You Don’t Need Tech to Get Swole (but It Helps)

This week, we talk to fitness writer Casey Johnston about getting strong, eating right, and feeling great.
Closeup of a person wearing gym clothes and lifting a kettlebell weight
Photograph: EF Volart/Getty Images

The weather is warming up in our part of the world, which means people are starting to think a little more about getting outside and being active, and maybe doing so in a little less clothing than usual. So we’re dedicating this week’s Gadget Lab episode to fitness. Our guest is the author Casey Johnston, who writes about weight lifting, nutrition, and fitness trends in her newsletter, She’s a Beast, and her book, Liftoff: Couch to Barbell.

We talk to Casey about her own fitness journey, and how to navigate all the high-tech and low-tech solutions for achieving better health, from fitness trackers and online videos to finding a workout regimen that meets your goals.

Show Notes

Subscribe to Casey’s newsletter. Check out her ebook about weight lifting


Casey recommends the game Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Mike recommends saving your pickle brine and using it in other recipes instead of just dumping it out. Lauren recommends the podcast Wiser Than Me, hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Casey Johnston can be found on Twitter @caseyjohnston. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

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Lauren Goode: Mike.

Michael Calore: Lauren.

Lauren Goode: Mike, a lot of our listeners probably don't know this, but sometimes you and I tape a podcast while we are running.

Michael Calore: That's right. We do, we—

Lauren Goode: And we just never air the podcast.

Michael Calore: Yeah, I would call it gossiping.

Lauren Goode: Right, it's not actually a podcast. We're just talking junk as we run.

Michael Calore: Yes, I am recording them though.

Lauren Goode: Oh, you are?

Michael Calore: Yes. Oh, did you not know that?

Lauren Goode: We're in a two-party-consent state.

Michael Calore: I'm just kidding. In that case, I was not recording anything that we said last time we took a run.

Lauren Goode: But you've actually been running a lot this year, and it's awesome. What inspired this?

Michael Calore: Have you ever had that thing happen where you go to tie your shoes and you get winded?

Lauren Goode: No, but I've had that going up flights of stairs that typically I would be able to go up without panting.

Michael Calore: Yeah, same, same.

Lauren Goode: So that happened?

Michael Calore: Yes, and I decided to do something about it, so I decided to start running a lot more.

Lauren Goode: Do you have any tips and tricks for those who are looking to get off the couch and do a 5K? I know there are apps for this.

Michael Calore: Talk to a coach, talk to somebody who's very smart about fitness and understands your particular challenges and can give you good expert advice.

Lauren Goode: Lucky for everyone listening. We're bringing someone just like that on the show today. I'm so excited.

Michael Calore: Let's do it.

[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]

Lauren Goode: Hi everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I'm Lauren Goode. I'm a senior writer at WIRED

Michael Calore: And I am Michael Calore. I'm a senior editor at WIRED.

Lauren Goode: We're also joined today by a very special guest writer, Casey Johnston. It's so great to have you on the show.

Casey Johnston: Hi, thank you for having me.

Lauren Goode: So today we're getting schooled. OK, not really, but we've been wanting to talk about exercise in tech for a few reasons. One, it's nearly summer in this part of the world, which means people are starting to think a little bit more about getting out and doing things and sometimes wearing a little less clothing than usual. Two, digital fitness has infiltrated our world in recent years, and the pandemic really accelerated that trend. And three, there's a much broader conversation happening right now around weight and health and body positivity, and how maybe our fitness goals shouldn't be about being somebody else's ideal, but about being strong and functional. And honestly, as soon as we started talking about this among our little pod group here, we said we have to get Casey Johnston on the show. We basically emailed her and said, Casey, will you please please come on the show? We emailed her this week. Please come on the show. So Casey, we are so thrilled to have you.

Casey Johnston: That was such a quick jump from, we are talking about this, you have to have me on immediately. That was, it really did happen that fast. Things don't always. A Lot of people schedule their stuff out really far in advance. I don't mean to make you sound unprepared, but—

Michael Calore: Oh no, we do this show every week, and every week it's like, all right, what are we doing?

