Category Archives for "aging"

March 7, 2023

How to live longer and better with Dr. Rand McClain

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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


October 11, 2022

How to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease with Joseph Keon

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

As we age, Alzheimer's Disease is becoming more and more prevalent. In fact, under the current trend, by the time we're 85, we'll have a 1 in 2 chance of showing signs of this insidious disease. On episode 559 of the 40+ fitness Podcast, Joseph Keon shows us how we can make ourselves more resilient and reduce our risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease. We discuss his book, The Alzheimer's Revolution: An Evidence-Based Lifestyle Program to Build Cognitive Resilience And Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's Disease.

What's Your Health Blocker?

What's keeping you from losing weight, improving your health, and getting more fit?

You start out great and then bam, something comes along and derails you. Your diet was going great, but that birthday cake on Saturday fired up your sweet tooth.


You were working out every day and you hurt your foot. Your doctor told you to keep off of it for six weeks. Those six weeks have come and gone, and you're still keeping off of it.

Deep down, you know it's not the cake or the injury to blame, right?

It's a mindset block.

And like an invisible wall, each and every time you make progress, you inevitably backslide. Until you address your health blocker, you won't see the success you want and need.

That's why I created a quiz to help you diagnose your health blocker. It's absolutely FREE at 40plusfitness.com/quiz. Take the free What's Your Health Blocker Quiz at 40plusfitness.com/quiz.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:14.350] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:16.050] – Rachel

Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:02:17.720] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I got quite a bit of sun this week. Maybe just a little too much, but it's been good. I'm not going to say it's a complete vacation, but I did block time out on my calendar to do things to make sure that I went down the pool and enjoyed myself. Like I said, I got a little too much sun, but that's okay.

[00:02:35.420] – Rachel

That sounds good.

[00:02:35.970] – Allan

It's been a good week. Yeah.

[00:02:37.240] – Rachel

Good up here. We're turning to fall. Things are getting colder. We've got one camp out planned, that's where we're heading this weekend. And two races on the calendar. And then it's going to be winter before we know it.

[00:02:52.610] – Allan

And I'll be in Bocas del Toro. Maybe a little humid, but every day.

[00:02:57.850] – Rachel

That sounds nice. I might need a snowbird sometime down there. That would be awesome.

[00:03:04.700] – Allan

All right.

[00:03:05.370] – Allan

I think last week I talked about I'm going to be on that show, that summit, and so that started yesterday.

[00:03:11.470] – Rachel


[00:03:11.840] – Allan

And so if you want to go to that. It's going to be 40 plus fitness ultimate. Just check the show notes for this episode and you can find a link to that summit. It will be in our little hello section of the show notes. But it was a really good conversation I had with her. I think it's going to help a lot of people. So we'll go out there and show her a little bit of love. I think it's a free summit, so you can just go and listen to all the interviews. She should have some good people on the show. It's about longevity and health. So right up the alley of what we're going to be talking about today.

[00:03:36.920] – Rachel



[00:04:34.970] – Allan

Joseph. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:37.790] – Joseph

Thank you, Allan. Great to be here with you.

[00:04:40.080] – Allan

I have wanted to cover this topic for so long. When we start talking about aging and some of the bad things that happen with aging, Alzheimer's is kind of right up there. And in my mind, cancer is scary, but, man, this is freaking frightening.

[00:04:53.790] – Joseph

It is.

[00:04:54.400] – Allan

And your book is called The Alzheimer Revolution: An Evidence-Based Lifestyle Program to Build Cognitive Resilience and Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease. And just one statistic that I took from the book is that in the next 30 years, one in two people over the age of 85 will have Alzheimer's.

[00:05:13.020] – Joseph

Yes. Staggering, isn't it?

[00:05:14.590] – Allan

It is. So just look at the person sitting next to you right now. One of us has that risk if we live till we're 85. And I think every one of us wants to have a good, long, healthy life, so we've kind of got to start doing some things about it.

[00:05:27.180] – Joseph

Well, and not only that, Allan, there's new reports that have come out showing that Alzheimer's is actually trending to younger and younger populations. So 1 may not need to wait until they're 85. It really can no longer be called a disease of the elderly because it's affecting people in their 50s, in their 40s, even now. So I think a lot of times people think of Alzheimer's, they hear that word and they think old age but we need to be doing things at all ages to reduce our risk of developing it.

[00:05:59.740] – Allan

Yeah. Now, one of the interesting things and you shared this quote in the book and sometimes I just like clue on a quote. I'm like, okay, this is actually a really cool and important quote. And it says “maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has manifest is like digging a well after one feels thirsty or foraging for a weapon when the war has already begun.”

[00:06:26.470] – Joseph


[00:06:26.890] – Allan

And we're in that spot. But this is not new. This is not a new quote that someone just came up with a few days ago. This is 5000 years ago. The Yellow Emperor of China shared this wisdom with the world, with his people, wrote it down. So we have it today. But we really have to do this. We have to start maintaining water.

[00:06:44.670] – Joseph

Absolutely. Yeah. The earlier the better.

[00:06:47.890] – Allan

So when we talk about Alzheimer's disease, I think people know, okay, that's a form of dementia. Stuff happens. Can we get a little bit more technical? Okay. What are these things like amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Tangles and those types of things. What does Alzheimer's look like in the brain?

[00:07:04.680] – Joseph

So Alzheimer's is one of numerous types of dementia. It's the most common. It accounts for about 70% of all the cases that occur. And it's marked by a decline in memory, reasoning, judgment as well as spatial perception. And what happens is there are person who's developed Alzheimer's will increasingly need assistance performing things that you and I take for granted. We call them activities of daily living but these are things like bathing or showering dressing, grooming, preparing and eating a meal. Increasingly these things will be challenging and they'll need somebody to assist with it. Now, what's going on inside the brain that leads to these kinds of changes are very distinct pathological features. And a lot of people have heard about plaques and tangles but here's some more about what they actually are. Amyloid plaques are created by a protein called beta amyloid which basically just starts misbehaving. It folds over on itself sort of like deformed origami and it's very sticky. So it clumps together with other beta amyloid. And so these clumps start forming in between the neuron cells in the brain. And that's what we call the amyloid plaques. The other protein that misbehaves is the protein called tau.

[00:08:27.080] – Joseph

Tau. And tau is on the inside of the neuron and it too starts operating in a dysfunctional manner. And if you look at it microscopically it looks like little balls of thread. Now, as these plaques and tangles spread the brain's own immune system tries to eradicate them and it sends out special cells to do that. And part of that is creating an inflammatory response. And so you get neuroinflammation. And as the neurons get inflamed they enter a state of dysfunction and ultimately die off. So what you have is a loss of brain cells and a loss of synapses, which are the connections in between those brain cells. And with that loss, you have a total loss of volume of the brain, and particularly in a region of the brain we call the hippocampus. And the hippocampus is located deep inside the temporal lobe. And this is really the center of memory in the brain, and it's also part of the brain that enables us to perform spatial navigation. So that's why individuals who are afflicted will have difficulty finding their way around even in their own home at certain stages. Or often they'll get lost in the neighborhood or in a shopping mall and things like that.

[00:09:46.450] – Allan

Or worst case, driving. And there's a Silver Alert. You're driving on the road, you get a warning on your phone or a warning on the sign that you're driving under. There's a silver alert. Look for someone in this car, and we don't know where they are exactly. Yeah, I'm in Mexico right now, and I arrived here right as a 7.5 earthquake.

[00:10:05.490] – Joseph

Oh, wow.

[00:10:06.020] – Allan

Okay. And yeah, it's scary, but I'm fine. I'm in a car in the middle of the road, just bouncing around a little bit, that kind of thing. We get to the resort I'm staying at for this week, and there was a gentleman and a wife. Everybody was supposed to be outside, but this gentleman could not walk down the stairs. Okay, so the wife was outside. She was really distraught because is, okay, here was her husband of many years, and she had to leave him because she had to leave and get down and tell them they sent some guys up. But it's just that kind of concept of when you start thinking about these things is if we're not taking care of ourselves, we're kind of setting ourselves up for these types of things where we're not able to take care of ourselves, we're not able to take care of other people. Now, you mentioned something that's really important inflammation. Everybody is kind of aware that inflammation has a reasonable purpose in our body, but oxidative stress and inflammation are really kind of so the amyloid plaques and the tau tangles and all the shrinking of the brain, that's the symptom.

[00:11:09.150] – Allan

But the real cause of this is the oxidative stress inflammation, can you kind of talk about that and how our lifestyle because it's the title of the book, evidence based Lifestyle. What's going on? What's that cause effect thing that's going on?

[00:11:23.780] – Joseph

Yeah, I can talk about both inflammation and oxidative stress because they kind of go hand in hand, and as you said, they really ramp up. They're there from the earliest stages of Alzheimer's, even when someone is experiencing kind of the precursor, which is called mild cognitive impairment, all the way to the very end stages of the disease. And as you said, inflammation is important it's a natural defense part of our process of combating pathogens and infectious bacteria. And essentially healing accelerates healing. But that's acute short term inflammation. Lesser to think of having a cut on the back of your hand, you look down and see it gets red, it gets tender and swollen. There's inflammation in there, and that's helping restore that tissue. And ultimately, when the healing has taken place, then the inflammation is signaled to go off. It's the chronic long term inflammation that is injurious to cells that's associated with elevated risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and certainly Alzheimer's disease. And we know we can look at biomarkers in the blood and we can measure indicators of when elevation is elevated. And when you look at people at midlife, if they have high levels of inflammation, it's often a harbinger of things that are going on in the brain already neuroinflammation, loss of neurons, and some of these characteristic changes we talked about earlier that occur that ultimately lead to dementia.

[00:12:57.840] – Joseph

So there's a way we can address both inflammation and oxidative stress. And I'll tell you a little about oxidative stress because as I say, when you have oxidative stress going on, it boosts inflammation and vice versa. Oxidative stress is a state in the body when there's the production and accumulation of too many of these very unstable molecules that we call free radicals. And they can be likened to a bull in a china shop. Basically, they're bouncing around and damaging cells and tissue, even DNA, and they're certainly contributing to risk of dementia. And our body produces free radicals just as a normal part of metabolism, but when it gets overwhelmed, it can't contend with them. So things like radiation, cigarette smoke, toxins, pesticides, things like this that we ingest or exposed to can ramp up the level of these free radicals that are produced. And eventually the body reaches the point where it says, hey, I can't contend with this. And that's when the damage starts to occur. And it's the same way with inflammation. We can handle the short term inflammation, but it's the chronic long term. So the answer to both of these things is there's a lot we can do.

[00:14:13.400] – Joseph

One of the most important is diet because we know that foods like fruits and vegetables, colorful fruits and vegetables, are loaded with these anti inflammatory substances, or antioxidants everybody's heard that word by now. And these are substances that quench or neutralize the free radicals, so they're not doing the damage to cells in the body. So foods that all these antiinflammatory and antioxidant substances concentrate in foods of plant origin. So we do well by incorporating as much of these plant foods in our diet as possible. There are other things that increase inflammation. Interestingly, if we don't sleep well, inflammation goes up. Diabetes increases systemic inflammation. Alcoholic beverages increase inflammation in the body and particularly in the brain. So we can address some of these other factors high blood pressure. And by addressing those and by making these dietary choices, we can really bring the risk of oxidative stress and excess inflammation down.

[00:15:21.660] – Allan

Yeah, kind of the way you talk about it in the book, which I really like the principle of this case. So you're talking about rust and fire?

[00:15:28.120] – Joseph


[00:15:30.830] – Allan

You could just think about any environment where you're dealing with rust or you're dealing with fire. You don't want that as a chronic existence. And that's what's happening inside our body.

[00:15:39.550] – Joseph

And it's very true. You look at the science of this, how it plays out in the brain, some scientists will actually say, they'll say this brain is on fire. It's an inferno of inflammation and oxidative stress. And so again, what we're trying to do is cool the flames and protect ourselves from the rust, from the degenerative action of these substances.

[00:16:01.860] – Allan

Now to kind of go back to the advice that the Yellow Emperor gave 5000 years ago, prevention is really kind of the key here. Once you have the disease, it moves. It moves at a certain pace. And yes, you might be able to slow the progression, but once you have the disease, you're a little behind the game. So if we're someone who's right now feeling cognitively, okay, but we know we need to do something. We're not living the lifestyle that's necessary for us to live that long, healthy, non-dementia life. I want to talk about some of the prevention. So let's talk about food. Let's dive a little bit deeper into food and how can we approach our food to protect ourselves?

[00:16:38.150] – Joseph

Yeah, there was a really important study that's called the Chicago Health and Aging Project. And what these researchers do is they went into three neighborhoods in Chicago, diverse neighborhoods. And they sat down with the subjects and said, we want to know what you're eating, how much exercise you're getting, how you're living. And they made careful records of that and followed them for a number of years and then watched to see who developed Alzheimer's disease. And they discovered something really important. They found that the people that ate the most of something called saturated fat had more than twice the risk that they'd go on to develop Alzheimer's compared to the individuals who were consuming the least saturated fat. And they also found that those who were consuming the most trans fat had more, almost three times the risk of going on to develop Alzheimer's. So these are two things that everybody can address because saturated fat is really concentrated in foods from animal origin. So meats and dairy. And in the US. When you look at the way we eat, our number one intake of saturated fat comes from cheese and then it's followed by chicken.

[00:17:49.320] – Joseph

So plant foods, fruits and vegetables and legumes are all very low in saturated fat. The exception, of course, is tropical oils. But if we focus on these foods, we're going to slash the amount of saturated fat we're getting. The trans fats used to be in a lot of packaged foods that had something called hydrogenated oil, but that was banned. And so now they're really relegated to foods that have been fried. Things like fried chicken, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, donuts, things like that.

[00:18:19.920] – Allan

All the delicious stuff.

[00:18:20.910] – Joseph

Yeah, all the delicious stuff.

[00:18:23.090] – Allan

But honestly, honestly, I say that. I joke. But the reality is, once you start eating a whole food diet, you actually start changing your palate.

[00:18:31.430] – Joseph


[00:18:32.000] – Allan

And strawberry might be one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten when you just start eating whole food and you rediscover the palate that doesn't want the fried stuff.

[00:18:42.970] – Joseph

Exactly. We acclimate to diets that aren't overloaded in sodium or sugar. And discovering new foods, discovering these different flavors that we might not be accustomed to. It can be a wonderful experience just experimenting and learning to prepare some of these meals at home with these protective foods. So we know, studies show that people who consistently get three to four servings of colorful fruits and vegetables in their diet see about a 40% reduction in that age related decline, that cognitive decline, and are much more resilient cognitively and stay sharp. But beyond that, we want that day to day cognitive function, but we want to be also doing everything we can to minimize the likelihood that these pathological changes are going on in the brain. So there are hundreds of anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and some of these substances actually have been shown to reach in and protect neurons in different ways in the brain. So packing as much of that into the diet is critical.

[00:19:49.860] – Allan

Yes. And one of the cool things about putting more good stuff in, it doesn't feel like you're depriving yourself, because most people will look at a diet and it's saying, well, cut this out, cut that out, cut this out. But the way you're talking about it right now, which I think is a really important thing, is, no, just put more of the good stuff in there and then you don't have as much room for that stuff.

[00:20:11.590] – Joseph

Exactly. And all of the great big long term studies that have been breaking in the last seven to 8, 10 years that are showing these dramatic reductions in risk, it's the same thing. The more plants that are in the diet, the more exercise people are getting. It's very clear what's happening. And so the more that we add in, the more that we populate the diet with color and leafy greens and these protective foods, the better off we're going to be.

[00:20:44.790] – Allan

So let's take that step into exercise. How does exercise help us prevent Alzheimer's?

[00:20:51.170] – Joseph

I was thinking about this the other day just because it's still remarkable how many things exercise addresses with regard to risk for Alzheimer's disease. I mean, it prevents or can reverse, like, ten different risk factors related to dementia. And I devote an enormous chapter to it in the Alzheimer's Revolution.

[00:21:14.280] – Allan

I read the book. I know.

[00:21:15.560] – Joseph

I want to get people excited. When somebody says exercise is good for you, it doesn't get you very excited, right? But when you read about all these different things that are happening, that are protecting, that are serving to protect the brain, it gets exciting. It's like, I want this. I want a dose of this every day. So we know exercise lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. It reduces inflammation, it increases our sensitivity to insulin. So we're less concerned with insulin resistance and the risk of developing diabetes, which is a major risk factor for dementia. It actually builds brain matter so people can increase the volume of their hippocampus, the center of memory, in just months of performing regular aerobic exercise. It increases the number of blood vessels that are feeding the hippocampus and other parts of the brain. So you're getting more oxygen, more nutrients to the brain cells. And something that is seldom discussed is that as we age, if we aren't taking these proactive protective steps, generally, by age 65, the average Americans lost about 20% of the oxygen flow to their brain. And so it's like a slow motion kind of choking effect. So anything that we can do to dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow, increase oxygen, transport to the brain is going to be really critical.

[00:22:43.270] – Joseph

There was a study conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center, and this is really compelling. They took a group of about 700 people and they fitted them with these little devices called actographs. And it's just something that measures how much activity somebody's getting. And then they sent them out just to live their life as they normally do. They check in with them periodically, and about three and a half years later, they sat down and looked at the total amount of activity all of them were getting. And the people who were in the bottom 10% for physical activity had more than two and a half times the risk that they would go on to develop Alzheimer's compared to those who are in the top 10%. So clearly this is really powerful medicine in terms of preventing dementia.

[00:23:28.570] – Allan

Absolutely. So let's talk about and I want to put these together because in my mind, like brother and sister, if you will, so stress management and sleep. If you're stressed, you don't sleep well. If you don't sleep well, you're stressed. And it's this back and forth thing that just seems to happen. How is stress management and good quality sleep going to help improve our chances against Alzheimer's?

[00:23:51.650] – Joseph

Well, when we're stressed, obviously we don't feel well. One of the things that happens is our levels of a stress hormone called cortisol go up and cortisol constricts blood vessels. So then you have reduced blood flow and oxygen transport to the brain and other parts of the body, but you push blood pressure up as a result. So blood pressure goes up and it's a major risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. Anything that we can do to help us feel less stressed out. And as you know, we're never going to avoid stress because there are going to be stresses in all of our lives.

[00:24:28.430] – Allan

And you can't stress about stress. That's kind of one of those things, right? You can't lay there in bed like, I can't go to sleep. I got to make myself go to sleep. So this is a harder puzzle for a lot of us to fix, but there's a lot of benefit to really taking the time to structure your life in a way that does manage your risk manage your stress and also help you sleep better.

[00:24:48.570] – Joseph

Yeah, and it's interesting because when we think about it from the standpoint, it's how I'm going to react to the inevitable stressors. I get on the freeway and there all the cars are stopped and I know I've got a 40 minutes trip home that I'm going to sit in this traffic, how am I going to respond? I have Cortisol levels shoot up and my blood pressure go up and these deleterious things happen inside my body and my brain. Or am I going to put on some relaxing music and say, hey, I'm not in control of this?

[00:25:15.210] – Allan

Or 40 plus fitness podcast.

[00:25:17.280] – Joseph

There you go. I learned something on that terribly slow drive home. There are lots of things we can do, and the research is really compelling around things like yoga and tai chi meditation. Each of these things is actually supporting what we call cognitive reserve. It's building and supporting the retention of brain cells and connections to those brain cells, more synapses, so we have a higher level of cognitive function. And so when we practice these things, we know we feel good in the moment. We know we feel good when we're doing them. But the idea is that with practice, it spills over into the periods of time when we're not doing it. So when we do encounter the terrible news, the terrible traffic, whatever the trigger is, we're more likely to remain calm, to not have that negative response. So just making these a part of our program weekly, joining a yoga class, learning how to meditate, studying tai chi, whatever it is, you can do it online, you can do it at your own home, you can do it anywhere. But the science is really showing that it has a tremendous effect in helping protect us from cognitive decline and dementia.

[00:26:36.430] – Allan

Now, last one, I want to talk about, at least from the perspective of prevention, is I kind of feel like there's this tsunami that's starting to really build and more and more people are talking about it. So that's a good thing. But we have these toxins and heavy metals that have been pumping into our environment for a long time now. And despite regulations, despite everything else, it's not going away anytime soon. So we're getting more and more exposed. New stuff is coming on the market. They get rid of an old thing and they're like, okay, we got to get rid of this old thing because we know that's killing people and then they introduce something else. Actually, we find out 10,15 years later was actually even worse. Toxins and heavy metals, let's talk about those.

[00:27:16.150] – Joseph

Yeah, you're absolutely right in that regard. It's actually getting worse. You may have seen just a couple of weeks ago, some assessments found that 85% of Americans are excreting glyphosate in their urine. That's the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup that is in so much of our food today. And pesticides in general are designed to destroy the nervous system of living creatures. So we shouldn't be ingesting them. But unfortunately, they're used rapidly in conventional agriculture. So I always recommend to people, when you have the opportunity to choose organically produced foods, you're going to really minimize your exposure to these kinds of substances. We know that when pesticides get in the body, they trigger inflammation, they trigger oxidative stress and move us more in the direction of risk. So the good news is that studies have consistently shown when people are put on an organic foods diet, their levels of pesticides that are measured in their blood precipitously within two weeks. So the more opportunities we have to make those choices for organics, the better off we are. With regard to the metals, again, this is a huge problem that we don't see them, we don't taste them, we don't smell them.

