18SP 004: Dr. Mark Smith |High Intensity Training | Paleo for Golfers | Cardiovascular Health

Dr. Mark Smith is one of the most educated and knowledgeable fitness professionals I have had the opportunity to meet and pick his brain.

As you’ll hear in this episode, he has been a part of some very interesting and popular research topics, providing first hand evidence and information that will have a huge impact on how you train.

Trust me, you may want to take some notes in this episode!

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Mark’s Background

  • Attended Loughborough University of Technology in England
  • Masters in Exercises and Sports Science at Colorado State University
  • Doctorate in Physiology
  • Expert on High Intensity Interval Training
  • Works out of Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA
  • Advisory Board member and Instructor for the Titleist Performance Institute
  • Tennis and Rugby player growing up
  • His Doctoral focus was on heart disease and arteriosclerosis
  • Was involved in the research at beginning of the Paleo Diet movement with Dr. Loren Cordain
  • Began working on High Intensity Interval Training research
  • Started working with Greg Rose and Dave Phillips, joined the board for TPI (Titleist Performance Institute)


  • Mark works with many individuals that are not professional golfers
  • Golfers are starting to train more like athletes, which has had a big impact on their distance

What are some of the big nutrition mistakes that golfers are making?

  • Not realizing that nutrition is important in their ability to play longer and with less injury
  • Not switching to more of a Paleo style diet
  • Not paying attention to blood sugar levels when competing
  • Need a long term plan (lifestyle habits) vs just focusing on day to day nutrition or game day nutrition
  • Not following the 80/20 rule
  • Get off the GMO’s

What is Paleo?

  • Refers to what humans ate in “pre-agricultural times”
  • Lean protein
  • lots of veggies (potatoes and legumes are not veggies)
  • Beans/legumes are out (acidic, possible inflammatory response)
  • Grains are out
  • Dairy is out
  • Avoiding limiting grains, legumes, dairy, and processed food
  • Can eat lean protein, veggies, fruits, nuts
  • Dr. Mark’s website: docsmith.org
  • Dr. Cordain’s website: thepaleodiet.com

High Intensity Interval Training

  • Dr. Mark’s research paper on Interval Training: Sprint Interval Training
  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): training at a high level of intensity for a short duration with short rest periods or less intense periods in between (with shorter duration rests, your body is not able to recover enough to get back to maximal effort)
  • SHIIT (Supermaximal/Sprint Interval Training): the sprints are at maximal intensity followed by up to 4 min recovery period. With the longer rest period, the body is able to recover better and is able to get to super max levels for the next sprints
  • Golf is more like hammer throwing than a marathon runner
  • Wants his clients doing more maximal effort sprints than endurance exercise
  • Need at least a 4min recovery period (with a 1 minute sprint) to be able to get your intensity level up again for the next sprint
  • Good for all populations to build strength and conditioning (Mark uses his 84y.o. client as an example
  • As you get more fit, don’t go longer (with your sprints), go harder!
  • Long duration exercise has as much or more of a risk factor for heart attacks than the high intensity training (Mark provides a research example, which is also explained in his paper)


Mark’s 5 simple movements when needing a quick workout

  • Push something
  • Pull something
  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Lunge

TPI Website (exercises)

Tabata: Not a supermaximal intensity interval protocol (not the best protocol for a power or sprint athlete)

Gibala: 30 sec, 4min recovery (named after Marty Gibala) Mark believes this is a more optimal approach for the power and sprint athlete.

Pregame breakfast and in round snacks

  • Turkey
  • Jerkey
  • Nuts
  • Banana
  • Mini meals
  • carrots, broccoli
  • Just make it real food!

What does Dr. Mark Smith struggle with in his Diet?

  • not letting the 80/20 rule turn into the 70/30 rule
  • Chips and salsa

How’s your golf game?

  • Has played only 3x this year
  • As good as its ever been for as little as he has played
  • struggles with chipping
  • struggles with focusing and consistency
  • recommends checking out (Vision 54)

Last Piece of Advice and Action Steps

  • Find a certified trainer, get evaluated and get a program designed for you

Where to find the Doc

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