Casey Johnston: Yeah, that's how I do everything that I do also, it brings a little sort of a la minute element to everything, an energy that people love. They don't know that it's there, but that's what you love about us.

Lauren Goode: Now for those who aren't familiar, Casey writes a newsletter called She's a Beast, that's all about fitness and strength training. She has an ebook that's an introduction to lifting called Liftoff: Couch to Barbell, and she's also working on a forthcoming book about the science and culture of strength training. So Casey, we have a bunch of questions for you today, and we should also note that you were one of us at one point. You worked in newsrooms, you were writing about tech, and then you got really into lifting and you went totally independent. So maybe we should first ask you, how did you get so into lifting?

Casey Johnston: I actually had for several years prior to that been a runner. I got into running just as a, I don't feel that great physically. I want to lose weight. I feel bad about myself. I need to do exercise. I hate exercising. I hate the idea of exercising, but I feel like I have to, what's the lowest barrier to entry? And that ended up being, I was like, OK, running requires very little overhead. There's no class format, there's no special equipment. I don't have to go to a gym. You just put on the shoes, you go outside and you run. And so I got into running, and I hated every minute of it, but I felt like that was what I had to do. And I got to a point where I was just, I felt like I was running more and more. I ran a few half-marathons, and I was proud of those accomplishments, but I was also still focused on my body weight and how I looked. And I felt like I was not reaching a point where I could just stop thinking so much about it. I was trying to eat healthy, but not very much. And I was trying to run, and I was like, I just want to get to a point where this feels “set it and forget it” and I don't have to think so much. And then around 2013, '14, I happened to cross a post on Reddit where a woman was describing her experience with lifting weights for six months, and she had before and after photos, and like, my lifts went from this to this and here's the broad strokes of the program that I'm doing, and here's how long it takes me every time I do it, which was only, I think it was 30 minutes and it was only three days a week. And she was like, I'm trying to eat more. And I was just like, what are you talking about “trying to eat more” when you're working out? So looking at all this, I was like, I'm running several hours a week and this lady's in the gym for 30 minutes three times a week. She's eating a lot of food. And the big thing that stuck out about her photos to me that I think did for a lot of people, because this post went very viral at the time, was that she had gotten a little bit smaller. She was more "toned" from the beginning of it to six months in. And I was just like, hold on, I have only ever heard that lifting will make you bulky. And yet here is this lady lifting very heavy weights, doing all of the extreme bro stuff in the gym. And not only has it not done what I was told that it would do, it has done everything that I wished that running and all of my dieting would've done to my body, but for way less effort, she sounds much happier than I felt at the time. So I was just, no one told me about this. Why doesn't anybody know about this? And I looked into it more and did a lot of research online, which at the time there were not amazing resources for transitioning somebody like me who didn't know the first thing about lifting weights. But I cobbled it all together for myself and I almost instantly loved it. I just loved the style of training so much. It was very gratifying to get stronger. But also the workouts were shorter, and they involved, you go to the gym, get set up for your squats, you do five squats and then rest for a minute, and then do five more squats and rest for a minute, five more squats, and then you're done with squats. And everything that I had ever known about lifting up till that point was, you're doing three sets of 20 of chair dips and as fast as you can and you're super-setting things and all of this—it was very frenetic and a lot of activity. Whereas this was very focused on intensity and building strength and creating progress so that you're getting stronger every time you go to the gym, you're adding a little bit of weight, and before you know it, you're lifting quite a lot of weight without having to be this really already talented person at lifting. You're not an Olympic athlete or a football player, you're just a normal guy at the gym adding a little bit of weight every time, and it just all sort of works and it turns out your body is made for this. It's good at building muscle through this process. And I just didn't know about any of this.

Michael Calore: I also didn't know that, and I feel like I learned that from you. I think when you started writing about this stuff and you started your newsletter, it was part of a wave of education that was coming out about this, particularly fitness for women and particularly women who lift. And I'm hoping you can talk a little bit about that wave that you were part of. I would say you were at the front of the wave, maybe you don't feel that way, but there are a lot of resources out there for women who want to lift now, and I think you were one of the first, if not the most prominent of those.

