Monthly Archives: December 2018
Monthly Archives: December 2018
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As we look to the new year, our health and fitness move to top-of-mind. On this episode, I discuss how commitment, strategy, habits, and tactics can help you reach all of your health and fitness goals.
As we close out 2018, I thought it would be good for me to do an episode that was geared towards helping you be successful. As we go into a new year, this is often the time of year where people want to really start bearing down on certain goals – be it health, be it fitness, be it wealth – different things that we put on our plate that we want to accomplish in the new year. And if being healthy and fit is something that’s on your plate, which for most of it is, these four words that I’m going to share with you today and how they apply, is going to be very, very important for you to be successful.
The first one is commitment. A commitment is so much stronger than any other thing that you’re going to do for yourself. You could say you have a resolution, you could start a diet, you can say you’re going to use willpower, do things to improve your willpower; but in a general sense, all of those are typically designed to fail. What you need is a commitment.
When you commit to something, you just do it. It’s much more personal to you. It’s much more ingrained in your psyche to be successful when you have a commitment.
Commitment is comprised of two things. The first one is your “Why”. Your “Why” must be deep and emotional, and generally fixed. What I mean by that is, it needs to be something that you truly, truly care about. If you don’t care about it –
If you’ve been following me for any period of time, you know that my commitment, my “Why” is my daughter. It started out as my daughter, then when I got married to Tammy, it’s now my wife and our children, and then
I don’t want to just be here for them; I want to be working with them. I want to be doing things with them. I want to be active with them. I want to be participating in their lives. So my vision is for me to be independent, fit and strong, to be able to do the things that they’re doing to be engaged in their lives.
So I put those two together: my “Why” – my children, grandchildren, my wife; and my vision is to be active in their lives, to be independent. That’s my commitment. My commitment is to do the work and do the things that are necessary to make sure that I am the person that I want to be for them. That’s my commitment.
The next word – strategies. Strategies are the things that we do to ensure that we’re going to be successful. And that only comes about if we really do a good deep dive exercise of self-awareness and looking at our lives and saying, “What’s realistic? What’s the most likely outcome if these things happen?”
So, strategies are the things that we do to keep us on track when something might have knocked us off. A perfect example for me is, every once in a while if I see M&M’s, particularly peanut M&M’s, I’m all over them. It’s very, very hard for me to walk past a bowl of M&M’s and not just eat them all. I know that’s a tendency of mine, so I just don’t buy M&M’s. I don’t have them in the house, I don’t have them in the cupboard, so I’m less inclined to do that thing.
Another one that I’ve talked about a good bit is, when I was going to an office, if I didn’t pack my gym bag the night before and leave it on the floor where I would almost practically trip over it on the way out, I would sometimes forget my gym bag or I’d forget to pack socks or shoes or something silly like that, and I’d end up missing a workout. So, for me to make sure that I am consistently going to the gym, I have to pack my gym bag the night before.
Now it’s a little different because I work from home, but I need to put my gym clothes out. Right after I finish recording this episode, I’m going to go down to the gym and do some work, because I already have my gym clothes on. They were the ones I left out for me to get into this morning when I woke up, so I have my gym clothes available to me and I’m ready to go work out. So, the strategies are the things that we do to help ensure that we stay the course.
The next one is habits. Habits are the things we do without even having to think of them. One habit will be that you brush your teeth every evening before you go to bed. You probably brush your teeth every morning when you wake up. Habits are the way that you drive to work each day. Habits are the natural little things that you do in the course of living your day-to-day. The way we’re going to build a habit is by making it a part of each day regularly.
Just like brushing your teeth became like a ritual before bed – working out, eating well – those have to be habits. I talked about the strategy of walking around the grocery store. Now I don’t even think about going down any of the
And the final one that I want to talk about is tactics. Tactics are the things we do to get healthy and fit. I may ask a client when they first go in the gym and they want to start lifting, “I’m going to put you on a five by five program, doing these five exercises.” When I say “five by five”, that’s five sets, five repetitions of these five different exercises that basically give them a full body workout each time. So the tactic is the five by five.
As far as eating, some of my clients like to go low-carb. And when they go low-carb, that’s a tactic; it’s the style of eating that they’re choosing. They’re choosing a tactic of low-carb as a way of potentially losing some body fat, and yet fueling themselves.
So, as you look at the things that you would do, I want you to make sure that the tactics you’re using are the ones that are really going to move the needle. So the tactic of getting a B12 shot once a month – while it might boost your energy, that’s not a “move the needle” tactic so much as making sure you’re getting in a good amount of water each
The B12, or wearing an altitude mask, or all these other little crazy things that are out there, are not going to move the needle nearly as much. Now, there might be a point in your fitness and health journey where those other tactics make sense to add to your repertoire, but you want to focus your energy and your time on the tactics that are going to do the
Now, I say commitments, strategies, habits, and tactics in that order for a very specific reason. The commitment lays the foundation for everything that you’re going to do. When you’ve made a good commitment, you have a good vision of where you’re going to go and you have a good “Why” that’s going to keep you going. So the commitment has to be the first thing, it has to be done right. Once you have a good commitment in your mind and you’ve written it down and now you’re going to practice that commitment, everything else will fall in place so much easier.
Now through self-awareness, through knowing the basic things going on in your life, you can start establishing the strategies that are going to lay the framework for how everything else is going to work. I’ll use myself as an example.
I said that I want to be independent and active with my children and grandchildren, and whatever they’re doing in their lives, I want to be a part of it. I know that if I want to live a longer life, I need to feed my body the types of food that are good for it. So my strategies have to be built around, how do I make sure that I’m getting good food? How do I make sure that I’m doing the right things to keep myself fit? And fitness in this context is very different than CrossFit fit or just wanting to be able to complete a particular task, like a race or whatnot. This is fitness to be the person that I want to be.
As we age we’re more likely to fall, and that fall is likely to put us in the hospital or kill us. I want to make sure that I don’t fall, so in addition to training my strength so that I can do the things I need to do, I need to train balance, so that I’m as balanced as I can be and I don’t fall as often. Those are two different things that I’m working on within my fitness, so I have to put the strategies in place to make sure that I do that.
Strategies I’ve talked about – leaving my clothes out so I know that I’m getting my workouts in. Strategies of making sure that I’m shopping for the best quality foods, going to the farmer’s market, or at least walking the perimeter of the grocery store.
Now, after you’ve done a strategy for quite some time, it becomes a habit. So going down into my basement gym and getting in a good workout each morning because I’ve put my clothes on – suddenly now it becomes a habit of, that’s just what I do. I wake up and I go down to the gym. And maybe I’m doing some strength training, maybe I’m doing some balance
My tactics are saying, “Buy a whole bunch of vegetables. Just look for everything that’s fresh and organic. Get the best quality vegetables I can get and fill up my cart with those. Going over to the meats, look for the high-quality grass-fed meats.” And that’s what I do. Whether I’m at the farmer’s market or at the grocery store, I’m looking for the highest quality. So my tactic is high-quality food. My tactic is I’m going to do strength exercises, which are basically lower rep heavyweight, and I’ll do some balance work on a regular basis as a function of my workouts. Those are the tactics that are going to get me there.
You see how if I try to skip the order, I never develop the habits? If I don’t have the commitment, I’m never going to get to the habits. And so many people like to start this journey with the tactics.
We’re rolling into January, so it’s like, “I’m going to go on a diet.” What does that mean? It’s like, “Well, no candy or cakes for me.” They’ve got a tactic – they’re cutting out
Are they really going to have the commitment and the ability, the strategies to walk away and not eat the cake? Or are they going to make that a failure point in their plan and lose their diet? So, as you go through this, just remember, you need the commitment to make sure that all of this stays in place.
The strategies will be the ones that keep you on the road the most, keep you most effective. The habits are going to be the things that become automatic for you, which actually makes getting well very easy once you’ve developed healthy habits. That takes time, it takes effort, but if you have the commitment and the strategies in place, you can and will develop really good habits for your health and wellness. And then finally, the tactics. The tactics you choose need to be the best ones that are going to move the needle the most for you, where you are on your journey today. In that order – commitment, strategies, habits, tactics.
I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you have any questions at all about this – please, please, please, reach out to me. You can get in touch with me at email@example.com. I love getting emails from you guys. Or you can go to the Facebook group at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group. Both of those are great places to interact with me. I love getting emails, I love having the discussions on the Facebook group, because that’s where other people can get the benefit of your questions and our comments and what’s going on there. So please do go check out the group or send me an email if you have any questions or want to talk further about this topic.
Alright. It’s that time of year when we all start getting a little bit more focused on goals, commitments, resolutions and all of that. So I hope you’ll take today’s lesson to heart as you do kick in for the new year and get your fitness stuff going on. It is very important for you to make sure that you’re committed to have the strategies in place, to develop the appropriate habits, and also to make sure that you’re finding the right tactics to make sure that you’re successful in meeting your fitness and health goals. This is the perfect time for you to hire a coach, and I would like to be that coach. As a coach you can have me for accountability, you have me to bounce any questions off of, you have me there to make sure that you get the most out of the time and effort you’re putting into the gym and into the kitchen. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs to learn more about what I do with my coaching.
I have two basic programs – very simple “Do It Yourself” programs; or if you really want me with you along the way, you can join the group fitness or apply for the one-on-one. I do have some slots open for one-on-one clients at this time. So if you’re interested in really kicking things up a notch, meeting all of your wellness and fitness goals for the year, I highly recommend that you hire a coach and I hope that you’ll choose me. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs today. Thank you.
On today’s episode, we’re going to meet Dr. Lauren Deville and discuss her book, The Holistic Gut Prescription: Create Your Own Personal Path to Optimal Digestive Wellness. This is a really cool podcast episode, particularly if you’re suffering from any kind of digestive issues. She helps you cut to the chase and find some real solutions to get healthy in a natural way.
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Allan (1:14): Dr. Deville, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Lauren Deville (1:17): Thanks for having me.
Allan (1:19): Your book is The Holistic Gut Prescription: Create Your Own Personal Path to Optimal Digestive Wellness. When I got into the book, I thought it was going to be predominantly a nutrition book. I guess it’s because you think digestive health and you think nutrition. But what I’m learning big time is that digestion is only part of what your gut does for you. There are so many other things going on there that we’re going to talk about stuff that’s way off the grid of nutrition.
Dr. Lauren Deville (1:56): Right, absolutely.
Allan (2:00): It was a good reminder for me that the things that are going on in our health – if we’re not taking care of our gut, we’re just not going to get there.
Dr. Lauren Deville (2:09): It’s the key for an awful lot of the rest of your health. I didn’t want to specialize per se, but it’s a way to specialize without specializing because almost everything goes back to the gut.
Allan (2:22): When I first started reading I thought, “Now we’re talking about air quality. Let’s see where this goes.” Obviously we know if we eat poison, typically our gut’s smart enough to tell us to throw that up. You eat something that disagrees with you, your digestive system kicks in. You might not feel too good while it’s happening, but it does the things it needs to do. But we don’t really have that kind of reflex thing happening so much with the air. We could breathe bad air all the time and really not even know it.
Dr. Lauren Deville (3:04): True. The thing is that we’re exposed to so many toxins now – in the air, in our food, in the environment that we’re around in our house and our buildings, things like that, that are low level enough that they don’t create an acute reaction. If they’re severe enough, they do and then it becomes really obvious. But when it’s chronic and it’s building up slowly over time and you’ve got tiny changes in your symptoms that are increasing over a period of months or years, it’s hard to pinpoint where it’s actually coming from. And a lot of it is cumulative.
Allan (3:42): In our house, we buy furniture, our floors are probably shellacked with something. How does someone go about reducing that load or at least knowing what is there and what isn’t there? What are some things that we can do to improve our air quality?
Dr. Lauren Deville (4:04): Before you’re actually ill from it, one of the very best things you can do if you live in a climate where this is possible and you don’t have severe allergies, is just open your windows. And start having the fan blowing, ideally toward the outside, so that you’re getting some of that toxic air out, just off-gassing, because there’s so much of that stuff. That’s especially critical when you’re doing any kind of construction. Before I moved into my current office, we had to paint it and also put down new floors. So while I was aware of trying to get low VOC paint – the kind that isn’t going to have nearly as much of the chemicals that are going to get into the air – there are still going to be some. And the flooring – there’s still going to be some of that. So I did that a couple of weeks in advance. I think I did get my landlords to let me open the doors, but I also got some good HEPA air filters and put them in multiple places before we moved anything else in, so that we could get as much of that out, so that we weren’t going to be breathing it, as possible. One of the things that I also recommend people do is to get a high quality HEPA air filter. Put it in your bedroom, because that’s where you spend the majority of your time. I also have one in my office – in my actual physical office, as opposed to the larger building where I practice – because I’m spending a lot of time there and so are some of my patients. Also in your bathroom, you’ve got a lot of products. I usually try to convince people to offload some of the products that are full of a bunch of chemicals. That’s really the best way to go to try to minimize those things. Minimize the cleaning products that are full of chemicals, use natural stuff whenever possible. But there’s possibly still going to be some stuff. They’re usually equipped with one of those air filters, air vents. Use them when you’re in there because that’s going to really help. If you’ve got one in your kitchen, use it in there. As much as you can get the air circulating and get fresh air in – that is going to really, really make a big difference.
Allan (6:00): I’m a big fan of getting outside in nature. Trees are some of the best filters of our air. Typically if you’re walking through a forest, you’re getting some of the cleanest air that you’re going to be able to get in your area. So the more time you can spend out of doors, the better.
Dr. Lauren Deville (6:16): Absolutely true.
Allan (6:19): Then we start talking about some other things, like mold. I have a particular story: My wife and I bought this house that we’re about to sell. It’s in a lot better shape now than it was then, because we didn’t know we had mold when we first bought the house. The house inspection didn’t catch it. My wife was starting to feel sick, so I said, “Let’s clean out the filters, clean out the ducts, because we don’t know when that was done.” And we brought a company in – they didn’t notice any mold. They cleaned the ducts. That cleaning process they did basically stirred up the spores. So our walls, at least in one bathroom in particular, were lined with mold two days later. It was horrible. So we had to hire a remediation company, and now I’m good friends with him. His name’s Greg; he did a great job. Shout out to you, Greg – you saved our lives. He came in and not only had to replace all the duct work, he replaced all of the insulation on our attic and then put in a new HVAC unit, which basically all it does is dehumidify the air, because we’re in Pensacola Beach.
Dr. Lauren Deville (7:30): Yeah, you need that.
Allan (7:33): We had two units for the house and now we have this extra unit that’s further taking the humidity down and that’s helping a good bit. But even after the exposure, my wife remained sick and actually had to go in for surgery because of this reaction. Now, in the book you say there are three types of mold and you talk about once you’re exposed to mold some of the bad things that could happen. If you start down that line, what are some things we can do from a treatment perspective and a prevention perspective?
Dr. Lauren Deville (8:04): Sure. So, the types of mold I’m talking about are allergenic, pathogenic, and toxic. The pathogenic toxic molds are going to cause everybody a problem at a certain threshold, but where that threshold is depends on the genetic susceptibility of the person. About a quarter of the population is genetically susceptible to mold, and there’s a test called HLA-DR that I talk about in the book that you can have your doctor run to find out if you’re one of those people or not. And if you’re not, that doesn’t mean if you’re exposed to toxic mold, you might not have a problem; it just won’t be as severe and it won’t be as hard to get you healthy as it will for some of the others.
