Category Archives for "aging"

December 5, 2023

How to get healthier as you get older with Dr. Michael Greger

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 619 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Dr. Michael Greger and discuss his book How Not to Age: The Scientific Approach to Getting Healthier as You Get Older.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:34.070] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are you?

[00:03:36.860] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:38.100] – Allan

I'm doing good. I'm doing good. I posted on my Facebook the other day it was kind of a joke, but not really a joke. And it was a principle of nobody starts a diet in November.

[00:03:50.900] – Rachel

Right. This is a terrible time to start, Allan.

[00:03:54.690] – Allan

Yeah. Who's going to start in the middle of November and then six weeks later is a much better time to start?

[00:04:02.060] – Rachel

That's right. Yeah.

[00:04:05.070] – Allan

And I got some good feedback and some good from folks on that, because they recognize it's like we do these little logic things in our head that really if you just took a step back and says, is that how I would do it? No, it's like, well, the check engine light came onto my car, but I really just want to wait till January 1 to take a look at that, that's not how we would approach it. So it was just kind of one of those things. And I'm going to probably be posting a lot of those. So if we're not friends on Facebook, come check me out. You can go to the Facebook group at 40 Plusfitnesspodcast.com group. But I also have friend people on my Facebook, so I post some things there. I post some things to the group. So if you're interested and want to have a little bit of fun, check both of those out. Cool.

[00:04:50.220] – Rachel

That sounds fun.

[00:04:51.500] – Allan

So what are you up to?

[00:04:53.390] – Rachel

Actually, funny you should say that. I'm kind of planning my New Year's goals. I got to wrap up this year. No, but actually, at the end of the year, I do like to have something to do between Thanksgiving and New Year's. It's the busiest time of year, and this is no different. I'm doing tons of things. I got lists for my list. But I always like to have some sort of an activity between Thanksgiving and New Year's. And this last year from 2022, I had a run streak. So we did a 1 mile minimum streak between Thanksgiving and New Year's. It was I can't remember, 38, 37 days, however many days it was. And I'm trying to figure out what I want to do this year. And the reason why I like to start at the end of the year, just like in your post, is that I need the distraction because holidays are stressful, they're busy, and sometimes we get so focused on all of the other things that we don't have time to take care of ourselves. So having some sort of a movement goal reminds us that we need to take time for self care.

[00:05:59.300] – Rachel

We need to take time to exercise and do the things that are good for us. So I don't know what I'm going to do yet for the end of this year or for my New Year goals for next year. But I've got something planned, figuring something out.

[00:06:10.740] – Allan

Yeah, well, I break it all down month by month. And so December is no different for me than any other month of the year. January, February, whatever. It's the month. And so what I do is before the month starts. So I've looked at what I want to do for the year, and as I get into the month, I'm like, okay, what do I need to do this month to move myself in that direction? It doesn't have to be a huge move. It's just what is it? And so I have all of those, and it goes across personal, professional, health, fitness, Lula's, my online business and stuff. And so I'll have all of these things that I want to accomplish. Some of them are relatively mundane. Like, I really do need to write a statement of policy or statement of position for Lula's on a lot of how things are done, basically. So basically how things work, and so someone else can do it if I'm not doing it. Because right now I'm the only one that knows how to do most of the back office stuff. And so it is what it is. I need to write that down.

[00:07:12.410] – Allan

I need to publish it in some way that someone could follow me if I don't want to do it anymore or I can't do it anymore. So some of that is that simple. It's like I just need to start writing these things. And then as I get into the month, it's like, okay, what do I want to write this month? Which policy? What's my movement goal? What are the other goals that I have in my life? And then each morning I wake up and I go through a thing, and there's a lot of affirmations and gratitude and all that, and then the goals, and they pop up. And because I know what my monthly goals are, I can then go into my to do list today and say, okay, what on this to do list actually does those things and what does not? And so a lot of times I'll have a list of all my to dos and they're dated and they're in order of importance or time of the day that I need to get them done, because there's some things I do each day that I need to do in the morning, and some things I can do later.

[00:08:08.800] – Allan

But I'll take a task and I'll say, you know, that's not really an important task right now. And I'll put it over under the parked list, and it just sits over there. And about once a month, I go through the parked list and delete a lot of those because again, it wasn't really built that goal, whatever. It wasn't really something that's going to move me. The to do was not going to move the needle for me. And it sounded cool. It was the shiny object of, hey, I should buy those new shoes. And then I get a month away and I look at back and I'm like, okay, well, why did I want those shoes? And are they really going to move me forward? And, oh, they're not going to last here in Panama. Stupid purchase. Yeah. And then they're gone. I might park them and say, no, I know I'm going to be doing a little bit more mileage next month or the month after, and so maybe I do want the shoes for that. But a lot of times, yeah, they just get written off because it really wasn't something that was going to move the needle.

[00:09:06.680] – Allan

So if you find yourself overwhelmed, break things down, figure out what your big rocks are, what the important things are, and that becomes my monthly thing. That's great. And I have an annual thing and then a monthly thing. And then literally every morning, I wake up and say, okay, what am I doing today that does one of these things? I love that, and sometimes they don't. I had an intention of writing an article to advertise, and with everything that's going on here, okay, what's the sense of telling people what the best beaches are in Bocas if we don't have the guests coming into the country the way that they would or could? So I'm not writing that article because I'm not going to put the time in to write something that isn't going to move the needle for the business or do what it needs to do. So it's not valid anymore. I'm moving it over into the parked items. I'll reevaluate it in December or January, and maybe I write it then, but I'm not writing it right now. Perfect.

[00:10:05.670] – Rachel

That sounds like a good plan.

[00:10:07.360] – Allan

So if you find yourself a little overwhelmed with the change that you want, the things that you want, just start with the big thing. Okay, I know I need to lose two inches off my waist. Well, you're not going to lose two inches off your waist today.

[00:10:23.290] – Rachel


[00:10:24.790] – Allan

Or maybe even this month. But what can you do consistently this month that's going to help you do that? And then each day you do that thing. Perfect. And so it's really a trickle down of breaking your bigger rocks into the bite sized pieces to keep it workable. And then, you know, you wake up in the morning, you look at what you got to do that day. Is it on my calendar? Yes. My movement is on my calendar? Yes. Getting this done is on my calendar. And then I go do it. And if I don't have the time in the day to do it, I have to prioritize and push some of it to tomorrow or park some of it, because, again, it just isn't going to do enough for it to be worth what everything else on my list is doing for sure.

[00:11:05.340] – Rachel

You can only do so much.

[00:11:07.430] – Allan

All right, well, you ready to have a conversation with Dr. Greger?

[00:11:10.640] – Rachel



[00:12:13.070] – Allan

Dr. Greger, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:12:16.470] – Dr. Greger

Thank you so much. Glad to be back.

[00:12:21.070] – Allan

I've watched your videos over the years and I'm just fascinated with how you can teach so much information in a three to five minute video. And then here you come out with this book and quite frankly called How Not to Age: The Scientific Approach to Getting Healthier as You Get Older. And I'm just going to call it right here. This is the most comprehensive health book I have ever read in my entire life, and I doubt anyone's ever even going to come close to matching the depth of what you put into a single book. Some would argue it might be a few books, but given the length of it. But this is really good stuff if you love understanding health and understanding how our body works. Dr. Gregor here, he's your friend. He's done the work, he's done the research, and he's put it together in depth. And it's all there from my perspective, again, because the end notes are there, but you have to go to a separate website to follow them through because otherwise the book would be twice the length that it is. Because I believe there were like over 8000 endnotes, and you probably referenced no less than maybe 300 or 400 videos along the way that could go deeper.

[00:13:38.090] – Allan

But this creates a lot of rabbit holes, particularly for those that love the science of health and fitness. So I'm going to say it was not a hard read, but it was a read.

[00:13:50.250] – Dr. Greger

Yeah. This is for all the longevity nerds out there. There's meat on them bones, and beyond.

[00:13:57.620] – Allan

The meat, there's actionable. Things you can do today to improve your health going forward. And so I love that because I'm all about action. And so let's dive in a little bit because again, there's so much again, I can read a book. A standard health and fitness book these days is about 250 pages, and I can read that in about 6 hours. And usually it's because I know most of what they're going to say because they're saying the same things that everybody else says. Your book is nearly three times that length, and you're not saying what everybody else is saying. You're going in and saying, well, this is what they looked at and this is how you can apply it. And so you do a lot of that. So I want to get as much of that in as I can in the limited amount of time we have, because I think I could actually probably talk to you for about three straight days without sleeping, and we could probably still not cover everything that was there. Like I said, you've won. The game is over. The competition is over. For what we know right now, based on the science that's been done today, this is the most comprehensive book you can buy.

[00:15:05.090] – Allan

Okay, so you talked in the beginning of the book, you brought up the I think there's eleven pathways of aging, and I want to dive into a few of them because I think sometimes there's a little bit of confusion when we start talking about certain things. So the first one that I want to get into is the AMPK. And where people may not have heard of that before, but they've probably heard of autophagy and how we can use fasting as a mechanism for reversing aging, improving our health. Can we talk a little bit about how that process works, just a little bit, and then how we can get into autophagy? Because I think there's multiple mechanisms you brought up in the book, but I think there's some misconnection of, oh, well, I can just do intermittent fasting and I'm into autophagy and I'm doing great. Okay, again, there's some misconceptions out there because it's old. If you do intermittent fasting, you're getting autophagy. If you're getting autophagy, you're slowing your aging. So can we just kind of dive into that a little bit? Sure.

[00:16:09.910] – Dr. Greger

Yeah. Autophagy is the kind of primary system for cleaning the body from the inside out, clearing out the cellular debris that may be contributing to aging. Some food components can suppress autophagy, like acrylamide, which is a compound concentrated in French fries and potato chips, whereas others, like spermidine and the antioxidants in coffee, can actually help your cells kind of take out the trash. So to boost this antiaging pathway, I encourage readers to consider, on a daily basis, 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. Unfortunately, 20 minutes does not quite I mean, is wonderful for health, but not enough to boost autophagy similarly, fasting. See, the issue with fasting is fasting. Autophagy doesn't optimally ramp up to like 48 to 72 hours of fasting, which is really too long to go unsupervised. That's not just kind of legalistic mumbo jumbo. Our bodies go into kind of sodium conservation mode when we fast, but should that response break down and we continue to lose sodium, the symptoms we might experience are like fatigue, dizziness, something that could be dismissed until it's too late. So that's why prolonged fasts should really be only done under kind of medical supervision, but they actually kind of test your electrolytes and make sure your body's doing what it's supposed to be doing.

[00:17:42.480] – Dr. Greger

And so the studies suggesting that, oh, 12 hours of fasting can boost autophagy yeah, in mice, that's because mice's metabolism is so much higher. A few days of fasting can actually kill a mouse. They can lose, like, 40% of their body mass after a day or two of fasting. But unfortunately, yeah, in humans, it takes a little longer. But again, we don't have to walk around starving all the time. We can 60 minutes of aerobic exercise minimizing our intake of French fries and potato chips, trying to get about at least 20 milligrams of spermidine, and by incorporating spermidine rich foods in our diet. So that's tempeh, which is a fermented whole soy product, but any mushroom will do. Peas and wheat germ. So adding wheat germ to my diet was something new after this book because I wanted to get the spermatine to boost autophagy. And also, drinking three cups of coffee a day, either regular or decaf, can boost autophagy, thanks to glorinic acids.

[00:18:44.190] – Allan

Well, you've definitely got me to thinking, and I'm going to reestablish my big ass salad every day.

[00:18:51.850] – Dr. Greger


[00:18:52.320] – Allan

Yes, we're having some difficulties with delivery where I am right now, so it'll be a little while before I get the wheat germ, but that'll be something. I'll probably sprinkle a bit of that on my salad just to go along, but, yeah, big ass salads coming. Okay, the next one I want to get into, because there's a lot of talk about this, which there should be, because I think this is probably the biggest problem we have as people is inflammation. How does inflammation lead to aging?

[00:19:21.730] – Dr. Greger

Aging can actually be thought of as kind of part of an inflammatory disease. In part, a single measurement. Inflammatory markers like CD, CRP, ser, active protein, or Il six, interleukin six, can predict both physical and cognitive performance, as well as remaining lifespan in elderly individuals. Thankfully, excess inflammation can be kind of extinguished through changes in diet. There is something called dietary inflammatory index, which ranks each food in terms of how pro inflammatory or anti inflammatory it is. And those eating lower on that dietary inflammatory index, meaning less inflammatory diets are more likely to age successfully, which is defined as living independently with no major chronic disease, no depression, no pain, and with good overall self perceived social, physical, and mental health. So to help slow this aging pathway, I can encourage people to consider, on a daily basis, reducing both dietary and endogenous exposure to something called to these inflammatory advanced glycation end products. We can do that. That's a whole nother aging pathway. But basically we restrict ourselves to low glycemic lead foods so we don't have high blood sugars and make these AGS endogenously. And we reduce our intake of AGS which are found most concentrated in kind of high protein foods exposed to high dry heat.

[00:20:50.700] – Dr. Greger

So rather than grilling or barbecuing or frying or baking meat, we would like steaming, stewing, soups, that kind of thing would produce fewer of these inflammatory AGS. Also we reduce senescent cell inflammation. That's another whole antiaging pathway. These so called zombie cells spewing inflammation. As we get older, we can clear those out. I have a whole chapter on that. Boosting autophagy actually helps clearing out some of that inflammatory cellular debris. And you know what? One of the most interesting things in that chapter I ran into is applying an emollient skin lotion. So actually our skin layer, we actually have a breakdown in our skin barrier as we get older and that can increase systemic inflammation in our body. And they found that rubbing hairless mice with vaseline actually cut down inflammation. So they gave it a try with people and randomized people to try just every day applying a little full body molly and skin lotion and actually saw a decrease in inflammation which was so shocking, it's like, well, that's easy to do. So that's something I've incorporated into my diet and not in my diet, god into my daily routine.

[00:22:01.520] – Allan

Don't eat hand lotion.

[00:22:03.510] – Dr. Greger

Gregor said I should be eating and then avoiding the pro inflammatory foods. The pro inflammatory foods and increasing the intake of the anti inflammatory foods. So the pro inflammatory food components, saturated fat, endotoxins, which got new five GC sodium. So actually salt is pro inflammatory. People don't think about that. And then, so basically it's minimizing meat, dairy, tropical oils like coconut oil, the palm kernel oil, all these kind of junk food oils and as well as salt, I mean, one kind of lousy breakfast can double your creactive protein levels within 4 hours before it's even time for lunch. And then the anti inflammatory foods on the other side of the kind of balance sheet legumes, which are the beans, slippies, chickpeas, lentils, berries, greens, sodium free tomato juice or sodium free tomato paste. These processed tomato products without added salt, turmeric, ginger, flaxseeds, garlic, cinnamon, cocoa powder, dill beverages, chamomile tea, green tea, as well as kind of anything basically that contains fiber. So fiber rich foods, anthocyanin rich foods. Those are those brilliant kind of purple berry like pigments also found in, like, red cabbage or purple sweet potatoes, as well as salicylic acid rich foods, which is the kind of component, the antiinflammatory component of aspirin, not just found in willow tree bark actually found throughout the plant kingdom, most concentrated in, actually cumin, the spiced cumin, but found in a whole bunch of plant foods, and that also has an anti inflammatory effect.

[00:23:38.950] – Allan

And I think one of the cool things here is if you begin to eat less inflammatory foods, other good things are going to start happening for you. Like, your joints aren't going to hurt as bad. You're going to have more energy because your body is actually allowed to use that energy for you to do the things you want to do versus trying to heal, because that's what the inflammation is there for. And so just eating an anti inflammatory diet actually has these really quick turnarounds for you to feel better, look better, and move better. Now you hit on one, and as soon as I saw this written out, I was like, okay, now we're going to spar. We're going to spar a little bit, because I kind of like having a little bit extra muscle on my body. And so there's this concept called mTOR, and it's complex, I'm not going to lie. It's a very complex set of rules, but it's basically how we build muscle with mTOR. There's a little disconnect in my head I got to get through is having more muscle mass and being stronger, particularly as measured in grip strength, has been shown to help with your mortality.

[00:24:47.470] – Allan

However, having too much mTOR, which is part of the process for getting protein to turn into muscle, can also be problematic. Can you dive a little bit into mTOR and help me put that together? Yeah, no, absolutely.

[00:25:00.900] – Dr. Greger

So mTOR is an enzyme recognized as a major driver of aging, perhaps more so than any other single anti aging strategy. mTOR inhibition suppression disrupts a panoply of degenerative processes, explaining why the mTOR blocking drug Rapamycin is the most effective drug ever devised for targeted aging. No other drug has been able to show it works in every single species, even starting in middle age. But the problem is, the drug has some downsides. So then we turn to non pharmacological approaches. How are we going to slow this kind of pacemaker of aging enzyme? And we do that through the restriction of certain amino acids such as methionine and leucine. And how do we restrict those? Well, you can do full dietary restriction, and you're going to decrease your amino acid intake or eat the same number of calories, but just reduce overall protein intake, and that'll cut down. Or you can keep the protein intake the same, but just switch from animal sources to plant sources, most of which tend to be lower in methionine and the branch chain amino acids like leucine. And there's kind of a YinYang with AMPK. So anything that boosts AMPK can drop mTOR, like the barberries and vinegar and all the stuff I go through in the AMPK chapter.

[00:26:24.450] – Dr. Greger

And then it's really about reducing one's protein intake down to recommended levels, which is 0.8 grams for healthy kilogram body weight, which translates to about 45 grams a day for the average height woman, 55 grams for the average height man, and then choosing plant based sources whenever possible. Now, as you noted, mTOR plays a role in muscle protein synthesis. So the question is, well, wait a second. Do we have this kind of balancing act between aging and muscle mass? Thankfully, no. All we need is sufficient levels of mTOR activity to build muscle mass without excess levels. How do we do that? Again, recommended dietary protein intake over age 65. There's actually no benefit from adding protein in terms of muscle mass, muscle strength, or muscle performance. How are we going to maintain muscle mass into old age? One way and one way only? Well, there's actually a bunch of things that contribute, but the most important one is resistance training, right? Strength training. That is how we're going to keep our muscles. Particularly if you're doing something like caloric restriction or something critically important to maintain muscle mass. And we do that through exertion. Putting strain on our muscles and then adding extra protein in older age does not add that.

[00:27:46.180] – Dr. Greger

Add extra muscle mass. That's whether you're sarcopenic, you have excessive muscle mass, whether you're frail, et cetera. Excess protein does not help at those ages.

[00:27:55.950] – Allan

And one of the other ones I wanted to get into is oxidation. And the reason I want to talk about this is there are billionaires walking this planet right now that are selling antioxidants. That's true. And you're like, okay, well, if I take an antioxidant, then I'm going to be cool. Right. And I don't think that's quite the answer. Can we talk about oxidation and why some of these seemingly good things aren't necessarily doing what they're supposed to?

[00:28:26.050] – Dr. Greger

Yeah, this is one of the most interesting chapters to write in terms of that kind of nerdy part one section about the eleven aging pathways. So oxidation. So there's this mitochondrial theory of aging, which is kind of standard stood the test of time in terms of the dozens of aging theories out there. It explains basically the spread, why some animals live so much longer, in fact, 1000 times longer than others. The animals with the lowest rate of free radical production within their mitochondria, the little power plants within their cells live the longest, full stop. So we can slow the pace of aging by slowing the rate of this free radical production in our mitochondria. And there's really only two ways we can do that. Antioxidants don't work because it's actually the damage to our mitochondrial DNA happens so quickly, so close to the source of free radical production. Antioxidants just can't penetrate in time. But there's two things we can reduce. One is exercise. Again, nailing critical factor of exercise. And number two is methionine restriction. Cutting down on the amino acid methionine by eating healthier. Also in terms of so that's just for in terms of longevity.

[00:29:37.040] – Dr. Greger

However, oxidation does play a role in our health span as well. For that, we can cut down on prooxant foods, boost our antioxidant rich foods. Kind of similar to the inflammation story and actually kind of similar. Foods, right? The prooxin foods are the ones rich in cholesterol, salt, saturated fat and sugar, where the antioxidant foods are the ones berries, spices, as well as something called Nerf Two Activation, which is kind of our first line of antioxidant defense. On the second line is this kind of symphony of antioxidants we can kind of take from plant foods and kind of hijack them from our own needs. But our first level of defense is really our antioxidant enzymes that can detoxify free radicals and we can boost those through something called NRF Two Activation. And the two ways to do that one is green tea and one is cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens and so to slow the saging pathway, exercise, restricting methionine, where you can do that through protein restriction activating NRF Two eating green and drinking green. So eating your kale, drinking green tea and then eating berries and other naturally vibrantly colored foods because the colors are actually the antioxidants herbs and spices like the cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, margarum packed with antioxidants and then cutting down and added salt, sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol.

[00:31:12.000] – Allan

Latent foods, well, and all those you talked about, they make the food exciting and fun and taste good. So win win. And the exercise, of course, you've got my vote there because it does just a lot more. You feel better, you're stronger, you're faster, you built up a body that's capable of doing the things that you want to do. Now I'm going to dive into a few foods that some people will avoid for various reasons that they don't necessarily have to, but they at times avoid them that are really actually I mean, we can talk about superfoods, but I actually only want to use that title because it's been so overused and falsely so in many, many cases. But some of these foods actually are, in a sense, exactly what our body needs, but a lot of people don't eat enough of them. So the first one I want to talk about is beans. What makes beans?

[00:32:06.150] – Dr. Greger

Ah, beans. That's the centerpiece of all Blue Zones diets. These areas around the world with exceptional longevity as their chief source of protein, have some source of legumes which are not just beans, but also split peas, chickpeas, lentils. And so if you're talking about what are the kind of healthiest foods to eat, according to the Globe Burner Disease Study, which is the largest study of risk factors in human history for death and disease, the greatest lifespan extension would be achieved by eating more legumes. That's what they calculated of all the different food groups, eating more beans. If there's one thing we can do to live longer in terms of our diet, be eating more beans. And so though that's on a kind of per serving basis, but actually on a gram for gram basis, the food most associated with longevity is actually nuts. And so I also recommend like a palm full of walnuts a day, one of my kind of antiaging eight foods, but, yeah, definitely legumes. There's a reason why they associated. Like, if there's one question you had to ask in populations around the world in terms of assessing dietary quality, how many legumes people eat is the number one dietary predictor of survival in populations around the globe.

[00:33:26.130] – Allan

Now, you talked about nuts, and I think this is another area that people are kind of afraid because they hear, okay, nuts have a lot of calories and an almond, 16 calories or whatever. And so they thought that there's a calorie load to nuts, and therefore they'd be maybe better off eating something else. But there's a lot to be said for the nutrition, particularly the fats that we can get from nuts.

[00:33:52.310] – Dr. Greger

Well, yeah, I mean, a gram for gram basis, compared to any other food on planet Earth, consumption of nuts is associated with the longest lifespan, and you can get the maximum benefit for just that palm full, half of ounce of nuts a day, half to a full ounce maximum benefit. You don't seem to get more benefit eating more. In fact, you don't want to overdo it over a cup of nuts a day. You can actually get too many oxalates. Peanut butter does not appear to have the same benefit. Technically, not even a nut. And of all the nuts, probably walnuts are the healthiest. So, yeah, kind of a palm full of walnuts every day is the way to go. Improving artery function probably the primary cause. For example, in the PREDIMED study, those randomized to boost their intake of nuts had about half the stroke rate. And so you can think of that the other way. Not eating nuts kind of doubles your risk of stroke. So the cardiovascular protection from nuts is probably what is resulting in most of the longevity benefit.

[00:34:51.250] – Allan

Now, another nut that you don't necessarily want to overeat but is okay to have regularly is Brazil nuts.

[00:34:58.650] – Dr. Greger

Oh, yeah, well, yeah, I mean, even one high selenium Brazil nut is actually too much one a day, a single nut a day in terms of inflammation. So, yeah, that's something you really want to moderate because you can actually get solenosis. You actually get kind of selenium toxicity. It's known as the selenium is known as the essential poison because it is actually essential trace mineral, but you can actually get too much of it. And most concentrated dietary sources, brazil nuts. So, yeah, I would really hold back, I mean, in how not to Die, I talk about the study showing that four Brazil nuts once a month actually dramatically lowers cholesterol levels. But unfortunately, people read that to be, oh, four Brazil nuts a day. No, you could actually get a selenium toxicity. Even though I emphasize this, this is once a month. Pick a day of the month, your favorite day of the month. And like, okay, on the 13th of every single month, I'm going to eat four Brazils. Period.

[00:35:50.840] – Allan

That's it.

[00:35:51.700] – Dr. Greger

Unfortunately, people did not listen. Actually ran into people who got problems, who started getting, like, peripheral neuropathy, started losing sensation, and got tingling in their feet because they're getting too much selenium because they're eating too many Brazil nuts. So, yeah.

[00:36:09.430] – Allan

The sad part is, Brazil nuts are my favorite nut. But that said, I buy them in the shell. Oh, I have to go through the trouble actually cracking that shell. It's not easy.

[00:36:23.050] – Dr. Greger

Those are some hardcore shells. Oh, my God. You want grip strength. Yeah, I got your grip strength right there.

[00:36:29.740] – Allan

Exactly. But if you buy them in a bag shelled, it's just so easy to do like you do with everything else.

[00:36:36.530] – Dr. Greger

So that's actually a good idea. No, that's a good idea. We shall be like sitting by the fire with the nutcracker and just digging out little pieces.

[00:36:46.610] – Allan

If you can't crack it, then go do some exercise and come back when you can.

[00:36:51.330] – Dr. Greger

Yeah. Oh, my God. Those are hardcore.

[00:36:53.320] – Allan

Yeah. All right. And then actually my favorite besides cruciferous vegetables, I eat cruciferous vegetables every day, but leafy greens are my next favorite. That's why I was saying the big ass salad. So let's talk a little bit about leafy greens and what they're doing for us. Yeah.

[00:37:10.350] – Dr. Greger

So dark green leafies earn their place in the antiaging aid as the vegetable most associated with longer lifespan. So cruciferous vegetables, which certainly can be green leafy, but not necessarily something like cauliflower, is also cruciferous. They boost the first line of our gut defenses as well as boosting detoxifying enzymes lining our airways to help reduce our risk from air pollution. It's actually a leading killer of humanity. So particularly if you're in a city, live by a highway or something, cruciferous vegetables will help you deal with that kind of diesel exhaust. The longevity benefit, though, actually may come from the nitrates, the metabolic slowing that comes from nitrate consumption. Particularly athletes think of like beet juice. For nitrates, we're actually the most concentrated source. Dark green leafy vegetables also beets bee greens. And those nitrates actually slow down your resting metabolic rate, something you typically only see with something like severe caloric restriction. But instead of walking around starving all the time, big ass salad to the rescue. They can also improve age related declines in muscle mass. Age related declines in artery function. So you give people like a cup of cooked spinach worth of nitrates, you get a significant improvement in maximum power from the quads.

[00:38:25.900] – Dr. Greger

I mean, you can bulk up on muscle mass just reading spinach. And we think it's because of the nitrates. Although it's interesting, the magic of nitrates require the presence of certain good bacteria on your tongue to actually activate the nitrates. Otherwise they don't work. And those bugs are killed by antiseptic mouthwash. So you don't want to use an antiseptic mouthwash or an alcohol containing mouthwash and you can actually foster the growth of those good bugs by tongue scraping and regularly eating those nitrate rich vegetables which act as a prebiotic and keep them going. So that antiaging strategy only works if you got the right bacteria on your.

[00:39:07.180] – Allan

Tongue and probably all the way through your system because we are actually just one big biosystem of a lot of.

[00:39:14.230] – Dr. Greger

Things, not just most of our cells are not human.

[00:39:18.290] – Allan

Exactly. Now, sometimes I get really mad about how, for lack of a better word, our government gets in the way of us living healthy lives. One of the ways that you kind of detailed in the book is this kind of weird thing, the way they do things. And so what it is, is you think about the volume of food that you eat. So it's this big volume of food that we eat during a day, if you think about it. And then we're going to focus on one or two pills that are going to change our life for us and not focus on all that food we ate. The medical system doesn't train it. It's not followed. It actually doesn't make them any money. So they don't care to know about it or teach about it or talk about it. You're just told eat better and move more and you're good. But we're not, we're not healthy right now as a society. And one of them that came up was supplements because if you hear something's good and it's like, well, I don't really like that food or I don't have access to that food readily, it's not easy because I got to cook it.

[00:40:29.850] – Allan

Go figure. Is that the dietary supplements that we want to take to help improve our health? And I actually had someone I was talking to who's in this field and he and I were talking back and forth. He says we should get together someday and talk about our medicine cabinet and what supplements we each take. And I said, Well, I take one. And I said it's some zinc and magnesium that I take before I go to bed just because it helps me sleep better. That's the supplement. That's the one. And I live in a sunny area so I get plenty of vitamin D. If you're not in a sunny area or certain times of the year, you might need to supplement on that. If you are eating predominantly vegan or vegetarian, you might need B two. But you can do blood tests to know that stuff. The problem is that we have this industry that might not even be putting that stuff in the pill that we're taking. And the law that actually made this happen, you told me about it in the book, was the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act that came out in 1994.

[00:41:36.430] – Allan

And again, I want to go punch someone in the chest. Yeah.

[00:41:44.930] – Dr. Greger

Supplement industry is very powerful industry and people think of like Big Pharma. But actually Big Pharma owns many of the biggest supplement industries. So it actually is big pharma. And they got a law passed thanks to kind of duping people, and it'd be like, government is coming for your vitamin C. So we got to pass this law. So people have this incorrect belief that supplements must be approved for safety by some government agency like the FDA or something, before they're sold to the public, or the very least must have like a warning if there's some kind of side effects or something. And some even believe that supplements actually have to be shown to be effective at some level. None of that is true thanks to that law. So what that law did is it removed the burden of proof for quality control, basic quality control, safety efficacy from the submit manufacturer. So all of a sudden, it was great for the submen industry. They went from a $4 billion industry to like a $40 billion industry. Used to only be a few thousand products on the market. Now there's tens of thousands of products on the market, just absolutely skyrocketing.

[00:42:54.970] – Dr. Greger

But we don't have those standards. So you get some over the counter medication, for example. You like, buy some Tylenol or something. It actually must meet standards for safety efficacy, quality control. Meaning if it says it has this many milligrams, it has to have this many milligram, right? But dietary supplements, all dietary supplements are exempt. So it doesn't have to contain what it says on the label. It doesn't have to contain any of it. It contains something contaminants that aren't listed on the label, like house plants.

[00:43:26.430] – Allan


[00:43:28.930] – Dr. Greger

Actually. And this is right, this is not some just like, see me shady internet thing. They went into GNC. Walmart. This was a New York Attorney General. I mean, just like mainstream supplement and they just tested well, what's actually in these things, right? That was one of the things that came out, was just like house plants, just powdered house plants, like the cheapest possible filler they could think of and had nothing of the so called active ingredient. But then I talk about how, look, we hope it's just house plants because there's some really toxic contaminants, particularly in kind of erectile dysfunction and weight loss supplements often contain kind of these illicit hormones. Things have been banned for good reason, but just keep popping up on the shelves just because things are so poorly kind of enforced. And so now we have about estimates about 50,000 Americans every year are harmed by dietary supplements, usually kidney and liver damage. Now, look, you could say, look, Big Pharma doesn't just harm but kills over 100,000 people. Side effects of drugs. Absolutely true. So we absolutely have to make sure the pros outweigh the cause. Unfortunately, we can't do that with dietary supplements.

[00:44:39.910] – Dr. Greger

And so, look, if there is some supplement that you really want to make sure is what it actually is. There is a certification pathway, something called USP certification. It'll have a little USP seal. Now, that doesn't say it's good for you or it isn't bad for you, but it just verifies. That what says on the label is actually what is in the capsule. So you're actually getting what you're paying for. One of the supplements that I've been using on the road for jet lag, because I travel a lot, is melatonin. The problem is there's all these contaminants found in typical melatonin supplements. So actually go through a Canadian pharmacy, which isn't exactly legal, but very easy to do.

