Skip to main content

Episode 215 – An Interview with Dr. Bill Campbell

In this podcast episode Matt interviews Dr. Bill Campbell during the recent ISSN conference in Vegas. Dr. Bill Campbell, PHD, CSCS, FISSN is an associate professor of Exercise Science and Director of the Performance and Physique Enhancement Laboratory at the University of South Florida. Specialising in Sports Nutrition and recently receiving the 2019 National Strength and Conditioning Association Award.

The two great minds combined in this Interview will have you listening again and again and still finding more gold with each listen. It was an honor to sit with Bill and have him delve into his passion and extensive research, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


Speaker 1:                           Welcome to the ATP project.

Speaker 2:                           Delivering the irreverent truth about health, aging, performance, and looking good.

Speaker 1:                           If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, ready to perform at your best.

Speaker 2:                           Or somewhere in between.

Speaker 1:                           Then sit back, relax, and open your mind as Jeff and Matt battle the status quo. And discuss everything health related that can make you better.

Speaker 3:                           As always, this information is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any condition. And is for information purposes only. Please discuss any information in this podcast with your health care professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle. Stay tuned. The ATP project is about to start.

Matt:                                     Hey g’day. Welcome to the ATP project, you’re with your host, Matt, today. And I’ve got my good mate Bill Campbell. And we’re going to have a chat today about all sorts of stuff. But Bill’s going to tell us a little bit about the work he’s been working on, in regards to physique enhancement. Specializing in women, you were saying?

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. So I test both males and females. But the majority of my work is focusing on female physique enhancement.

Matt:                                     Yeah. So what we’re looking about today is not so much supplementation. We’re really going to look about the way you can manipulate macros using diet breaks, and re-feeds. And we’ll talk about the difference between a diet break and a cheat meal. And we’ll talk about the difference between intermittent energy restrictions, and intermittent fastings, and those sort of stuff. And how to [inaudible 00:01:27] with the diets. And then, maybe even touch a little bit on rebound. And the rebound weight gain. And metabolic shifting, as the different forms of adaptation, I’d say, in comp prep. And we’re talking mainly about natural athletes, and that sort of stuff today?

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. Yep. That’s who I work with.

Matt:                                     So tell us, Bill, where are you from? You based in Florida?

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. So I’m a professor at the University of South Florida. And there, I direct the Performance and Physique Enhancement laboratory.

Matt:                                     Excellent.

Bill Campbell:                    And I’ve been there about 12 years. I absolutely love it. I get to design research studies, trying to help people lose fat, gain muscle. I guess, the way I like to describe what I do is, i like to do research that helps people optimize their physiques within a maintainable lifestyle.

Matt:                                     Yep. Yep. Yep. No, that’s brilliant. And so, we’ve worked with quite a number of people. You were talking before some of the people that well known to our market in Australia. And mainly, or followers… Well, ATP’s an Australian company.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes.

Matt:                                     And so, you mentioned you have done recently, work with Lauren Simpson and Holly Baxter, and those sort of guys.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes.

Matt:                                     That’s excellent. So most of Australian people, with a lot of fans out there for those guys. So that’s really impressive. So you also presented some data yesterday, showing some massive changes into physiology, associated with dieting and prepping for a competition. Now, did you want to tell us a little bit about that?

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. So I want to give credit to my graduate student, James Longstrom. He coordinated this study. And what we did was, we knew that there was a lot of case studies on body builders as they prep for shows. As they prep for competition. What there is hardly any data on, is what happens after the show. So you’re going to… You’re done competing. And we’re going to bring you back to a normal body composition. So we wanted to look at, how fast do you gain fat? If you do suffer metabolic adaptations, such as suppressed leptin levels. Or suppressed T3D4. How does it recover? And again, there’s only one other study, that we’ve found, that monitored this stuff. And also metabolic rate.

Bill Campbell:                    So we took seven competing body builders. Four males, and three females. And we measured them at baseline, which was literally at their leanest part. So about peak week, or right before peak week, before their competition. Then we monitored them for the next eight weeks. And most of these people took a fairly gradual approach to gaining their weight back. But the trends that we saw was very consistent. Guess what happens after a show? You gain weight. You gain it back. So, everybody gained weight back. We didn’t get them on the way down, in terms of we don’t know what they’re off-season leptin T3T4 levels were. But we do know that they were low going into the show. And everything came back.

Bill Campbell:                    And when I say came back, body fat increased after the show. Lean muscle mass, to a lesser extent, went up a little bit after the show. And this is within eight weeks post show. T3 went up. T4 went up. Leptin levels went up. And metabolic rate went back up.

Matt:                                     So typically, coming into a show, they’re cutting the calories. And they’re cutting calories all around? Are we talking about just cutting carbs, or anything [inaudible 00:04:52]?

Bill Campbell:                    No. Most of… These groups of people, because I know the coaches that work with, they were definitely cutting calories. But trying to keep protein as high as possible while still losing fat.