Then there’s allergenic mold, and those are only a problem if you’re actually allergic to them. So other people can be around those types of mold and be totally fine. There are some blood tests that you can do to differentiate between the two, which ones you’re reacting to. The people that are going to have the hardest time with mold exposure, and it sounds like your wife is probably one of these people, are the ones who are in the genetically susceptible camp and they can have any number of reactions. This can be very systemic. What the mold is producing is called biotoxins. That’s what the toxic mold is producing that’s causing lots of problems. They can downregulate your hormone production, it can cause lots of sinus issues, which you were describing with your wife. If I see chronic sinusitis, I’m almost always going to look for at least fungus, if not mold. Very often there’s a mold issue and / or a candida or other yeast issue that’s the underlying issue, and that’s why you keep getting these bacterial superinfections on top of the fungal infection. And the antibiotics aren’t eventually touching it, because the tissue is still not healthy. So there’s that. I’ve had people who have had really serious upper respiratory issues as a result of that. Had some where it manifests as asthma. I’ve had a lot of them where it manifests as gut problems that don’t want to go away, which is the reason why I put that in the book. I’ve seen a number of cases of leaky gut syndrome where the root cause is actually toxic mold exposure. The gut’s not going to heal until you actually get rid of it.
So, what you do in order to get rid of it – once somebody is actually toxic, you have to get away from the environment, of course, and then you also have to get that out of your body. So if you’re not one of the genetically susceptible people, sometimes just getting away from the environment is enough, because your own mechanisms will eliminate it. But if you are, then you probably need a little bit of extra help. Regardless of whether they are or not, I pretty much put everybody on binders. Binders are substances that you can swallow. My favorite is Colestipol or Cholestyramine. It’s an off-label use of a cholesterol medication. What it does for cholesterol is it grabs it and pulls it out of your body; does the same thing to mold. So it’ll just grab that and pull it out. And if somebody doesn’t tolerate that or doesn’t choose to go the actual pharmaceutical route, then I will have them do maybe activated charcoal. Some people do bentonite clay or zeolite. Things like that are all really good binders. Depending on how high the level is, usually it’s at least a couple of months – sometimes it’s longer – but it also depends on whether they’re able to get away from the environment. I’ve had some people where it’s their workplace that’s moldy and they don’t plan on quitting. Then we just have to keep treating them. So, you do what you can do as far as that goes.
Allan (11:20): If you know you’re sensitive to this and you’re looking to buy a new house, make sure the inspector knows that. You want them to do a really thorough check on the mold issue. I was baffled that all these professionals I hired to come in and advise me… I bought the house. It was going to be my house, but if I had known that I had that issue, that would have been the first thing I would’ve fixed; I wouldn’t have found it later. It was almost a year later before we really identified the problem, and that was a lot of exposure for my wife.
Dr. Lauren Deville (11:59): It’s not part of the typical process of the inspection, so that’s why they weren’t even looking for it. They usually don’t, unless you hire a company that specializes in testing for mold. So I would look for that. I’ve had a lot of people who will have the wrong kinds of tests done and they’re told everything’s clean, and they’re clearly sick. We see it in their blood work that there’s still something going on and they feel sick whenever they go into the house. We know there’s a problem. You have to make sure that you get somebody who really knows what they’re doing when they’re testing for the mold. The other thing I would say is make sure that the company that tests for the mold is not also the company that does the remediation, because then they have a vested interest in finding it.
Allan (12:42): We found it, because we saw it growing down the wall. I didn’t have to hire anybody to tell me what my problem was. He got up into the attic, and I remember the call, because I was actually coming out of physical therapy for my shoulder. He got on the phone with me and he said, “I don’t want to make this call, but your entire system needs to be pulled out. Everything.” He said, “We’re not sure if it’s into the Sheetrock yet. If it is, it’s going to be much worse.” But he said it’s bad. And I said, “Throw a number out there. We’ll deal with it, because it’s my wife, it’s her health, it’s our house. I’ve got to get it fixed.” Fortunately, there’s a happy ending to the story. We were able to solve that. My wife is better now for the most part. She still has awesome allergies all the time, but that’s not mold. So, hundredfold better.
Now, I eat seasonally, because I feel like that’s what my ancestors did. So right now we’re into the winter. I don’t eat any fruit at all during the winter. I think the only fruit I really eat is olives. I guess olives are technically a fruit, so I take that back. I had some olives this morning. But other than maybe some olives, I really don’t eat fruit during the winter. Fruit can be a problem for some people.
Dr. Lauren Deville (14:08): It can, yeah. Fruit is high in sugar in general, so that’s something that I do have people typically limit, especially if they’ve got either yeast overgrowth – back to the mold conversation, where if you’ve got mold, you pretty much have yeast; those are two things that will definitely go hand in hand. I’ll have people avoid fruit completely for the first two weeks of a protocol if they’ve got yeast overgrowth. After that I’ll let them have one piece a day as long as it’s a lower glycemic fruit – so not bananas, not figs, not dates, those kinds of things. But if they also have insulin resistance or something along those lines, then I will also have them greatly limit. A Lot of my insulin resistant diabetic patients, I will permit them to have berries – the really dark colored ones, just because the antioxidant status is so good; but not a lot of them. A small handful a day or so, and we cap it at that. And if they’ve got major blood sugar issues and they’re totally out of control, I’ll cut fruit entirely until we can get that under control. So, there are a decent number of people who do have some sensitivities to it, but I don’t restrict it for everybody altogether. I usually try to cap it at two pieces a day for everyone.
Allan (15:15): We don’t want to vilify fruit. I think it’s so easy in the food space for them to say, “Fat’s bad, sugar’s bad, fruit’s bad.” I can’t eat meat, I can’t eat fish.
Dr. Lauren Deville (15:27): What’s left?
Allan (15:29): Now I can’t even eat Romaine lettuce. I’ll just go suck on a stone, I guess. You did hit me in the heart a little bit with this next one, because I wake up early – about two or three hours before anybody else in the world is up. It’s my wonderful time. It’s when I don’t receive any emails, the phone doesn’t ring, the dogs don’t bark. It’s just this beautiful, quiet time, and I enjoy that quiet time with a few cups of coffee. Now you’re telling me that the coffee might actually be disrupting my testosterone.
Dr. Lauren Deville (16:12): Caffeine does affect hormones. Now, I’m not one of those people who takes caffeine out for everybody entirely. It depends on the person. There are some people where we have to do that because either their adrenals are too low or their hormones are too disrupted, and then it’s usually a temporary thing. But for somebody who is healthy, they’re not in adrenal fatigue, they don’t have major hormone imbalance – usually I’ll cap it at a cup, maybe a cup and a half a day. If you want more than that, if there’s an emotional addiction to caffeine or to coffee, which I also have – decaf after that point, so that you’re at least not doing as much of that. But the main thing with the caffeine and the sex hormones is that the metabolism of sex hormones and metabolism of caffeine is the same, via the liver, so it’s like you end up with a bottleneck. If you’ve got all of these things trying to get out of the liver at the same time, then not everything can get out at once, and you end up with a backup and with imbalance. Lower amounts of caffeine don’t have nearly as much of an effect on that. But if you are having large amounts of it, then it certainly can create great disruption. I honestly see that more often in women who have estrogen dominance issues than I do in guys who have low testosterone, although it can be an issue for them as well.
The other main thing, a little bit more indirect for the testosterone piece, is the adrenals. The core of your adrenals produces adrenaline; the outside produces several hormones, most important one is cortisol. Cortisol will start off highest when you wake up in the morning, decline throughout the day until melatonin takes over at night so you can sleep. You can’t have unopposed adrenaline. So, if you’ve got excess adrenaline from some kind of stress or from caffeine, because caffeine will indirectly pump out additional adrenaline, then you have to have excess cortisol over and above what the adrenals are normally producing in order to take you back down to baseline. That’s fine if that’s only happening occasionally, but if you’re doing it every day, and especially if your adrenals are already low to begin with, it’s like whipping a dead horse. You are forcing them to work harder and harder and harder. I have definitely seen an association with any sort of stress and guys having low testosterone too. Also for women, the adrenals are very linked to your sex hormones. When the ovaries are not producing as much, either because you’re going into your period or you’re going into menopause, the adrenals are the ones that pick up the slack. And if they’re super tired because you’re having tons of caffeine and / or there’s lots of stress from someplace else, or inflammation from anything else external, then you’re not going to be able to compensate very well and you’re going to have disruption across the board.
Allan (18:52): Okay, I’ll do my best to taper down. Notice I didn’t say “quit”.
Dr. Lauren Deville (19:00): I understand. I’ll meet you where you’re at.
Allan (19:07): This next part, the conversation goes all over the place. I’ve heard a lot of people tout that raw vegetables are good for you, and other people say raw vegetables are hard on you. I eat some raw vegetables. I eat mostly cooked vegetables, if I broke it all down. For me it’s a mix. Now, when it comes to fermented, I love sauerkraut. I’ll eat sauerkraut as often as I can possibly have it, and I enjoy even making it for myself. Can you talk a little bit about vegetables, preparation and things like that, and how we can benefit our gut by understanding ourselves and doing it the right way?
Dr. Lauren Deville (19:47): Sure. There are pluses and minuses to all of the above. The raw veggies are going to have some antinutrients that will keep you from absorbing some of those vitamins and minerals. But on the flip side, when you cook them, a lot of those vitamins and minerals will end up going into the water if you’re boiling. However you’re cooking those vegetables, you are going to lose some of the original nutrition that was in the raw form. So there’s that. There’s also the fact that the raw veggies can have a lot of roughage in them, which is good in terms of fiber that can really help keep you moving, but on the flip side, if you’ve got any kind of gut inflammation, raw vegetables are not going to be your friend. So for those people, it’s probably not the best way to go. With fermented veggies, fermented anything, you are getting a good dose of probiotics, the good bacteria that are going to help keep your gut going. The only real caveat I have is if somebody has yeast overgrowth or SIBO, fermented vegetables can actually perpetuate the problem. So, you want to be aware. If you have a tendency toward lots of gas and bloating, these may be great for you. It depends on what your problem is as to whether they will or whether they won’t. If somebody has a fairly healthy gut though, fermented vegetables are really, really good for you. The reason why I say that is because the fermentation process is uncontrolled, so you are going to get some good stuff. You’re also potentially going to get some yeast, if there’s a yeast problem. Across the board, it may end up contributing to imbalance if there’s already imbalance there. But they are fantastic for somebody that is on the GAPS diet, if you don’t already have an issue with that. The GAPS diet is pretty much the only one out there that I say those people don’t have to be on a probiotic, because they’re getting enough fermented vegetables that are coming from their diet, and that’s what our ancestors did historically. But most people don’t have the time for that or the energy or maybe they don’t like the flavor or whatever. For everybody else, I want them on a probiotic because you need something in order to help keep the gut healthy in that way.
Allan (21:51): Yesterday I had a spinach salad – five ounces of it. It looks like a big honking salad, but it’s only five ounces. If I had an issue, like SIBO or something that, I would feel bloated and gassy after eating that. Would that be the basic symptoms someone should be looking for when they’re eating vegetables to see if there’s an issue?
Dr. Lauren Deville (22:13): No, I was talking about the fermented veggies.
Allan (22:19): But if I have an issue with the raw vegetables, how would I recognize that?
Dr. Lauren Deville (22:23): The raw vegetables are usually going to be if you’ve got diverticulitis or something like that. Or some people that are in an ulcerative colitis flare are not going to do well with the roughage. Those people are going to need really simple cooked, easy to digest foods at that time. For almost everybody else, you’re not going to have an immediate reaction to raw veggies, unless you’re allergic or something. You mentioned the spinach – if you’ve got an oxalate buildup or something – in that situation maybe. Spinach is really high in histamine, so maybe you’ve got a histamine problem. In that case you’re going to get super itchy if you’re eating that much spinach. But for most people I don’t really restrict the raw vegetables per se. It’s just that there are some of the antinutrients that are in there, so it’s good to have a decent mix of the cooked vegetables and the raw at the same time, assuming that everything else is fine.
Allan (23:17): Cool. A lot of my clients will ask me, “What supplements should I take?” And I always push back on that because one, I don’t think we have to take supplements if we’re getting everything we need from our food. I’m also a realist and I know that we’re not going to get everything from our food or from the sun. I actually had a blood test recently and found that my vitamin D is down. I’d been working on a book, so I wasn’t outside as much as I thought I was. So, I am taking a vitamin D supplement. But in the supplements discussion that you had in the book, you brought up a term. And I’ve heard this before, but I really want to dive into it. It was the chelated versions versus the other types of versions that are out there. If somebody’s a vegetarian or vegan, they might not be getting enough B12. Vitamin D is an important one that most people can look at. Fish oil is one. But when we’re looking at these supplements, they’ll always ask me, “What do I need?” I struggle with that because I don’t take a lot of them. I just say, “Find a reputable company.” Now we’re going to talk about chelated, because I think this is a pretty important thing for us to consider when we’re buying. Because if you’re taking a supplement and it’s not working for you…
Dr. Lauren Deville (24:39): There’s no point.
Allan (24:42): Just give me the money, I’ll do as much for you.
Dr. Lauren Deville (24:45): Right, exactly.
Allan (24:46): So, can you explain that and what we should be looking for in our vitamins?
Dr. Lauren Deville (24:49): Right. The minerals are the ones where this is important. There are vitamins and there are minerals. The minerals are the micronutrients that are complexed with something in order for them to be delivered. So, chemistry term real quick – they are charged particles. They’re positively charged for the most part, and they have to be combined with something negatively charged so that they’re neutral for the sake of delivery. And then once they get into your gut they get broken apart again. The chelated ones are easier for your gut to actually break apart and then absorb the valuable part of it, the valuable mineral. The oxide, sulfate and carbonate are the forms that are most common and they’re really cheap vitamins, and they are close to useless. It is very hard for your body to break those apart. Not only are they close to useless, they can actually be somewhat harmful. And I say “somewhat” because it kind of depends. Magnesium oxide or sulfate or carbonate for instance – all of those are going to work great as a laxative, because they will draw water into your colon, but you’re not going to really get much of that magnesium anyplace else. That means if you’re taking it in order to move your bowels, it’s going to work, but you’re going to be chained to the toilet because you’re going to have lots of cramping and stuff.
The chelated versions, because you can break them apart, it’s a lot gentler if you’re using it for that reason, because not only are you drawing water into the colon, but you’re getting that magnesium absorption elsewhere in your body. For calcium, a few years ago, you may have heard about the study that came out that showed that taking calcium orally was actually damaging to your cardiovascular system. That study was done on oxide, sulfate, carbonate – those kinds of calciums are not absorbable into the tissue so then they’re going to precipitate out on plaques in your bloodstream, and that ends up contributing to plaque formation. If you get a different form of calcium that’s designed to absorb into your tissues, that’s not the case. So you do want to make sure that you’re able to get these into your body, aside from, you want to get your money’s worth out of your supplement. Chelated is anything ending in “ate” that is not sulphate or carbonate. I know that might be kind of confusing, but citrate, orotate, glycinate or threonate – any of those are all considered chelated and they are a lot easier for your body to use.