[00:45:21.160] – Allan

We won't.

[00:45:23.030] – Dr. Greger

So in Canada and in Europe, melatonin is sold kind of like prescription only. So it actually has to rise to all those standards, actually has to have what it says it has and not have contaminants in it. And so you can get kind of a prescription only melatonin. Any doctor should write you a prescription, but you have to get it from one of those places. But then at least you can get some contaminant free. So there's kind of a ways around it, but it's just so sad that the snake oil is still being sold and sometimes doesn't even have any snake.

[00:45:54.620] – Allan

In it at all. Right. But there's real food and most of this, what a concept. All of it you can typically get from whole food.

[00:46:05.650] – Dr. Greger

You're a radical, I tell you, man.

[00:46:07.800] – Allan

Look at this guy.

[00:46:09.510] – Dr. Greger

Wait a second. You mean we as a species survived before? There are pill bottles sitting on the shelf.

[00:46:15.200] – Allan

Yeah. There's no witch doctor giving me a.

[00:46:17.690] – Dr. Greger

Prescription for years without all our supplements.

[00:46:22.830] – Allan

Yeah. So if you feel like you need something, I mean, there are times you're going to need some vitamin D. And.

[00:46:28.330] – Dr. Greger

If you live in pregnant women, need to get folic acid. If you're an alcoholic, there are certainly scenarios in which supplementation with nutrients is useful. But buyer beware, unfortunately.

[00:46:44.610] – Allan

All right, Dr. Gregor, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay, you know, according to.

[00:46:57.200] – Dr. Greger

The Gold Burden Disease Study, again, largest study of disease risk factors in the world, funded by the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, the number one cause of death in these United States is the American diet. Bumping tobacco smoking to number two. Cigarettes not only kill about a half million Americans every year, whereas our diet kills many more. So the single most important decision we make three times a day is kind of what to put to the end of our fork. And so if there was just like the absolute simplest things, it'd be like if you could just add three foods to your diet and just remove three things from your diet. The three things I would add right off the bat beans, greens, berries. And the three things I would remove first, before anything else, are the trans fats these partially hydrogenated oils, processed meats like the bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch meats, which cause colorectal cancer. And then number three, be liquid candy, the soda, sugar sweetened beverages. If we just get rid of those three, add the other three, you'd be a long way there. I mean, I really want to emphasize, yes, I get way into the weeds in this book, but it's simple, basic, common sense lifestyle factors can literally mean the difference of an extra decade to your life or not.

[00:48:06.960] – Dr. Greger

And what are we talking about? Regular exercise, not being obese, not smoking, eating more fruits and vegetables, like the basic, basic basics already right there. You got a decade, a whole extra healthy decade. Now, you want to tweak stuff? You want to push that a little farther, fine. I got a book, but it's important. And that's how I conclude the book is like, okay, let's take a step back. People. Don't get overwhelmed. Some really simple, important, basic stuff to nail first before worrying about all this other stuff.

[00:48:39.670] – Allan

And not only are you going to add a decade, it's going to be a better decade.

[00:48:43.180] – Dr. Greger


[00:48:44.470] – Allan

Doctor, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, How Not to Age, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:48:54.330] – Dr. Greger

Send them to Nutritionfacts.org, where all my work is free and you can go to local public library and get the new book, which is out now, or your favorite bookseller. I don't get a penny from any of my books. All proceeds from the sales of all my books are all donated directly to charity. I just want you and your loved ones to enjoy the longest, healthiest life.

[00:49:17.120] – Allan

Thank you, Doctor. And thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness. Keep up the good work.

Post Show/Recap

[00:49:30.120] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:49:32.380] – Rachel

Hey, Allan.  There's a lot to unpack there. But first, I've got the 60 minutes of exercise. I drink a ton of coffee, and I love nuts. It's my favorite snack. So I'm basically immortal. At least today. That's right.

[00:49:48.890] – Allan

Nobody wants to see that. But no, I think the point being is that science can be very misleading if it has a bias. And you can't look at anything and not have a bias. It's built into the way your brain works. If at some point someone told you that milk was bad, you're going to have a hard time reading studies where it says milk is the best thing for you. It's a struggle. There are individuals that have read something in the past and that's just drilled into them.

[00:50:24.060] – Rachel

It's stuck, and it's stuck.

[00:50:25.760] – Allan

And so this is a book where because what he does over at his website, Nutritionfacts.org, is he does these quick little videos and he pulls up a study or he pulls up a concept, and he says, okay, so is red wine healthy for us. And he goes out and looks at all the studies, and some of it he sees it's like, okay, well, this was a rat study. I'm not a rat. Although some things we learn from rats are applicable, but not all. And so he says, okay. And then what you realize is, okay, the amount of wine that you would have to drink to have the same dose as this rat is 100 glasses of wine each night. Oh, dear. Probably not going to happen.

[00:51:10.580] – Rachel

Not good for you at that point.

[00:51:13.190] – Allan

And so there's those little bits. And so now what's happening is you have a supplement company that's selling a supplement that they say, this is equivalent of drinking 100 glasses of wine without the alcohol or all the delirious effects of having that much alcohol, and it might not even have that in it. Okay? Now studies, if they're doing a study, they do a little bit of quality assurance to make sure, okay, if I'm giving someone turmeric or cumin or something like that, I want to know what's in there. And so they do some work there. But supplements you might buy on the market may not be the same thing that you're seeing in that study because it's not sourced the same way. And that's why he was know, he sources some supplements outside the United States because he trusts the compounder, putting it together. But most of us, that's outside the realm of what we're capable of. Know, contracting with someone outside the United States to prepare a supplement for you. For most of us, we're just not going to do that. But he has a lot in this book about things that will age you.

[00:52:20.990] – Allan

And so at the beginning of the book, he starts out with the eleven pathways of aging, and he goes through those. And we talked a good bit about each one. And then in the end, he sort of did go through and say, what are the eight things that are practical, applicable? And I think he was kind of excited that when we got into the book and got into this conversation, that's where I tried to take the whole thing. You have to do a little bit of the work to understand, okay, when he's talking about AMPK or autophagy or mTOR oxidation, because when you're talking about these other foods and other things, these are the pathways that they affect, and in some cases more than one, because there's overlaps. And understanding how that works will kind of help you put this all together. And the basis of pretty much the whole book is if you're eating processed food, you're aging faster than the rest of us.

[00:53:11.520] – Rachel

That's a good point.

[00:53:12.700] – Allan

Yes, it's right there and there's no if, ands, or buts. It can say healthy on the label. It's aging you faster. It just is.

[00:53:23.430] – Rachel

Well, we absorb our nutrients better from the actual food itself. And not all these fortified items in boxes.

[00:53:31.080] – Allan

But even if we didn't even if we didn't, it's just the fact that there's a way that nutrition works on the way that we were adapted as animals through evolution. And it's literally we were not sitting there just eating one food all year round. We were eating a large variety of different foods because it's hard to fill up on blueberries. You're still going to eat as many blueberries you want, but you're going to want other foods, and if they're available, you're going to eat them.

[00:54:01.420] – Rachel

Well, that's the thing. It's about eating a diverse all the colors of the foods, like they say, all the leafy greens you talked about, big ass salads, which I'm sure is more than just spinach. And lettuce throw it all in there and just eat something different and unique every day as best you can to make sure that you're getting all these different nutrients.

[00:54:23.660] – Allan

Yeah. And that's really what it comes down to, is feeding your body good food, good movement, good rest, good sleep, good stress management. When you're doing these things, your body has these ways of protecting you, of healing you. And those things all the things being healthy helps you live longer. Go figure. And some of the stuff, when you look at the science, it's like, oh, well, actually, this is worse for you than what I thought the worst thing was. That doesn't mean go do the second worst thing. It just means that pay attention. You can sit there and well, you know, so what? I eat McDonald's every day. It's like, well, someone smokes two packs of cigarettes every day. So what? You're like, oh, that's terrible.

[00:55:16.550] – Rachel

Well, yeah, I suppose.

[00:55:20.550] – Allan

Well, of course McDonald's wants me to live. No, they want you to eat more McDonald's. They don't really care. They want you to eat more McDonald's. And that's their sole job. How can I get you to eat more? And that's what they do. They're not trying to kill you, but they're not trying to keep you alive, either. Yeah, that's not their.

[00:55:41.690] – Rachel

I just like we talk about all the time eating a wide variety of different foods, getting a number of different types of movement of exercise throughout the week, and just doing all the things that are important to maintaining our good health and fitness.

[00:55:57.320] – Allan

Yeah. Again, treat your body well, and it'll treat you well.

[00:56:01.270] – Rachel


[00:56:03.570] – Allan

All right, well, I will talk to you next week. Great.

[00:56:06.600] – Rachel

Take care, Ellen.

[00:56:07.490] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:56:08.460] – Rachel

Thank you.

Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to use your DNA to optimal health with Kashif Khan

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

More and more we are finding the keys that our genetics give us to live a longer, healthier life. In his book, The DNA Way, Kashif Khan gives us a roadmap to look at our health and fitness through our DNA. On episode 590 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss his book and how you can use your genes to get and stay healthy and fit.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:19.230] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:03:20.690] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, how are you today?

[00:03:22.760] – Allan

Well, I'm juggling. Juggling episodes. Juggling traveling. Well, we had a guest, and her episode is supposed to go live when this episode goes live. So probably last week you had heard me say such and such will be on this week, and this ain't that episode. Well, her book got delayed, and so we shifted things around. So we may have a couple of episodes in the near future where there's not a hello episode. Hello part of the episode. And I apologize for that. Well, I may play it anyway, but if you're like well, he's already there, and now he's talking about going there. If that gets confusing, I'm sorry. We're time travelers here, and we're this in the future. It is what it is. I want to make sure that I help the authors the best I can when I can. So this episode was not the one I promised you last week. It's a new one. So that plus, yeah, I'm traveling. We're currently in Ashborough, North Carolina, which was the county I was born in, the city I was born in. My mother lives here. My sister lives here. We're visiting her before we go over to Asheville, which is where my daughter's getting married.

[00:04:27.570] – Allan

So when you're listening to this, our daughter would have gotten married on Saturday, so you're listening to us on Tuesday. Normally we're not that tight. Normally we're two or three weeks out, but right on that. So if the next couple of weeks sound weird, was like, yeah, I'm planning this trip. I'm about to go. I went and I got there.

[00:04:45.850] – Rachel

Time has no meaning.

[00:04:49.210] – Allan

Yeah. Message from future.

[00:04:51.370] – Rachel

Time has no meeting anymore.

[00:04:53.710] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:04:55.020] – Rachel

Beautiful. We have spring. The trees are budding, and tonight is actually run club night for me. And I cannot wait to get down to the trail because the turtles that we have in the river should be starting to do their nesting. And so I can't wait to see what kind of wildlife we'll have pretty soon. So looking forward to seeing my turtles tonight.

[00:05:14.090] – Allan

Cool, because now they're going to listen to a future episode, and it's like she just said it was freezing a turtle.

[00:05:20.590] – Rachel

Well, today's a spring. You never know. It's Michigan.

[00:05:25.190] – Allan

So are you ready to talk to Kashif?

[00:05:27.880] – Rachel



[00:06:08.700] – Allan

Kashif, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:11.280] – Kashif

Good to be here, man. Very good pleasure. Happy to be here.

[00:06:14.500] – Allan

Yeah. Now your book is called The DNA Way: Unlock the Secrets of Your Genes to Reverse Disease, Slow Aging, and Achieve Optimal wWellness. In reading the book, it was very interesting because as you went, you went through great examples of different people, including yourself, and how their genetics were driving their outcomes, their health outcomes, sometimes without them even knowing it. Obviously mostly without them knowing it. It was there and it was real. By the time you started writing the book, it was about 7000 profiles of people that were out there. So I do have to ask this quick question, is have you figured out the perfect genetic profile yet?

[00:06:54.050] – Kashif

I wouldn't say perfect, but there is one gentleman who we met with who was the founder of a four M, the anti aging conference. And this guy's in the Guinness Book of all the records for like, 13,000 sit ups and some number of thousands of push ups, and his genetics were almost flawless. He's so healthy that he's recovering while he's pushing himself, and that's why he can do the 13,000 sit ups. I think his name was Robert Goldman. But other than that, everybody has a red flag for the most part. He's literally the only person we've seen that's wired like this. He's a genetic freak. But everybody has something, whether they know it or not, that needs support.

[00:07:28.980] – Allan

And that's why we're here, because I know I'm far from perfect and I need support, a whole lot of support. Now, you used a term in the book. It's the first time I've actually seen this term in a book. And that's why it really caught my attention, because it was just one of those it stops you for a second when you're reading. You're like, Wait a minute. That's really important. And the term was informed choice. If we know what the answer is, if we know the right choice, we have a choice. We have the opportunity. Can you talk a little bit about informed choice, what that is and what it means for us?

[00:08:03.800] – Kashif

Yeah. So in this context, what we're saying is we are constantly making choices when it comes to health or wellness, even if we don't think we are. Every time you decide to eat, to breathe, to expose yourself to anything, it's a choice towards health or a choice away from health. Literally every choice you make. And most of the time, we're not even consciously aware of that. It's outside of our awareness. And so once you start to develop the habits of understanding that your choices do equal your health outcome, when it comes to chronic disease, aging, the way you perform, the way you sleep, and it truly is in your control that a lot of these things that we think are, oh, yeah, there's diabetes in my family. There's breast cancer in my family. No, there's some underlying genetics of optimality that drives that thing to thrive. And if you understood what that root cause was and you started to make the right choices, then you can decide whether or not you have disease. You can decide at what pace you actually age. You can decide how much energy you have. And this is one thing I learned about myself.

[00:09:02.480] – Kashif

I sit here in front of you, perfectly healthy. When I used to have five chronic conditions, which I really thought I had, that I didn't realize until later, I developed through the wrong choices.

[00:09:11.060] – Allan

Now, one of the interesting things that we got into this was there's what we would call, I guess people just call common truths. It's like we all believe this is the right way to do this. And if you're doing this, you're doing the right thing. And generally 80 20 rule is probably working out. But there is some counterintuitiveness to this whole genetic makeup. You had a buddy who was golfing four times a week, and I think most people would say, well, that's awesome. That's a good amount of walking. Even if you're in a cart, you're still doing a good amount of walking and exercise and getting outside. But this was actually detrimental to him. Could you explain that?

[00:09:45.320] – Kashif

You nailed it. The reason why he did the golfing was for the walking because he had a cholesterol issue. And this guy, a dear friend of mine, 38 years old when this happened, and he was a pharmacist, so he, on the medical side, understood himself. Right. He had been trained, but that number kept going up and his dosage kept going up, and he couldn't understand, what am I doing wrong? So the walking was part of his therapeutic plan. Let me walk this off. Right. What was actually happening was he was missing some of the key detox genes that instruct Glutathione utilization in the body. So your body's ability to bind onto toxins, send them to deliver, to metabolize and clear and so in missing them when he was walking on that golf course and breathing in. And by the way, this is in Canada, where the regulation on what chemicals are allowed to be used in golf courses are a little lax just because we have a long winter in most provinces. And so they allow more stuff to be used. And he's breathing these things in for three, 4 hours at a time, four days a week, which is not typical human capacity, even with the best detox system.

[00:10:48.670] – Kashif

And he had the worst. So what happens when you have toxins in your body? They cause inflammation. Your cellular structure was not designed to cope with these types of toxic insults. And so when the endothelium or the inner lining of the blood vessel, the wall that the blood actually touches, gets exposed to toxins, it gets inflamed. And your body will then use cholesterol as a hormone to reduce the inflammation. That's why it's actually sent to that location so if you don't deal with the underlying root cause, which is I have no detox system and I'm consistently exposing myself to toxins that are causing inflammation. But instead you wait to treat the disease that comes out of it, which is what we call cholesterolemia. All you're going to ever going to do is it's like a boat with a hole and you're just throwing buckets of cholesterolemia while the water is still coming in. Why not plug the holes? And that's what we were able to do with him. And guess what? He's not on a prescription anymore. No more pills.

[00:11:40.210] – Allan

That's awesome. That's awesome. But so counterintuitive that okay, play golf a little less and choose a different golf course.

[00:11:47.170] – Kashif

Well, it was a couple of dials to turn. It was that it was adopt new habits. But it was also now that we know that your body doesn't do this job well, how can we supplement it? So there's two dials to turn, get rid of the exposure. That's not always easy. Let's also support your body's biological function. We made a cocktail form as a friend. I made him some supplements that supported detoxification of the body cellular resiliency, mitochondrial function. And then his cells started to behave as if he did have the good version of the genes.

[00:12:18.960] – Allan

Awesome. So now you brought up something in the book, I think with onslaught of diabetes and you have some experience in your family and you're up with this. Is that some point everybody's going to have insulin resistance and diabetes even if they not have a genetic preference. But can you talk about how genetics drives insulin resistance?

[00:12:37.850] – Kashif

Yeah. So right now, the United States is presumably 95% metabolically unhealthy. This is coming from the CDC. They're saying only 5% of Americans actually have good metabolic health. And that's mostly driven by our food supply. The high carb, low fat myth that was completely wrong and the road we went down and where we're now at. And so the actual straight out insulin response is genetically driven. There's a gene called TCF seven L two, which determines how efficiently you actually manage your insulin levels and how do you respond to glucose in the bloodstream. And are you bouncing up and down or is it more even keel? And if you're not doing well, there a big red flag. Points to diabetes. AMY1 is a gene that helps you break down starches and metabolize them and use them as fuel. Some people do really well there and we don't tell them you need to go on a low carb diet. They actually thrive on carbs. A lot more people, however, don't do so well there. Then there's also fat metabolism. I can't tell you how many people we have to tell them that the reason they don't feel good is because they're on a keto diet.

[00:13:40.050] – Kashif

And I'm not saying not go on a keto diet for the person who's wired for it. There's nothing that will make them feel better and healthier than that thing. But for the person who's not wired for it, who has the suboptimal version of the ap2 gene, as it's called, they may feel good in the first two or three weeks because ketones start firing. The brain feels good, you're using fat as fuel. But five, six weeks into it, you start to get sluggish. And you don't blame it on the keto because you felt so good in the first two, three weeks. So you start looking for other problems. Right. And a lot of people, we've had to unwind and change their diet. So all of these things equal metabolic dysfunction, which then lead to insulin resistance, which then lead to a whole scope of problems, from cardiovascular disease to cancers, to diabetes to dementia and Alzheimer's. We need metabolic health as a baseline foundation for other chronic diseases to not set in.

[00:14:30.040] – Allan

And I think this kind of speaks to the whole idea that, well, it worked for him, it should work for me. I watched them do this way of eating, and it works, and they're just in brilliant health and I want some of that, and then I eat that way, and my results are just not even close to that. Can you dive a little deeper into how our genotype affects the nutrition that our body needs?

[00:14:54.990] – Kashif

Yeah. So this is a big challenge in today where information is so easy to access. And so you go to YouTube or you go to a podcast like this, for example, and you hear something that the person speaking says, this changed my life. And they're probably correct. But if you ask them how they got there, it was probably five, six, seven years of trial and error. And that's why exactly,

[00:15:20.440] – Allan

you got me eight years.

[00:15:22.550] – Kashif

But, yeah, eight years of like, this sucks, this sucks. I'm like, oh, wow, I feel incredible. And you feel so good that you want to scream for the rooftops and tell everybody, and that's why you have this incredible podcast. Right. But the pain it took to get there, we don't talk about. And all we're saying is that, yes, it works for you. If a genetic you comes along, it will also work for them. If they're not wired like you, they're going to say, this doesn't work. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Right. So all we're saying is, day one, there's an instruction manual in each one of your 50 trillion cells that's telling your cells how to do their jobs. And those manuals are not the same for us. So when it comes to nutrition, like you just asked, if we aren't precise in terms of what our bodies need, yes, you can trial and error it until you figure out what feels good, and then eventually you'll be great. That takes years, typically. Or you can go straight to the genes that direct all these processes, starting with the brain. When it comes to diet, nutrition, the first thing we usually look at is how do you even perceive food?

[00:16:21.900] – Kashif

There's genes around satisfaction of the palate and people that need to binge and snack because they can't get satisfied. I need my doritos, I need my cookies. Right? Then there's genes around satiety of the gut and your ability to actually feel full. And that signal from the gut to the brain is just sometimes slower for people. And so we have to structure their food. Then there's people that can't experience pleasure as efficiently as others. Their dopamine pathway is broken, so they become addictive or they become bingers, and they use food as coping mechanism because their emotional pathways are off. So decoding the brain step one is really important in terms of decoding how to eat the way you want because you may think you're doing it, but depending on the day and what you're exposed to, you probably aren't.

[00:17:02.410] – Allan

Yeah, so this is talking about our relationship with food and satiety and how we approach it. It's talking about how we metabolize the different macronutrients and it even gets as deep as how we deal with the micronutrients and how we balance that out. I haven't done mine. I will. I promise. I'm on it. Back to the States. I'm a spit in the tube, but I have a problem with low sodium and low potassium and I have to kind of manage and make sure that I'm getting a sufficient amount of that in my diet. I only know that from the error that happened.

[00:17:35.920] – Kashif


[00:17:36.280] – Allan

And every time I go get blood test, I have seen that it's low. And I'm guessing there's probably a profile in my genetics that is putting me at a predisposition for that.

[00:17:46.700] – Kashif

Yeah, likely the ability to actually metabolize. So there's different steps to using nutrients. There's getting it in the blood, which is what we measure, but there's also using it. So there's a big difference between understanding how much is in the blood and how much is in the cell where your body actually needs it. And genes that drive those steps are unique and separate. And so we can get really precise, especially when it comes to vitamin D. It's a really complex pathway. But vitamin D is probably the most important micronutrient that you need out of the 22,000 genes that make up your Genome 2000. So almost 10% of your human biology requires vitamin D at the adequate right level to express your genes properly. Meaning that for your genes to do their jobs, whether it's hormones, brain, bone, skin, whatever, if you don't have the right amount of vitamin D, you're not doing those jobs well. And vitamin D has a complex pathway because if you think of our ancestral traits, they were out in the sun. Here's you and me indoors on a zoom call, right. That was not the reality of what worked. Like 200 years ago and then go beyond many thousands of years.

[00:18:52.800] – Kashif

So we now have this ability to mitigate and reduce our vitamin D utilization, which doesn't fit our current lifestyle. Step one, there's a gene that takes vitamin D from D Two from the sun and converts it to D Three. So how efficiently do you do that? Step two, there's a gene that then transports it to the cell where it's actually used. How efficiently do you do that? Step three, there's a gene that binds it and actually gets it into the cell. And how efficiently do you do that? So now not only do we know how much vitamin do you need, but maybe how frequently. If you don't transport and bind it, the first dose, you might only use 20% of what you put in. So you need to take two or three doses in a day. That one thing. I can't tell you how many problems we fix just by fixing this. From anxiety to bone issues to I can't get out of bed with depression and issues. So much get fixed just with this one thing.

[00:19:44.330] – Allan

And I think that's why a lot of people notice when they start eating right, they start feeling better. These feelings and emotions, all this stuff, it's like, well, food is not supposed to help me with depression, but yes, it does if you eat the right food.

[00:19:57.230] – Kashif

Yeah, there was a report that just came out that if you take the best antidepressant drug and then you compare it to exercise, exercise is a 50% better outcome than the number one antidepressant drug, which, by the way, only works 40% of the time because it's just masking the symptom and hiding the fact that there's biological dysfunction. And it usually has to do with gut and body, like not moving your body and not supporting your gut, which both equal brain problems, neural inflammation, disconnect in general. So yeah, food and exercise will resolve most mood issues.

[00:20:34.170] – Allan

So let's do that. Let's jump into fitness and talk about how our genotype drives the type of fitness that we should be doing. Because I know some people sit there and say, well, you can look at this person and they're long and lean and they do yoga. Well, yoga didn't make them long and lean. They're good at yoga because they're long and lean. Or you can look at a sprinter or you can look at a marathoner and say, okay, two totally different body types that make them better at their sport. But when we look at training, though, there's still training that's best for us. How does that all work?

[00:21:05.640] – Kashif

So that's a big thing that we talk to parents about because you can imagine the five, six, seven year old child where it's like, hey, I want my kid to play football. I want my kid to be a hockey player. Do you know what they're going to look like when they're 15 and imagine all the effort you're going to put into this to see them fail because you didn't pick the right path, when guess what? Their hormones tell us exactly what they're going to become. And that's also true for you and me, the 40 plus crowd, right? We understand exactly why we've been challenged and why we hit plateaus. So take me, for example. I produce a lot of testosterone. My genes say that very clear, but I also clear it very quickly. So I have this use it or lose it type hormone profile, where if I do actively go to the gym regularly, which I do, I can fairly easily maintain the physique I want. But as soon as I stop, it all comes crumbling down, right? I can't get big and I can't deadlift 400 pounds because I don't make enough estrogen, which is there's a myth that strength and weight comes from testosterone actually is driven by estrogen.

[00:22:08.340] – Kashif

So I don't make enough estrogen to get the mass. I'm more of a Captain America and less of a Dwayne Johnson, let's say. Right? If I do everything right, there's a certain body type that my hormones are already dictating, and that helps me determine how I need to work out. For example, I used to do four or five sets of everything and I was over training, and my recovery didn't facilitate that. Well, now I do two sets, and every single trainer I talk to says, that's not how you work out. Well, guess what? I'm in the best shape of my life and I'm able to go to the gym more often. And I feel better mentally because that's exactly what my body needed. And yes, it's unique, but great, that's what I need. It doesn't matter to me what works for everyone else, right?

[00:22:50.600] – Allan

Yeah, exactly. And so by getting your genetic profile done, you're going to have some ideas, okay, how's my body going to respond to exercise? What am I going to get the most benefit from? How is my recovery work? Which is going to also then help you understand, okay, what volume should I put on myself? And so many people just think more is better, but that's not the case.

[00:23:11.630] – Kashif

Since I reduced it, I have far better outcome. So recovery, the word you use, is very important. So we're in Toronto and we work with a lot of NHL hockey players. It's like a mecca of hockey training up here, right? So in the offseason, they're all here, and recovery is always a question mark. So we work with a lot of players and we have to show them that their regimen is the problem, it's not the recovery. They're just over training. And when we reduce their training to align with their mitochondrial resilience so we can actually determine how efficiently the mitochondria functions, which then determines how quickly they recover. So, again, we turn both dials, we supplement them to help their mitochondria and to help them recover faster, but we also adjust the load to make it align with what they're designed for. And all of a sudden, again, they thrive. They actually don't need to train as much, but a guy like me, I need to train consistently, meaning every day, but a small load per day, right. There's some guys that we tell them, you got to go three days a week and you got to go heavy.

[00:24:09.460] – Kashif

Right. There's some days people that got to go heavy every single day. So it depends on who you are and how you're wired. And all of a sudden, when it's aligned and personalized, you get the best outcome.

[00:24:18.220] – Allan

Yeah, and that's so hard for people because they just say, okay, well, this person's working so hard, especially a professional athlete, but just everyday people, you go in the gym and you see someone working really hard, and they built this body, and it's like, oh, wow, well, I want that body. Genetically, that body might not be possible, but beyond that, you have to put in the right kind of work, the right amount of work, and at the right times to make this all work out. And a good genetic profile like what your company does, will give us that information to help us understand our fitness and recovery better.

[00:24:50.160] – Kashif

And the other big area is the delineation between male and female training. So most of what we know and understand is based on, how do I take a 20 year old guy and make him a weightlifting champion? Right? That's where everything comes from because that's the industry. It's competitive training is at a youthful age, and it's around men. It's recently become a phenomenon with women, with TikTok and all these videos and everything. So everyone wants to look like everybody else now, right? So women, whereas men have a daily hormone cycle, and your genes will determine sort of little nuances in that cycle for a man. We have a menstrual cycle every day. Men have a hormone cycle, right? Sorry, I should say a Manstrual cycle. Women have a menstrual cycle. They do it every month. So the exact same thing that we do every day, women do it on a monthly basis. So it's stretched, meaning it's not, here's what I do every day, or here's what my week looks like. What does my month look like? Because the hormone levels in week one are here, and then they're down here, and then they're back up here.

[00:25:51.540] – Kashif

It's a roller coaster. So your body whereas in the beginning, for a woman, it's more akin to weight training and putting on muscle. Then in the following week and your estrogens go crazy. You're more prone to injuries. You want to get off the heavy weights. Right? Then in the following week, your body wants to get into recovery mode and start prepping for that lining release. So if you understand the cycle, which we map out a lot. And you understand. Are you more estrogen dominant, more testosterone dominant? Do you make toxic hormones, which then causes inflammation, which you need to reduce? Then you can be really particular on how to make that ideal month. And then women get unstuck, let's say. They really feel stuck all the time.

[00:26:31.840] – Allan

Yeah, I can definitely see that. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:26:41.260] – Kashif

So I would say the big sleeper that gets ignored isn't spoken of is environmental health. So the thousands of people that we reviewed, the one thing that consistently was a drip of toxic insult that was outside of their awareness was what's in their environment? What are they breathing? The chemicals on their desk, the pesticides that make their lawn so beautiful, the Teflon coated frying pan could be something that your neighbor sprayed in their garden. So the toxic chemical burden that we have versus what we're wired for, giant misalignment, huge problem and is the root cause of a lot of problems. Right. So I would say that's the number one thing to look out for, number two is to understand that we walking on this planet, have genes, an instruction manual on our body that is approximately 200 to 250,000 years old. We haven't changed since then. Now, our current reality is a post 1950s reality. So compare that to 250,000 years, a tiny, tiny blip in time in terms of food, stress, sleep, chemicals, everything. Right. We are not designed for how we live, which is why we have a $4 trillion health care budget, of which 90% truly is spent on chronic disease, all of which is preventable.

[00:27:54.670] – Kashif

So $3.6 trillion a year the United States spends on treating things that never needed to happen in the first place. Right. So just understand that in order to truly be healthy, this thing that you're walking around in is not ready for the environment you're walking around in and the food you're eating and for the stress you're having and for the lack of sleep and all. So you need to work on all of those things. Try and be more like your cavemen ancestors if you can. Right. Number three thing I would say is consistency. And I've learned this from myself, in myself, trying to be better and eliminating five chronic diseases. I don't have any of them anymore, and I haven't had them for years. When I had five years ago, all five of them at the same time. Things can come back. We get sort of comfortable. Right. And consistency is key. You can never stop doing the work. You have two choices. You either do the work now or you pay for it later. And you can pick one. You cannot do anything. Fine, then, okay. Enjoy the medical system, which is, I will do whatever I want.

[00:28:57.160] – Kashif

And when I break myself, it's the doctor's job to fix me that's one way or I could understand what might break and prevent that from happening and go into my 90s, riding my bicycle and playing with my grandchildren. That's a very different way to live than the American dream right now, which is the last 15 years or spent in treatment. That's actually the average. So that becomes a choice. In order to maintain that choice, you have to be consistent. It's not a task, it's a lifestyle. It's every day you wake up, you're working on your health.

[00:29:24.080] – Allan

Excellent. Now your company, the DNA company, is going to give the listeners of the 40+ Fitness podcast a 10% discount on the DNA workup. You go to thednacompany.com/40plus. So the discount code is 40 P L U S. You can go there and get a 10% discount off of the test. Is there somewhere else that you'd like me to send them, Kashif?

[00:29:46.240] – Kashif

Sure, I mean, anyone that's interested in learning more the book, which was big news for us, is coming out right around the corner. So if you go to thednaway.com, you'll be able to be connected to a retailer that can supply the book. But this was really exciting for us because one of our patients was a CEO of a publishing company and when he heard what we're doing he's like, well, you guys need a book out there because everyone needs to know that this tool should be part of their toolkit. And most people don't. Most people don't know that they can prevent and reverse and read their human instruction manual. And so I spent late nights for a good year writing this book. It wasn't my intention to be an author, but when I started I couldn't stop. It was a really pleasurable thing to do and so it's now finally being released and our mission is that we can bring personalization to health and wellness. Even just by reading the book, you can understand my journey and how I fixed myself, which allows you to start thinking about yourself in a different way. So again, that's thednaway.com, and it's launching May 16.

