2010 June 5
by Alan Aragon

I had the pleasure of spending some time with Lyle McDonald over the weekend before he made his way off to compete in an inline skating event in Napa, CA. We met at BJ’s Brewhouse for some grub, then went for some Starbucks dessert beverages (well, at least I did). I knew that my kids would attack Lyle when we got to my house, so it was funny to see it actually play out, and Lyle was a good sport about it. The following day, we headed to Gold’s Gym and did our own separate training.

Common Threads

One of the things that struck me in discussing various topics was just how different the driving motivational forces are between endurance athletes vs others. He keyed me into the concept of “running from inner voices” – mostly in the figurative sense. Another thing that struck me was the ironic similarity between solo endurance athletes and other solo athletes such as bodybuilders, whose sport, at least in the precontest phase, is largely a matter of endurance. Both types of athletes tend to push themselves to the limits of physical and psychological tolerance for prolonged periods, just in different scales & contexts. Keep in mind that Lyle is the true athlete between the two of us. I mainly train to get attention from my wife, while Lyle trains to test his prowess against formal competition.


An interesting thing Lyle relayed to me was how he has been able to make his greatest gains in endurance by learning how to conserve his application of intensity when training for an event – as opposed to constantly pushing the envelope of high intensity intervals in the common “more is better, stop when you collapse” approach. More detail on methods of endurance training can be delved into with a multi-part series Lyle wrote beginning here (if you want to go straight to threshold training, it’s here in part 4). While I’m mentioning his reading material, anyone seriously interested in nutrition and supplementation for mixed sports (i.e., football, soccer, middle-distance events, etc) should check out his latest book/DVD lecture series here.


While Lyle is exhaustively familiar with the various approaches to endurance training, he’s also keenly aware of how he personally responds. Having a solid grasp of the research has allowed him to synthesize applications that work best with his individual profile from both a psychological and physiological standpoint. One of the natural progressions of the advanced trainee is an abandonment of certain aspects of traditional/conventional wisdom, in favor of individual response. 

At the End of the Day 

I had a great time & learned a lot hanging out with one of the top minds in the field. But more than this, I just needed an excuse to post that awesome pic above.

UPDATE: Lyle won the race.


Microsoft Word - AARR wide banner 1.doc

43 Responses
  1. Mike L. permalink
    June 5, 2010

    Awesome shirt, bro!

    -Mike L.

  2. June 5, 2010

    Thanks for giving me that shirt, Mike! 🙂

  3. RayCinLA permalink
    June 5, 2010

    If an epic pic was ever taken, this one is it. Good stuff, Alan.

  4. Sent permalink
    June 5, 2010

    Right after that fist bump the house exploded.

  5. darkseeker permalink
    June 5, 2010

    Too awesome.

  6. Jean Paulo permalink
    June 6, 2010

    The dream team! The two of you are just my favorite nutrition authors.

  7. Juhani permalink
    June 6, 2010

    You guys are f´ing awesome!! That pic became a motivational pic on my fridge 😀

  8. June 6, 2010

    That is a pretty awesome pic! It is all about your expression :)!

  9. June 6, 2010

    This pic needs more mean muggin!

  10. June 6, 2010

    That’s a couple smart bros right there

  11. June 6, 2010

    Very cool. Lyle McDonald is the best. Tom Furman and myself always read Lyle’s latest research and thoroughly enjoy all his material and his no BS approach. The man is nothing short of genius. Thanks Alan.

  12. Redlefty permalink
    June 6, 2010

    Brotastic! But what do you do when two rebel-type lonewolf pragmatists get in the same room, with nobody to refute?

  13. Roberto permalink
    June 6, 2010

    awesome pic, i thank you both, i have learn so much. you guys are great!!!!!!

  14. Pete Brown permalink
    June 6, 2010


    First question, why are Lyle’s arms bigger than yours? 🙂

    Second, a while back I think I remember hearing a rumor that you and Lyle were working on a project together, is that still happening or did I imagine that? Girth Control the Deuce???

    Thanks for the heads up on Lyle’s latest, I dont get over to Monkey Island as much as I need to, I added it to my collection and am looking forward to it.

    Looking forward to the next brotacular AARR.

  15. Sam permalink
    June 6, 2010

    Hoping to read much more of both gents soon

    hmmmm ….

    Lyle’s losing his similarity to Harold Ramis, but I wonder how much he paid for Tom Platz’s chin. I must have missed that ebay auction. 🙂

    And Alan: separated @ birth?

    (only in that one pic though …)

  16. June 6, 2010

    Sam — You’re not the first guy who’s told me I look like Ari Gold. Which, by the way, is pretty hilarious considering our racial difference. This must mean I really fricking look like the guy, hah.

    Pete — I won’t be collabbing with Lyle as originally planned. We both agreed that there would be too much overlap in our approaches to justify both of us being in the same book.

    All — I’m glad you’re getting a kick out of the picture. Lyle & I had a blast talking about products & methods that work, and also laughing over industry BS & BS-ers. Plus, my wife found an excuse to go to IKEA and pretty up the guest room.

  17. BMJ permalink
    June 6, 2010

    That’s a top notch duo right there! Two of the best:)

    I’m trying to figure out which one of you two are taller (or shorter…lol).