Matt:                                     Yep. And so, during that adaptation, so part of that… Well, the fat loss itself. And the cutting up is an adaptation to the changing in those calories. And then, over a period of time, the body starts to… Or the metabolism will slow down. And based on the calories in, the calories out will slow down there. So we talk about starvation mode. Or the stress response associated with dieting. And you said the thyroid drops, and leptin, and-

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. So, I’m just looking at the data right here. Across the board, leptin went back up, T3 back up, T4 back up within eight weeks. And these are in males and females. And with their metabolic rate, typically, is if you lose weight, your metabolic rate’s going to go down. So you can almost just predict that with weight loss, weight gain. The one thing that we focus on in my lab’s research, is when you diet, we do everything we can to keep your metabolic rate high. We do not want that suppressed. And there’s basically-

Matt:                                     Like, what sort of thing?

Bill Campbell:                    Well, there’s two simple things. Eat high pro… Try to keep protein as high as you can. And resistance train. Those two things. And we’ll talk later about our re-feed study, where we manipulated some of these things. But all of these athletes, again, they have a suppressed metabolic rate. And then, again, within eight weeks, going back to normal ways of living. Like not living in a caloric deficit for… And these guys, body builders, they’re fascinating creatures. They are type A. I have so much respect for people that step on stage to… Because you’re fighting the battle every meal. Hunger doesn’t go away for these athletes. I’m amazed, and love to study them.

Matt:                                     And the massive amount of shifts. It’s a real thing. For the listeners out there, we mention words like T3, and everything. It’s just the understanding of the process, is the thyroid releases a hormone called T4. T4 usually converts through to T3, which is about seven to eight times more effective as a metabolism enhancer. But if your calories are too low, according to your body. Or if you go into one of those metabolic adaptations, because of the stress, you’ll increase a production of a thing called reverse T3. Which is 1% the activity of T4, instead of seven to eight times more powerful. And that’s how you can slow that thyroid right down. So, what you’re saying there is, as the calories come back up, as the body fat starts to build back up, the thyroid’s going, “Okay. Well, we can speed that metabolism back up again, and enhance that T3… That conversion of T4 to T3 instead.

Matt:                                     Did you notice other changes in other hormones, such as testosterone? Or that sort of [crosstalk 00:07:47]?

Bill Campbell:                    We didn’t measure testosterone. We did look at leptin. And let’s talk about leptin for a moment. So leptin is… The more fat somebody has, the higher the levels of leptin. So if somebody loses weight, and loses fat, leptin levels are going to go down. And leptin is very unique. It has chronic effects, such that if you have higher levels, you’re less likely to be hungry. As it gets lower, that’s associated with a drive to eat. So you really want to… And the perfect world would be that you would diet and lose fat, and not have leptin decrease. That’s not what we saw. Again, that’s going against nature. So generally, your leptin levels will go down as you lose fat. And again, a majority of leptin is produced from fat cells. So we notice, again, it’s not… Nothing here is surprising. They had lower leptin levels going into their shows. And as they started gaining fat, we had a statistical correlation between fat gain and leptin levels going back up.

Matt:                                     And with leptin, again, so it basically will suppress the appetite, and stimulate metabolism, as a summary. The problem is, with obesity, this is the first time I ever heard about leptin, I heard that if I give leptin to a fat rat-

Bill Campbell:                    It works.

Matt:                                     All of a sudden, it’s just going to melt off this fat. And it’s not going to want to eat. It’s like the perfect diet aid. Knowing what, where do I get this magical supplement from?

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. I’ll take five.

Matt:                                     In our research of obese women. What the hell… Their source of leptin was coming out of the fat of obese women. The problem is, with obesity, is we have leptin resistance. So there’s [crosstalk 00:09:24].

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. It’s a brain. It’s a receptor issue, I believe.

Matt:                                     Yes. So their body just sees too much leptin. So you’ve got to break that leptin cycle by burning off the fat. And that’s, once it’s off, it can… [inaudible 00:09:35] the body stop seeing leptin for a while. The resistance frees up. All of a sudden, it’s sensitive again. So that’s really important. So have you noticed that, with that cutting phase. So the thyroid slows down, the leptin goes down. So of course, energy levels, fatigue, that’s a real issue in that sort of phase, isn’t it?

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. Now we did not measure fatigue levels. But anecdotally, as I speak to competitors, yeah. When they get close to competition day, very lethargic. They have a hard time sleeping. Like it’s… So, yeah, instead of normally, they might be fidgety, and moving their legs. Towards the end, show day, it’s a little more of this throughout the day. Leaning against the wall. So they’re just… They’re non-exercise activity thermogenesis just goes down.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. And other, for those out there, if you want to know what it feels like to have a sluggish thyroid. Typically, the symptoms of a sub-clinical low thyroid, looking at dryness, dry skin, dry hair, slower bowels. You’re actually more predisposed to bloating and constipation, as well. So you’ve got to keep focusing on those sort of things. Weird symptoms. Like losing the outside third of your eyebrow. And you get really funny, brittle nails. And a lot of those sort of things. So if you’re starting to see those sort of signs happening as you’re going into a… For those that aren’t competing, necessarily, for the average person, if you’re dieting too hard. And you start seeing these signs of the thyroid shutting down, might be a good time to review your adaptation. Is that where we look at, for the average person, is that where we look at re-feeds, and diet breaks?