Allan (27:08): Okay. We are going to have a full transcript of this. That was a lot to absorb right there.
Dr. Lauren Deville (27:16): Sorry.
Allan (27:16): No, no, no, no, it’s cool. We can go back and read this in the show notes. This is going to be episode 361, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/361. Go down to this part of the conversation and you can pick up exactly what she said. Print that out or write it out, and when you go to look for your magnesium or calcium supplements, if you need those, then that’s what you’re going to want to look for. Thank you for sharing that, because it can get so confusing. And yeah, you see a study that says, “Don’t take calcium”, but the doctor is saying, “Your bones are starting to get a little brittle, so you need to start taking some calcium.” And you walk into Walmart or the pharmacy, and what’s the most expensive one or…
Dr. Lauren Deville (28:03): You don’t know what to do. Exactly.
Allan (28:05): This is one my mother took. She’s still around, so it must work. Now, I’m going to apologize to you right now, Dr. Deville. I have a final question and I neglected to put it on the show plan for you. So if it takes you a minute to think this through, that’s cool. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest, happiest person you can be. What are three strategies or tactics that you could give us that will help us be and stay well?
Dr. Lauren Deville (28:42): Okay. So, my basic philosophy of naturopathic medicine is that if you give the body what it needs to heal itself, and then find and eliminate obstacles to cure, then within reason healing will follow. How you actually walk that out for each individual person is going to look different and may end up being a whole lot more complicated depending on what you’ve got going on. But at base, that’s what it is. So I guess what I would say is, strategy one – maybe spend a little time and sit down and think about, where are you lacking building blocks? Are you giving yourself the right nutrition – so, macronutrients or micronutrients? Are you not exercising? Are you getting decent sleep? Are you dealing with your stress? Do you have a spiritual connection? Do you have people around you, a community to support you? If you notice that any one of those things is lacking, then those would be the places where you specifically would need to place your attention. And along the same lines, I’ll use this as my number two. I’m kind of cheating here; this is kind of like wishing for more wishes. But if you were to then look at where your obstacles to cure are, the ones that are specific to you. This is what I walk people through in the book: Are you in a toxic environment emotionally or physically? Do you have an obstacle to cure? Maybe you’ve been exposed to a bunch of solvents, maybe you’ve been exposed to a bunch of chemicals in your food. Maybe you’re really overdoing the caffeine. Maybe there was a heavy metal exposure or something. Figure out where your obstacle to cure might be and focus on eliminating that one for you. And I guess I will say number three – everybody really does need to focus on their stress management. If I had to just pick one – have a really good stress management technique that you can practice on a regular basis. And by regular, I would like it to be daily and I would like it to be at least 30 minutes to an hour. But if you can only manage three times a week, whatever you have to do. We all need to make sure we make that a priority, because that is probably the number one area where I see most people falling short.
Allan (31:03): Absolutely. I appreciate all three of those. The last one also resonates with me. This has been my year, and next year will be another year of, how can I get my stress level down as low as possible? Dr. Deville, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Holistic Gut Prescription, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Lauren Deville (31:29): My website has all of that information – www.DrLaurenDeville.com. You could also go to Amazon and look it up, but all the links and everything are right on that website, so that would probably be the best place.
Allan (31:42): Alright. You can also go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/361, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Again, thank you so much, Dr. Deville.
Dr. Lauren Deville (31:51): Thank you for having me.
Are you an audio book listener? If you enjoy podcasts, I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy audio books. I’ve been a longtime subscriber to Audible, and if the book’s available in Audible, I’m going to listen to it rather than read it. I just really enjoy it that way. And I’m really happy to say that The Wellness Roadmap is now available on Audible. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook and get the book. Actually, when you sign up, the first book is free. So, just go to Audible through our link at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook, and you can get The Wellness Roadmap. If you love the podcast, I know you’re going to love this book. And if you already have bought the book and don’t want an Audible copy, but you’ve already listened to or read the book, please do go out to Amazon and leave a rating and review. It means the world to me and it helps more people see that this is a good book that they should buy. So it does help the book a great deal if you’re leaving those ratings and reviews. So, please do go out to Amazon and leave a rating and review. Thank you.
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Our guest today has been in the fitness industry for over 19 years as a personal trainer and gym manager. She is the author of the book Are You a Gym Mouse? With no further ado, here’s Agi Kadar.
Allan (0:58): Agi, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Agi Kadar (1:02): Thank you, Allan. It’s great to be here.
Allan (1:05): Your book is Are You a Gym Mouse? The title itself is cute and imaginative, and I really liked the messaging, taking it from being the gym rat to being the gym mouse. You covered a lot of things in the book that I see year in and year out in the gym. Someone comes in intimidated, they shun the free weights section. Often they won’t even go to the workout machines. They’re on the treadmills, on the ellipticals. I thought it was really good to put this kind of book out there for someone that knows they need to do the training, they just aren’t motivated to do it because of the intimidation factor, because of the lack of knowledge factor, all the different reasons that someone doesn’t want to go to a gym.
Agi Kadar (1:56): Yes, that was exactly the reason I wrote the book. I have been working in a gym for 19 years and have seen a lot of gym mice come and go. They are just too intimidated to do more than get on the treadmill or on a bike. And I want to show them that it is okay to be a gym mouse. You can still get all the benefits of moving, and get better, get healthier, get stronger, and not feel intimidated by others that might be fitter than them. They probably were a gym mouse at one point or another.
Allan(2:31): How would you go about defining a “gym mouse”? When you see someone, how do you say, “That’s a gym mouse.” What does that look like?
Agi Kadar (2:40): Someone who might actually take a while to even come into the gym and join. You can usually tell right away. Some people even told me that they sat in the car for 30 minutes before walking in. They’re usually scared of the machines, the free weights, especially
Allan (3:28): I was an athlete in high school, so I was familiar with weight equipment and whatnot. But my first foray walking into a gym was, it was very broken up. You’ve got your treadmills, and nine times out of 10 those are going to be close to the door. And then you start working into the machines, and then in the back corner space – in this gym it happened to be a bigger part of the whole overall gym because it was more geared towards weightlifters and professional bodybuilders and that kind of thing – were the guys and the women in the back lifting the weights. I was 14 years old. I was in no way capable of doing what a lot of the other bigger guys were doing, and I can get that. You see this guy go over there, he’s got 500 pounds on the bar doing deadlifts or squats. And I’m thinking to myself, “I’m going to go
Agi Kadar (4:44): Exactly. I hear that from people: “I’m afraid to go back there with the weights because I just don’t belong there. People are going to look at me.” And it’s not true. If you look around in most gyms, you do find the regular people; a lot of gym mice out there. Even in the classes, not everybody is in perfect shape. They’re all there just to move, have fun and get healthier, and they really could not care less what you are doing.
Allan (5:14): We all started somewhere. I’m a trainer, and I’m into my workout, but if I see anybody, I’m only going to recognize one, people that are in the gym the same time every day and I see them every time, so I’m going to know who they are. And then I’m going to see the newbies, and the only reason I’m paying any attention at all is if I notice them doing something that I see the potential for them to really hurt themselves.
Agi Kadar (5:45): Yes. That’s one of the reasons I do recommend beginners to go to the gym instead of starting a workout by themselves at home – to get the guidance and get help and make sure that they do it right, so they can get the results so they don’t give up.
Allan (6:04): I have a book that just came out. In the book I talk about you can get strong doing body weight work. You can build a home gym, you can put things in your home and then add on equipment as you go. But there is the danger factor there because now you’re by yourself and if you drop weights on yourself, there might not be anybody else there to deal with that. The core advantages of the gym for me were the variety of equipment that you could never get in a home gym, the fact that you don’t have to pay to upkeep it, and you don’t have to pay to store it and keep it. I’m giving up half of one of my garages just to have my home gym, which works for me because my truck doesn’t even fit in my garage. So this is my gym. But what are some reasons why you think someone should venture? Why should the mouse venture into the gym?
Agi Kadar (6:56): My one reason – what you just said – not to get hurt. But a great, big reason is other people there that are just like them, so they won’t feel alone. They feel more confident, more motivated to actually do
Allan (7:50): Yes, absolutely. Now, what I think a lot of folks don’t recognize is that not all gyms are created equal. There are some gyms that are dedicated to women alone, there are some that are dedicated to meatheads, and there are some that are all across the spectrum. Some of them are organized with all kinds of classes, some are not. Can you talk about how someone can go about it? With
Agi Kadar (8:28):That’s a great question. I do believe you have to find the right gym for you,otherwise you’re probably not going to go. I would definitely recommend that you look around
Allan (10:08): I think that first point you had – convenience is probably one of the keys. I had a membership with Anytime Fitness. And one of the reasons I kept that, even though I had other gyms… I had my own home gym, I had a gym membership near my work, and then I had an Anytime Fitness. The advantage of the Anytime Fitness was that they had gyms all around the world. So when I was in Calgary, I could go to the gym for free. When I was in Mississippi for a football game, I could go to a gym for free. So, look for some of those chains that will actually let you go in. And like you said, it needs to be close to your home. It needs to be something that you would almost have to drive by it on your way home.
Agi Kadar (10:55): That’s a good point. Or even close to your work, or whatever is more convenient for you. But definitely convenience will make it a lot easier to get there and stick to your routine.
Allan (11:09): Another thing to look at is some of the services they offer that might be those add-ons that are going to make this gym really special for you. Some of them have the special classes, so they’ll be doing some strength classes, some aerobic classes, spinning classes as a part of the whole service. Some of them have infrared saunas, swimming pools, those types of things. If those are services that you and your family would enjoy, those are really nice to have. And then the other is personal trainers. If they have a cadre of personal trainers available, particularly at the beginning when you’re trying to learn what these crazy-looking machines do and how you’re going to get over to those iron plates and the bars and how you’re going to do all that, it’s really good that they have trainers. In many cases the trainers will give you an orientation. They actually should demonstrate how to do the work. And if at any point in time you’re concerned about your form, typically you can go over and ask the trainer on duty, “Do you mind spotting me? Do you mind watching me and telling me if I’m doing this right? I don’t want to hurt myself.” And 99% of the time they’re going to be able to go over there and give you a hand and help you lift safer and lift better. So, don’t discount those add-ons, because even though you say, “I might not need to go to a gym in another town”, suddenly you’re going to visit your grandmother or your aunt and you’re like, “Do they have this gym there?” And when they do, it’s pretty cool that you don’t have to pay a walk-in fee for one of those other gyms.
Agi Kadar (12:43): Yes, definitely. That’s why I said just go to visit a couple of gyms and find out their policies. Like you mentioned, the chains – some of them you can just go anywhere. I work for a gym that’s a franchise, but you can still get a travel pass and go to other gyms and use them on vacation or anywhere in the world. And the other thing, like you mentioned, the trainers. When you go to a gym, find out if they offer a couple of free sessions to get you oriented with all the equipment and free weights or whatever else you want to use in the classes. We give two orientation sessions and we actually write up a workout routine for people to get started with.
Allan (13:29): That’s really
Agi Kadar (14:18): Probably the biggest thing is, just like in life, be courteous and keep everything the way you would like to find it. Cleanliness; just clean up after yourself – that’s one big thing. And respect other people’s time and space. Some people are just there to work out and get to work, or they really don’t have a lot of time, so they don’t want to chat. They don’t want you to interrupt their workout, so you need to respect that. If you’re retired and you have the time and there are a lot of other people that stay for a while, that’s great. Go and talk to them at the juice bar or sit down and have a cup of coffee. But don’t interrupt others’ workout. I think that’s one of the biggest rules that people need to know. But at the same time, also share. Sometimes the gym mouse might feel like, “I can’t go over there, they’re using that machine.” But they’re just sitting on it and talking, or texting, or resting for a while. It’s okay to approach them then and ask them, “Can I share that machine with you?” Or that area. You can work in with others nicely. Sometimes it is also for the gym mouse to know their rights, not just the rules. That’s why I dedicated a whole chapter in my book to gym etiquette.
Allan (15:40): I think you could have written the whole book on it.
Agi Kadar (15:42): Probably. And I got a lot of feedback that I should print it out and post it inthe gym everywhere.
Allan (15:51): A few that I’ll mention that I think a lot of people miss, and it goes back to being courteous. If you pull a set of dumbbells or some equipment from a rack, return them to the rack. For the convenience of everybody, the dumbbells are typically laid out from smallest to biggest and lightest to heaviest. And that’s important because it keeps the big guys from having to stand over in your area if you’re using lighter weights, and vice versa – you’re not having to cross over. Typically if someone’s working in the heavier weights, they’re not going to be on the other end, where now you have the opportunity to work. So make sure you’re putting your weights away. Notice that a lot of people actually use the mirror to monitor their form, so try not to get between someone that’s working out and the mirror until they’re done with their
Agi Kadar (17:00): Yes, definitely.
Allan (17:02): You’re going to wipe down your machines and your equipment when you’re done with it. Almost every gym’s going to have a bottle or something that you can wipe that off. And by all means, you can wipe off before you use it and after. They don’t mind you using their paper towels. We really don’t, because we want to keep the equipment clean and nice. But at the same time, if you come into the gym sick, we’re in a small enclosed space, typically with a lot of people. We’re just going to get more people sick, and they’re going to get more people sick. So, if you have a cold or flu, stay home. If it’s a flu and fever, probably not even a good idea to work out. If it’s a head cold, you could probably still do some exercise, but try to do that where you’re not compromising the health of other people.
Agi Kadar (17:50): Yeah, definitely. I always tell people, if you’re in doubt, just think about what you would want somebody else to do. Do you want to go in there and have someone sneeze on you? Definitely, that was
Allan (18:20): One of the cool things about the gym, and you mentioned this a little bit –there’s this effect that happens when you’re around other people, that it makes you work a little harder and it makes the workout actually a little bit more enjoyable. So, group classes are a great way to get started if you’re really uncomfortable and you want to build some fitness before you really dive deep. But when you’re in the gym, realize that we’re all trying to do the same thing. You’re surrounding yourself with other people that are interested in their health and fitness. So, sometimes we help each other. And what I mean by that is, I might be doing a lift and I might be concerned that I’m not going to be able to complete the last rep. If it’s a bench press or squat or something like that, it might be difficult for me to do that last one, and I might ask you for a spot. If someone asks you for a spot and you know how to give the spot, then by all means. If you’re uncomfortable that you’re not going to be able to properly spot somebody, then don’t be afraid to tell them that you don’t feel like you’re strong enough or you don’t have the spotting technique. But as you get into this, realize that we’re all there to kind of help each other out. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a spot if you think you need one, because it’s better for you to have that spot – someone there to catch the bar so you don’t drop it on yourself than it is for you to try the lift and hurt yourself.
Agi Kadar (19:40): Yes. People will be surprised how helpful others can be. Even some of the meatheads or gym rat-looking people are usually very welcoming to new people and they encourage them. That’s a great
Allan (20:04): We like
Agi Kadar (21:40): Yes, totally agree. Or just walk up to the front desk and ask them, “Is there a trainer available that can help me?” Chances are, they are just walking around and they’d be happy to help you. They want to keep busy. They want to show what they know and they all want to help you.
