. They're just constantly pushing themselves. You think when you push yourself to the brink like that you're going to hurt yourself.
Nick: Sure. Those people are battling against pounds on the stage. That's their sport, too. If somebody whose sport is more physique-based, you can think like, "Okay, maybe I can work around this."
Nick: At the same time, are you committing yourself to being one of those people who just does 45 minutes of prep for 10 minutes of work at the gym for the rest of your life at that point? Interesting, you talk about the recovery I want to know ... Yeah. When you ... Procedure is done, you're deep into recovery, deep into rehab, and you're starting to think like, okay. When did you start to discover what your new normal was going to be?
Shaun: I would say it's only really been the last six months.
Shaun: Yeah. There was ... It's say it took about five months before I could train properly or feel comfortable training. If I'm honest, I don't feel 100% comfortable and confident doing certain movements even now. If you ask me to do some snatches, I would say, "No, I'll be okay."
Nick: Okay, we were going to.
Shaun: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Krissy: Well, there goes the second half ...
Nick: ... The podcast.
Nick: It's man against reason.
Shaun: But you know, fairly controlled and certain exercises I can do no problem and I'm probably as strong as I was before surgery. Now there are certain exercises which I know are just going to make it worse. There is always going to be some level of imbalance and sort of structural deficiency in there. Yeah, I do my rehab, I do my stretching, I do my all that sort of stuff, but it's always going to be a little bit off. There are some things which you just learn to avoid and plan your training around it.
Krissy: And do you ... Oh, sorry.
Nick: Go ahead.
Krissy: I was going to ask if you had someone that helped you map out or plan how to incorporate certain exercises back? I know I am guilty of this. I get an injury and the minute I start to feel a little bit better, I'm like balls to the wall like, let's do it, and then I just get injured again. That's the story of my life. I don't know how to pull back. I imagine prior to surgery, you're doing almost everything, whether it felt comfortable or not. You have that image in your head of, oh, I can do this or I know how to do this. Then all of a sudden you have surgery and it's a very slow process. I'm sure there were some temptations to be like, let me just try. Let me just see this.
Krissy: How did you ...
Nick: You weren't just training calves for six months. Maybe you were.
Shaun: No, I certainly wasn't, yeah.
Krissy: How did you kind of ...
Shaun: You've seen my calves, right?
Krissy: No, they're not.
Shaun: Yeah, they're ...
Nick: Back to back.
Shaun: I don't think I've trained them for six minutes, let alone six months.
Krissy: Did you work ... Did you have a trainer, anyone who kept you on track?
Shaun: Yeah I actually hired a coach. I hired ... I'm really lucky that I have a team of trainers that I work with at my gym in London. We have a rehab specialist whose got a Master's in Exercise Science. He's very good at rehab, so I just said to him, "I need to hire you for two 45-minute sessions a week." I paid the money, I blocked the time out. It was just one of those things where that's kind of ... Anybody that has a trainer ... One of the best things about it is it holds you accountable. That means that you don't skip it and you don't just go and do legs, you don't just jump on a treadmill. It forces you to be diligent and to tick off all the things you need to tick off. Not only that, but you've got another set of eyes watching you so that your form will be better, your technique will be better. When you maybe go, oh I'm going to stop. They'll say, "Actually, you can probably do a couple more reps there," or "Slow it down. Engage the right muscles. Make sure everything is firing the right way." I think it costs me what, 500, or the equivalent of about $500 for the first six weeks.
Nick: Nothing. In the grand scheme of things if it's ...
Shaun: You write it off.
Nick: ... If it's versus another surgery.
Krissy: Exactly, like thousands of dollars for ... Yeah.
Shaun: For me the hardest thing about being ... The rehab process, is that I wasn't able to train 100% and that's what I love doing. For me it was $500 spent but it's going to get me there quicker.
Shaun: It's going to get me to where I need to be quicker so I was happy to pay it.