Casey Johnston: Yeah, I don't want to claim any specific spot, like I was the first to do X, Y, Z, but I do think I felt pulled between these two sides, where there was two broad camps, there were women who were what we call “bikini-class bodybuilders,” which was at the time the smallest class that you could be, and you lift a certain way and diet a certain way with the idea of having a very specific aesthetic. And then you do a show and you're judged on the shape of your muscles. And then on the other end of the lifting spectrum, there were powerlifters, strength athletes, Olympic weight lifters, some of them were women, most of them were men, and they still are unfortunately. But they were increasingly putting resources online about how to lift. And I think frankly there was a real explosion too just with everyone having a phone in their pocket because being able to record yourself and see your lifts and show them to other people is such a core part of lifting to make sure you're doing it right. That was not easy to do pre-smartphone. In the past, if you wanted to do it, you would have to be part of the social fabric of the gym and have a bro checking your form, and what does he know? Maybe a lot, maybe nothing, who knows. But yeah, there was a lot of variety of resources out there, and I had a specific thing that I wanted where I was, I think I was more on the powerlifting end of the spectrum, where I got into this with a view toward an aesthetic. I had always wanted to lose weight. I felt like I wanted to look a certain way. I was never getting there. But then once I got into this I was like, oh, this is giving me a different feeling about my body and actually eating—

Michael Calore: You were strong.

Casey Johnston: Actually eating food and all of these things reshaped my thinking about it, not just in a intellectual way, but I've learned later that dieting too much literally makes your brain work in a certain way where you get very rigid, very fearful about following rules and these kinds of things. It becomes self-reinforcing, where the more you diet, you're like, “I need to diet, I need to be skinny, I need to have a low body weight, otherwise no one's going to like me.” If you believe those things, dieting is going to make you so much more fearful to not follow those rules. So just going back to eating and getting into this more constructive cycle of, I'm lifting, I'm building muscle, I'm building strength, and I'm eating food to enable that, to have those things all working together and reinforcing each other was an incredibly gratifying experience compared to the opposite end of the spectrum, when I had been trying to do the most and the least at the same time, and they were just fighting each other really bad.

Lauren Goode: Casey, I remember DM-ing with you at one point when I had gotten back into lifting, partly because I had a knee injury and, to your earlier point, running was just painful and I wasn't really enjoying it. But I do remember one of the things that I really liked about your writing was that you were basically, I would sum up your ethos as very much “Eat the cookies,” just don't deny yourself, especially if you're lifting, you're burning so much food for fuel at that point. And I feel like we could talk about that forever. But I also wanted to get the chance to ask you before the break about your relationship to tech, because you are this brand and you're building this brand online, but I've seen video clips of you working out, and you're not wearing all the latest wearables and gadgets. So what is your relationship to technology as part of your health and fitness routine?

Casey Johnston: Yeah, that's a good question. I've dabbled in wearables over the years. Going back to when I was a gadget blogger myself, reviewing Fitbits and things like this, so I'm familiar. I understand what the offering is. But yeah, I think those gadgets are not super additive in terms of what most people need to accomplish, what it is that they want to get out of, especially strength training, but eating. A lot of them don't even track strength training that well, which is lame, but it's, do you have the basic building blocks? It's, are you eating enough? Are you training the right amount at the right intensity? Are you putting in effort? Are you taking your rest days? It's just whether you're doing those things or not that matters, so much more than whether you're doing them exactly perfectly in a way that needs to be measured by an Apple Watch or whatever the device may be. When I was getting more into lifting, and my brain felt super broken about food intake and how much I should be eating, so I used at the time MyFitnessPal just to log my food and to kind of puzzle-piece together different meals. It's OK, I need this much chicken breast and this many pieces of bread and this salad and whatever. And it just allowed me to see how it all fit together. And then I have gone back and forth on tracking my actual lifting in a spreadsheet, just logging the weights and the reps and those kinds of things and how I felt. But I've also done it with just a notebook and that's, it's just a little bit more flexible to be able to write certain things down. And I think that's kind of it as far as tech gadgets go.