Allan (21:55): And that’s a part of their marketing shtick. If I have an opportunity to show you something, then you’re going to understand what kind of trainer I am, how skilled I am, and other people are going to see me helping you. I can tell you managers want their trainers on
Agi Kadar (22:25): Yes. I always tell people to just ask instead of hurting themselves or doing it wrong. It’s much harder to unlearn a wrong move than do it right in the first place.
Allan (22:34): And we’re over 40, so more likely than not, doing it wrong is going to lead to some form of injury. You really don’t want that. That’s going to keep you out of the gym, and now you’re going to be an injured mouse at home.
Agi Kadar (22:51): We don’t want that.
Allan (22:53): So any other gym etiquette tips or things that someone should know? We talked about how there are certain gyms that will fit them better, there are certain etiquette tips that once you get comfortable with how that gym works are going to work for you. Anything else?
Agi Kadar (23:09): Definitely if you’re not sure, just ask around what’s expected of you. Just little things sometimes people don’t think about, like bringing your gym bag to the floor. If only one person does it, it’s not a big deal, but can you imagine 10, 15, 20 gym bags all over the place and people tripping over them? It’s really dangerous. Another thing is bringing a cell phone into a class, for instance, and texting or making phone calls, disturbing other people. That’s really one of my biggest pet peeves that I try to encourage people, not just for the benefit of others that you don’t disturb the class or the instructor, but also for your own enjoyment of your time. You are here to work out. If there is an emergency, I can understand some people want to keep their phone on them. That’s great, but if you don’t need to, don’t do it. Relax, recharge.
Allan (24:09): A lot of times the gyms will be playing music, and it might not be the music that you want to listen to. So, have some Bluetooth headphones, listen to your music. There are also applications that you might want to use to log your weight because they’ll give you all kinds of cool graphs and information that kind of
Agi Kadar (25:21): Yeah, definitely sharing is a very good rule.
Allan (25:26): It’s a skill. Working
Agi Kadar (25:59): Yes, exactly. I like that.
Allan (26:05): You don’t have to ever become a gym rat. You could stay a good gym mouse and still enjoy the health and fitness benefits of being in a gym or a fitness club. So, a question I’m asking all of my guests now and I want to ask you, Agi – I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Agi Kadar (26:33): I’m really happy that you mentioned happiness because I think it’s a very big part of it, and very important. One of my strategies that I would recommend is,find something you like to do. Do not make exercise a chore. Especially for a gym mouse or someone who feels like that’s not their biggest talent or skill – to move, but they know they need to do it and they want to do it. Don’t try todo something you hate or you really dislike. Find something you really enjoy. Take a class. They all the classes, see which one you like. Or try out training with a trainer. Try out working out with a buddy. Just really find something you like. You like dancing? Put on music and dance around the house, or take a Zumba class or some other type of dancing class. But really, really important that you enjoy what you do. You will stick to it more, you’re going to look forward to it, and you’re still going to get all the benefits of the gym or just the movement. That’s one of my tips. The second one is, create a habit and stick to it. We are creatures of habit, so it is a lot easier to stick to a habit than keep stopping and creating a new one. Find a time that works the best for you and stick to it. Make it as an appointment. Just really think about it as a very important thing, part of your life, something that you do every day or every other day or so many times a week, just like brushing your teeth or washing your face.
Allan (28:16): Or picking up your spouse from the airport.
Agi Kadar (28:18): Exactly. Don’t leave them stranded there. Of course, if something comes up, where you get sick, you might miss your workout. But if it’s maybe a matter of time, that you usually work out 30 minutes and you only have 15 minutes – go for 15 minutes. You’re still going to keep that habit, so you’re going to feel that accomplishment: “I did it. It was a harder day today, but I still did my workout, even if it’s 15 minutes.” Or if you have to, just do a little bit or move at home: “Okay, I missed the gym today. I’m going to go home and dance around while I’m making the bed and washing dishes.” Just anything, so you keep that habit of moving every day or at least sticking to your workout routine. I really think it’s very important. Even if you get maybe injured a little bit. I had a client who sprained her ankle, and my advice to her was, “It’s only your ankle. You have a lot more body parts and muscle groups there that you can work.” And she said she kept hearing my voice every day: “It’s only an ankle”, and that got her over that initial shock of, “Oh my God, I can’t do anything.” She came to the gym with a cane for a while, but she sat on some of the machines or sat on the bench and did upper body exercises. She did core exercises, and she was so happy that she didn’t have to stop her routine. So, keeping that habit I think is very, very important.
And the third one, I think probably the most important, is to supercharge your motivation. Most of us know that we need to move, we need to exercise, and we probably know all the benefits of exercise – our health, appearance, weight loss, a lot of other benefits. But sometimes it’s not enough to get us out on a cold, dark morning to get up earlier and go to the gym, or after work when you just want to go home and curl up in front of the TV. So you have to find a personal, maybe a more emotional reason to do it. What I mean with that is something that you really want, and you need to be in better shape for
Allan (32:56): Yes, absolutely. Those are wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. Now, you said you have a special gift for anyone that wants to come and check you out. Tell us about the gift and tell us where we can learn more about you and the book, Are You a Gym Mouse?
Agi Kadar (33:16): Yes. I created a “Have Fun Exercising” 30-day challenge that I recommend to every gym mouse to maybe commit to it. It’s just helping you get started and sticking to an exercise routine, just to commit to moving every day. And it doesn’t have to be in the gym every day, but just commit to even 15 minutes of movement every day. I included some tips, some fun and more unique ideas – how you can move even without going to the gym or doing a formal exercise, and little tips to motivate yourself and sticking to it, and then reward yourself for sticking to a 30-day plan. Once you stick to it, you will keep that habit going. And I’m betting on it that you will feel better and you’ll keep wanting those benefits. You can find my gift at GetFitGift.com. We’ll send you the free PDF and a surprise also with that, that I don’t want to tell you. You have togive that gift. And you can also find out more about my book and about me on my website at AreYouAGymMouse.com.
Allan (34:38): Awesome. This is episode 360, so in case you’re running or you’re out and about and you couldn’t write that down, just remember this is 360. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/360, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Agi, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Agi Kadar (34:58): Thank you, Allan, for having me. It was great.
I wanted to let you know if you do enjoy the podcast and you’re interested in checking out The Wellness Roadmap book, it is available on Audible and iTunes. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook. Actually, if you don’t have an Audible account yet, Audible will actually let you have the book for free. So, you can check it out and get it for free actually, by checking out Audible, going to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook.
I also wanted to check in with you and see if you were potentially interested in helping to support the podcast. We do have a Patreon page. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and there you can go ahead and leave a small monthly donation for the podcast. And I’ve got some levels in there. So if you want to get more involved with the podcast, learn more about what we’re doing here, really be more a part of it, a support for this podcast, it’ll help me keep paying for the audio production and the show notes. I’d really appreciate it. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Pateron. Thank you.
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Dr Pat Luse takes his 30+ years of practice and describes how The 7 Systems Plan can help you turn your health around and live an optimal life.
Allan (1:19):Dr. Luse, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Pat Luse (1:23): It’s nice to be here with you.
Allan (1:27): When we met at the writers’ conference and you were winning an award, I was like, “I definitely want to get this guy on the podcast. I want to find out what his book’s about.” Now that I’ve had an opportunity to read the book, The 7 Systems Plan, I can tell you, you definitely deserved every bit of the kudos you got for that award. That was a wonderfully written book. Thank you for sharing this with me.
Dr. Pat Luse (1:50): Thank you. It was a great honor. I was surprised that that happened, but I’m very pleased.
Allan (1:57): I think it’s well deserved, to be honest with you. It’s a really, really good book. Very well researched and obviously practiced. This was not just something that you’ve come up with over a course of a year saying, “I want to write a book. So what can I call it? And seven is a really good number to throw out there.” This is from years and years of practice, working with clients to help them optimize their health, lose weight, and get back to the way they should be living their lives.
Dr. Pat Luse (2:27): That’s right. Actually the book is 30 years in the making. I’ve been doing this with patients for that long and I’ve been refining my program. And I decided, “This is exciting. I want to help more people than just the ones in my office.” So, I wrote the book and have the course, and now I’m helping people all over regain their health and have amazing health transformations.
Allan (2:54): As humans, we tend to want very simple rules. Calories in / calories out sounds like a wonderful model for us to design our lives around if we want to lose weight. But then people forget that there are other systems in our body, and they don’t just operate independently. They all collaborate to bring about this human condition, to bring about what we’re able to do and what we can’t do, and how we age and how our health goes. You’ve identified seven systems that are all interrelated and related to our health. Can you define the seven systems that you use in the book and how each of those affects our health?
Dr. Pat Luse (3:37): Yes. I lay the chapters out similarly – I give you a brief overview of what the system is; I give you a patient story of a patient that had a problem with this system; I tell you how the system can be broken and how you can fix it; and then I give you simple steps. So the first system is the structural system. It is your most important system. That is your frame. It’s your bone, it is your muscle, and it is fat that hangs on that frame. Those are the three critical parts. And in America we have some significant problems with fat. In fact, we have made that fat angry and it’s now working against us. It’s attacking us rather than working for us. The second system is the digestive system. A lot of people are familiar with that, but they’re not mostly aware of how important your gut microbiome is, your gut bacteria. And over the next couple of years you are going to hear endless studies showing how critical that is to your health. Weight is just one of the things that that can affect, but everything else – diabetes, inflammatory problems, autoimmune disorders – all can have their origin in the gut. Third system is the delivery system, and this system picks up the nutrients from the digestive system and takes them to the cells. As you know, we have a lot of problems with this delivery system – the heart and blood vessels. Number one killer in America is heart disease at this time, and it is significantly reversible. We have some miraculous reversals of arterial disease. They’ve actually got imaging studies that show that this reversal of blockage and plaque begins in three weeks after following a plan like The 7 Systems Plan.
The fourth system is the energy system. So you’ve delivered the food to the cells, now the cells have to turn it into energy, and that’s where your mitochondria come in. Mitochondria are little power plants inside every cell of your body. What most people don’t know is that you can have a lot of these or you can have very few of these. And most people have very few, but there are some simple steps to increase their numbers and increase their productivity tremendously. In fact, studies show you can have 600% more energy if you optimize this system. The fifth system’s the communication system. All these seven systems have to be able to talk to each other, or you’re going to have problems. And they communicate by hormones – a few of them are critical to your health; nerves, and neurotransmitters. We show you how to identify problems with these and optimize them. The sixth one is your defense system. This system defends your body against outside and inside attacks. As you know with our problem with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and all kinds of other bacterial and viral problems, we need to have this system working for us. It is the system that is responsible for causing chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation is the root of almost all disease. And the last system in your body is your detox system. This system just cleans up. There are some significant things you can do to make this system work for you instead of against you. And it needs to be, because we are overwhelmed with toxins today. There are more toxins for this generation than any other generation in thousands of years by far. So this system needs to be working correctly.
Allan (7:33): And like I said at the beginning of this, the reason I like this approach is, it looks at your body across the board. It doesn’t sit there and say, “This is just a food allergy” or, “This is high blood cholesterol, so take this pill.” This is a, “Let’s figure out which systems are being impacted that are causing this”, not, “Let’s get rid of the symptom.” I really like the way you approached each of these. Now, one of the protocols that you talked about in the book was fasting, or the fasting mimicking diets. I was familiar with Valter Longo. Currently he is selling a product line that’s what I would call low calorie, high nutrition plan, that you can mail order and he’ll ship it to you. As I understand it, it’s somewhere around 600-700 calories just to get you the basic nutrients that you’d need to go through a fasting mimicking diet. But the fasting mimicking diets that you were using were more of the intermittent fasting style and they’re mimicking what would happen in our body during an extended fast. Can you explain what are the benefits of fasting, and then the types of fasting mimicking diets that you use in your practice?
Dr. Pat Luse (8:57): Fasting is in an extremely powerful tool in regaining your health. I give you some simple fasting techniques in Chapter 1 of my book, and it kind of eases you into it. You don’t have to do water-only fast to have significant benefits. Now, water-only fasts are very powerful and I do use them in my office. But to kind of prepare for that, there are methods of eating that trick your brain into thinking you’re fasting, while you’re actually eating food. A simple one that I like to use is the 17-hour fast. All that means is skip breakfast. Start eating at noon, finish your eating by 7:00 at night. Restrict the time that you eat. Powerful benefits of doing that alone. A second method is the 23-hour fast. Now we’re going from eating in a seven-hour window to eating in a one-hour window. So you would skip breakfast and lunch. And in that one meal that you have, it’s important to have a nice, balanced meal. We don’t want to have a tremendous number of calories in one meal. Significant progress with patients using those methods. So those are two of the things that I personally do and I have all the patients that join my course and program try these things. I usually get them eating a good diet for a month, getting the main 10 food groups in, that I outline, and after that experiment with some of these fasting techniques. The third one that I really like is called the 5-2 plan. On the 5-2 plan two nonconsecutive days per week, you restrict the calories to 500 for women or 600 for men. And that alone has been shown to have significant health benefits.
So what are the benefits of fasting? You want to clean house; your body does it in a very powerful way when there’s not food coming in or there’s not food coming in all the time at least. So you get elimination of waste products. Your body doesn’t have food to eat, so it focuses on getting rid of dangerous cells, like cancer cells. It may get rid of some extra skin that you’ve got hanging on to you because you’ve been losing weight. Fasting has been shown to reset your metabolism higher. A lot of people have a slow metabolism. There aren’t many ways to boost that, but one of the powerful ways is to use one of these fasting techniques. And also, if you want to control your hunger hormone – the hunger hormone is ghrelin; that comes in waves in your body. If you want to make those waves smaller, so you have less waves and they’re less powerful, less cravings, less hunger – fasting is a powerful way to do that. And I could go on and on. There are just tremendous benefits from fasting.
Allan (12:01): My favorite is the autophagy aspects of it, because your body needs certain things. It’s going to need amino acids to rebuild muscle and to do the things that it’s doing. It can get those amino acids from weak cells, from cells that our bodies should be getting rid of, but because we’re eating in many cases too much food, we’re not giving our body that opportunity. And for me, the other side of it is, the reason that fasting seems to make sense, beyond the fact that from a religious perspective, religions have been doing fasting forever as a protocol of refreshment, as a protocol for life, is that our ancestors didn’t have refrigeration or preservatives. So, they would go without food for even a couple of days, while they were on a hunt or while they were foraging, looking for something, particularly in the colder months when it was less plentiful. To me it really fits with what I think our bodies were designed for.
Dr. Pat Luse (13:12): Yeah. Never in our history have we eaten so frequently or constantly. If I just look back to when I was young, we had three meals a day – that was basically it. And now we have snacks in between those meals and we have something to eat before we go to bed. We are eating constantly. And some people even get up in the night to eat. Eating in the late evening or in the night is very damaging to your mitochondria, or your energy system that boosts your energy.