Nick: With all the work that they did on your shoulder, is that like a bionic shoulder now, has this beautiful range of motion and the other one is the bad shoulder?
Shaun: No, not quite. It's still ... As I said, it's 60% there. It's not 100%, but again it's one of those things where I think for the rest of my life I'll probably have to spend a bit more time warming it up, working on the sort of ... The rotator cuffs on my left hand side are still weaker than my right hand side. My pec on my left hand side is still a lot tighter. It's one of those things where I still get soft tissue, I still spend 15 minutes before every session warming it up, and I think that's just part of my life now.
Nick: Sure. Has it changed the priorities that you use it when you construct your split or something?
Shaun: 100%. Yeah.
Nick: Chest and back is not the pairing that everybody does by any means. You had another video online that was shoulders and back.
Nick: Do you have that in mind when you construct those?
Shaun: I actually don't train shoulders. I very, very rarely train shoulders in isolation. A lot of guys, especially guys who compete in physique ... You know, shoulders is a big day for them. For me, it's not because I actually recruit shoulders nearly doing everything else. When I could train back I recruit shoulders, when I train chest I recruit shoulders, arms, shoulders. So for me, I don't want to overwork them. I try to base my splits around recovery patterns. I know that my shoulders need a high level of recovery so I actually combine a lot of the time, I call it a weak link program. Things that are not so good, so hamstrings, lower back, and the smaller muscles of the shoulders like the medial delts, the rear delts, those sort of things ... I kind of chunk them together into like a 30-40 minute program. That's kind of what I do when I've got 35-40 minutes spare. I might not ...
Nick: Okay, so it's like almost an active recovery day, toss that in there?
Shaun: Kind of, kind of.
Nick: That's a cool approach.
Shaun: Yeah. It's whenever I've got a couple of days where I'm not smashing a really hard workout. I'll look to push on and kind of build up this weak link program so that eventually those weaker muscles will be just as good as the other ones, power muscles.
Nick: When somebody in the gym sees you doing that do you stop and give them the functional exercise tour.
Krissy: Well, you'll see here ...
Nick: I mean, I don't know. Injuries can be kind of like pregnancies, I've found. Everybody has gone through a pregnancy, father and mother. They've got the lesson to take away ...
Shaun: They become an instant expert, right?
Nick: Instant expert. Like, "Oh, I could tell you all about pregnancies, and everything." Everybody who has had an injury, they come back, even if they're just at 60% again, they'll tell you everything you want to know about it.
Shaun: It's actually quite ... I'd say probably the ... If people get in touch with me on my Facebook page or on Twitter or on something, I'd say 30% of all the questions I get asked, apart from, "Hey bro, how'd you get abs?" are "I've hurt my shoulder. What can I do?" Although I've been through the process, I know how complex the shoulder is and how everyone's circumstances are completely different so I always have to say, "Look, go see a trained professional. Go see a doctor. Go see a physio. Go see an osteo. Get their advice. Then if you really want to come back to me and let me know what they said, go on my YouTube. I've logged the whole rehab process. I can steer you in the right direction. Read some of the articles I wrote on bodybuilding.com." That sort of stuff. People think that just because you've had an injury that all of a sudden you're A) qualified to give advice on it as a sort of healthcare provider or fitness professional you've got to be really careful about that.
Nick: Sure, yeah. This wasn't standard bro impingement that you had. This was real deal. Everybody that trains in the gym every once in a while, just because we have shitty posture and shitty jobs, yeah you fight against some shoulder impingement sort of stuff. Most people would take that $500 maybe in their Health Savings Account and go, "Well, I have $500. I'm thinking about ..." There is so much you could probably do with that before thinking about surgery, especially with back. That's the other thing. People hurt their backs. My wife works for a health information company. She was telling me that yeah, it's 50/50 for improving your situation. Everyone's like, "Oh yeah, I'm going to get back surgery. It's going to be all better." It doesn't make you better.
Krissy: No, no.
Nick: I mean, it can I suppose.