Lauren Goode: Sounds healthy all around, to be honest. All right, we're going to take a quick break and then come back with more fitness talk.


Lauren Goode: OK, we've kept all of you waiting for long enough. Now we're actually going to ask Casey not just about her career, but her health and fitness tips, many of which she explains in greater detail in her newsletter, She's A Beast, so that's a shameless plug. Subscribe to Casey Johnson's newsletter, She's A Beast. Casey, where should we begin? And by that I literally mean, if someone wants to get started lifting, what's the first thing they should do?

Casey Johnston: What should they do to get started lifting? They should, I have to say, buy my book Liftoff: Couch to Barbell just because that's really honestly, I made it because there's really not that many resources. If your goal is to learn to get stronger, to add that little bit of weight every time and do everything with good form, a lot of fitness programs are not based around that. They're just giving you activities day after day. This is really designed to help you build the skills of lifting, learning how to do it and how to get stronger. So a plug for my book, if that's something that you're interested in. I think there's a lot online about how to learn to squat, how to learn a deadlift. It can be a little bit of varying quality, but we're really living in an incredible time where it's so much easier to share information about this stuff. In the past it would've been like, you have to buy a book and read these. The way that I learned in part was to buy a 400-page book that had literally 100 pages just on squatting, and there were photos and stuff, but a lot of it was just explanatory text of how things should move and what things should feel like. Videos can do a lot of the work of that. It can take a lot of the pressure off of having to minutely describe everything. So I would say that's not a bad place to start. I think Mike's tip about finding a coach is a really good one. That can be tricky also, but an interaction that you should feel comfortable having with a personal trainer is to say, here's my goals, I want to learn to lift heavy weights, and then expect the personal trainer to help you get to that point. It's not supposed to be an interaction where it's, you do the personal traine's program because the personal trainer says. There are people like that, but that doesn't have to be that way. I think joining a gym has become a bit of a fraught thing. During Covid, access to gyms was really spotty. I think more and more people are going back. I think there's a lot of stuff that you can get in a gym that you can't get working out at home. It's so much easier to use the weights that are in a gym. They already are at all of the increments that you need in order to get stronger. They have all of the dumbbells, they have the barbells and the plates and the racks. You don't need to know how to use them right away. You can work into using them, and I think that's a thing that a lot of people don't know, they're like, “Oh, I have to be strong enough to do this.” Or “I'm not the type of person to do it.” And that's not the case at all. Anybody can learn to lift a barbell. A barbell is 45 pounds. It might sound like a lot of weight, but when you're doing these big movements that use a lot of your big muscles at once, you can do a lot more than you think, and that's one of the really gratifying parts of this. I spent a lot of time also when I was getting into lifting, just practicing at home, the movements, the up and down of it, no weight, just using literally a Swiffer handle as the barbell on my back and trying to get the movement patterns down.

Lauren Goode: Would you call those cleans? Sorry, that was really bad.

Casey Johnston: The cleanest type of clean.

Michael Calore: What about nutrition? What are the biggest or most important changes that people should understand they're going to have to make in how they eat and what they eat when they start a fitness journey for the first time?

Casey Johnston: Fitness in general, I found even when I was getting into running, my tolerance for not eating healthy went down, and it's like you just feel so much worse trying to work out if you're not eating a vegetable every now and then, or even now I would say getting an adequate amount of fuel, it is not wasting a workout. This is something that I really believed. It is not wasting a workout to eat afterward; that's the time you need to eat is after a workout, because your body needs to start the rebuilding process. And that's especially true of strength training. And then when it comes to strength training, the number one thing you probably need to do is eat more protein. It takes a lot of protein to build new muscle, but you can kind of work up to it as long as you have patience about the process. It's not everything is going to come together right away if you're not sure how to get enough protein in your diet, but you don't have to put the pressure on yourself to do it perfectly right away.