Allan (13:51): I’ve brought this up before on the podcast, but there was this term that’s come up and it’s now actually a thing. It’s called “second breakfast”. So someone will eat their first breakfast, and then by 10:00 they’re feeling hungry or they believe they’re hungry. And McDonald’s and others have loved this, that’s why they offer breakfast all day long. They want you to have that second breakfast around 10:00, because that’s just more business for them. And I say that because I think we think we’re hungry often times when we’re actually not hungry. In the book you outline some physiological and some psychological sources for hunger. I want to go through these, if you don’t mind, real quickly, because I think if people really started assessing what they’re feeling that we associate as hunger, it could go a long way towards saying, “No, I just need to go do this and not eat as much as I probably would.” Can you go through those sources of hunger?
Dr. Pat Luse (14:57): Actually, each of these seven systems can cause problems with hunger and eating, and that’s why it’s important. If you’ve got weight problems, you don’t want to just focus on restricting calories and eating better. That’s important, but if you don’t address all the other things, you’re not going to maintain your progress. You won’t make as quick a progress and you won’t keep the weight off once you to do. That’s why 99% of people gain the weight back after they’ve lost it. So, some of the things that can cause hunger are ghrelin – that’s the hunger hormone. It is that growling you get. It’s the “grow me” hormone and it signals you to eat. Here’s what we now know about ghrelin. You can train that to be too active, to give you those waves of hunger more and more frequently and stronger, but you can also train it to get weaker. Ghrelin does come in waves in your body. So what happens if you ignore the wave? It goes away. What happens if you act on the wave and you eat? It goes away. That’s one of the first things I teach my patients, that it’ll pass. Just give it 10 minutes, drink a little water, have a little coffee, and that wave will pass. And again, I said, fasting helps reset that.
Your fat cells, we now know, when you make them angry – and I talk about angry fat in Chapter 1 of my book – those angry fat cells can make you hungry, can give you cravings, can make you want to eat more and more. And fat cells produce a powerful hormone called leptin, which is your weight control hormone. When you get too many fat cells sending out leptin to the brain, it stops working and your brain thinks, “We don’t have any food. We don’t have any fat. We better up the appetite and slow down the metabolism.” This is a hormone that we need to fix. We now know that bad bacteria in your gut can actually cause hunger cravings. The good bacteria in your gut make you have cravings for things that feed them, like vegetables and fiber-rich things. The bad bacteria – that’s not what feeds them. They like the junk food. So if you get a craving for junk food, it could be that bad bacteria in your gut.
We also have a volume sensor in our stomach. We have no calories sensor. You can eat all the calories you want; your stomach will never say, “Alright, I’ve had enough.” But volume is something that it does respond to. So, we want to put lots of high volume, high nutrient-dense foods into our stomach, not the things that have very little volume and a tremendous number of calories. Low blood sugar can cause cravings and hunger. Just being low on water. Imagine this; this pertains to a lot of your listeners. You just ate your evening meal. It was a nice meal, you’re full. And 30 minutes later you’re hungry. Well, that just can’t happen. So it’s not lack of food that’s causing that. It could be lack of water. That dehydration signal, that thirst signal can seem just the same as a hunger signal. So, drink a big glass of water, wait 5-10 minutes, and if it’s gone, that was a water signal, not a food signal. Food addiction can be a source of hunger. Stress and elevated cortisol in your body can cause an increase in hunger too. So, a good number of things. Figuring out which of these things are causing your hunger cravings can be helpful.
Allan (18:55): A lot of what you talk about there – one is, stay hydrated. To me that’s an easy one. If you stay hydrated, then you typically know that it’s not a thirst that’s going to signal this hinger. Eating high quality foods, so you’re feeding the good bacteria, you’re getting the nutrient density that you need. Actually vegetables and fruits, high fiber fruits particularly, have a good bit of water in them. So again, it’s that natural blend of, if you work to improve the quality of your food, you’re going to be touching on most of those systems one way or another. And then dealing with the stress and paying attention to the signals your body’s giving you over time, I think is going to give you a good barometer of knowing when enough is enough.
Dr. Pat Luse (19:45): That’s right. You can actually stretch and increase the size of your stomach, as we have done. When you eat large meals, you can increase your stomach size, so it takes more food to trip that volume sensor. So I encourage my patients to not really stuff their stomach. And most of my patients in a short period of time, their cravings go down, their appetite goes down, and they just cannot eat as much as they used to eat, which is a very good thing to have happen.
Allan (20:19): What I’ve found is, when I’m really focused on the nutritional density of the food, I just don’t eat as much. If I go out for a good meal in a restaurant, I order their steak. I know it’s not grass-fed, I know it’s not the best quality meat, but it’s delicious and I need to eat, so I eat it. But I end up eating the entire 8-12 ounce portion, which is really two or three portions of steak. When I’m at home and I’ve bought some high quality grass-fed meat, I could eat about four ounces and feel completely satiated. Pairing that up with some good vegetables, getting a good mix on my plate. So I think the higher quality foods may seem to cost more, but in the grand scheme of things from a health and illness perspective… But also you don’t eat as much because you’re getting the nutrition that your body needs.
Dr. Pat Luse (21:18): That’s correct.
Allan (21:20): Now, if we’re going to do some fasting and we’re going to not listen to the bad gut bacteria until we get rid of it, because it’s going to take a little bit of time for that stuff to go away, and we’re not going to necessarily eat until were full, and we’re going to remember to try the delay or the water tactic as a way of getting past the hunger, the surge of ghrelin or the wave that’s coming in, so we can make sure it is what it is – a lot of people will then have to depend on this finite resource we call “willpower”. And I say “finite”, because a lot of folks will notice as their day goes on and they have to make more and more decisions about things, they just get this fatigue. And it’s so much easier to have bad food, have a glass of wine when you told yourself you weren’t going to. Those types of decisions become harder and harder; our willpower becomes weaker and weaker. In the book you share six willpower helpers. Would you share those with us?
Dr. Pat Luse (22:29): Sure. I tell my patients from the start, if you are going to depend upon your willpower to succeed, you’re not going to make it. It just will not happen, so you cannot do that. Willpower actually comes from a part of your brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, and it is about one inch straight back from my finger. Pup your finger on your forehead, go back an inch – that part of your brain controls your willpower. But it also controls several other things – emotions, task performance, decision-making. So imagine using that part of your brain all day, and then getting home and expecting it to make your willpower work. It’s just not going to happen. You can get about 15 minutes of work out of that part of your brain for willpower, and then it’s going to fatigue and not work as correctly. So you need to have things to help your willpower. I mention six of them in my book. First of all, you’ve got to have a desire, you’ve got to have a want to. So, Mary – actually she’s on the poster right back here. She came in to me at age 60. She was diabetic, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, morbidly obese. But here’s what she said: “If I don’t do something, I’m not going to be here for my grandkids.” That was her desire, her want to, her “Why”, and that’s a very powerful one. When I hear that from a patient – alright, we’re going to help you make.
New skills and abilities are very helpful. This is actually the classroom where I teach. I’ll be teaching a class tonight. This is the same class that I teach online. I give my patients lots of new skills and abilities. The more that you have, the better health you’ll have. You need a cheering section. So in this room, this is my cheering section. They support each other and cheer each other along. But everybody needs someone who’s encouraging them and helping them along. You’ve got to find that. You need a coach. So, in this program, and in my book, I’m the coach. That’s very helpful. You need a coach in every part of your life; health is no different. Rewards and incentives. So when my patients begin my program, I say, “What’s your reward going to be? You get that first 10 pounds off – what’s your reward? When you hit 30 pounds off? When you finish the program, how are you going to reward yourself?” And it doesn’t have to be huge things, but those little things along the way help you to keep going. They support your willpower. And the last thing is a health-friendly environment. If you expect to succeed in gaining health, losing weight, and you’ve got junk food at home, it’s not going to happen. If you’ve got junk food in the car or at work, it’s going to make it much more difficult. So I have my patients, day one, purge their house, get all of that stuff out of there. So you don’t have to depend upon your willpower; there’s just nothing bad to get you in trouble around.
Allan (25:45): Because then you have to actually make the decision to get in your car and drive to the store to get those things. What you just said, I love the path of that because that really follows the way I work with a lot of my clients, and we’ve talked about it here on the podcast – you do have to have a powerful “Why”, a deep emotional, like you said for Mary. And you share Mary’s story in the book, and a lot of other stories that are all really compelling, to help us understand how people bridge this gap. For some of them it was really, really good. And others had some difficulties that they had to fight back from. I really appreciated those stories, because they really brought all this to life. But you have to want to do this. It has to be, like you said, a good desire. I use the word “Why” with my clients, and we go over it and over it and over it until it’s ingrained and I know it’s emotional and it’s deep and they’re fixed on it. That gives us such a good framework then to use these other tactics of, don’t have it in your house if you don’t have to. I know for a lot of folks the kids are going to want it, your spouse might want it. Segregate it. Put it in a different place where it’s going to be out of sight. You may know it’s there, but having to make the effort to go to a different pantry to get it is just that little stop that you could take and say, “I have a ‘Why’ I’m doing this.” For me, it always comes back to that one, but the others are great, great tactics. So, if you find you struggle with willpower, which I don’t think I’ve found anyone that has what I would call great willpower. I’ve seen people put up with a lot in my life, but at the same time we all have our weaknesses, and until we recognize those and address those, we’re not going to be as successful as we can be.
Dr. Pat Luse (27:48): That’s correct. So with that “Why”, the reason you’re doing it – actually write those out. I have my patients give me four or five “Why’s”, put it on a 3 by 5 card, and then put it somewhere where you’re going to see it all the time.
Allan (28:02): Absolutely. Make it your background on your phone and on your computer, so it’s there all the time. Now, Doctor, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Dr. Pat Luse (28:22): That’s a very good definition of “wellness”. I would sum it all up in one thing, and that is your seven systems. So that would be the thing I would say, if you do that, you’re going to have significant improvement in your health in a very short period of time. If I had to list three things that were probably the most powerful things, the first one would be, eat real food and take some supplements. Real food is the most powerful thing that you can do to regain your health, and it’s not that difficult. There are 10 food groups that I teach about in my course and there are some very simple ways to get all of those groups in every day, and very tasty ways. And a few supplements are key. We won’t have time to get into that today, but everybody needs to take a good multiple, vitamin D, probiotic and Omega-3. Those things are extremely helpful for your systems function. So that’d be number one. Number two, I’d say protect your gut bacteria. Now, this one didn’t use to be in my top 10 things of importance for my patients. It is moving clear to the top. Your gut microbiome is extremely helpful and powerful if it’s working for you. If it’s working against you, you’re going to have difficulty making progress with any health problem. The third thing I would say is, balance your hormones. You’ve got 50 hormones in your body. You don’t have to worry about all of them, but there are a few of them that are key, like insulin. Your insulin has to be working correctly. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. It makes that fat go into the fat cells and it prevents it from getting out. So my patients that come in here and can’t lose weight, I always check their insulin, and every time I find that insulin is too high. We lower the insulin and their weight loss takes off. Cortisol – the stress hormone – that’s another key one. You’ve got to do things regularly, daily; just some simple techniques to lower that stress hormone. So, that’s the third part – keep your hormones working for you instead of against you.
Allan (30:37): Great. I love those. And The 7 Systems Plan, your book, lays out a lot of ways for us to methodically approach each and every one of those. Thank you so much for that, Dr. Luse. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book and all the things you’re doing, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Pat Luse (30:58): I have a website, DrPatLuse.com. I’ve got a lot of free resources for patients there. They can get my book there. My book’s available at Barnes & Noble; it’s called The 7 Systems Plan. It’s got some additional resources that are connected with it. And I also have an online course. My patient in life is helping patients have amazing health transformations. We get people off medications, we help them lose weight, we reverse diabetes. Every time that happens with the patients, I just get a buzz. I really enjoy that. I want to create more and more of these amazing health transformations.
Allan (31:46): They are. Every one of them in the book is a brilliant story of someone turning their life around. So, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.
Dr. Pat Luse (31:57): Thank you. It’s been great being here with you.
Allan (32:05): I want to thank you for helping to make The Wellness Roadmap an Amazon bestseller. It really is an honor that you’ve reached out and got the book, and the book has been so well received to make bestseller status in three different subcategories. That was a really big thrill for me, and an honor, so thank you so, so much. You can get The Wellness Roadmap book by going to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. That’ll take you directly to the Amazon seller page, where you can get the book. And while you’re out there, consider buying it as a gift to your friends and family that are over the age of 40 and interested in regaining or maintaining their health. It makes an excellent Christmas gift. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. Thank you.
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On this episode, we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, the launch of The Wellness Roadmap book, and I answer listener questions.
Hello and thank you for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. I am so glad you’re here today. This is going to be a special episode because today is the official third birthday for the 40+ Fitness podcast. Yes, I launched the podcast on December 6, 2015, and this episode that you’re hearing today is going live December 6, 2018. And my, how so much changed in just three years! It’s really quite amazing. I’m going to talk about the podcast, I’m going to talk a little bit about the new book, and then I’m going to talk about going forward what I want to do with the podcast, with my career, with the whole thing. If you’re not interested in all that and all you want to do is get to the Q&A, you might want to skip forward a little bit because this is going to get into the origin of the show, the things I’ve been doing for the past three years, the growth and where we are today. If you’re not interested in those types of things, then I’d encourage you to skip towards the end and you can pick up the Q&A. We got some really cool, good questions there that I know you’re going to get some value out of. So this is not an entire show about me and the podcast. It’s about you and how I can help you reach your health and fitness goals. Let’s go ahead and get started.
As I mentioned, the podcast started three years ago, and when I first started the podcast, I did a lot of things to try to jumpstart it and get it going early. I spent a lot of what I would call stupid money, building up some things that didn’t matter; I spent money on things that didn’t matter. I bought equipment that I’ve never actually ever used. It was really kind of a traffic wreck. Now, I had a full-time job, so I had the disposable income to do those types of things. But looking back at myself now, if you’re thinking about starting a podcast, email me, let me know. Let me give you a little bit of advice, because you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a podcast. You do need to spend some money to have a good podcast, but you can get a decent podcast with not much of an investment if you’re willing to invest your time. I started the podcast because I had done some things for my health and wellbeing that I felt were quite valuable and a lot of people were asking me about it. They could physically see the change in me. I was a different person and they recognized that. So, more and more people were reaching out to me that I knew and I just got to thinking, I can’t not tell everybody. If this is something that’s going to work for me and it’s starting to work for other people, let’s prove the case.