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. Yep. That’s… I was just, as you started, I’m saying, we have some answers to these bad adaptations. And we’ve looked at some of… Now, my research lab has looked at the body composition and metabolic rate aspects. We have not yet looked at the T3, T4 leptin hormonal levels in this stuff. But ultimately, in my opinion, the reason that you care about T3 and T4, is because it’s a marker of metabolic rate. So what my lab does is, we measure metabolic rate. So we get the big outcome.

Matt:                                     And just out of curiosity, you don’t just measure TSH, do you?

Bill Campbell:                    No. T4, T3, you-

Matt:                                     In Australia, If you’re concerned about your thyroid, they’ll only measure TSH.

Bill Campbell:                    That doesn’t tell you-

Matt:                                     Exactly. It’s measuring the thyroid hormones. Your brain trying to tell your thyroid what to do. And it’s only if a TSH comes out of range that, then, they would investigate further. Which is totally wrong, isn’t it?

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. You’d want to be more… Yeah. If I could choose one, I would do T3.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about how to use diet breaks, or re-feeds, to adjust this metabolism.

Bill Campbell:                    So, let’s start first with a re-feed, since we did some research on that last year. I’ll define how we used the concept of a re-feed. So a typical person will go… They want to lose weight. They want to go on a diet. And they’ll diet for six, eight weeks. Maybe six months straight. They’ll never ever take a break. So what we did was, we said, “All right. We’re going to have,” and by the way, my lab focuses on the, what I call the good to great phenomenon. So I used to test obese human population. Now I look at relatively lean people, that want to look better. So it’s kind of this again, I call it a physique lifestyle. I do study body builders. Because I love to learn from them.

Bill Campbell:                    But my true application is to the person like my wife, or myself, who doesn’t necessarily want to step on stage. But who wants to look good all the time. So I learn from body builders, because they nail it. They’re the experts. And then, how can we apply what we learned from body builders into a maintainable lifestyle? Because, again, body builders, they’re not normal.

Matt:                                     No. They’re not.

Bill Campbell:                    So, what we did was, we said, “What if we interrupt this cycle of week after week after week of dieting?” And I can tell you right now, I am not a fan of that. I’m going to diet for the next six months, because I want to lose fat. It will work. But when month seven comes, you’re looking at a suppressed metabolism, and likely suppressed T4, T3. Even though we didn’t look at that in that study. And your muscle mass is probably going to suffer from that. So we said, “Here’s what we’re going to do.” We set up this study. We had two groups. And this was in males and females. We had one group diet for seven weeks straight. And the other group… And when I say diet, they reduced their calories by 25% every day, for seven straight weeks.

Bill Campbell:                    The other group, we said, “You guys are also going to diet for seven weeks. But for two days a week, basically the weekends, we’re going to bring your calories back up to maintenance level.” So what they were at before you started dieting. So that means that the five days that they were dieting, they cut their calories by 35%. They had to cut their calories more, so that at the end of the week, it was the same. It was an average of 25% for both groups. And what we found after seven weeks, we found two significant outcomes. The first was that the group that did these re-feeds. Again, and we’re defining a re-feed as bringing your calories back up to maintenance for two consecutive days. I think it’s also important to note that we increased their calories all from carbohydrates.

Bill Campbell:                    And what they did was, they maintained their muscle mass. The group that did not do re-feeds, they lost a significant amount of muscle mass. I think it was about three pounds of muscle mass that they lost. What’s the conversion? Three pounds?

Matt:                                     One and .25 kilos.

Bill Campbell:                    Okay. Thank you. And they group that did the re-feeds, they lost about a pound of muscles. I’m not saying that they gained muscle. But they lost significantly less. The other really important finding that we observed, was their metabolic rates were not suppressed as much. So the group that did the straight seven weeks of dieting, their metabolisms slowed down by about 80 calories per day. The re-feed groups, it slowed down by only 40 calories per day. So they maintained their muscle mass much significantly better. And their metabolic rate. Same amount of fat loss. So you might think, “Oh, well, having this two days of higher carbs, higher calories, well, I won’t lose as much fat.” NO. You lose just as much fat. And when I talk about a maintainable lifestyle, most people want to maybe go to a picnic on Saturday.

Bill Campbell:                    And, like in my family, after church we always get pizza. I want to have pizza. And guess what? It’s part of the plan. It’s my maintainable lifestyle.

Matt:                                     Awesome.

Bill Campbell:                    So I design studies that I want to live with.

Matt:                                     Yeah. That’s great. And that’s… In ATP science, the same sort of thing. We work a lot with body builders. And we even… And my market is working for the every day athlete, the weekend warrior, the ones that want an ideal physique. But they want to be healthy. And well. So learning how to manage these adaptations. Because it’s all the big adaptation game. How to know when to switch. How to know when to have a break. And that sort of stuff.