Krissy: Yeah, again, but I think it's all relative to the injury, the status of the injury. I'm interested ... Did any of your goals ... Or have your goals changed? Prior to you having surgery and someone said, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" As far as training, competing, that sort of thing, professionally, obviously being in the fitness industry, to now, where you kind of see yourself ... And again, this is kind of a more physique ... You're obviously not trying to set PRs on overhead press anytime soon ...
Krissy: Nope. Not doing it. But have you had to readjust any of those? Or kind of consider and be like, "Okay, let's take a step back and think about what I want to prioritize right now and then how I'm going to get ..."
Shaun: I think any guy, especially the sort that goes to the gym and especially guys that compete in physique or bodybuilding, they just want to get as big and jacked as possible. They want to go in there and they want to be pushing huge numbers. They want to be getting as big as possible. I know that just ... I don't know if I'm getting older or whether it's because I've had surgery or just because I think as you spend time in the gym your interests do kind of evolve and shift. For me it's a case of: I still want to be strong, I still want to be lean, I still want to have good balance in my body. But for me it's a case of: I want to be pain free and I want to feel functionally fit. I've never done CrossFit but I look at it and I go, "Wow, I would love to be able to do that." I just know that functionally I can't.
Shaun: It's one of those things where I think there doesn't necessarily have to ... I think how you gage progress maybe evolves. Whereas before it was just kind of like, "Yeah, I want to wear an XL t-shirt and it be skin-tight ..."
Nick: Or strength.
Krissy: Yeah, yeah.
Shaun: ... I think now it's more of a case of, "You know, I'd love to be able to do a handstand pushup," or "I'd love to be able to row 500 meters in a minute fifteen." I think maybe it's just the time you spend in the gym and how your goals sort of evolve.
Krissy: Yep, absolutely.
Nick: Yeah, and there is all sorts of interesting research also saying you don't need big numbers to have big muscles anyway, right? That's a constant back and forth we struggle with. People chasing numbers in this office, or in any gym. They often do it at the expense of their future in the gym.
Krissy: We always have this discussion.
Shaun: I'm weak as piss and I'm pretty big.
Krissy: Well, Nick and I always talk about 1RM testing and how important is it to know one time. Nick always brings up a good point. Doesn't it always mean so much more if you can do something three or five times, like lift a certain weight in good form, multiple times? Couldn't that be used as strength? Then you're less likely to have some sort of injury from lifting a heavy load way more than what you can handle. Just looking at strength differently than one RM or lifting a car.
Nick: Or even testing your one RM. We had an interesting piece come out a couple of days ago from a great coach named Mike Robertson and he said, "Yeah, you're going to use your one RM for reference here, but you can use a weight that you do for five times to calculate it." Don't use your 10 RM to calculate your 1 RM, but use your 5 RM to calculate it. It works. It's good enough for everyone and at the same time they don't just totally max out their nervous system, max out their muscles to the point where it's like, "Oh, I tested my 1 RM now I've got to go to bed for two weeks afterwards."
Shaun: I think that's what a lot of people underestimate, is that tax on the CNS. The central nervous system just gets battered. I did a mini phase of wave loading a couple weeks ago. Gee, I was so tired I think two weeks in. I was just spent. I'd say, "Okay, step back."
Nick: I'm with you. I do the 20-rep deadlift program that just ended last week, ended because I had that same sensation as like, "Fuck this, I want two weeks off. I'm going to do something else for two weeks." After four ... I think it was four or five weeks, I was like, my body is kind of telling me all the time that you're still not really recovered from this. Three times a week, 20 reps. Three sets of 20 and it was deadlifts. It doesn't have to be a whole lot of weight. It just starts to chew you up after a little while.
Krissy: Yeah, yeah. I think we've all probably experienced that coming out of bed in the morning, can't really move, and you're like, "Why? What is the point?"
Nick: But I can understand … The advantage of heaviness is you feel like you can do more with less.