So when I launched the podcast, I was extremely ambitious. Again, I did have a full time job, a very stressful full-time job at that. And as I reached out, I decided I was going to do the podcast five days a week. I was going to have shorter episodes of 15 minutes, enough time that you could go for a nice little walk and it wouldn’t take away too much of your day to spend 15 minutes, five days a week doing some moving around. That would basically put us at about 75 minutes, which is the minimum requirement of what the federal government says you should do. It’s by far a very low bar, but I thought this is doable for most people that I want to reach out to. So I did that for quite some time. I think we got all the way up into the 70s for the episodes. So, a good long time – probably eight, nine weeks or longer. I guess we’re looking at closer to 12, 13, 14 weeks that I ran this podcast for that amount of time. It was a lot of work, particularly when I was trying to do interviews and keep the interviews under the 15-minute mark – a real processing challenge for my head, for my stress. It was a little too much. So I made the bonus announcement that I was moving to three days a week and I was going to give myself some slack on the length of the show. If it needed to be a little bit longer, it’d be a little bit longer. If it could be a little bit shorter, I would make it a little bit shorter. That worked pretty well, but I found more and more I wanted to reach out to experts in the field. I wanted to do more interview shows, because I really felt like I could read a book and pull out some huge gems for folks – some great tactics, in many cases some good strategies to help us stay on track with our health and fitness. So I started reaching out to the guys out there that were writing books, and experts and whatnot. And I got some awesome guests on the show. There have been some huge ones, like Dr Fung, Jimmy Moore, Dr Friedman, Dr Greger. Just tons and tons of really good guys and ladies – sorry I missed a few of those. I had some really great shows. But I found working a full-time job and going through some pretty stressful events, that having to read three books per week… And a solo show actually probably takes me longer to prepare than an actual reading a book show. I know that sounds weird, but I spend a lot more time than the six or seven hours it takes me to read a book to actually plan one of these shows when I do a solo show. I spend a lot of time thinking about it, a lot of time doing some research to make sure that what I’m giving you is right. So, I prefer the interview style as a way of getting the information out there. So, I just found that doing three interviews shows per week was just a little too tough on me. So I tapped it back down a little bit more to once a week. And as you know if you’ve been listening for the last couple of months, I throw in bonus episodes every once in a while. So, it’s not like I’m just doing 52 episodes a year; I probably do closer to the realm of 60 a year, which is pretty good. It’s a good bit, but it’s not so much. Getting a lot of good feedback from that.
So, where have we come, where are we now? When I first started I was happy to see that first download, and it was me. The second download came and it was someone else, maybe even you, if you’ve been with me from the beginning. And that was pretty exciting. Now things are a lot bigger. This is actually being released as episode 358, which means there’s a ton of back catalogs. In fact, unless you’re subscribed to the podcast on iTunes, you don’t even see the first episode, because they only show the last 300 episodes on your player when you go to look for the podcast. Unless you’re subscribed, and then you can go all the way back. I’ve had over 205 guests on the show. In fact, I think I interviewed 206 today as I’m recording this. So, a lot of great folks have come on the show and provided great content, and I’m going to continue to strive week in and week out to get the best possible guests on the show that I can. There are some really cool, great guests coming up. I can’t tell you their names because they might miss their call and I don’t want to say they were here and then they’re not. So I’m not going to give you any false promises there, but I’ve got some really great episodes coming up that I know you’re going to enjoy. We’ve had over 1.3 million downloads and listens to the podcast over the three years. That’s phenomenal to me. It’s just an unbelievable number that we could have over a million people have been exposed to the 40+ Fitness podcast and are part of our family. And I think that’s really, really cool. Now, I know some of you listen to every episode, but when you realize 358 episodes and 1.3 million downloads and listens, that’s pretty significant, what we’re able to do here. So, really, really happy with that. We’ve been listened to in over 149 countries. And I can tell you most of the countries where we haven’t been heard are the countries that you would expect me not to be heard. It’s the Stan countries over in the Middle East and a few others in Africa and down in South America, but for the most part, this podcast is listened to around the world. So it’s gotten some really good guests from around the world, but it’s also gotten some wonderful listeners that are getting this content there. So I really appreciate you tuning in each and every week to be a part of this show, because it is a community. If we’re going to get healthy, we’re going to do this together. So I’m really, really happy to have both my North American-based listeners and also my international listeners. Thank you so much.
Now, the podcast is often featured on the top 100 in the Health & Fitness and in the Alternative Health space, which is really good. I look at the numbers that they throw out for podcast listens and all of that. We’re right in the mix to be a top tier podcast. We’re right in the top 10%, top 15% most weeks, so we’re right in that bailiwick of getting the good. We’re niche, we’re over 40, so I’m not trying to be everything to everybody. I don’t expect to be the major, major player here, but we are doing really good in the charts. The Facebook group continues to be a slow grow, but it’s a good, solid group. I love the feedback I get from you there. There are currently 571 members, and that can go up and down over time. If you’re not a member of the Facebook group, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group. I make a lot of announcements there, we interact there, you can ask questions there. I’m on the page. I go onto that group every single day to check in and see what’s going on with folks. So, really delightful community and I’m really glad for the folks that are a part of that. And then the Facebook page is just shy of 13,000 likes. We’re at 12,990. So if you haven’t liked the Facebook page, go look up 40+ Fitness, find the Facebook page and go ahead and give us a like. They don’t show those posts so it’s not like I’m going to inundate you on your feed, but it’s just nice to know that there are a lot of fans out there that are interested in what we’re doing. And that’s just another way to see it. And then of course the reviews on iTunes. We have basically 159 reviews. We’ve got a few more ratings. Some people rated it and didn’t leave a review. There are 159 reviews on the podcast, with an average rating of 4.96, which is phenomenal. A couple of people don’t like certain parts of the show, and I get that. I may say something that offends a person here or there, and I understand that. My goal is to get information out and let you disseminate how that information fits in your life. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a dietitian. I’m a personal trainer with some personal experience and I’ve interviewed over 205 guests at this point. So I think I know a thing or two to at least guide you in your own education of things that are there for you. So if I’m not making someone happy – please, go ahead and leave me a rating and review. It helps me. I’ve had some comments on the podcast page and I’ve had some reviews that have made me step up my game. One was for sound quality. So I’ve changed the way I record the podcast so that I can have better sound quality. I’ve had someone who was upset that I had too many ads at the beginning of an episode, so I went ahead and moved those to the back of the episode so he doesn’t have to listen to them. He can stop listening as soon as they play that last music bumper; he’s good to go. So, I do listen and read your reviews and I do make adjustments and will continue to do so. If you haven’t left a review for the show, please do it on whatever you’re listening to this podcast right now. I think you can do it and still be listening to me, so it doesn’t cost you any time. Just go ahead and leave a rating and review. It really does help me make the podcast better.
Allan (12:12): I just finished the whirlwind effort of publishing a book, and I wanted to talk a little bit about the origin of the book. The book came about because I was laid off. I was laid off last December and I was going through a lot of things and I was thinking the podcast has done a lot for a lot of people, but there’s a whole segment of folks out there that aren’t going to find the podcast. I know they’re listening to books on Audiobooks and I know they’re reading books. I want to try to hit more people, I want to try to touch more people. And being laid off, I had the time to invest in getting this message out there. So, I sat down and I kind of outlined what I thought the book would be about. And if you listen to episodes 295 to 299 – I call it The Wellness Roadmap – that’s actually the outline that became the book. I actually outlined it for you here on the podcast, and that became the staple, the basis for the writing of the book. I had that format when I went forward. And I hired people across the board, so I had editors, copy editors, layout people, the whole bit to help me get this book into production. I recorded the narrative on the audiobook, so if you do buy the audiobook, it’s going to be my voice reading my book, my words. I did hire a producer though to help me massage the files and get them up to Amazon standards. So that audiobook is now going to be available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. The book itself, I published not just an ebook or a paperback; I also have a hardbound. You can order the hardbound book pretty much through any retailer. Right now the ebook and the paperback are only going to be available through Amazon. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book, and that’s going to take you to Amazon. The Kindle edition comes out on December 6. At least for the next couple of days, the Amazon Kindle version is going to be available for $0.99, and then it’s going to go back up to its normal price of $6.99. Still a bargain for what I think you get for this book. But I wanted to give everybody that needs this book or wants this book, regardless of what your budget is. If you can afford a $1 Kindle book, you can watch it on your computer, because you can download their app. Or you can do it on your phone with their app. I know Kindle, even though it’s kind of an Amazon thing, you can still watch it and listen to it anywhere. And it’s only $0.99, so please do reach out there. And if you’ve gotten the book or if you get the book, I would really appreciate a rating and review on the book. This is hyper-critical because Amazon shoppers do pay attention to those ratings. If they come across a book and it’s highly rated, or they come across a book that doesn’t have any ratings, they’re always going to opt for the one that had the ratings. They’re just not going to pay that much and spend that much time reading the description to understand if a book is for them. They’re going to immediately hit the page, they’re going to see the cover, they’re going to see the number of ratings and whatever rating level they got. Then and only then they might read the description and read some of the reviews. So, please do take just a moment to leave me a rating and review. It really does help the book grow and become something special.
So, going forward, what’s going on? I told you I got laid off, and you probably already knew that. When I got laid off, I was thinking about how my work affected my life and my health, and I made the decision to opt for health and wellness over the job. I love what I’m doing here, so I decided to double down on pulling in some clients. I have the most wonderful clients in the world. I really do. I love each and every one of them. Every week when we have our calls, whether it be the one-on-one calls or the group calls, I leave those calls pumped, because I know I’m making a difference. I see my clients getting results and we’re having these great conversations about our health and our wellness. So it’s been really, really cool to be able to ramp that up. And of course I’ve continued the podcast with some sponsors, but more often than not, without. It’s really not a sponsored podcast. It’s all pretty much out of pocket and what I’m able to raise with my clients. But what’s come to be is that that’s just not sustainable for the long term. If I look at my cash flows relative to my outflows, for the long period of time I can’t stay where I am. I can’t keep doing what I’m doing. Something has to change. So my wife and I have decided that we’re going to move to Panama. What that’s going to mean is that my overall cost of living will be somewhat lower, which will help me spread the time, before I have to do something. I’m going to continue to train clients, I’ll be able to do that. I’m offering a special because I do need more clients, I’ll just be frank about it. If I’m going to keep doing this, I’ve got to treat it like a business, and it is a business. So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training and use the coupon code podcast when you check out. That’s going to allow you to get the first month for a dollar. I want you to just try it out. There’s a 40-day money back guarantee, which basically says if you get in and spend your dollar, and then you get billed the next $75 for the first month, and you say, “No, no, I don’t want to do this. This isn’t working for me. I didn’t see the results.” Then I’ll give you your money back. I won’t ask any questions, I won’t bother with it. I’ll just say, “Okay, I get it. It just didn’t work for you. This wasn’t for you. I’m sorry I let you down, but we’re good. Here’s your money back.” So you get to try it for a dollar; there’s no risk to it. And I do believe that most people that are going to come in and give this a real shot and take me up on this $1 for the first month offer, you’re going to see some results and you’re going to see what it’s like to be part of a group that’s all striving to be well together. You’re going to have that support from me and from everyone else as much as you need, as much as you want. So, please do go check it out – 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. Be sure to use the coupon code podcast at checkout.
And then finally, I’m going to carry on doing the podcast. It’s going to be a weekly show. Most of the episodes are going to be interviews. They’re the easier thing for me to do, they’re the thing I enjoy. Basically I’m getting paid pretty much to read books and interview people. Now, I say “getting paid”. I don’t get paid; the podcast is absolutely free for you. But if you would like to support what I’m doing here at the podcast, you can become a patron. Patreon is a service that lets me take in monthly contributions to cover the overall cost of producing the podcast. The podcast itself doesn’t cost a whole lot. There are some hosting costs for the website, there are some hosting costs for the audio file. Those are not significant. But I also pay someone to put the transcripts together, and I also pay someone to do the audio processing, and that’s where the dollars start actually adding up. This is a negative cash flow for me as a part of this, but I love doing this podcast. I’m going to probably keep doing the podcast even if you don’t become a patron. But if you go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, you can become a patron for as little as a dollar a month. I have some levels in there that I’m willing to do a little bit extra for you, if you’re willing to help me out a little bit more. And some of those are going to be pretty cool, I think, if you really want to be a part of it. You may not want to be a client, then don’t be a client; buy the book. You may not want to buy the book. If you want to help the podcast, there are several ways now to do it. You can purchase the book, leave a rating and review. You can become a client, and better yet I can help you personally reach your goals. Or you can become a patron through 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and help support the show so I can keep it going and keep doing this. Right now I’m sustainable because we’re getting ready to move to Panama. My step is going to be lower stress, but it’s also going to be a change to my business and how I run things. So I’ll have to just look at that. But I am going to keep doing the podcast, I am going to keep doing the training, and who knows, there might even be another book in my future.
Allan (21:07): Another thing I want to do with the podcast going forward is I do want to make it more about you. I talked about how easy reading the books are for me to be able to put together a really good show. Another way that makes it really easy for me to do a good show is for me to answer your questions. If you put in some questions, it’s very easy for me to sit down and put together the content that I want to have and how I want to outline it. That I can do really quickly. And so, this is also a Q&A show. With no further ado, I will go ahead and skip into the questions. Most of these questions came through the Facebook group. If you’re not a part of the group, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to the group page. This is where you’ll be able to ask those questions for when we have these Q&A episodes. I want to have more of them, so I’ll be putting them out there from time to time to see if I can build up enough questions to move forward. But most of these came from the group, so if you want to get in touch, that’s one of the best ways to do it. So, the first one comes from John. John asks, “What are your favorite mobility and balance routines?” This is a great question, because balance and mobility are something that I’m much more focused on now than I ever have been in my training. What I’ll start this out with is, a part of my overall philosophy of training is that you need to have a vision and you need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish before you can actually start on the task. So, my training for mobility and balance could be very different than yours, John. For example, I have very, very tight calves. I don’t know why they’re as tight as they are. I never wore high heels, I hardly ever wore boots. But for one reason or another, my calves are very, very tight. So, my mobility has to focus on my calves because my calves being tight adversely affects my movement pattern. If I want to improve my movement pattern, I have to address the tight muscles and I have to strengthen the weak muscles. So, my tight muscles are my hip flexors and my calves; my calves especially. My weak muscles tend to be my hamstrings and my quads. And so, I do a lot of strengthening for my hamstrings and my quads, and I do a lot of stretching and mobility work on my hip flexors and my calves. And that helps my overall squat form to be much more clean and much better. Now, there are other areas of my body that are tight. My chest is a little tight so I do stretches to the chest. My traps get a little tight from time to time, so I will occasionally do some self-myofascial release on my traps. Those are the areas that affect me. So, paying attention to your body and where you feel tight and where you know your lack strength – maybe the core – those are the areas where you want to focus on, on your general mobility.