[00:30:47.790] – Allan

Great. And that was what was really cool was that you took the time to walk us through your DNA and how that's changed your lifestyle choices. So it's a really good practical way to demonstrate the benefits of how this all works, plus lots of opportunities shared with different people that you've worked with and how you've helped them set their course. Thank you for that. Kashif, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:31:10.850] – Kashif

It was a pleasure. Amazing talking to you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:31:14.010] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:31:15.650] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. I always love talking about DNA and it is still on my list of things to get done. But now I've got something to think about because my hospital network can do some genetic testing. They also accept genetic testing through another outside platform. But then it sounds like Kashif has a different company, the DNA company, that might be even more thorough. So now I kind of got to compare to see apples to apples what I can get out of this DNA testing.

[00:31:46.570] – Allan

Yeah, it's pretty fascinating, the testing that they do. Everything's a step change as things go, and technology changes, and the costs come down on some things, always going to go up on other things. But as they come down on these technologies, they're able to do more. As they learn things, they're able to do more. One of the interesting things about his company is at this point, they've served 7000 people. And that doesn't maybe not sound like, but that's a nice size sample of looking at people and their situation and then looking at the lifestyle changes that those individuals make and what it means in their life. So when you kind of take it from that context, it's like, this is a pretty cool deal. The 23 AND ME was kind of like the first one out the gate doing this stuff. And when they did it, they tried to tell you things like, you have a propensity for Alzheimer's or not, you're probably going to be lactose intolerant or not, you're going to be bald or not. They could do that, and they could also then start telling you about your heritage and where you're from.

[00:32:54.820] – Allan

Now, they got in a little bit of trouble at the beginning because the FDA is like, you're diagnosing diseases. So there was a whole lot of fighting infighting things that was going on between the government and that company. Fortunately, they got past a lot of that stuff. So while your DNA cannot diagnose an illness, it can tell you a lot about the way that you do things in your body that can give you the information to make better choices. Okay. And where that's valuable is if you say, okay, well, I like fruit, and it's like, great, you like fruit, but your body doesn't process fruit the same way as someone else. So you can have some fruit, but just not as much fruit as you might be eating today. So I know everybody's like, well, it's natural food. Yes, it is natural food, but your body might not process fructose as well as somebody else, and you have to take that into account or not. I mean, it's your choice. That's why I wanted to start I started that conversation with him about informed choice about that, because if you have the information, then you can make those choices.

[00:34:02.450] – Allan

And there are privacy concerns. Who has access to your genetic information, and how can that be used in the future? Right now, nobody knows. But it could be, and it's something to think about, because if someone has your genetic information and decides they don't want to write an insurance policy for you, that could be a big deal. So there are some concerns. There some things for you to think about, but here's a way, and mine's been tested, so if they want to clone me, please go right ahead. Nobody wants to clone me, but if you want some information, some data that's going to help you, this is the way to go.

[00:34:44.680] – Rachel

Well, the interesting thing that you touched on briefly is about cholesterol. I think it was his friend that had high cholesterol and was trying to go golfing and walking and being outside and wasn't helping his cholesterol. And then maybe he got this DNA testing and found out, well, there's other problems to how he was attempting to resolve a high cholesterol. I know that with menopause, my cholesterol is expected to raise. My dad's got high cholesterol. It could be a genetic factor, but it would be interesting to know, well, if I should be on statins, or if statins won't work, it should be nice to know that. Or like when you talked about choosing different diets, maybe I should try a Mediterranean diet or vegan. But I sure would like to know whether my body would respond as well to that or another. I mean, it just would be nice to cut through the chase and instead of experimenting with all these different things to try and control my cholesterol. What can I learn from this data and implement a lot faster?

[00:35:48.110] – Allan

Yeah, well, again, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/dna that'll take you to the page. And they run discounts, they do different things, but it's not out of reach for most people to make this investment and kind of know those things with his friend, kind of the scenario was that his friend was an avid golfer and he was out on the golf course all the time. Now they're up in Toronto, so their golf season is like, over the day it starts. It's pretty short to keep the grass going and to keep everything they used a lot of chemicals and everything to keep the grass growing all the way through the winter and have it ready for the season. And so it was just really that exposures to toxins that this guy was not his body was not equipped to do very well. And so daily, almost daily, like four times a week, exposure to toxins was causing some issues. Now it's one of the weird things of traveling up to North Carolina. Our days down in Panama are twelve and twelve. I mean, like literally 6:30 6:30 daylight period. We're up here now. Last night we're like, walking around at 8:30 and it's still daylight.

[00:36:56.680] – Allan

We're like, this is insane. Up in Toronto, it's even more insane. Like I said, up in Canada, their days, so he can get off work at 05:00 and play a whole round of golf before it even starts to get dark walking. And so this guy's out there playing golf, and he's getting some good walking in. He feels like he's taking care of himself and his body's just not dealing with the toxins, and that's just causing all kinds of problems in his body. And so nobody would know that. They'd be like, this was a healthy guy. He played golf four times a week. Why is he having a heart attack? Nobody would know that. And he thought he was doing everything right and it wasn't working out. So it's just kind of one of those things. This technology right now is available to you, which is what's important to take away from this call. Eventually, this information will be a part of how your doctor cares for you. Your doctor is going to say, Well, I know, okay, there's eight statins on the market right now, and I know you're not going to tolerate any of them.

[00:37:57.930] – Rachel


[00:37:59.530] – Allan

What we're going to do is we're going to prescribe this other medication, and we're not going to make you go through the grief of struggling with the statins. And so you think about that, where instead of a practice with this trial and error stuff, with all the different drugs, they'll literally know this is the drug that's most likely to help you right now, based on what we know about your genetic profile and what will work for you. And when we get to that level of personalized medicine, then our life expectancies can go astronomical, because you're not going to waste a whole lot of time trying to treat something the wrong way.

[00:38:36.200] – Rachel

That would be so wonderful. That's what I love about this DNA, just the science. And like I said, cutting to the chase sure would save a lot of time and money and effort instead of the trial and error things that we do right now.

[00:38:49.600] – Allan

Yeah, if you're interested in all this, you can go to their website, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/DNA, and that'll take you to the website. And I don't think they gave me a discount code, but there are different codes out there you can use if you want to book one of these. Maybe 40plus.

[00:39:06.260] – Rachel


[00:39:07.090] – Allan

40plus. Okay, I wrote it. Okay. Yeah, use the discount. 40plus, they'll give you a discount. They might be offering one. That's better. That's fine. Take the discount if it's better, but get some money off of it. Again, if you want to act on data and you want to kind of go to the next level with how you approach your health and fitness, this is not a bad tool to have.

[00:39:29.260] – Rachel

Yeah, that's really cool. Well, thanks.

[00:39:31.560] – Allan

All right, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:39:34.310] – Rachel

Sounds good. Take care.

[00:39:35.850] – Allan

You too.

[00:39:36.730] – Rachel

Thank you. Bye bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb– Leigh Tanner
– Eric More

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


May 2, 2023

How to age gracefully with Gillian Lockitch

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

After dealing with a health setback, Gillian Lockitch made some changes to reclaim the joy of her life, dance. On Episode 588 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how she did it and about her book, Growing Older, Living Younger.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:42.690] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are you?

[00:02:44.370] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:46.580] – Allan

I'm good. I've been kind of busy and I know I've kind of come on this show every week. I'm busy, I'm busy.

[00:02:54.400] – Rachel

You are always busy.

[00:02:56.710] – Allan

But it's like, you know, there's just there's all these different things that I want to do for my business, for myself and whatever. And so I did get the level two Master Health Coach with precision nutrition. But another thing that I've been doing on this side when I had time is I've been getting on other podcasts. So I'm being interviewed on other podcasts, and I was recently on one called Fit MIT turo. Now MIT in German means with. So fit with turo is the English translation of fit mit turo.

[00:03:32.070] – Rachel


[00:03:32.900] – Allan

And so I just share a bunch of tips, and I do focus my tips on things that are beneficial to people over 40. I think he just turned 40, but if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/turo, that's T-U-R-O that'll take you to his episode. I was on episode 89 that just went live a week or so ago. And so you can listen to that there as I hear about the other ones, Erin, because I did over been, like twelve to 13 interviews over the last three months, but for one reason or another, a lot of them haven't been published. So, as I hear about one being published, I'll try to let you guys know.

[00:04:10.590] – Rachel


[00:04:11.420] – Allan

And I'll probably start posting this stuff on Facebook, too. So if you're part of our Facebook group, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. You can join our Facebook group, and I'll be posting links and things there as well.

[00:04:23.960] – Rachel

Great. That's awesome. Sounds fun.

[00:04:27.050] – Allan

So, how are things up there?

[00:04:28.710] – Rachel

Good. I think I told you last week it was spring. Now we're back to winter again. I know we had some snow over the weekend, but we just had a lovely weekend. Anyway, we did a lot of outside chores before the snow started, but it's nice to have kind of spring and to be able to spend some time outside. Now I got a break from it.

[00:04:52.030] – Allan

Well, you know, Lucy is going to pull that football away, right?

[00:04:55.170] – Rachel

As you exactly. Yeah, that's exactly what happens up here in Michigan. So hopefully spring will come back pretty soon. But just staying busy, doing things around the house, getting the yard ready. Yeah, it's fun stuff.

[00:05:07.920] – Allan

All right. You ready to have a conversation with Gill?

[00:05:10.700] – Rachel



[00:06:07.990] – Allan

Gill, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:10.960] – Gillian

Thank you. I'm delighted to be here.

[00:06:13.940] – Allan

Now, your book, Growing Older, Living Younger: the Science of Aging Gracefully and the Art of Retiring Comfortably. I love that title because it kind of blends some things that kind of been a theme here, and a lot of books that have come out recently and books that have been around for a while is think all of us look at getting older with some trepidation. There's this aging curve that we're going to fall down and then we're going to end up at the bottom of this thing. And in many cases we're not doing it gracefully, we're not doing it gracefully. And then we're looking at retirement. And what we see is most people who are in retirement age are not living well. Their health span is gone and their lifespan is long. And so they're going through all these health issues. And many of us now, particularly in our forty s and fifty s, are kind of in that middle zone of our parents at that point where we're seeing these things with our parents, or in some cases unfortunately, have seen these things with our parents because they passed and we're still busy raising kids.

[00:07:25.710] – Allan

So we're in this sandwich generation and I think there's some blessings in this because we get to look back, look forward, literally. Our parents are our look into the future if we live the way they live. And so I want to talk about that. And I think that's one of the cool things about this book is your story and then your experience as a doctor and a scientist and how you've pulled this all together to kind of give us the tools to really look at that in a good way.

[00:07:55.620] – Gillian

The premise behind the book is that we do not need to age as our parents and grandparents did because we have tools and mechanisms and strategies. Now that we're aware of that, we can change things. And again, the premise is that instead of going on a steady downhill to old age, we actually keep healthy, active, vibrant right until the end. And then just go clunk. That's my philosophy.

[00:08:27.500] – Allan

Just go clunk. Now to start out this book, if we're going to understand the science, then we have to understand the human body. And to me the science of the human body is probably the most complex science of any of the sciences out there. We keep learning new things. I know when I was in school, all the way up until college, we were learning about genetics. And it was the simple certain genes are going to make your eye color blue, some of they're going to make them brown. And if you have four kids and this parents, then you're going to have three with brown eyes and one with blue eyes. And that's kind of how genetics work. And then we got into Epigenetics and when I first started learning about that, these are like the dip switches on our old computers. I had an Epson, which is a clone of an IBM. It had all these little dip switches in the back. So if you wanted the computer to function a certain way, you had to move the dip switch. So it was either on or off. So we were taught genes were either on or off.

[00:09:30.140] – Allan

Recently though, we've learned that genes are more like a dimmer switch and there's tens of thousands of permutations of each gene, which means there's billions and billions and billions untold billions, maybe trillions of options, if you will, of how our operating system, our genetic genome, is actually going to function. And so you start getting it, it's like, wow, this is so complex. How is someone going to learn what this is? And I've read a few books, a lot of them lose me. But you had this analogy of a corporate factory that I think gives us kind of this gives us enough of a picture of this to really kind of understand how much control we have. So can you talk about your corporate factory analogy of epigenetics?

[00:10:22.070] – Gillian

Well, I thought that the absolute key to understanding our bodies and our metabolism is the realization that we are in fact a factory that operates 24 hours a day, nonstop basically from the time of conception until the time that we die. And so I think about it as if you think about a factory. First of all, it's a business, right? So there is a CEO who is responsible for setting the vision, setting the goals, setting the direction. And I think of our mind as that and I'll go back to that in a bit. Underneath the CEO is somebody who is responsible for actually keeping the factory operating. And I call that the COO. Chief Operating Officer. And it's really fascinating that everything, all our metabolism, all our activities are really controlled by our COO, which is a master clock that is located in the hypothalamus of our brain. And that master clock directs all our circadian rhythms and sends messages to minor little clocks in every single organ that basically regulates how our metabolism works. So the next component, the chief operating officer is responsible for workshops. So I sort of think about the individual organ systems, for example, our heart or tissues, muscles, that sort of thing, as an independent little sub factory or workshop within the overall business.

[00:12:18.750] – Gillian

And in each of those factory workshops there are a number of units where all the business of the factory happens. And those are our cells. Within our cells we have tools that build things, break them down, detoxify. And those all require building blocks and nutrients. They require energy to perform. They require messages and signals to tell them how much they need to make when they need to stop making things. And then finally they need to figure out exactly how much to make. So if you sort of think about the factory, your body is a factory that's working 24 hours a day, nonstop. Every single cell is active. Then you realize that there's a lot of things that your body needs to function efficiently. So you need to be able to generate the energy for all of those cells, you need to supply them with the building blocks, whether it's amino acids to make proteins or micronutrients to make the reactions work well. So that's basically how I sort of conceive the metabolism and the functioning of the body.

[00:13:54.010] – Allan

The reason I like that is because it gives you a picture of how complex this is. Because if one part of the factory keeps making stuff when the other parts of the factory don't need it, you've got a dysfunction there. And when we get dysfunction in the body, it tells us in one area we start feeling bad, our energy levels are low, we start dealing with different problems, chronic diseases, things like that. And so by us doing the right things for ourselves, we're helping with that signaling. Like, an example would be if we don't sleep well, then we don't close down certain factories for them to be cleaned up, like our brain. And so if we don't sleep well, then we don't have time in the brain, which is a pretty important part of this factory, to do the cleaning that's necessary. The cleaning crew can't come in, and if it can't come in, eventually the brain doesn't function as well. The brain is not functioning as well, then it's not doing its job as the CEO and COO of this factory, and therefore the whole factory doesn't function well.

[00:15:04.980] – Gillian

Exactly. Yeah. So it goes even a little bit further. And sleep, obviously, is one of the absolutely critical things, because we know that that whole master clock is essentially controlled by light and dark that sets the circadian rhythms. So if you're not responding to that signal that you need to sleep again, it disrupts the entire system. And this is why people who have sleeping disorders, or why jet lag, for example, affects the way people can perform and basically feel during the day.

[00:15:49.470] – Allan

I'd like to get into your story a little bit because I think it shines a light on how we can kind of approach this. Some of us are younger than you, some of us might be a little older than you, but you found yourself overweight near that Obese line, and you made some pretty hard decisions at that point in your life. I think, similar to my story, I made a decision, but it took me eight years before I really clicked in and actually got it. I think in your story, you said it took ten. So can you tell us a little bit about your story? Because I think it's important for us to see that a lot of us are finding ourselves in our middle age, and we're all in the same place, and there's a way out.

[00:16:38.910] – Gillian

Well, I think it's important to realize that I actually was very conscious of being fit and healthy. I exercised, I ate well, and I didn't realize prior to this catastrophic event that my weight was still creeping up bit by bit by bit. So when I got married, I weighed about 112 lbs. I was in my 20s, and by the time this sort of catastrophic event had occurred, I'd weighed a lot more than that. But what happened was that I experienced a period of extreme sciatic pain as a result of spinal stenosis, which is when your vertebrae, the area through which the nerves run close down through extra bone buildup and compress the nerves. And I had this experience of this catastrophic sciatic episode where literally for four months, I was unable to really do much walking. I was a couch potato and depressed and couldn't do all the things that brought me joy in life. And that was when I really had a major increase in my weight. So I found myself basically 40 lbs over what my ideal weight was and really wasn't sort of I was too depressed, quite honestly, to think about the impact that it was having on my health.

[00:18:14.660] – Gillian

And then I ended up having an emergency spinal surgery. And it was only when I was recovering from that with a determination that I wanted to be able to go on a ballroom dance cruise ten months later, that I really started realizing that I was on a downward trajectory from a health point of view, and that I had to do something about it. And that was the genesis of what is now my roadmap to aging youthfully and keeping well and getting rid of all the what we call age associated disorders. They're not really age associated, they are unhealthy living associated disorders. So that's basically my story of how this all came about.

[00:19:08.510] – Allan

Okay, now, one of the things I think that I read that you was kind of driving you was your parents history of heart disease. Can you talk a little bit about that and what that meant to you?

[00:19:21.090] – Gillian

Right, well, both my parents died of coronary artery disease and then heart attacks. And the experience, particularly of my mother's death was amazingly impactful for me because she literally had a heart attack, died in front of me, and I was unable to resuscitate her. So I had been aware of our family history of heart disease and attending a preventative health program. I've got a lot to say about that because mainly what they were trying to do was get me onto a statin. And also the nutritional advice that I was given at that time I thought was really poor. So basically one of the things that I realized I had to attack as I was creating my roadmap to age well was to figure out what were the things that were putting me at risk for heart disease. And so for me, the primary thing is nutritional obesity, inactivity. And so those were the kind of things that I focused on to create a heart healthy me.

[00:20:43.530] – Allan

Well, you weren't 29 years old when this happened. This was later in your life because a lot of people say, oh, well, of course she lost £40 because she was 20 something years old. And that's when it's easy to lose this weight. You're a wee bit older than that, right?

[00:20:59.860] – Gillian

I was a lot older than that. It was well past I'd been retired from medicine for, gosh, I can't even remember how many years. Probably about ten years at the time. So I was certainly not the I was I was in the age category where it it's almost inevitable if you don't watch it, that you will massively gain weight.

[00:21:24.730] – Allan

Right. The reason I wanted to bring that up is I've had a lot of people say, well, it's impossible to lose weight. It's impossible for a woman after the age of 50 to lose weight. And proof positive, no, it's not. You just have to do the right things for yourself.

[00:21:39.970] – Gillian

Well, I described very clearly how, when I was recovering from the surgery, and I realized I had to lose weight. And I started initially, I had followed all the wrong nutritional information, which professionally and intellectually I knew was wrong, but the recommendations were so pervasive. Eat three meals a day and keep your blood sugar level. My first step was to realize that essentially what I had to do was cut out carbs. And I went on I would call a low carb diet almost keto, but not keto. And immediately the effects that I saw from that was my mood was improved. I didn't have that hangry sort of anger, hunger sensation. Around about 10:00 in the morning, I sort of describe how I was working at one stage when I was trying to lose weight, and I had these amazing muffins that I made, which were brand muffins packed with delicious dried fruits, apricots and everything, and that was my breakfast. So I would head off to before work, I would head off to the exercise class, come back and my breakfast would be this muffin, some yogurt. And by 10:00, I was so hungry again that I sort of make the comment that anybody who sort of dared walk into my office was in danger of being cannibalized because I was so hungry.

[00:23:21.610] – Gillian

And that was the rebound from high carb. Insulin goes up and boom, you crash a little later. But as soon as I started on the low carb diet, basically cutting out potatoes, pizza, rice, anything like that, I found that the first thing that happened was brain fog completely disappeared. I lost all of that hunger and that anger. I just wasn't hungry. And my energy level increased and the weight just started coming off. And then ultimately, I had to go completely keto. And that was when I lost the remaining, I guess, 10 lbs that I wanted to lose in a very short time. And quite honestly, I've adhered to a ketogenic diet, I don't want to call it a diet ketogenic lifestyle ever since, basically eating whole foods, a lot of protein, no carbs other than those that come from certain vegetables and the occasional berries and healthy fats. So I eat all the foods that I love and feel great.

[00:24:37.690] – Allan

Great. Now, your mother had a bout with skin cancer and we really haven't I really haven't talked about skin cancer, but for those of us that were sun lovers when we were younger because it made our young bodies look at least we thought makes our young bodies look nicer, having a nice tan. Many of us are starting to see some of the ramifications of that, be it the age spots, but then of course, every once in a while these things that come up and we have to go see a dermatologist. Your mother had one of those episodes and so as a result you made some changes to the way you care for your skin. Could you tell us about that?

[00:25:20.580] – Gillian

Yes, well, my mom was sort of blonde, blue eyed, and we all grew up in South Africa and I spent a lot of time on the beach slathered with oil, really getting tanned and as you say, brown and feeling it was really cool and sexy. And then we had moved to Canada by the time this episode happened with my mum and she basically said to me jill, there's a funny little sore on my leg and I'm not sure what it is and I didn't know what it is, I'm not a dermatologist. But I thought this is not you're.

[00:26:02.800] – Allan

The doctor in the family, come look at it.

[00:26:05.190] – Gillian

Right. I was an intellectual doctor, all about biochemistry and metabolism. Anyway, it turned out that she had a melanoma and fortunately we got it early, it was removed. But again, my concern because of all these sort of early exposure to sunlight, obviously I am at risk and I've tried to tell my kids to be careful. And there is a dermatologist here who came up with a really interesting slogan and it's on your birthday, check out your birthday suit. To remind people, particularly people who are what we call Fitzpatrick groups, sort of one and two, the blonde, blue, wide, red haired groups of people. But I want to make one interesting point about that. So we haven't really discussed the fact that there is an epigenetic supplement which resets something like 1200 genes throughout your body. And when this particular supplement was introduced, one of the studies that was carried out was a study of 40 people who were in this Fitzpatrick group, one and two, and basically they were looking to see if it could in any way protect against sun damage. And so they basically, on an unexposed part of the body, did three sort of focal areas where they put really small doses, focal doses of UV light in increasing doses and in the one where there was the highest dose, did a little skin biopsy and looked to see count the number of damaged cells.

[00:28:09.170] – Gillian

And then for eight weeks, these 40 people took this one particular supplement that has things like the carotenoids, which like lutein that actually protect against blue light. And at the end of the eight weeks, they repeated the experiment and they found that there was a diminution of the area that looked burnt, the reddish area. But the key thing that was a total surprise and really significant was the fact that in the first biopsy compared to the second biopsy, the number of dead cells were double. So after eight weeks of this particular protection through these carotenoid supplements, the number of dead cells or damaged cells was almost half. So that was really interesting because it was showing that something that one was taking internally had a protective effect on the cells. And I found that really fascinating. So I've been very meticulous about keeping up that particular supplement and touchwood. So far, I'm well older than the age at which my mom's Melanoma was discovered, and so far my skin looks great. So Prevention obviously don't get these huge sunburns. There's recommendations about sun screens. You've got to be really careful because some of them have some toxic ingredients.

[00:29:51.780] – Gillian

They have to be really selective about what you use. And I also think we need sun exposure for vitamin D. I'm not a dermatologist. I'm not practicing medicine. I don't treat or prescribe or anything. I have retired. But I think that that's something preventative things that people should consider.

[00:30:17.910] – Allan

Okay, now I want to spring back a little bit. You were talking about your back surgery, and for a lot of folks, we're going to have an injury. I think your injury you kind of traced back to probably when you were way younger, and then this was just something that progressed from that. That's what I sort of read into the book. I'm not absolutely certain that was the history there, but you always had some aches and pains in your back, but then you had basically a medical emergency, and that's when you had your surgery. Can you talk a little bit about that? And then what's more important, I think, here is to actually talk about your approach towards recovery, because you did a lot of things that I think are very different from the way a lot of people would approach recovery.

[00:31:05.420] – Gillian

Right. I think the first thing is, although I kind of attributed the spinal stenosis to the early back injury that I had when I fell off a horse, I think, in reality, so many people, as a result of osteoarthritis, which is one of the things that sort of happens in the spine, as in all other joints, many people end up with spinal stenosis and severe sciatica. In fact, in the last couple of years, one of my clients and one of my family members has needed to have the exact same surgery for spinal stenosis. So it's far more common whether or not you've fallen off a horse at 17. So for me, I think the key to recovery was mindset because I was bounded and determined that I would not have to give up my ballroom dancing, which was my hobby and passion and my fitness activity. And so I had this surgery in February and to my absolute amazement, it was like a seven hour surgery. I've got metal rods all the way down the right side of my spine still in place. And no, they don't set off anything at airports. But the interesting thing about that was the next morning when I woke up after the seven hour surgery, a physiotherapist came in and said to me, how's the pain?

[00:32:54.200] – Gillian

Do you have any pain? And I thought that was absolutely hilarious because it was the first time in forever that I had absolutely no back pain because I was so doped up on all the intravenous painkillers and things. Anyway, so she says to me, you're going to get out of bed and walk? And I'm thinking, wow, I've just had major spinal surgery. But she got me out of bed and we took the first sort of tentative walks around the ward. So that seemed to me something really important. You don't have to go and sit around and lie around waiting to heal. The most important healing thing is going to be activity. And so when I was discharged after two days from the hospital, having expected to be in there for at least a week to recover, I was really fortunate in that one of my sons had come to be with me for the recovery period. And he said to me, mom, you want to get back on the dance floor? We are going to work at it. And so we started a program of I would go down in the elevator. We have a lovely SeaWalk around the False creek where I live.

[00:34:13.650] – Gillian

And we started off doing 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the afternoon and then increasing it gradually so that by the time he left, I was walking very tentatively and very terrified. But walking for I think it was about 20 minutes either way. And then gradually I increased that. I also was very fortunate in that the physiotherapist had recommended a particular type of rehabilitation walking pole, which was actually invented by a local occupational therapist and she's now built this up into a significant program for aiding in rehabilitation. So with the walking poles, I was able to safely and comfortably go out walking by myself. And gradually, basically, my mindset said, I want to be back dancing. And I think it was by 16 weeks I saw the spinal surgeon and he was amazed at the progress and sort of said, yes, everything is in place, kind of go away, I don't need to see you again. So I think the essence of that was I was at a point in a journey I knew where. I wanted to go, I knew where I was. And so it was really the mindset and the determination of how I could get from point A to point B safely.

[00:35:52.530] – Gillian

One of the other aspects to that is I worked out with a trainer. And for me, the most valuable aspect of that was not that he was saying one more, one more, one more kind of thing, but that he helped me understand that I didn't have to be afraid that what I was doing was going to re injure myself. So again, mindset, having a coach is absolutely critical.

[00:36:24.090] – Allan

What I took away from that was that you put a team together and you had your mission, your passion, you knew where you were going and you got a team together. So you had your physio, you had your trainer, you had your doctor, and you were listening to them and doing the right things for yourself to get yourself where you are. And as a result, you're dancing again.

[00:36:46.290] – Gillian

Right. And I had a dance teacher.

[00:36:49.350] – Allan

And you had a dance teacher. Exactly. Cool.

[00:36:53.010] – Allan

Gill, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:37:01.930] – Gillian

Well, basically, I sort of encompass all of that in what I call, similarly to you, my roadmap for aging youthfully. And the components for me are sort of mind, body, and for one of the better words, spirit. So from the mind perspective, you need to know where you are and where you want to go. And so initially I get people to really understand what their risks are. What is their genetic blueprint that they've inherited, what among those things are foundational that they can actually change? I mean, none of us can predict being knocked over by a car or developing a particular cancer, but there are a lot of things that we can change through lifestyle. The second important component is body. And you've already mentioned the three things that people need to really consider. Sleep is absolutely essential. Eating well is absolutely essential. And the last thing is keeping mentally and physically active all of the time. The third component is what I call spirit is the recognition that you are actually part of many larger things. So you can make your contribution by being of service to others. You can challenge yourself, you can become part of a community.

[00:38:43.750] – Gillian

So those are sort of the three ways in which I phrase the way in which one can live youthfully and age well. The one thing that with my particular group of people, don't really have a chance to talk about because usually by the time they come to me, they're my age kind of thing. But I realize that most of the problems that present in later life we know have their genesis much earlier, as you say, 40 plus. So one of the things is I didn't really take notice of the fact that how I was basically accumulating body fat bit by bit by bit so that you're not suddenly one day obese, but you're sort of getting there. So really paying attention to nutrition early, early on. The second thing is, we know that osteoporosis, osteopenia and muscle problems, sarcopenia all start early. And had I thought about it, I felt healthy and I was active, I was exercising. I never ever for a minute thought about making sure that my calcium and phosphate are adequate when I was in my 40s and preventing osteoporosis. So those are the kinds of things that I think we all know prevent cancer, don't smoke, don't drink, kind of thing.

[00:40:35.450] – Gillian

I would say don't skydive. But there are preventative things that should become part of our life that we really never talk about until it's kind of too late. That's why I love your whole concept of 40 plus, because that's when it all starts.

[00:40:59.810] – Allan

Yeah, well, I'm going to argue with you there and say it's never too late. Start today. It's never too late. Start today. I don't care if you're in your 40s your 50s your 60s your 70s your 80s your 90s, if you got another breath in you, you can eat the right food, you can move the right way, you can start doing things to improve your health, improve your fitness, and be happier.

[00:41:25.930] – Gillian

But I think the key to all of that is mindset. You have to know what you want and it has to be important enough to you for you to make changes. So most of the when I talk to people about what is their current fear, what is their long term fear, most of them say they want to be able to be mentally and physically active and independent toward the end of life so that they don't have their family and friends worrying about them. They don't have to go into a home. And so it's a decision that, that is important to you, that will make you do things like look at your nutrition, make sure you have adequate sleep, and that you keep active. Because one of the complaints that I get from a lot of people is I can't fast, I would be hungry all the time, I can't give up my sugar. Which tells me that they haven't made the decision to achieve what they say they want to. So I believe it all starts up here with your CEO.

[00:42:46.190] – Allan

I agree. Jill, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Growing Older, Living Younger, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:42:56.570] – Gillian

Well, to get the book, which is a paperback book at gillianlockitch.com, so just gillianlockitch.com, that is for me to be able to send books directly to people who are anywhere in North America. So the USA or Canada, anybody else at this stage would have to get the digital Kindle edition, which is online.

[00:43:32.690] – Allan

All right, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/588 and I'll be sure to have the links there.

[00:43:40.340] – Gillian

If anybody would like more information from me, I'll just give you my email. It's askdrgill@gmail.com, askdrgill@gmail.com and I will answer you, it may not be immediately because I get a lot of emails, but that's where you can contact me and find out what information there is about my programs, et cetera.

[00:44:09.070] – Allan

Gill, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:44:13.330] – Gillian

I'm honored actually, Allan, that you invited me and it's been delightful talking to you. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:44:30.230] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:44:30.950] – Rachel

hey Allan, that was a really neat discussion. There's so many things I want to ask you about, but you started talking about how genes are like dimmer switches, but I don't think you went fully into the concept of why a gene is like a dimmer switch that you can raise or lower or whatever.

[00:44:50.060] – Allan

Well, if you remember we had Dr. Hood on and he was the one, he's one of the guys, he developed the equipment that they used to sequence the human genome. And prior to all that, there was a strong belief that once we knew the human genome, we would defeat disease entirely because we would know which genes are causing which diseases and as a result we would figure out who was going to get sick long before they ever got sick. Well, it's a lot more complex than that. And so what it is, is they came up with they realized, okay, it's how the genes are expressed. And so initially they thought they were like on off switches. And so if you're really old school and you owned a computer back in the 80s, they used to have dip switches, which are these little on and off switches. And so, depending on how you wanted to run your computer, like if you were going to be doing video games or something that was high in certain video stuff on your screen, high resolution stuff, you had to do the dip switches a certain way, and then it would work better for that.

