Dr. Raleigh Duncan on Saunas, Healing, Detoxification, EMF

Dr. Raleigh Duncan knows saunas.

In fact, his innovations removed harmful EMF’s from sauna heaters and changed the entire industry.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for the truth about electromagnetic fields, healing with heat, whether near or far infrared saunas are better, or the benefits of saunas, Dr. Raleigh Duncan is your man.

Read moreDr. Raleigh Duncan on Saunas, Healing, Detoxification, EMF

Grass-fed Farming Pioneer Joel Salatin on Passion, Integrity, Community and Growth

Joel Salatin may be the world’s most famous farmer.

Last month I spent a day with Joel Salatin at his world-famous Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia.

We busted some misleading myths perpetrated by the documentary Cowspiracy.

We talked about his farming principles that are changing the world.

And we dug into topics like passion, integrity, home-centric living, and perpetual growth that are central to Joel’s decades of growth and success.

You don’t want to miss this episode – it’s a side of the magnetic leader you’ve never seen.

Joel Polyface Dead Mouse

Joel’s cat brought us surprise during the recording.

Joel Salatin: Beyond Organic, Pioneer of Grass-fed & Polyculture Farming

Joel’s work to promote beyond low-infrastructure, beyond organic, symbiotic, grass-fed, polyculture ecosystems is changing farming, food, and people’s perception of farmers.

In this episode of the OPP, I visit Joel at his world famous Polyface Farm to spend a Saturday with a man who is changing the world.

While we did talk about farming and food, but you’re also going to hear a great deal about some recurring themes here on the OPP, including passion, integrity, self-evolution, growth, and community.

Click the images below to listen to the OPP on-the-go: on iTunes or Stitcher.



Joel was previously on the podcast, and you can see that episode —> OPP #51 where he discusses farming policies and protocols in greater detail.

What you’ll hear from Joel Salatin on Episode 58 of the OPP:

  • Debunking the stats presented in Cowspiracy
  • A LIVE example of symbiosis and polyculture in action…one of Joel’s animals make a guest appearance
  • Despite overcrowding claims, we have fewer livestock on the planet than we did in ancestral times
  • Why you should never judge anything based on the worst possible example
  • How amphibians and bees are driving public policy
  • The connection between integrity and vibrant health
  • Joel’s 3-Part System to change your trajectory
  • “Home-centricity” – stop viewing your home as a pit-stop between activities, create the world you want around your home
  • The danger of being disconnected with nature
  • How mission statements and goals evolve as we mature
  • Joel’s tips and advice for continuing self-evolution (from farmer to industry-leader)
  • The 3 biggest lesson’s Joel has learned in his career
  • Don’t second guess your passion
  • Realize that you need a mentor, partner, or team to reach your goals – very few people succeed on their own
  • Never feel like you’ve “arrived” – Stay hungry, stay humble, and keep pushing for more
  • Where to find more of Joel
  • Joel’s favorite books (See OPP #51 for his Top 3 Tips to #LiveOptimal)

Some videos and photos from the Polyface Farm tour

Joel Salatin Pastured Poultry

Polyface Farm Free Range Chickens
Pasture Raised Chickens at Polyface Farms

Polyface Farm Turkeys
Pasture-Raised Turkeys (turkeys need more space than chickens)

Polyface Farm grassfed cows
Grass-Fed Beef: Nature uses herbivores to prune grasses. This is a crucial element in Joel’s farming model

Links & Resources:

Polyface Farms

Joel on Optimal Performance Podcast #51: The Surprising Truth About Agriculture and Money


Our Cowspiracy blog post with mind-blowing stats (A single 1/4 pound hamburger takes 660 gallons of water to produce – using the factory farming model)

Amphibian Studies as environmental indicators

2015 White House Pollinator Action Plan

Holistic Management Resource Model – Allan Savory

Allan’s TED Talk, How to fight desertification and reverse climate change:

Documentary Movies Featuring Joel &/or Polyface Farms:

Food Inc

Food Matters

Polyfaces: A World of Many Choices

Nature Deficit Disorder & other Books by Richard Louv

Joel’s Books:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Sir Albert Howard’s An Agricultural Testament

“It’s the temptation of every civilization to take what nature has created and turn it into cash”

“Artificial manures (chemicals & pesticides) grow artificial plants, that grow artificial animals, that create artificial humans who can only stay alive by taking artificials.”

What was your favorite part of this episode? Let us know in the comments below.

How Many Calories Do Cardio Machines Burn? [Infographic]


Welcome to Part II of our Ultimate Guide to Cardio

In Part I, we demonstrated that if you’re doing cardio purely for fat loss, high-intensity cardio is more effective than steady state cardio.

As we look into the calories burned by cardio machines, keep in mind what the science showed us in Part I, that when it comes to increasing calorie expenditure, effort is more important than machine. The harder you go, the more energy you use, and therefor the more calories you burn.