As for balance, balance is an important aspect of day-to-day life. We could easily fall, and I can tell you as we get older, the likelihood of falls goes through the roof and the injuries and cause of death from a fall is so high. It really is unbelievable to me how many people over the age of 65 fall, and how many of them end up in the hospital or dead. This is not something you want to happen to you, so you do want to start a program to make sure that you’re improving your balance. I recently interviewed a wonderful woman, Carol Clements. That was episode 357, that just happened this last Monday. Her book is Better Balance for Life. She has a pretty interesting program where you do most of your balance work as a part of your normal day-to-day routine. So, perhaps while you’re brushing your teeth, you stand on one foot with your eyes closed. It sounds like a simple task, but it’s a lot harder than you would think it’d be. She just uses and builds it all into your day-to-day functional things that you’re doing to use balance as a protocol. I say that’s great. Just realize when you’re training balance, you’re trying to put yourself in a slightly imbalanced position, like standing on one foot or having two feet really close together – make sure you’re in a position where if you fall, you’re not going to hurt yourself. That’s the core thing I would say about balance. Now, to put it all together, the cool thing about mobility and balance is that these are things that you can do every day. You can work on them every day. You don’t have to, but the more you work on them, the easier it’s going to be, the more your balance will improve, the more your mobility will improve. So, it is something that I would encourage you to consider doing each and every day. And what I would say is, make balance a part of your regular life – standing with your feet closer together, standing on one foot, putting yourself in unbalanced positions, moving side to side, getting yourself comfortable with out of the box movements. That’s going to help your balance, and you can do that any day, anywhere. The second would be, as far as the mobility, just make that a part of your warmup. Do a little cardio warmup, get your body moving, and then spend a few minutes working on mobility, on the areas where you know you have tightness. That’s going to be the best protocol I can give you. There’s not any one protocol that’s out there. I have run the Functional Fitness Challenge before, where I did give some general protocols that addressed what I feel are the movement patterns for most people, the balance issues for most people, but we all differ in our own ways. So, there is no one-size-fits-all for just about anything in health and fitness. Take that into account, but make it a part of your daily movement patterns, daily activities like your workouts, and you’ll do a lot better.
The next one comes from Angie and Sammy. I’m going to combine their question, because it was kind of the same question, but they were asking it in a slightly different way. The question was, “How do I maintain endurance activity while in ketosis?” Ketosis basically means that your body becomes a fat burner. And it doesn’t do that overnight. If you’re moving from sugar burning, which most endurance athletes do, to fat burning, there’s a bit of a curve there, a bit of a time where you’re going to see a much, much lower performance rate. That’s hard for a lot of endurance runners, cyclists and swimmers to get through, because they really look at those PRs, they look at those times. And for them to see their performance drop, in many cases quite dramatically, is very, very hard for them. The answer to the question then is, how do you stick with it? Because you’ve got to outdo your brain and say, “I understand this is a momentary setback for a better position later.” When I was in the army, we came up on an enemy position. One of our stated goals, one of the things we would do fairly regularly is do what we call a flanking maneuver, and that’s where we would go back a bit and then circle around to come in on the side. So we were catching them from two planes. This is kind of what I’m saying with this – realize you are taking a couple of steps back to be able to put yourself in a better, safer position. Once your body gets fat-adapted… So we’re going to talk about two different types of adaptation here. Different people like to use different words, but I’ll just explain it this way: Initially, what you’re trying to do is get your body to adapt to using body fat for fuel. So that’s the fat adaptation. That’s when you hear things like “keto flu”. I prefer to call it carb withdraws, because your body isn’t getting the carbs it needs and it’s fighting you. It’s saying, “Get some carbs, eat something.” You’re going to feel miserable if you don’t eat anything. It’s trying to figure out how to start burning its own fat, and eventually it’ll figure that out. During that fat adaptation period, it’s important for you to make sure that you’re getting adequate fat in your diet, which might mean that you’re eating more overall calories than you did when you were a sugar burner. Again, we’re working toward performance, so that’s cool. It’s okay to do that for a while. And then you’ll back off of that fat that you’re eating when your body gets comfortable with fat and can actually start burning fat off your body. And you’ll know that’s happening when you start waking up in the morning and you’re not hungry. Intermittent fasting almost becomes something natural to you because you’re just not hungry that much. That’s when you’re starting to get that fat adaptation, and that takes up to a week. For most folks, it can be two or three days, but for some, it can be as long as a week. So you’re going to go through that fat adaptation phase.
Now, even as you go through that fat adaptation phase, you still might not see improvements in your overall performance. You might be slowly getting back to what you were doing, but you’re not seeing any real improvements beyond just seeming to catch up to where you were. So then we’re going to talk about the process called keto-adapted. Keto-adapted is where when you’re doing intense long stuff, your body can shift over and is quick enough and good enough at burning body fat to keep fueling you. Most of us have about a teaspoon of sugar in all of our bloodstream. And then we have glycogen in our muscles and our liver. That energy right there of what you basically would start out with on a normal everyday run or anything, it should be enough to keep you going for about 90 minutes with moderate intensity exercise. So if you’re going for a run of less than 90 minutes, which most of us do, you should be fine. You might see a little less performance, but that’s more probably feeling like you just don’t have the energy. It’s like a fatigue thing, but in a general sense, you have enough glycogen and glucose in your system to be able to carry you that far. Now, you’ve probably heard about the marathon bonk, which happens somewhere around mile 16 to 18, and that’s where you’ve used up the glycogen, you’ve used up your glucose and now you’re starting to effectively bonk. Folks on keto don’t bonk at that point. Most of them, if they’re keto-adapted, they just keep going because their body can adapt to turning the fat into glucose and glycogen and keep you going, and the ketones. So, just recognize that if you’re running less than 90 minutes, you probably aren’t going to see a huge decrease in performance that doesn’t come back really quick. Once you’re fat-adapted, you should be fine. Once you get past that, you want to start going further, then you’re going to have to wait until you’re keto-adapted, and the keto adaptation can actually take a year or more. Some people will see it in as early as three or four months, but some folks have to train for about a year to really get their body efficient enough with using ketones to be able to keep up the performance. And those that do, report back even better times, that their performance improves even beyond what they were capable of doing as a sugar burner.
I know that’s a long answer, but I still have a few more things I want to go through as you get through this because there are ways to kind of fuel around this. Two of the ways that I like to talk to people about – the first one is exogenous ketones. You can explore using exogenous ketones, which are basically ketones that you take by mouth to help fuel you while you’re moving, particularly as you’re getting close to the point where you would generally bonk because you’re not quite keto-adapted. So you’re going to go ahead and add in these ketones, esters usually, that are going to allow your body to start using those ketones efficiently to keep you going. So some people will do that. Others will revert back to some form of carbohydrate fueling, be that starch or they just decide, “I can take in a small amount of sugar while I’m doing the run. As long as I taper it, know what I’m doing, I won’t end up taking myself generally out of ketosis because I know I’m burning more than I’m putting in.” So, you can do that kind of stuff with your fueling – that’s to say either you’re going to add ketones or starches or some form of glucose, but a very limited amount as a fueling strategy for your longer runs. Or you can try to carb load a little bit by making sure that the small amount of carbohydrates that you do eat, they come on that front end. So, maybe you eat some carbohydrates for breakfast before a run, and then you can go into the run knowing that at least you’ve topped off your glycogen stores and your glucose, and your blood sugar is up a little bit because you just had some carbohydrates. But in any case, just realize that to get into deep ketosis and stay in ketosis and get all of the benefits that ketosis is going to give you, you are probably going to lose some performance for a while until you manage to get yourself all the way up to keto-adapted. And anything you do as far as taking in glucose or starches, that’s very likely to slow down the keto adaptation phase. So if you can suck it up, particularly during the off season, and get yourself keto-adapted, you’re going to see a much better race season next year.
Next question comes from Trent: “Is there a good way to know when to push through discomfort, pain, and when it’s better to back off?” The general rule of thumb is this: If you feel it in a joint, back off. Joints typically depict a tendon or ligament issue, and those take a good while to heal. You don’t want to flare those up. I know you’ve probably felt stuff like tendinitis and those types of things. You want to make sure if the pain is in a joint, that’s the time to slow down and get that assessed, spend some time away from it. The tendons and ligaments, because they don’t get the blood flow that a muscle gets, they take longer to heal. Now, as far as muscles are in a general sense, if you’re just getting general soreness, you’re probably okay to take your standard rest of anywhere from 24 to 48 hours of a normal rest phase before you go back to work. If you feel like the muscle’s recovered at that point, then you should be able to push just as hard. If you feel like you’ve torn something or you have a pull, then I would take a little bit more time off. Most muscles generally can repair themselves easily within a week or two. If it’s taking longer than that, then you may have done something more significant and I would go see a doctor. But the general rule is, if you feel it in the body of the muscle, it’s probably okay to just rest it for a day or two and then go back at it. If you feel it in a joint, that’s going to take a little bit more time, so I would take even more time off. And anything that has you feeling uncomfortable when you’re not doing anything after three days, I’d definitely go get that checked out with the doctor.
And the final question comes from Marcia, and it is: “As a mature woman, what should I be concerned about and what kind of exercise focus can I expect?” This is similar to the question that I had with John and the mobility and balance. It really comes down to what you want to accomplish. What are the highlights in your life, the things that you want to be able to do 20-30 years down the road? Do you want to be the grandma that can run 5Ks with your grandchildren? Do you want to be the person that is independent? Our visions are going to change over time. So the first thing I’d say is, really establish a vision of what you want to feel like and be like 10-15 years down the line. For most of us that’s going to involve some resistance training. And I say that in all honesty, because sarcopenia is a wasting of muscle, osteopenia is a wasting of bone. If we don’t lift weights – not necessarily weights, but if we don’t do resistance training, we’re going to see a decline in our muscle mass and our bone density. So, resistance training is very, very important for us to maintain good body composition and stay healthy. Additionally, our strength decreases for the same basic reason. If we’re not doing resistance training, we will get weaker and weaker. And there’s a point where that weakness then becomes an independence issue. And I say this in the book. If you have trouble sitting down and getting back up, that’s a problem, but it becomes a huge problem when it’s the bathroom, when you’re taking a toilet break and you can’t stand up. You can have rails installed in your bathroom and that’s going to help somewhat, but that’s not always going to be the case. Again, if you’re not building the strength or maintaining the strength, eventually your arms and your legs won’t be strong enough to stand you up. And then where are you? You’ve lost your independence. Someone has to help you in and out of the bathroom, and that’s not a pleasant place to be. So I would say resistance training is almost a must for every single one of us that can work out. If your doctor says you’re clear to work out and train, definitely resistance training is for all of us. I would say for many of us, most of us probably, endurance training is going to be important because we want to keep going. If we’re going with family and they want to go walk around the zoo or walk around the park or you just want to run out and play with your dogs, you’re going to need a little bit of stamina, endurance, to be able to keep up that activity level for any period of time. Otherwise you’re sitting on the bench watching. I don’t know anyone that enjoys sitting on the bench and watching, as much as they enjoy doing. So, endurance exercise is going to be important.
Next, for most of us over the age of 40, I would look at mobility and balance. The falls I talked about earlier – very important if you have the strength and the bone density that you don’t break something when you fall, but better yet, let’s not fall. So let’s work on our balance. And then our mobility is, again, our ability to tie our own shoes and reach and do the things we need to do. If we don’t have good mobility, our movement patterns are going to be bad and we risk injuring ourselves. There are a few other modalities out there that can be important. Agility – if you’re walking through the grocery store parking lot and a careless driver doesn’t see you and they start to back up at you, what’s your agility to be able to step out of the way of that car? All of these are generally important, but you have to preface which ones you’re going to spend the most time on, because we can’t do all of them all at the same time, all the time. We’re going to have to focus on some sometimes, and this is when you can use periodization and say, “I know the weather’s going to be good this time of year, so I’ll work on endurance in the spring and the summer. And then in the fall I’ll work on strength. And then in the winter when it’s really cold, I’ll do a lot of mobility and balance work, along with the strength work, the resistance training.” So, there’s an opportunity for you to make this seasonal, ebb and flow through it. Do it as it makes sense to keep the balance that’s keeping you moving towards your vision. Alright, so I hope you found this episode enjoyable. I really enjoy the fact that three years I’ve been providing this podcast and we’ve had such a great time. We’ve had awesome guests. Obviously, I have to thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness podcast.
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The statistics around falls for seniors is staggering. On todays episode, we meet Carol Clements and discus her book, Better Balance for Life. If we want to be well and maintain our independence, we must focus some effort on maintaining balance.
Allan (0:56): Carol, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Carol Clements (0:59): Thank you. Happy to be here.
Allan (1:02): I was so happy to see your book that when I reached out I was like, “Yes, we’re not talking about this enough.” Everybody’s talking about getting stronger, building endurance, being able to do what we want to do in our lives. But in my mind, and I’ve even said this on the podcast a couple of times, my balance is not what it needs to be. And I’ve always known that; it’s only now that I’m in my 50s that I’m starting to say I have to start doing some work on this, because it’s not going to get better by my acknowledging the problem. I actually have to do something about it.
Carol Clements (1:47): Right. It’s definitely trending in media; there’s lots of scary statistics about falling and aging and balance. Then of course in the fitness industry there’s a big trending balance. You’ve got the BOSU training balls, you have stability balls, and Stephen Curry standing on a wobble board and shooting baskets. So everyone knows that this balance training edge is very productive because of the unifying of the body to become stable on unstable apparatus, which is what they call it at the gym. But I didn’t want my book to be about what you would do at the gym, so I had to create the instability in the person’s daily life that would be safe and they could practice balancing.
Allan (2:53): A few of the statistics I saw when I was doing the research on the topic of balance, it was something like one in four people over the age of 65 fall each year.
Carol Clements (3:04): One in three.
Allan (3:05): One in three, okay. So it’s going up, I’m sure. And then the other problem is they end up going to the hospital. I think it was 300,000 in the United States per year, and 29,000 deaths attributed to falls.
Carol Clements (3:25): That’s what I mean about the scary statistics. It’s a phenomenon that needs to be addressed as a preventative.
Allan (3:38): Yes. I tell people this, that your likelihood of falling over the age of 65 is just astronomically high. Why do we fall?
Carol Clements (3:49): That’s very complicated, because it can be inner ear issues, it can be visual impairment, it can be medication, or disease, a pathology of some kind – in the most extreme examples Parkinson’s or MS. Actually my book does not encompass that kind of reason for fear of falling or balance issues. It really addresses more a physical, more straightforward situation, where as the person ages they become less active and maybe they sit more, their balance system isn’t turned on because they’re sitting in a stable position too much of the time. I can’t cover all the reasons for falling, because they’re beyond what my book really addresses. But even if you had medication or a condition –neuropathy in your feet or something – you could still do a lot of these activities and improve your balance.
Allan (5:13): That was what I liked about this, because when I’ve talked to a lot of people about falls, it typically comes down, like you said, to those medical style conditions that we have. The second stage of it is that we’ve lost some strength, and that’s going to contribute to the fall. And unfortunately without the muscle mass, we’re more likely to hurt ourselves when we fall. Then of course there’s the fact that when we’re afraid to fall, we’re more likely to fall because we shorten our gait, we get tighter, we tense our body. I’ve lived in the south for a vast majority of my life, and whenever I travel up north and there was ice, I’m walking like a duck. I know that’s not the right way to do it, but I can’t help myself because I’ve fallen before and there’s this fear of falling that’s in there. And then the fact is that we just don’t practice.
Carol Clements (6:18): Right. So, all of those things that you said are right on. It’s lower body strength. In terms of predictors for falling, according to the research, and they do an arbitrary test where, say, you have to stand up from sitting without using your arms. And then five years later the people who couldn’t do that have fallen. The studies were in some ways a little arbitrary, like they would do a test for agility, and the agility test was how quickly you could walk around a chair.
Allan (7:02): I’m a certified functional fitness specialist. That’s still the test that they teach us, is to get up, walk around the chair and sit back down. It is not a bad test. The problem is from somewhat of a liability perspective, you don’t want the client to fall. So you know that they’re going to walk slower when their perception of falling is worse, and typically their perception is correct. So really what you’re looking for is for that person to give you indicators that we need to spend time on gait and balance because they’ve given some of that up.