[00:28:34.570] – Joseph

They're getting in the food chain, they're in our water and some of our supplements and things like that. And a big one for brain health is, of course, mercury. And mercury is a neurotoxin at any level. It creates oxidative stress in the brain, it kills neurons, ramps up inflammation, and the number one source of it today is fish. Unfortunately, fish and shellfish, virtually all of them have some degree of mercury in them and some have very high levels. The predator fish have very high levels of mercury in them. So need or want mercury in the body at all, the best thing we can do is minimize our exposure. Another one's copper. Copper, we need just a tiny amount in our body for our health. And when you exceed that level, this is something that can promote free radicals. And the interesting thing is copper is showing up embedded in those amyloid plaques. And it's unclear whether they're part of instigating them or they have an affinity for the plaque once they're formed. But since they are a promoter of free radicals, we want to minimize our exposure to copper. And a good way to do that is to put a filtration system on under your kitchen sink, your ice cube maker, et cetera, wherever you're drinking water and using it to cook.

[00:29:58.550] – Joseph

Because when water sits in copper pipes, which it does all night long while we're sleeping, the copper leaches into the water, and then when we use the water the next day, we're getting little amounts, but over time it adds up. So copper also was historically added to supplements, but now many supplement manufacturers have come to understand the risk of added copper and they're eliminating it just like added iron, which is being reduced or eliminated from many supplements as well. Another one is aluminum. Aluminum is a neurotoxin. We have no reason to have that in our body. It's coming from water again, so we can filter it from water. There are some things like antacids, which tend to contain aluminum. You can select aluminum free antacids, aluminum free antiperspirants, not deodorant, but the antiperspirants that contain typically choose aluminum free baking powder if you're a baker, because that has it as well. And be cautious about things like frozen pizzas and pancake mixes and muffin mixes because they often contain something called aluminum phosphate. Another source aluminum in the diet. And we got another one that we all read too much about right in the press, lead.

[00:31:16.410] – Joseph

And lead typically comes from drinking water from all lead pipes, and so filtration can get that out. And oddly enough, calcium supplements are contaminated with lead. So you might want to rethink that as well. And there's lead in fish, all these heavy metals, you show up eat fish, cadmium, leg, mercury. So, yeah, that's the metals.

[00:31:39.250] – Allan

Yeah. Now, I didn't put this on the show plan, but I just want to get your opinion. More and more I'm hearing experts and individuals out in the field saying that they feel like Alzheimer's is kind of like type three diabetes. And predominantly because type two diabetes tends to be like almost like not as a precursor, but a very high risk driver. What are your thoughts about is Alzheimer's related to diabetes? Would it be type three diabetes?

[00:32:09.320] – Joseph

I understand why people are making that statement because the association is very strong. We know that when the brain can't access glucose, the brain is an energy hog. It uses 20% of all the energy produced, and if it can't access the glucose, then there's dysfunction, the cells can't function. And so that may be a problem. We know that a lot of people in their seventy's and eighty's who are tested, who have dementia often have blood glucose and insulin levels that are very high, so they're not metabolizing glucose well. I would also say this. There's a lot of ways to arrive at the same place. You can go be a combat veteran, participate in combat and be exposed to an IED, and you can double or triple your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. You can play a few seasons of pro football, and you could substantially increase the risk that you're going to develop Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. And so I don't think we can say that Alzheimer's itself is just entirely focused on our ability to metabolize glucose and sensitivity to insulin. But I think it definitely plays a big role.

[00:33:27.200] – Joseph

We see about doubling of risk for Alzheimer's and people who have diabetes, type two diabetes.

[00:33:32.590] – Allan

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

[00:33:41.870] – Joseph

definitely eating a diet that's chock full leafy greens and fruits and vegetables and legumes and nuts and seeds. That's critical. The exercise we talked about getting 150 minutes of real robust aerobic exercise, critical for all the reasons we touched on. And I also tell people with the exercise, find some other way to inoculate yourself from a negative response to stress, whether it's tai chi or yoga or meditation or a stretching program. Find a way to express yourself creatively. Because we all have those creative juices and we feel better. And when we're being creative, we have positive feelings. We're less likely to experience feelings of anxiety or depression. And so whether it's joining a photography class or painting, sculpting or studying music, taking up a musical instrument or something, and then the final piece I always say to people, we're social creatures and we thrive physically, emotionally, mentally, immunologically when we feel connected, when we have community. And so find ways to get out of your silo, where we all are working and living, and even if it's just getting on the phone or having a zoom call with friends or family members, going out on a walk a couple of times a week, find ways to connect with people.

[00:34:59.950] – Joseph

Join a book club, a choir, go to volunteer.com, just find ways to be with people and feel that connection because it really makes a difference in our long term health.

[00:35:09.860] – Allan


[00:35:10.360] – Allan

So, Joseph, if someone wanted to learn more about your book, The Alzheimer's Revolution and more about you, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:35:18.540] – Joseph

They can visit my website, which is josephkeon.com. And the book, of course, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. And pretty much anywhere that books are sold.

[00:35:30.140] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/559, and I'll be sure to have links there. Joseph, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:35:38.530] – Joseph

Thanks, Allan. It's been a pleasure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:35:46.770] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:35:47.950] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What an interesting conversation about Alzheimer's. That is another situation that's certainly getting out of control. I can't believe how fast Alzheimer's is growing in popularity.

[00:36:01.210] – Allan

Well, popularity,

[00:36:03.090] – Rachel

I know. Yes. And the demographics.

[00:36:05.500] – Allan

Yeah, it's just happening. Like you said, it's happening to younger and younger people.

[00:36:08.950] – Rachel


[00:36:09.440] – Allan

And more people. So it is really our face, and it's just going to get worse. And it's really about us adjusting our lifestyle. And I talk about commitment. I talk about why you start thinking about getting older. I've always said the joke, I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. This is a part of it. This is a big part of it. I don't want my kids or brothers or sisters or anybody to have to care for me. I want to be independent. I want to be there. So it was food for thought having this conversation with Joseph because he did his research. This was maybe the most researched book I've ever read. He had over 1000 references in this book and I had some that have been up to 800. There's over 1000 references. So if there was a study about Alzheimer's, this dude read it.

[00:36:58.830] – Rachel


[00:37:00.330] – Allan

So there's a lot in the book, a lot of advice. But you mentioned it on pre-shows. We were talking through this. It really goes back to the basic tenets of health.

[00:37:08.620] – Rachel

It does, doesn't it?

[00:37:09.920] – Allan

Real food, sleep, stress management, movement. It's the same. And avoid toxins. It's the same five things that you would think. 350 plus interviews, all of them saying the same thing eventually click.

[00:37:25.660] – Allan

Hey, guys.

[00:37:26.750] – Rachel


[00:37:27.320] – Allan

This is a thing. Yeah.

[00:37:29.500] – Rachel

Well, you mentioned you mentioned that this is scarier for you in later life than cancer. And it is true. And you mentioned it's the same statistic. Didn't they say it was one in two people will end up with Alzheimer's over if you live to be over 85.

[00:37:44.710] – Allan

If you're over 85, yes, about 30 years. So about the time because I'm 56 right now. I'm 56 right now, so 30 years.

[00:37:52.450] – Allan

Half the people that are standing around me my age are going to have Alzheimer's.

[00:37:56.790] – Rachel


[00:37:57.260] – Allan

Worst part of that statistic is that there are people in their family that are now going to be suffering as well because of the caretaking and the losing the person before you lose the person. So this is a really big deal. And that needs to be a part of your why, not just what you're doing for yourself, what you're doing for the people around you.

[00:38:16.850] – Rachel

Oh, it is. People with Alzheimer's require so much extra care and you can't literally live on your own at that point. You need to be in the assisted or even a memory care facility. You need round the clock care because like Joseph was saying, you lose certain synapses and you just don't think about it. We have a loved one that suffers with Alzheimer's and one of the things that goes is the ability to make your own decisions. So when we go out to eat, the restaurant waiter or wait staff will ask what you're going to eat and someone will say something and our loved one can't make a decision. So she'll just eat whatever the person before her ordered. And I'm not even sure she's capable of reading at this point, but she can't make those types of decisions and it's very difficult and it just requires around the clock care and it's really hard to watch your loved ones suffer like that.

[00:39:11.120] – Allan

Yeah, it is. And so if you have a loved one in your life, because the reason he kind of got into all of this was he had members of his family that had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, so they're like, oh, well, we're all bound to get it because it's genetic.

[00:39:24.970] – Allan

And so he did his research. He said, well, there's a little bit.

[00:39:27.440] – Allan

Of a genetic component, but that's not what's causing it. You have a predisposition towards Alzheimer's, and then you're not caring for yourself, and then you enter the disease state. So you don't have to go down that path. There's a different choice.

[00:39:42.130] – Rachel

Well, that's fascinating. And like you mentioned, it's the same thing that we've heard before. It's eating the good food so that these plaques don't develop in your brain. It's exercising so that you're continuing to build those capillaries instead of breaking them down so that your brain can function. And the sleep component, I mean, that's when your body fixes itself. It's in the sleep when all the good things happen to repair functions and whatnot. So it is something that we all should spend a little bit more time focusing on. And like you had said too, just make that simple swap if there's something you're not doing right in your life. Too many desserts. Well, switch it. Maybe add some fruits to your life or some happier, fun to eat vegetables or something and get some more time outside. There's those spots that we just have to be diligent about making, and we're not as active like in the winter up here in Michigan, it's harder to be outside in the cold, but we could push ourselves a little harder to spend a few more minutes outside than we might normally do. Get a little fresh air, get a little sunlighy.

[00:40:51.020] – Allan

and you're going to move. Because standing still in the cold is a lot worse than moving in the summer.

[00:40:55.240] – Rachel

Yeah, you have to move. No standing still in the winter. It's just these little simple things that could really make a big difference over time. And you're right. As we age, we want to be independent and doing things for ourselves that makes a high quality of life. So why not start setting some good habits now?

[00:41:13.520] – Allan

I completely agree with you.

[00:41:16.450] – Rachel

That sounds great.

[00:41:17.850] – Allan

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

[00:41:19.960] – Rachel

Right, Allan, take care.

[00:41:21.290] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:41:22.300] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to become a superager with Jim Owen

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Jim Owen (author of the book Just Move: A New Approach to Fitness After 50 is a 40-year veteran of Wall Street and is also the founder and CIO of the center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership. He is the best-selling author of The Try, The Secret to Success in Life and Career, Cowboy values, recapturing what America once stood for, and the Prudent Investor. On his 70th birthday, he looked in the mirror and didn't like what he saw. He committed to change. And now at 82, he's in the best shape of his life. He shares many of his super-ager strategies and tactics during this interview.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:18.550] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:01:20.460] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:22.810] – Allan

Well, we are now out of the closet, out of the bedroom, into the house. My wife Tammy got covid, so we've had her quarantined for this week. And I've been living upstairs in one of our rooms, which is not bad. It's a really nice place, but just having to take care of her, having to take care of everything else. And it's been a lot. But it's a good week.

[00:01:52.840] – Rachel

Yeah. She's feeling better?

[00:01:54.650] – Allan

She is now symptom free, so she's gotten over it.

[00:01:58.420] – Rachel


[00:01:59.320] – Allan

She had tested positive on Monday and she tested herself and then she tested positive again. She went to the hospital and tested and got a positive. So this at home test, you can get false positives sometimes she got a positive, I got a negative. And then we quarantined her. She went to the hospital the next morning and it was positive. So she finished up her fifth day yesterday, the day before yesterday, and then just out of precaution stayed another day and a half, two days. So she's just now coming out of the apartment today.

[00:02:36.110] – Rachel

Cool. That's good news. Very exciting.

[00:02:40.030] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:02:41.570] – Rachel

Oh, great. Mike and I went camping this weekend and had a great weekend out. Our first weekend of camping. And it was a beautiful time. Nice, peaceful, relaxing. It was a good time. Nice to be out.

[00:02:55.330] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to have this conversation with Superager Jim?

[00:02:59.090] – Rachel



[00:03:35.350] – Allan

Hey, Jim, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:37.820] – Jim

Thank you, Allan. I'm delighted to be here.

[00:03:40.640] – Allan

You know, you're in your 70s, mid-70s now, I guess, right? 76, maybe.

[00:03:46.380] – Jim

Allan, I will be 82.

[00:03:50.290] – Allan

Okay, we're going to play some of the video. We're going to save some little clips here and there. And so I want people to look at this because you don't look like a normal 82-year-old. Not by normal, I mean an American 82-year-old man. You look very different than most of us think we're going to look or would look when we're 82. And a lot of it is the stuff that you shared in this book.

[00:04:15.600] – Jim

And that's kind of the real story, because I'm nobody special, believe me, if I can do this, because when I was 70, very different story. That's what we're talking about, my story.

[00:04:28.710] – Allan

Okay, well, the book is called Just Move: A New Approach to Fitness after 50. And I started when I was in my mid-40s, realized that my job was killing me. My life was killing me. I was unfit, unhealthy, and just going downhill and fairly miserable. So I started making some changes. And those changes reflected who I changed into. And in many ways, it's the same for you. You came upon it, said, hey, I got to do something, and you started making some changes. Can you talk a little bit about your story?

[00:05:02.770] – Jim

Well, Allan, when I turned 70, I was in terrible shape. My back was killing me. I'm not talking about a little back pain. I'm talking about excruciating back pain. Both knees were shot and my right rotator cuff was frozen. If that weren't enough, I was probably 20 to 25 pounds overweight. But when I think about it, and I'm sure that many of your listeners had the same thing, the worst of it all was low energy. I just didn't have the energy I had when I was younger. And I said, boy, I said to my wife, I look in the mirror. I don't forget as long as I live on my 70th birthday. And Allan and I said, My God, I'm an old man. And I said to my wife, I'm an old man. She said, Sweetie, don't worry, you've still got game. She paused and then she said, unfortunately, that game is being gone. That's a true story. So that got me thinking, okay, I got to do something. Today, I'll be 82 in October. And now I'm in the best shape of my life. I couldn't do one push up on day one on my 70th birthday, I could not do one push up.

[00:06:40.490] – Jim

I can bang out 50. I don't do it every day because it's not good for your shoulder. But I can bang out 50, and I weigh less than I did today than I did in high school. And I look back and say, yeah, it's transformation. But, Allan, I think the takeaway for your audience is I'm just an average guy. So if I can do this, go from being weak and overweight and so on, anybody can do it. I'm nobody special. I'm not a Superman or any of that stuff. I think the basic message to your audience is, if you want to get more fit like you did, you want to get healthier, you can. It's never too late. Doesn't matter. Obviously, if I'd done this earlier in my life like you did, I wouldn't have had to have worked as hard. Let's be honest about it, okay. But if you're 75 years old, you still get more fit. And still now 82, and all I can say is I'm in the best shape of my life. I feel lucky. But it wasn't a gift. I had to show up and do the work. And that's the basic message to your audience.

[00:08:06.800] – Jim

You have to show up and do the work, and you have to have kind of a long term view. And maybe you can help me out. If there's a secret, if there's a pill I could have taken, there's a shortcut. I never found it, frankly. I just showed up, did the work. But anybody can do this. You don't have to kill yourself. You don't have to have a gym membership. You don't have to have a personal trainer. Not really. So that's my story.

[00:08:39.280] – Allan

Well, if there is a magic to it, and I think this is where most people struggle is, and you would have struggled with this a lot as well. You hurt, you're in pain, but you're in a bad place. And you know that there are two directions. You're kind of at a fork in the road. And as you said, it's your stark reality.

[00:08:59.140] – Jim

Absolutely. Fork in the road is a great way to look at this.

[00:09:04.510] – Allan

And now for you, it seems, because I was looking at it kind of the same way of saying I'm either going to keep dying or I'm going to start living. And that's the way I kind of looked at it. But being inactive was really, I think, one of the big problems both of us kind of faced at that point in our lives. We weren't active. What are some of the risks that we were facing when we're not moving our bodies and not doing the things we're supposed to?

[00:09:30.370] – Jim

Well, this is one of this book I wrote. I wrote this book, I guess five years ago, published by National Geographic. They've never done a book like this, but they were sort of fascinated by this whole concept. Let me just say this, Allan. I came across one statistic that I want to share with you and your audience, and this is really what got me motivated. If you make it to 70. Statistically, out of a very large sample of people, I'm not talking about ten people from Denmark. I'm talking about 100,000 people. Statistically, you will live another 15 years on average. And I said to myself, If I feel this bad now, can you imagine? In 15 years, I'll be in a wheelchair, I'll have a cane, I'll be slumped over, whatever. That was my motivation, to be honest about it. What happens if I do make this? So the reason that you and I are on this health kick I think, it has nothing to do with I need to lose 10lbs or I need this or that. It's not about living longer. Maybe this to you. It's not to me. Okay. But I want to live as happy and as full of life as I can.

[00:11:05.010] – Jim

The killer. And that's why this book is called Just J-U-S-T I'm a Southern accent. Just move. Is that one of the problems is that all of us today, or most of us sit too much. The average adult. This is not my opinion. This is, I think, Harvard or somebody, or maybe I think it's Harvard Medical School says the average American adult sits between 8 and 11 hours a day. That's between the computer, hunched over a computer, watching TV, kind of relaxing, whatever you want to call it. That's part of the problem. That's why my basic thing is just move. It doesn't matter what you do, as important as you've got to do something as opposed to sitting. The reason that sitting is bad. I know it's a cliche, Allan, but sitting is kind of the new smoking. If you sit, you will have aches and pains. There's no doubt every doctor will tell you that. And the doctors themselves probably sick too much. Okay, we all do. That's just part of our culture. I've worked hard my whole life. I deserve some relaxation, that's all true. But you will have aches and pains. You will have tight hips.

[00:12:35.250] – Jim

Absolutely true. The tight hips are often what leads to this back pain. I didn't know that. Again, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a kinesiologist. I don't have an advanced degree in Gerontology. I'm just an ordinary guy. That said, if I feel this bad now, how am I going to feel in 10 years or 15 years? And that was the motivation for me.

[00:13:04.890] – Allan

Yeah. I was looking at my life with my daughter going on and doing things like CrossFit and obstacle course races. And I was thinking to myself, she wants me to come and be there with her. But she was thinking of it in terms of me being a spectator.

[00:13:24.330] – Allan

Sit. And watch her do her event. And when she started talking about those things, I was like, Well, I don't want to spectate. I want to participate and I can't. I'm not there.

[00:13:36.630] – Jim

That sums up. And I did.

[00:13:38.710] – Allan

And then as I really got into thinking, about this long term what this means as far as my path, my aging curve. I noticed my grandfather, he was in his ninety s and he could not take care of himself. And so then it became this mantra of I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. So it's kind of funny, kind of silly, but it's kind of those concepts of I want to be able to do the things I enjoy doing with my family. We didn't have mud runs when I was younger, so now we have mud runs. And when I have grandkids, I don't know what they're going to be doing. But I also don't likely want to be a spectator for much of it if I can participate in any way. And the only way I'm going to do that is to keep myself healthy and strong. The only way I'm going to live to see 105 and still be healthy and strong is if I'm doing the right things day in and day out. And the next thing is avoiding mistakes, because I can tell you over the course of the eight years I was trying to figure all this stuff out because we don't come with an operating manual, although now your book gives us a lot of that.

[00:14:41.730] – Jim


[00:14:42.280] – Allan

Your book does give us a lot. What are some common mistakes that we make as older individuals trying to start an exercise program?

[00:14:50.970] – Jim

I would say the first thing is that most people and I live in a senior community, as we call it. Okay. And I see people I'm probably a young person, to be honest about it. My wife and I, we've been married 52 years.

[00:15:08.860] – Allan


[00:15:10.240] – Jim

I think the biggest mistake is that people don't have a goal, which I don't ask you where it came from just out of my head. But when I started this program, I had one goal, and it was I want to be 80 years young. And at the time, I was 70 years old. So I wrote this down. I'm 80 years old. I want to be 80 years young. What do I have to do? And Allan, again, I'm not an exercise nut or some freak or gym rat. I didn't know what to do to be honest about it. And observing people was part of this, Allan. And what I noticed was that there were people who were 60 who looked and moved like they were 80. There were people who were 80 who looked to move like they were 60. And I said, what do these folks know who are 80? I said, I want to be one of those. And I call these super-agers. That's my term for it. I don't know if that's not a medical term. I call them super agers. Now let me be clear. I didn't say super men and I didn't say super women or Wonder Woman.

[00:16:47.710] – Jim

These are ordinary people who made a decision Allan, just like you did. What do I have to do? Okay. To lead a happier, more full life, not to be 100 years old or whatever. I'm not saying you can exercise every day, but one big lesson out of all this is that DNA is not your destiny. And what I did, I talked to people who were what I call Supe-Agers, people who are 80 years old, 85 years old, what the heck do they do? And there were some very common traits of these people, and that's how I developed a plan. The other mistake people make is they say, okay, I want to get fit. Okay. Do you have a plan for getting fit? No, I do the treadmill. I go walking. Well, I'm going to tell you, walking alone is not enough. People in your audience you're going to go, he doesn't know what he's talking about. Well, I love to walk. Okay, so let's make it real clear. Walking alone is not enough. So whether you have a gym membership or work out at home or whatever it may be, there are other activities you have to do if you want to get more fit.