Disclaimer on Calories Burned

Before we dive into the machines and numbers, a word on estimated calories burned, individual differences, and effort levels. The calorie readings on these machines are not 100% accurate, and “calories burned” readouts vary wildly from person to person, and energy expenditure also depends on exertion level.

So think of these calories burn numbers as estimates and general comparisons of the caloric demands placed on your body by each machine. They are estimates and should not be considered the end-all, be-all, but they will give you a good idea of what’s going on.

Boost Your Brain Power With Longer Cardio Sessions

Research shows that longer sessions of cardio increase neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons) and helps increase BDNF, a growth hormone for your brain.

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Burn More Fat: Become A Fat-Burning Beast with Mark Sisson

Mark Sisson is a leader in the health and fitness community.

Mark is the bestselling author of The Primal Blueprint and one of the leading voices of the Evolutionary Health Movement – also referred to as the Primal and Paleo movements.

His blog, MarksDailyApple.com, has paved the way for Primal enthusiasts to challenge conventional wisdom’s diet and exercise principles and take personal responsibility for their health and well-being.

Mark’s efforts to promote primal living extend to a line of nutritional supplements, a book publishing company, a Primal Kitchen line with healthy mayonnaise, salad dressing, meal replacement and energy bar, and a burgeoning Primal Kitchen fast casual restaurant chain. (Use code: NATURALSTACKS to save 10% on all things Primal)

A former elite endurance athlete, with a 2:18 marathon and a 4th place Hawaii Ironman finish, Mark’s new book Primal Endurance applies the primal eating and lifestyle principles to the challenge of endurance training—helping athletes overcome the common conditions of burnout and carbohydrate dependency.

All of which, we discuss in depth with Mark on this edition of the Optimal Performance Podcast.

What You’ll Learn From Mark Sisson on this episode of the OPP:

Links & Resources

Mark’s Website

Mark’s Books: SAVE 10% on Mark’s books (& Primal Mayo) with coupon code NATURALSTACKS

Primal Kitchen

Axon Lab Mitochondrial Support: Mitogen

Natural Stacks Primal & Fitness Performance Boosters

Prebiotic+: Resistant starch complex supports optimal gut health and neurotransmitter production [1]

MagTech: Contains the only magnesium shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, boosting brain magnesium levels and increasing synapse density [2]

Vitamin D3: Crucial hormonal and health support for those of us who don’t paddle board in Malibu, California several times a week like Mark Sisson [3]

Creatine: Get those extra reps and give your body the stimulus it needs for change [4]

Serotonin Brain Food: As much as 90% of this “feel good” neurotransmitter is made in the gut [5]

Keep the Conversation Going In The Comments Below


  1. H. A. Majid, P. W. Emery, K. Whelan. Faecal microbiota and short-chain fatty acids in patients receiving enteral nutrition with standard or fructo-oligosaccharides and fibre-enriched formulas. Journal Human Nutrition & Diet. 2011 June; 24(3): 260–268.
  2. Abumaria, N. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81.
  3. Hollick, MF. Vitamin D: evolutionary, physiological and health perspectives. Curr Drug Targets. 2011 Jan;12(1):4-18.
  4. Volek, Jeff. Creatine Supplementation Enhances Muscular Performance During High-Intensity Resistance Exercise. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Volume 97, Issue 7, July 1997, Pages 765–770
  5. Yano, Jessica M. et al. Indigenous Bacteria from the Gut Microbiota Regulate Host Serotonin Biosynthesis. Cell, Volume 161, Issue 2, 264 – 276

What’s the Best Cardio For Fat Loss: Steady-State or HIIT?

So you want to do some cardio and lose unwanted body fat – but you’re not sure how to do it. There’s a lot of opinion and debate over what method is best for fat loss: steady-state cardio (low intensity and longer duration) or high intensity interval training – shorter sessions and higher exertion levels. Let’s see what the science says.

Everything In Life Is “Goal-Dependent”

Before we can answer HOW to do something, we must first answer WHY we’re doing it. There are always multiple ways to accomplish any task – whether we’re talking business, diet, fat loss, strength training, memorization techniques or checkers.

To avoid a massive tangent and to stay on topic, I’ll be brief and blunt. “Cardio” is not the best way to lose fat/build muscle/build the body most people want.

If you enjoy running, run. If you enjoy biking, bike. If you prefer swimming, do what you enjoy. This article is examining the effectiveness of the tools in our fitness tool box at accomplishing one goal – reducing unwanted body fat. (Let’s face it, body fat is the only reason the word ‘calorie’ means anything to anyone.)

Always remember this: Form follows function. The health status, performance abilities, and appearance of our bodies reflect the tasks we repeatedly ask our bodies to perform. More on this coming up – with scientific studies as always!

What are you asking of your body?
What are you asking of your body?