    Congrats of the brot-time together, it was bound to happen.

  18. June 6, 2010

    How big is Lyle? I always thought he was a bigger guy both height and weight wise. He looks pretty skinny in the pic.

  19. snorkelman permalink
    June 7, 2010

    It is great to see your work, continue to always refer back to employing science to achieve a desired goal for a specific person. After reading years of confrontations, and the most recent T-hilarity thread, it seems like people who want to cherrypick and create strawmen almost always consistently fail to appreciate that your writings always come back to taking into consideration applying research knowledge and seeing whether a person responds themselves. This blog specifically does exactly that. Anyone who objectively reads your in depth works would realize that your analysis of studies also does this. I appreciate your comments in AARR when you look at a study that was done on the elderly or young females and you make the comment that it may have questionable applicability to trained athletes. These types of comments are often made in passing, as every study has limitations, and sometimes you just go through them in a cursory fashion, but I feel that many people fail to appreciate the significance. This blog post brings things back around that everyone still has to tweak how their knowledge gained from papers impacts their specific goals. Thanks for the reminder.

  20. June 7, 2010

    Snorkelman — That BB.com thread is a complete joke, and the T-mag defender is actually making T-mag forumites look worse than they need to. Regarding individual tweaks, it’s definitely important, and equally important is having a foundational understanding of the science behind what’s getting tweaked.

    BMJ & JP — Lyle & I are about equal in height, I just have about 30 pounds on him (half of which is fat).

  21. June 7, 2010

    Awesome bro-fist, bro.

  22. June 7, 2010

    Awesome bro-fist, bro.

  23. June 8, 2010

    Who’s this Lyle guy?!

  24. June 8, 2010

    “One of the natural progressions of the advanced trainee is an abandonment of certain aspects of traditional/conventional wisdom, in favor of individual response…” – SO true!

  25. June 8, 2010

    Nice bro-fist guys! Keep kicking butt
    rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  26. June 8, 2010

    K — Who are you?

  27. Andrew Lin permalink
    June 8, 2010

    Hey Alan,

    I have long wondered this – what ethnicity ARE you?
    My mind can’t decide

  28. June 8, 2010

    Andrew — I’m Filipino. In other words, a mutt 🙂

  29. anonymouse permalink
    June 9, 2010

    Rule 34 on Lyle and Alan.

  30. June 9, 2010

    Anonymouse – I’m a little behind on my internet slang, but I looked that up, & now I appreciate your comment.

  31. Mark permalink
    June 9, 2010

    I love how it looks like Lyle is reluctantly breaking parade rest position to do the fist bump, while you’re all sideways and into it. Too funny!

  32. June 9, 2010

    Mark — I sprung it on the guy at the last second before the shot was taken – nuthin’ like the element of surprise. I told Lyle that I can retire now that I’ve captured that pic.

  33. sam permalink
    June 10, 2010

    The best 2 nutritional guys in the world under 1 roof. I hope you guys stay friends forever. since any conflict between the 2 of you will make an earthquake in the nutrition world. dont let T-Nation marketers get to your heads !

  34. Andrew Lin permalink
    June 13, 2010

    Lyle + Alan = the secretz to musckle building

  35. June 13, 2010


    I assume that Lyle and yourself took advantage of Gatorades new “Prime/Perform/Recover” system of nutritional fluids to surround/fuel your training sessions?


  36. Kevin permalink
    June 21, 2010

    Hey Alan,

    In the site you linked to Lyle’s article, he talks about low-intensity training and says for moderate athletes 30-60 minutes 3 times per week of low intensity running is plenty. Do you agree that this amount of training is enough to build stamina and how do you determine how low of an intensity (speed to run at) is the correct one?

  37. June 22, 2010

    Kevin — I’m not sure what the context of that recommendation was, so it’s tough to answer such a general question. You should consider asking Lyle that question directly, since he’s the one who wrote the article and would be able to provide an answer within the proper context of what he wrote. Go here: http://forums.lylemcdonald.com/showthread.php?t=5162

  38. darnel permalink
    June 29, 2010

    I have recently wanted to talk to mark rippetoe as he is against any and all stability training. It is impossible to actually have a conversation with the guy and he dodges near everything. What is your stance on it as you train elite level athletes? I am almost finished my cert to become a personal trainer myself, and want to train athletes aswell as this is mostly my back ground. I love the info you have on your site as well as your approach to topics. thanx for the time.

  39. August 19, 2010

    Cool, I have great respect for you both – you are my mentors, together with Martin Berkhan.

  40. Paul Skavland permalink
    September 27, 2010

    yeah +1 to all the above. I found you through Lyle and I’m grateful. Now I even found James Krieger too. The more intelligent voices out there, the better! =)

  41. Paul Skavland permalink
    September 27, 2010

    … and speaking of Ikea, I have the lamp in that photo in my house too! *grin*

  42. Kevin Deydier permalink
    January 7, 2012

    Hey Alan, i have a question, do you ship your book worldwide i would really like to buy it, thanks !

  43. January 8, 2012

    Kevin — worldwide.

    Other commenters I missed from last year — let me know whether you’re still checking this & I’ll answer your Q’s. Sometimes it’s tough to keep up with coments on blog posts other than the latest one.

Comments are closed.