[00:18:28.050] – Jim

And I talked to the experts, for what that's worth, there are lots of conflicts of interest. There's a lot of showman in the fitness industry. I'm a little bit cynical, as I suspect you are about the industry itself. Everybody's promoting something, but it doesn't matter when I talk to the experts, plus people who are actually what I call Super-Agers. And that's where I developed a program and I want to show you my T shirt. I call this, Geezer fitness is what I call this. So the best advice I got ever, I want to share with you and your audience and I can get a kick out of this. The best advice I ever had, somebody who was probably 85 years old, I was never quite sure how he was, but he looked like a million dollars. And he said, Jim, if you want to get motivated and stay motivated, I'm going to give you a secret. I said, Gosh, we love secrets. What's the secret? He said, Buy a couple of compression shirts. I said, what is a compression shirt? And he showed me, he says, what the athletes wear. So on day one, I show up and I had a double, the highest thing you could have, okay, whatever it was.

[00:20:02.610] – Jim

And people looked at me on day one and said, this guy has no pride at all. And the fact you try wearing a compression shirt if you're 5lbs overweight the fat hangs out. And people would look away and say, this guy has no pride at all. And to be honest about it, that's what kept me motivated. Pretend I've worn one every day since, and I love putting stuff on here. I've got one called Spartacus. So if I'm really at my best shape, I say Spartacus. If I'm not such good shape, and now I'm wearing a medium. So that's kind of what kept me motivated. People just couldn't believe it. Does this guy know how awful he looks? So try a compression shirt. And if you're 10lbs overweight, it's really embarrassing. So anyway, that's what I did and it kind of worked. It just kept me motivated day after day. And all of a sudden I started wearing a large and now wear a medium T shirt. And for a guy, one problem that men have is that they develop that punch okay and very difficult to get this off. So one mistake that people make, Allan, which I didn't know about, I didn't know what core meant.

[00:21:29.610] – Jim

I thought core referred to a six pack. Now, core is a band that goes around your upper extremity. It starts about here and goes down to your thighs. And if your core is weak and mine was incredibly weak, you will have back pain, I guarantee you. So one mistake that I would guess that 80% of people make in your audience, they don't do enough core. Again, I didn't know this. I'm not a medical doctor, I don't have a PhD. But what I found out the hard way was one reason for my lower back pain was a weak core. So for the first, probably two or three years, I would guess at least a third of my workouts exercising was on the core. Here's the good news, Allan. I'll be 82. I have zero back pain. None. Nada. So I look back and say, whatever I did seem to have worked. But a big part of this was the core. So it's not about being in a dynasty, it's not about Allan how many pull ups can you do? I can do. It has nothing to do with the ego. It has to do with, quote, functional fitness.

[00:22:58.030] – Jim

So I'm going back to what I said earlier about mixing it up. There are basically five dimensions of functional fitness. Now, when you're young, you're motivated. I want to look good in a bathing suit. Nothing wrong with that, okay. Or I'm getting married in four months. I need to lose 15lbs. So it's very vanity driven when you're older, older, being 50, 60, 70, 80, whatever. Presumably you're less vanity driven and more driven, as you said you were, by the desire to be functional, to be able to go through a day without aches and pains, without being slumped over like this, being able to stand up straight, not having a Walker, not having complaining all day about, oh, God, my back hurts this and that and so on. And so that's what it's done for me. When I say I'm in the best shape of my life, well, I have no aches and pains. What is that worth any amount of money? I can tell you that had a good career in the investment world. All I can say is the hour a day that I spend on exercising working out is the best investment I ever made.

[00:24:21.580] – Jim

How do you put a price on this? I don't know how to do it. I can say all the money in the world if you're 80 years old and let's say you're a rich person, whatever that means, and you end up in a doctor's office three or four times a week, what have you achieved? So, Allan, I call all this stuff winning at life. That's how I frame what I do. My goal, I want to win at life. How do you look back on your last days and aches and pains and the doctor you know your doctor better than you do your kids and your loved one? I don't think that's winning at life, personally. I don't think being dependent upon your kids to take care of you when you're older. I don't think that's winning at life.

[00:25:13.150] – Allan

Let's take a quick step back, because before we get too far away from the functional fitness, I think this is important for someone, particularly someone that's just starting out to understand. So the gym culture. I've been in the gym a lot over the course of my life. There's this thing, and you'll notice all the cardiovascular machines are really close to the door. And that's where 90% of the people that come in, they stop right there at the treadmill because it's easy. They understand it. You turn it on, you walk, you turn it off, you go home. And kind of the funny thing is you might live a mile away from the gym, but you're going to walk 3 miles on the treadmill and not walk to the gym. But a lot of people stop there and they look to the rest of the gym, either by not knowing what to do or even having, like you said, a plan. And for the plan to be successful, as you mentioned, it has to address functional fitness. And you mentioned Core. And we were going to say, yeah, the walking and cardiovascular endurance is important. Those are two facets of functional fitness.

[00:26:13.420] – Allan

But what are the other three that we should be looking toward to be a super ager?

[00:26:18.850] – Jim

Well, a clear one is strength. And when you say that, wait a minute, I'm not a muscle head. I'm not trying to be Mr. or Ms. Adonis. I'm not talking about that. Here are the statistics. When I did this book just move the National Geographic, it took me about two years to do the book. And when I got through and turned in the manuscript and they said, this is great. Oh, by the way, we need to have an expert read every page and evaluate it. I said, what?

[00:26:55.690] – Jim

Oh, yeah. Well, I said, I don't think anybody can do that or would do it. They found somebody out of Duke University who was, I guess, a gerontologist, and she read every paragraph. And so we agreed upon that. And then they said, Jim, oh, by the way, one more step. You have to source everything you said. What does that mean? Well, we don't want your opinion. You have to say, where did your opinion come from? I said, why don't you tell me about that? Because you would never have signed the contract. So I had to source it. And I said, because there's so much BS in the fitness world. So when I threw out these statistics, it's not my opinion. It could be Mayo Clinic, it could be whomever. But the book was not my opinion says this or that. Okay. But what I learned was from the experts is that how important strength training is. And that does not mean lifting heavy. That's what people get in trouble. You can do a lot of stuff with very light dumbbells. So my advice to your audience is maybe you're using 15 or 10 pound dumbbells. That's okay.

[00:28:22.450] – Jim

I can show you some exercises that you're going to say, I suspect you're in good shape, that you're going to say, Gosh, this is hard, Allan. 15 lbs can be hard depending on what you do. Okay. But here's the reason why in a nutshell, is because you lose strength as you get older, that unless you do something to offset that, here are the statistics. You're going to lose about 40% of your muscle mass by the time you're 70 or 75. And this often leads to the problems. So you have weak bones and so on. And so, again, I'm not a medical expert, but that's what the experts says, not an expert alive they wouldn't agree with that. That strength training and it's not being a muscle head and it's not lifting heavy at all. It has nothing to do with that. You don't need a gym membership. You can do it at home. I can show you exercises to do, just push ups, that kind of stuff that anybody can do them. You don't need a trainer, although a trainer is very helpful in sort of laying this out. But the first one is strength training that you have to do as an adult.

[00:29:46.790] – Jim

And the second, the other one is balance. So here are the statistics. One in three, there could be one in four adults, 65 and over fall every year. Now think about that again. I'm living in a senior community. Allan, if I told you how many friends we have or acquaintances where you want to call them fall, you would not believe it. And typically it's at night and for some reason it's in the bathroom. I don't know why, but we'll see somebody said, Where's Joe? Where's Nancy? Oh, man, she fell last night, banged her head. Then you're talking about something that's pretty awful.

[00:30:36.090] – Allan

Yeah. One of the statistics you had in the book that I'd like to share is that a quarter of a million people fall and go to the hospital with a hip fracture every single year. That's insane.

[00:30:53.370] – Jim

It's stunning. And these are people who are not in such bad shape. Something happens. Now let me explain to you. I fell myself and broke my wrist three months ago. Say what? Yeah. I got through working out, had a cup of coffee in my right hand, tripped. We have Oriental rugs, for better or for worse. We have Oriental rugs, tripped on the rug and said, If I spill this coffee, my wife is going to really kill me.

[00:31:31.230] – Allan

That thought would be it, but that was the thought in my head.

[00:31:34.830] – Jim

I think I did.

[00:31:38.190] – Allan

You flung the cup across the room.

[00:31:40.280] – Jim

No, I didn't spill the coffee. I fought with one hand. If I fell with two hands, guess what? I'd catch myself. Broke my wrist. I was in the cast for it's been four months now, and it's still not quite okay, but I'm a lot better. And so this goes to show you and my wife said, what happened? I said, well, I didn't spill the coffee, but I broke my wrist. It was a clean break, thank goodness. But even so, it could happen to anybody. In my case, I tripped on a rug after working out. It could happen to anybody. So you could fall this afternoon because you're walking along with a friend or your daughter and you're talking and you're not looking down. And there's whatever reason, the concrete, there's a bump in the road, whatever it may be, in the trail, for example. You'd be surprised how many people are trail walkers and they trip because of, who knows, a branch comes in, they're talking, not looking down. And so you have to do something about some kind of balance training. Now, we're not talking about this takes 2 hours. One thing that's very important. There's a big difference between training and exercising.

[00:33:12.890] – Jim

I didn't learn this in year one or year two, but training is what I've been doing. Training means you're working toward a goal. Exercising, Allan, is what most people do. They go to the gym, they do a slow slog on the treadmill while they're watching the news. That's most people who are older.  I don't think that works. So when you're working toward a goal, you tend to be more efficient. So when I see an hour a day, in order to do that, you've got to be efficient. I think the magic number for me, at least is 30 minutes of walking. I do walk and think everybody needs to walk some kind of cardio endurance. I think the magic number personally is 30 minutes. I think it's diminishing returns. If that's the only message I'll leave you with today, there's diminishing returns in all of this stuff, whether it's walking or push ups or sit ups or whatever it may be. And you have to sort of understand and you learn this the hard way because the goal is to be efficient. What can I do? How can I use this hour efficiently? And what you learned, what I learned is that people who are in shape learn how to be efficient, how to squeeze stuff that's essential into 1 hour.

[00:34:56.860] – Jim

It could be 45 minutes. And nobody says that you can't exercise for 20 minutes three times a day. No big deal, 45 minutes a day. But I find out that works for me is an hour a day. And I do balance. I do my cardio on the days I do strength training. What I should have told you was, here's my program. I do strength training three times a week. Okay. I do cardio three times a week. So I walk pretty actively. But I don't run. I don't jog because my knees, I walk. Stretching is critical. If you don't stretch, it's a big mistake when you're older. You will have aches and pains. There's no way around that. Now you can say, Jim, I do yoga. Great. Pilates. Terrific. Okay. But these are the main things that someone has to do, and every older person is I don't know what to do. I don't have a plan. Well, there's some trial and error, and you sort of have to learn what works for you. The best motivation on is getting results. Here's some good news for you. If you're in bad shape like I was, the results come very quickly.

[00:36:23.770] – Jim

That's what people don't realize if all you do is walk. When I started out, I literally out on day one, could not walk more than probably four blocks. And I was huffing and puffing. That's how bad the shape I was in. But I said, you know, I'm going to do a 30 day deal now. Why 30 days? I have no idea. I just said 30 days. It could have been 45 days or 20 days. I was amazed by simply every day trying to do a little bit more. I wasn't running or jogging or any of that stuff, just walking. At the end of 30 days, I felt so much better. You have no idea. My wife's friend said, what is Jim doing? What do you mean? He looks so much more energetic. When you're older, that's what happens when you walk. Okay. And so what I found for me was the sweet spot was about 30 minutes, and I do it three times a week. Beyond 30 minutes, it's kind of missing returns. I'd rather use those other 30 minutes to do strength training and other activities. That's all it is.

[00:37:40.960] – Allan

right. Well, in your book, Just Move, there's a ton of these types of tips. You talk about how much time you dedicate from each workout, the different things you have images of some of these exercises. So there's a lot in this book. But if you wanted to just say, what are a couple of your favorite takeaways from the book that if someone were thinking about buying your book that you want them to know, want them to look for, what would that be?

[00:38:05.240] – Jim

Well, that's a great question. And I think what I would say is you have to find your why. What is your why? Why are you even thinking about taking up some kind of a program? Okay, now your why might be, I don't want to be a burden to my kids. I don't want to say, well, I'm sorry I can't go with you on this trip. I've got to take care of my dad. Man, I don't want that. I want to be able to play with my grandkids. Everybody has their own try, but that's sort of the motivation. My motivation again, was I want to be 80 years young. That may not be your goal. It was my goal. Okay? You have to find that. And the other important takeaway is you have to have a plan. Without a plan, a goal is just a dream, in my opinion. So a goal and a plan. And then you have to actually show up and do the work so you can talk about this stuff all day long. I think the only mistake the other takeaway is the goal is not perfection. So I know you like to exercise and it's really improved your life and that kind of stuff, but perfection is not the goal.

[00:39:31.830] – Jim

The exercises that I do, I don't do very well. I try, but we all have our issues. So the other thing I want to make sure that everybody understands is you can work out every day, okay. And it's true that your DNA is not your destiny. That's an important concept to me. That means you can do activities that will help lower the risk of a serious disease. Heart attack, stroke, okay? Certain cancers, all that's true. But I have to tell your audience this. When you get 80 years old, you will have issues and no amount of exercise, no amount of eating right. No amount of managing stress, none of that good sleep habits. You will still have stress. I don't know anybody who's 80. It's like having a car. Okay? You have a great car, but there's a certain mileage. I don't know. It's 150,000 miles. Your car is going to break down. Well, guess what? Your body breaks down, but it's okay because you're in shape. And I've had some issues. I don't want to go into them myself other than a broken wrist. But the big pay off from all this stuff, Allan, the big pay off is what you have to think about,

[00:41:03.900] – Jim

What's Jim want to payoff from all of your exercises, all of your hard work? You know what it is? It's the confidence that whatever life throws at me, I can deal with it. And what I'm suggesting is the real benefit of all this stuff is mental as much as physical. So given where I came from, getting where I am now doesn't mean I'm not going to have issues. That's just BS. I do have issues. I will have issues. But it's the confidence I can deal with whatever life throws at me. I don't care what it is. If I get hit by a truck, if I get cancer, if I get all the bad things that happen because of the confidence that comes from hard work and getting results, you can deal with it. The other thing out of the book that I want everybody to really kind of think about, these are all just insights. There are no rules that I know of, but they're insights. The other big insight that I think is important is that attitude is so critical. Okay, so all we're talking about here is looking forward and not back. Allan, I cannot tell you how many people I know who live in the past and every single one of them is in bad shape.

[00:42:43.270] – Jim

I'm looking forward. Now, I'm going to say this to your audience, and I believe it. I honestly believe my best days still lie ahead. Is that positivity? That's a critical element. If somebody says I don't need exercise, I don't need to eat healthy or eat clean, I don't need any of that stuff. Okay, that's fine. That's your choice. Ok. The problem is you're going to end up at some point, you might lose your loved one, then you're going to be by yourself. Okay, maybe you have a caretaker, but your world is going to shrink. It's the opposite out of what you said. Your world is going to shrink. You spend your day in a small apartment when you're 80 or 85 years old. Loneliness. And all of this is what tends to lead to depression, but even worse, Alzheimer's and dementia. Now, I may end up with dementia or Alzheimer's, but I'm doing everything I can. Okay. Staying active. And also, I want to share with you one last thought is that we talk about physical fitness, and that's very important because fitness is the foundation of healthy aging. That's the other message. But there's more to healthy aging than that.

[00:44:18.830] – Jim

There's also mental fitness, and there's emotional fitness, and they're equally important. So in my case, the reason I'm doing this interview is not to sell books. If my story can inspire somebody to get off the couch and just move, as opposed to just sitting, that's my legacy. To be honest about it, I wrote a best selling book called Cowboy Ethics. 160,000 copies. Best selling book. This book maybe 25,000 Max. You don't sell excise. Books like this don't sell unless it's written by George Clooney or Brad Pitt. That's the truth. So the money I make off this book is not worth even talking about. To be honest about it, it doesn't matter. This is for me, is a legacy. If my story of going from incredibly bad shape and back pain and terrible feeling and so on to where I am right now in the best shape of my life, I weigh less I did in high school, and I'm just an average guy. I'm not anything special, okay? If that can inspire somebody that's more important to me, that's my legacy. I want to look back on my life and say, and this is the whole idea of purpose.

[00:45:50.270] – Jim

Now, you're too young. I suspect even think about this.

[00:45:55.340] – Allan

I'm 56 years old.

[00:45:57.590] – Jim

That's young. You're a kid.

[00:45:59.990] – Allan

I am a kid. I agree.

[00:46:04.070] – Jim

But what keeps you going, what keeps you alive is that having the passion or the purpose. I look back on it and say, I will look back on my life on the last day of my life and say, Did I leave things better than I found it? If it's true that I did it's because of my writing and my speaking, I made my money, so to speak, in my career. Not that I'm a rich, rich guy, but I have enough money. Okay? So I'm lucky on that score. But the legacy is what's important to me. It's not the books I think sells on Amazon for $15 or whatever. Okay. And if you think somebody is going to make a living off of writing a book, well, I guess Michelle Obama can do it, but most of us can't do it. I sure couldn't do it. But it's the legacy factor that is so critical to me. And that's why I do all this stuff. You have no idea. I get emails from so many people, and I'm not big computer guys. I told you to be honest about it. That's just not me.

[00:47:21.520] – Jim

I don't like emailing, any of that stuff. But if my story can make a difference and that's why I do all this stuff, that gives me more satisfaction. I also did a film. I produced a film called The Art of Aging Well, and it took two years. Now, when I say produce, what does that mean? Well, producer of a film hires the people. I'm not behind the camera, hires the people, oversees the quality, and basically does the marketing. Okay. Jim Havey, who's out of Denver. I've known Jim for 30 years. Jim has won three or four Emmys. I've not won an Emmy, but we did a film together again. He's the film guy. The Art of Aging well, and just when we got it finished, this pandemic hit, I can't go on the road and speak about this. I'm basically a communicator. That's kind of what I do. I get in front of an audience, it could be 20 people, it could be 1000. I don't get rattled with an audience. And I said what I'm going to do, I've got two years invested. I can't go on a plane and go any place anymore.

[00:48:42.640] – Jim

So I said, maybe, just maybe a PBS would carry this thing. Well, we got on PBS, and I'm very proud to say 124 PBS stations carried this. And your audience, there's no charge for it. I raised the money from I had sponsors. That's what I was. But your audience can look at it's called theartofagingwell.com. It's free.

[00:49:13.830] – Allan

Okay, cool.

[00:49:14.980] – Jim

I'm very big on what you're doing. For example, I really think it's the emotional connection that you make with it's, not the information. If information was the answer, everybody would be working out, eating clean, managing stress, getting a good night's sleep, that kind of stuff. Information doesn't do it. I can give you a 700 page thesis. You're not going to read it, much less take action. But what you're doing with your communication skills, I hope what I'm doing with my writing and creative process inspires people to make these changes. And all I can say is small steps add up over time. So don't think about, that's why I had a ten year goal. My ten year goal was to go from being 70 years old to 80 years young. I never found it. If it was a pill, believe me, I'd be taking it right now. I don't know where the pill? There may be a pill that I do.

[00:50:29.870] – Allan

There's a pill. It's called exercise. And you're doing it six days a week.

[00:50:35.230] – Jim

To me, I would rather spend. So I look back on that and say, Jim, what have you learned from all this stuff? Well, me, I'd rather spend an hour a day doing what I'm doing right now. Okay. As opposed to an hour a day in the doctor's office. And that's what it's going to be like. I don't want to be in a wheelchair. I don't want to have a Walker. I don't want to be bent over like this. I want to be as healthy and as alive and have the energy as long as I can. Having said that, there will be a time. It could be tomorrow. But, Allan, it ain't going to be today. Okay, that's all you can do.

[00:51:22.370] – Allan

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

[00:51:30.520] – Jim

that's beautiful. I think you've done probably a better job of this stuff than I did. Again, I'm just an ordinary guy. But one of the messages is one, it's never too late to get started. Don't think for a second when I'm 75, there's no point now. I might as well have that three dips of chocolate ice cream or something like that. It doesn't matter with your the sooner you start, the better. There's no question. Now, does Jim Owen wish he had started this program when he was your age? Absolutely. Okay. There's no question about that. But I didn't. I started at 70. You can start at 75. And it's not about getting fit. It's about getting more fit than you are. Now, I had took a long view. Ten years. Okay. I guess you could say I'm fit. I don't know what else I can do, but your DNA does play a part in these underlying conditions. But I like to think that 75% of your health and wellness is lifestyle driven, and we can argue all day long about this. Well, maybe it's more like 60%. I believe it's about 75% lifestyle. Now what does lifestyle means?

