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Chris Masterjohn, PhD shared about Career Decisions: A Conversation With Brady Holmer

This episode is totally different. In the wake of my decision to leave academia, Brady Holmer, a first-year PhD student in exercise science, reached out to me to interview me for career advice. He made it a goal to interview one expert in his field or a related field to gain insights for his own career path, and since I had just announced a massive transition in my own career, it was the perfect time to hit me up.

Wait a second, I thought. If this would be useful to Brady, maybe it would be all the more useful if we had the conversation on the podcast! Thus, here in episode 27, I have my first guest: Brady Holmer. But I don't interview him. He interviews me.

Well, I do interview him a little. Call it a conversation. Enough with the intro. Here it is!

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Read on for the show notes.

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Show Notes for Episode 27

In this episode, you can find all of this and more:

  • 07:10    Intro
  • 11:50      Brady's background in exercise science research
  •    16:52      Where Brady is now
  •    18:28      Flow-mediated dilation as a measure of blood vessel function in diabetes and smoking cessation, and the influence of exercise and Vitamin E
  •    23:00     Brady's expert opinion on whether my CrossFit workout is classified as interval training when I stop to catch my breath
  •     27:52     Caffeine's effect on exercise physiology and physical performance
  •    32:15     How Brady decided to interview one person in his field per month
  •    33:35    How I discovered Tim Ferris during his work on the 4-Hour Body
  •    41:10    Brady's selection of interviewees
  •    42:57    What Brady learned from his first interview
  •    45:00   Brady's career plans
  •    45:40   Setting up a research trajectory across doctoral work and postdoctoral work for long-term success in academia
  •    49:00  Leaving academia for self-employment, autonomy in and out of academia
  •    53:10     Academia offers massive autonomy within a specific framework, but the framework is more restrictive than it seems:  you can color however you want within the lines, providing you can get funding for the crayons you want, but you don't control the lines.
  •    1:03:35    How to increase productivity during teaching and research
  •    1:08:48   Automation and leverage in academia
  •    1:16:48    You have to take time out of productivity now to maximize your productivity in the future; you can't optimize for both at the same time, and you need to be willing to go backwards in maximize your ability to get ahead.
  •    1:23:25    How I decided to get into research
  •   1: 28:48   How to find ideas for research and projects
  •   1:31:35     How my background in history helps me in science
  •   1:35:53    Brady's path to choosing his thesis topic
  •   1:39:10    How to make contact with influential people
  •   1:45:00   Advice to people thinking about a health career but unsure about graduate school and research
  •   1:51:15     The face of employment is changing: Uber, Instacart, the rise of the kind-of-employee-kind-of-solopreneur, and the normalization of the side hustle

Links Related to Episode 27

Here are some studies on flow-mediated dilation from the lab I was in during grad school.

You can email Brady at holmerb1 (at) ufl {dot} edu

You can also find him on Twitter.

Here are studies published by the lab Brady works in.

Here's the lab's web page.

The first researcher Brady interviewed was Dr. Paul Coen. Here's his ResearchGate page.

Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Workweek

Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Body

David Allen's Getting Things Done


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That moment when Chinese researchers cited my Wise Traditions article in a peer reviewed paper.

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