Legendary Music Producer Rick Rubin – The Peter Attia Drive

Check out The Peter Attia Drive Episode Page & Show Notes

These notes are largely abbreviated as much of the discussion centers around music and that’s not our jam (…hah). But if you’re a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, and classic hip hop, be sure to give the first two hours a listen.

Key Takeaways

  • You won’t lose weight without depleting your glycogen levels and the best way to do that is by exercising and restricting carbs
  • If you get the art right, the business side of things takes care of itself
  • “As humans, we can really handle much more than we think”
  • Music unites us all
  • Work isn’t something to be avoid, it’s something to be embraced (but don’t forget to have fun along the way)


  • Rick Rubin is a legendary music producer who has worked with everyone from Kanye West, Eminem, and Jay Z to Linkin Park, Adele, and Lady Gaga. This episode was recorded inside his famed Shangri-La Recording Studio in Malibu, California
    • Check out the Podcast Notes from Rick’s appearance on Bulletproof Radio


  • “That’s something about music in general that’s just very special – it can mean totally different things, not just to different people, but to the same individual at different points in their life” – Peter
  • Peter Attia’s favorite song to listen to during his intense Tabata workouts on his bike is Knock Me Down by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Rick almost never listens to the songs he helps produce after they’re complete
  • Rick’s favorite album of the last 20 years (that he himself never worked on) – D’Angelo’s Voodoo
    • Runner up is probably Jame’s Blake’s Beautiful
  • “It’s always the case of the musician, just trying to find a way to exist in a world where they feel like they don’t really fit”
    • This largely is the reason for the prevalence of drugs in the music industry
  • “When people send me new music to listen to, it can take me a long time to listen to it because I have to be in the right frame of mind in order to be present and open; I have to be feeling well enough to not let what’s going on inside of me affect the music that I am listening to.”
  • On the digital age of music:
    • “The experience of getting new music is less special than it was, but now you can listen to anything you want, any time you want, and there’s no friction between you and the music”

Rick’s Battle With Depression

  • Around the time, Rick was 33 (after experiencing a lot of success) – he fell into the depths of despair, hardly able to even get out of bed
  • He tried everything – from Paxil to acupuncture to herbal remedies
    • It wasn’t until a psychiatrist prescribed him Remeron that he started to get better, but that led to….

Rick Weight Loss Journey

  • The Remeron caused Rick to put on a ton of weight – up to a peak of 318 lbs. 
    • He was eating a vegan diet at the time (in his eyes – it was healthiest)
  • Reading Slow Burn by Stu Mittleman kick started his health journey
  • At first – Rick cut out all carbs (without counting calories) and started eating more animal products (fish and eggs)
    • But his weight just wouldn’t budge
  • After seeing a nutritionist, Rick went on a very low-calorie diet (with no carbs) consisting of 6 protein shakes during the day
    • He used Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder
    • At night, he would eat a light dinner consisting of fish, cooked vegetables, a large salad with some olive oil/lemon, and vegetable/chicken broth if he was still hungry 
    • 14 months later – he had lost 135 lbs. 

If You’re Trying to Lose Weight – Know This

  • “I don’t think one can lose weight when the liver and the muscles are full of glycogen – that has to be depleted. The best things you can do to deplete glycogen in the liver and the muscles are to exercise and to restrict calories (and carbohydrates are probably the most important to restrict).” – Peter
    • Glycogen = stored glucose/sugar (from eating carbs)

Open Heart Surgery

  • In mid-2018, Rick found out he needed open heart surgery to repair something known as aortic stenosis
    • Rick was born with condition called congenital bicuspid aortic valve (which Arnold Schwarzenegger also has)
      • One of the downsides of this condition is that aorta is more prone to calcification
  • Rick did NOT want to have the operation (mostly out of fear)
    • To illustrate the point – Rick actually refused to have surgery to treat a ruptured appendix 20 years ago
  • However – the surgery was a success, and Rick estimates he’s ~90 recovered
  • Some funny asides:
    • Rick wanted his anesthesiologist to inject him with methylene blue to protect his brain during the surgery (but to Peter’s advice – he subsided)

What did Rick learn from the surgery?

  • “As humans, we can really handle much more than we think”

What lessons does Rick hope to pass on to his son?

  • “To try to have as much fun as possible and be prepared to work hard for the thing you’re interested in doing… whatever it is”
    • “Anything that’s worth doing is going to take commitment and you have to work hard. Work isn’t something to be avoided, it’s to be embraced.”
      • But it’s important to balance this with the idea of having fun
  • “But it’s not about what I can tell him… it’s about what I can show him”

The Sauna and Ice Baths

  • Rick recorded his interview with Tim Ferriss in a sauna
    • “I’ve realized that the conversations that happen in the sauna are really good. In the sauna, you turn off a part of your brain that’s maybe more guarded. You’re too preoccupied with survival.”
      • Remember The Truth Barrel? All of their episodes were recorded in a sauna – hence the name
  • “The best meditations one can have are in an ice bath. It’s a one-pointed activity where other problems don’t come with you into the ice.”

Rick Rubinsms

  • “You can’t call yourself a professor unless you too are a student”
  • “My feeling has always been that if you get the art right, the commerce side of it works itself out”
Drive with Dr. Peter Attia : , , , , , , ,
Notes By MMiller

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 35,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks