Stan Efferding: “Sleep Is the Foundation Upon Which Everything Else Is Built”

Efferding returns for his third interview on Generation Iron's "The Mike O'Hearn Show."

Episode 24 of The Mike O’Hearn Show was published on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Nov. 18, 2022, and featured round three with powerlifterbodybuilder, and creator of the vertical dietStan Efferding. Their first interview in August 2022 discussed sustainability and the human body’s regenerative nature. In their second interview in September 2022, Efferding weighed cardio’s importance against one’s overall fitness level.

Their third interview discussed recovery, training, nutrition, and other details for elite athletes.

Elites continue to learn. Only beginners know everything.

O’Hearn made clear that the discussion with Efferding was geared toward “the pinnacle athlete” — those in the top five percent of athletes in the gym. So while the advice may not necessarily apply to someone early in their fitness journey, the lessons are scalable. Check it out in the video below:

[Related: Jeff Nippard’s 3 Time-Saving Tips For Efficient Workouts]

Sleep

The first topic revolved around recovery at the necessity of adequate sleep. Efferding considers sufficient sleep to be “critical.” 

It is the foundation upon which everything else sits.

Efferding is well-versed in scientific research that supports sleep as a suggested means for improved recovery, weight loss, better performance, improved hormone levels (e.g., testosterone and cortisol), and insulin sensitivity. Efferding pushes for seven or more hours of sleep every night because each 90-minute block of time spent asleep has a compounding restorative value via stage four REM sleep.

There’s linear equation between sleep loss and injury.

Efferding’s clients are asked to send him their sleep volume daily so he can ensure they’ve slept enough to handle his programming.

[Related: Men’s Open Olympia Competitor James Hollingshead Cosplays as Kratos from “God of War” Video Game at Comic Con]

Cardio

Efferding says that “increasing the VO2 max is always going to lead to a better lifespan.” Additionally, improved VO2 max will aid recovery. Efferding improved his VO2 max by lifting weights with higher volume and shorter rest times between sets rather than just moving on a treadmill or stairclimber.

Using cardio to improve “general physical preparedness” when increasing work capacity or prepping for a big lift can be helpful. It can further aid recovery when the body is under more stress from that training. That improved recovery can lead to faster progress. 

There isn’t an arbitrary amount of cardio that is correct for everyone. Cardio can be acquired by resistance training, running, or any other physical activity that sufficiently elevates the heart rate. General movement throughout the day, whether walking, biking, or any other casual physical activity, will offer better physical fitness than those who remain sedentary throughout the day.

Watch the full episode in the video above to learn the other valuable training tips that Efferding’s insight provides.

Featured image: @stanefferding on Instagram