[00:53:04.990] – Jim

Exercising, eating clean, okay, managing stress, which is critical. Okay. Getting sufficient sleep, it's that kind of thing. But also and this is what the exercise people don't talk about all that's great. But that's physical health, physical wellness. There's also that mental wellness and emotional wellness, and that's what I'm into now. I want to be a better husband, a better father, a better friend. And that to me today, means more than saying, Gosh, I just had a personal best with pushups. I suspect that I'll be in no better shape in two or three years. I am right now. I don't know what I could do because you can get injured when you're older. So if you do too much with your shoulders or whatever, maybe legs, whatever, you can have a problem. So do I work out as hard as I did before? No. The reason is we all have low energy days. That's another message I want to give to your audience. At my age, you have to recognize the recovery days are critical. So today I'll be working out this afternoon. Do I work out as hard? No, but I work out pretty hard for me.

[00:54:49.550] – Jim

But do I work as hard as I did five years ago? No, I don't think anybody does, but I do cover the bases. I do push myself, but it's incremental. It's not major changes. I don't know how to do that. Can I get more lean? I could probably lose a pound or two. That's about it. Can I lift more weight? Maybe, but do I want to take the risk of hurting my shoulder? Not really. And the recovery days become much more important. So the other message take away from all that we've talked about is when you're older, you have to listen to your body, not to Jim Owen, listen to your body. And I think that's the best guide that I can give you. Listen to your body, particularly when you're older, but you've got to have goals. You've got to have a plan on how you're going to get from here to here. And if you don't just kind of, you have to cover the basis. And you do have to continually improve. And that's sort of the hard thing to understand about this. Let's take a push up, okay. If all you do is plane pushups after you can do about 25, I think you're better off progressing.

[00:56:19.510] – Jim

So I keep progressing. I do more difficult exercises than I did before. That's how I progress. So I do stuff that I probably couldn't have done five years ago, but I don't do squats with barbells on my neck and stuff like that. Or let's just take push ups, okay. A diamond push up, push ups like this. So in every exercise. This is what makes ourselves so fascinating. You think about push up as a pushup. No, it's not. You're going to put your hands like this, like this. You're working your body different ways. The core is the critical part. You've got to have a strong core to do what I do. I guarantee you that. And that's why when you say, Jim, every once in a while I'll take part in the competition with my peers. They want to hear where I live. I live in La Jolla, okay. And I won against all other people my age. Okay. And why? Well, I work out. That's why. A lot of people could do one thing, but they couldn't do the whole thing. This is a test, if you will, but it's great fun. And I want to say one more thing on this.

[00:57:44.900] – Jim

Is that the one regret I have in life? This may surprise you. I want to get your take on this than anything to have been a great athlete. Anything. My brother, who's older than me by two years, was a star athlete and scholar, baseball, basketball, football, and track. The best athlete in a pretty damn good high school. We're from Kentucky and great high school. He was number one. I never scored a touchdown. I never hit the winning home run. I'd have given anything to have been that gifted athlete, which I wasn't I had learned in football. What's interesting about this is I found my inner athlete and I have an athlete's attitude about what I do. And that's why it's fun for me. The exercise part is challenging and fun. And guess what? No surprise to you. A lot of terrific athletes in high school and College, when they get my age, they don't do anything. They got burned out. I can't tell you how many people I know who were good athletes. And so finding your inner athlete to me has made a tremendous difference in terms of confidence and attitude. And the attitude is what kind of keeps you going again to repeat it, I look forward.

[00:59:14.860] – Jim

I don't look back. So many people my age continue to talk about the past. I can't tell you I get so sick of this. Well, when I was in high school, when I was in prep school, how about looking forward? What are you doing now? What's your challenge now?

[00:59:33.470] – Allan

And that's the big thing with me. I was the athlete in high school. I was a very good athlete and then fell out of it in my 30s. But I was an excellent athlete. I was in the US imagery, military. I was super fit all the way up until my thirty's. And then I let it go. And it took me a long time to get it back. But I can tell you all the things I ever did, all the winds, all the shots, everything that I did do all of that, none of those compared to the feeling I got running across the finish line with my daughter at a tough Mudder and knowing that I could keep up with her. She didn't have to wait on me. I was as good an athlete as I'd ever been, and I was able to do that. And you talk about the looking forward. I've got another tough Mudder scheduled in three months, so I'm going to be back up in the States. I'm going to be doing another tough Mudder because I can, because I want to, and I train for it. As you said, train, not exercise.

[01:00:34.880] – Allan

I have a goal. I have a mission. I have a plan. All of those things that you brought up here

[01:00:41.630] – Jim

I'm so impressed. You have no idea. My daughter, we have two children. They're both adopted at birth. We couldn't have kids and married 52 years. Our daughter's name is Allegra, and she's 38 and she's an athlete, and that's her. And she does this tough mudder. I've never done one. She says, dad, when are you going to do a father daughter thing?

[01:01:06.830] – Allan

Yeah, do one of the smaller ones. The tough Mudders are now broken up. So the original one was like 12, 13 miles. So it's pretty tough. Now, that's what they call the 15K, which is, I guess, closer to 9.5 miles, but they have a 5K version. And so the obstacles are going to require upper body strength, grip strength, that type of thing. You're not really running a whole lot because the obstacles are probably no more than a mile away from each other anyway. So you pretty much jog to the next obstacle, and then you wait your turn to get on that obstacle. But they are a ton of fun. And based on looking at you right now, I don't see any get your wrist completely fixed, but I don't see any reason why anybody that doesn't set their mind to do something like that couldn't do it. And if there's an obstacle you can't do, there's no shame in that. You give it a shot, you do your best, and then you move on to the next obstacle. It's a lot of fun. And yes, if you're doing it with your daughter, that's going to be a special day, I promise you.

[01:02:11.320] – Jim

Well, I cannot believe this. I cannot believe this. And I have never talked about this with anyone except my wife. But when I hear your story, are you ready for this? I want to be in the senior Olympics in my age category again. So I'm not competing against somebody who's 75 it's every five years. And I would be in the 80-85.

[01:02:38.520] – Allan

Just started creating those age groups because they figured I got these people in the 80s that are now having to compete with people in the 60s that wasn't right. So they've corrected that. And because they've got Centurions doing it now, they have an over 100 category, and I have no doubt. Yeah, I have no doubt. Within ten years. They're going to have to start breaking that up because it's not fair for 115 year old to run against 100 year old. So good. Congratulations on that. 

[01:03:09.850] – Jim

Well, you may not be aware of this. I live in San Diego, in La Jolla. San Diego. San Diego started this instead of in addition to track and field, they also have and now for the first time in the season, and they have an exercise thing. So I'm not going to run 100 yards because of my knees. Okay. I can't do a lot of stuff that you can do, but I have a feeling I can compete in the 80 to 85 senior Olympics in the exercise part, and I can train for that. And I've never talked about with anybody. But hearing your story, It'd be a blast to do it.

[01:03:58.470] – Allan

Let's stay in touch and talk about that.

[01:04:00.390] – Jim

It's about doing your best. I did my best. And guess what, pal? You beat me this year. Next year. That's part of the motivation stuff. Yeah, that's great.

[01:04:13.450] – Allan

So, Jim, if someone wanted to learn more about you, more about the book, Just Move. Where would you like for me to send them?

[01:04:21.630] – Jim

Well, what I would do, frankly, is go to Amazon. This book is going to cost you, I think, $15 and change. Two years of work. And this is like a cup of coffee. So it's not like Jim is getting rich off a book. I think the book is really well done, if I may say this. Okay. And it covers the gamut. And I can tell you there's nothing in this that you don't know. So the book is not really not written for you. You're an athlete, okay. It's the person who, in fact, is a couch potato. I'm not sure where to start or how to do this stuff. I believe in the basic core exercises that everybody needs to do, and you can make all this stuff complicated. And I want to leave you with this one idea. If you want to make what we talked about today complicated, be my guest. I don't think it has to be at all. It's pretty simple stuff. You got to mix it up. You got to keep progressing. You've got to do more than just walk. But you don't have to have a gym membership if you don't want to.

[01:05:40.800] – Jim

You don't have to have a personal trainer if you don't want to. Okay. But you have to move. And you say, I love to move. We have a friend in Santa Barbara who's 92 years old, who is a competitive ballroom dancer. I'm talking about competitive, like on the national stage. That's pretty damn. You can do kayaking, you can do bicycling. There's all kinds of ways to move. If you say, Jim, I'm just not the gym rant type, okay. I've told you what I do. It's worked for me. But if you want to do kayaking, bicycling, Pilates it's all good stuff as long as you are moving and not sitting. But I've built the case here that the cardio endurance is not enough. You should do the other stuff. But I'm not here to pound the table and change somebody's life unless they want to. This book was written for somebody who essentially is skeptical like this. Tell me why I need to do this. Okay. Here are the reasons, but it's not my job to try to. I'm not a personal trainer. I'm not selling protein powder. I have no wax to grind. It's not going to change my life.

[01:07:09.920] – Jim

If somebody says I'm a couch potato, I'm not going to change your call. Good luck, because I can tell you what your life is going to be like when you get my age. You're going to have aches and pains, spend half day in the damn doctor's office. If that's what you want, it's fine. Me, I'd rather not do that. So that's kind of the takeaway. But the book, I need a wonderful book for somebody who is a couch potato, who says, I don't need to know more about this. I want to know more. But I'm not a personal trainer. I'm not a life coach. No, I'm just a guy who said, here's my story. If my story can inspire somebody, then that's my legacy, and that's why I do it.

[01:07:57.380] – Allan

Thank you, Jim. And thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:08:00.800] – Jim

Well, listen, I have to tell you, you inspired me, and it's not used to inspire me, but your story, you have a terrific story. You're a terrific communicator. Okay. And I think you've got a terrific life ahead of you. It's all I can say.

[01:08:21.040] – Allan

Thank you, Jim.

Post Show/Recap

[01:08:29.130] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[01:08:30.460] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was so fun listening to a successful story like his at 85, he sounds like he's the fittest he's ever been. Oh, 82.

[01:08:39.690] – Allan

He's 82. Yeah, he's 82 now. He started his journey when he was in his 70 years, when he was turning 70, because he just had that moment. And most of us that go through some form of transformation like this, we come up to this moment and it's like, oh, I have to do something. And what he was is he just 70, and he felt old and he didn't like the energy level. He didn't like anything about it. And he determined that he was going to change that and committed to changing it. And his overall vision was that by the time he turned 80, he wanted to feel younger than he did when he was 70. And he has and he did, but he did some important things. And normally I try to drive these conversations. Jim is a Rambler. So he went on and on and on, but there's a lot of gold in there. Don't poopoo that like he did. I think it's worth our time to listen to people who've done what you want to do. Listen to people who've struggled through this and learn everything you can from them. So I was more than happy to just sort of hand the mic over to Jim and say, okay, run with it, because it's a good conversation.

[01:09:55.590] – Allan

But one of my key takeaways here is that he didn't play around with this. This wasn't that he dabbled at getting more fit, and it took him all these years. He went straight in and said, I'm hiring a trainer, and I'm going to make this change. And he got a good trainer, and a trainer made him younger, helped him exercise, get stronger, add muscle. And so now he is effectively from a biological age, probably younger than he was twelve years ago.

[01:10:28.980] – Rachel

My gosh, that's just incredible. And I love that he does all the things that we all should be doing Besides cardio. He does strength work. He does balance, which is really important. Even I need to work on that as a runner. And then he does the stretching. The other thing I need to do more of as a runner. But it's awesome that he dedicates his time to doing all of these different modalities each week.

[01:10:52.920] – Allan

Yeah. And so his schedule has him doing exercise for 1 hour, six days a week. That sounds like a lot of people say, oh, my God, I couldn't give an hour and go to the gym every day. You probably spend that much time watching Netflix in a week, 6 hours. And if you really look at it, 6 hours is a fraction of available time you have in a day. So I know we all feel like we're busy, but if you don't make this a priority, it's never going to happen. This is not something you phone in. He had to go to the gym and go through those workouts, and he's working on the other modalities and getting better there, too. And that's one of the cool things about this is when you really dedicate yourself and you put the time in, particularly at the beginning. We call it newbie gains, but you're going to see change really quickly. And that can be very motivating. But you got to start.

[01:11:55.740] – Rachel

Right. I love how he also said that he would rather spend an hour working out than an hour in the doctor's office. And I have to agree with that wholeheartedly. I would rather be exercising once a day or several times a week and just feel healthier and stronger for it. There's a lot of his lessons that I've learned at a much younger age. But again, going back to his age of 82, I'm just flabbergasted that he has put so much time and dedication into his own routine, and he's sharing it in his book. I just love to see people in this age bracket working out like he does.

[01:12:34.370] – Allan

Yeah. Now, a lot of books, when I'm talking to the author and I've read the book, it's like the same style the same thing. So I almost feel like as I've read the book I've already had a previous conversation with this individual. But I will say this Jim's book is much better organized than this podcast episode was. Jim knows his stuff and he put a lot of effort into writing the book. It's very well organized. There are workouts, there are stretches with pictures, all how to do this stuff. He does tell his story in there, which is very uplifting to know for sure. There's always a chance, but you got to get started and then it's a very well organized book for you to have a full program to get yourself started. But I'd still encourage you to look at getting a trainer and I know that's an investment the time is an investment and actually doing the work is an investment, but those investments pay off huge dividends, particularly in our current era where we need to keep our bodies as healthy, as strong as they can to just deal with everyday crap.

[01:13:43.710] – Rachel

For sure. Yes, for sure.

[01:13:47.830] – Allan

Because if you're starting from a better base, you're better off in the end. Regardless.

[01:13:54.570] – Rachel

Going back to his story, he started off with back pain and knee pain and all these things and now he doesn't feel that anymore. He's changed his lifestyle so much that he's healthier and more fit now than he was at age 70. It's just incredible.

[01:14:10.140] – Allan

Yeah, it's a good story and there's a lot of gold Nuggets in this episode. Even more in the book, so it's a good one.

[01:14:19.460] – Rachel

Yes, I love that. Great interview.

[01:14:21.580] – Allan

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

[01:14:24.880] – Rachel

All right. Take care.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


May 3, 2022

How to turn back the clock on your true age with Dr. Morgan Levine

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

We all have friends, family, or classmates that just seem to be aging much slower than we are. In her book, True Age, Dr. Morgan Levine explores what we can do to slow our body's aging process to look and feel younger than our chronological age.


Let's Say Hello

[00:07:58.530] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:07:59.650] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:08:01.520] – Allan

I'm doing all right. How are things with you?

[00:08:03.960] – Rachel

Good. Well, we have spring again for now. And you might hear my voice. It's a little raspy. My allergies are the bane of me. As much as I love spring, it does not love me back. So I'm a little bit struggling right now. The beautiful flowers.

[00:08:19.660] – Allan

Well, yeah, you can't have the flowers without the pollen. And depending on where you are in the country, pollen, it can be a bit of a bear.

[00:08:28.800] – Rachel

It is a little bit, but I'll make it through. I'm just happy to have spring today.

[00:08:33.110] – Allan

Good. Yeah. We kind of have spring every day. Lucky.

[00:08:36.150] – Rachel

Lucky you.

[00:08:37.890] – Allan


[00:08:39.570] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:08:44.590] – Allan

We are just now finishing up our busy season on the island. So I think we were full all the way through Easter weekend, which is when high season is supposed to end. And so as we're recording this, we just finished up our Easter weekend. We now have people checking out and then not people checking in. So it will be kind of interesting as we kind of end up with just one or two rooms booked versus having four to six rooms booked kind of what that new pace of life is going to be like.

[00:09:22.300] – Allan

so I've been trying to take on some additional challenges here. I'm actually sitting for right now, another certification, the precision nutrition. So this one is a pretty big one. This one is going to take a lot of effort, but I'm in it. I'd say right now probably about a third of the way through, maybe a quarter through, but it's just getting started on it. So it's pretty intense.

[00:09:48.210] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds exciting.

[00:09:50.250] – Allan

Yes. Well, I always like to have a challenge, so I'm ready for the tough Mudder, and I might have a little bit of extra time as we go into these next few months. And then Tammy's planning a trip with one of her friends to travel. I'm like, okay, so that's two weeks that she's not going to be here, so I need to have a hobby.

[00:10:12.530] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:10:14.040] – Allan

I'll get another certification.

[00:10:16.070] – Rachel

That's awesome. How exciting.

[00:10:18.050] – Allan

Yeah. All right. Well, are we ready to talk about aging?

[00:10:22.810] – Rachel



[00:11:05.850] – Allan

Dr. Levine, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:11:09.510] – Dr. Levine

Thank you for having me.

[00:11:11.220] – Allan

So today we're going to talk about your book, True Age: Cutting-Edge Research to Help Turn Back the Clock. And I think from the perspective of a lot of the books that I've read on aging, obviously, yours being the most recent, there's a lot of good science coming out lately, and you Chronicle a lot of it, and you go way back. We're not just talking about we've started talking about these things. Now you take the research back and you say, what did we know 50 years ago? And how does that reflect what we're doing today? In some cases, there are gaps. We learned a little something like the blood flow between young rat and older rat. And then people just stopped. And now they're kind of saying, well, wait a minute, it wasn't there sort of something there that maybe we want to dig a little bit further. And I think the way you said it is some people are not going the Dracula vampire route. They're going more, okay, let's figure out why this is happening. So maybe we can do something about it. That's cool. And there's a lot of that in the book.

[00:12:15.660] – Allan

But I also like the fact that you took the time to give us some practical things that those of us in our 40s, 50s and 60s can start doing today to reverse our bio age.

[00:12:28.530] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. I think it's critical to not just talk about all the exciting science that really, even though some of it might have been started a century ago or even more, is actually because of where technology is today, we're actually able to understand what is driving this and how to actually implement it, but to give people actual practical things they can do in their everyday life rather than just waiting for new breakthroughs and discoveries, because I know even personally, I don't want to sit around and just hope that something comes out in the next ten or 20 years. I want to know what I can do today. And actually, most of our control that we have over our aging process are just behavioral things that we can actually do. And we don't have to wait for science to catch up there.

[00:13:15.850] – Allan

Right. And that's the good thing, because if you have a base that's a little lower when that stuff does come out, more than likely you're going to see better benefits from it in the long run anyway. No one wants to get to 80 and frail and then say, oh, yeah, now I'm going to reduce five years off of my lifespan, whereas if they felt like they were in their 60s, going back to 55 would feel pretty cool.

[00:13:41.190] – Dr. Levine

Yeah, it's probably easier to prevent than reverse would be my guess.

[00:13:46.410] – Allan

I completely agree. As a personal trainer, I don't think you'd expect anything different from me.

[00:13:51.580] – Dr. Levine


[00:13:52.150] – Allan

Now, one concept you got into the book, and I agree with you at some front that we talk about aging as a disease. And I agree, if we want to get researchers and people looking at it, then it's really good to get it classified as disease because then there's a backing to it. Okay, well, we can solve the problem, then there's money and there's. Ok, now there's medical people are not just going to treat something because that's what you want. I'd love to have a third arm, but I'm not going to find a doctor that's willing to do the research to figure out how to make that happen. But I also think of aging as sort of, if you will, just something that's natural and happens to everybody. So for me to think of aging as a disease, I'd have to think, well, is puberty as a disease? No. Can you talk a little bit about why aging can be considered a disease and what we want to take away from that?

[00:14:56.370] – Dr. Levine

So technically, there are a lot of people in the field who want to classify aging as a disease. I'm actually not one of them. As you kind of mentioned, there are benefits for doing this because the FDA, if they're going to approve anything to go after aging, they need some kind of primary outcome, they call it. So people want to say, oh, aging is a disease, because then they can say, oh, we can treat and tackle it. But I actually agree with you that aging in and of itself is not a disease, because usually when we define a disease, it's a state. So a transition to some state. We know diseases are part of our continuous process, but we usually have to have some criteria for where we say this is a disease state versus non disease state. And like you said, there is no clear way to do that with aging. You can't just say 65 is when you entered some disease state or you can't take the number and classify that as disease. And if you want to treat it, what does it mean to treat aging? So how much do you have to reverse it or prevent it to say you've actually treated or prevented some disease?

[00:16:09.930] – Dr. Levine

And very much like you said, aging doesn't start later in life. It starts, some people believe, before we're even born. So are we already transitioning this disease state? So I like to think of aging not as a disease, but as the kind of basis for most of the diseases that people suffer from today.

[00:16:30.870] – Allan

And I think this is where we can come up to this general split in thought. Okay, we all have a birthday. We all know our birthday. We tend to celebrate it a lot when we're really young. We tend to want to skip some of them once we hit what is it for women age 29 or sometimes it's 39, but there's a full gap stop there. And then they want to reverse it and say, well, maybe I'm going to be 38 next year, but that's our chronological age. Now, there's a concept called biological age, but I think we all know that. We went to high school with all of our friends. My friends posted on Facebook. We're about to start planning our 40 year class reunion.

[00:17:13.410] – Dr. Levine

Oh, wow.