Carol Clements (7:46): Right. Then you’ve got the lower body strength, you have the coordination agility factor, we’ll just call it, and then as you pointed out, the fear of falling is an enormous indicator of whether you will fall in the future. So I thought as I was writing, how can I help the reader feel more confident so that they remain active and they get the opportunities of being active that provide balance practice, strength, all the things we’ve talked about, and the confidence so that they won’t be so fearful? Those are really the three major goals.
Allan (8:36): You’re right. The question I have now, in the book, you use what you call the “five principles of a body in balance”. I think in a sense for me, that created a really good framework to explain what we’re going to be able to actually do at home. We’ll talk about those activities in a moment, but this set a really good framework. I thought if someone actually sits down, goes through and understands these five things, they’re going to genuinely know the things they should be adding to their activity level. Can you talk through those five principles, because I do think they are fundamental for our move forward in understanding this?
Carol Clements (9:22): They’re in some ways postural connections, so that when the reader gets to the 10-week plan, they have some kind of functional way of aligning their body. For instance, I start at the top, with the head, and compare it to a helium balloon. It’s really lining up and finding the arms and the back, and your neck and chest, which would be a curved-over, hunched position. And then ways to stretch the front of the chest so that you can get your shoulders to be part of your back. By that I mean the shoulder blades and the, you and I would call them “lats”, but you can think of it as the side of the back. And then there’s this very difficult one, which I was labored to write, because it’s hard, about the abdomen and how there’s a connection between your upper body and your lower body. I want for the participant reader to feel like that comes from the front, because as you age you begin to be more lax about what we call the front body core, and use the back to kind of hold you up and keep you in stance. So, it was difficult and I’m hoping the reader doesn’t get too frustrated with that section, but it was too important to leave out. Then I move on to the hip, because as you age, you begin to hinge at the hip forward. Imagine someone with a cane – they’re bent over and then they can’t access the glutes, the buttocks muscles. So I’m trying to get linked in front of the hip. And then the feet, because your feet and shoes sometimes become less active. You’re not really using the foot in an articulate way to push off. So those are the five; I wanted to make sure there was a consciousness about those body parts and how they work together, because you’re going to need that when you get to the 10-week plan and do the balancing and strengthening.
Allan (12:03): Yes. Again, that’s where the light came on for me as I was going through the book, was I know the shorter, tighter gait is a problem, but I had not really put together the entirety of the whole system, which I should as a personal trainer. Actually, that’s what I should be thinking about all the time. It is when I’m working with my clients, but I didn’t turn that same logic onto myself, that it’s about your posture and your ability to hold good posture. And so, looking at those imbalances: Is your head leaning forward? Are your arms collapsed forward? And as your waist is leaning forward, your hips are now in a bad position because you can’t use your glutes when you’re walking. And now your feet are not strong enough and nimble enough. I know that we say this all the time, and I need to start practicing. I do walk barefoot a good bit here in Florida. I could probably pick up a marble with my toes, but I couldn’t do a lot of the things that I should be able to do from the top to the bottom. That’s where the light came on for me, that this is a whole body posture thing. It’s not just a practiced balance thing. It’s all of it.
Carol Clements (13:29): All of those principles I felt like were going to give a foundation from which to build the strength, the coordination and the balance that we’re going to work on. You can’t think of everything at once; that’s why I said that about getting frustrated. But it’s just a process. I even said in the book, “Be patient with yourself.” The whole idea that not being able to maintain the balance at first is really a success, because the whole point is to be in an unstable position and to recruit, like I said, all these sensory, physiological and musculoskeletal aspects of what makes a person centered within themselves to balance, and practice that. So it’s okay if you fall – not fall; I don’t mean the bad kind of fall – that you teeter out of your balance, because that’s an experience that you’ll be able to use. Say if you step on a curb and you feel like you’ve lost your balance, you’ve had practice with doing that. Your body knows more what to do.
Allan (14:59): Yes. It’s like just about anything you do. When you first got in the car to drive, there was this fear. I know it gripped me the first time I got behind a stick shift. The Driver’s Ed teacher wants to put you up on a hill and have you do the clutch gas thing. I don’t want the car to die. And when you’re in town and it’s doing it, the car behind you is kind of laughing at you. It says “Driver’s Ed” on the car, so he knows what you’re going through. But over time, you practice being in that position. It’s not dangerous, but you get more comfortable and less fear.
Carol Clements (15:40): Right. The natural automatic responses of driving – now you don’t even have to think about driving, right?
Allan (15:54): Which can get scary in and of itself when you get somewhere. It’s like, “My brain was somewhere else while we were doing this drive, but I’m glad I’m here safe.”
Carol Clements (16:03): The body remembers and will do it, so we’re trying to get that automatic response going in the person’s body with balancing.
Allan (16:17): I was completely open and honest that I know my balance is an area that I need to put more and more focus on going forward. Now, don’t do this if you’re driving, but when you’re home or at a certain place. Always do your balance test in a safe place, so if you do actually lose your balance, you’re not going to hurt yourself. But if someone wanted to do the basic balance test, what would you tell them to do?
Carol Clements (16:46): The one that I use in the book is really more an assessment personally of the person, not like I’m trying to rate how good is the person’s balance, but how do you feel when you’re wavering? So I have the person stand behind this very sturdy chair and place your hands on the chair back, and then put feet right next to each other so there’s a very narrow base. And then gradually let go of the chair and cross your arms over your chest. If you close one eye, and if you feel okay, the other eye – you will feel the wavering of the body, the body balancing going slightly forward and backward and sideways. How do you feel about that? Is it scary? Does it make you want to suddenly go stiff, or can you relax into that wavering motion, the instability, and be okay seeing it from the inside, experiencing it? For me that was the better test. We can’t see what everyone’s doing that’s using the book, but they can experience and see for themselves how they feel about balancing.
Allan (18:09): Absolutely. Like I said before, your general perception when you’re in a situation like that is probably reality. If you’re not comfortable on your wavering more than you feel like you should, and you had that urge to want to tense up and grab that chair – those are indicators that this is a modality that you can start working on.
Carol Clements (18:31): Right. And it’s good to grab the chair because we don’t want you to fall. But it just gives you the experience to say, “Yes, I do feel tense about this.” And then maybe try it again and go, “Okay, I can stay with this a little bit longer until it really feels too threatening.” But definitely, always opening the eyes, or coming off of one leg, or whatever the balance situation is. You want to trust your instincts that you need to come out of that challenge when you need to.
Allan (19:13): Yes. I guess the tagline of this book in some lines should be, “You can fix it. You can get better at balance.” Now, you talked about the implements that are in the gym, and honestly a lot of folks don’t want the gym membership, and they don’t want to go over into the corner with that odd-looking contraption and try to figure out some exercises. Because they’re on a padded floor they fall over, and that’s not fun in a lot of cases. But we can do things to work on our mobility, our strength and our balance. We can do that in our own home. And what I like is that in the book you made this, I want to say, functional, but not exactly functional, but if fits within the lifestyle of what we’re probably already doing. We’re just double-dipping by doing these activities at the same time we would be doing something we were already going to be doing. Can you go through some of the types of activities and things that you would have them doing over the course of the 10-week plan?
Carol Clements (20:26): If the person can associate the activity with, we’ll call it an exercise, even though in the book I try not to call it an “exercise”.
Allan (20:37): Nobody likes the word “exercise”. So I’m glad you used the word “activity”.
Carol Clements (20:44): The association is like a reminder. For instance, one of the very first ones is “kitchen counter flat back”. So when you’re waiting for the toast or the microwave or the water to boil, you’re in the kitchen – you do this activity, which is really just creating traction though your spine. I won’t describe it; that is described in the book of course. And that’s really going to help with body awareness and the feeling of links, and to understand the opposing forces, which are what a lot of balance is made of. For instance, in this “flat back”, you go out through your scull, but you go the opposite direction, through your tail, the very end of the spine. So you’re lengthening in opposite directions, and when you balance, you really have to do that. You have to go down through your leg that you’re standing on and go up through your spine and head. Otherwise you have no dynamic; you’re just standing on your foot without the opposing force that gives a connection and a dynamic for balancing. I don’t really talk about that so much because it sounded too technical. I just try to give the experiences. When it’s associated with an activity, like brushing your teeth, I have five different “brushing your teeth” balances that are progressively more challenging. Everybody brushes their teeth, or at least we assume they do. So, they get to the first week, do brushing teeth balance number one. In the second week… Or maybe that didn’t happen until the second week because you have some other things to prepare first, I forgot. So those associations with activities, like getting dressed and talking on the phone or texting – I made sure that it was something I thought that most people would do, so that they’d go, “Oh yeah, when I do this, I stand this way and I do this experience.” That’s for a week. And by the end of that week, you’ve mastered it or gotten better at it, and you can go on to the next week. And then there’s usually a new activity, or a same one like the “brushing your teeth”, just with a new progression.
Allan (23:31): I liked it, because as you said, you’re brushing your teeth, you’re at the counter, you’re on the phone. All of those are normal daily activities. With this book, there’s not a ton of them; we’re talking I think no more than maybe four activities in any given week. But you practice those things – so a certain way that you’re going to work your back, or manage your glutes, or you’re going to work with your feet, or look and pay attention to your head, or at this point start balancing on one foot in a supported position – slightly supported, and then you’re going to reduce that support. It’s this progression that over the course of the 10 weeks you’ll feel and see that you are improving because you’re practicing.
Carol Clements (24:16): And hopefully feel more confident, go out more and do more things and not restrict yourself according to what you think you’re not capable of doing. Besides those four activities, there are also these sidebars, and one of them is “Your Striding Gait”. Not every week, but some of the weeks there’s a “Your Striding Gait” sidebar, which is some cue to use while you’re walking, which is going to help connect and strengthen. For instance, one is that big toe push-off I was talking about. So you cue yourself while you’re walking to push off with your big toe to fall forward from one foot to the next. And just to be aware of that and practice it when you’re walking. The other sidebar is “Relax and Reward”. Some of the weeks have a “Relax and Reward”, where you do a very passive kind of stretch situation, like have your legs up the wall so that your hamstrings get a little feeling of spaciousness. So besides the four activities per week, there are these sidebars that crop up. All of that works together.
Allan (25:51): Putting your sock on while you’re still standing up – that was maybe one of my favorites, along with, you call it something else – when you criss-cross your legs as you walk side to side.
Carol Clements (26:05): You mean “tight rope walking”?
Allan (26:07): No, you were crossing over sideways. You’re moving sideways, so your right foot goes slightly over…
Carol Clements (26:12): Lateral, yes. People lose their ability to step sideways, because think about it – we’re always going forward. Then when you do have a stumble, you are so inexperienced in stepping sideways or having to step backwards. So again, it’s practice. There’s a little thing where every time you get to a certain hallway in your home, you step to the side, meaning laterally, and then you get more comfortable with that and you’ve increased your range of transferring your center of gravity sideways, not just forward like we do when we walk, as we’re accustomed to.
Allan (27:03): You talked about things you do and don’t do. If you’re walking through a grocery store or a Walmart parking lot, and the car just doesn’t see you and you’re walking forward, your only choice perhaps is to move to the side. And so you need to be generally confident and competent that you can take that side step so the driver hopefully sees you, but you don’t fall, because that’s maybe the worst case. We have these obstacles in our lives and we don’t want to limit our lives. This is great if you’re working on your balance, if you’re doing these exercises. Every one of them is great. Like I said, I had a couple of favorites. I won’t ask you what your favorite is, because I know people don’t like picking between their babies. But I do have a question I want to ask, and it can be from the book or it can be from anywhere. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Carol Clements (28:08): I wish I had some cute slogan or some inventive quick fix, but really it’s about building a lifestyle around healthy living. If you wanted to be a farmer, you’d live on a farm. People think in theory, they want to be healthier, they want to have a better diet, or they want to have more activity. But if it’s a theory, you have to change the real circumstances of your life. For instance, if you like to dine out, find the healthier places to go; maybe not the salty, fatty pizza place or something like that, and make that part of even your social life. In the book at the end I give this little pep talk and say, try a marching band, try croquet. It’s a little tongue in cheek. Basically I’m saying, find something that engages you, that’s active, so that you can get your balance practice. Tai chi is the perfect example because they’ve done so many studies with tai chi. This improves your balance because you’re standing, you’re moving. It really doesn’t take much. Ping pong would be great. Just find something that makes a fun, engaging thing and then cultivate your friends and relationships around that framework. Really make a lifestyle change, if that’s what’s necessary.
Allan (29:58): Thank you for that, really. The book is Better Balance for Life. Carol, if someone wanted to learn more about the book, learn more about you, where would you like for me to send them?
Carol Clements (30:10): I’m having a meeting with someone tomorrow about creating a website for the book and myself. So I don’t have that yet. The book actually is released on November 20th. You can order it on Amazon or Indie Books or Barnes & Noble, but it won’t actually go out until November 20th, which is right around the corner. Right now I would say, wait a while and try the website or contact me through the publisher.
Allan (30:48): Okay. Carol, we’ll do this. We’ll stay in touch and when the book is available, I’ll have a link to the book for sure. When your website’s available, I’ll have a link to your website, www.carolclements.com.
Carol Clements (31:02): That would be great.
Allan (31:04): Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/357, and I’ll be sure to have those links there as soon as they’re available. Carol, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Carol Clements (31:18): Thank you so much. Have a great day.
Allan (31:21): You too.
I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Carol. Balance is something that I’m going to be focusing much more time on, as far as my fitness routines go. And I hope you do too. Falling, hurting ourselves, the numbers are just astronomical. So it is something that you need to be aware of and something that we do need to focus on as we get older.
I wanted to give you an opportunity I had originally only offered to my mailing list and then to my clients, but I thought you might be on the fence and thinking maybe you want to try some online personal training. So, through December 25th, Christmas, I will be offering you an opportunity to train as a part of our group training for just $1. Yes, your first month is only a dollar. Normally $75, so that’s a pretty steep little discount there, a Christmas gift from me to you. I want to be a part of your health and fitness routines. I want to be a part of you getting well as we get into the New Year. And there’s no better time to start than now. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. When you click on the button to go to the signup page, there you’ll use coupon code: podcast. Again, you go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training, and then from there, when you go in to buy, use the coupon code: podcast. It’ll save you $74, so basically you’re going to get your first month of training for just a dollar. And that’s full access to everything that my group trainings have – the portal, the exercises, the programming, the weekly Q&A calls, all of it. You’ll be a part of that; just check it out. You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to, but I believe you’re going to see I’m giving you enough value that it’s well, well worth the cost, the investment. So again, 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. Use coupon code podcast at checkout.
Also wanted to let you know that the book, The Wellness Roadmap, is just about to drop live. This goes live on December 3rd. The book will go live tomorrow. So you can go ahead and pre-order the ebook. You can order the other ones and get them as well. Right now there is hardbound and a paperback. The audiobook is submitted and it should be out there really, really soon. So you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book, or you can just go to Amazon and search for Allan Misner or The Wellness Roadmap and you can find the book that way. But if you just want an easy way to get there – 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. Thank you.