Bill Campbell:                    And by the way, we didn’t publish this yet. So this will be published, hopefully, later this year.

Matt:                                     Oh, cool.

Bill Campbell:                    So you can-

Matt:                                     Well, keep us in the loop. Let us know when it’s out.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. Absolutely.

Matt:                                     And we’ll make sure everyone gets a copy. With your study that you’re talking about, how much protein do you do?

Bill Campbell:                    So, we standardized protein in both groups at 1.8 grams per kg.

Matt:                                     Oh, okay.

Bill Campbell:                    And then, we split the rest of their available… So we started with, okay. You’re going to have to cut by 25%, on average, per week, or daily. And so, 1.8 grams per kg of protein. That’s standard. And then, the rest of your remaining calories, we divided evenly between carbs and fat. However, we didn’t stress if they had 60% carbs, and 40% fat. We let them choose. But we were very adamant that you can’t go over your calories. So, you have to hit your protein. And you can’t go over your caloric restriction. But for the most part, choose if you like carbs or fats. And that’s again, I think that’s a wise way for most people to live. My wife loves carbs. So we give her a lot more carbs while she’s in a caloric deficit.

Matt:                                     Have you noticed, did you look into the different types of carbs at all? Like your simple-

Bill Campbell:                    No.

Matt:                                     Yeah. [inaudible 00:18:19]

Bill Campbell:                    We did get… And again, every subject in our study had a personalized nutrition coach. So they tracked every gram of every day of the study. So what we got was carbohydrate grams. But we did not go in and look at, was it high glycemic, low glycemic. So we didn’t do that.

Matt:                                     Yeah. You mentioned earlier… Would you say that the… What happens if we have excessive protein? Or we went higher protein? You were saying there was a study with calorie surplus, with protein?

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. So that’s another study we did. And let me just say, I believe that protein… I refer to protein as the anchoring nutrient. If you’re going to plan a diet, or your lifestyle diet, you start with protein. Again, this is for people who have a physique focus. They’re trying to look good. So, let me just say, at face value, I’m not aware of eating too much protein. I’m not aware of any study in healthy people that says that it’s harmful.

Matt:                                     We don’t have to worry about our kidneys?

Bill Campbell:                    Not in healthy people. Again, not that I’m aware. Now-

Matt:                                     Unless you’ve got some sort of urea disorders, or some kidney defect?

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. And I don’t study that population. And to be fair-

Matt:                                     They’re the ones that get into the newspapers, though. That die from protein. You know? They’re the ones that shut down the industry. We found someone with a kidney disorder-

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. Those are the-

Matt:                                     They’re doing something wrong.

Bill Campbell:                    The same newspapers that say creatine will kill you, too, right?

Matt:                                     Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Bill Campbell:                    So, with protein, it’s… And I may also say, I advocate relatively high protein intakes. But if I’m wrong, if people can give me evidence, I don’t want to give people bad advice. Please tell me if there’s research that says that this is harmful. I have children. I don’t… And my children eat a lot of protein. But I don’t want to have them eat high protein if it’s unhealthy. So, again, I’m just not aware. In fact, the studies that I am aware of, it’s just no, there’s no adverse side effects from a high protein diet in lean people.

Bill Campbell:                    So the other study that we did, we took aspiring female physique athletes. And what I mean by that is, at the beginning of the study, all of these subjects said they planned on doing a physique show. Like a bikini, or figure competition, within the next year. So we basically said, “Okay. For the next eight weeks, you’re going to lift in my lab.” And when I say my lab, it’s the physique lab. And all of my studies, we supervise every single workout, every single rep, every single set with my research staff. So everything is very well controlled in these applied studies. And in this study, and this study is published, we had one group eat high protein. We said, “You have to eat at least 2.4 grams of protein, per kilogram of body mass, per day.” They actually ended up eating 2.5.

Bill Campbell:                    The other group, we said, “You may not eat more than 1.2 grams of protein.” And they actually ate 0.9. and we followed them for eight weeks. And I also said, “I don’t care what you do with carbs or fat. You just, whatever.” And this is not a dieting study. We don’t want you to diet. The only change we want you to make is, increase your protein if you’re not already eating that much. Or decrease your protein. That was the only change. And what we found after the eight week intervention was the high protein group gained significantly more fat free mass, as compared to the low protein group. The low protein group… Actually a third of the subjects lost muscle mass. The other two thirds just didn’t gain much. I think another third stayed about the same. And another third gained a little bit.

Bill Campbell:                    But the interesting finding was, the high protein group, who increase their calories… I don’t remember the exact amount. But they increased by close to 300 calories per day. They actually lost a significant amount of fat.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Wow. So, in a calorie surplus?

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. We increased their calories, in the form of protein. And they lost fat mass.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Wow.