DISCLAIMER: Calories Burned, n=1, and Effort

Individual results, calories burned, and perceived effort all vary from one individual to the next. We will all  experience our own truths when we apply these strategies – such is the nature of the n=1 experimentation. This is meant to serve as guideline for you – a jumping off point, so to speak – to provide you a shortcut and eliminate some of the headaches of trial and error when looking for the best fat loss protocols for your fitness routine.

Let’s look at an example… a 400 pound man will burn more calories walking up 20 flights of stairs than a 100 pound female walking right beside him. So the individual performing the exercise introduces variability into the calories burned as does the pace of the individual.

Just look at the large range of calories burned per hour at various speeds on a treadmill: (Same person, same treadmill, different speeds & inclines.)

  • 3mph WALK = 219 calories/hour
  • 3mph WALK = 518 calories/hour  **3.5 Incline**
  • 6mph JOG = 687 calories/hour
  • 8mph RUN = 897 calories/hour

As further evidence that gender, weight and pace introduce variables in calories burned, the Wisconsin Department of Health published a guide that shows running can burn anywhere from 472-1553 calories per hour – obviously depending on gender, bodyweight and speed. [W]

Bottom line: higher exertion levels result in greater energy expenditure, and ultimately more fat loss for the duration of effort.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.47.33 AM

Energy systems – steady state vs. HIIT – performance training or fat loss

Again, I feel compelled to to repeat this – If you LIKE running or if running IS YOUR SPORT, then by all means, keep it up.

However, if running is a means to an end (less body fat, better health, etc) then you need to listen up!

Running or steady-state cardio is NOT the best way to lose body fat. In fact, it has been shown to INCREASE body fat!

  • Study 1 – Laval University (Canada)…1 group performed steady state cardio for 20 weeks while another group performed HIIT for 15 weeks. The steady state group burned an astonishing 15,000 MORE calories than their HIIT counterparts…yet the HIIT group lost significantly more bodyfat!
  • Study 2 – 2001, East Tennessee State University…an 8-week study following HIIT vs. steady state cardio found that the HIIT group lost 2% body fat in 8 weeks while the steady state group lost ZERO body fat.


  • Study 3 -This Australian study published in the International Journey Of Obesity split 2 groups of women into steady state (40 minutes at 60% Max heart rate) and HIIT groups (20 minutes of 8 second sprints with 12 second rest periods). Yet again, the fat loss winner was HIIT…1/2 the time and 6X the body fat lost in this study!
    • The women in the steady-state exercise group actually saw an increase in trunk body fat %.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 5.06.46 PM

  • Study 4 –46 overweight, college-age males completed the same 8 sec sprints with 12 seconds recovery for 20 minute sessions that the Australian women completed in the previous study. After 12 weeks, the HIIT group lost 1.5kg on the scale and 2.0kg of fat – that means they gained muscle and lost body fat at the same time! The control group saw zero change weight or body fat.
    • Interestingly the waist circumference of the HIIT group DECREASED an average of 4cm, while the waist measurement of the control group INCREASED by an average of 2cm.
  • Study 5 – A 9-year study of 12,568 runners concluded in 2006 and showed that over half of the runners GAINED body fat and increased waist circumference size over the 9 years – even if they never quit running. In fact runners who maintained or slightly increased their mileage still gained body fat. The only runners who did not gain fat were the ones who tripled their weekly mileage over the 9 years.

Summary: What YOU need to know


  1. If you’re simply doing “cardio” for fat loss, keeping it short and going as hard as you can results in more fat lost compared to lower or moderate intensity efforts. If you can last longer than 20 minutes, you’re not going hard enough – and you’re not doing HIIT.
  2. Don’t worry about “IDEAL” or being “fast enough” when performing intervals. Start with the highest sustainable output level for YOUR CURRENT fitness level and do what you can. Over time, focus on going faster/harder and then seek to increase duration to 10, 15, even 20 minutes. Focus on progress, not perfection.
  3. Longer duration, lower intensity cardio DOES have it’s place in a balanced health and fitness plan.
  4. If you’re training for an event, running, rowing or biking for performance or pleasure, do what you enjoy.
  5. Obviously the diet consumed by everyone in these studies is a crucial factor in the fat lost or gained over time. The researchers in these studies may not have controlled that – but we’re not examining diets here, we’re examining methods of cardio for fat loss. As was shown here, regardless of dietary changes, these HIIT methods can reduce body fat.
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In PART II, we’ll examine the best cardio machines!


  1. Tremblay, A. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8.
  2. King, Jeffrey Warren, “A Comparison of the Effects of Interval Training vs. Continuous Training on Weight Loss and Body Composition in Obese Pre-Menopausal Women.” (2001). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 123. http://dc.etsu.edu/etd/123
  3. Trapp EG, et al. The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. International Journal of Obesity, 2008; 32: 684–691.
  4. Heydari M, et al. The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males. Journal of Obesity, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/480467
  5. Williams, P. Wood, P. The effects of changing exercise levels on weight and age-related weight gain. International Journal of Obesity (2006) 30, 543–551. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0803172