[00:17:14.280] – Allan

Yeah. Everybody's posting like, oh, my God, don't tell me it's 40 now. I feel old, but we've watched classmates pass. We're in our mid 50s at this point. We've watched classmates pass. We see some of our classmates that look just like they did in high school, practically. And so there's this huge divide over how old we maybe really are inside. And there's an emotional component to it. If you act young, you feel young, and maybe you look young, but there's something else going on there. Can you talk about that?

[00:17:55.650] – Dr. Levine

Yes. So as you brought up, once you reach a certain age, your birthday is not something that people tend to celebrate. I mean, you still go through the motions, but you're not necessarily excited about advancing that kind of year. And the reason for that is because your increase in age is actually accompanied by biological changes, most of which you can't see, but eventually they manifest and you see them in terms of wrinkles or loss of mobility or loss of stamina or even these diseases of aging that we're talking about. But it's not the chronological time itself that's the problem. It's this kind of biological change of the whole organ system that ends up being the problem. And the interesting thing that you brought up that scientists have been studying is that the rate at which these changes occur or accumulate are not the same for everyone. So even though people might have been alive for, let's say, 50 years, chronologically some people will have gone through more of these changes and others less. And so that's kind of how my lab and others have actually tried to quantify biological aging. So do you have kind of the degree of change that's representative of someone who is the same chronological age as you are or hopefully someone who is younger than you rather than older than you?

[00:19:23.820] – Allan

Yeah, I think we've all seen those pictures of the 85 year old woman sitting in the wheelchair, just stuck, probably unable to even stand on her own. And then you see the 85 year old bodybuilder or the 100 yard dash winter who's breaking world records at that age. And it's drastic. It's really drastic. And so what you guys are trying to do with your studies and trying to come up with a biological age, a true age is, okay, how old is your essence, your body? How old are you really? And what are you capable of doing? Now, you talked in the book about kind of three models. I called them three models. I have to put things in my head a certain way because there's a lot of information. And you had a quiz, which is kind of that low length, easy one. Just sit down and do the quiz. And that's going to give you some baseline data, at least an idea, and you can look at what those questions were and ask yourself, okay, why am I answering a one or a half or three quarters on this one? The score I get.

[00:20:30.590] – Allan

You also have kind of a blood measures test, a phenotypic age that you can measure, and then you go in the book really deep into DNA methylation, which is really kind of how all this happens. Can you talk about each one of those? I guess I'm going to call a testing methodology, if you will, just to simplify it. But you can go a little deeper into what these are and what they're telling us.

[00:20:54.630] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. Even Besides the ones I cover in the book, there are tons of ways in which scientists are trying to quantify this kind of biological aging process. And the idea is that the changes are starting at kind of what we would call the lowest level biological organization. So this molecular level. So we and others have developed ones that capture those changes. So this is kind of the DNA methylation or epigenetic measures that you mentioned. And basically what that is, is we can look across your genome. Usually we do this from cells in your blood or saliva, and we look at hundreds of thousands to millions of sites and just say, what are the proportion of cells that have this chemical tag there, which is DNA methylation? And just based on the pattern of those chemical Tags, we can approximate something like a biological age using kind of the AI and machine learning. So it basically just says yourselves have this pattern of change that's representative of someone of a given age. And the reason that epigenetics is so exciting is it doesn't change your DNA sequence like the ACG and T. But I like to think of it as like the operating system of the cell.

[00:22:13.210] – Dr. Levine

It gives your cells their state. So it differentiates different cell types that all have the exact same DNA. But what makes a neuron different from a skin cell is the epigenome. But it also differentiates old cells from young cells. So this is kind of how we can do it. So once the molecular changes reach a certain point, you can start seeing this at a higher level in terms of changes in your physiology. So that's where you get the steenotypic age measure, which you can basically calculate from a standard panel you would get at your annual physical. So CDC blood cell counts, and also kind of a metabolic panel that looks like kidney, liver, all these different organ system functioning. But then the most basic one, once your aging is reached almost like the highest level is you see this functionally, this is what we perceive as aging both in ourselves and in others. You can see it physically. You can feel it in your body. So there are other ways, just very simple, almost doing a self assessment to kind of say, has my level of aging reached this point, given this quiz? And then you kind of look across the whole quiz where you kind of stand.

[00:23:33.040] – Allan

Yeah. And I think the advantage of all this, I've always said to my clients, yes, you can go get a blood panel and talk to your doctor. Yeah, you can do. And now you've made it easier that we can do a saliva test or a blood test if you want to go that far and find out. Okay, how's your methylation going as far as really getting down to the detail where we're talking about maybe down to a 10th of a year kind of concept versus this quiz is saying, yeah, you're a little younger than you are chronologically. The quiz will give you some basics to get started in the book, which I like. So if you just answer a few of those questions, you've got some low hanging fruit, if you will, to get started. And these actions, though, I think what's really important is many people look for something to say. Well, is what I'm doing working. And I know in your field, science, that's everything measurement is everything. Now, a lot of us love to do the easy measurements. So there's some easy ones, some really easy quizzes, one so you can get the Cosmo magazine and answer our quiz.

[00:24:38.700] – Allan

And it'll tell you whatever you are. They're on Facebook, too. The quizzes are fun quizzes will tell you a lot. But if you get a little deep, more detailed with the way that you're doing this, then you're going to have better data and make better decisions. Now, one of the data points that a lot of people love to use for measuring their health is weight. And in a minute, we're going to get into talking about nutrition and exercise. And a lot of people, the only reason they think about nutrition and exercise is because of what the scale says. But now you're telling them there's this much more important scale that you have potentially easily in front of you that is a better measure of health. Weight is important. I'm not going to poo poo it at all. It is important. There are some risk factors associated with. But why is this type of measurement something that someone should consider over just saying I'm going to step on the scale every day.

[00:25:45.670] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. And I'd also talked about this a little bit in my book, actually, when we measure our weight or calculate our BMI, which is based on kind of a weight height ratio, this is actually not a great predictor of health. Yes, we know obesity tends to be associated with increased risk of disease, but BMI itself can be due to a number of different things. Muscle mass is also heavy, so people can have the same BMI and have very different body composition. And actually in older ages, we find that a higher BMI is slightly protective than a lower BMI. So it's a very complicated relationship. But the whole point is that the reason we usually associate higher weight with risk of disease is because it tends to basically drive a lot of these changes that are actually age related changes. So it accelerates them. So rather than just assuming, oh, my BMI is probably too high, it's probably driving these it's better to actually just try to directly measure the consequences of this, which is on the pathway to disease versus just inferring something about your weight. And I also think this will get people less kind of weight obsessed because you see heavier people are actually quite healthy and thinner people who are actually unhealthy.

[00:27:06.770] – Dr. Levine

So it's better just to get a direct measure of what's going on. As much as you can approximate it.

[00:27:12.810] – Allan

One of the metaphors you had in the book, which I really enjoyed, was you talked about the Hill. And so as we're younger, we have this, for lack of a better word, inertia keeping us younger. As we go up the Hill, there's this inertia that keeps us in a condition so we're more resilient, we're stronger, we're faster, we're prettier, we're everything. And the older we get, the more we were. But then we top that Hill at some point, we can call it midlife or we can call it 35 when sarcopenia and ostopenia start to become a thing. And then we're going down a Hill. And now that inertia is not helping us. In fact, it's pushing us. And particularly if we're over 40 or over 50, we're going down that Hill pretty quick unless we do a few things to stop it or at least slow it down, maybe we can't stop it. We'd love to stop it for at least a little while. Enjoy this year more. One of the key ones I don't think you could have this conversation without it is to talking about nutrition. What we eat has a profound effect on our health and the scale in many cases.

[00:28:32.830] – Allan

So if we're looking at measuring this from either a health perspective or weight perspective, we have to talk about nutrition. And you went very deep in the book and talking about some of the nutritional strategies that we can have to have the best bio age possible. Can you talk about a few of those?

[00:28:51.230] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. So nutrition has actually been studied quite a bit in the aging field. Most of the original work was just looking at kind of calories or amount of consumption. So dating back actually, I think it's more than a century now. Scientists discovered that actually what would be called calorie restriction or dietary restriction can extend the lifespan of in this case, it was a rat. And actually since then, there's been calorie restriction studies and a number of different species mostly showing the same thing that it seems to be associated with improvements in kind of disease prevention. So elongation of what we call health span. So longer time disease free, as well as possibly longer lifespan as well. And calorie restriction isn't a severe malnutrition, so it's basically reduced calories without malnutrition. So in some of the human trials that are going on, it's about a 12% reduction in total calories. Since then, people have actually become more interested in basically fasting because the idea that someone's going to maintain a caloric restriction diet for their entire lifespan is probably unlikely. And so are there ways that are actually easier that we can do easier that mimic the same benefits?

[00:30:18.390] – Dr. Levine

So people have been really interested in different types of fasting, like time restricted eating, where you try and compress the number of hours each day that you're eating. So maybe you only eat between an eight or six hour window. There's also times where you can kind of some people skip a whole day of eating but then eat fairly normally the rest of the time. Or you can do these kind of short bursts of five day. They're not full fast, but very low calorie fast and do them maybe a few times a year. And we don't have what I would say definitive proof that this is slowing aging. But at least I'm looking at some of these biological age measures that you mentioned. There seems to be some indication that they might be. And then, of course, it's not just how much you eat, but what you eat as well. So a lot of research going into kind of plant based diet and whether plant based or things like Mediterranean diet are actually beneficial. And this seems to be supported looking at individuals who live in these very, what are called blue zones where you have very long lived individuals, but also looking at observational data, just people in, for instance, the US population.

[00:31:35.910] – Allan

Yeah. And I think it should go without saying that we know because we see it in practice. The person that looks and feels younger, at 65, they don't eat a lot of crap and they're not overeating. That's the other side of it. And so some calorie restriction. And as you said to kind of put that in context, if you're eating a 2000 calorie diet, that 12.5%. We're talking about 50 calories. We're not talking about really starving yourself. Now you may feel a little hungrier. And guess what? Hunger doesn't kill you. It might actually keep you alive longer and healthier, because we did talk about we are talking about health span, which I think is another aspect I didn't get into a lot. But we could all live long and not be healthy or we can live short and pop just be done. All those are part of our health span and how that aligns with what we're doing. And so I think we all know this if we're eating good whole foods, cause I don't think they had a reason to study this 100 years ago because corn pops and Twinkies and Hohos and Haagendazs didn't exist back then.

[00:32:56.610] – Allan

And now 95% of our grocery store is that stuff. And so I think most people know if they're eating a whole food diet and they're eating a predominantly plant based diet, Mediterranean style diet, you almost naturally eat less, really hard to overeat spinach and quinoa and those types of things. It just is. So you end up then losing some weight, maybe your calories are a little lower, because again, you're not taking in some calorie dense foods that you would otherwise. Now you got into just a little bit. You talk a little bit about ketosis, and the ketosis that you're talking about really comes about from these fasting protocols. So whether you're going to do true calorie restriction, you're going to do your five too fast, you're going to do some time restricted eating, or you're going to go into a full fast mimicking type diet like the prolonged diet with Baku Vanga. In a lot of cases, folks are at least for parts of time getting into ketosis and producing ketones. Can you talk a little bit about why ketones would be beneficial for us?

[00:34:13.930] – Dr. Levine

Sorry. My throat. Yeah. So I think I'll do the pause. Okay. So I don't think we actually know specifically why we think ketosis might be beneficial for us. And this is actually not something I study. But there are definitely colleagues at Yale who study ketosis. But we're actually starting to have kind of some clinical trials in humans potentially looking at ketosis. And there's some indication that this is why fasting might be beneficial, because as you mentioned, it puts your body in these kind of short cycles of ketosis. And there is some evidence that actually you don't want long term ketosis. And actually it is a cyclical kind of going in and out of it because your body actually can adjust and over compensate in the other way. And again, this is all very preliminary. We don't know specifically what I would say to is it's going to probably to some degree depend on what you're eating if you're on a ketogenic diet, because you can actually have a fairly unhealthy ketogenic diet as well, even though you're not getting a ton of carbohydrates and sugar, if you're eating a lot of very kind of animal heavy food sources, very high in certain types of fat, this also might not be beneficial.

[00:35:54.230] – Dr. Levine

And I think it's probably pretty hard for people to stay on a plant based ketogenic diet. So we'll see, I guess, as the science kind of progresses.

[00:36:05.030] – Allan

Yeah, I've talked to people all the way up from Carnivore all the way down to vegan keto. It's doable.

[00:36:12.790] – Allan

But like most things, the more strict and stringent something is like calorie restriction at 25% or saying, okay, I'm not going to eat a certain food group for a long, long period of time. The more restrictions you put typically, the harder it is because those things are just there. Like you're not going to walk around and not have food like our ancestors, where you got to go Hunt and find it or dig it up or climb up a tree or whatever you got to do to do. We don't have to do that now. My refrigerator, quite frankly, is like maybe 10ft away from me right now. So if I wanted something to eat within a minute that things open and I'm eating it. So, yes, these things can be very difficult to maintain. So finding the right way. And again, that comes from measurements. So if you've measured and you have a baseline and then you do a protocol, and then after appropriate period of time, you test again, that's going to give you some of that personalized evidence, some of that information that you could use then to know if a protocol is right for you or not.

[00:37:24.530] – Dr. Levine

Yes. Because again, it comes back to what you're actually going to be able to implement in your life and what you think is worth implementing. There are definitely people who can be on very health what seems like a very healthy but very restrictive diet. But that's not going to work probably for 95% of the population. They just won't be able to maintain it. So I think the important thing is to do what you can but acknowledge to have kind of the accountability for what you're doing. And if you can't go maybe and keep the most ideal diet, but you can do it 90% of the time or you can work in some of these other things and take these small steps. I think that's how people are going to get the most benefit.

[00:38:06.980] – Allan

Yeah. I think the cyclical approach is a very sound way to try something for a while, get some data, and then if it's working like you mentioned, just even with some of the fasting is doing the fast like three times a year or five times a year or every other month or something like that where you have a protocol and say, okay, I'm on a five day fast. I'm still going to have some nutrition that my body needs, but I'm going to do it in a very controlled way. So I know that I'm getting the nutrition my body needs. And then after I come off my fast, I finish that protocol. I can remeasure if I want or I can continue this. And then I now have some data that says, okay, yeah, this way of eating works. One, it has to be sustainable. But then beyond that, yes, I'm actually seeing measurable results in my bio age. And then the other side, you go back to the quiz, look in the mirror when you wake up in the morning, how do you feel? Are you stiff? Are you hurting? Are you aching? Is your arthritis acting up?

[00:39:12.010] – Allan

What are the things going on that your body is telling you, hey, we're not 100% here. Then you know that what you're doing is either working or not.

[00:39:23.450] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. And the other important thing that I don't think I touched on is that different things are going to work to different degrees for each of us. So there isn't one optimal diet that can be optimal for everyone, even in terms of the health benefits. So not just in terms of what we can each kind of maintain. And it's really hard to know what that diet is. So some people probably will do a little bit better on purely plant based where some people might need some kind of animal protein in their diet. And I think it's hard to use kind of genetics to predict what the optimal diet is for a person. And there are companies and scientists trying to do that. But it is just easier if we can actually have valid and reliable measures that give us feedback on how the things we do in our everyday life are affecting us.

[00:40:15.480] – Allan

Yeah, that N equals one experiment where you're the single subject. And I can tell you if you're doing an N equals one experiment, that's a very important sample size to have because you are getting real information of what's working for you at that point in time. Now, there's another area that's really important for aging, and you go into a few several in the book. And yes, we can wait for science to do a few things that's going to probably help us in the long run. They'll come up with some pillar shot or something that's going to be better for us and help us in our health, but it's exercise. And it's interesting to me. I've always said to people, it's like if you can take one more breath, you can do something to improve your health and fitness. But the way you said it in the book I really enjoyed here is this, no matter your age, disease status, or athletic proclivity, nearly everyone can benefit from staying active. And I appreciate you saying that. I really do. Why is exercise so beneficial for us in actually slowing down or improving our true age?

[00:41:27.890] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. So I think we don't truly know on a mechanistic level how exercise is improving health. But from decades and decades of research into exercise, we know that it is. And it seems to be not conditional on who you are. As you mentioned, even when they do these kind of interventions in very frail individuals who are kind of in nursing homes, physical activities seems to have a benefit for them. Of course, there's going to be a limit, right. You have to do it within a safe environment to not push past your abilities. But all of us benefit from exercise, and it's probably because our bodies are these complex dynamic systems. So something that's going to kind of prime that and, you know, make it more resilient is something that's going to be dynamic. And it doesn't necessarily act through one pathway or one kind of mechanism. It's probably honing in on our entire system and really kind of improving our resilience and robustness and our system's ability to function because it's needing to be adaptive to this very mild stressor, which in the long run will actually make it stronger.

[00:42:47.210] – Allan

Yeah. I just imagine our ancestors running sprints and doing push ups just for the sake of doing them. And they weren't they were climbing because they needed to get to the top of that tree either to get away from something or to get to something. They were walking or running long distances because that's how they could hurt and catch the animals that could run out faster than them but eventually would run out of the aerobic capacity and we would catch up to them, and then we would eat meat that night and then again digging for roots. When you don't have a backhoe, it takes some work. So work and exercise were a big part of our upbringing. Now, one of the things you said in the book, and I think this is where a lot of people can kind of put this together is exercise is a stress on the body. And we're kind of led to believe that stress is a bad thing, that there's good stresses and there's bad stresses. And even some of the foods we eat are hermetic, in effect, meaning they stress our body, but we produce good things as a result.

[00:44:02.150] – Allan

But the states that you went through was the homeostasis, which our bodies love balance. So stay balanced. And then we put a stressor in front of it, and then we have allostasis, which is the improvement, and then we have a return to Homeostasis. Can you talk about that process? So if I decide, yes, I'm going to start running, I'm going to put some stress on my body that it won't necessarily like me for doing initially, but it's the right thing to do. Can you talk about that process that way? How that's working?

[00:44:38.870] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. So exercise, as you pointed out, is a perfect example of this concept of homeostasis. So this very mild stressor, which is actually going to kind of prime your system and actually make it more robust in the end. And when we're in a steady state, our bodies are trying to maintain homeostasis, which is a given temperature and all these kind of biochemical ranges that your body tries to maintain. As we encounter stressors in our life, we go through allostasis, which is kind of your body's response to that stressor. So it needs to move out of homeostasis to respond to the stressor. And then the idea is that it should move back. And actually if you do this, you kind of dynamically can have these mild stressors, and then you move back to homeostasis. Our bodies get better at doing that and better at adapting to stressors that might come up in our lives. You can imagine, though, if you have a huge stress or your body might not actually be able to move back very well or you might end up in a slightly different kind of state. So the idea is to have these mild ones that our body can adapt to, and then there's potential that actually they can get a little more stressful over time, but you're better at adapting to them.

[00:46:03.530] – Dr. Levine

The important thing is something we see in exercise, too, is also the recovery. So you have enough time for your body to move back to this homeostatic kind of steady state space. And this is where we see things like chronic stress being a problem because your body never has time to move back to this adaptive states. So we know there's a lot of chronic stress in terms of psychosocial stress that people undergo that just never lets up. And I think this is kind of maladaptive stress. But actually these acute small stressors can actually be very beneficial to our overall functioning.

[00:46:38.640] – Allan

Yeah. And the way I like to look at it is one is these are the gentle nudges. So you're doing a little bit more work than you did before because you can't compress 30 years of not working out into a few workouts. Trust me, that won't work. But then, yeah, your body adapts, it gets stronger and the fact it can keep getting stronger. I think one of the data points you had in there was that they were taking what we basically call frail older people and putting them through a resistance training program. They increased their strength by over I think it was 112%. That's phenomenal. When you start thinking of doubling in probably was a matter of five, six, eight weeks. Most of these programs don't go more than twelve just for a cost perspective, that they were able to double their strength in that little amount of time, doing it in a safe environment. We're not putting them in the gym and saying, okay, we want you doing Olympic lifts here. They put them in a safe environment, they train them. And being trained, they become effectively better people, better athletes. And probably had you measured their bio age, which you weren't part of that experiment, but they probably would have come back a little bit better.

[00:47:57.930] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. And I think for a lot of these conditions that we see that arise with aging. So I think you mentioned before Sarcopenia, which is this muscle wasting, and it's also accompanied by loss of strength, also things like osteoporosis. Some of the best interventions we have are exercise. And I know people who are developing these might feel, well, I'm getting too weak to undergo a stressor like exercise. But actually that's what their body needs to kind of push it back into a stronger state. It needs that kind of you want like the push to come both ways. Right. If nothing's kind of pushing back on it, just continue to deteriorate.

[00:48:38.950] – Allan

Yeah. I like to think of nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress all of those are information. So our body, as you will, is literally just a computer, if you will, and it's collecting information about your environment. And if you're able to just sit on your butt every day and do nothing, in its mind, you're doing nothing but using your brain. You're not moving. You're eating foods that are not beneficial. You're giving your body information. That okay, it's time to shut down. It's time to just sort of just collect some fat. That's great. And then we're shutting down versus the opposite when you start giving it the information, hey, I'm going to need you to start actually lifting a little bit more weight. I'm going to need you to be able to travel a little bit further on your feet or in a wheelchair even. But you're moving more. You communicate to your body that it needs to be better and it reacts appropriately.