[00:45:57.090] – Allan

And then you could change it up if you were going to use it for something else. So basically these dip switches helped you kind of manage the computer. Now that's all automated, it does it itself, but the reality of it is that's not how epigenetics works either. It's not an on or off thing, it's a dimmer switch. So it's not zeros and ones like binary. It can be anywhere along that spectrum just based on exposures, based on all kinds of things that are going on in the world. So if you're doing the right things, the five core things, you're exercising, you're eating well, you're sleeping well, you're managing stress, and you're basically being social and enjoying your life, having purpose and people and all those things. If you're doing those five things, you're communicating to your body through epigenetics that you're okay. And then your body functions the way it's supposed to. So to kind of give you an idea. Okay, so someone who smokes all the time yeah, they're putting stuff in their lungs and they're messing up their epithelial cells throughout their blood vessels and everything, but they increase their chances of cancer, particularly lung cancer, esophageal cancer, heart attack and stroke.

[00:47:17.770] – Allan

And it's because they're basically that epigenetics. They have the genes that can allow them to get those cancers. And then they're feeding it. They're basically dimming that switch and saying, no, I don't want you to do your job, buddy. Because if you're over 50, you have cancer cells in your body. You just do. Our cells, particularly as we get a little older, they're going to mutate, they're going to have some problems. So a mutated cell is a cancerous cell. Now, 99.99% of the time your body sees that and you have an immune response and it kills that cell before it can become something worse. But if we're not living right, if we're not doing the right lifestyle things, then we're turning off our ability to heal, our ability to fight that. And that's how this stuff happens, is literally, if you're smoking, if you're doing these other things, you're literally communicating to your body, don't worry about that cancer. We got other things to worry about. Your body doesn't. If you're not eating enough food. So someone who's trying to lose weight and is on this extreme 1200, 1000 calorie or less diet, you're basically telling your body, turn off nonessential functions, which your body assumes the immune system is a nonessential function because it's not something that we used to have to have turned on all the time.

[00:48:45.980] – Allan

You get a little cut. You want your immune system to work. You eat something you're not supposed to eat, your immune system starts to work. But in today's age, when we're eating non food stuff, when we're smoking, when we're doing drinking, when we're not exercising, when we're not getting sun, when we're not doing the things that are necessary, our body shuts off functions and it just doesn't work. And so a lot of the things that she's talking about in here, they were from South Africa, I think, initially. So when you're from the southern hemisphere and you have white skin predominantly, that sun exposure is pretty intense. Apparently the ozone layer is thinner there. And so it just kind of creates an environment where extreme sunburns can happen. And so she was always in the sun wanting to get the tan, wanting to look a certain way when she was younger, which is, again, why she would have such a big concern. Her mother got skin cancer and she wants to do the things that are necessary to make sure her body is able to protect itself. So that's eating certain things. She is taking a certain supplement that the preliminary science on.

[00:50:00.290] – Allan

It says that this would help from an epigenetic perspective. And she wears sunscreen and she doesn't get let herself get burned anymore. So there's things that you can do to reduce risk, particularly if you know when you're at risk. And so we had Dr. Hood on and they strongly believe that within a short amount of time here, we're going to have kind of a huge blueprint at a single person level to be able to catch these things early. And early detection is a key to not letting it get to a really bad disease state. Now he's not talking about you go in for your annual look at your skin birthday suit event and you see something unusual, so you go see a dermatologist. He's talking about catching it before that even happens. Because if we know that you're someone who's predisposed for skin cancer and your history was you got burned several times, extremely badly when you were younger, we just know that you have a higher likelihood. So they can be scanning you for the very first indications of that cell, a mutated cell that has the potential to become skin cancer and can begin doing things then.

[00:51:21.180] – Allan

So it's not like they have to cut a chunk out of you to solve this problem. They can literally do it before it's even that.

[00:51:28.730] – Rachel

Yeah, there's a lot of good science being done right now in terms of melanomas. Even just on the news this week they talked about a custom vaccine where they do a biopsy of these cells and make it into an mRNA vaccine just like what we had recently. And that combined with another immunotherapy product has shown to reduce reoccurrence by, I think in the 40s 40% or so and catastrophic reoccurrences at that. So there's a lot of good science. That's an important one. Skin cancer is something that's really easy to be screened for and pay attention to.

[00:52:09.500] – Allan

Yeah. If you have an unusual mole and it's changing sizes or it's multiple different colors, then that's worth having a conversation with your doctor. That's one of the advantages that all this stuff is going to have is just recognizing that that data and how you manage yourself are all going to be a part of this whole formula. And that's really where she comes off. Is she's like one of the living examples of someone who got to retirement age and realized that her life is probably not over yet. There's things she wants to do. She wants to go dance. And that requires a lot of stamina and strength and capacity and mobility and balance. And so she wanted to do that. And she doesn't just do it like going to the rec center in her town. She goes and gets on a cruise somewhere around the world and then they dance. They dance at night, I guess, when the boat is going where it's supposed to go. So instead of sitting in a casino or whatever else people do on cruises besides she's dancing. And so that was one of her things, and she and her husband had a bucket list, but unfortunately, he passed before she did, before even her retirement.

[00:53:30.440] – Allan

And so all the things that they had planned to do together, she still wants to do. She's going to still do those things. And that's really what this book is about, is someone claiming control of themselves, claiming control of their lives. Using what we know today with science and everything and doing it, she's able to do all the things she wants to do. And I would dare say there's quite a few people out there her age that would never be able to do that because they're just not doing the work. They're not doing the thing, they're not eating the right way, they're not moving the right way, and therefore their retirement is not nearly as nice as what she's able to experience.

[00:54:13.550] – Rachel

Well, I'm glad that she figured out that she had goals, and in order to reach those goals, she needed to make some changes. And it sounds like she'll have a wonderful retirement.

[00:54:23.510] – Allan

Looks like it. Although she already has enough, because it's the same with me. I probably technically could have just retired, get a little bitty place and just retire, but that's not my nature to do that at the 50s. So I'm still working. Tammy's still working. And the same thing here with Gill is she ended up still working, still doing things. She's got her own podcast, which I'm going to be a guest on.

[00:54:50.000] – Rachel


[00:54:50.330] – Allan

I interviewed on her podcast. I don't know when that's going to air, but again, it's one of those things. And so it's just yeah, she's just doing this stuff and keeping herself busy. And basically any money she makes from her new career, which is basically her third career, is going into her buying these cruises.

[00:55:12.770] – Rachel

That's awesome. I find the people that I've known recently to retire, speaking of my parents and some of their friends, they don't sit still. Who can sit still? When you think of retirement, you don't think of just sitting in the lounge chair watching TV all day long. At least my parents and my friends of our family, they don't they stay busy. They got things they need to do, and it's pretty exciting.

[00:55:37.870] – Allan

It is. But you're making that decision today.

[00:55:40.460] – Rachel


[00:55:41.950] – Allan

You're making that decision today. We're going to have Tomas Hine on soon.

[00:55:47.980] – Rachel


[00:55:48.860] – Allan

Or no, he was already on last week, I think. Yeah, last week. Basically, he's a financial planner, but he looks at his clients and says, if you follow what you're doing right now and you're obese in your 50s or overweight in your 50s then you're going to carry that till retirement, you're probably not going to have a long retirement. So having seven figures in your bank account on the retirement date, that's all admirable, but you may not get to spend any of it because he's had clients that passed even before they retired. They work work. They're 60 years old, they have a heart attack, and they're done. And so we're making those decisions every day, and it's our epigenetics in our bodies that's actually making that happen. That's the communication to our genes of how to express themselves. And so the more you do that's good for yourself, the better off your genes are going to be at taking care of you.

[00:56:51.250] – Rachel

Right. And the more you'll enjoy your retirement.

[00:56:55.190] – Allan

There you go. All right, well, Ras, I will talk to you next week.

[00:57:00.570] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:57:02.010] – Allan

You too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb– Leigh Tanner
– Eric More– Margaret Bakalian

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to live to enjoy your retirement nest egg with Thomas Hine

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Most of us work and save our whole lives to have a comfortable retirement. In his book, The Balanced Wealth Approach, Thomas Hine teaches us how to have the health and fitness to truly enjoy that retirement. On episode 587 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how to put your health plan together.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:40.370] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:42.180] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:44.550] – Allan

Well, it's been kind of a rough week. We had to say goodbye to angel. Her nerve issues in her back and then the hip dysplasia. She pretty much declined pretty quickly and was not able to walk on her own, couldn't stand up on her own. So we would stand her up and sometimes she could move around a little, but she was so hobbled, and you could just see it on her face how miserable she was about the fact that she couldn't get out and do things. And seeing Buster go off and run around and do his thing. And Mama's going to walk Buster, and Daddy's going to walk Angel. She wanted to be with them. That's what they did. They go for their walks together. And it just got to a point where she couldn't and she knew it. And she was starting to see you could see it on her face that she just was not where she needed to be. And laying around all day long, it was causing other health issues for her, so we had to help her pass on. First time I've ever had to dig a grave for a pet.

[00:03:45.630] – Rachel

Oh, wow.

[00:03:47.050] – Allan

Well, I can say it's a pretty good workout.

[00:03:49.380] – Rachel

I can imagine.

[00:03:50.450] – Allan

Especially when you have to dig through two and a half feet of clay. So I was a little sore for a couple of days after that. Not just sore outside, but sore all the way through. So it was a tough week, but we're recovering and mourning and moving on.

[00:04:11.720] – Rachel

I'm so sorry. So sorry for your loss. It is hard to lose a loved pet. Someone's been in your family for so long. I'm sure the house has been a little bit quiet this week without her there, and my heart goes out to you.

[00:04:27.430] – Allan

Well, Buster is making sure that we stay entertained.

[00:04:31.150] – Rachel


[00:04:32.790] – Allan

He's a good dog.

[00:04:34.200] – Rachel

Good. Well, I'm glad to hear that.

[00:04:36.350] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:04:37.840] – Rachel

Good. We have spring at least today. The weather has been great. And I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was tapering for my big race, which last week I ran my big race, and now I'm in a reverse taper. I'm just taking my time getting back to running, which is wonderful. Now that the weather is turning, it's really easy just to go out there on a beautiful day like today and just get a mile or two in. I'm just taking my time and enjoying the run and the weather until I feel strong enough to get a few extra miles in at a time.

[00:05:13.680] – Allan

Awesome. Well, congratulations on that run. I know you got a PR and all that. Now you got to do the recovery, right?

[00:05:21.000] – Rachel

That's right. Yeah. Taking my time.

[00:05:23.430] – Allan

All right, well, are you ready to talk to Tom Hine?

[00:05:27.390] – Rachel



[00:06:16.810] – Allan

Tom. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:19.710] – Tom

Thank you, Allan. Welcome. And I'm glad to be here with you and your audience.

[00:06:24.020] – Allan

The book is called The Balanced Wealth Approach: Secrets to Living Long and Living Rich. And I think I was growing up in college and everything. I went to college for accounting, became a CPA, worked in that. And it was always the thing of you don't want to outlive your money. Most of us today don't actually have that problem. We have the other problem of not living long enough to enjoy our money. And so that's kind of what this book talks about, is finding that balance of saying, okay, build wealth so that you have what you need when you're older, but at the same time build health so you're actually able to enjoy those years. It was always kind of, I guess, a trope, if you will, where people would live, they'd work to 65, they would retire and die at 67. And I think now with with longevity happening the way it is, better medical care to keep us alive, not necessarily keep us healthy, we're living longer. And again, from someone from the financial planning, you're basically probably telling your clients you can't expect to die at 67 like people did 40 years ago.

[00:07:30.370] – Allan

You've got to expect to live to 90 or 100, and you want your money to last that long, but you want to be able to enjoy those years as well.

[00:07:37.720] – Tom

Correct. Yeah, it's about values clarification. I like to say these markets will heal, recessions come and go, but when your money recovers, will you be there to enjoy it? And there's a big talk today, as you know, about lifespan versus health span, right? It's how long you live, but how long do you live healthy? And one of my messages to my clients and your audience is you really want your health span to equal your lifespan. Right? We don't want the last ten or 15 years to be hooked to tubes and running from doctor to doctor. Not to say that doctors don't help us, but like you've said, so many other podcasts, we want to be proactive. We want to be CEO of our own health so that we try to do the best we can before the doctors have to intervene with more severe measures. So, yeah, I'd love to have people balance it. And also, more importantly, if you look at longevity and what's going on today, I heard on one of your other podcasts about Alzheimer's is type three diabetes, right? We talked about the MCT oil. We know so many more things today than ten years ago that those of us can take advantage of or at least bounce those ideas off our physicians and medical people to say, is this something I should consider for my own longevity?

[00:08:53.930] – Allan

I was having a conversation with Ras, who is my co host, so we have some conversations around these. And when I said this next statement, I got a visceral response from her, which I think is actually brilliant. It's a seven figure portfolio. Doesn't really matter if you're six foot under but you said a little differently in the book. But it's that concept of, okay, you did this great thing, you built this great portfolio, there's your big chipstack, and then you're out of the game. And the concept I wanted to take out of that was, okay, if you were running a seven figure business, you would want to run it well, meaning that the business is operating well. It's a healthy balance sheet in addition to a healthy business. So your relationships with everything and everybody you work with. And so the concept you brought up in the book was being the CEO of your own health. Could you jump into that concept a little bit? Because I've talked about being an advocate before, but I think the way you put it was really on point.

[00:09:55.040] – Tom

Yeah, thank you, and I will. One of the famous quotes that jumps out to me from doing the research was, and you'll appreciate this is, a healthy man has a thousand dreams, but a sick man only has one. Right? So the idea is, while you're building this seven figure portfolio or business, we like to say and doctors have shared this with me there's what we call acceptable level of optimization. There's an acceptable level, and there's an optimized level. So if you think about it from a business standpoint, you could have the auditors look over your books and records and cash flow and say, hey, things are going well, but these are the things you want to do to optimize your company. Whether it's R and D tax credits from my end, it's helping clients save money, convert to a Roth IRA, whatever it is in the financial planning end, when you make that parallel to health and wellness about being CEO of your own health, it's don't just go once a year to your own primary care. That's a great starting point. But add those extra measures that you would learn from podcasters like yourself.

[00:10:56.560] – Tom

Be proactive. Why? Because we know that diet, sleep, exercise, and stress reduction, those are some of the key pillars that every doctor will tell you we have to manage better. And then you add into that, what are people doing on a daily basis? I wear my oura ring all the time. That's one of the things I talk about, actually. I'm actually wearing the whoops wrap, too. I'm trying to compare one versus the other because they have different metrics. And then in addition to that, what can you do with diet, sleep, exercise? We have a lot more control, as you know, Allan, over what we eat today, right. How we exercise. I just attended a great seminar on grounding and red light therapy and EMF. I mean, that's a whole another generation of research, but we know so much more how to take care of ourselves, and yet some of us get so busy, we actually don't tender the store. And so that's what I want to remind the listener, is you actually have a lot more control today over what you eat, how you sleep, how you track it. And then don't let yourself get so busy building that mega company that you neglect your own health and end up spending all that money to recuperate the very health that you were trying to preserve.

[00:12:06.770] – Allan

Yeah, you may not know a lot about my story, but I had made it up to C suite at 39 years old as a top auditor of the company, had all the trappings of success. I had the money, the stock options, the restricted stock, the 401k, all of it. And I'm going through this process of realizing I'm completely miserable and unhealthy. I spent eight years trying to find balance in all of this, and it finally came about when I was willing to do some of the things you talked about in the book, about your own story, about how I flipped it and said I've got to spend more time on my health. And so at that point, for me, it was diet and exercise. And then once I kind of got that built up, then it was okay. Next thing is sleep, and I kind of got that zeroed in. But I felt as long as I was the C suite executive of a large company, standard Porsche 500, I was never going to hit that fourth pillar of stress management. So by good fortune or bad fortune, however you want to look at it, I got laid off.

[00:13:18.660] – Tom


[00:13:19.500] – Allan

And I made the decision at that point to not go back into corporate because I said this fourth pillar of my health is more important than me adding more to my wealth. And so, in a sense, I did my scorecard and I began to weigh the health side a lot more than the wealth side.

[00:13:44.380] – Tom

And congratulations, Allan. You're exactly right. And the challenge we all have, I just had it happen to a client six months ago. They had saved up all their money without getting the details and doing a review and dies of a heart attack. And now the spouse has all this money and no one to enjoy with the grandkids. It's nice, but not her spouse. And so you're right. But here's the thing. It's often tough. As I said in the book, mine was in the go go 1980s when they told me to quit martial arts and burn the midnight oil. And I said, luckily for me, I can't do that. It would be against the grain and against my values clarification. But it took that moment for me to realize I had to go left or I had to go right. And like you, I said, I'm going to take the turn that enriches and nourishes me. Looking back, I never regret a day. In fact, many of my peers did work themselves, ultimately either to an early grave or more importantly, to unhappiness. And at the end, that wasn't the journey they would have wanted either.

[00:14:44.060] – Tom

So congratulations to you on that.

[00:14:45.920] – Allan

Well, it took me a couple more decades than it took you to draw that conclusion, but I did eventually get there. But you have a tool that you put in your book. It's called the balanced wealth scorecard. And I know you now use this with your clients that you're counseling or advising on their wealth strategies, but you're having this additional conversation with them of what else about your health? How are you going to live well and retire well? Can you talk about your balanced wealth scorecard? Not so much. I mean, we can talk about the financial side a little bit, just so they know what's in it. But obviously this is a health and fitness podcast, so I'm not going to give them financial advice on this show other than they might want to reach out to you if they've got some money they need to manage. But beyond that, can you talk about your balanced wealth scorecard and how that's used?

[00:15:42.260] – Tom

Yeah. Thank you, Alan. And it's a joy for me because the scorecard and first of all, my disclaimer, I always tell even my clients that know me, I say, I'm not a doctor. I play one on TV and they laugh. But nothing is proprietary. Nothing violates HIPAA. They're not sharing any medical information. The scorecard is subjective, so the input comes from the user or the client. What I like to do is ask them. There's four topics on finance, which we don't really have to get into in detail, but the other four are on health, right? Hence the term balance. What I asked them is, if you were looking back over three years from now, one year from now, five years, looking back, what would you like to achieve in that space that would put you further along the line of health and wellness? And a lot of times, the first thing is, nobody's ever asked me that from a financial planning end. But what I just got an email yesterday from a client out in the Midwest, which I love. This client said, I finally got why you kept asking me about an oura ring, which she finally ordered one.

[00:16:41.870] – Tom

She said, I understand now why I said, I don't get any benefit, but it may help you and your journey on tracking, exercise and sleep. So the scorecard is designed to have them input on a score of, let's say, zero to eight or twelve on a scale on where they feel they fall. Obviously, the lower numbers mean they've not spent much time thinking about diet, sleep, exercise. The higher numbers mean, yeah, I've spent some time, but I haven't systematized it. And you and I know, based on all your great work, too, on podcast, once you create a system, it's easier to follow it, and then you can always insert something new. And so typically about twice a year, at the end of a regular review of their portfolio or their tax situation, I'll say, let's take out that scorecard. And what would you I asked them, what would you like to talk about next? One client recently got rated on his life insurance because his A1C is too high. So I said, okay. Great. What's your primary care telling you? And then what are his next steps? So that he knows, as a reminder, I'm there to coach him on, to encourage him on that step if he wants to share that.

[00:17:48.230] – Tom

So we typically use it as an accountability partner. And then for those people, Allan, that really want to do a deep dive, obviously, I have doctors that I've worked with that I can always refer them to. There's no finders fees. They can go right to these doctors and inquire and like many of your great podcasts, these people are experts in a deep dive, whether it's Alzheimer's, brain research, Parkinson's, I mean, you name it, they've all done their homework and they've got peer reviewed work in that area. But that's if somebody needs to do a deep dive more than the traditional. So it's an accountability partner, we like to review it. And more importantly, I love it when the spouses or their partner weighs in, because I like it to be where it can be a couple's thing. And as you know, when couples are both on the same page, the goals, the odds of reaching a goal are multiplied when you've got someone there cheering you on. So that's a big part of it, too.

[00:18:42.260] – Allan

Yeah, well, beyond cheering you on, it's the whole concept of, okay, if this is a lady and her husband doesn't want to eat the foods that she's eating and she's trying to commit to increasing or improving herself in this area, she's going to need his support at some level. Otherwise it's going to be a struggle. And it's not that he has to eat the way that she's eating, but at least at that point, if he's on board to help her reach these goals and understands that these are important to her, which includes she has to communicate these things to him. If you're doing that, if you're doing that, if you're communicating this, look, I've done this scorecard, and these are the things that are now kind of my priorities. They're my values. They're what I want to be. You can take that scorecard to your doctor. You can take that scorecard to your spouse or significant other. You can even share that because most of us are in our 40s. Our kids are going to be old enough 40s and 50s. Our kids are going to be old enough to understand that we want to be healthy and be there for eventually their kids having those conversations,

[00:19:44.500] – Allan

This is a really good tool to say, okay, I want to be financially secure. I want to be healthy. And so these are my priorities going into this next quarter, next year, however we want to approach it. But that gives you a great tool. And you mentioned something else that I think is really important is I don't like to talk bad about doctors. So I'm not talking bad about doctors. Please don't hit me up and say you're not listening to your doctor. Well, look, there are doctors that are in the current process that follow standard of care. They know the basics. They had the education that was necessary for them to be a doctor and do what they do, which is great. There are other doctors and very smart people who are on the other side of this. And look at this more from a well care perspective and they've raised the bar well above the sick care that most of our doctors currently have to practice. There are people out there, there are these experts, if you will, in the way that you can deal with nutrition. There's experts in the way that you can deal with supplementation.

[00:20:50.580] – Allan

There are tests that you can do that only these doctors are going to do. Because your doctor isn't going to necessarily say, just because your A1C is high, we should do a genome test so we understand if there's some genetic predispositions for that, or whether this is just something that's based on the fact that you're eating McDonald's every day and should just cut it out. Your doctor is just going to say eat better. And that's about all they're going to say. And then you got to figure that out. And then again, I'm a nutrition coach, I'm a fitness coach. And so there's people like me. I know what an ETF is, I know what stock is, I know what bonds are, I know about what is it? Diversification. I even know a lot about cryptocurrency and all those other things. Now, a lot of people don't. So they come to someone like you who's an expert to get advice so that they can optimize, so that they can do better than they could do on their own. Can you talk about how someone should go about picking an expert, knowing it, finding an expert, picking an expert and then working with one?

[00:21:55.510] – Tom

Yeah. Thank you. And also I'll give the analogy, which you'll certainly appreciate, health and wellness, just as I say in the book, when you diversify your portfolio, stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, I also mentioned diversify your health care, right. If you've been a good saver, maybe you don't just have primary care. Maybe you have a massage therapist or I say a chiropractor approved by an orthopedic surgeon. Maybe you have these other people in the background because we know that there are many different experts that can weigh in and you don't have to have pay a king's ransom for all this. I mean, a lot of these great health practitioners aren't always at the very highest end, but they have really great knowledge. But to answer the question, we believe the basis of everything should be a financial plan, right? Just the way that Chatbot, GPT and OpenAI have taken the world by storm. A financial planning software that's robust, literally incorporates long term care, Social Security, Medicaid planning, estate planning, roth IRA conversion, all the things that are important. And I often tell clients, ten years ago the software wasn't that advanced or what they call in fintech.

[00:23:04.110] – Tom

Well, now we literally get updates from the companies every week on we've changed this module because Secure Act 2.0 was passed last December, right? Or we've changed it. So number one, the basis of everything should be a financial plan, number two, and that's easy to do. But the second thing is the plan should be reviewed a couple of times a year when life conditions change. And that's where we add that balanced wealth questionnaire at the end or what do they want to do on that. But the third thing to remember is along the way, the government is really forcing people through this Secure Act 2.0. They want people to take more money out and get taxed now because we know the government sadly, is broke, right, the deficits, and I'm not blaming one party over the other, they both contributed to it. So our government is going to be reaching into your pocket, Allan, and your listeners and my pocket. Not that we don't want to help the government to protect us and there's some good things the government can do, but there's also some inefficiencies, right? And I tell my clients, if you don't do the right tax and financial planning, you're volunteering to give more money to the government rather than doing the right amount for your fair share.

[00:24:12.240] – Tom

So financial plan, a review on top of that. And ultimately, even though people are in their 40s and 50s and relatively young, I still want them to get a Will durable power attorney. I've had too many stories and I know you probably have known people who died unexpectedly and all of a sudden their spouse or their kids are left with a situation where you got to go through probate, which is basically salt in the wound of that. So we believe that's part of a traditional financial plan as well.

[00:24:40.560] – Allan

Yeah, well, I live in Panama country on an island. So yeah, when people pass here, it's fun. It's fun. And so one of the things I wanted to bring up, because you are a financial planner and coach, but the health savings accounts, I think what a lot of people think is, well, this is when I go to my doctor and I have to pay the deductible, I can use that against my health savings account. If he gives me a prescription and I have to pay for part of that, that goes against that. Certain other things that I would buy for my health would be in that. But what about things like coaches and nutritionists and things like that? Those are included in that whole model as well, aren't they?

[00:25:25.540] – Tom

They are. And the key thing about it I'm glad you brought that up, a lot of people don't know they've got, I'll never say free money, but money set aside for coaches and people like that, absolutely, it's allowed. And I suspect even more. This is where people really want to get in the nitty gritty of their planning. If you're smart about your own 401k, and we can't get into details here, but what they call Roth conversions and all, you can generate tax free money and retirement that can also be used to pay for these services. So a lot of people, if you're listening and you're over the age of 60, you might think it's too late. No, it's not necessarily too late in your 40s and 50s and still adding the HSA accounts are absolutely one way to do it. To allocate to that. It's a smart move

[00:26:09.910] – Allan

because I had a client and she's like, I need you to do these jump through these little hoops for me, and I can claim this on my HSA. And I was like, cool. And it saves her some tax money, too.

[00:26:22.170] – Tom

Yeah. And I would also share Allan, although I'm not a tax expert, but this is something for your audience, because a lot of times a little bit of research goes a long way. One of the reasons why I enjoyed writing the book for my current and future clients is I am and my accountant blessed that I'm able to expense this healthcare R and D research, because it's not just about me, it is for the benefit of my current and future clients. So I cleared it with him before the book even got published, and he said, it's your line of business. So for your audience, if people love what you do and others, and you can make it part of your business and integrate it, then you have the ability to ethically and legally deduct these expenses as part of R and D and all, whether it's for you or your training clients or your coaching clients. That's certainly within the purview of what's allowable under the IRS law.

[00:27:11.610] – Allan

Tom, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:27:21.150] – Tom

So the three that I like to focus on, and the big one is sleep, right? There's no question every book's been written about it. There's some great ones about sleep. And again, whether you use your Apple Watch, I like to use the oura ring. I have no investments in these companies. I'm just sharing what works. But I love to be able to track the deep sleep, the REM sleep, your HRV, all these critical aspects of it. And if. You don't know all the details. There's plenty of websites. I know some of your podcasts have covered that. So number one, and I just listened to, by the way, a very well known military expert give a talk on another webinar and they asked him regarding all of the challenges in school violence and all that stuff like what's the one thing people can do to take advantage of being alert and responsive and healthy every day? And this is a military person. He said sleep. Sleep is the thing that people really need to focus on. So that thought that was fascinating coming from a lieutenant colonel. The second thing, clearly I would add, and I've done more of this work out in the last month, is this idea of circadian rhythm, sunlight, grounding.

[00:28:28.630] – Tom

The fact is, a lot of the way we evolved over 10,000 years and more was a lot of our artificial light. Today we're in buildings a lot. The research has clearly shown that if we get back to nature and where you are is a perfect place to get back to nature, right? And they said the blue zones, a lot of people in the blue zones around the world, guess what? Outside, near the beach, near the ocean, near the sand. So I think a second one is just be mindful of how many hours you spend indoors versus the natural sunlight and the circadian rhythm. I'm learning a lot more about that for me. So when I have my travels and I think the third thing is, for me, it's been again, I'm not a nutritious like you, but clearly the keto diet has been I didn't come into my program a lot of overweight. But I dropped a lot of weight doing the fasting and keto diet, and I realized I could live on a lot less calories and have the energy. The key thing is, as you know, is training your body to burn to that glucose before you get to the ketosis stage.

[00:29:30.960] – Tom

And a lot of people never can get over that hump because there's social challenges. I'm sure you know this, friends and family and people stop in and you're like you can't tell everyone that you're fasting all the time, right, because you got to eat meals. But I found that if you can work around that, those are the three things that have helped me now. A year from now, I may change them up a bit. But those are the three that I found that keep me on a mindset of health and wellness and more importantly, allow me to be CEO of my own health and not sit there and be frustrated by schedule changes, airline delays, or whatever's going on in the world.

[00:30:06.930] – Allan

Well, Tom, the book is called The Balanced Wealth Approach: Secrets to Living Long and Living Rich. If someone wanted to learn more about the book, more about you and what you're doing, where would you like for me to send them.

[00:30:19.100] – Tom

Thank you. Yeah, it's thebalancedwealthapproach.com. It's literally the title of the book.com. And they can learn about the book. There's a questionnaire, there a scorecard they can fill in, and then that can begin their journey, as we like to say, we can bring you to the door of health and wellness. We can open the door, but they have to walk through that door. And the great work that you've done, listen to people and the experts that you have on. And I'll continue to gather information from my clients because I think this is just the first inning of what's going to be a great long term run for all of us.

[00:30:53.730] – Allan

Great. Well, you can find that episode at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/587. Tom, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:31:03.870] – Tom

Thank you, Allan. And thank you very much for sharing some time with me. I enjoyed it immensely.

Post Show/Recap

[00:31:17.370] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:31:19.010] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This is a topic that we've talked about a little bit lately. It's so important to just like Tom said, be the CEO of your own health. I mean, when you prepare for retirement, there's more to retirement than just having enough money to live on. You need to have the health to take you through those retirement years.

[00:31:39.330] – Allan

Yeah, that whole live part.

[00:31:41.490] – Rachel

Yes. That's pretty key.

[00:31:46.450] – Allan

Yeah. I think a lot of people look at retirement and they're like, okay, did I save enough money to last? And how long am I going to be here? We started it years ago, probably most of us. Put a little bit away in your 401k, do a little bit here, do a little bit there. And then as you start getting into your forty s and fifty s, you really start thinking about socking away a little bit more, pushing up that amount so that you're kind of building this portfolio. But so few people think about their health and fitness in a similar light of, what am I investing today for my health and fitness? And it's time. It's effort and sometimes money when you need that assistance and accountability. And so few people are doing it, they're sort of just coasting along and it's like, ho hum. And it's sort of like, I guess I'm going to work for the rest of my life kind of mindset. But that won't be nearly as long as you think if you're not taking care of your health and fitness.

[00:32:48.560] – Rachel

Oh, that's so true. Just to play devil's advocate here, I can tell you that in my 20s, I was also focused on my career and didn't have to think too much about my health. In my 30s, when I was having kids and raising young children, my time and attention was focused on them, and my husband Mike was focused on his career. So it's like years tick by before we really even needed to think too hard about our health. And then before it's too late, you want to get into that. It's just important to maintain that focus. And it's better in your younger years. It's easier to start a running regimen or a weightlifting regimen or any sort of program when you're younger and healthier and you can bounce back faster.

[00:33:37.040] – Allan

It is easier to be fit and stay fit. So maintenance is an easier way than starting later in life. But the point being is you can. It's the whole point. They'll tell you it's like, don't think you've lost it. You can still be putting money away for your retirement now, whatever you can. And it's sort of the same thing with fitness. It's like what you can with what you have right now, because every little thing you do, every little investment chips away and puts a little bit in that bank to make you healthier and make you more fit. And so as you start looking at not just how you want to live that other part of your life, the second half or the rest of it, however you want to line that up, basically, what quality of life do you want to have? What do you want to do and enjoy? You know, I've talked about my grandfather, 80 years old, had to quit playing golf because he couldn't. And he kept living. He kept living, and he lost the most important thing in his life, which was golf, and he lost it, and he lived for another 15 years.

[00:34:45.610] – Allan

As you kind of look at this and say, I want the life and I want my retirement money to last as long as I live. But you should also want your health span to last as long as you live.