Nick: Like oh, okay. I got one heavy thing in here. I don't have to just pile on hours and hours of volume in order to feel like I actually achieved something in the gym.
Krissy: But I think too ... That was all great ... I did that when I was younger. Not saying I'm old by any means, but yeah when I'm ...
Nick: She's 21.
Krissy: ... When I'm having to stand up from kneeling on the ground I hear my knees pop and it's like [noise], I'm like, "Why am I doing this?" What is the point? I will never compete in the Olympics, I mean unless something crazy happens.
Nick: At the Olympics? If the Olympics comes calling Bodybuilding.com, "Hey guys, there's a shortage."
Krissy: "Yeah, we need a badminton player." As you were talking about it, it's like ... Considering what your goals are, what do you want to be doing five years from now, six years from now? Even for myself being a collegiate athlete to now, how I train is a complete 180. I think back to how I did three hours of training a day and I am like dying after one hour now. I'm like, that's good. I'm done. You just kind of sit back and think, what am I trying to prove? I love to have goals. I think goals are great, but having goals that you see yourself being able to continue and progress forward on and build off on ...
Nick: Having a kid around can help bring some of this into clarity as well, I imagine.
Shaun: Puts a lot into perspective.
Nick: They're functional. They're very functional. You want to hang out with them, keep up with them. You can't just be destroying yourself all the time.
Shaun: With my boy Kazar, we have his cot in the room because he's very small. I lean down over to pick him up, and as he gets heavier and heavier and heavier, it's like my back is like, oh wow.
Nick: Oh yeah. My older son is 4 and a half and he's officially like almost too heavy to carry. He's about 40 pounds but it's like 40 seriously long, gangly ...
Krissy: Awkward ...
Nick: And he wants to be carried every once in a while. It's just like, "Oh I'm so sleepy, carry me there." I'm like, "Dude, you're a sandbag." I got to put you over my shoulder.
Krissy: Yep, there we go. Do a 20-yard run with it.
Nick: I feel like if I'm so gassed that I can't play with him, and play with him to a degree where we're both having a hell of a lot of fun, I'm missing out on a lot.
Shaun: I think that's where sort of your perspective changes. What would you rather do? Be able to play for 45 minutes without even puffing with your boy or be jacked and wear a large t-shirt?
Shaun: Puts things into priority.
Nick: Kids ... They seem like they don't have rotator cuffs. I think they just ...
Shaun: They don't, do they? I remember when I was a kid, I was like, I was never ever injured.
Krissy: They don't have tight hamstrings or hip flexors.
Shaun: No they don't.
Krissy: No shoulder issues.
Nick: Are their hips thing ... Because I watch kids squat all the time ... Are their hips fundamentally different than ours? Do you know this? Is there something that happens between age 4 and age 30 where your hips just kind of go, "Nope."
Krissy: Yeah, I know. It feels like it. No, but yeah.
Nick: Even if the squatting culture of people ... You look at people on a train platform in Japan or India ... Their squat isn't a little kid squat, necessarily. It's a little different.
Krissy: Yeah. It's crazy because none of that changes and what they relate to even as we get older, increasing our risk for falls and fractures, a lot of it is not because we're ... Yes, you have hormone changes, you have things like that, but a lot of it is because we just become more inactive. Whether that's flexibility ... As you get into your 60s, 70s, 80s, a lot of times we see people doing less weight-bearing so then their bones become weaker ... Yes, you have issues. You see estrogen go down and that can affect, for women, bone formation. But a lot of it is because we are just more physically inactive. I know when I was younger, because of the sports I played, I was always stretching and doing all that sort of stuff. I don't do it anymore and that is the number one reason why I think I'm in pain or have tightness. I lift weights, I do all that but I don't stretch anymore. I tell myself every Sunday night, I'm going to start this week stretching. It lasts for one day. It's painful.