[00:49:41.970] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. Our bodies are amazing dynamical systems that will react to our environment and behaviors and all these inputs that we have the ability to kind of use to kind of Hone in on a better kind of overall system.

[00:49:59.730] – Allan

The good news of your book, True Age, is that this is not something we have to wait for somebody else to solve for. This is not even though we can say or they want to classify aging as a disease. It's not a disease that we can't reverse or at least control. It's something that's in our control and our lifestyle choices are a big part of how we age.

[00:50:24.570] – Dr. Levine

Yeah, I think I say this in the book. If someone had a pill that had the same benefits that we get with exercise, this would be one of the biggest breakthroughs, I think, in modern medicine. And the thing is that it already exists. We just have to kind of take the time out and actually do this. And yes, there might be really exciting discoveries down the road we're working on and colleagues, and we're very excited about those. But in the meantime, people don't have to sit around and wait for them. There's very impactful things that they can do right now.

[00:51:00.270] – Allan

And as you said in the book, there's a Goldilocks zone of this exercise. So we're not saying you need to be able to do an ultramarathon to consider yourself doing exercise. It's starting where you are doing a little bit more and then just finding that spot where you're optimizing how you feel and potentially how you look and how your body actually is responding to that stress and now potentially getting stronger and younger and all of that.

[00:51:35.070] – Dr. Levine

Yes, this comes back to this kind of acute stress versus chronic stress. You don't want to go out and just do so much, and then your body can't even really kind of recalibrate from that. But yeah, you do these little acute stressors enough to feel it like it shouldn't be easy per se, but enough to kind of break a swipe, get your heart rate up to a decent high level for a short amount of time, and then we can slowly build from there. But yeah, you don't need to be able to run a marathon. You can go for a 30 minutes walk or whatever kind of works for your lifestyle.

[00:52:08.130] – Allan

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

[00:52:19.110] – Dr. Levine

For me, I would have to say one is figure out what works for you. So, you know, if you can't stick to a diet, then that diet is not going to help you. We all kind of overestimate, I think what we will stick to in the future. So I would say find something that actually works for your lifestyle where everyone's busy, but just make sure you're trying to get that little bit of exercise or eat plant based or whole foods most of the time. I'm not saying you can't have cake on your birthday, but figure out what you can actually manage in your life. The other thing I think related to that is just to know your numbers, to actually have some information about how you're doing so that you can make those choices on whether something is worthwhile implementing in your life versus not. And this makes you accountable for your decisions you make. But also, I think, can give positive feedback that what you're doing is actually benefiting you. And then probably the last step. And I guess this may be relates a little bit to number one is you don't have to go from zero to 100.

[00:53:40.090] – Dr. Levine

You can take small steps and then get there. You don't need the perfect diet on January 1st. But you can start by implementing one thing at a time and over time kind of get to a healthier lifestyle. And in doing that, cut yourself a little bit of slack. Right. You need to be accountable and not cut yourself too much slack. But everyone messes up. I eat unhealthfully occasionally and we have to don't be so critical and set on being perfect and let that kind of ruin your progress overall.

[00:54:17.250] – Allan

Great. Dr Levine, if someone wanted to learn more about you or more about your book, True Age, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:54:28.930] – Dr. Levine

My book is coming out, I think, today May 3, so you can buy it on Amazon or other outlets. To learn more about me, my lab has a website. I think it's morganlevinelab.com. I also people feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram. I like to post a lot about aging research where we are the new science coming out and also talk a little bit about what I do in my everyday life. So those are probably the main outlets for people who want to learn more.

[00:55:03.440] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/536 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Levine, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:55:15.070] – Dr. Levine

Thank you so much for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:55:26.690] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:55:28.170] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What an interesting interview about aging. There's a lot to talk about here.

[00:55:33.640] – Allan

Yeah. I think in less than three or four months we've had three different guests now talking about aging and from different perspectives. One guy's in the technology aspect of it as kind of we were this time, companies providing services like how do you get your true age and what are the things we can do to deal with it? But the reality of it is we're not learning anything new. And I hate to say it that way, but you probably have heard common themes. What do I have to do for weight loss? And it's like manage your nutrition manager, movement manager, sleep, manage your stress. What I do is if I want to age slower, same four things.

[00:56:22.290] – Rachel


[00:56:23.750] – Allan

So these foundations of health that we go over week in and week out, there's a right way for you. There's the right size for you. And the sooner you get on it, the better, because we talked about that Hill and how the inertia or the momentum of aging kind of works in your favor for the first half of that Hill where the ball is trying to roll back against you and you've got much more resilience and much more strength and much more everything. And then you hit a point, a tipping point, and then now aging is running away from you. And if you're not doing the right things, it could end really badly and out of your control. Loss of independence, loss of health, loss of fitness. It can go bad, fast. And for some people, we're in our 40s and 50s. I don't know about you, but you get on Facebook and every other day there's this diagnosis, that diagnosis. And you're like, okay, sometimes that's just enough to get them to start fighting that inertia that aging inertia. Sometimes they're already past the top. And now it's just, okay, this is where I'm going.

[00:57:35.770] – Allan

And so we have a lot that we can do in four fundamental areas to manage our health and wellness. And it plays out over and over in all the different themes about how to have better strength, how to have better bone mass, how to feel better, how to have more energy, how to all four basic pillars that if we're working on those on a consistent basis, we're improving our health, we're improving our existence. And as a result, our true age is younger than potentially our chronological age.

[00:58:15.830] – Rachel

That's an interesting concept right there. To think that if you could manage your health in such a way that you might feel younger than other people at your age, we have an interesting, I don't know, concept of what aging feels like. When I was a kid, I thought 50 would be crazy old and I'd be slowing down and not doing the things that I'm doing right now. And here at 50, I'm still running marathons and doing some fun stuff, and I have no intention of stopping. This is how I like to spend my time, and it's giving me a higher quality of life. I mean, it's social, it's entertaining, and I'm doing what I can to maintain my age. And I just really wish people would also find something that they love to do at this age to keep them active.

[00:59:06.090] – Allan

Yeah. And it doesn't have to be running. It doesn't have to be weight lifting. It doesn't have to be super strenuous. I mean, it can be something as simple as pickleball or just something that's slightly active. Get out in the state park and go for a hike, find a group that's doing something that some movement involved and make it a thing. They're out there. And I think that's the point. There's running clubs, there's hiking clubs, there's pickleball, there's all this different stuff that's out there. Or it might be just something as simple as the Zumba class at your community and you don't have to be able to dance. Just go out there and have some fun and move at your pace at your thing and just enjoy yourself because you only get one shot.

[01:00:05.590] – Rachel

Right. I just think that's the best part, though, like Zumba class would be just a hoot. And I've got an aunt and uncle. They do Taichi a beautiful, graceful movement for them and they enjoy it. They have friends at the gym, and it's just such a fun, social atmosphere for them. And they're having a high quality of life. They get out of the house, they do these fun things, and they're healthier for it. You don't have to let aging just happen. You don't have to just get old and sit around and do nothing. How boring would that be?

[01:00:39.690] – Allan

Well, we see it. I mean, that's kind of what's interesting, as you were saying. It's like, okay, there was the great grandma who was right at the end and forgetting things and always sitting in her rocker. And then there was the grandma and yeah, she'd Cook a meal and then she'd sit down, and then there was mom, and then there was us and we're running around like wild animals, and everybody else is sitting and not and they're not playing and they're not doing these things. It wasn't done. It wasn't a regular thing. In fact, at one point, women couldn't even run a marathon. They weren't allowed like, well, okay. And that's probably why, again, if you're not going to let somebody do something, then they're going to want to do it that much more.

[01:01:33.680] – Rachel

That's right.

[01:01:34.490] – Allan

So, yeah, you can't do this exercise thing. Don't listen to us. You can't do yeah, Yes. But it's like it's not a button. It's not easy.

[01:01:47.630] – Allan

But you have tools. You have the capacity, if you take a breath to do something, and if we're just going to sit around and wait for them to come up with the easy pill, that one pill thing that you're going to take, that's going to be your exercise for you. You're going to pass before that happens. Science is great, but it's not going to be that great. In fact, what science is more likely to do is to keep you alive in a bad health state. So your health started declining in your 50s and you lived until your Eighties. It was 30 years plus maybe of poor health that you had to endure. And it's within your control to eat better, move better, sleep better, and manage stress better. Every little bit of that that you're able to do is going to help improve your lifespan and your health span.

[01:02:46.770] – Rachel

And the quality. The quality of life. Yes. You don't have to take aging sitting down, get up and get active.

[01:02:53.930] – Allan

Get out there. Yeah. And realize that if you are on the other side of the Hill, you can slow the descent. It's not this fixed aging curve where you have to live the way that you saw your parents live or that you see older siblings or relatives live. You can slow that curve with the right interventions, which are not medical. They're physical. They're what you put in your mouth or what you put in your brain. They're what you physically move around and do. It's all information. And if you're informing your body that you need to be active and manage an active lifestyle with good food and all that your body responds is like, oh, well, we still have to do stuff versus if you're just sitting around and you're not getting the exercise, you're not eating well, you're communicating to your body that it's okay for it to go ahead and start shutting down. That's a bad message.

[01:03:48.060] – Rachel

It is a bad message. Not very fun. Not fun at all.

[01:03:52.140] – Allan

No. So again, I'll probably still keep having guests on and we'll keep talking about aging because it's an important topic. But just recognize that all of my shows are the same show. They are. We're talking about the same four things but your four things are different than my four things and so you just have to find your four things and how you move, how you eat, how you sleep, how you manage stress and doing the best that you can with what you have, where you are. And if you're doing that then you're aging at a slower pace than you would have otherwise and you're going to have a longer, better life.

[01:04:33.750] – Rachel

Yes, that's perfect.

[01:04:36.490] – Allan

All right, well, rach, we'll talk next week.

[01:04:39.050] – Rachel

Sounds great. Take care, Allan.

[01:04:40.670] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[01:04:41.770] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye.


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

– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
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– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


February 21, 2022

How to be a younger you with Dr. Kara Fitzgerald

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

We grow up celebrating birthdays, marks of our chronological age, but that can differ drastically from our biological age. In her book, Younger You, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald shows us how we can slow and even reverse our biological aging.


Let's Say Hello


[00:01:13.450] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:01:14.590] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:16.190] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Good and bad. Like I said, the last time we talked, there were some things going on with me here with the gym in particular. My landlord decided that it was time for them to Mark up my rent. What they felt was full market on the space. And in the past, the agreement had kind of been that they wanted a gym next door, that it was good for them to have a gym next door. And so they agreed to a moderate reduction in what would be considered market rent. But now they just full out want market rent. And we've been open over a month, over a year since covid. We just had a year when they decided to do this. And so it was just bump. There's a 45% increase in rent. And I can tell you, the gym business is not a high margin business. In general, you have members, they pay. There's no contracts here. So this is not like I've got people locked into a year and they pay and they don't show up here. If they don't pay, they don't show up. They don't show up, they don't pay.

[00:02:20.310] – Allan

And so it's just that I can't. There's no way you tell your members, okay, rent went up 45%. I need you to pay me 45% more. I would lose all my members. So I decided it was a good time for me to go check out this thing called the market. And he was absolutely right. They wanted to mark it up to a market price and all that. I'm like, well, that's great. But I knew if I paid market, I could probably get something better, something that was more suitable. They've been having issues with their hostels. What they are hotel hostel. And so some of their members are right on the other side of the wall of our gym. And so people are in their lifting weights or the music's playing maybe just a little louder than you need it. And so they get complaints, and it happens about once every four or five months. Someone will send me an email saying, you guys got to cut the music off and move away from the wall. And I'm like, no, I'm done. Anyway, and also the gym doesn't have a bathroom, so now I've found a space.

[00:03:24.940] – Allan

We're going to have a bathroom. It's going to be a fair amount of space. It's not as big as what we have, but it's something we can make work and it's still right in town. So I think it'll be a good move for us from the perspective of having something solid locked in and then be able to run the gym, at least with some expectations that our landlords not going to come after us. Rent increases.

[00:03:50.350] – Rachel


[00:03:51.050] – Allan

Yeah. So how are things up there?

[00:03:53.300] – Rachel

Good. I just got back from a race, and my training that I've been doing with the trainer has been paying off. I had a great race day. And I'm excited for what's up ahead. My marathon will be in a few more weeks.

[00:04:08.090] – Allan

Oh, good.

[00:04:09.100] – Rachel

Fingers crossed.

[00:04:10.990] – Allan

no, not fingers crossed. You've got this. Put the work in.

[00:04:14.970] – Rachel


[00:04:15.420] – Allan

You put the work in.

[00:04:16.190] – Rachel

Yes. Doing the work. Making progress. That's right.

[00:04:19.650] – Allan

It's not luck. This is dedication and investment.

[00:04:25.630] – Rachel

Absolutely. My trainer has been really great, so it's definitely paying off.

[00:04:30.850] – Allan

Good. All right, well, you want to have this conversation with Kara?

[00:04:34.670] – Rachel



[00:05:17.080] – Allan

Dr. Fitzgerald, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:20.050] – Dr. Fitzgerald

It's great to be with you today.

[00:05:23.050] – Allan

I'm going to admit I'm a health geek. That's why I do what I do. And your book Younger You: Reduce Your Bio Age and Live Longer Better. I so geeked out on this book. I don't want to scare anybody away. It is a great book for a geek, but it's also very easy to understand. You've written things in a way that anyone can go through and kind of pull this together and say, hey, all those words that were out there that used to just kind of confuse me, they now make so much more sense.

[00:05:59.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Got it. So appreciative to hear that. That's very high praise. We worked hard. Kate Hanley worked with me in writing this, and she really got in there and translated so that it is understandable and the analogies make sense and people can do it. So thank you.

[00:06:16.470] – Allan

Now one of the quotes, the good books. I'll just say when I find a good book, I'll usually find something in it like this, just this nugget of quote. Typically a quote or it might be a stat, but usually a quote that I'll say, okay, this is important, and this is something that needs to be shared over and over and over again. And here's the quote I'm taking from your book. When you give your body what it needs without beating it over the head with Pharmaceuticals, synthetic hormones, you empower your body's own innate wisdom to lead the way. And that is such a powerful statement.

[00:06:53.610] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. Just allow trusting the body wisdom.

[00:06:57.640] – Allan

Yeah. And your younger you program. That's exactly what you're doing.

[00:07:01.500] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's right.

[00:07:02.460] – Allan

So I want to start out with some definitions because this is a technical issue. When you start talking about genetics, we're not talking about carbs and protein and fat, and we're not talking about bench presses and barbell curls and things like that. Those are complicated for a lot of people. But when you start getting into genetics and epigenetics and those things, it can seem very intimidating to someone that didn't study this or isn't really comfortable with the science of all of this. Can we talk about chronological age versus biological age or bio age?

[00:07:38.980] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, absolutely. It's simple. Chronological age is how many years we've been here on the planet. You can't change it no matter how much we might want to be 29 again, we're not changing that. Biological age is really the measurement of our physiologic age, how healthy we are, what our wear and tear looks like. Are we breaking down faster physically than our chronological age, or are we breaking down more slowly? And obviously, we want the latter.

[00:08:15.880] – Allan

Yes. And in the book, you give us some references to places we can go to get this done, like in a lab situation. But you also give us some easy tests, like just take this test and this will give you a general idea, plus or minus how well you're doing. So I appreciate you making that easy for someone to go out there and just say, okay, Where's my starting point? And then after going through some of this, actually be able to see progress, because progress is what makes us what motivates us to keep doing these things. So I appreciate that being a part of this book.

[00:08:47.240] – Dr. Fitzgerald

We have it online now. So that biological age subjective questionnaire you're referring to is online. And I'll give you the link. It's youngeryouprorogram.com, and then you can just do it yourself. Easy peasy. And as many times as you want. And it is fun and it is illuminating.

[00:09:04.330] – Allan

Now, let's talk about what genes are and what epigenetics is.

[00:09:11.320] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. Okay. And I want to make sure that I fold into that at some point how we actually measure biological age, because that's tucked into this epigenetic conversation. Our genes are hardware basically. They're just kind of tucked into the nucleus of the cell, really not doing anything unless they're called upon to turn on. So we've got about 23000 genes, far, far less actually than most plants. Our genome is relatively simple. And when we mapped the genome out back in the early two thousands, there was a belief that we were going to be able to find a genetic cause for all of the chronic diseases that we are swamped with. And upon completion of the genome, it was clear that it was too simplistic of a goal and that ushered in the era of epigenetics or epigenomics. Epigenetics has been around for a long time, but there's a lot of attention here now. And what that is epic is above and genetics is our genetic material. So above the genetic material or how we regulate genetic expression. And this is where the rubber meets the road. This is how our diet and lifestyle habits, our mental and emotional experience, our stress, our toxins, et cetera, all of these things that we're interested in in the health space, it influences genetic expression.

[00:10:57.850] – Dr. Fitzgerald

And you're looking at those changes right here in epigenetics. So it's where environment meets genetics.

[00:11:07.030] – Allan

The way I kind of understand it is okay. I used to think a gene was either on or off, but as I understand, it's sort of like a dimmer switch and the epigenetic aspects of it are kind of okay, is this more on, more off or all the way off or all the way on? And some of these genes, like you talk about tumor suppression genes that over time kind of get turned more off, more off, more off as we get older or as we deal with toxins or we just don't take care of ourselves. So the epigenetics aspect of it is really kind of almost toggling on how much is the gene working versus not working?

[00:11:41.740] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, perfect. That's exactly right.

[00:11:43.990] – Allan

It's different then I can't toggle my different colors by messing with my epigenetics. Some of these things are hardwired, but a lot of the health aspect things that we're seeing, like cancers and other diseases of age, mostly diseases of age and lifestyle, we're seeing those are controlled by epigenetics.

[00:12:02.290] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yes, that's right.

[00:12:04.790] – Allan

Okay, now you're diving one layer deeper. Okay. So we're going to take this next step down and this is a very important step because this is the basis for how you've organized everything you do, and that is DNA methylation. Can you first tell us what methylation is and then what is DNA methylation?

[00:12:25.220] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. So methylation is a process that's happening and really everywhere in the body pretty much all of the time. This isn't scientifically correct, but it's like oxygen. We know we need to be breathing all of the time or will die. Methylation is like that ubiquitous and really maybe more so. And it's a methyl group is a carbon with three hydrogens. It's very simple, very fundamental. We're making methyl groups in the methylation cycle, and then they are carted off in the structure of a compound called S adenosine methionine. People might know it as Sam or CME. So this compound, CME, hangs onto a methyl group and then it goes off to the myriad enzymes that use a methyl group and just engages in a whole lot of biochemical reactions in the body. We use methylation to detox. We use methylation to make hormones, things like adrenaline or dopamine or noradrenaline. What else do we use methylation for? To make really important fatty acid associated compounds like phosphatidyl choline, and choline? You know, just on and on. I think at last count there were over 300 reactions requiring a methyl group.

[00:13:53.290] – Allan

Okay. So the way I like to look at this, just from a simplistic and maybe it's not simplistic, but to me it's simplistic because I didn't grow up around computers, but I spent a lot of time with computers is I look at genes is kind of being like you said, it's sort of the hardware and the operating system. You bought an IBM, you're an IBM or you're an Apple. You operate a certain way. And then the epigenetics is sort of the software we decided to put in there. So do I want to do graphics work and I'm going to be over here doing cad and working with drawings and things like that, or am I going to do crunch big numbers and do spreadsheets and databases? So you use a different software that is going on in that sort of deciding how you're operating and you're doing things. And the methylation is the data entry. It's the bits and pieces that go in there to say, okay, so if this, then that well, now what's the if? What was that if? And it's like if you ate whole food, then this, if you ate crap, then this.

[00:14:50.270] – Allan

And so the software is already there and we're affecting the DNA methylation, hitting that kind of stuff with our lifestyle and our food and everything else.

[00:15:02.530] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's interesting. I haven't thought of it in that way, and I'll have to ponder it a little bit. There are a lot of biochemical processes involved in epigenetics, involved in gene regulation, and DNA methylation is one of them. So I have to ponder your analogy. At a glance, really it makes sense, but it's one of the software programs and I think it's one of the big guys software programs to regulate what's going on in us.

[00:15:38.650] – Allan

Okay, now you have a formula in there, and this formula, I think, kind of helps us drive how we approach this whole your whole younger you program is built on.

[00:15:48.360] – Allan

Okay. We've got this group of things. We got to think about this group of things and this group of things. So you put them into three buckets, but it's a plus plus plus. And then that's going to equal where you are with your younger you. First is methyl donors, which, as I understand, is basically things that are going to help, that are going to be donating the things that are going to go into that process, the DNA methylation adaptogens, which are going to kind of be the enzyme, but things are going to make that happen. And then the lifestyle practices that are going to define how well it happens.