[00:34:57.920] – Rachel

Oh, gosh, yeah.

[00:34:59.220] – Allan

Because I can't even imagine sitting there and withering away.

[00:35:06.320] – Rachel

Oh, yeah.

[00:35:07.250] – Allan

As an older, frail person losing independence, looking at that jar of pickles I bought that I can't open and waiting for someone to come by and open it for me, not being able to take care of myself. I can't even imagine spending years, potentially years and years of my life in that state. But if you're not doing something today, you're setting yourself up for stuff just like that.

[00:35:35.040] – Rachel

Oh, for sure. It's so easy to get busy and focus on our careers. But what's going to happen when you don't work anymore, when you actually quit work to be retired, and you've got all this time on your hands, and what are you going to do?

[00:35:50.510] – Allan

We're going to go to the Mediterranean and do these hikes, and we're going to go to Machu Picchu and do that thing, and we're going to do all those things right, but then we're not doing anything now. So it's like you get to 65 and it's like, wow, I can't walk up the stairs without getting winded. There's no way. And then, yeah, you go on that cruise. But leaving the cruise ship. Someone's got to drive me to the top of the volcano because I can't walk there. So now it's not the same experience, it's not the same as what you thought. And it just becomes harder and harder because you're just not doing the things necessary to be ready for those. So if there's something about your retirement that excites you, start working on it right now. Yeah, it's the whole thing. It's like, yeah, I'd love to do these cruises and do this thing. Well, you got to save the money for it, right? Well, it's the same way you've got to build your stamina and your energy and your strength to be able to do those things and enjoy the life that you are meant to enjoy.

[00:36:49.760] – Allan

You worked hard, you worked hard your whole life to save for that retirement. And as you said, seven figure portfolio and you're 6ft under is not the plan. So you got to start doing things on both sides. But health and fitness is probably an area where many of us might have be falling short. We're probably saving plenty of money in our 40s and 50s because we know it's coming. We a little bit behind the curve on this stuff, but we're doing it. And this is the same way. Start investing the time and the effort and in some cases money to get where you want to be.

[00:37:24.880] – Rachel

Yeah, for sure. That sounds great.

[00:37:27.630] – Allan

All right, well, Ras, I will talk to you next week.

[00:37:31.410] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:37:32.950] – Allan

You too.

[00:37:33.880] – Rachel

Thank you.

Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb– Leigh Tanner
– Eric More– Margaret Bakalian

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How scientific wellness is changing medicine | Dr. Leroy Hood and Nathan Price

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Dr. Leroy Hood and Nathan Price believe we're at a watershed moment in medicine. After reading their book, The Age of Scientific Wellness: Why the Future of Medicine is Personalized, Predictive, Data-Rich, and in Your Hands and this interview, I'm inclined to agree with them.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:48.870] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are you?

[00:02:50.700] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:52.810] – Allan

I'm doing okay. Got some news. I've been really quiet about this over the last 20 plus weeks. In my meantime, when I'm not doing anything else

[00:03:06.090] – Rachel

when is that, by the way?

[00:03:08.910] – Allan

I set up to take the Precision nutrition level two on my way to being a Master Health coach. But I I passed my final last week for my level two.

[00:03:20.100] – Rachel


[00:03:21.160] – Allan

I basically been so I was for the last 21 weeks, I've been spending about 8 hours per week on this course. It's pretty intense. I would basically kind of put it up there and say I was taking multiple college courses at the same time to do this because it was pretty deep. I printed out their text just from the lectures. It was 180,000 words.

[00:03:48.490] – Rachel

My gosh.

[00:03:50.650] – Allan

Just to kind of give you an idea of how much content was in this. And then it was a final 100 multiple choice questions that you go through. So I passed that test, and by the time you're listening to this episode, I'll have my level two and be working towards my Master health coach with precision nutrition. So I'm pretty excited that that's over.

[00:04:15.410] – Rachel

Yeah. Wow. Well, that's fantastic. Congratulations. That's really huge.

[00:04:20.600] – Allan

Thank you. And it basically ups my game a lot, because from that coaching perspective, it kind of gives me the it's not so much the credentials, it's just the things I learned during that 20 weeks and how I can apply that for my clients and get them even better results. That's what I'm excited about. I know when I'm doing my coaching that I'm doing kind of that highest level of coaching that I can possibly do, because there's nothing harder. I mean, there's nothing higher, like getting to that point where it's okay, I'm the most credentialed I can be as a health coach, so health and fitness coach. So that's pretty exciting. Put all the tools in place for me.

[00:05:06.370] – Rachel

That's wonderful. Congratulations.

[00:05:08.550] – Allan

All right. How are things up there?

[00:05:10.370] – Rachel

Good. I mentioned last week that I was going to be running an ultra, and I did. It was 34 miles, and I had a great run. Earned first place in my age group. Set a two minute thank you. Got myself a two minute PR on this course. This is my fourth time running this course, and it was a great day with really terrible conditions. We got rained on at the beginning, and then it only got colder from there. You had snow in the afternoon, so it was kind of a muddy mess, but it was wonderful. Painful, but wonderful. It was a good run.

[00:05:49.870] – Allan

Yeah. You add the poor weather and the PR, that's pretty impressive. You you must have trained really hard for this one.

[00:06:00.070] – Rachel

You would think so, but not nearly as hard as when I trained to run this the first time. But it's been four or five years since my initial PR on this course, so it's not so much the training as the wisdom from the last few years. I really know what I'm doing, so I can persist through some uncomfortable conditions. And truthfully, this kind of gets me a little bit fired up for pushing my limits on a good weather day. I mean, if everything went better, then how much faster could I have been? There's just a lot of room there to ponder that, so I'm pretty excited about whatever might come next. I have no plans, but I am definitely thinking about something.

[00:06:48.660] – Allan

Good. I saw Mike had post a picture of your prep and then his prep. I think he had a PR too.

[00:06:58.600] – Rachel

Yeah, that was a good picture. Yeah. I've got a lot of gear to run 34 miles. I need quite a bit of food. And I had a couple of wardrobe changes because I knew that it was going to get rained on and they provide drop bags. So I had a change of clothes as needed on the course and everything. And Mike had all the celebratory beer ready, so his prep was a little different than mine.

[00:07:24.370] – Allan

Some of it was left when you got done.

[00:07:26.370] – Rachel

At least I got a beer out of it. Yeah.

[00:07:28.160] – Allan


[00:07:30.370] – Rachel

Well deserved.

[00:07:31.850] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to have this conversation with Dr. Hood and Dr. Price?

[00:07:37.860] – Rachel



[00:08:29.570] – Allan

Lee, Nathan. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:33.100] – Dr. Price

Thanks, Allan.

[00:08:33.740] – Dr. Hood

Great to be here.

[00:08:35.000] – Allan

Yeah. Your book is called The Age of Scientific Wellness. And as I was going through the book, I just had a whole lot of thoughts. And what I liked about it was I would be thinking something like, well, what about what about what? And then here you guys go and answer that question. So you answered a lot of my questions about health care and well care and kind of the direction some of this stuff is going or very much could go. And even though it sometimes has a feel of science fiction, I see enough around me otherwise to say that you guys are probably spot on. That change is coming fast, and it's going to be kind of interesting how the next, I would say one or two decades shapes up as far as how our visits to our doctors go and how we personally can step in and make some changes for ourselves. So I appreciate this book because it's a lot of food for thought and it covers a few things that I really want to get deeper on. But this is a really good book.

[00:09:42.170] – Dr. Hood

Thank you.

[00:09:44.570] – Allan

Now, in the book, you compared and contrasted health care, which is what we have pretty much today, which is get sick, have a symptom, go to the doctor, take a medication, usually for the symptom, not always for the cure, and then rest and repeat. Literally, we just keep going back and then for a lot of us over the age of 40, it's counting how many pills you have to take in a day. And then we sit down and start having those conversations. Well, I'm on seven, I'm on eight. My doctor changed this one and put me on these two, and this one gave me that, so I took that. And it just seems like a case of whack a mole, if you will, and you go into that and then the look forward of what we could have is what you call wellness care, which speaks to wellness, the transition, and then disease. Can you kind of talk through that and why that different paradigm can completely flip the way we look at medicine?

[00:10:52.990] – Dr. Hood

I think the fundamental idea is that health care in the future is going to be data driven. And the idea that we will follow each individual on a regular basis every three months or every six months, and we'll assess blood analytes and the gut microbiome and do digital health measurements. And these measurements will let us assess the three different features of health. So I see your health trajectory as made up of three components. So most of us start in wellness, whatever that means. Then often we will go through a transition to disease that will progress and then reverse itself and take us back to wellness. So the data driven transitions we can assess are wellness are the transitions and disease itself. And what's exciting about data driven approaches is they let us optimize health for each of those three phases. For wellness, typically, we would guess that ordinary person, even appearing well, would have maybe 30% of the potential wellness. And there are many actionable possibilities that come from data driven wellness that can further optimize that. And a very interesting question is it's up to you and how far are you going to go in being well?

[00:12:36.770] – Dr. Hood

The second point that's really fascinating is because we can detect in the blood transitions that occur years before you get the clinical disease, there is now the opportunity to think about reversing disease when it's simple at its earliest stage, so that you never get to the disease. And a really attractive idea of data driven wellness is we can deal with many, if not most, chronic diseases in this fashion. And then, of course, for disease itself, the enormous data density gives us fundamental new insights into how to deal with disease more effectively. And many people are doing that. But the whole idea is, in the future we will follow you, whether it be with fitbits and aura rings and things like that, and or with blood and your microbiome analyses. And they will give us the power to optimize your health.

[00:13:47.190] – Allan

So, Lee, on a simple basis, just to kind of walk us through this, can you go at a high level and say, okay, we know that there's a transition that occurs that puts us into diabetes. We've identified it now as prediabetes. But can you kind of talk through that line of how that would work for someone who's maybe going in that direction and how that transition would appear?

[00:14:09.320] – Dr. Hood

Nathan, do you want to take that one?

[00:14:11.390] – Dr. Price

Sure, I'd be happy to. One of the ways that diabetes is a great example because it's probably where we've worked this out the best just in medicine today, because there is at least a diagnosis that you can make or an evaluation of prediabetes and that relates to the ability for us to control insulin. So to look at controlling sugar via the secretion of insulin primarily. And so when you look at that, you can transition from waiting to some late stage disease and late stage diabetes care is pretty horrific, right? It's foot amputations. They're up like 40% in the United States over the last decade or something like that, which is just terrible. But if you're looking at prevention and earliest on, you can deploy new kinds of devices. So continuous glucose monitors, for example. You can wear a device on your arm, you can go in it's painless for a course of two weeks, and you can monitor how your body's response to sugar is being managed. You can get a sense for how good are you at that. You can actually look at exercises and changing your diet or even some supplements or drugs or different things like that that can have an effect on trying to blunt or get yourself to be better at controlling glucose.

[00:15:29.010] – Dr. Price

And as you improve that metabolic health, as you focus on wellness, that then reduces the likelihood that you would transition to diabetes. Now, if you want to broaden out from that and this is some of the things that we get into in the book. So we did a paper for the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences a few years ago, and we looked at the genetic risk for 54 different diseases and conditions. And what you find is that even if you look in asymptomatic people, you can identify differences that manifest themselves as a function of being at high or low risk for a disease decades before the disease manifests. And in many of these cases, they relate to mechanisms that are happening early in the process that might be reversible. Just to give one example, we looked in the blood of people and stratified them by risk for coronary artery disease. Turned out there was only one protein whose concentration of the blood was correlated with that strength of genetic risk. In this case, that was PCSK nine. Well antipcsk nine drugs are the biggest that's the biggest blockbuster drug in that space in the last decade.

[00:16:37.810] – Dr. Price

And you could see that, and it's the only signal when you look early. And traditionally in medical research, we're always looking late. And you have these hundreds of changes, maybe thousands of changes that you're trying to suss through to figure out what matters but you're seeing a very complex picture at the end when you look early and you have more of a movie where you're starting from wellness to the early transition. The number of signals is small and the interventions are easy. So going back to diabetes, late stage can be loss of pain sensitivity, and all the problems that come with that early is fixing your diet, eating more fiber, things that are very simple. And that's kind of the whole paradigm, which is to shift healthcare much more towards understanding these fundamental processes and how good we are at them, like the control of glucose. But it could be combating oxidative radicals. How good are you at how well is your DNA repair happening? Are your telomeres shortening faster than they should, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, aimed towards how do you live as long and healthy a life as possible?

[00:17:43.910] – Allan

Now, the term scientific wellness actually appeals to me a lot because we've seen a lot of things, I think, over the last few years and through nutrition my whole life. That really wasn't science. It was marketing, if you will. But that said, in looking at scientific wellness and you talked about data driven, which I think is important, there are three bits that you got into. One being the genome, which is just basically our genetic makeup. The phenome, which is the first time I've heard that term, actually. My spell check on my computer doesn't even know that word. I guess I'm not that dumb. And then digital measurements of health, which I think you brought up a little bit, was the fitbit or the continuous glucose monitor, those types of things. Can you go into those and how that data is going to because it sounds like a lot of data.

[00:18:45.910] – Dr. Hood

Sure, I can start on scientific wellness. The idea there is that humans are terribly complicated. And if you want to be able to assess that complexity, the best single approach is this belief that blood is a window into health and disease. Because blood bathes all your organs. They secrete molecules, be they proteins, or metabolites into the blood. And if you can learn to read the quantification of those analytes, you can assess the health of at least 25 different organs in the human being. So the idea then, with scientific wellness is we can look at proteins and we can look at metabolites that give us deep insights into how biological networks in different organs and for different physiologic functions actually operate in what state they're in. And we can begin in a scientific fashion to ask, are there ways that we can cure this kind of deficiency? And simple example of that was when I had my analytes analyzed. I found I was incredibly low on vitamin D. And vitamin D is really an essential vitamin for preventing diabetes and cancer and cardiovascular disease and aging, a whole variety of things. And what I was shocked at is when I used the normal doses on a regular basis of 1000 international units to bring me back to normal, it didn't phase my blood levels at all.

[00:20:45.620] – Dr. Hood

And it turned out that in addition to low vitamin D in the blood, I had two genetic variants that blocked the uptake of vitamin D. And the one effective way of getting around that was to use very large doses, 15,000 international units. And that brought me up to normal. And then I had to use more than normal to maintain that kind of level. And those are all beautiful examples of how we assess assay blood analytes and could change the dimension of wellness in a single individual. And in fact, in our initial studies for scientific wellness, we were able to correlate six different types of data and come up with 2500 correlations. And going to the literature with some of the correlations between those various combinations led to actionable possibilities that could be then given to individuals. And if they did them, they improve wellness in a voided disease. But the ability to quantitatively assess the blood and draw inferences about general functions and specific organ states, I think is a very important idea. Nathan, did you want to continue with the rest of the question?

[00:22:20.110] – Dr. Price

Sure. So there's many things that you can get into that I think really guide a person as they're trying to implement something like this in their life or have an impact. So one of the really interesting elements that came out of analyzing these data and it does bring together genetics and the blood measures was when we looked at people who were going through a program aimed at improving their wellness, this scientific wellness program that we were running as we did that, what we found was that you can take a genetic prediction, let's say, of something like LDL cholesterol in your blood. Right.

[00:22:54.730] – Dr. Price

Millions of people are on statins to control this. And so when we looked at that, it turned out that you could predict in advance who was able to lower, for example, their LDL cholesterol by lifestyle interventions. And the key variable turned out to be that if your genome predicted that you could be low but you were high. In other words, if there was a gap, you could change it. And if your genome predicted high and you were high, there wasn't a gap, you couldn't. Now, one of the things that's really fascinating is that if you think about medicine, and something as common as that is in our healthcare system today, essentially no doctor uses the genetic information about what the genes say about your level of LDL cholesterol. It's everyone is treated the same, and it turns out that their responses are totally different. That's also true for HDL cholesterol, so called good cholesterol you're trying to raise. It's true for things like hemoglobin, A1C, for the transition to diabetes, because there are genes that predict the residence time of red blood cells, for example. So the average is 120 days. But some people will be more at 110 or 130.

[00:24:05.460] – Dr. Price

Totally predictable by genetics. So the main diabetes marker is hemoglobin, A1C, which is a molecule that's circulating, and it accumulates these sugars, essentially, that go onto the edges. And the amount of time you have makes a difference in how long that accumulates. So based on different genetics, a person could have the same readout and be at high risk for transition to diabetes, and another person could have the same readout and be at relatively low risk for transition to diabetes. Totally predictable by genetics and so forth. So there's many, many things that you could get into.

[00:24:38.810] – Allan

Now, Lee, you came up with the concept of 4 P medicine. Could you walk us through that? Because I think this is where the rubber hits the road. This is where we actually start getting this stuff done.

[00:24:53.390] – Dr. Hood

I agree with you completely. Back in the early 2000s, when we were just starting the Institute for Systems Biology, and the mission of that institute was to take a systems or global holistic approach toward both wellness and toward disease. We also took a systems approach to thinking about health care in what are the most fundamental elements of health care we need that are absolutely necessary. And we came up with the four P's. So prediction, the ability to predict whether or not you might be susceptible to a disease, and if so, the second P was prevention. How can we deal with that disease and maybe deal with it before it ever manifests itself as a clinical entity? The third one was personalization because it was clear from day one that humans are a unit of biological organization and health had to be focused at individuals because different individuals differ in every way, and their genetic and their genetics, their behavior, their environment and so forth. So these first three PS, prediction, prevention and personalization, really are the scientific meat of what this data driven health care is all about. We think after the Air Veil program, where we, over a four year period, brought 5000 people to scientific wellness and accumulated data clouds, we think we understand very well how to approach the science end of things.

[00:26:48.500] – Dr. Hood

But the fourth P is participatory, and the question there is, how do you get the system to change? How do you persuade patients to actually have the initiative to participate in scientific wellness? How do you persuade physicians to take advantage of it? Many have skepticism about it, they don't see it as real science or I think others are actually intimidated by the fact, namely genetics, that it entails a lot of things they don't understand and they're very hesitant to get involved. How do we persuade the physicians, how do we persuade the healthcare leaders? How do we persuade pharma and the technology companies that this is going to be the future and get them to focus on wellness and prevention rather than just on disease by itself. How do we get those that are the FDA, that are Adjudicating drugs and all of these things? And how do we get the whole educational system? The training of MD's has to change in a really radical way. When I went to medical school many, many years ago, I was appalled later to learn I never had a course in genetics. Fortunately, I was an undergraduate at Caltech and I had a good background, but I never had a course on diet or the gut or any of these kinds of things, or I never had any kind of course that ever mentioned the word wellness.

[00:28:28.860] – Dr. Hood

And frankly, I think a lot of things I was taught then is what our students are getting taught today. And there is enormous resistance in the medical schools to say, well, we're all filled up. We have all these courses because we have all these requirements and we don't have time to think about anything new. So anyway, how do we get the senators, representatives, the executive to realize that if you spend money today on prevention and wellness, tomorrow you'll have enormous savings and strikingly increased quality of health care? So those are the challenges of the four P, science on the one hand, but sociology and economics and psychology and so forth, on the other hand. So how do you get a system that's embedded in paying doctors according to how many times they touch the patient to change to one that's value based, where the doctors get paid on how well they keep all of their patients? And these are the challenges that come with data driven health.

[00:29:49.950] – Allan

Well, kind of. One of the things I took away from it was this is proactive rather than reactive. This is an opportunity to get out in front of everything and just tap it out before it becomes a fire. There's a hot spot and just tap it out now. Don't let it become a wildfire later. And I think the last P is really the answer. And the thing is, we have to participate. We have to be our own advocates in the way that we're taking care of ourselves and the things we're doing. And I think as tools become available to the patient, then the patient is really the one that has the best opportunity to drive a lot of this because generation before mine would have gone and the doctor says, okay, we're going to have to amputate your foot. It's like, okay, which one? And then you weren't going to say no. You were going to say, can I get a second opinion? You weren't going to question it. It's like, well, the doctor said so, therefore we are. And it's the jump, how high kind of mindset. And now we are a lot more likely to question things and do that.

[00:31:06.540] – Allan

But it goes back to the doing because if your doctor does come to you and says, okay, look, you have these analytes and this biology, this genome that's going to basically says that if you don't do something you're going to get diabetes. And for most of us that that's happening to, we know someone in our family that went down that aging curve and it's not pretty.

[00:31:36.510] – Dr. Hood

No, the other thing I would say, I think a big part of fourth P is education and we have really focused on that in very important ways. One, Nathan and I with others have written a textbook on systems biology and systems medicine and it's an ideal textbook for medical students and graduate students of various kinds to take up. It's written for someone who doesn't understand all the intricacies of biology. A second thing we've done with an education group I started more than 20 years ago at ISB now is we've created from the systems biology text on the systems Medicine chapter, a 20 module course for high school students that gives them deep insight into systems medicine and P four, healthcare. And I'll argue that and we'll be starting to use that course this year and be able to distribute it to many schools. I'll argue that that course will train students who will know more than 95% of physicians about the future of medicine and really where it's going to go. A third thing that we've done is the book that we're here talking about. And a fourth thing is that I've persuaded an Italian film director to make a 90-minute documentary on wellness over the last 5000 years.

[00:33:18.030] – Dr. Hood

That in a general sense talk about how our perceptions of wellness has evolved and where we are today with data driven health and what it means for you and in an artistic fashion try to appeal to people to activate this fourth P. That is I will participate in this kind of process. So we have lots of things going on that I think will be important in the educational process. But diving in and getting done these transformations is what we're all about. And I'm doing it from an academic side and Nathan obviously is doing it from the side of a wonderful company that's trying to bring health and wellness and prevention to people in small bits and pieces, which is one very effective way of doing it.

[00:34:24.290] – Allan

I want to thank you guys as I was going through your stories and what you guys have done to date is exceptional. But when that video comes out, when that's a documentary, when they get that done and they're ready to publish, that get me back in the loop. I'd love to have everyone back on the podcast and we can talk about that documentary because I think that's going to be extremely valuable and I'd like to help spread the word.

[00:34:53.310] – Dr. Hood

Okay, we'll take advantage of it. Thank you very much.

[00:34:58.590] – Dr. Price

Yeah, maybe if I can just add a little bit on that participatory piece, then, because one of the things that I could imagine listeners may be thinking, or if you start to encounter scientific wellness, I think you can see a lot of promise in it. But there might be questions of how do I easily implement this right? How do I make that something that's real in my life, that affects my wellness, my health, all those kind of things? And I think that so much of the onus of dealing with complexity of the kind we're talking about, really has to fall on the side of those of us who are working on the algorithms, the products, so forth, to try to make this as simple as possible. And so that's one of the areas that I think we're really focused on, on trying to deliver that out to people. And so some of the elements can also just be very minor, practical. I'll just share one example. So microbiome testing, lee and I are both big believers in microbiome and its future, and it's turning out to be important for so many health issues that people are getting into.

[00:36:04.980] – Dr. Price

But the process of getting a sample, for example, is not typically the greatest, right? So listeners that aren't thinking, what do. You have to do?

[00:36:16.710] – Dr. Price

You get a bucket or a piece of paper, poop on the bucket,

[00:36:20.510] – Allan

plastic bag,

[00:36:21.890] – Dr. Price

take a little shovel. You got to dig it up. You got to put it in a little bile. You got to close it. Some of the tests require freezing. I don't know what you keep in your freezer, but I tend to keep food there, so it's not like the greatest spot, et cetera. So just to give an example, then. So that's an issue. So one of the things that we sat around and this was some work that we did at Thorne but basically to just say, well, what's the easiest way we could do a microbiome sample? Which led to the invention of something that we call the microbiome wipe, which is basically what it sounds like. It's basically toilet paper made out of a special polymer. So you wipe like normal. You throw it in a vial, you shake the vial, within 10 seconds, it dissolves away. So what that was was a way to get, like, the easiest way we could possibly think of to get a sample. Now, what that does is that lowers the barrier to people doing it. And we saw a big uptake. In fact, on another podcast, Sarah Godfrey was interviewed. She's a prominent physician and she's treating a bunch of NBA players.

[00:37:24.260] – Dr. Price

And she shared this anecdote that the NBA players would never do the microbiome samples for the reason we just talked about. Because it's gross, I guess. Or they didn't want to do it, but when switching to the wipe, they all did it and it was like, not a problem. So, anyway, not to get too bogged down by that, but ways that we can make the blood sampling easier so we can do this now, fairly painlessly at home. You can get your microbiome sample. You can wear a CGM, you can wear your wearables of all the various kinds you've got. There's so much of an ecosystem that's growing up around this where a person has to take ownership of their own health. But the number of companies and groups that are working to try to take so much of this science and make it available to people and give them things that are science backed and easily accessible is just growing immensely. So there's a whole enterprise on the discovery side that we're talking about. And also on the delivery side in.

[00:38:32.390] – Allan

The book you brought up Flexner's report, and this was a report basically on the medical system way back when. Nathan, what would your thoughts be of something like that actually happening today? That there be someone just sit down and say, okay, we're going to look at this holistically to make a change because I just see so much opportunity for pushback. And you even mentioned that in the book. Pharmaceutical companies are not going to want to make 24 different types of medication for an item when they know, okay, this is only going to work for one of 24 people, and each of those other 24 people are going to need a different medication. They'd rather just sell 24 and then have those people that it didn't work, switch to something else and work their way through it.

[00:39:19.010] – Dr. Hood

The simple extrapolation from that is just to say we have to fundamentally change how pharma discovers drugs and we have to do it at a different scale and with different selective processes that can generate drugs extremely rapidly and make it well within the cost structure of the rare disease genes, which is one in 200,000 people. We want to be able to treat them. So I think that's one really important thing that we have to think about.

[00:39:54.750] – Dr. Price

Yeah, and the point you bring up is really important because there are so many entrenched interests that are centered around our current healthcare system, which is totally focused on disease. And I was on a panel right before the pandemic with former chair of Harvard Medical School and I really like the way he said this and he said that healthcare is the only industry that does not study its own gold standard, which is wellness. And that's really what we're talking about. But because that has been set up the way that it is, you do, you have billions and well, it's healthcare, right? You have $4 trillion in the US alone set up around that kind of process. So trying to change it is an incredible enterprise and undertaking. So we have to do both. Try to advocate because as individuals, there's no doubt that a healthcare system centered on wellness is better. Like if anyone could make the trade off between a drug that slightly improves your decline during Alzheimer's versus never getting it as a person. Any of us would take never getting it right. I mean, the value prop there is incredibly simple, but getting there is very hard.

[00:41:11.100] – Dr. Price

So there are certain things you can do within the context of the certain system. Lee was alluding to this in terms of you can help drug companies have much higher hit rates on getting favorable drugs. One interesting thing that people are waking up to now is the microbiome metabolizes away about 13% of drugs. So you could be taking a drug and it's never even getting to you. Your microbiome changes, it eats it, and it doesn't get to you. And it depends on the kind of species you have in your microbiome. That's like one small example. There's all the others that we've gone through in genetics and so forth. So it does help the drug companies upstream if they have drugs that are failing for these unknown causes. You're exactly right on the market segmentation, which segments their market, so they're not financially incentivized towards that. And so we get into a number of these things in the book. But this was also partly the point of writing this book, honestly from Lee and my perspective, where we're trying to advocate for a lot of this change in how medicine is done. Part of that is that we have to create a movement of individuals, of the patients and individuals themselves that basically demand a health care system that does much better for them.

[00:42:31.360] – Dr. Price

And we're so much in the situation in healthcare of a very uneven power dynamic between, say, the physician and you as a patient, and there's an element of trust there, and there's an element that's happening. But it does put you in this situation of if you really want to take advantage of the revolutions that are happening right now in medical science, in delivery, in ways that we can optimize our health spans and all these things, you do have to be an active participant and sort of seek that out. And then as more and more people are seeking that out and demanding that, that changes the underlying economics, and then that is what will really drive the top, so to speak, of the medical hierarchy to have to pay attention to this. I don't think it's going to be a top down driven revolution. It really has to be bottom up. I don't see there's any other way.

[00:43:24.690] – Dr. Hood

You know, the other thing I'd add to this, Nathan, is another way of looking at it is data driven health really is going to achieve two things. One is enormous increase in quality of individual health care, and we need it as the top 20 developed nations, we're right near the bottom, even though we spend much more than anyone else. But the second really important point for converting the system to a health and prevention mantra is the idea that we can save the health care system enormous amounts of money. And I would say if you take the five major cost driving things that we have to deal with today, they are one, the quality of health care. Two, the aging population. Three, the explosion of chronic diseases for the inequity that arises from data being generated only in the Caucasian race for the most part so far. And then five, this impossibly escalating crease of cost. But on the quality, scientific wellness is going to be transformational. On the aging, we now have a metric for aging that not only tells you your biological age, the age your body says you are, its metrics actually tell you how you can optimize your aging process.

[00:45:02.930] – Dr. Hood

And more than that, the ability to prevent chronic diseases before they get started could be a transformational event in cutting down the frequency of those kind of things. And of course, with big new programs, we're going to balance up the equity equation, which is utterly critical because different races have really strikingly different genetic consequences for disease and so forth. And our feeling is, with these things together, you're talking about saving trillions of dollars, especially because chronic diseases alone cost 86% of our health care dollars. And suppose we cut to very small fractions of major chronic diseases and things like that. So that's going to appeal to the payers. And in many ways, the payers could really be the catalyst for driving a transformation from a sick health care to a wellness and prevention health care.

[00:46:08.310] – Allan

So a relatively small investment today is going to pay off big time for us in the future.

[00:46:13.380] – Dr. Hood

Big time for us. Absolutely.

[00:46:16.410] – Allan

Now, I have this question I ask all of my guests after reading your book. I'm so super excited to ask you gentlemen these questions because you've seen the data, you've seen more data than just about anybody else that I've ever asked this question. So, Lee, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:46:46.450] – Dr. Hood

Well, I would say that one strategy to go after wellness is scientific wellness. We now have what will be an exponentially increasing analysis of wellness trajectories and they'll lead to actionable possibilities. From the era Fail 5000, we had perhaps 200 actionable possibilities that we validated by taking correlations and going to the literature and verifying them with the data that we're proposing to do. We're putting forth the idea that we should do a million person project with a genome phenome analysis, and in a sense, it's a second genome project. Do it over ten years, we'd have all the validation we need for everything I said about quality improvement and decrease in cost and things like that. I'm arguing that we'll have tens of thousands of new actionable possibilities that will have to be delivered by AI to do two things to physicians. One, explain what it is and what's necessary. But two, give the validation in a simple way they can understand and of course they then can bring these things to their patients. I think a second thing that's absolutely key is aging is absolutely the strongest correlation with all chronic diseases. If we can cut down aging, we can cut down strikingly the transition to chronic diseases.

[00:48:30.170] – Dr. Hood

So, I mean, not only will you keep yourself younger and healthy, you can begin to imagine that many people could go into their 90s or hundreds and be mentally agile and physically active. And we'll have to redefine what retirement means. We'll have to redefine how many jobs you have during your lifetime and so forth. And of course, the data driven part will deal with the racial inequalities and data that exist out there. And the million person project could formally prove in very powerful ways literally trillions of dollars we could imagine saving in health care. I think scientific wellness, I think optimizing aging process. I think avoiding the chronic diseases and dealing with the racial diversity. Because to give you a simple example, japanese are three to four times as likely to get Alzheimer's if they have two copies of a bad gene called ApoA four than Caucasians do. If you look at Latinos, they have almost no probability of getting Alzheimer's from two bad copies of that gene. So that shows you the striking differences that we must take into account for health for individuals of different origins.

[00:50:07.170] – Allan

Nathan, I'll ask you the same question. I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:50:20.150] – Dr. Price

Yeah, so I'm just going to put aside at the moment like the three big obvious ones that we all know about physical exercise pretty much every day, sleep 8 hours every night and eat a nutritious diet. But then I want to give three that are more focused towards the kind of things we're talking about. So one is get a genetic profile so that you understand the probabilities of what are the most likely factors that might inhibit your health. The second is to measure the dynamics around especially blood and the microbiome that can be interpreted in the context of those genetics. And then by those comparisons, we've got to make this easier for people. But those comparisons make a huge difference in understanding where you're at relative to your potential and where you're at in the manifestation of the things that are likely to be the biggest problems for you. That gives you a personalized map for a return on your health effort investment, roughly. So where do you put your time and effort? That kind of a map lets you navigate around the most likely issues that would end in you're not having the long healthy life that you really want to.