Nick: It's interesting, you talk about weak links because you can kind of take two paths there. You can be like, all right, yeah, you stretch what's tight, but then there's also the I'm going to strengthen what's weak and try to add in some natural flexibility by working on weak links.
Shaun: Structural balance.
Nick: Exactly. You hear strength coaches all the time say it, "Oh, you think you should be stretching your hamstrings. Your hamstrings aren't the problem. It's your weak hip flexors, blah blah blah." How do you navigate that when your body is your business?
Shaun: I think you've got to just try to be as informed as possible, haven't you? You know your body and you've had it for 30 plus years, so you kind of know what's weak and you kind of know what's tight. Yeah, take advice from experts. If you've got a practitioner that you trust and they tell you to go strengthen your glutes and stretch out your hips and all that sort of stuff then, yeah, take their advice. But you know what makes you feel better. You know that if you sit there and you put a golf ball in your pyriformis and you put a band through your hip and all of a sudden you can move a lot freer and your squat goes deeper and everything works a bit better, that empirical evidence is pretty sort of damning. I'd listen to that.
Nick: Yeah, but then you kind of have to do it over and over again.
Krissy: That's my problem. I have to do this every day?
Nick: Every time?
Shaun: Here is the thing. I'd say most people ... They think of a workout as being, I'm in the gym for an hour, an hour and fifteen minutes. I'm like yeah, you're in for an hour, hour and fifteen minutes. First fifteen minutes is this. You've still got 45 minutes of hard out, super intense work. Then you've got 15 minutes to stretch and cool down. It's just the case of you don't have to be balls out 100% for an hour and fifteen minutes because chances are you won't be 100%. That's too long to be at max. Really, I always split it into those three phases of preparation, high intensity work, and then recovery.
Nick: I noticed in the chest and back video that you did, there was foam rolling and all these different … and then it kind of got skipped over in actual video like, okay let's get to the workout. Which, I don't blame them. Nobody wants to watch you sit there and foam roll.
Shaun: It's not sexy. Foam rolling is not sexy.
Nick: At the same time, it does give you kind of an opportunity to get your mind in the right place for the intensity that maybe you can safely get into after that, I imagine.
Shaun: A lot of people they always forget to take their pre until they get in the gym like, "Ah, shit. I haven't taken my pre." So it gives it take to kick-in. Also, even that foam rolling and that stretching, it starts to get your endorphins flowing a little bit. It gets you more in the mood. Chances are there will be other people training at the gym. You'll see some guys lifting heavy, you'll see some girls training hard. Yeah. You start to soak ... Kind of get involved with the environment. You kind of soak up the intensity that's in the gym. Then when it's your turn, you just go for it.
Krissy: Yeah, yeah. I just got to tell myself that and actually do it.
Nick: Well, thanks for coming and talking with us. I don't know, I feel like there's a weak link training piece that needs to happen.
Shaun: I think I'm doing it tomorrow.
Shaun: Yeah, I think I am.
Shaun: They asked me to do, I think they call it a quick video. Some sort of quick training video.
Shaun: That just happens to be what I do when I've got 35-40 minutes.
Nick: Fantastic, and I'm pretty sure that will come out before this podcast does.
Krissy: So this time warp it ...
Nick: Let's go back in time and check out the ... What looks approximately like a weak link training video from Shaun Stafford.
Shaun: I don't know what it's going to be called. It will be called something cool, I'm sure.
Nick: Well, great. Thanks for coming and talking with us ...
Krissy: Yeah. We appreciate it.
Shaun: Thank you for having me.
Nick: ... About your shoulder. It's been a sensitive subject, I imagine, but you seem like you've embraced it comfortably.
Shaun: It's good, it's good. It's nice that there are a lot of people that go through it. If you can just give someone a little glimpse that you know what, it's going to suck for a while, but just do little things every day.
Krissy: Life does exist after having surgery and after ... There is something to live for.
Nick: Potentially for a long ass time.
Shaun: Potentially for a while.
Krissy Kendall, Ph.D.: If you do it right.