Bill Campbell:                    And that is the fourth study that I am aware of, where that’s happened. And these are published studies. And I wouldn’t have believed that. If you’d told me prior to my study, “Oh, you could increase your calories, and you’ll lose fat.” I would have said, “No. I don’t believe that to be true.” Then my own data, in my own lab… And I knew all of these subjects by name. I have the data. And then I realized, “Okay. Well, there were two other studies that showed this. So I get…” you know? And then another one came out. Dr. Mike Roberts, in a male study, showed the same thing. So, again, that’s you can start finding the-

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. Weren’t they all around the same? The eight weeks of the time period? Because I always wonder, to a certain degree, the calories in would determine the calories out. You know, stimulate the metabolism. And that sort of thing. But would there then be an adaptation, when that-

Bill Campbell:                    Well, we did measure metabolic rate in that study. And there was no change. Even with the increase in muscle mass. So metabolic rates stayed the same.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Wow.

Bill Campbell:                    And we’ve got to remember that the low protein group was resistance training. So they had that anabolic stimulus, to maintain their muscle mass.

Matt:                                     Yeah. And how do you measure metabolism? Or metabolic rate?

Bill Campbell:                    So we use what’s called an indirect calorimetry method. And that sounds complicated. But essentially, well, let me say the best way to measure one’s metabolic rate is to measure how much heat they put off. So you put somebody in this secure closed off room, where there’s basically nothing in there but coils with water. And as they let off heat, this water that’s circulating throughout this closed off room would absorb the heat. And then, you measure the water. And that’s called direct calorimetry. That’s the best way. Nobody does that. Because that’s an expensive, specialized room to build.

Bill Campbell:                    So what we do is what almost every exercise physiology lab does. We use something called indirect calorimetry. Which is basically a complex word for saying we measure their gas exchange. So how much oxygen are they consuming? And the reason that that works is, for every liter of oxygen you consume, that’s equivalent to about five calories of energy expended. So we put a bubble, like a hood, over their head. We lay them down. And we just measure their breathing. And essentially, what we’re doing is, measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide. And it’s a very reliable method. And it works great.

Matt:                                     Yeah. That’s excellent. So in Australia, again, at the moment, we get a lot of questions about, at the moment, intermittent fasting. And wanting our opinion on that. But I don’t actually know… When you try to work out what intermittent fasting is, it kind of depends on who you ask. What is intermittent fasting, in your opinion? Or do you know?

Bill Campbell:                    Well, I have an opinion. And I do get angry. Because yes, if I ask ten people what intermittent fasting is, I’m going to get ten different answers. In my mind, an intermittent fasting is an entire day of no eating. And people can say, “Well, that’s not what I think it is.” Exactly. There’s no defined. There is something else called time restricted feeding. Where I’m going to eat only from 12:00 at noon, til six. Or 12:00 to 8:00. I like that. Because that’s a little more specific. But to me, intermittent fasting is 24 hours of no caloric intake. In Australia, when you hear the word intermittent fasting?

Matt:                                     I don’t know. Because it’s more like the time restricted. So-

Bill Campbell:                    Yes.

Matt:                                     The people just make it up. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Bill Campbell:                    That makes two of us, then.

Matt:                                     I think the fouled hunting trip. That’s about it really. But, so what do you think? Does it work? Is there any, in the time restricted eating, have you seen any data to suggest that that’s a great idea? Does it reset any sort of leptins? Or does it [inaudible 00:26:20]? Or anything like that?

Bill Campbell:                    So, I’ll say I don’t know. Here’s what I believe. And again, I have not researched this, specifically. What I believe is what matters is, at the end of the day, how many calories have you ingested?

Matt:                                     Yep.

Bill Campbell:                    With one, we have to look at protein. You can probably eat more protein. And still lose fat. So, I don’t believe intermittent fasting… When somebody says, “Oh, intermittent fasting works.” I’ll say, “Of course it does. If that caused you to eat less calories, at the end of the day.” Now, personally, the way I live my life is… And I’ve learned this over the years. I’m not hungry in the morning. I used to read, you have to have breakfast. People that lost weight, and maintained their weight loss, they all eat breakfast. So I used to force myself breakfast. I wasn’t hungry. And I’m like, “Hey. This is what the research says.” Until you try to find research that tells you that eating breakfast is important. I couldn’t find any.

Matt:                                     Yeah.

Bill Campbell:                    So, me knowing that I’m not hungry in the morning, I don’t eat. Why would I… Again, I believe at the end of the day, I have the most calories. I get pretty hungry at 6:00 at night. Or maybe 1:00 in the afternoon. So I have learned over time, I know when my natural hunger drive is elevated. So I’m going to feed myself my calories at those times. So I guess, if we’re going to use this time restrictive feeding, I think it’s a great way, if you know your own physiology, to determine, “Oh, I’m not hungry from 12:00 to 5:00.” Well, then, don’t eat then.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah.

Bill Campbell:                    So those are my thoughts.