Lauren Goode: And that doesn't necessarily have to mean meat either. People can get protein from all different sources.

Casey Johnston: No, yeah, you can do Greek yogurt, eggs, Impossible meats, there's lot of options.

Michael Calore: I put a scoop or a scoop and a half of hemp protein powder in my overnight oats—the recipe for which I got from you, and that is actually really helpful. You just put as much protein powder into your smoothies or into your overnight oats as you can handle because it doesn't taste very good and has a weird grittiness to it but—

Casey Johnston: Well, hemp protein especially.

Lauren Goode: We are in San Francisco, so we're practically required to eat things like this here.

Michael Calore: Yes, we are.

Casey Johnston: Very fair. But yeah, I put half a scoop in my oats still almost every day. So yeah, having a supplement, you don't want to make the whole diet out of the protein powder, but that helps, it goes a long way to do a little bit of protein powder for sure.

Lauren Goode: Casey, what about sleep? How much are you sleeping these days?

Casey Johnston: I would say, the main thing to know is that rest in general, not just sleeping but having what we call rest days in lifting, that's when the muscle is really built. So you need to take time between your sessions to give your body the space to process all of the protein, but also the carbs and the fats and to refuel your body and be ready for the next session. So that's part of this whole picture, what happens when you sleep as well. I am not an amazing sleeper I would say. I am a waker-upper in the middle of the night for a couple of hours, but because my schedule is flexible, it's not the end of the world for me, at least for right now, but I try to get my eight hours. I don't stress about that too much. I think we can get too stressed about, am I getting enough of the perfect kind of sleep? So with that in mind, that's like don't stress about it too much, but you do need it. It is part of this picture for sure.

Michael Calore: Do we need to weigh ourselves every day?

Casey Johnston: Nothing is against the rules, I would say, as long as you're not doing it in a way that is toxic to yourself. But I have trouble picturing a health practice where weighing yourself every day is something that someone's doing and they're feeling a-OK about themselves. What I would say, if someone were asking me, they've achieved neutrality toward their body size and they're just trying to make some changes. What I've done in the past is weigh myself every few days, every three days, every five days, and I track it just because, especially for, actually, I don't think men have this problem. Women have this problem where we have our menstrual cycles and that causes our weight to fluctuate over the course of four to five weeks, depending on the length of your cycle. So you see the chart go—I'm making a very jagged motion with my hand—so by tracking it …

Lauren Goode: I'm sitting here right now, Casey, with my pants unbuckled, literally, so I totally know this feeling.

Casey Johnston: Yes, so by tracking it, you can see the overall trend. Your weight shouldn't change that much day-to-day. In general, it's a hard thing to see on a one day to the next cycle. You can see it over a month. Usually the recommendation, probably everyone's heard this in magazines, you can do more specific math for your own body, but the recommendations are depending on your size, it scales with your size, how much weight change you really should be trying to produce every week or every month. And it's not that much. It's like a few pounds a month. It should be slow and gradual. Otherwise, you're kind of doing damage in all kinds of ways that's going to come back to bite you.

Lauren Goode: Casey, if I can ask you quickly, how should people go about starting a new program in a way that they don't get hurt?

Casey Johnston: This is a good question. I get a lot of people who are further along in their journey with their body where they're like, "I have injuries, I have health issues and these kinds of things and what do I do?" It's hard to address everything in a sweeping way because you can have all kinds of stuff going on. I would say the main thing is don't get discouraged, don't count yourself out of doing something like lifting. A lot of people think having a back problem is a contra indicator to lifting. If you have back problems, you shouldn't lift. That is not necessarily true. A lot of times even I don't want anyone to go out and be like, "Casey said I could." And then go out and start dead lifting even though they have a slipped disc, but know intellectually that it is possible and then seek an expert opinion. Ideally you want a trainer or I would even recommend a power lifting coach to work with. A thing that people don't know about coaches and trainers a lot of the time is they think, oh, I need to be ready to go. I need to be in perfect health in order for working with a coach or a trainer to be worth it. And I just want to say the number one thing people should know is that no one knows more and knows better about working with injured people than a power lifting coach. People get hurt in these sports all of the time in surmountable ways. Working around injuries and recovering from injuries is the whole thing. It's to expect that you'll never get injured or never have a health issue in your fitness journey is a false thing. Don't participate in that. Everything is about learning to manage and recover from these less than ideal scenarios. You need to be able to, it's this bigger picture thing of learning to accept less than perfection was always difficult for me, but it's part of the beauty of this process is that you're learning these bigger lessons through going through the motions of this act.