[00:16:21.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yes. So donors help with fundamental methylation. We need to be effectively methylating all the time, and we need to supply the body with the ingredients in order to do that. And as we age, we actually do it way less efficiently. The adaptogens are foods or compounds that sort of direct where they go. And I think that that's what you said. And our lifestyle pieces also influence what is happening at DNA methylation as well. So maybe they're refinements. I look at them as further all important support in regulating optimal genetic expression.

[00:17:06.070] – Allan

My thought process goes like this. It's like I can't really control methyl donors. It's not like I could have a switch on my shoulder or something. It's like turn it on or turn it off or make it move here, make it move. The same thing with the methylation adaptogens, but the lifestyle practices, I have a little bit more control now. I do have control of my food, which is where a lot of these donors and adaption come from. So let's talk a little bit.

[00:17:30.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald

They do. They all do. So, I mean, I would challenge you on that. I would say you do have control over what you're putting in your mouth.

[00:17:37.910] – Allan

Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about the food. You have a lot of different aspects to it that I think are really important. Can you talk about food and this approach and why it's giving us the methyl donors and the DNA methylation adaptions?

[00:17:59.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. So going back to that first quote about giving our body the ingredients it needs for optimal chain expression, our food is information. It's extraordinarily complex information, actually. Scientists are really just unpacking it. They were just learning how extraordinary it is. And it's not just the isolated ingredients. It's the interaction between the ingredients that are on your fork and then the interactions with your gut, microbiome, et cetera. It's just the food matrix is beautiful and extraordinary. And my appreciation is always sort of expanded as the science grows. So we want to be consuming foods. So we want to be consuming these methyl donors that we need a lot of instead of an isolated vitamins. Actually, I shouldn't say instead of because there are times when we need isolated vitamins. So I want to be clear that I'm not suggesting we stop isolated vitamins as needed, but eating as many in a food matrix will yield more bang for our buck. And so that means leafy Greens, that means spinach, that means kale, asparagus. That means mushrooms like shiitake or Inake that are just maitake that are just loaded with Folate and B.12 If you can do it, have some eggs.

[00:19:29.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald

If you're a fan of eating eggs, eggs are loaded with choline, beets. I try to have a couple of small beets every day. They're packed with the methyl support nutrient Batine. Another methyl donor superfood is liver. We like people to do about three servings of liver per week, so not loads. And the eggs we look at in a weekly serving as well. So you don't have to have them every day, but maybe five to ten eggs per week. We do have a vegetarian/vegan program that one can follow. We just didn't do our research study on it. So you'll have to stay tuned. We're actually continuing to research. So stay tuned there. But this original study was used using animal products. So those are methylation adaptogens. And then those are the methyl donors foods, and then the methylation adaptogens. These are the beautiful polyphenols that seem to direct how the methyl donors behave and where they go. Top ones include green tea, the catechins egcgb most famous. Rosemarynic acid, and Rosemary, quercetin, curcumin, luteolin. What else? Resveratrol. All of the beautiful compounds and blueberries and berries in general. So think andanal methane, sulforaphane.

[00:20:57.800] – Dr. Fitzgerald

So cruciferous vegetables. We want you to just be just fill your cup with these nutrients. And I think together they just pack a really profound punch. So I'll just stop there and see if you can.

[00:21:09.730] – Allan

No, that's great, because a couple of things that are there is yes. If you eat keto, if you eat vegetarian, if you eat Paleo, if you eat Mediterranean, all of these stack on top of the way that you're approaching this. But you're just saying there's some very core things here. High quality whole food. You didn't say Twinkies or Twiskets or anything like that. These are high quality whole foods. It is plant forward because a lot of these methyl donors and the adaptogens that we need, they're going to come from plants. In fact, I think this week was the first time I've ever bought fresh Rosemary in my entire life.

[00:21:52.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Well, good. Oh, it's great. Cool.

[00:21:56.150] – Allan

And a lot of the foods that you mentioned, I love. I love beets, I love liver. And so those are normal things. But it just kind of reminds me to make sure that they're in the rotation enough that I'm getting enough methyl donors. As you say, one thing that I think is going to be kind of interesting to a lot of people is that your approach is sort of keto leaning, not necessarily all the way to ketosis all the time, but at least leaning towards keto and utilizing intermittent fasting.

[00:22:23.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald


[00:22:24.220] – Allan

So why are those two a part of this? What do they do?

[00:22:27.780] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Well, we know that ketones are extremely helpful. Before I jump into the answer those two questions, I just want to underline the comment that you made about how stackable this is. We used this in clinic practice years before we got to research it. And so we layered these principles into the myriad very individualized diet program. So if we had a strict keto protein restricted keto with a cancer patient, we could layer in these principles. If we have somebody with profound allergies or on a fodmap or any of the myriad diets that one might use in clinic practice or even out in the world, that the diets that people might be exploring, these principles are designed to be layerable layerable layerable. This is not exclusive. The only time you might consider doing this and following it exclusively is if you really want to get the results from our study. And that's an eight week chunk of time. And so that's when I would say.

[00:23:31.930] – Allan

But it is a reduction of over three years of bio ages which you are finding in your study. It is eight weeks and it's restrictive and it's intensive. It's called intensive. We're going to talk about it a little bit more detail later, but it has some pretty profile. At least it was a small group. But to be fair, pretty profound findings from just that small trial in just eight weeks. I think anyone here can sit there and say, I can do anything for eight weeks, particularly if you see the benefits that I think you'll see if you do this. And then the other side of it is if you're eating a certain way and you hear about some of these other foods, you might have thought, okay, well, I'm in keto, and beets are root vegetables, so therefore I shouldn't be eating them. You can still stay in ketosis and eat beets. I do it all the time. It's just a function of being aware of how much you're eating, how many carbs you're taking it and what your tolerance is. And if you get your insulin resistance under control, which is a part of what this diet does as a part of the anti-aging aspects of it, you will probably be able to tolerate more natural sugars from things like beets.

[00:24:39.310] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's exactly right. That's a great point. Yeah, right. Absolutely. And you can figure out when you may consider eating your beets, perhaps after you've done something cardio. And we're not talking about a ton of beets. I think two medium beets a day, so you can cut them in quarters and just have a bite of beet if you're working with blood sugar issues. So ketone bodies are important. I think epigenetic signal molecules. And I think the data around ketones as epigenetic regulators is just emerging. So they're included. We wanted it to be keto leaning for that reason, but also just the potent anti inflammatory potential of having background ketones, their brain fuel. I mean, they just serve so many having some circulating ketones, having our bodies exposed to some circulating ketones daily, even for a limited period, I think is really important in long term health and longevity.

[00:25:49.150] – Allan

When someone gets the metabolic flexibility to be able to use Ketones in addition to glucose, what I found is that the cravings for glucose go away because the energy source is always there. We carry enough body fat to pretty much function for a long time. And we already have enough blood sugar and basic available sugar to last us for a couple of hours of even intermediate level work. So for most of us, if we get that metabolic flexibility, we're not constantly hungry, not constantly hungry. And so having the ability to utilize Ketones gives us that capacity to choose give us some freedom. For a lot of people, then that also leads into the intermittent fasting and how easy it becomes once you're adapted to using Ketones.

[00:26:39.770] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, that's right. And of course, we know that Longo has done lots of research and data continue to come out showing the benefits of different fasting structures. And we wanted something doable. We didn't want this study to be about intermittent fasting or fasting. We really wanted this program to be easy to be doable for a large population. So it's 12 hours on, 12 hours off. It's very gentle. But the data on fasting, on time restricted eating and biological age is just growing. And I think it's good. It's impressive.

[00:27:20.020] – Allan

Yes. And these are not extremes and these are not low calories. Eat cardboard stuff.

[00:27:28.390] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's right.

[00:27:29.310] – Allan

You're eating healthy, high quality foods. You're not trying to blast your body with a bunch of supplements. You're supplementing as necessary. So this time of year up north, probably some vitamin D if you're vegan, probably some vitamin B12. Just kind of making sure that you're putting the right things in your body. If you can't get it from your nutrition or your body can't make it itself, then you do some supplements.

[00:27:56.960] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, we do. In our study, it was very simple. We didn't want to lean on supplements. But I agree with you. And there's actually in the book there's a supplement section in the book where I talk about just some workhorse nutrients, as you said, like vitamin D or if you're vegan, B12, and possibly iron in some circumstances, fish oil. There are some basic things we want in our background if we're not adequately consuming them in the diet or if we're not consuming them at all. But in the study, we only used a Greens powder to get just another little hit of those all important polyphenols that I mentioned. And we used a probiotic Lactobacillus Plantarum. And the reason we use Lactobacillus plantarum is this particular strain has some nice science on it for a variety of healthy gut reasons. But it's also been shown to be able to increase bacterial production of folate. And we make a lot we make a ton of vitamins. A healthy gut makes lots of vitamins that we need. And we know. So beyond just making vitamins. We know that the microbiome regulates host epigenetics, and it plays a lot of roles and it's just continually being unpacked.

[00:29:10.700] – Dr. Fitzgerald

We're just starting to wrap our arms around it. So we know that a healthy gut microbiome is an essential component. So those were just the only two things we used in our study.

[00:29:19.240] – Allan

Yeah. There were a couple of things that I took away as you got into this as far as supplementing and things like something as simple as put your mushrooms out in the sun for a little while and they'll have some more vitamin D.

[00:29:30.090] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Isn't that cool? Like an easy mushroom hack? Yes.

[00:29:33.740] – Allan

Just put it out there. If you got high quality sun, put it out there for an hour or so. If you can put it out there longer and it's going to soup up the vitamin D you can get from those mushrooms. Also, you talk a little bit about how folate but typically when we get a supplement for folate, we're getting folic acid, which is problematic.

[00:29:55.330] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. I do want to acknowledge that food folic acid fortification, grain fortification has reduced birth defects in this country and other countries. So we have to acknowledge that public health success. But we also have to acknowledge that that means there are some people get ingesting a lot of folate, be it folic acid and fortified foods or the other so in grains, but also in milk, in alternative milks. And it's a huge issue how much fortification goes on. If you buy soy or almond or cashew milk, etc. That's been any degree processed, it will be fortified with various vitamins. And so we need to keep our eyes open. Folate exists in a U curve. And actually, let me finish the folic gas piece first. Folic acid is synthetic. It's not bioidentical to the folates that we use. And so it has to be active. And I think your listeners probably know you've talked about this I'm sure that it takes a few steps. It takes more steps, and we don't all activate it equally well. And circulating folic acid has been associated with issues as far as DNA methylation goes, imbalanced methylation isn't going to come from folic acid, though, so I don't follow that thread in the book too far.

[00:31:20.230] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Imbalanced DNA methylation can come from folic acid has to be activated into a body usable, a bio dentical form, and then it could go on to influence DNA methylation. So any excess forms of any I think isolated vitamins can in some people probably be problematic. And it is not black and white. This does not mean that you throw your supplements out at all, but it does mean that you recognize if there's excess and you're paying attention and if you're taking isolated vitamins, you're doing it for a reason. You know why you're taking that much? Are you taking it long term? If so, why is someone managing that, et cetera, in the age of epigenetics. So in the Omics era, where we can see our genome, our microbiome or epigenome, et cetera, in this era, we are able to see nutrients, lifestyle vitamins, influence on our physiology more than at any other time. And because of this, I don't think we can any longer say we'll pee out the vitamins we don't use, et cetera. I think we need to be a little bit more mindful.

[00:32:35.890] – Allan

Yeah. And you're wasting money

[00:32:39.010] – Dr. Fitzgerald


[00:32:43.450] – Allan

so let's jump into some of the lifestyle things. And in there, you had pretty much four things. And the reason I want to talk about these four things, in addition, is this is the message that we hear over and over. You can take this back to Buettner when he was talking about blue zones. Doctor Day, the probably the last, I would say the last ten episodes if we didn't talk about these four or five things. We talked about food, we talked about exercise, we talked about we talked about stress management in some cases we talked about toxins, which I kind of lump in with stress management. So it's emotional stress or actual chemical stress and then social connection. Those four things, exercise, sleep, stress management, and social connection are so important. But they're affecting us at this level. They're at this level. This is not just, oh, I feel tired because I didn't sleep. We're doing something to DNA methylation.

[00:33:39.450] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yes, it's pretty crazy. So here we are in this era where we can see what the heck is happening. And, yeah, we need these lifestyle practices for a reason. We evolved moving our bodies. We evolved getting a certain amount of sleep, and you can see that people. So originally it was animal studies. There are animals and human studies, but most still are animal. But just one poor sleep session. In an animal model, damages the central nervous systems. There's neuronal damage, the regeneration of neurons or the maintenance of neurons. It becomes problematic. And we see in humans insomnia being very proaging, as measured by DNA methylation. So sleep is important. And then just going beyond specifically looking at DNA methylation. So we see that it's disruptive there, but we see that poor sleep is linked to all of the chronic diseases, which are all fueled by aging. So it comes full circle. So, yeah, it's essential for us to get sufficient sleep for those of us who want a healthy longevity and a good health plan to go with our longevity, we really need to be considering sleep. We need to prioritize it. I talked a lot about sleep in my book and how to do it because I was a bad sleeper.

[00:35:08.190] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I think of all of the components of our program. Sleep was the hardest for me. And so how did I improve it? It was a lot of little steps. Probably the biggest one was going to bed early enough to actually allow my body to get 8 hours and not staying up in this anxious state of ‘oh my gosh, I'm not going to fall asleep' and we're going to talk about meditation in a minute. That's a great way to bring the body down into a sleep place. Making sure my room is dark enough. I put an air conditioner in the window in my bedroom so the rest of my house wouldn't be cold to turning down the central air because I sleep better in a really cold room. I think most people do, so just little hacks along the way can add up to good quality sleep. I love using a sleep tracker. I wear an aura ring that motivates me because I'm a data Hound. I like looking at it. I feel excited when I get sufficient deep sleep and REM. And I can also track did I exercise too late? When I exercise a little bit too late, my heart rate doesn't drop and I tend to be a less efficient sleeper.

[00:36:16.210] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I'll have more disruption if I exercise in the morning. However, I can really get fabulous sleep, so it helps me, but there's a timing component and I just kind of move through some of those things when I wake up at night. So I have a toddler at home. Honestly, I wake up most nights with her and then I need to be able to fall back to sleep. And one of the ways that I've done that actually an important tool. I got this from her, right? I would play white noise for her or rain sounds, et cetera. And I just started doing that for myself. And now it really makes a difference when I need to kind of bring myself back down into sleep in the middle of the night when I've been woken up.

[00:36:56.170] – Allan

Yeah, I also use the white noise and keep the room cool. Now that my wife is menopause, she agrees with me. The room should be colder. Before we were ten degrees difference in where we wanted the temperature of the room to be. We're much closer now, but it is that what is something. And so mine was an internal dialogue. Meditation, if you will. It's a very different thing and that I just visualize myself doing something. At first I was struggling with stress of being under a house, a dad of a house, and then it's very expensive house. We're having troubles with contractors and everything. So it was stressing me out. I actually was laying there when I think that I'm under the house, but it's on sand and so all I have to do is just start digging and I would dig out and I would see blue light and then I would feel the Sunshine, smell the air, hear the noises of the waves and the birds. And then I'd climb out and I'd start walking and I'd be asleep. And what I found was every morning then I found myself. It gets easier and easier to dig out.

[00:38:06.640] – Allan

I'd be out and I'd be walking down the beach earlier, and I would sleep better. And then one night I was just already standing on the beach.

[00:38:15.190] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Well, that's pretty cool.

[00:38:16.400] – Allan

And so I'm not going to call it a dream as much as just when I was just sitting there thinking about my state of mind and where I needed to be and where I was and what was going to take it was going to take me digging through the sand. And so every night I would just kind of mentally dig myself through the sand and just say, okay, this is easy. I'm just digging through sand. I can do this. Blue light. Okay, great. I'm moving in the right direction. I'm doing the right things. And then I'm asleep. So it's just for me, it was a unique thing. Now I don't have that house. I don't have those problems. So now I just visualize myself.

[00:38:48.460] – Dr. Fitzgerald

And you live on a beach.

[00:38:49.550] – Allan

I live on a beach, but I've just visualize myself somewhere I want to be that I would enjoy. And I start thinking about the sun on my face and how that warmth feels and how the air smells fresh and you can just kind of feeling in the waves and all of that. When you start doing that, it kind of clears your brain of anything else because you're trying to sensory perceive yourself somewhere. Everything else just falls apart. So if there's things that are bothering you over the day, it's like that guy cut me off in traffic. Damn it. I should have got his driver's license. He should have his plate number and turn them into you're not thinking about that anymore. You're thinking about the sun on your face, or maybe you like skiing and it's the brisk and the cold and you can see your breath and those types of things. For me, the big point of sleep is to just find a way to turn and yes, white noise is a big part of that, too.

[00:39:42.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I think the take home what you're doing, it just sounds perfect, is that we can succeed at this for people who have struggled with insomnia. And I am right there. Stress induced insomnia, like what you're talking about. I've absolutely struggled or just being woken up a lot because of my daughter. But both varieties, simple steps, we can do it. And there are times I know we have other areas to talk about, but I want to just say that because I know people listening are going to say this or think this any insomniacs out there. Yeah, that won't work for me. Yeah, that won't work for me. There's just this discouragement. And I've also been there. And the fact of the matter is it can work for you if you continue to return yourself to whatever the exercise is like. Ok. If you return yourself to the stand and to the blue light, and then your mind goes right back to being under the house and stuck under that debt. It's so overwhelming. Then just return. It is a meditation practice. It's not like a meditation practice. It is, but you just have to keep with it.

[00:41:01.050] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I'm sure there were times when you didn't do when you failed at it, and then you'd have to keep returning.

[00:41:06.080] – Allan

Yeah. Other things were going on. Yeah. And then I'd get stuck again. But the other thing I found was, okay, if there's something you can't do, what's important is for you to focus on what you can do. So if when I injured my shoulder. Okay, well, I couldn't exercise the way I wanted to exercise, but I could exercise some ways. I didn't feel like I was making the progress, but I could really focus on my nutrition. I could really start focusing on my stress if I can't be in the gym for an hour and a half, because that's what I enjoy doing now, my basic workout because I can't work parts of my upper body. My workout was done in an hour. I now have a half an hour. What do I do? I go home and I sit down and I just do a quick meditation, a 15,20 minutes meditation before I take my shower. And I use that 30 minutes to change something or I made sure I made good meal prep. So I know my lunch is packed and everything is ready to go. So I've had a good breakfast. I'm going to have a good, healthy lunch.

[00:42:03.740] – Allan

And so it's just do what you can with what you have, where you are.

[00:42:07.160] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yes, that's right. Amen to that. Okay. Do we want to move on?

[00:42:13.880] – Allan

Yes, we're going to move on. But the only reason I said is I want to back up a little bit because earlier I talked about the software piece, and you got the hardware with the operating system, the software and the data. And in my mind, the food, the exercise, the sleep, the stress management and the social connections. That's all information. And the information is not just something that's out there. It literally goes to your genes. It goes to the expression of your genes. It's the information that makes that stuff happen, good or bad.

[00:42:43.880] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's right. That's exactly right.

[00:42:45.330] – Allan

You talk a lot about trauma in the book and how trauma carries forward all the way to our DNA to the point that we can take it forward to the next generation.

[00:42:53.470] – Dr. Fitzgerald


[00:42:54.090] – Allan

So this is not a little thing. This is the information that drives your life. And it potentially is driving future generation. A lot of us are not of age where we're going to have children again. But just be thinking about it in terms of your daughter's, son looking at having children. If they start using some of these practices, they're setting that child up for a much better future because their DNA is made of their DNA, which means that all that encoding is some of it's going over. And the more we can clean that up now, the better.

[00:43:29.490] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's right. And we do the best we can. And it does exist on a continuum. So you can see changes after one healthy meal or one exercise event. But clearly you're going to see stronger and more deeply rooted favorable changes on DNA methylation or the epigenome with continued practice. I just want to say, because it's so cool, is there's a study looking at exercise and the heritability of that and you've can pass some of those beneficial genetic changes down. I just think it's so cool. I mean, we know this for food, and I think trauma has been probably better studied than almost anything the heritability of trauma. But it's just if you're doing your crunches and you're going to conceive, I mean, go you. You're doing your power lifting or whatever, you can hand some of that down and actually just thinking about exercising in older people, they get more of an epigenetic bang for their buck than younger folks. So you had brought up those tumor suppressor genes. These are cancer fighters in our body. And as we age or if we have cancer, these genes get really kind of turned off. And exercise helps with re-expression. So it's neat. It acts like a methylation adaptogen.

[00:44:52.370] – Allan

So now I want to quickly talk about alcohol because you talked about an adaptogen and everybody thinks, oh, great, I can have a few glasses of wine every night and all I'm doing is putting antioxidants in my body and I'm good. Maybe the story is not that clean.

[00:45:13.420] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, it's not. Sorry, guys. I feel for you. I'm not a drinker at all. But I appreciate people who want to have a drink. It inhibits methylation. I mean, it's not via a variety of mechanisms. It kind of shuts methylation down. So I think if you're going to drink well, if you want to do our intensive and if you want to get that three year biological age reversal that we got on our study participants, just like offers eight weeks, just eight weeks after that, we've got an everyday program that you can resume drinking if you like to, but it's modest. We don't want you pounding back the sauce a lot because you will mess with methylation and DNA methylation. You can have some wine. So have some dark red. I think it's helped. That's a good variety, a good type. Have it be low glycemic or do some clean, gluten free vodka or something like that. But keep it modest. And maybe if you're into it, consider having an extra serving of some methyl donor food that you particularly like in conjunction with that. Just to support it.