Matt:                                     That’s really common. I mean, I was a naturopath for 20 years, dealing mainly in the sickness industry. So you deal with a lot of people suffering with chronic disorders. And they have fatty livers, and blood sugar problems, and cholesterol issues, and all those sort of things. A lot of those people, you try to talk to them about breakfast. And they’re just not hungry. And then, you realize, they’ve waken up in the morning with fat through their liver. They’ve got high blood sugar. Their mitochondrias, and full of all of those unburnt sugars, and everything like that. And one of the best things we ever did in the clinic, for anyone who’s any sort of insulin resistant syndromes, that was allowing them to get up, go for a walk, get some exercise, get burning. Burn off some of that residual stuff that’s oxidizing inside your cells. Clear the paths. And then, after your metabolism kicks in, and you’re hungry, then go and eat.

Bill Campbell:                    So you noticed that in your practice?

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s just an observation. We need to do some more studies, of course, to check that out. But it’s a definitely theme. But if you’re not hungry in the morning, it’s probably, your body’s telling you something, really. So, if that’s your intuition, would you advise people just to eat a bit lighter?

Bill Campbell:                    So, what I advise people to do is, which nobody will do, I’ll tell people… And actually, I did this with my students last year, in one of my classes. I have a class called The Science of Physique Enhancement. [inaudible 00:29:25] this is an awesome class.

Matt:                                     Yeah. That would be.

Bill Campbell:                    But I gave them an assignment. I said, “The assignment is, I want you to not eat or drink anything other than water, for 36 hours.” And the reason I said 36 hours was, I want you to get up in the morning, not eat the entire day, then go to bed, and not eat again until that next morning. And the reason I think that’s a valuable exercise, and some people would call that hell.

Matt:                                     Yeah. I was thinking hell would be a place just like that.

Bill Campbell:                    I think so, for me. But what I think that does is, it forces you to realize when you naturally are hungry. Because if you’re dying in the first hour of this, well then, maybe that’s a sign that you should eat breakfast. But I think people, if they’re just habitually, “Oh, I’ve got to eat breakfast.” And then, they try this experiment of not eating at all. They might realize, “Oh. I didn’t even care until 1:00. And then I wanted to kill every person I saw. Because I was raven-

Matt:                                     Hunter and gatherer.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. So, and again, only about 20% of my students actually… And the United States is so litigious I had to say, “Make sure that you bring a Gatorade, or something, in case you feel light headed.” And, “You don’t have to do this. You won’t lose points.” So I had to baby it. But some of the students didn’t actually do it. And I think, again, it’s a good thing. Because then, you’re going to learn when you’re naturally hungry.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And reset a lot of those habits.

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. And let me be… To be fair, I am not on top of the fasting literature. There may be benefits that I just don’t know about. But I do believe, for physique enhancement purposes, it’s your calories in, calories out.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Of course.

Bill Campbell:                    With an emphasis on protein.

Matt:                                     And there’s a big difference between a physique competitor and someone that’s really sick. Someone that got liver problems, fatty livers, insulin disorders. They’re right in amongst the polycystic ovarian syndrome. They’re right in amongst all of the bile defects. And everything like that. So some of the stuff that we can learn from the athletes, in that respect, yeah. In regards to the general population, it’s not necessarily the same. So what would work for a coach, or what doesn’t work for a coach, might not always work for one of their clients. I’ve seen the state of obesity. They’re in that sickness industry, where they’ve got all of those hormonal adaptations. And the leptins. And all those sort of things. So you mentioned before, with having those diet breaks. So a lot of people will talk about cheat meals. So when you mentioned before, you said that you had one study where they over consumed protein. And they could keep burning fat. And then you mentioned that, with the diet breaks, it was focused on replacing the carbs.

Bill Campbell:                    Well, to keep our definitions, that was what I’m calling a diet re-feed.

Matt:                                     No. Yeah. Yeah.

Bill Campbell:                    And I have a different definition for diet break. So-

Matt:                                     So, what’s the difference… You tell me the difference for a diet re-feed and a diet break.

Bill Campbell:                    So, again, people may have their own definitions. To me, a diet re-feed, or the way that we define this in my research lab. A diet re-feed is an acute one to two day increase in calories. So again, Sohui Lee, I don’t know if you’re familiar with her. But she used this term that stuck in my head. She called it the week day diet. So you diet for five days, and then on the weekends… So that’s basically what we did. So that’s a diet re-feed. A diet break takes a more macro approach. And instead of just increasing your calories for two days. Which is, again, what I’m calling a diet re-feed. A diet break is, I’ll diet for two weeks, or three weeks. And then, I’m going to take a complete week off.

Matt:                                     Oh, okay.