Nick: Tell our listeners where else we can find you.
Shaun: You can find me on my Facebook page which is ShaunStaffordFitness or on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, which is just @ShaunStafford.
Nick: Fairly easy.
Shaun: I keep it simple. There's no underscores ...
Nick: There are other Shaun's with different spellings.
Shaun: Oh yeah, so ... I'm English, if you guys haven't realized. If you didn't notice from my expo raspy voice. S-H-A-U-N.
Shaun: S-T-A-Double F-O-R-D.
Nick: That's the Shaun you're seeking.
Shaun: Yeah. That's the one.
Nick Collias: All right. Thanks for talking with us.
Shaun Stafford: No problem at all. Thanks for having me.
After recovering from shoulder surgery, world champion fitness model Shaun Stafford altered his workouts to build muscle and improve his shoulder strength. Try his workout here!
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Full Episode List
Two-time WBFF world champion Shaun Stafford stops by to talk about buffets, injuries, and coming back from the shoulder cyst he thought at first was just gains.
The world's strongest coach, Mark Bell, discusses powerlifting, CrossFit, and his vague recollections of his first meet. If you know these guys from their YouTube channel or podcast, Mark Bell's PowerCast, you know that nothing is off limits!
Krissy Kendall, PhD, reacts to recent headlines raising concerns about teen usage of the popular supplement creatine. If you've been wondering if creatine is safe for you or your student athlete, here's what you need to know!
NYC-based coach and Performix athlete Andy Speer talks about his unique approach to training and coaching, and why he likes to compete in sports ranging from Olympic lifting to martial arts into his 30s.
Can you be a fitness model without leading an obsessive, calorie-fixated life? Lais DeLeon says you can, and over a million people watch her make it happen daily on Instagram and other social platforms. Here's how she does it.
Want to know how to tackle the holidays? How about the best way to use blood flow restriction training or nutrient timing? Get the straight dope from muscle-building scientist Dr. Layne Norton!
Researcher Dr. Dominic D'Agostino explains the significance and best approaches to the ketogenic diet, troubleshooting common problems, and looking at the next frontier of ketogenic and fasting-related research.
Fresh off the release of his new training program Iron Intelligence, we spend an hour with one of the world's top bodybuilders. How did he get there? How healthy is he? Why does he eat so much freaking kale? Listen to find out.
Deep talk and serious goofing off with one of the fittest couples in the industry. Chassidy and Antonio Smothers talk with hosts Nick Collias and Dr. Krissy Kendall about lifting, love, beer, bacon, and Instagram.
Hosts Nick Collias and Dr. Krissy Kendall chat with special guest Bill Geiger about his robust history of training (and injuries) from the ‘80s onward. Learn from this fitness industry veteran’s triumphs and tragedies so you can stay in the game as long as he has!
About Your Hosts
Nick Collias is the Deputy Editor at Bodybuilding.com. He spends his work days typing in primitive sandals at a desk surrounded by full-fat, no-measure supertreats. Lunch time is for blood-occluded core training and Danish presses. Dinner is a terrifying spectacle to behold, so let's leave it at that. His shaker bottle has a kettlebell inside, so swing it at your own risk.
Nick is a certified Russian Kettlebell (RKC) instructor, but can also be found wandering the high desert trails of Idaho at odd hours in odder attire.
Krissy Kendall, Ph.D., joins the Bodybuilding.com team after 2½ years as an assistant professor in the School of Health and Kinesiology at Georgia Southern University. Prior to her current position as Bodybuilding.com's Science Editor, Dr. Kendall served as the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at GSU, where her research interests focused on the effects of training and nutritional interventions on body composition and performance. Dr. Kendall has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and abstracts on sports nutrition, supplementation, and training adaptations.
Dr. Kendall received her master's and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, studying exercise physiology. She holds certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS*D), International Society of Sports Nutrition (CISSN), and American College of Sports Medicine (HFS).