[00:51:41.400] – Dr. Price

And then finally, I'm going to reiterate something that Lee talked about, which is do everything you can to reduce the pace of aging. And there's a lot of interest in this right now. And this involves both things like the various lifestyle things that we've talked about, but also there's a lot of interesting compounds that are available now that have the kind of evidence that they extend lifespan in a bunch of different animals. And we know they functionally hit very conserved pathways in humans. We're not far enough along to where we know for sure that this is going to have an impact on human longevity, but we won't know that until it's sort of too late to be useful for some of us because it just takes a while. But there are a lot of these that are coming out. And so if you look at all these different hallmarks of aging, if you want to try to control senescent cells, well, there's data that shows that quercetin and dosatinib can kill senescent cells. Like, that's an interesting one. NAD right. There's different molecules. NR disclosure Thorn sells that one, or NMN or things like this that you can use to try to increase NAD well, that's an important element of aging.

[00:52:57.670] – Dr. Price

Metformin is an interesting one because there's a big trial going on, the Tame trial nerve. Barcelona at New York is leading that to look at its effects on aging. So if I'm in this space, you want to keep yourself educated and look at the data as it emerges. But there are a lot of possibilities, including things like intermittent fasting and so forth, to think about how do I slow down that clock. And because of different biological age measures, and there are multiple of those, there's the epigenetic ages that are probably the most famous now. We do one based on clinical labs that I think just gives more actionable possibilities right now. But there's a lot of these abilities to monitor that and just track that over time and try to stay biologically as young as you can as that science is moving quickly, and it's not there to where we kind of where we would like to get to in a Sci-Fi type future. But you can do things that materially reduce your risk of dying. And that's the definition of aging that I'm using here, which is just what's the likelihood and give any given year that you will die.

[00:54:06.050] – Dr. Price

And that goes up as you get older. And so if you can just flatten that curve, it makes the likelihood of a long, healthy life much higher. And so those are the three things I'd focus on.

[00:54:17.170] – Allan

Well, gentlemen, I agree with your conclusion and your book The Age of Scientific Wellness that we're right on the cusp of something exceptional happening. You've convinced me. If someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book The Age of Scientific Wellness, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:54:39.610] – Dr. Price

Yeah, so for me, obviously, just pick up a copy of The Age of Scientific Wellness wherever you get books. In terms of my work on trying to drive product development to make scientific wellness accessible, thorne.com thorne.com is where you'd find that.

[00:54:59.150] – Dr. Hood

For me, I would just say that I think our book really is the best place to see what we've done in the last 15 years in terms of pushing this idea of scientific wellness and so forth. But I can be reached at lhood@phenomehealth.com.

[00:55:22.230] – Allan

Gentlemen, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:55:27.370] – Dr. Price

Thanks so much, Allan. Great to be here.

[00:55:28.990] – Dr. Hood

It was a pleasure. Enjoyed your questions.

Post Show/Recap

[00:55:33.850] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:55:35.490] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a great interview. And I probably could have listened for another 20 30 minutes. I love listening about genetics and the potential that it could deliver in our existing health care system. I actually prefer the word wellness care, like they had mentioned in the beginning. I mean, there's just so much potential for getting patients healthier earlier with a personalized insight into their genetics and other data.

[00:56:06.070] – Allan

Yeah, I actually had another question on the plan, but we've gone so far. It would have probably gone another 20 30 minutes if I'd ask my final question. So it was what it was. But, yeah, this was really interesting because the technology with AI and data and knowing the genome and all the other data points that we can collect now relatively inexpensively with a watch or a phone or ring, there's a ton of opportunity here for us to do something. And kind of what was really interesting we didn't go deep on this, but Flexner's report was back before there were really good medical schools, there were medical schools. And for the time they were what they were. He did a tour around the country looking at all of our medical schools, and he tore them a big one. He ripped them up in some bad situations. Like, he went into one and he asked to see their lab. See what lab? The lab. And the guy says, Well, I can bring it to you. And he carried in one piece of equipment. This is for a major medical school. Not like a no name medical school either.

[00:57:22.820] – Allan

Like one of the better ones. People thought it was the better one at the time, and they didn't have a medical lab, which means all of the doctors that they were graduating had no idea how these labs were run. They had no idea how to read the results because they had not been trained to do these things. So he wrote this report, and it changed the way medicine worked across the country and the way medical schools were set up. But like most things, you solve one problem, you kind of create another one. And so now we have standard of care and we have all these rules, and so our doctors have to follow these things. And it really kind of hand holds them to say they see a problem, the symptom solve the problem. The symptom it's the symptom based sick care. That's binary. Are you sick or are you well? And it never really looks at as a continuum to say you're well, but you're moving maybe towards getting sick. If we catch it early, we can reverse this. So it's the difference between catching it when it's stage one cancer or even before that.

[00:58:27.810] – Allan

I mean, once there's like, the environment for cancer to form and they know that's happening, reversing that environment versus catching it when it's stage three or four when symptoms finally start showing up.

[00:58:43.620] – Rachel

I love that concept. Early detection, especially in terms of cancer, is so important. Everybody knows that. But they also mentioned we know pre diabetes. That's the exact same thing. And we're trending towards pre not we, you and I, but people are trending towards pre diabetes. But what if we could even go earlier than that to make some other assessments of our blood sugar levels? And not even just diabetes. There's the cholesterol situation.

[00:59:15.800] – Allan

Well, I picked diabetes because it was the perfect example that everybody can understand. You go into your doctor and you're like, okay, you're watching your A1C tick up each time you get this blood test. And the doctor is like, don't worry about it. Don't worry. It's ticking up. Don't worry about it. Until it hits 5.2, we don't care. Well, the fact that it went from four six to five, you should care. Something's going on. Your blood sugar is not being cleared as effectively as it was before. Something's changing. That's that thing, that's that transition where your body is starting to get to a disease state.

[00:59:54.910] – Rachel

But I want to sit on that for a second because I think I only have I'm 51, and I think I only have two, maybe three years of an A1C, because I don't remember how early you can be for them to take that test or to test for that. What if I could have had it when I was 40? What if I could have had it when I was in my 30s? And it's not even that. It's the cholesterol numbers and iron numbers and my thyroid situation. And there's just so much information if I had known it earlier.

[01:00:27.280] – Allan

That's the cool thing, is that data and the ability to get those tests is becoming more and more available. And so someone in their 30s can have this test. If you have children in their 20s, you can say, hey, for Christmas or for your birthday, I'm going to pay for this blood panel. And they're like, oh, thanks.

[01:00:50.190] – Rachel


[01:00:51.710] – Allan

But the whole point is to say, yeah, I'm going to pay for this blood panel because I want you to have what you need to be next. I'm interviewing this guy now, and he's actually a financial planner, but he's looking at health and he's saying, a lot of my clients, they build up a seven figure portfolio, and then they drop dead before they even retire. He's like, so they care about the return on their investment every year. And so he's talking about in terms of what we talk about, generational wealth, how can I give this money to my children? Well, how can I give health to my children? How can I find health for myself and give health to others in my family, people I care about? And it's like, give them a blood panel. At least at that point they have data, and it's like, well, what does this data mean? Well, your A1C is already over five, and you're 31 years old or you're 40 years old. It's like, okay, we don't know what it was before, but that's a number to look out for and to tell your doctor the next time you see them, which should be soon, my A1C is already over five.

[01:01:53.940] – Allan

It's like, okay, you're approaching pre-diabetes. Don't worry about it. That's what the doctor is going to say, because the standard care says that's not a problem. It's not a problem until it gets over 5.6, then you're in pre-diabetes, and now we have a problem.

[01:02:08.650] – Rachel

That's the frustrating part, right? It is

[01:02:12.750] – Allan

but I don't think there's going to be a Flexner's report now, just based on the way culture of medicine is done, there won't be someone to step back and say, let's redo all this. What this has to happen. And the reason I kind of press down on the participatory part of the four P medicine is this is on you. This is on you to make decisions for yourself and to say, I would really like to know what my genome says. I would really like to know what my blood panel says and if my doctor is not asking for it. But I kind of know there's a family history of diabetes or I kind of know there's a family history of kidney problems or heart disease or this or that. Go get your calcium score. Go check out your cholesterol. Check out your blood pressure on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be perfect, but finding the data points that you think are important based on what you know about your family history. And unfortunately, I have a friend that was adopted. He didn't know any of that at the time, and so he went and got a genetic test and went on ancestry and things like that and found family has found his siblings and his mother.

[01:03:27.880] – Allan

And so not that that's what it's for, but I guess it is what it's for because that's what they're using it for. I have all these fourth cousins all over the world, everybody's my fourth cousin, I guess, thousands of them, hundreds, millions of them. But anyway, the point being is this data can be your friend, and there are some ethical concerns about how the data is going to be used by businesses and this and that. But right now I would just poo poo that. And I'd say, look, being afraid and cowering and not doing something for yourself just doesn't make sense in my mind. Take a moment. Get the data that you know might be important to you based on what you know. It doesn't have to be everything. You don't have to go do the genetics things if you don't want to, but at least go get a blood test, check your blood pressure, have a blood pressure monitor at home, almost nothing. A blood sugar monitor at home, almost nothing to invest in these little pieces of equipment. Test your blood sugar. If it's over 100 much after a meal, after you had some cake, it's going to go over 100.

[01:04:38.170] – Allan

But if it doesn't fall right back down, that's a warning flag. If your blood sugar, you wake up in the morning and you haven't had anything to eat and it's over 100, that's a problem. That's the transition to disease.

[01:04:51.910] – Rachel

Yeah. And it sure would be good to know that catching it early. I mean, we talked about early detection. The earlier you can figure this out, the better you can make the changes in your lifestyle to adapt or get earlier medical care, if that was really necessary.

[01:05:08.460] – Allan

And for some of these, we just know, okay, yes, if I exercised more, I am because I'm sedentary, or if I stop eating the crap and drinking the beer and doing all the things I'm doing, smoking or whatever else, you know, quitting, that is going to improve your blood panel. You just know it. So get the low hanging fruit out of the way. But then if you really want to start optimizing your health so you're here for your grandchildren and maybe your great grandchildren and you want to live the last half of your life well, then start working on making the easy changes, the ones you know about.

[01:05:48.740] – Rachel


[01:05:49.200] – Allan

Get the blood panels, get the data, and then really start working on refining this. And it's not that you're going to be running ultramarathons or working out 6 hours every day, but it's just knowing the little things that you can do that are going to improve your health outcome. And I'm not going to say it's not medicine because there are some medications like metformin that have shown real promise. Vitamin D supplementation. Again, like our guest said, sometimes just a little bit of a supplement isn't enough. But you don't know if you need vitamin D until you get a blood test and you check, you see your blood levels are low, your iron level is low, your vitamin D is low, then supplementation might be the right thing to do.

[01:06:34.030] – Rachel


[01:06:34.740] – Allan

And I mean, I'm not a doctor, so I can't tell you that it is the right thing to do. But I can say it might be. The right thing to do. Get the blood work to check, the blood work to check, and then talk to your doctor, and your doctor can say, yeah, supplement, and then we'll get it checked again in about three months. And then you might find, yeah, there's a reason why that supplement is not absorbing the way that it should. I need to maybe do more or look at this from a different perspective. And so having the data lets you make better decisions.

[01:07:04.480] – Rachel

It does. At the very end of your conversation, you talked about being more proactive than reactive. And if you can act early and faster to the results of your blood work, then it will save you a lot of time and money in the outcome. Later on in life, you don't have to sit and wait for heart disease or diabetes to come get you. You can be more proactive and make changes right now so that you don't have to get there.

[01:07:30.560] – Allan

And I would say every single one of us knows what that low hanging fruit is in front of us. Yeah, if you need help doing that, get help doing that for sure. Get the low hanging fruit out of the way. Movement, nutrition, it's not rocket science. It's simple, simple stuff that's hard to do. But once you start doing it, you feel better. Once you start feeling better, you have more energy. Everything feeds on itself. It's a self fulfilling loop that just gets better and better if you're doing it right. And then the fine tuning and the knowing that, okay, I can be super healthy, but still drop of a heart attack. Well, get your calcium score, talk. If your family has a history, then understand that history. Get your genetics. If you need to look at your blood work, do those things so you have the data to make the right decisions for yourself.

[01:08:26.480] – Rachel

Yeah. Allan, I've been wanting to do genetic testing for a long time. It's been a little bit expensive, and no doctor, I think would give me a calcium score at this point. But paying for that out of pocket might actually be worth the investment just to have this data at this particular age that I'm at. So I mean, I know that insurance doesn't cover all this stuff for sure, and even doctors may not be willing to write up a prescription for certain blood work, but if you're willing to pay out of pocket for it, I bet different labs can help you with that.

[01:09:03.170] – Allan

They can. They absolutely can. And there are labs. I have some relationships with one or two. So if you're thinking about you want some labs, just message me and I can hook you up with one. They have doctors on site. Doctors will write up the lab request. Sometimes you can just go to your local Quest drawing center or some of them actually, they ship it and you have the test at home. If you want for some of these tests, not all of them, but if you want a panel, you can get a panel. If you want a calcium test, you can pay for one. You just have to go out there and get one done, something I'm going to be doing. And so the question I asked is, okay, so you have $1,000 in your bank. Great. And then you have a heart attack. Guess how much that's going to cost? And so it's an investment now to basically say, I'm not paying my deductibles and my 20% of everything for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills ten years from now. What they call it? Pennywise, pound foolish.

[01:10:02.260] – Rachel


[01:10:03.330] – Allan

In many cases it is. If you're not willing to make the investment in your health, then you won't keep it. And that's time, money and effort, all those if you're not doing the work, if you're not putting in the time, and in many cases, getting the things done that you need it done and spending the money where you need to spend it, then you could be pennywise and pound foolish.

[01:10:25.500] – Rachel


[01:10:26.150] – Allan

And that's kind of sad, but nobody's going to do it for you.

[01:10:30.720] – Rachel

Right. It's definitely a hard decision, but I think that it's worth it in the long run, especially if you have plans to live long.

[01:10:40.270] – Allan

I do 105 wiping my own butt. I'm there.

[01:10:45.470] – Rachel

Yeah. I got goals.

[01:10:47.670] – Allan

I got goals. All right, well, Ras, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:10:55.200] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[01:10:56.440] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[01:10:57.260] – Rachel

Thank you. Bye bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb– Leigh Tanner
– Eric More– Margaret Bakalian

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


April 11, 2023

Get functionally fit to live a life you love

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Everybody wants to be healthy and fit, but what does that really look like and how do we get there? On episode 585 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how to get functionally fit so you can live the life you love.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:42.440] – Coach Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:02:45.420] – Coach Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:48.220] – Coach Allan

Busy, as always, but enjoying it. Bringing on some clients for my new program, and I'm actually doing a little bit of in person stuff. One of the reasons I wanted to do the retreat was I kind of missed having someone in the gym lifting and doing the thing, so I went ahead and brought on some local clients, working with them. They're all over 40, so I'm not breaking any rules, so I'm kind of doing that. And then our daughter Summer is getting married in really just a few short weeks. So also planning a trip back to the United States for a few weeks, see family do the wedding thing. Second and final, daughter married off. All kids married off. Done. Scratch that.

[00:03:39.180] – Coach Rachel

Nice. That's fantastic.

[00:03:43.250] – Coach Allan

And enjoy some time with Tammy while we're up there traveling.

[00:03:48.150] – Coach Rachel

That sounds wonderful.

[00:03:49.760] – Coach Allan

How are things up north? Way up north

[00:03:52.870] – Coach Rachel

Good. Yeah, way up north. I'm the exact opposite of you. I am doing my best to relax and rest this week. I'm kind of in taper. I've got a big race this weekend, so I'm doing my best to get a few miles in, but not too hard, and to do all my recovery and rest tricks and tips that I tell all my athletes. So I'll be ready and ready to go this weekend.

[00:04:18.420] – Coach Allan

So for folks that really haven't done a whole lot of training for running but are interested, can you explain what taper is?

[00:04:27.340] – Coach Rachel

Yeah. So the taper would be the few weeks between your last big week of training and the run, your actual race, and it depends on how much time you need to taper, depending on the run. So if you're doing maybe a five K or something a week, taper would be plenty of time. You kind of taper down the amount of running and the intensity, and you rest. You focus on fueling, you focus on nutrition, you focus on getting your head right, strong and confident and ready to go. And I'm actually tapering for an Ultramarathon, so I've been tapering for a couple of weeks now, but my big race is this weekend, so same thing. I'm still running, but fewer miles and less intensity, and I'm pounding in all the best nutrition and hydration I can so that my body is ready for this weekend, for the miles.

[00:05:21.900] – Coach Allan

How far is this ultra?

[00:05:24.860] – Coach Rachel

This one is about 34 miles, so a little over 50K.

[00:05:29.630] – Coach Allan

Cool. I know you got this.

[00:05:32.290] – Coach Rachel

Looking forward to it.

[00:05:33.280] – Coach Allan

We'll talk about it.

[00:05:33.950] – Coach Rachel

Oh, I know it'll be fun. Yeah. I'll let you know how it goes.

[00:05:38.590] – Coach Allan

All right, great. Are you ready to talk about functional fitness?

[00:05:44.260] – Coach Rachel


Episode – Get functionally fit to live the life you love.

What I'm going to do on this episode is I'm kind of kind of wrap up a whole lot of different topics around fitness and mindset that I've discussed over the years. I just haven't really ever done it in a full wraparound thing, and so we're going to be bouncing to a lot of different things. But if some of this resonates with you, I definitely want you to check out the quiz that I'm going to talk about at the end, because that'll kind of help start you on this journey or get you further down the line on it anyway. So now a lot of times the reason that I'm talking to a potential client or a new client is that they really struggle to stay motivated when it comes to fitness. In some cases, they hate exercise at all. They don't like working out. And even some say, I just don't want to get sweaty. I don't like being sweaty, or I don't like the gym, or I don't like. There's a lot of things that they're using as these barriers that are keeping them from being fit.

And some of that's real and some of that is imaginary. But we're going to talk about these in a way that you can explore this thought, this process, and find a way to stay motivated to work out and get fit. So one of the core attributes for the way I approached training, it's the way I fixed myself, was commitment. Getting away from the levels of decision and resolution and willpower and all of that and really just drilling down into commitment. Now, commitment has two parts. There's the why. Why do you want to do this? Why do you want to be more fit? And the why kind of usually has about two aspects to it. Sometimes it's a little bit more, there might be something exciting in your future that you want to be ready for. But in general, the why relates to people. Almost always relates to people. We don't do this typically for ourselves, although sometimes we do, but there's usually other people involved, the people we care about. We want to be fit so we can be there for them and so that they don't have to take care of us. The second aspect of that is what we want to be able to do.

And that gets a little bit overlapped into the vision. But sometimes just having that big goal is reason enough. I wanted to do a tough mudder and I wanted to do it with my daughter. I wanted to be fit and be able to participate in her life. And so that was my why. That was a very compelling why for me. And so it pushed me to do more. Now, before I got started on the journey, though, I had to understand my vision. What does that mean? What does it mean for me to be fit? And so initially there were some capabilities that I needed to have. I needed to be stronger, I needed to weigh a little less, I needed to have more grip strength. So there were these capability, things that I wanted to have related to that race. My capabilities that I need now are actually much the same. I'm the guy who lifts things at Lula's. I have to be there when I'm working out with my clients in person. I also have to be able to move the equipment around and I need to be able to be strong enough to protect them if they were to drop a weight or make a mistake.

So there are certain capabilities that I need to have in my life also. Your vision can be driven around lifestyle. We've talked a lot about things that our parents used to do or grandparents used to do that they no longer do, and their lifestyle changed. My grandfather loved to play tennis, and then at the age of 80, he couldn't play tennis anymore. And that changed his lifestyle significantly. Not being able to take care of himself changed his lifestyle significantly. So thinking about the capabilities and the lifestyle that you want to have kind of starts to give you a clear picture of what your vision is. And then the final bit is about values. And this is where we tie the vision to the why. The values are who you are. They're how you want to be seen in the world. So you don't want to be seen as someone who's dependent. You don't want to be seen as someone who's not capable. You don't want to be seen as someone who's weak. And so those values of you wanting to be a contributor, wanting to be a part of things, wanting to be independent, those values that you hold dear are the wraparound.

That's how we form this commitment, because it ties the vision to the why. Okay, so now when you think about that vision and you think about what you need to be able to do, the lifestyle you want, the values you have, now, this is not so much about working out. Working out doesn't sound fun. It sounds like a job. It sounds like another thing to do. Exercise. That word sometimes even sounds worse. Sometimes exercise just sounds like we're doing something for no apparent reason at all, like running on a treadmill, going nowhere. I'd like you to introduce the term training. When you're doing something that's improving your fitness, you're training. You're training to be the person that has the capabilities that you want to have. You're training to be the person that has the lifestyle you want to have. So you see how now it changes the complexion of exercise, working out, movement in general, because now it's done on purpose. You have a purpose. And so for us to meet that purpose, for us to accomplish this vision, we need to start training in a way that builds just that. So no longer are we just going into the gym for half an hour and piddling on that and doing a bit of this.

We literally go in with a mission. We go in working on what we call functional fitness. And functional fitness is where we're able to build a fit for Task body. It's where we're able to get ourselves in the condition we need to be to do the things we want to do. And that could be something special. Like, I did a tough mudder. I've talked to people who want to do Mitchell pushu and other hikes and other things, races and whatnot. And so you're training for those things, and you're also training to have what you need to succeed in all of your life, to have the lifestyle and the capabilities that you want. So let's break that down. What does that look like when you start training for your vision, when you start training to be functional fit for task? Well, first it's important for you to consider this from three different optics, okay? There's a short, a middle and a long. Now, initially, we need to be playing this from the long term perspective, okay? What am I going to be like when I'm in my 80s? What am I going to be like when I'm in my 90s?

What am I going to be like when I'm over 100? And so we don't want to do short term things that break us too far away from our long term goals. So I know some people want to have six pack ABS. It sounds cool and all, but a lot of times when you see the actors or you see the bodybuilders with the six pack ABS, they're doing unhealthy things. They're doing things that are actually messing with them in the short run to have those ABS, to do that movie or win that show. So when you're thinking about this from a long term perspective, first priority, it changes things a little bit. Now you're doing things to maintain health. Now you're doing things to maintain this over time. We're not damaging joints. We're not doing things that are silly for the sake of a short term thing. And then you can start looking at the short term things. So you may want to run a five K. You might want to lose a little bit of weight, whatever it is. Those short term things, being able to pick up a tennis racket again, being able to play volleyball again, those short term things are the quick wins.

They're built in such a way that you should use them to know you're moving forward and help build confidence. So the Couch to Five K program tends to be a really good approach for someone that wants to build stamina so they can keep up with their grandkids. And they use that as a training mechanism to start building that stamina. The Couch to five K. You can go in and start a basic strength program initially for the short term of putting on some muscle so you look a little better for the summer coming up really quick here. But you're looking at your long term and you're going to be able to do more. And so as you watch the weights go up, as you get stronger, there's some confidence building there. You know you can get stronger. You see yourself getting stronger. So your long term drives the whole thing. The short term are these little stepping stones that are going to show you how you're moving forward. So they're basically mile markers. And I'll talk about goals in a minute. But this is a way that you build a program that works for you because you get the short term wins building towards the long term.

And then there's sort of this midterm. And this is where when I said I want to be a participant in my daughter's life and not a spectator, that's where this comes in. So the midterm things are where you look at life tasks. When you look at bucket list items, you look at things that you want to be able to do ten years, 15 years, 20 years. You're looking at the midterm of your life and saying, if I'm going to be on this planet for another 50 years, I don't need to be training the whole time just to be stronger, stronger, stronger. I need to have some things that I'm going to enjoy. I want to be able to enjoy my retirement. I want to be able to enjoy grandchildren. I want to be able to enjoy a lot of things in my life. So I'll have these midterm goals that are basically where I expect to be on the aging curve at any given point. Because we have control over our aging curve, we're still going to age, but we can do it quickly and peter out, or we can slow that down, stay strong, keep our stamina, and be able to do things for the rest of our life.

There's zero reason my grandfather should not have been able to play tennis in his eighty s, I mean, golf in his 80s. There's zero reason if he had started training in his thirty s and forty s and fifty s, he would have been able to play golf. But he played golf, and that's all he did, and then he lost golf. So training would have helped keep him in the game much, much longer. Okay? When we look at the long term, we're looking at healthy aging. We're looking at maintaining our health and our independence. We're looking at being able to do the things that are necessary. So I make the joke I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105, but that's on purpose. That's my long term. I vision the long term. And I've heard I'm kind of weird for doing this, but vision the long term and build your programming to think in terms of the long term first, then the short term, and then we break out the midterm and say, how does that look? And we manage that, and we have training programs, and we take those steps, and there's always the short term.

We keep looking at building towards the midterm and then the long term, but we got to keep that all in mind so we're not sacrificing one for the sake of the other. Now, a few weeks back, I guess maybe a couple of months back, I talked about smart goals, where we add the extra A, making it smart goals. Now, if you've worked in business, in a corporate environment, I know you know what smart goals are, and they're typically listed out as specific measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Okay? I added action based, because if an outcome is your true goal, which it's a vision is an outcome, if your outcome is the goal, it's really hard to measure, it's really hard to achieve, it's really hard to make it time bound because the outcome isn't 100% in your control. You could have an outcome goal of wanting a PR on your next half marathon or your next five K, but if you twist an ankle that's out, it's not going to happen. So smart goals are about actions. Smart goals are things about actions, things you can control. So the way I want you to think about it is to have what I want, what do I need to do to get there?

So if I want to get a PR on a five K, well, I need to work on my running, not just running the five K, maybe running a little further than a five K in some of my training runs, maybe running a lot faster on some of my training runs or running hills. So the actions are certain training mechanisms that I want to do in a given week and the weeks leading up to that five K. So if the five K is eight weeks from now, I might have a training program that says, okay, week one, I'm running two to 3 miles a day, five days a week. And then I say, okay, the next two weeks, maybe I go ahead and take one of those days and I bump it up to a three mile, I mean to a five mile run, and I take one of those days and I turn it into a speed on the Hills speed and Hills Day. So now I'm building more endurance so that the five K, which is 3.1 mile, is actually easier for me because I can run further and I can go faster because I've worked on my speed.

And so my smart goal would be, here's my training program. I'm going to do this training program for the next eight weeks. It'll include these runs these days and here's why I know I can do it. Now, this is relevant to my short term goal of being able to get a PR on my five K. So it works. And I'm running these five KS just as a measure of building stamina so I can keep up with my grandkids when I take them to the zoo this summer. So you can kind of see how you can break all this down and build these smart goals. And then each of those workouts, you click them off. It's like, I did my five miler, I did my Speed hills day, I did my runs for the week. And so each of these is that little step. The training you're doing is the step, it's the next thing. And so that becomes more motivating because you're seeing it happen. Some people even like Tony Horton was on the show a while back, and he pulls out a paper map and just basically says, let's start checking off workouts. So if five runs happens to also correlate with your five days of the week for the weekdays.

Then literally, you should see an X or check mark on every one of those days during the calendar. And maybe you have a couple where you see, if I miss it, I'm going to do it, make it up on Saturday or Sunday. You can do that too. But you see the check marks, you see them happening, you're getting a streak going. You're getting it going, and you're seeing the results. And so that's where this all kind of comes together. Now, all that said, this sounds practical and easy when I say it right. And you've probably gone down this line a few times of setting goals and starting the workouts, and then something happens along the way that derails you, okay? And that something is us. It's our own mindset. And so that's where the rubber hits the road on. A lot of this is going through that self awareness practice. So we know what our tendencies are. We know what's going to go on. I wake up in the morning and I'm supposed to do my run, and it's raining, and then I don't do my run. What happens? Well, maybe I miss the next run too, or I eat like crap that day because I messed up.

I didn't do my run. I should have got on the treadmill and done my run, or I should have run in the rain or whatever, but I didn't. And so a lot of times we get in our own way now in doing that self awareness work. And this is really work you'll do for the rest of your life. We don't really ever solve ourselves. We just learn more and learn more, and that makes us better at being ourselves. And so as you go through your self awareness work, and you keep going through your self awareness work, it's worth going back and kind of relooking at it and reanalyzing it. So as I've worked with clients over the years, I basically come up to about five different mindsets as people approach fitness. And each of these mindsets, if they're not worked toward and understood, tend to get in the way. So they can block you from being more fit. But many of them are also superpowers. If you know them, you can lean in. You can lean in and figure out how that mindset can make you stronger, how that mindset can make you faster, how that mindset can help you build stamina so you can go longer.

So all the fitness things that you want, once you know your fitness mindset, it makes it a lot easier to stay on course and get where you want to go. And so if you want to learn about this and you want to learn what your primary blocker is, you can go to 40 plusfitness. COMFIT. This is a free quiz. It won't cost you anything. It takes about 60 seconds. So quite literally, if you started right now doing the quiz online at 40 plusfitness. COMFIT, you'll finish that quiz before we finish this episode, okay? And now this will tell you what your primary blocker is and then you'll know what you need to do to get past it and use it to move forward. I don't run all my clients through this, but I have a good conversation with them at the very beginning of our sessions, and we talk about what they are and how they work. And nine times out of ten, I could just call out their primary mindset at the beginning because the words they use and how they approach it and what they've done in the past, it becomes apparent to me.

So this quiz is going to help you a lot, figure out what your fitness blockers are so you can go to 40 plusfitness. COMFIT. So let's take a step back and kind of recap what we've talked about today, okay? You need to be a certain person. You need to be a certain person today, tomorrow, and maybe 50 years from now. And to be that person, you need to train. And so when you train for a purpose, a function of who you're going to be, that's functional fitness. So you should look at your training, not exercise or workouts or sweat sessions or whatever they are. You doing something to train yourself to be something else. Like we went to high school, to graduate high school, to be adults and live in the society and know how to speak and write and read and everything else, right? This is training. It's the same thing, okay? Now when you're looking at your training, you want to focus on all of your needs across your entire lifespan, your aging, span. Start looking at the long term so you have a good picture, mental picture of where you're going overall.

Then you can start working on the short ones that are going to give you kind of that quick hit, confidence boost, easy win, quick win. So that's the thing you can do that's going to happen this month. So not this huge long term thing, but what can I do this month? What's important to me this month that I know is also kind of moving me in the right direction for my long term goals. And then you can start peppering in the medium one. So maybe you are retiring at 65 and you want to go do Mitsubishu. And so you want to be fit from a stamina and strength perspective to be able to do that at 65. So your medium term goal is to make sure that you build and maintain stamina and strength and balance and that you're ready for when that day comes. So you see how you can take your long term. You can mix in in short term wins and then build out your medium term to make this all fit together into a long term program that serves you your whole life. Now, the way we get these short term ones done and that just builds the blocks going forward is the mile markers to keep us moving forward are the smart goals.

So we're specific measurable attainable or achievable and action based relevant. So they tie back to who you want to be long term, medium term and short term. And they're timely. So again, most goals need to be a month or maybe a quarter, but usually a month. And when you're doing the month to month, it allows you to adjust. As your life changes, you can adjust them. So timeliness needs to be in your face, it needs to be now. And so if you're writing your goals for your short terms that are driving towards your medium and long terms, you've got everything set out in front of you. And the only thing left to do beyond that is to look for those blockers and do some self awareness work so that you know what could get in your way and what could prevent you from reaching those goals and therefore hitting your short, medium and long term visions for who you need to be. So I hope this was helpful for you. If it was, go ahead and email me or message me on Facebook and let's have a conversation. I'd be interested to know what your long term vision looks like and how you want to build a program for yourself that's going to take you there.

So message me on Facebook or you can email me. Coach at 40plusfitness.com.