Bill Campbell:                    And go back to maintenance. And then, I’m going to diet again for another two or three weeks. And then I’m going to take a complete break again. Now, it’s important, with all of these breaks, whether it’s a diet re-feed, or diet break. It is not a food orgy, where I’m just going to go crazy. It’s still controlled, in the sense that we’re bringing you back to your maintenance levels. So in my research, it’s never permission to have three milkshakes, two pizzas, a couple of buffalo wings. Which is what I would love to do. So you’re still… To some extent, you’re monitoring how… You’re making sure that you’re only doing maintenance. And on this diet break phenomenon, they did a study that was published last year, in obese males. And what they found was, the obese males, the one group did 16 weeks of straight dieting. The other group, they dieted for 32 weeks. That’s how long the program lasted. But they didn’t diet the whole time. They kept inserting these diet breaks.

Matt:                                     Yeah, okay.

Bill Campbell:                    And what they found was that, after the breaks, that next week of dieting, their rate of fat loss… Or what you could also call weight loss efficiency, was so much better. So to me, the benefit of this, from that study is, if you can be patient with the weight loss process, you can feel good in the sense that, when you are dieting, you’re getting a much more bang for your buck. You’re losing more fat during that diet. And if you’re not doing that, when you get to week six, eight, fifteen, it’s hard to lose fat. You’re beating yourself against the wall. Because your metabolism is suppressed. That’s the other thing. Their metabolism’s were significantly higher.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Right.

Bill Campbell:                    So in my lab now, we just started this week… And my grad student Madeleine Seedler is coordinating this study, we are taking females. And we’re doing this, again, in a relatively lean population. And it’s a short term study. Because, again, these girls don’t have a lot of fat to lose. One group is going to diet for six weeks straight. And then, the other group is going to diet for two weeks, and then do a diet break. Then two more weeks, take a second diet break. And then, they’re going to diet for two more weeks. So both groups will diet for six weeks. And what we’re… The main questions we’re asking is, do we help maintain the metabolic rate? Do we maintain more muscle mass in these diet breaks? And we’re not looking at hormones in this study.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Bill Campbell:                    But again, if you can be patient, I believe you’re going to have better results. But it does take longer. That’s the downside.

Matt:                                     So with those, do you think it’s a carbohydrate, protein, or fat, or a combination of all? Does it matter… Would the ideal strategy for the average person, they cut the calories for five days. On the weekend, should we be focusing on increasing any one of those particular macros over the other? Or just total of calories, do you believe?

Bill Campbell:                    I have to say, because this is what my lab reported in our diet re-feed study. We increase carbs. I can’t say that fat wouldn’t do the same thing. Because we haven’t researched that. But if you allow me to just base my opinion, not on research. And my philosophy of optimizing your physique within a maintainable lifestyle. If you like fat, increase your calories from fat. If you like carbs, increase it from carbs. I’m in this for the long game. To help your metabolism six months from now. To help you have more muscle eight months from now. If that means that you’re going to increase fat when my research says we did carbs, and that worked. I’ll give you a pass. But the research would say, and again, there’s hardly any studies on this. It looks like the carbs help the leptin go up.

Matt:                                     That interesting. This is the… Diego, I interviewed Diego the other day. From Columbia. He was talking about a paper that he did, where they tried to do a anabolic ketogenic diet. And you had to build muscle. And they didn’t build the muscle. But they burnt the fat, in a calorie surplus. And that was with the higher fat. Yours was with the higher carb. But you also mentioned one there with higher protein. I was just wondering if one of the three, if we should pick one of the three. Or I just don’t know if it’s the surplus of any one of those macros will create a better change than if we were to just have a little bit of each. I don’t know.

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. And I would say, as a researcher, I don’t know. But what I do believe, and my opinion is based on the research. Is protein has to be… And we also in this study, everybody’s dieting, it’s 1.8 grams per kg of protein. We do not give you a choice on protein.

Matt:                                     Yep. And you’re talking about body weight.

Bill Campbell:                    I’ll give you a choice-

Matt:                                     Per body weight, too. Just for the listeners out there.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. Yeah. 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Yes.

Matt:                                     Yeah. So you don’t have to go to be too flesh, with you getting into dexa scans, to work out your muscle mass, and that sort of stuff. So, yeah.

Bill Campbell:                    And let me follow up real quick. And I’d love to get your… You can help me design these studies, when we do it. But under this diet break approach, where we’re going to have people diet for, let’s say, two weeks. And then, they’re going to take a week off. And they’re going to diet for two more weeks. What we’re going to do next spring, is we’re going to start designing some rapid fat loss studies. Because what we want to do is, we want to start getting the answers to when you are on a diet part of this, we want to kick fat… Punch it in the mouth, essentially. So we want to start looking at exactly what you’re asking. Should we increase… Should we decrease carbs more? Should we decrease fat more? What supplements should we have, to help boost metabolic rate?

Bill Campbell:                    So, what I want to do is, really dial in. When you are dieting, how much fat can we physically take off of a human being, while maintaining muscle mass, and keeping metabolic rate as high? If we didn’t have those rules, we would just say, “okay. We’re going to starve you for two weeks?” So we’re going to give you protein. And you’re going to lift weights. But we want to look at some other things. So again, what we’re going to design is rapid fat loss, while maintaining muscle and metabolic rate.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. Right. I wonder, we might even be able to add an element in there, where we can actually profile these people in regards to some sort of hormonal dominance, or something like that.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes.