Michael Calore: Just like journalism.

Casey Johnston: Exactly. I know I'm always accepting less than perfection in my journalism.

Lauren Goode: A lot of great life lessons there. Thank you for that. We're going to take another quick break and come back with our recommendations.


Lauren Goode: Casey, as our guest of honor, what's your recommendation this week?

Casey Johnston: My recommendation for anything in the whole world?

Lauren Goode: It can be anything. One of our former staffers once recommended both sliced lemons and keeping the top button of your shirt open, which we're still a little unsure about. Anything.

Casey Johnston: Embrace your body I say. OK, well, I feel like I'm going to be stealing the good answer, but pursuant to what I was saying about resting, part of that I feel like is having good activities to do while you're sitting down. My activity this week has been Tears of the Kingdom. Legend of Zelda. I don't even know how many hours I have in it just because I think the switch is not telling you in a very strange way. It's the little dialogue where it normally says hours played, it just says, oh, you bought it three days ago but it's not disclosing to me how many hours it's been, but it's been a lot of hours.

Lauren Goode: What is time? Yeah.

Casey Johnston: What is time? And it's as good as I could have hoped for it to be. As somebody who played Breath of Wild all the way through, I think I was halfway through or three quarters of the way through master mode. It's really that game. It's doing wonders for me.

Michael Calore: Nice.

Lauren Goode: I really like Casey that you're sticking with the theme of recommending things that never go out of style like Nintendo and barbells and food, there's just-

Casey Johnston: Yeah, it's just the basics. Trendy things, just think back on all the trendy things that you've seen and how many of them really actually helped anyone or persisted, it's just the, you got to stick with the basics, invest in the basics.

Lauren Goode: It's Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and Nintendo is somewhere in there too.

Casey Johnston: So the capsule wardrobe of working out is lift your weights, eat your food, go to sleep.

Lauren Goode: Play Zelda.

Casey Johnston: Play Zelda.

Lauren Goode: Mike, what's your recommendation?

Michael Calore: All right, so summer's here, we're approaching barbecue season. We've got Memorial Day coming up in a short while. We've got 4th of July coming up in a short while, so you're going to be going to a lot of cookouts. My recommendation is save the pickle brine. Pickle brine is one of those things that is nearly infinitely reusable in your kitchen, and I always save the pickle brine. I'm not a big fan of the ones that have a ton of sugar in them, but all pickle brine will be salty. They'll be a little bit sweet. They'll be sour and vinegary and they'll have aromatics infused in them like dill and garlic and spices. You can use it in all sorts of things to jazz up all sorts of things, you can put it in your pasta sauce, you can put it in your salad dressings. You can make vodka martinis with it, if you're a vodka martini person. You can make hot sauce out of it. Pickle brine hot sauce is a delight if you make your own hot sauces or you can just buy hot sauce and then dilute it with pickle brine and then put it in a squeeze bottle and then put it on absolutely everything from french fries to hotdogs to chips and other things with potatoes in them. That's my recommendation, save the pickle brine, don't toss it at your next barbecue.

Lauren Goode: And it never goes bad.

Michael Calore: Well, it's salty enough where it will not go bad for a very, very long time. But yeah, it can live in your fridge for I would say 10 months.

Lauren Goode: It sounds gross, but I trust you.