Post Show/Recap

[00:29:22.010] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:29:33.900] – Coach Rachel

Hey Alan. I always love talking about functional fitness and being fit for task. And the other thing I like to talk about, especially something I've been reflecting on lately myself, is having this level of fitness later in life. We spend a lot of time planning our careers, our families. We plan, we know we're going to retire, we put money away in the account for that, but we don't spend quite as much attention to detail or planning on planning a healthy retirement. Like, I want to travel, mike and I want to be busy when we do get the chance to retire. And we want to be healthy enough to hike mountains and do all sorts of fun stuff in our retirement. So we kind of need to start planning now so that we're active and healthy and good to go today. So that a decade or two decades from now, we still have maintained a level of fitness so that we can be as active as we want later in life.

[00:30:32.420] – Coach Allan

So, yeah, way I kind of equate that is, is your fitness paycheck to paycheck or is your fitness are you investing in a 401? So there's going to be something there later, right?

[00:30:43.620] – Coach Rachel

Sure, yeah, that's a great way to look at it.

[00:30:47.140] – Coach Allan

And your fitness should never be paycheck to paycheck because that just means that. You're going to age and you're going to dwindle and you're going to lose. You're going to lose in this thing because you've got to put something in the tank and you got to be consistent about it. You got to be doing it now and a little bit, a little bit, a little bit. It's not like you got to kill yourself. And it's not like you have to train for a 34 miles ultra, but just a little bit. And thinking, what do I need? What am I going to need? What kind of stamina will I need to keep up with my grandkids? What kind of things will I need to be able to be there for my family, be there for my wife when she needs me? And so it's making a small investment now that, you know, will pay off and being consistent about making that every single time, the same way you do your 401, it just becomes automatic. You just do it and you don't think about it anymore. You just do it. And there are times where you step it up a little because you can, and it makes sense.

[00:31:42.970] – Coach Allan

And there's times you back it up a little bit because you just can't. But you're always putting something in and you're always on it and not looking at this like, well, I'll do that tomorrow. It's paycheck to paycheck kind of fitness.

[00:31:57.340] – Coach Rachel

Yeah, well, you also mentioned the word exercise. And who likes to exercise? Nobody likes that word. It's a terrible word. Well, you know, we do, but we're not really exercising, like you said. We're training. We're doing something that we love. And I love to run. You love to lift, heavy things other people might like. Tennis or pickleball is a really growing sport right now, and there's all sorts of things that are out there. And when you're doing something you love, pickleball is not exercise. Hiking the Appalachian Trail is not exercise. You're training to do these things, and it just gives it a whole different connotation. And I'm sure that there's something out there that somebody would love to do, maybe not running like I do, but there's got to be something out there.

[00:32:46.830] – Coach Allan

Yeah. And if you find that there's just something holding you back and you're just really not wanting to do this, then I would definitely look at that quiz I talked about, the 40 plusfitness COMFIT. So 40 plusfitness COMFIT, it'll take you 60 seconds, and you'll learn something about what might be keeping you from making that investment perfect.

[00:33:09.640] – Coach Rachel

That sounds like a great thing to do.

[00:33:11.670] – Coach Allan

All right, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:33:15.780] – Coach Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:33:17.400] – Coach Allan

You too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb– Leigh Tanner
– Eric More– Margaret Bakalian

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


March 7, 2023

How to live longer and better with Dr. Rand McClain

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In his book, Cheating Death, Dr. Rand McClain tells us how to live longer and better.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:36.260] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:39.600] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:41.520] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Sort of all right. We have a dog. We have two dogs. You guys probably heard me talk about Buster and Angel before. But Angel took a spill this morning. She's having issues with her hips, and as a result, she loses her balance. And if she gets on uneven pavement, she loses it a little bit. So she ended up falling into a ditch, and it's really slowed down her ability to… She really can't stand up hardly with her back leg. So I pulled out this wheelchair I bought her. She hasn't been in it yet, but I got her all hooked up in it, and she took to it pretty well as far as she knows. She can walk, she'll learn some other things. She's got to be mindful of where the wheels are because she got herself stuck and frustrated with that. But so, yeah, it's a trying day because I feel bad now that I have to put her in the wheelchair for her to be able to be mobile and get out. And it's just going to mean probably something we're going to have to make a decision on in the next few months rather than maybe the next couple of years about her quality of life and where she is.

[00:03:40.530] – Allan

And so that's a tough one. But I've got the wheelchair for her now, and I'm going to start teaching her how to get out and move around and use that and hopefully start going to the bathroom while she's standing up because she won't normally do that. So there's a little bit of that. But I got the wheelchair together. It was actually a puzzle. Oh, wow. It was an interesting little puzzle. Well, one, Tammy had started putting it together and had gotten it halfway put together wrong, but partially together. And so then I had to go in there and try to disassemble and reassemble and figure out how it works and stuff. I think I've got it sized now a little bit better and fit in on her. So I'll probably be trying to get her out again, maybe this evening and just walk around a little in it just to get comfortable now and feel like she's still out there walking and being with us dogs.

[00:04:29.640] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness. I'm glad you had that kit handy and glad you had the forethought to get that.

[00:04:36.140] – Allan

Yeah. Well, she had fallen the other day a couple of weeks ago. And so I was like, okay, she keeps falling like this. And then every time she falls, it hurts her. And then she loses a little bit more of it. And so I knew I needed to have it on hand because I didn't want to have to wait for it to come in after she's doing it. But she's 75 pound dog. So I have to be able to pick up the 75 pound dog and set her in there and then set her out because it's not just a walk in thing or sit down on thing. The dog has to be placed into it. I got to pick her up and do all these things, but I'm able to. And that's part of what we're going to be talking about today is being able to do those things. But how are things up there?

[00:05:15.580] – Rachel

Good. We had a break in our bitter cold winter to collect some sap from our maple trees, and we did our first maple syrup boil over the weekend. So we had about 65 ish gallons of sap, and we produced about one ish, one and a half ish gallons of syrup. So it was a long weekend of love, but it was a lot of fun and we had decent weather. So that's what's helpful. But now we got the cold again. It's going to get bitter cold. So we'll probably do another maple syrup and sap collection in another week or two and maybe do another boil. So it's been fun and tasty.

[00:05:58.960] – Allan

Yeah. Bless you. Not this guy. I'll buy my maple syrup from somebody.

[00:06:09.700] – Rachel

Yeah, it's a labor of love. I'll tell you that. It took probably, I would say, 36ish hours of boiling time, maybe a little more to get it done. It's a lot of time.

[00:06:20.840] – Allan

And that's not something you just set and forget. You got to be in it, don't you?

[00:06:24.200] – Rachel

Yeah, we got to keep feeding the fire. It's outside. It's a lot of wood burning. It's a big process. You got to keep an eye on it because the worst part would be not keep an eye on it and have it burn. Nothing like going through all the time and hassle and then having your maple syrup burn. So got to keep an eye on it.

[00:06:42.910] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to have a conversation with Dr. McClain?

[00:06:47.220] – Rachel


[00:06:47.640] – Allan

All right.


[00:07:35.240] – Allan

Dr. McClain, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:38.720] – Dr. McClain

Thank you. Thanks for having me on board.

[00:07:40.860] – Allan

Now, your book is called Cheating Death: The New Science of Living Longer and Better. And I actually love that. I love how you approach the book, your first view into this topic of we're going to end someday. And we want to do it on our own terms, really. I mean, we all want to live forever, somewhat. But then we also don't because like this was the queen song, who wants to live forever. I forget that. Maybe that's not the title of it. But it was the first time I thought about, well, no, I don't want to live the last 20 years of my life, invalid, dependent, not able to take care of myself and just miserable. And so in the book, you share so many ways that we can make sure that our health span is a better portion of our lifespan. And I really appreciate that about this book.

[00:08:30.060] – Dr. McClain

Well, thank you. Yeah, the idea, and I didn't coin the term, behind health span is the combination of both longevity and good health. And they used to call it squirming the curve, they being the so called antiaging group. The idea that you continue, okay, you might not be hitting your personal best like you did when you were 20, but you're close in your 70s. And I mean that sincerely. I mean, if you look at some of the statistics at this point in time, meaning with the data we've collected, say as of 15 years ago, the difference between your personal best at 20 and your personal best at 70 isn't that big until it's truly after 70, then it hockey sticks the difference. But I think my point is that's old data. I think now we might find that occurs at age 85. But the point is that we want to continue at least being close to what we've always been, if possible. And then one day we just don't wake up. That's the ideal that you're going great until the end comes. And as far as the book, cheating death, believe it or not, the name came up as a suggestion from a group that was helping me put the book together.

[00:09:35.210] – Dr. McClain

And I vetoed it immediately. I was like, come on, that's so kitschy. I can't. But then they convinced me, hey, at least we'll get somebody's attention and you want them to read the book. And I think you find in the book, I say, hey, we're obviously not going to beat it. As you say, we're all going to come to that end. But certainly to improve our time while on the planet, to make it the best we can be is an achievable goal and a worthy one. I've never met anybody, and I used to be a CPA before as a doctor. So I can say, presumably I'm honest conservative, never met anybody who came into my office or otherwise and said, Hey, if you can give me another 20 on the back end, it doesn't matter. I'll sacrifice my health for it. No, it's the other way around.

[00:10:17.060] – Allan

And there's two ways to look at it. You got the younger crowd that wants to go out like the rebel, blazing and going. And then, of course, we get past 40, we start saying, Okay, well, I'm not doing the blazing and going out really quick, but I also don't want to have a long, slow fizzle. I want to do something about this. And so many of us were not in the shape we want to be in. And so we're actually looking at, Okay, how do we actually now not only just live out, but how do we improve our health, improve the quality of our life, and then go forward with that. And a lot of the things we're going to talk about today are going to get into those things, things we can do today to start improving our health and our health span. I literally wish I could just sit down and talk to you for hours because the book was so deep. There was so much in there. It's just a great opportunity. If you want to improve your health overall, it does that, too. And again, the health span. We're going to dive into some of the things we just, on this show, haven't talked about before.

[00:11:11.470] – Allan

One of them is called NAD Plus, which I always screw up the scientific names because I didn't go to medical school and I didn't learn the language. So it's nicotinamide, adidine, and dinucleotide. Did I do okay?

[00:11:27.360] – Dr. McClain

That's the reason why we abbreviated it, right? Just NAD or NADH.

[00:11:32.520] – Allan

So what exactly is that? Why is that important? And if we need to, how do we improve our levels?

[00:11:40.660] – Dr. McClain

So it's simply a mechanism by which we can transfer energy, specifically electrons. When we convert food into usable energy, the transfer that we call redox, reaction, reduction and oxidation. I'll avoid going into the weeds like we talked about it. But roughly, for people who remember their high school physiology, what my generation used to call the Krebs cycle is part of that. I think they call it now the Citric acid cycle. But again, the bottom line is it's converting food into usable energy. This is part of the process. Nad is used in the cell, in the cytosol, as well as people may remember it more as part of the mitochondrial transfer of energy, this electron. When NADH is converted to NAD, that transfer occurs. Anyway, enough of the details. But the effect is to do a lot of different things besides transfer energy. One of the most popularized items on the list of things that NAD does is to activate the sirtu in genes, specifically one of them, there are several. But the idea being that when you activate s rt2 in genes, you initiate this process of autophagy. And autophagy is not in the sense that you might be talking to your clients about repairing muscle tissue, but really this is repairing cellular function from everything from making sure the DNA or the recipe, the recipe is plural for all the processes is intact.

[00:13:09.380] – Dr. McClain

You don't have spaghetti sauce. I use the example of the cell being like a kitchen. You're producing these proteins and things that help the cell, the body in general, from a cell therapist's perspective, do what it's supposed to do, including messaging between cells. If the recipe's got tomato sauce spilled on it or whatever, and the dishes aren't clean, well, eventually the process of producing the right food just goes awry. So you need the time to clean up the kitchen, clean up the recipe book itself. Again, in this analogy, fix in the DNA, which can get disrupted, mutated. And again, there's garbage that's produced. Again, going back to your high school chemistry, the lysozomes are what most people recognize as the garbage cans of the cell. But there's some misfolded proteins that have to be addressed, etc. Again, avoid the weeds, but this process of autophagy puts everything back in order so that we operate properly. And another analogy would be if we don't do that, the cell looking at the cell, each individual cell like a car, if we haven't fine tuned the car, not only does the car itself not operate, but it's poisoning all the surrounding cells.

[00:14:12.020] – Dr. McClain

The exhaust isn't what it's supposed to be, and it can poison the surrounding cells. So sorry for some of the bad analogies, but for those who aren't interested in the really detailed aspects, that gets the general idea across, I hope.

[00:14:23.710] – Allan

No, this is basically getting rid of the clunker cells and replacing them with new cells. And so autophagy is basically just getting rid of the almost dead cells that are not functioning the way they need to. So when we give our body what it needs, and we're going to talk a little bit more about sleep in a minute because that's another one. But when we start giving our body what it needs, then it's able to get rid of those clunkers and build new, better cells. And as a result, our health improves.

[00:14:50.960] – Dr. McClain

Yeah. And the process is twofold in the sense that initially we'll try and repair it, clean up the kitchen or fine tuned car, whichever analogy you want to use. And if that's not possible, possible. The term used is the senescent cells, the ones that have gotten too old to function properly, they're too broken, then yeah, they can actually be destroyed as part of this autophagy. And that's a good thing. And we can recycle a lot of the materials from that cell to make new and better cells. Now, you asked me, what is our best way to generate NAD? And you'll love this, I hope. One of the best ways is exercise. I say one of the best, it is the best. Why? Because we're again using food for usable energy. Well, what are you doing in your exercise? You're using some energy and you create a lot of NAD, more so than you would if you were to take supplements. Hands down, I just want to make the point, exercise is your best source of creating NAD. Now, there are other ways of doing it. If you're not an exercise buff, fasting, which is a big issue these days, I don't want to call it a fad because it's been around forever.

[00:15:55.980] – Dr. McClain

But a lot of attention fairly recently has been given to fasting. That's another great way. There isn't any to further the kitchen analogy, there isn't any food to be made to be prepped. Somebody says, Okay, well, we might as well clean up the mess while we're not working here. And so that initiates it topic. And of course, yeah, to address some of the other ways, you can take oral forms of NAD, you can take intravenous forms of NAD. But there's a lot of controversy still about how much of that is used. Particularly with oral forms, you're going to absorb a lot of it. It's going to, I don't want to say stopped, but it's going to hit the liver first and maybe not go much further. Now with IV NAD, you're pretty much overwhelming the system. And I would argue that it's going to get well beyond the liver, and that might be a more effective approach, depending upon what you're using it for. Yeah.

[00:16:45.560] – Allan

So let's dive into sleep because I think everybody knows sleep is generally important for us to feel good. But there's a lot more going on when we're asleep than just resting. Can you talk about why sleep is important for health span?

[00:17:02.300] – Dr. McClain

Sleep is probably, I would argue, second most important to health span of all. And yet I'm sure you would agree, and probably most listeners would say, yeah, I pretty much take that for granted. A lot of us go through life, particularly in our 20s and 30s as we're making our way, so to speak. And of course, in my generation, back in the 70s and 80s, people that were doing that actually boasted about what little sleep they got. Do you remember those days? You're maybe not old enough.

[00:17:35.260] – Allan

No, I actually am because I was also a CPA. And I can tell you, when I was in college and studying for the exam and doing my thing, it was like, okay, I need to study, I don't need to sleep. And I even played… To tell you how crazy I was on this passing CPA exam, I literally had cassette and I would have the cassette playing by my bed when I went to bed. And if I woke up in the middle of the night and the cassette had finished, I'd turn it over. Yeah, it's like four hours of sleep was plenty. I was working, I was going to school, I was getting things done. I was still exercising. I was still doing a lot of things to try to keep that mid 20s body alive and moving. But yeah, you're right. Sleep was not a priority. And the whole concept was I'll sleep when I die mindset. And that actually is closer to the truth than we actually want to admit at this point in our life.

[00:18:25.780] – Dr. McClain

Well, and you could get away with it back then. And not to get off of the topic of sleep, but you hit on the one that I think is, and I'm not alone, the most important would be, we'll call it exercise because that's how you're referred to it. I call that the great equalizer. But movement, which encompasses exercise or however you want to look at it, I'd say is even more important. Of course, this ties into some of the things we were talking about earlier, and I think we'll get to today live here. But yeah, with sleep, there are so many things that occur when you sleep that are actually, even for those of us in the business, so to speak, mind blowing. One of my favorite books is Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker. He's a PhD out of the UK. We stole him. He's over at Berkeley now. If you want to read something that will be mind blowing, in the case of, say, and I call it the great equalizer, someone who's getting less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep and five nights in a row, this is just a fun fact taken from the book, but I think it applies to a lot of maybe your clients, it's possible to reduce your insulin sensitivity, your ability to use as little as possible insulin to get sugar out of your blood and put it where it's supposed to be in the muscles, preferably or anything that needs energy to operate properly.

[00:19:43.080] – Dr. McClain

You can reduce insulin sensitivity by 50 %. That's the difference between fantastic health and being possibly even a big BLOB. When insulin sensitivity goes awry, arguably, this metabolic dysfunction is the lunchpin for top five causes of morbidity, diseases, and death in the United States and other industrialized countries. So that's just one thing out of, I would say, hundreds at a minimum that occurred during sleep. Prevention of that, I guess I would say. But interestingly, again, not to harp on this point, but exercise helps reverse that. And then you get into a conundrum of, like, maybe you were, well, look, it's working. I'm getting four hours a night and I'm getting my exercise in still. And look, my laboratory assays look great. I feel great. But then arguably, what happens is you reach this point in, we'll call it midlife, and you find out the hard way that to use a song quote again, better to burn out than fade away. No, that doesn't work. But we can reverse it. But you're digging into your reserves, essentially your adrenal glands. And they've been picking up the slack. And then I referred to it as when Kong, as in King Kong, jumped on my back one point in my midlife and said, This ain't happening anymore.

[00:20:58.780] – Dr. McClain

You're going to start paying the piper. And that's something if we can avoid, we don't run into it. But certainly understandable at the earlier age that you keep getting away with it, just like any kid would do. You figure, Well, I can. I'll keep doing it. But sleep, there are so many important things that occur during sleep to keep us in the game and keep us healthy. And I just pointed it out and it was long winded about it, I realized, just one aspect of hundreds that occur while we're sleeping, without it, I would argue 100 %, unless you're one with a very rare gene mutation. There's a couple of them actually that allows you to get away with five. And by the way, again, stop me if I'm getting too far into the weeds. All stages of sleep are important, but the most restorative sleep for the body anyway, the organs, whatever, is the deep sleep, the non rim, where you're really operating in slow brain waves, for example, is so important. Without that, you're not going to optimize your health and you will not get the most out of healthspan, hands down.

[00:21:59.240] – Allan

Well, like we were talking about NAD, this is the big clean up. This is when your brain cleans up. This is when your body says, Okay, we're shut down for the week. In the sense of the shop, the restaurant, it's like, We can do a deep clean. We can pull all this stuff out. We can do all of this extra work and make this place pristine again. So when we reopen, we're that much better off. But if you don't have that full time because you're opening back up tomorrow, you're getting your four or five hours of sleep, then you didn't give your staff time to do the deep clean. And over time, the restaurant starts looking dingy and it's not operating as well.

[00:22:34.600] – Dr. McClain

And speaking of that, and not to necessarily tie it into the food aspect of a restaurant, but we'll go with it anyway. But the GI, for example, I find this with my patients and personally, if you start shorting yourself in sleep. And I don't have any scientific proof, but having worked as a doctor of Chinese medicine for a while, I can say the Chinese several thousand years ago recognized that there's actually a timing that goes on. And so the first part of the night, you might be working on cleaning up the work and we'll use the kitchen example, you're cleaning up the area of the dishes, the cooking, and then you move to the cutting block area. If you skip that last part of sleep, you're missing that part of the kitchen, so to speak. And again, I don't have any scientific proof behind this part. I just go with what I've seen in patients and what I've read and studied through Chinese medicine. Those that suffer from constipation and other digestive upset, it's that last part I find in the whether it's 7 to 9 hours, whether it's an hour or two, the last part if you're shaving that off, that the GI doesn't get swept out, cleaned up.

[00:23:38.860] – Dr. McClain

And that's one of the first signs I find is IBS, we call it, and the typical symptoms are just your GI system is in a state of wreck. You've got gas and sometimes pain and what we call borborygmus, tenesmus, whether it's constipation or diarrhea, or alterating, incomplete evacuation, etc. I find that's one of the first things to start going on you if you don't get your full amount of sleep. But also, again, when it comes to certainly motivating patients who want to have great body composition, stay fit, it's not just a cleaning up situation. A lot of athletes don't realize this, and I'm sure you can attest to that in what you do, you write the prescription for muscle improvement, whether it's gaining muscle, gaining strength, improving body composition, coordination, whatever it is you want to talk about during the workout. And then, of course, eating properly during the day is part of writing the prescription. But you fill that prescription at night. And now we're talking about athletic sense of repair, not the cleanup part, but actually repairing the muscle, we say, building it back up, better for the next workout. And if you skip that, it's not going to happen.

[00:24:46.630] – Dr. McClain

I can't tell you how many times I've seen in practice where somebody will come in, an athlete with his gallon jug of water, he's got over his shoulder his meals for the day. He's got that part nailed. But he's working, where I come from, we say working like a Jamaican, three jobs, working hard and getting four hours of sleep. And by the way, one of those jobs is like a UPS worker. So he's consistently staying active. It's not like he's resting. And when you're wondering why you're not getting anywhere. And I have to have that conversation like we're having now. Hey, you got to get your sleep, otherwise you're wasting your time.

[00:25:22.040] – Allan

So yeah, in that vein, because again, you're right. As a trainer, I see it all the time. And it's a constant conversation I have with my clients. We can look at how you're recovering, and that's going to give us clues to how you're doing overall with all of it. And so the three key pieces, and I guess I could call them four, but two of them line. The first is we got to have the stimulus, and that's the work we do either in the gym or at home or whatever we're training. When we're doing our training, we have the stimulus. And then the nutrition is now we're providing the fuel. So we're refueling the glycogen tanks and we're providing protein for muscle synthesis. And then we get to the recovery part. And like you said, if it's someone who's go, go, go, go, go, they're not hitting a recovery level. And then if they're not sleeping, they're definitely not going to recover. And so they find their workout starts to suffer. They're not putting on muscle. They're probably even putting on fat because the whole go, go, go, go, go is now firing up their adrenals more often than it should.

[00:26:21.200] – Allan

So the workouts are actually now a stress on top of a stress on top of a stress. And so, again, that's why I get to the sleep and the recovery being as important as the stimulus, the work. And when you can align the work, the nutrition, and now, again, the recovery and sleep, particularly the sleep, you set yourself up for that opportunity to take that spiral that may have been going down and turn it up.

[00:26:46.160] – Dr. McClain

Well, since you teed me up with a little bit of additional information there about the adrenals, let me just add to that. Yeah, in reference to chronic cortisol release, one of the signs you'll see with clients and patients is they will lose subdermal fat, subcutaneous fat in the extremities, and yet start to collect it around the abdominal area. And you go, Wait a minute, how could I be losing fat on my arms and my legs, but it just won't go away in my abs? That's because the cortisol that should not be released, you don't need the extra release of energy that cortisol stimulates. It's for fight or flight. And so it's saying, Here's the energy, got to run. Well, we're not running anywhere. And so all you're doing is redistributing the fat. And it's very simple. I mean, if you look at patients that have Cushing's disorder, where they've got an overabundance of cortisol being produced because of a pathology, that's a telltale sign. The fat is being deposited centrally on the back of the neck, but certainly around the midsection. And yet they have nothing on the extremities. And this is what is being self induced by the stress that's incurred by not getting enough rest.

[00:27:57.950] – Dr. McClain

And of course, you wake up in fight or flight mode because you're not what you were the day before because you haven't given yourself the chance to rest and you worked out hard so you put yourself down in that hole even more. And it's a downward spiral from there. So you can imagine. And they're easy to spot, right? You can see them when they come to you. I don't know why.

[00:28:16.960] – Allan

It was me. I'm working, I'm a corporate job, I'm doing well. I'm like, but I still have this pudge. And I'm like, well, I know why I have this pudge. Not because I wasn't sleeping, because I was actually going to sleep early and I was sleeping without an alarm for a number of years. But I was like, I just have this really stressful job. And my cortisol level from the time I get in my truck to drive to work until I get out of my truck the next night. And even then, it didn't end because I had my cell phone with me. My cortisol level was off the charts all the time. And I even had it tested a few times. And yeah, the doctor was like, Your stress is pretty high. Was it? The C reactive protein is high. And I'm like, Yeah. So I quit the corporate life. I know everybody can't do that, but I can tell you that sleep was a game changer for me. Was I optimal? No, but it was tremendously different than before I really got my sleep dialed in.

[00:29:11.650] – Dr. McClain

One way to look at that is, imagine if you hadn't been getting sufficient quantity of sleep. And of course, that brings up the point that there's a difference between quantity and quality, too. Again, not to put too far off field, but you might be getting what appears to be eight hours of sleep during the night. But if you've got sleep apnea, for example, which is far more prevalent than the HMO anyway will recognize, okay? And I'll leave it at that. But it's under diagnosed. Then the quality isn't there, especially if it's severe sleep apnea we're dealing with, you're almost better off not getting eight hours sitting there doing basically your cardio while you're sleeping. And no, it's not the same as getting it during the day. So no, if you're listening and you think, well, I'll just cut out cardio during the day and getting it at night. No, it's not the same thing. Not even close. clothes, but you are stressing your body in certain similar ways and you're making it even worse. So you got to be careful when, for example, you're looking at your oura ring or anything that measures your sleep or you're thinking or just looking at the clock and say, oh, wow, that's great.

[00:30:14.690] – Dr. McClain

I got eight hours. That's half the battle. The other half is, is it quality sleep? Am I waking up thinking about work the next day? Am I lightly sleeping rather than getting my deep sleep and my proper amount of rem sleep? Am I getting up six times a night to urinate because something else might go on. Anyway, my point being quality and quantity are important.

[00:30:34.310] – Allan

Now, let's dive into exercise and health span a little bit. In the book, you got into aerobic versus anaerobic, and you talked a little bit about flexibility. Why are those important? Where should we be spending our time if health span is really the direction we want to go?

[00:30:52.140] – Dr. McClain

Well, the word movement is included in the very definition of life. So you could argue just from that standpoint, we got to realize up front it's important. But what we're finding now is that there are two types of movement, and we could use all kinds of semantics here. There's exercise, what we would consider formal exercise plans, like what probably you put a lot of or all of your people through, versus just, let's say gardening or going for a walk. And to put it in terms of aerobic and anaerobic might be helpful or maybe in terms of the heart anyway, zones. Zone 1 through zone 5 is probably the most popular breakdown of the various zones, which really reflects more intensity, but also whether we're using oxygen as part of the process of getting energy from food that's usable or not. We often define the two very separately. But in practice, really, it's not digital, it's analog. So you're never like aerobic only and anaerobic only. There's different degrees of which you are one or the other. And it's not necessarily linear either. And that's why we talk about these tipping points and threshold, aerobic or anaerobic thresholds where all of a sudden it gets worse pretty quickly.

[00:32:06.660] – Dr. McClain

If you're, for example, going from aerobic to anaerobic, you hit that point at which you could stay just under that. You could probably do it a lot longer than if you go just a little bit, really, like to use a bicycleing term, you go a few more Watts above what you could normally hold and stay aerobic and all of a sudden, bingo, the lactic acid builds up fairly quickly and you go anaerobic. But anyway, exercise, as I said earlier, is the great equalizer. So many things occur while we're exercising. And then you can extrapolate from there a few, as it were, the most recent research shows that there is a definite correlation between muscle strength as well as muscle mass. I believe that when you parse it out a little bit more precisely, there's more to muscle strength than there is to muscle mass. But of course, they come relatively hand in hand to a certain degree. And then also VO2 max. And the reason I bring this up is because these are considered more or less opposite ends of the spectrum where you're building muscle mass by doing the high intensity stuff, which tended to be anaerobic, and you're building V02 max up by doing the aerobically demanding exercise.

[00:33:19.100] – Dr. McClain

And one more differentiation I want to throw out there, too, is there's a difference between exercise for, let's say, body position goals or running a marathon or something like that. And what we sometimes refer to exercise, and the reason I'm rambling on like this is because we are talking about semantics. I'm just trying to give more definition to the distinctions. Again, I go back to that zone two or under type of exercise, whether you call it gardening or doing some carpentry at home or something like that, which is a different speed, affects the mind as it were differently, obviously, one versus the other. And then lastly, you can overdo it with this, like everything else in life. The concept of Hormesis, if you will, comes into play. I'll never forget, I won't name a name, and forgive me if it's too easy to guess, but I remember meeting someone when I was much younger who was a very accomplished athlete, one of the first to run the Ironman and to be very successful and held many records. And I remember looking at him and going, Oh, my goodness, he's 36, I believe it was. He looks like he's 63.

[00:34:24.200] – Dr. McClain

And I don't mean that in any way, pejoratively, but I just remember thinking, Wow, that's not what I expected because this guy is so accomplished, you would expect, like we all expect, exercise is fantastic for you and you're doing all the right things, presumably, to be able to be that good at it. But no, you can overdo it. And literally, too much oxidation can weather you. And there's a limit as to how much you can do. And there's that sweet spot, I guess, I want to say, that you're looking for.

[00:34:54.220] – Allan

And so Hormesis, if you're not familiar with that, is basically a term we're applying a stress to our body. So the workout itself is a stress. And as we do that workout, that stress, we'll call it a positive stress or use stress, as they say, it's a positive stress on the body. And basically something that is the term, if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger. That's true for some things, but not everything. But the principle is, if we do something that stresses ourselves a little bit, our body has the opportunity through hormones to get stronger. And so we do weight lifting where we're lifting weights that are just right at the threshold of what we can lift, our muscle works. The communication of the body is, hey, we need this muscle to be a little bit stronger next time so that we build more muscle. Again, if we're getting the stimulus, the nutrition and the sleep, that's how this whole model works. And to go into your aerobic and anaerobic understanding, it's more like this. If you can move around and have a conversation like Dr. McClain and I are having right now, we're sitting still, so we're in a lower threshold, probably closer to zero than one.

[00:35:59.800] – Allan

But we're having this conversation and we can have a great conversation in long sentences and just keep going. But if we were getting close to the threshold where we started moving anaerobic, we wouldn't be able to have a conversation. We would start to get to the point where it was difficult to talk because we're not able to bring in enough oxygen, so our body has to switch over to not using oxygen for energy. So if we were both going for a good, fast run and he wants to beat me and I want to beat him and we're running hard, we're not going to be able to have a conversation. We're going to be focused on running. So if you start feeling like you're getting winded when you're doing something, you're approaching your anaerobic threshold.

[00:36:34.780] – Dr. McClain

And maybe one corollary to the idea of hormesis is the poisons in the dose, right? 

[00:36:40.780] – Allan

So let's dive in because I think a lot of people will say, I want to lose some body fat. My doctor keeps telling me to exercise more and eat less. And so I want to lose some of this body fat because my doctor keeps telling me I'm fat, or that I'm overweight, or that I just need to lose a little bit. And I step on the scale every time I go to visit this guy. So yeah, it's going to happen again if I don't do something. So I want to lose some body fat. What is the better way to do this? Aerobic or anaerobic? Because most of us are going to hit the cardio machines and be cardio bunnies to try to lose this weight because it's burning calories, right?

[00:37:17.600] – Dr. McClain

Right. And of course, people will say that in that zone 2 or below exercise where it's aerobic, we find that you are burning fat for fuel, preferentially over muscle glycogen. By definition of, certainly when we go anaerobic, right? You, Hart, done earlier, we're going for muscle glycogen, and this is where the great debate starts. And I would argue, though, it finishes back to high school physiology, right? Aerobically, and I ask the question to people all the time, and you already know the answer, so it's not fair to ask you the question. But you ask people, if you're trying to lose fat, or let's keep it more broad, if you're just simply trying to get rid of energy, do you want to be inefficient or efficient with your calories? And people almost invariably say, Oh, I want to be efficient. And no, it's the reverse. You want to go broke. So you want to pay high prices for your goods and services. You don't want to be efficient. You want to be inefficient. What's the most inefficient way to burn calories? The anaerobic method that your body uses is by far the most inefficient. As we have studied it still today, if you're into the anaerobic cycle, you are getting two to four units of energy, ATP per calorie.