Matt:                                     Because we may end up finding that, for some person, it’s fat. For the next person, it’s carbs. And the next person, it’s protein. And if we could profile which person’s going to respond the best to which. And I’m not talking genetics. And yeah, just genes. And that sort of stuff. If we find that, in different stages of our life, and different hormonal profiles, and that sort of stuff. We may respond differently to the different macros.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. I like that idea.

Matt:                                     [crosstalk 00:40:23] would be a fascinating study.

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. Like I said, I would love your input on the different ways that we could go about this. But that is fun.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Hell, yeah.

Bill Campbell:                    I want to just take off as much fat off of somebody, and keep the muscle on. And again, another advantage, to me, of diet breaks, is if you’re just come off of a diet break, I think you’re going to be ready to kill it. You’re now motivated. “Hey. I just had a week off. I can just attack this.”

Matt:                                     Hit it hard.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah.

Bill Campbell:                    For the next week or two.

Matt:                                     Yeah. And it’s so fascinating, even, oh, I’ve forgot what day it is. But the other day, we listened to a study on caffeine. And they found upper body, that caffeine had a major effect-

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. I saw that.

Matt:                                     For fatty oxidation. But the lower body, it didn’t. And you may even find that, with the different body types, you know, we get someone with the big quads, and the big booty, and that sort of stuff. They may respond totally different to a stimulant like caffeine than someone that’s upper body dominant, with the more wiry, lean legs.

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. It could be.

Matt:                                     It’s crazy. Hey, when you think about it, there’s so many elements. In the end of the day, we’re all different. And we’re all individuals. So there’ll be a certain amount of what works for one doesn’t work for the other. But across the population, we should be able to work out some cool trends.

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah.

Matt:                                     And I don’t think it’s just following the food pyramid. In Australia, we’ve got this crazy ass food pyramid, that they keep wanting to change it. But they’ve got to do the industry reviews first. And it’s not good for the economy to change this.

Bill Campbell:                    And I’m sure that happens overnight, right?

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Decades and decades. Yeah. So Bill, is there anything else you wanted to tell us about? There anything, other fascinating stuff? Or-

Bill Campbell:                    One, I just really, I’m really thankful to you for having me on your podcast.

Matt:                                     No. My pleasure. It’s great.

Bill Campbell:                    This is a great honor.

Matt:                                     We’re going to do more of this, you know?

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. No.

Matt:                                     I want you to be a bit of a regular. Because I love this. Because we have… You know, we sell supplements. And we talk about ingredients. And that sort of stuff. But we all know it’s got to fit in with the holistic lifestyle approach. And we want to, basically, work out the ideal way for everyone. And then, I think the combination of information… The way you’re studying, we mentioned before, your niche. You’re saying you’re very specified with your research. Which is brilliant. Because we want you to be, your niche to be, an inch wide and a mile deep.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. Yes.

Matt:                                     So you can be an expert within that field. You can’t… And then, you get to that point of knowledge, where you realize you don’t… There’s so much more to know. You can’t possibly know everything. And that’s even within that really defined niche. So, we’re going to be talking about this for year.

Bill Campbell:                    Yes. Oh, and now, I would, with your permission, I’m very close to having 10,000 followers on Instagram. So my-

Matt:                                     Oh man. Let’s get you up there.

Bill Campbell:                    My Instagram is @billcampbellphd. So I would just like to encourage people to follow me. I’m just starting to put out quiz questions, since I’m a professor.

Matt:                                     Really?

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. I’ll put a true/false question, or a multiple choice questions. And then give the answer, and a little explanation. Because I do that for my classes.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Absolutely. @billcampbellphd. Let’s get… Oh, and that’s Instagram.

Bill Campbell:                    That’s Instagram. That’s the only thing I’m really on, at this point.

Matt:                                     Yes. And Facebook’s too much talk.

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah. I’ve heard that it’s just a lot of complaining. But-

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. I like the memes. And I like the pictures. Yeah. Instagram’s the way to go. Well, thanks so much, Bill. And where’s your college? You’re based at?

Bill Campbell:                    I’m at the University of South Florida. And that’s in Tampa, Florida. And on that note, if anybody would love to come be involved in this research, as a graduate student. Or even undergrad student. I’d love to have people that want to help us answer these research questions.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Oh man, it’s brilliant. Well, thanks so much for coming onto the show.

Bill Campbell:                    Yeah.

Matt:                                     And we’ll definitely get you back. And we’re going to be doing a few trials, and that sort of stuff, with you in the future. I can tell.

Bill Campbell:                    Oh hey. Let’s bring it on.

Matt:                                     Yeah. Yeah. Thanks, Bill.

Bill Campbell:                    Thank you.

Matt:                                     And yeah, someone wrap that up.

Speaker 1:                           Thanks for listening.

Speaker 2:                           And remember, question everything.

Speaker 1:                           Well, except what we say.