Michael Calore: There are people who drink it as a chaser after whiskey. I'm not one of those people, so I'm not that nuts for it. But I will say that when I see people finish the last pickle and then the jar is half full of brine and then they dump it, I'm like, what are you doing? You're throwing away one of the best seasonings you have in your kitchen right now.

Lauren Goode: I'd like to picture you being that guy at the barbecue. You run over and you're like, "You save the pickle juice." And you're like, "Hey man."

Casey Johnston: Just cradling the pickle jar like a baby and running out of there.

Michael Calore: Yeah, no shame in this game. I mean, I would probably go over and politely ask, "Can I have that instead of you throwing it away?"

Lauren Goode: Take it off your hands.

Michael Calore: Yeah, I don't eat meat. I don't know if you know this about me, but I don't eat meat.

Lauren Goode: I don't know.

Michael Calore: But for people who do, you can also use it to marinate meat. So if you want to marinate beef or chicken in, it's also really good for that. So yeah, tons of uses. Look it up, do a little bit of research on the interweb and you'll find all kinds of great things that you could do instead of dumping it down the drain.

Lauren Goode: Nice. I'd like to imagine if you were ever a New Yorker, you'd be that guy hanging outside at Katz's just being like, "Hey, have any half used pickle jars over here because."

Michael Calore: Katz's, is that a pet supply store?

Lauren Goode: It's a, oh God, I don't even know what to do with you sometimes.

Michael Calore: What's your recommendation then?

Lauren Goode: Speaking of New Yorkers, my recommendation this week is a new podcast hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. A lot of you know who she is, but for those who don't, Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, also Veep in Veep. She's an amazing, amazing actor and she has a new podcast called Wiser Than Me, which I think plays in nicely to the theme of this episode because the premise of the show is that she interviews women who are older than her. Julia is in her 60s now, but she interviews people like Jane Fonda, Fran Lebowitz, Darlene Love, Ruth Reichl, and she asks them basically about their lives. They talk about some of the sexism they've encountered in their careers. They talk about, I don't know, their relationships. If they have children, their children who in many cases are now adults. They talk about the obstacles they've overcome in life, but they talk about staying young at heart and staying healthy. And so there's a pretty consistent theme so far across the episodes I've listened to. And many of the women say, you have to keep moving. That's the key to aging gracefully. And not just extending your lifespan, but extending your health span. You have to just keep active, keep moving, keep sharp, and I love it.

Michael Calore: That's great.

Lauren Goode: I love this podcast so much. I can't wait to listen to more episodes.

Michael Calore: How long are the interviews?

Lauren Goode: They're about an hour long.

Michael Calore: About an hour.

Lauren Goode: Yeah, Isabel Allende, that was the other one, loved that one.

Michael Calore: Nice.

Lauren Goode: So so good. Yeah, so I highly recommend it, Wiser Than Me. And Julia's just like she's an amazingly, she's a great interviewer. I shouldn't be surprised by that because she's clearly very good at speaking, articulating, delivering.

Michael Calore: It's a skill.

Lauren Goode: But it is a skill.

Michael Calore: It's a total, it's a learned skill.

Lauren Goode: Yeah, and she's great. And then she calls her mother at the end of every episode and she's like, "Mom, I talked to Jane Fonda." And then they have this really great little dialogue and it's very endearing.

Michael Calore: That's great. Nice.

Lauren Goode: So that is what I recommend this week. All right. That's our show this week. Casey, it's been such a delight. Thank you so much for joining us and inspiring us.

Casey Johnston: Thank you for having me.

Lauren Goode: And thanks to all of you for listening. If you have feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter. I think we're all on Bluesky now too.

Michael Calore: I've been on Bluesky for an hour.

Casey Johnston: Wow.

Lauren Goode: Find us on Bluesky. It's where all the cool kids are hanging. Just check the show notes. We'll include our handles. Our producer is the excellent Boone Ashworth, who I might add also helped inspire this show. This was actually his idea. Boone is starting a new fitness journey. We're now calling him swole Boone affectionately. So find swole Boone on Bluesky once we get him an invite. Goodbye for now and we'll be back soon.

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