Dr. Mike Israetel Analyzes Joe Rogan, His Training, and PED Use

Exercise scientist Dr. Mike Israetel takes Joe Rogan to task.

A well-respected voice in the fitness and bodybuilding space, Dr. Mike Israetel knows a thing or ten about building quality muscle. Holding a PhD in sports physiology, Israetel is well-versed in what it takes to produce elite strength and build elite muscle. With all his knowledge, as well as his sarcastic wit, Israetel has made it his mission in recent years to investigate the training regimes of anyone from actors to athletes and take them to task. In one of his most recent episodes for Renaissance Periodization, Israetel examined the training and lifestyle of the popular Joe Rogan with his usual comedic flair.


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A staple in the comedy, podcast, and MMA space, Joe Rogan is one of the most popular and recognized figures on the internet today. With a number-one podcast and his affinity for fitness and mixed martial arts, Rogan has generated quite the following throughout his career. Always seeking to stay in top condition, Rogan takes his training and lifestyle seriously. Just the kind of individual Dr. Mike Israetel likes to examine.

Rogan and The Kettlebell

To begin with, Israetel focuses on Rogan’s love of kettlebells. A multipurpose tool that can help anyone get in great shape. Rogan himself loves utilizing kettlebells because they allow you to build functional strength. Israetel didn’t outright bash Rogan’s usage of kettlebells, but he did have his critiques nonetheless.

“Kettlebells are pretty cool for that [functional training]. I will say that almost everything kettlebells, almost everything kettlebells do well, barbells and dumbbells do better. If you really like kettlebells how they make you feel, how the movement is, there’s not a goddamn thing wrong with them.

Joe Rogan kettlebell training
Joe Rogan is a massive fan of kettlebell training

“But I would say over-indexing on kettlebells as a first priority trying to figure out your fitness, I would say barbells and dumbbells first. Also bodyweight movements, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, they are unbelievable.”

Dr. Mike Israetel would go on to break down his thoughts on functional training. According to Israetel, “there’s nothing more ‘functional’ about a kettlebell relative to a dumbbell or barbell” though he does admit that, “machines are less functional because they stabilize you while you do the exercise.”

PED Usage

After analyzing Joe Rogan and his love of kettlebell training, Dr. Mike Israetel goes on to examine the podcast host’s usage of performance-enhancing drugs. The main focus was on Rogan’s usage of TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), something he openly admits to using. Again, Israetel didn’t bash the usage of TRT. In fact, the good doctor praised its usage…if it’s needed.

“The thing with TRT is it can be absolutely transformational if you need it. But if you get your test levels back and they are totally normal, you probably don’t need it. One of two things will happen.

“You’ll take it and you’ll get all these nasty side effects and you’ll have to inject yourself all the time for no reason or you’ll take the TRT and the injections are fine and everything is fine, it’s not a bother, but kind of nothing will happen.”

Analyzing with nuisance, Israetel explains that TRT is a great tool if you have lower testosterone levels. But if your levels are normal the doctor believes TRT is unnecessary to take. Ultimately lifestyle choices are a major indicator of whether or not TRT usage is necessary. In this, Israetel and Rogan see eye to eye.


As far as Dr. Mike Israetel is concerned, he defers with Joe Rogan on the subject of sugar intake. While Rogan says sugar is horrible for you, Israetel had a different take.

“Almost all scientists say that sugar is totally fine being that it’s not bringing in a ton of excess calories. That’s how sugar is bad. Also, if you’re eating a ton of processed garbage, it doesn’t really matter if it’s processed garbage protein, sugar, or carbohydrate which is simple sugars, or fats, it’s all fucking dog shit.”

The focus of Rogan’s diet critique would switch to the subject of seed oils. Israetel again defers with the popular podcast host.

“I’ll just say it now. Seed oils are not controversial.

“They’ve studied this more or less into the ground and there’s not a goddamn thing wrong with seed oils. They are totally fine and totally healthy in most contexts.”

Lastly, Dr. Mike Israetel critiques the carnivore diet, which Joe Rogan is a huge fan of.


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A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Israetel gives the good and the bad with the meat-based diet in comparison to consuming carbohydrates.

“The carnivore diet can keep your energy levels relatively stable. The bad thing is the carnivore diet, how do I put this; carbohydrates are the undisputed forever king of performance nutrition.

“You want to perform at your best in grappling, lifting, running, in doing whatever it is you do that takes lots of high-intensity effort and focus and a huge physical demand, there’s no replacing carbs.”

In regard to the carnivore diet, Israetel suggested to tweak things a bit with some of his personal tips. He says to try eating regular meals with plenty of protein & fat in each, stating that fats slow down digestion. He also suggested choosing low-glycemic carbs like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains ranging from 50-75 grams per meal. This will allow for higher energy that’s consistent throughout the day.

To see the full Joe Rogan training and diet critique by Dr. Mike Israetel take a glimpse at the video below.

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News and Editorial Writer at Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his YouTube and Instagram.

Jonathan Salmon
Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.