[00:38:37.570] – Dr. McClain

We don't need to go into the weeds of two to four and what's happening, but it has to do with the fact that it's not a pure system and there's different things happening in the cell. But anyway, aerobically, you're getting 36 to 38 ATP units of energy per calorie. Well, obviously, aerobics is way more efficient. You're getting a lot of energy for each calorie. So yeah, you see a lot of guys in the gym and girls, obviously, when I say guys, I'm a Southerner, so I mean guys and girls by just saying guys doing their cardio, the LSD I call it long, slow distance, which yes, while you're on the treadmill in that zone two or below, yes, it's true, you are burning more fat. But over a 24 hours period, you're definitely burning through calories more, which is part of the equation, literally and figuratively, by putting on muscle mass in your workout, you're also literally burning calories more so at sleep or at rest than you would be otherwise. So I use the old parable about the… Or it's not even a parable, but what did they say? If you want to help out a man, you can catch fish for them each day, or you can teach him how to fish.

[00:39:48.300] – Dr. McClain

By developing increased muscle mass, which is what is, I would say, synonymous with your metabolism in many ways. It's the reason why we have to eat so much food. I joke with patients all the time, you don't hear people saying, Oh, geez, Jane Doe, you really blew it last night. We went to the library and we studied Einstein for a couple hours and burned 2,000 calories. No, it's always, Oh, you missed it. We did this activity where we were moving our muscles and we burnt a lot of calories. That said, just as a note of a no, they've done research, believe it or not, I like this research where they showed if you were to sit in the library all day and study hard, you might burn an extra 300 calories doing that. But you're working at it. How about if you put on, let's just make up numbers here, 10 pounds of muscle, then you're burning, if you're the average person, another, let's say, 78 % of calories. Again, not just when you're sleeping at night, which sounds great, but when you're active, it costs more now to do the same things you were doing before because you're carrying that extra muscle to do it.

[00:40:56.850] – Dr. McClain

That's why we don't see marathoners at 250 pounds solid muscle. Line backers are not running the marathons.

[00:41:04.870] – Allan

They're not professional anyway. Yeah.

[00:41:10.060] – Dr. McClain

Exactly, not professional. I know I've danced around different ways of looking at it, but is that fairly clear at this point or is it still mud?

[00:41:19.880] – Allan

Yeah, no, it is because the basis is this. A lot of people will talk about how as we get older, our metabolism goes down, which is not untrue, but it's basically typically true because we've lost muscle mass. So you can look back at the amount of muscle mass you had when you were 30 and you could get away with a lot of stuff. And now you're not 30, you're in your 40s or 50s and you're like, I can't eat what I was eating before. And you also know your activity level isn't as high. So even if you try to bump up your activity level, you still don't have the muscle mass you had back then. So even a little bit of extra muscle mass is that compounding effect of a penny. Would you rather me give you $10,000 right now, or a penny and double it every day for 30 days? And you start doing the math and realize, oh, I want the penny. So you put that little penny in the bank and that compound interest over time of burning just a little extra calories every day. And each time you're able to put an extra penny in that bank, that compound interest is just going to get bigger.

[00:42:20.330] – Allan

So it is harder being over 40 to put on a little bit more muscle mass. But it's doable if, again, as we went back, the stimulus of the training, the nutrition, and then the sleep. There's a math here of how you can make yourself healthier and increase your metabolism effectively or rebuild your metabolism because we didn't really lose anything other than muscle mass and activity level. And so it's not a matter of running yourself out of your body fat. Very few people can do that without increasing their appetite. But the reality of it is, yeah, you need the anaerobic, you need the strength. I actually saw a study that compared grip strength to longevity. The stronger your grip strength, the longer you lift, which you lived, which was effectively just basically saying that if you have grip strength, that's because you're lifting things. No one's just sitting there training their grip to do it. But maybe some are now that they saw that study. But it's a proxy of strength. And so if you're building strength and you're adding a little bit of muscle mass, you're setting yourself up to be healthier.

[00:43:19.950] – Dr. McClain

Agreed. Yeah. And the company of interest is directly 100 % analogous, but it's pretty doggone close in the sense, again, that it's not linear. You're just putting on X amount of muscle mass, which requires X amount of commensurant calories to maintain. Remember, you're going through what we refer to in medicine as the activities daily living, which includes to and from the grocery store as well as planned exercise. And so that is leveraged considerably. Maybe you could even say logarithmicly, maybe that might be a little extreme, but certainly that compounding effect is there because of that. Again, the example being that when you used to burn, let's say you go in the treadmill for an hour and you do your LSD and you burn 500 calories. Well, now that you're 10 pounds heavier, you do that exact same workout for an hour, but now you're burning 650 calories. That's a compounding effect. Agreed?

[00:44:16.180] – Allan

Yeah, it is. And the point being is what I found is if you're doing the right things for your body, you have more energy. As a result, you're moving more just in daily life. So that they call non exercise, thermogenic, neat activity. It's basically just the other stuff you're doing during the day. So you won't have a problem. You won't want to feel like you need to park at the closest parking space to where you're walking. You just park and then you walk. And so you just feel like that's not a problem for you. You get up and get down a lot more often, you're moving more. You're basically the things that aren't exercised, you're basically the things that aren't exercise. You're just doing more of them and as a result, burning more calories.

[00:44:55.260] – Dr. McClain

Well, this is just an example of how it's not as easy as we learned back in high school physiology, the basic equation, calories in versus calories out. And we could probably have, we could speak about this for hours, but just to throw that out there that there are so many other factors involved in the so called basics and you're touching on one of them. The other one I like to mention, too, is with weight lifting, typically or anything high intensity, I shouldn't just limit it to weight lifting, but the hit, we call it. There's a concept called the afterburn. A lot of people refer to it as where not only are you not producing as much cortisol, which we've agreed is on a chronic basis is bad for you. But as you would say when you're doing endurance work, particularly anything zone 3 to zone 5, but you can only stay in zone 5 for so long. So I don't want to make that sound like it might be an endurance work, but you can bounce in and out of zone 5 and do endurance work. I'm just trying to be technically correct. But the last material I thought, what was going to say about that?

[00:45:55.690] – Allan

Well, the cortisol drops after that intense workout.

[00:45:57.880] – Dr. McClain

I was talking about the after burn, though. And that's been proven in that, particularly when you perform your exercise in the morning. You were talking about the thermogenesis that occurs, right? That's part and parcel of your hit during the day as opposed to doing your hour or two on the road on your bicycle, very different. And again, another reason for doing stuff, not exclusively, but definitely including it. And we're going back to that age old thing about, oh, if my doctor wants me to lose some fat, I better do my cardio. No, that's part of it. Don't forget about the other part and the reasons behind it. I'm just adding there are a lot of reasons that aren't necessarily public and pushed, but there's a lot of nuance to it that we don't always talk about.

[00:46:41.110] – Allan

Right. And because I love where I live and I have this walk that I like to take, and the beaches just get prettier and prettier as I walk. So I'll go for long walks. It's just because I enjoy doing it and I want to be able to keep doing it. So yeah, having that long, slow cardio and having that stamina and capacity to do that, that's important to me. Being strong and able to lift the things I need to be able to lift, that's important to me. Being able to get down on the floor and get back up, that's important to me. And so let's talk just a little bit about flexibility before we move on.

[00:47:11.860] – Dr. McClain

Sure. And just to leave that last section behind with one added note, we've been focusing on the body composition aspect and the strength relating to longevity, health span, etc. But the other factor, and I got to give credit, I think I want to say it was Dr. Gupton. He's pretty famous, right?

[00:47:28.860] – Allan


[00:47:29.220] – Dr. McClain

In his most recent book, he makes a good point about, what about mental health, too? It's more than just physical health. We want the mental health. And there are plenty of studies to support that long walk you were just referring to, being good for mental health, not just what we refer to as the mind, but the brain, the physiologic mechanism that we attached to the mind, good brain health, whether it's the production of BD&F or just reducing inflammation in the brain altogether, those walks are essential. He actually, I think, believes, or he states that it's a nonnegotiable part of his day. There's more to it than just calorie burning, these zone two or below efforts in the long walks you were talking about. Anyway, in terms of flexibility, that is one that I've been asked before, and I tell myself often enough, if I had to do it all over again, if I could go back and talk to my 21 year old self or even my 12 year old self would be even better. Rand, focus on flexibility. Do not let that one go. A lot of us are guilty of this, particularly those maybe a little bit more type A and intense and maybe even hypomanic like myself, where I always thought I literally would say it to some of my coaches, are you kidding me?

[00:48:45.200] – Dr. McClain

We've got 15 minutes left of practice. Let's do some more X, whatever the sport was, heavy duty, high intensity stuff. I don't want to waste time stretching. Come on, man. And fortunately, to some degree, when you're younger, the fascia doesn't get as inflamed and scarred up. It's like so many things, time passes and the barnacles, no matter how much the ship is either in port or moving around, it's going to get barnacles, right? And who knew? That's how I look back and I go, gee whiz, if only I had known better. But to your point, there's another doctor who I love listening to, Peter Atia. I don't know if you've ever heard of him, but he has something I think he calls centenarian Olympics, where he's got these different exercises that are linked to longevity or health span that if you can do them great, you should do better than if you can't. And a lot of it has to do with functional movement. And without the flexibility, you are going to be dysfunctional to different degrees. You could be the best Kung fu artist. Really strong legs, hips, and you can throw your leg out at the bag or the person or whatever.

[00:49:53.840] – Dr. McClain

But if you can only raise it as far as the knee, well, you're limited to how well you can throw that kick. So maybe that's a terrible example, but my point, flexibility is absolutely essential. And there's more and more study coming out. I read a study recently about the importance of fascia, which you will be keeping supple and flexible with your exercises of flexibility. And this fascia is very important. Without it, we'd just be this sack of muscle hanging on bone. This fascia keeps everything in place and allows, for example, that covering, allows the lymph system to work more efficiently and the lymph is activated when we do any movement or get a massage if we're lucky enough. So flexibility is one of those things that gets overlooked. Often, I don't want to say it's ever too late, but it's not the sexy thing that we look for when we think of somebody who's doing his Olympic lifts and throwing 200 kilos overhead in a snatch, you go, Well, that was all about power, not flexibility. Well, that's actually a great example, a sport where it looks like it's all about strength, but no, man, is it about flexibility?

[00:50:59.510] – Dr. McClain

Because it's about moving your body properly and efficiently to get the most out of your muscles. Hope I'm not getting too esoteric here, but you really just want to get the most out of it, where flexibility is so important, and yet we don't think of it that way until we really get into the nitty gritty.

[00:51:13.650] – Allan

Right. So you're sitting on the toilet and you drop the toilet paper and it rolls out a few feet from your foot. Can you reach down and grab it? Or are you standing up and trying to bend over to pick up that toilet paper? This is a real life thing.

[00:51:29.120] – Dr. McClain

I love. It. love it. Yeah.

[00:51:30.560] – Allan

So again, it's just one of those things of how well do you move? Because we're going to always need to move. And so mobility and flexibility are allowing you to move through the full range of motion the way your body was intended to move. And unfortunately, I had an office job for decades. And so tight hips, tight calves, those types of things, I need a mobility practice. One of my mobility practices, which is going to come off as weird, but I have two dogs. And so I'll get up in the morning, I'll start my coffee and then I'll go sit down on the floor. It's a tile floor and I don't have to have a plan to get up. So I don't ask that question. I do. I get up, but I can just sit down there and sitting on a tile floor is not the most comfortable thing in the world. So I shift around a good bit. But I'm shifting through and stretching while I'm petting my dogs. They love it because they're getting direct attention at their level. I love it because I'm just able to start my day with a very relaxing, wonderful moment with my dogs.

[00:52:26.700] – Allan

Plus I'm stretching. I'm on the floor just moving around. If you've ever tried to just sit still on a tile floor, it's actually not that comfortable. So you just naturally squirm around. You naturally move. And so I'll do that regularly. Almost every day, I'm sitting down having that time with my dogs while I'm waiting for the coffee, and that's a part of my stretching. So it's not like I took an extra 15 minutes out of my day to go do stretching. This is five minutes while I'm waiting for coffee to brew that I'm just sitting down on the floor, moving around, getting just good movement in my legs. I've been asleep, so just not too fast, not too aggressive, just moving around and letting my legs and my whole hips and everything just get moving. And so it is a function of your life. And the more you can be more mobile, be more flexible, I think that's a big part of all of this.

[00:53:15.160] – Dr. McClain

Would add to that, too, and I can't take credit for it. An ice skater that I met many, many years ago told me about this, and it's actually to a different end. She was talking about how she developed her glute muscles. She and her mom, who's also a skater, would get up during every commercial break when they were watching TV. Let's not get into whether TV watching or not has value. But anyway, the advertisements, I would argue, have zero value. Well, they made use of it. This was back in the day, 40 years ago, when television spots were even longer, I think. At any rate, like you say, instead of sitting there because you do want to watch the football game, let's say, television is worthwhile, I would argue in that example. But get up and stretch and make that time useful and sitting there like a bump on a log. So just another example where you can throw it in there and then it's not wasted by any stretch of the imagination.

[00:54:01.620] – Allan

Absolutely. Let's take just a couple of minutes and talk about stem cell therapy and particularly these muse cells, because I wasn't familiar with those before I read your book. And I think this therapy actually has a huge amount of promise, particularly for people who have injuries or illnesses and they're trying to repair their body. Can you talk a little bit about those?

[00:54:22.880] – Dr. McClain

Sure. New cells are a relatively new discovery. The first person to discover it was a female doctor in Japan, Dr. Dazawa. The story is an interesting one, but in short, it was really by accident that she discovered them. There are people that suggest that no, these are not a different type of cell, that mus cells or really stem cells. I argue it's a matter of semantics, no matter how you slice it. You can say, well, is it tadpola frog? Is it a Caterpillar or a Butterfly? You follow my drift there. Who cares? We know that when stem cells that have been collected are stressed, then we find these mus cells. We believe, most of us, I would argue, believe that mus cells are a separate entity. They're much fewer of them, but they're found surrounding most organs, and they're activated in extreme cases. And again, that's why when these collections, where you're doing, for example, collection of the perivascular fat, you find them because they're present. And if you collect the stem cells, they come with the stem cells. And then in the case of, for example, the American hero at UCLA, Gorgio, I mentioned him in my book, too, he found it by accident as well.

[00:55:39.780] – Dr. McClain

The centrifuge broke at UCLA. He was using it. He said, I'll deal with it tomorrow. Went home, came back the next day and found these new cells were present. But mus cells are different from stem cells in the sense that while they're both regenerative, stem cells, first of all, as far as we know, still to this day, they will not cross the blood brain barrier, which is important if you want to treat the brain, obviously. They don't cross, so they're not viable, although the exosome contents can, presumably a lot of the contents can. But we want to be able to not have to… If we want to, for example, treat Parkinson's, for example, we want to get to the substantial nitro, where that's the area of the brain that's going to control dopamine release. If we wanted to regenerate those cells, the only way we could do it, presumably to date, would be to drill a hole and get there the hard way, so to speak, rather than just infusing it. Well, new cells differently than stem cells can cross the blood brain barrier. And while with stem cell use, there's a very small chance of cancer growth occurring.

[00:56:42.060] – Dr. McClain

Now, if you have extent cancer, and there's an argument both ways that, well, stem cells could activate the immune system to further get rid of the cancer, or the stem cells could actually contribute to the cancer itself. They're both referred to as generally undifferentiated cells. So there's an argument back and forth. But we do know, for example, we tried to treat neurological injuries, spinal cord injuries with stem cells directly. And last time I checked, we were still rowful in their effect, certainly based upon the ratio of how many we have versus what they can do. So the potency seems to be better, but they seem to be more efficient. They seem to be Mother Nature's last effort. And so it's our best effort. And while we really haven't advanced the medicine here, it's simply because I would argue, most of the research, and you can look it up online, at least when I did in writing the book, was written in Japanese. There were probably about 100 articles when I started looking into this. Robert Harding, kudos for… He was the one that told me about this. And then I'd say of those 100 articles, probably 90 % or 90 or more were which doesn't do us much good.

[00:58:25.460] – Dr. McClain

And if you go online today, you won't find much of the way to use cells. But I think they are the future. They're fairly easily obtained. And in the same way stem cells can be used, they don't have to be a toll of it in other words. You don't have to have your own because they essentially don't have, I will call them fingerprints. And therefore, the enterogens, where your body would look at it as something different and attack it, perhaps. Mus cells have no potential there. So we could use Mus cells from one individual for anybody else. And that's a pretty big advantage, too. Yeah.

[00:58:57.210] – Allan

And so I think this is just as you start thinking about upcoming things. This is just a part of science that really, I guess, what they call it the better life through science. This is maybe one of the big opportunities that's setting in front of us. It's hard because there's some ethical considerations, but they are doing some work on it. So it's something to be aware of and know that it's going to probably be coming. There are, as you said, clinical trials that are going on throughout the United States and around the world. So if you're dealing with something, you can do a little bit of research on it, try to find, you call it clinical trials.org or something like that, that was a website people can look up and say, Okay, where are they doing clinical trials for the thing I'm dealing with with regards to stem cells or mus cells, and see if you can get into one of those, if that's something you want to pursue.

[00:59:44.550] – Dr. McClain

Well, and just because you bring up the word ethical, I'm sure you're referring to a very different subset of ethics than what most people think of when they think of stem cells. Initially, we were talking about embryonic stem cells and the collection of said cells from fetuses. That is not the case. This is a sore spot for me and many in this field because there's been a lot lost in translation since then. From whatever groups you want to point to, there was a backlash initially because of the ethics behind harvesting these from aborted fetuses and whatnot. But what we're talking about now, certainly when we refer to stem cells or mus cells for that matter, this is not from another being's aborted life or anything close to that. These are cells that can be obtained, I mentioned earlier, for example, from the fat of a living adult human. The mesotheliis that are sitting there in the parabasculate or the fat. So a very, very different animal. And I just want to make sure that's clear to our audience. I think you're referring to the other ethics of maybe it's affordability to some versus others. And so they get the chance to not have to get a shoulder replacement, or they fix their liver disease or whatever.

[01:00:59.860] – Dr. McClain

I mean, there's all kinds of other ethics to come into play here, but it's not about taking one life for another anymore.

[01:01:04.890] – Allan

Right. But I'm just saying as you go through this process, just recognize you need to go through that and understand what's happening here so that you can make the right decision and understand that, yes, then you're going to get some blowback potentially.

[01:01:17.920] – Allan

So Dr. McClain, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[01:01:27.120] – Dr. McClain

Well, I would imagine it'd be fairly anti climactic at this point when I tell you what my three most important ones are, what I would argue are the obvious. They're not sexy, but they are the basics, and you can't change that. At least we don't have something Star Trek, and at this point that could do that. It's the basics. It's getting the proper nutrition, getting the proper amount of exercise, and getting the proper amount of sleep. It doesn't get any better than that. Beyond that, we are fine tuning. Without the basics, we are not fine tuning, or I would argue, you're fine tuning 70 to 72% rather than 98 to 100%. If you're not getting the proper amount of sleep, forget about being optimized. Ditto for nutrition and ditto for exercise. And fortunately, we talked about all three of those, so we're not leaving anybody hanging. And I do mean to use the term appropriate amount. And that amount, by the way, not to start up a new conversation, but it's different for everybody. If anybody tells you, for example, there's one way to eat, there's only a certain nutritional program that you should be on, you know this, run away.

[01:02:38.840] – Dr. McClain

I mean, come on. Everybody's different starting from the way they chose their parents to the way they lived their life, their age, where they live in the United States, etc. That's where a lot of work is involved. You can start with any one of these diets. And if I had to pick one, not to be contradictory, but I think there are some good starts for most people. But that would be the Mediterranean diet. But to further my point, I use the example, most people, if you gave them amphetamine speed, they would be up. If you gave them a big enough dose, they might be up for a couple of nights in a row, rearranging the garage and then doing that again. But there are some people with ADHD, for example, that are normally high strong. You give them enough of amphetamine, and they actually fall asleep. So my point being to apply that to diet, there are still good ways to start it out. But I would argue that the furthest thing from a Mediterranean diet might be a Ketogenic diet. And yet there are people that are eating only fat, the Ketogenic diet, or mainly fat, and they're staying in Ketosis, where they are way better off than if they were doing a Mediterranean diet.

[01:03:45.880] – Dr. McClain

And of course, one thing I didn't mention is, aside from the way you chose your parents, where you live, how old you are, what are your goals? Some people want to run 5 and 10Ks every weekend. Some people want to be very strong. Some people just want to be able to get in the garden every day. So just one other aspect of deciding what's the best is for you. Now, sleep, it's a little bit more concrete, cut and dry, as we said earlier. Matthew Walker points this out, but it's not his opinion. He's called the research, 7 to 9 hours, unless you're one of these very rare individuals, is where your sweet spot is. It might be 7.5 for you. It might be 8.5 for me. And that might change depending upon the season and how much we train, etc. But that's our window. That one's pretty easy. And of course, we emphasize quality early in the discussion. And then exercise, we got into this in detail, too. Not only is it about your goals, but it's not just about physical goals, it's about mental goals. But that's one that is very different, I would argue, also, much like diet, depending upon your age, where you are in life, etc.

[01:04:53.900] – Dr. McClain

Again, the fun part of all this is, well, I would say it is simple, but it's complicated. You're not going to get bored trying to figure this out. But also, once you do, because it took you a year to do it, well, you're a year older and you might have to change it just because you've been on the planet longer. So I would look at it as fun as you can make it as one additional side note to all this. We have things like the Oura ring I'm wearing here, my iWatch, or whatever they call it. We have a lot of tools that can collect data. There's a lot of apps that can help you with nutrition, for example. And while that is not an exact science, it's not precise enough to be accurate. Arguably, the calibrometer only gives you close to what we're looking for data. But it helps make it more fun for a lot of us. I would argue you and I as CPAs would love my fitness pad because it gets in the nitty gritty of every little thing that passes your mouth and you can have a plan. And while it may not be as accurate as we'd like, it's precise enough to head us in the right direction.

[01:05:59.340] – Dr. McClain

And I would argue that's what makes it that much easier because it is that much more fun and viable that way.

[01:06:06.420] – Allan

Yes. Dr. McClain, if someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, Cheating Death, where would you like for me to send them?

[01:06:14.420] – Dr. McClain

Well, Cheating Death is available, they call it pre sales, I guess, on Amazon right now. The book is officially released March 7th.

[01:06:22.040] – Allan

Yeah, that's today.

[01:06:24.770] – Dr. McClain

Please, and I would appreciate anyone's feedback, good or bad, about the book. Anyone who's ever written a book will tell you the same thing. It was a lot of work. A lot of what I put in the book was chopped out. They call it killing your babies, what an horrible term. But it was also what I would say, I don't want to say dumbed down because that's not fair, but I had a lot of intricate processes that I illuminated in the book and had fun doing. And they said, Nope, nobody wants to… Or I would say nobody. Most people don't want to hear that rant. And then I got excluded and I spent a lot of time with it. But I hope it's informative for both the so called late person as well as the professional. We'll see the feedback like I said.

[01:07:05.930] – Allan

It is. Absolutely.

[01:07:08.720] – Dr. McClain

Psr, Papa Sierra Romeo Med. Com is our website, and hopefully that's got some good info on there. And then, of course, I've come into the 21st century and I have an Instagram account and a LinkedIn and a Facebook that we try and provide updates on and make fun too, little tips that might be helpful.

[01:07:27.800] – Allan

Great. Well, Dr. McClain, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:07:32.780] – Dr. McClain

Thank you. It was a pleasure joining you and talking with you. Thanks.

Post Show/Recap

[01:07:46.540] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:07:48.200] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. There's a lot of really interesting information in your conversation with Dr. McClain. Cheating Death is a great title for a book, but it really does get me thinking, how old do you think you will live to, plan to, or would want to live to? What age do you expect to live to?

[01:08:08.480] – Allan

Well, most of us that are already in our 50s, like you and I are, in all probability, we're going to live till we're 100 unless something silly happens, which it does. This stuff happens. But the vast majority of people have the capacity to live well past 100. Everything I've ever read about the human body says that it is built to endure at least 120 years before it should really be wearing out. And obviously, if you do repetitive motions or did certain things that were foolish when you were younger, you might have injuries and things that would cause that to be a little different. But the science and what they're doing is getting better and better. Stem cells, mus cells.

[01:08:50.670] – Allan

Hip replacements, knee replacements, shoulder replacements, they can basically rebuild you and make you stronger and do all those things. But we're all making these decisions today, how you're going to be at 105, how you're going to maybe be at 120. You're making the decision today.

[01:09:09.930] – Rachel

Yeah. Well, that's a great point. I have longevity. I've mentioned in the past, I've got a couple of great grandparents who had lived to 103, 104. So I've had role models. I've had people in my life who I've seen surpass the age of 100, and they lived on their own in their own home until they were in their 90s. Again, this is a living example in my life. Now that I've hit 50, I'll be 52 this year, I'm looking, so what do I need to do in the next 50 years to position myself to live a high quality of life? I want to be able to walk and move and do things like my great grandparents did. So what do I need to do to get to that point?

[01:09:53.260] – Allan

Well, the independence part is going to come from your training, from your resting and that type of thing. So resistance training, maintaining grip strength, working on balance, because strength is a big part of that as well. Just the basic stamina, a little bit of speed, those basic things. So that the joke goes, I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. And a lot of people don't think that far ahead. They're thinking health today. They're thinking fitness today. It's like, okay, I want to lose a gene size or a dress size, or I want to be able to run a little bit faster in my 5K tomorrow. And that's great. But also be thinking about what does this do for your overall fitness later?

[01:10:39.960] – Allan

And that should also be something that's in there. And it doesn't have to be what you're completely focused on now, but just realizing that your overall programming and things you're doing for yourself today are going to impact who you are 10, 15, 20, 60 years from now. And so you're making those decisions every day.

[01:11:04.380] – Rachel

Yeah. Well, you and I talk a lot about making fitness a part of our lifestyle, taking the time to go on the walks, runs, hit the gym, and do all these things. And even you and Dr. McClain talked about doing hit activities and other cardio things, but also gardening and being outside and being active. And over the weekend feeding a fire for my maple syrup oil. I was on my feet all weekend long, so was Mike. I don't know, I like movement so much. It's very easy for me to incorporate that into my daily activity and how important that is. But that's not the only thing. You guys also talked about having good nutrition and sleep. You spent quite a bit of time talking about the importance of sleep.

[01:11:45.780] – Allan

Yeah, it's come up a few times when I've talked to different people, Joey and then also Dave, we talked about that, sleep is a big part of how they also see maintaining your health and fitness. And if you're not getting adequate recovery, the work doesn't really matter is the premise. And in fact, if you're not getting the recovery, I'd go as far as to say the work could actually be detrimental because you're adding the stress on top of a stressed system. And so that's why it's so important is balancing the hormones, getting your body primed to do all the things you needed to do, cleaning the brain, cleaning your muscles, getting everything ready for you to be awesome the next day. It's important. And if we're not doing that, then we're setting ourselves up for problems. And some statistics that have come out of podcasts not too long ago. In 30 years, people who are 85 years old, half of them are going to have Alzheimer's.

[01:12:50.770] – Rachel

Gosh, that's a huge %.

[01:12:52.560] – Allan

And so if you're over 50, I'm 57, is if you start looking at it and think, Okay, well, that's not that long from now. Basically 30 years and I'll be 87, there's a 50% chance that I'd have Alzheimer's, and that's going to be my nutrition. That's going to be me making sure that I'm managing my brain health through sleep predominantly. And if you're not doing that, then you're basically just saying, I want to age faster than I have to. And by doing that, then you start to fall behind on the aging curve, and it controls how fast you descend. And you could spend a long, long time in a bad place and just not die. And so to me, the book title is great because it gets your attention, cheating death. But I would go even further and say, the way you cheat death is you stay healthy, you stay fit. And so I would say embrace life, not sickness, because you could spend a long time sick and unhealthy and not doing the things you enjoy and not able to wipe your own butt. And those things I know in my heart of hearts that the first time I have to ask somebody to open a jar of pickles,

[01:14:22.260] – Allan

I'm doing something different because I'm like, that won't happen again. I'm going to be able to open my own pickles. I'm going to be able to wipe my own butt. And like your grandparents did, I want to be completely and wholly independent and not just at 97. If I'm still alive at 107, then I want to do that. If I'm 117, whatever the number, wherever it is, you don't know, you guess you can have some say in it. But in a general sense, it happens when it happens. And if you live a good, healthy life today, you're setting yourself up to be having a good, healthy life then. There's an interplay there. The faster you go down the curve now, the further down the curve you'll be then, and the worse that's going to be. Or the better you are to yourself today, the better you're going to be then, and the better your life is going to be then. And so it's just a function of making choices and you don't have to be perfect. That's what's so cool about all this is when saying you have to live this perfect life and do all these things just all the time.

[01:15:25.040] – Allan

But the more consistent you are and the better you treat yourself, it's no different than a car or any other piece of equipment or anything. If you rat it out, you rat it out. It starts making noises that you didn't want it to make and starts creaking when you don't want it to creak. And then warning lights come on all over the place when you don't want them to come on. But you take good care of your car, it will last you for a long, long time. You just got to take care of it and do the maintenance, get the stuff done, put good fuel in it, change the oil when it needs it. And just pay attention to what it's doing. It's no different with our bodies. It's really almost the same thing. If you take care of yourself, you're going to live longer and better.

[01:16:12.060] – Rachel

That's perfect right there. Just taking care of yourself. And you can expect a higher quality of life. Don't we all just want to have a better quality of life as we age?

[01:16:21.600] – Allan

I would hope so, but I don't know. I don't know. I see it every day and I'm like, for the love of God, why are people still doing that?

[01:16:36.060] – Rachel

I have a lot of great role models in my life. Mike's dad, my father in law, he ran a half marathon in his year of turning 70. He was 70 and he ran a half marathon. I love that. I love running, but I would love the opportunity to be able to run a half marathon when I'm 70 or 80. I don't know, about 90. Maybe I'll hang up my.

[01:16:57.680] – Allan

And then not just kill over. But that's what I'm saying.

[01:17:02.840] – Allan

The breadth of what you see is you can sit there and look at two 70 year olds, and one of them is vibrant and alive and doing things they love and taking on new challenges. And the other is not. It's a challenge to get out of bed. It's a challenge to change your clothes. It's a challenge to go to the bathroom. And as a result, you don't leave your house and you don't live a life. And so it was great when we were teenagers to skip out on school and sit home all day and watch the price is right. But when you're 70 and that's all you get to do, price is right and jeopardy, and that's your day, the two shows you're looking forward to and that's all you get.

[01:17:51.690] – Allan

Yeah. It's not.

[01:17:53.820] – Rachel

not what I want either. And it's good. We all need to think about where we want to be at age 70 or 80 or 90 or 100. Where do we expect to be and take the action to get to that point?

[01:18:06.180] – Allan

I'm just to the mindset, act like you're still going to be alive, and then what would you do? What would you want that person, who you are then to think about now and say, Okay, well, I'm so glad I turned things around. I'm so glad that I did all those extra little things to get stronger and stay stronger. And I'm so glad that I got sunshine and I reduced stress and I slept as good as I could and all those different things, and they all add up. And so it's not that you have to sit there and be perfect today, but all those little investments, all those little things pay off. They're like putting money in the 401k every paycheck, every day, just a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more. And all that little trickle, trickle, trickle just puts you in so much better place 10, 15, 20, 50 years from now.

[01:19:02.630] – Rachel


[01:19:03.560] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, I will talk to you next week.

[01:19:06.840] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[01:19:08.100] – Allan

You too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb– Leigh Tanner
– Eric More– Margaret Bakalian

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


1 2 3 5