[00:46:29.430] – Allan

Let's get a little into the program, because what I really liked and part of the reason that your book is as thick as it is is that you gave us every tool imaginable to make this manageable for everybody. Meaning there is an intensive program you recommend eight weeks. That's how your study was designed and got great benefits. There is an everyday version, which is kind of a light version of this is a little bit more leeway to do some things. But even in the book, you talk about how you can walk your way into this by just picking one or two things to do a little differently and get there. You provide meal plans. If someone wants to follow something stringent, you give us kind of guidelines. If we want to have a little bit more give and take of eating the kind of foods in a way we want to, you show us how we can layer it across different ways of eating, like vegan, vegetarian, keto, Mediterranean paleo, which pretty much is already paleo if you really map it out.

[00:47:31.210] – Dr. Fitzgerald


[00:47:31.790] – Allan

And then at the end, you give us a bunch of recipes to kind of make all this work and shopping list. So you didn't leave anything out. It's like you literally take the shopping list going, okay, here's the recipe to make this dish. This is my meal plan for the week. And quite literally, you've laid everything out. It made the book over 490 pages, I think. It's weightlifting, just think of it that way. You pick it up off the ground, use your legs. It's a big book, but it's got everything in there to kind of walk us through this program. So is there anything else you want to talk about with the program that someone should know?

[00:48:11.410] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I appreciate you highlighting that because I have an amazing nutrition team in my clinic practice. We have a nutrition internship program that's world recognized, and it's competitive. So we get just the best and the brightest nutritionists. And they did a lot of the heavy lifting and establishing our recipes and doing tasting and establishing the macro and the micronutrient on each of the recipes. And we worked so hard together as a team. And I just always need to give them a shout out. And our founding nutrition director, Ronald Hodges, actually worked on birthing our original program back in 2015, 2016. And so, yeah, it's been built by really brilliant minds. And so they'll certainly appreciate you just giving all of this work, this hard work a call out. In fact, you're the first person who really has brought it to light.

[00:49:08.510] – Allan

No honest truth. I've done over 325 of these interviews, and almost every one of them, they'll do their book and they'll have a plan or program eat these foods, do eat this way, and then they follow it up about a year later with a cookbook. So you bought the first book and now you buy the cookbook. So if they have a best seller with the first book, then the cookbook is going to be a best seller, too. That's typically the way that math works. You've just put both books together, but you've done it very well in that it's completely thought out. I'm not going to say it's dummy proof because you still have to go to the grocery store. You still have to find these things. You still have to Cook it. All those are good things. This is going to teach about nutrition. This is going to teach you about cooking. You're going to have some delicious. And I wish I had been in the tasting rooms when you guys are putting these dishes together. You guys had some great meals, I'm sure.

[00:50:03.450] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, we did. They're so good and they're satiating. I want to say that the dummy proof program is in the app, so you can link to that in the show notes. It's the three YY program, but you can find it at younger youth program. You can find a link to the book and then a link to the app. And that's where we'll really hold your hand through doing it. And then all of the sort of next generation younger you content that we're interested in will be in the app. And actually, we're going to continue to research in the app. So if anybody is interested in participating, that's where you want to go. I want to say one more piece here. Just given your appreciation of this nutrition component and the attention we gave. So we ended up needing to create. I just had to and I'm so glad the publishers let us kind of nudge it in what we call the younger you hybrid. It's half the intensive layered some of the everyday principles in. It's for when you're getting ready to conceive for men and women, because if you read the book, you'll see men in the world of epigenetics, yeah you're a big player in what happens with your baby, both in utero while your partner is carrying the baby.

[00:51:20.260] – Dr. Fitzgerald

But then the genetic expression pattern that they inherit, you play a huge role here. So how do we prepare for conception, men and women? What do we want to be thinking about during pregnancy and breastfeeding? And so we designed this younger you hybrid for that. It just seemed such a hugely important time in DNA methylation and demethylation. It's such a huge important time that I just couldn't leave it out of the book. So that information is in there as well.

[00:51:53.920] – Allan

So it's going to be a great reference for you today, for your kids today, for your grandkids, tomorrow. Now, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:52:08.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I love it. I love that. I think that's just such a beautiful, you know what? If somebody's going to be the healthiest fittest and happiest, I think that they're going to be epigenetically young as well. When I read your definition and just sat with it, what I thought was get into the driver's seat of your genetic expression. When we age in this country, in the United States, the final 16 years, we have at least one diagnosis and most of us have two. We're on multiple medications. We end up turning over our life savings and all of our hard work to Pharma, to skilled nursing care facilities, to hospitalizations. Like all of our hard existence, we just fork it over to the medical establishment. And it's just so sad to me. So aging is the biggest risk factor for all of these chronic diseases that we just want to avoid with every fiber of our being. And it looks like these diseases, the whole aging journey, take over our genetic expression like they get in the driver's seat. And so I would say that we want to be in the driver's seat of our genetic expression.

[00:53:31.840] – Dr. Fitzgerald

We want to take it back from these chronic diseases. We want to take it back from the aging process and do it. This program will allow you to do that. So I would say bathe your genes in methyl donors and adapt in the healthy way we outline. Get enough sleep, exercise, and well, this is more I'm going beyond your three, but community connection would be the final.

[00:54:01.570] – Allan

Right. Dr. Fitzgerald, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Younger You, the Younger You program and the app that you spoke about, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:54:15.250] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Very simple. It's just youngeryouprogram.com.

[00:54:19.500] – Allan

Great. Well, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/526, and I'll be sure to have all the links there.

[00:54:26.540] – Allan

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

[00:54:30.340] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Oh, it was my pleasure. It was really great talking with you today.

Post Show/Recap

Post show with Rach

[00:54:40.970] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:54:42.470] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a really interesting conversation with Dr. Fitzgerald. We've always been told how eating and moving and all these lifestyle changes are good for our health, but now it sounds like the science is out there to kind of prove it. As far as our genetics go.

[00:54:59.470] – Allan

Yeah. I think people feel like they are genetically wired to be a certain way.

[00:55:05.520] – Rachel


[00:55:05.860] – Allan

Obviously, you have blue eyes or you have Brown eyes and that we know why that happens, but there's a lot of things out there that are not so solid state, and they can be changed over time through the process called epigenetics. And the mechanics for that is this process called DNA methylation. And so basically what she's showing us here is that the lifestyle and the food all blend into that communication. It's the information that drives our epigenetics that makes our genes do what they're there to do. We used to buy an IBM computer. It had all these little dip switches on the back. So you'd read the manual and you'd set the dip switches for different things. And it felt very complex. And of course, they made software that started doing that stuff. And now with data, you can say, okay, and I'm user Allan or you're user Tammy on the computer. And it's a whole different experience. And so it's just the complexity of all that is there in our genes. So it's just a function of saying if you do the right things and she goes into detail in the book how to do that with her program, then you're going to be able to slow the aging curve and be biologically younger.

[00:56:33.420] – Allan

And it's fascinating with how quickly some of that change can be seen and measured as far as your genetic age, your bio age, it can be flipped really quickly.

[00:56:48.530] – Rachel

Yeah, it was really fascinating how you described it as also a dimmer switch. You're right. I've got Brown eyes and Brown hair. But our overall health can kind of vacillate. It can kind of change based on our lifestyle habits.

[00:57:05.450] – Allan

Yeah. Well, it's things that we knew. We knew genes were going to drive us to be certain limits, certain things. And we knew that, okay. If you have a particular gene, when they first started doing the coding of that and getting the whole code, the map of the human genome, when they started putting that all together and it took a long time and a lot of money, they thought they were going to have the answer to everything. They thought that this $3 billion in years and years put into this program to get the first one done and now $100, $125, you can have that done over the course of a week or so. But that didn't answer all the questions. And then they realized, well, okay, jeans can be turned on and turn off is what the initial premise was. For a long time, that's what we thought. And now they're realizing, no, some genes are always on. Brown hair, Brown eyes. Some genes are set on dimmer switches. And those ones that are on these, like dimmer switches, we have some control over based on things that we do, what we eat, our stress management, our movement, social connections.

[00:58:26.690] – Allan

And if we put good practices in, we put good food in, it's this information that goes in and says, hey, slow this process down and speed this process up. And so it allows our body to age slower. It allows our body, in some cases to reverse age biologically now, not chronologically. You're still 56 years old. I am 56 years old. So I can't reverse that. But I can reverse my biological age. If I take the time to implement these strategies that she has, you can see that difference. She can measure that difference.

[00:59:15.110] – Rachel

And the strategies are the things that we talk about all the time, which is eating high quality nutritious foods, having some level of movement, getting good sleep, reducing stress, which is not always easy, but is important. And it's all these things that make for a healthier lifestyle, which it's interesting to see that actually show in the science.

[00:59:39.490] – Allan

Well, you go back to the blue zones. I mean, when Buettner wrote The Book Blue Zones, It has to have been 15,20 years ago now, I think. But he wrote the book about why are people living past 100 in all of these different areas? And he tracked what they ate and how they lived and it was the social connection. It was low stress. It was high regular movement. Not necessarily intense stuff, but just they're walking and they're moving and they're doing stuff and then it's the food. And so you go through that process and you say, okay, if I go ahead and start improving these things, I'm going to slow my aging curve. And it goes even a little bit beyond that. It's also about not just living longer but living better. And that's also in the subtitle of the book Is that most of us will get to an age and then we'll just decline really quickly and that's the aging curve. And it's a scary slope when it starts to happen that way you can delay that and have that slope happen later in your life if you take the time to do it.

[01:00:47.450] – Allan

We live longer because it keeps us alive longer, but it doesn't keep us healthier. Medicine doesn't do that. So what we have to do is do the right things with the foods we're eating movement, the sleep, the stress, doing the things that put good information in so that the dimmer switches are turned on and off in a way that help us live longer and better.

[01:01:09.490] – Rachel

Yes, that sounds great. What a fascinating interview.

[01:01:12.500] – Allan

Yeah, it's a good book if you're interested in the science of all of this. She did a lot of research on these different things and even some of the kind of more fruitful things that are out there that you can try, but this is just a real good solid. Okay, this is how it works. Understanding this formula, you go through the process and you start trying to eliminate bad things and add good things and it works.

[01:01:39.170] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds great.

[01:01:41.570] – Allan

All right, well, talk to you next week.

[01:01:44.130] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[01:01:45.570] – Allan

You, too.

[01:01:46.420] – Rachel

Thank you.


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Another episode you may enjoy


How to rock your midlife with Ellen Albertson

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Many people look at midlife as the beginning of a downward path to the end. In her book, Rock Your Midlife, Ellen Albertson shows us how to make our last chapters our best chapters.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:34.290] – Allan

So, unfortunately, we're not going to have Rachel on the show this week. But she'll be back next week, I promise.


[00:04:58.400] – Allan

Dr. Ellen, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:01.130] – Dr. Ellen

Thank you, Allan. It is so awesome to be here.

[00:05:04.170] – Allan

Yeah. As you got into your story and some of the things that you've done, it's really kind of fascinating because I'm not going to say there's parallels in our lives, but it's like you were a fitness trainer and then you kind of went on and started doing coaching and doing a lot of things online and offline and just kind of building a practice, if you will. Your book is called, Rock Your Midlife: Seven Steps to Transform Yourself and Make Your Next Chapter Your Best Chapter. And I like the title well enough. But there was a quote in the book, and I have to read this quote out loud because this is pretty fascinating and really touched me in a way that I'm like, okay, this is why I do what I do. And it's this, at midlife, you're gifted with an entire second adulthood to know and love yourself on a deeper level to figure out who you are and what you want. And I just thought that's magic. If people would wrap their mind around that one quote, their midlife, the after midlife, after 50, after 40 age, suddenly they're like, hey, this isn't a downward thing I'm facing. This is an opportunity.

[00:06:17.710] – Dr. Ellen

I love that you started with that quote from my book. And thank you. I'm glad it touched you because you were sharing a little bit of your story. And I think we're both finding that I'm having a gas. I mean, I'm almost 60 and I feel fabulous. Why it's so important that there are people like yourself who are telling people, this is how you can be healthy. I've met so many people who are at the healthiest in their 40s, their 50s, even their 60s, and then deciding who do I want to be when I grew up? Because I know my story and I think a lot of us, we were like, climbing this ladder of success, but it was up against the wrong freaking building. You're clawing your way up, you're sweating, you hate going to work every day. And what you can do at midlife is take everything that you've learned, really get to know yourself, what you love to do, what your talents are, the genius you're here to share with the world and create an incredible next chapter. I think that's what we're really here to say, that we're changing the pace of midlife.

[00:07:12.070] – Dr. Ellen

It's not about crisis, it is about difficulty transformation, often with people. But you can really create an amazing 20,30 decades.

[00:07:22.750] – Allan

As I got into my journey because I was in my early, late 30s when I realized I had a massive imbalance in my life. And I was so focused on career that my relationships were sour, my family life was sour. Everything else in my life, fitness and health, everything else, I was just not even scoring zeros across the board. And then career 100. And I was like, So this is not working for me. But it took me about eight years of hitting this, trying this. And I realized one of the problems that I had the whole time through was that I was focused on an outcome of weight loss, thinking that was kind of what I needed to do. And I think most of us approach this problem of midlife. It's weight loss. And most of my clients say, hey, I need to lose weight. But the reality of it is that's a byproduct or a side effect of you actually just getting your life in order. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because you brought up that concept in here. We're focusing on the wrong problem.

[00:08:33.220] – Dr. Ellen

Right. The reason we focus on way, honestly is it's such a specific, easy metric to look at. Like, how do you measure happiness, right? Like, that's really subjective weight you get on the scale. And people are like, wow, I lost 10 pounds. I feel good about myself, but as you said, and I have a lot of clients coming to me too. The first thing they want to do is lose weight. And we start with looking at their life because the reason that they're having that threesome with Ben and Jerry's or that Chardonnay Cheddar cheese have it in the evening is because they're not enjoying their lives. And so by the time 5:00,6:00 hits cocktail hour is like the thing that makes them feel good. So during the day, we're experiencing so much stress, especially right now with so much uncertainty and the pandemic still happening. So what happens when we get these cortisol rushes all day long? All cortisol is the hormone of fight and flight. So we're feeling stressed out, we're feeling tired. We're not very happy. And rather than saying, hey, what do I need to do to manage my stress, to create a life that I love, to find purpose and meaning? We're leaning into dopamine.

[00:09:38.020] – Dr. Ellen

Dopamine is the chemical of reward. It's the sex, drugs, rock and roll, food, alcohol, gambling, shopping, all of those kinds of things. And so again, like with weight, it's easy. We lean into the dopamine. I'll just have this threesome with Ben and Jerry's. Instead of looking at my life and going, okay, what's not working? What do I need to feel more fulfilled? And so when I start to work with people, it's so interesting. We start to work from the inside out. The self talk, the self compassion, the self care, all of these things about treating yourself well and feeling like you're enough. And then come 5:00, 6:00, they're not interested in the food because they're feeling good and they're feeling energized all day, and they're giving themselves what they need throughout the day. But again, I think we're leaning into weight because we think that that's the solution. And I think there's so much in the media about these quick weight loss solutions. You'll feel good about yourself. And particularly for women, our self worth is so much based on our appearance. And when we're happier, we don't feel confident, when we don't feel very good about ourselves.

[00:10:43.070] – Dr. Ellen

But I also tell people, too, that weight needs to be an outcome, not the goal, because we don't have control over it. I've seen people, I'm sure you have as well, who are eating right, who are moving their bodies. And the scale isn't budging. They feel a Plateau. And what happens is if we make weight the focus of our journey, when the scale doesn't go down, even when we've been doing the lifestyle change, we feel bad about ourselves. And then we're just like, screw it. I'm going to go ahead and just eat whatever I want in this vicious cycle of beating yourself up and being good and then not good. And I just work with my clients. It's just like, get rid of the diet books, get rid of the weight mentality, and let's focus on health and happiness.

[00:11:27.190] – Allan

Yeah. I remember going to the gym when I was actually doing things right. And so about every third day or so, I would be on the elliptical just burning up a sweat, doing some hit training or something like that. And there was this one woman, and she'd been coming in there for roughly the same amount of time I had. She'd been in there five, six months. And every day she came in and got on the elliptical and just killed herself for the whole hour and a half I was in the gym. So one day I'm finishing up my hit training. It's 20 minutes, and then I'm done. And she just says, what are you doing? You're losing weight. You lost a lot of weight over the course the last little bit of time. And I said, well, I stopped actually paying attention to weight. I actually started paying attention to other things and things I enjoy doing and making myself be myself. And you have a seven step program that is in a big part. I think I stumbled into it. It took me eight years. Someone now can buy your book Rock at Midlife, and you pretty much have given them seven direct steps that will take them the same path.

[00:12:36.970] – Allan

Can you talk about the seven steps and briefly what each step does?

[00:12:41.170] – Dr. Ellen

Yes. And I went through it myself, too. So I've lived it. I've lived with my clients, so I didn't just get there overnight. But the first step is authenticity. And authenticity is so important because if you don't know yourself and if you're not being authentic, there's no way that you can create a midlife. The next chapter that's going to feel fulfilling and good for you. Because if you're being someone else, if you're wearing a mask, if you're trying to live someone else's story or agenda, you're going to keep running into those walls. Why don't I feel good? Why am I not enjoying my life? So what I do is I take people through this is stuff that I've worked on through my PhD and through years of working with positive psychology. Lots of journaling questions and prompts. People can ask lots of various tests that people can take. Like a lot of my clients, I have them take the VRA test, which is a test that looks at various character strengths. It's free. You can get it online to really see what am I really good at? What do I really love to do? What have I always been curious about?

[00:13:46.360] – Dr. Ellen

What did I want to be when I was a kid and sort of just really getting to know yourself, just like you would get to know a good friend. And I think a lot of people don't really take the time to figure out what do I love to do? For me, I had an older sister who is a very accomplished musician and artist, so I kind of didn't do that in my own life. But I always wanted to do more art, more music. So I just bought a ukulele. I just got myself some pencils, and I'm drawing and rediscovering these kind of varied parts of ourselves. So the first step is authenticity. Really get to know who are you? And it's also about embracing your flaws. We're not all good at everything and figuring out what am I really good at? What do I need some help? What do I love to do? What lights me up? And it's a really great initial Breadcrumb on this quest to make an amazing next chapter. That's step one. Step two is to love yourself and really learn to treat yourself like you would a good friend. And this I grew from my studies of self compassion, which I was fortunate enough to study with a woman named Kristin Neff.

[00:14:54.850] – Dr. Ellen

She's kind of a pioneer in this area. A lot of people like question, how do you love yourself? And this self compassion is really the how of loving yourself. And so it's really all about learning to treat yourself like you would a good friend. And when I start working with people, I have them think about when a friend that you love goes through something, how do you treat yourself? I'm sorry, how do you treat them? And then how do you treat yourself when you go through something? And the whole idea is to start to put yourself in those sort of befriending shoes or pretend that you had a wise friend and ask, how would she treat me? And then do that thing. So that's step two, loving yourself is such a game changer, because when you love yourself, you attract what's in your best interest. So you go to the gym, not because you're punishing yourself, but because you want to be healthy, you want to have a healthy life. Personally, I love to exercise. I don't know where we got on this whole bandwagon of exercise is punishment. I woke up this morning and I went cross country skiing first thing in the morning.

[00:15:57.720] – Dr. Ellen

It was a blast. So you start to eat right, take care of your body, get in relationships that are positive, do more things that light you up because you love and care about yourself. So that was a game changer for me. I'm curious, have you practiced much self compassionate for men? It's kind of a different ball of wax.

[00:16:13.580] – Allan

It was. And I'm going to say this word if it bothers you, if there's kids, cover their ears. But I literally thought of myself as a fat bastard. That was literally the words that were in my head as I was going through the beginning of my journey. And that was the wake up. The wake up was, who am I? And I woke up, I was actually I was hungover and I was in Malaysia. And I've been working on this for eight years, this and that, and then just failing over and over, I was back in the same spot. And I just remember waking up and thinking, why can't I do this? Because I'm so good at everything that I have ever wanted to do. I wanted to be good at football in high school, I was good at football. I tried out for the tennis team. I made the tennis team. In College and high school, if I wanted to make a grade, I made the grade. If I wanted to pass the test, I passed the test. When I wanted to get a job, I got the job. I almost had no failure. And I was like, why did that always happen?

[00:17:14.910] – Allan

And then it's not happening in this facet of my life, what is different? And then I realized I woke up. I'm like, nothing's different. The only difference is I'm not treating myself well and I'm not committed. And if I were committed, I would treat myself like someone I love. And the way I kind of equate it is, if you told your spouse that you were going to be at the airport at 05:00 in the morning to pick them up, guess where you are at 05:00 in the morning? And if you treated your spouse the way you treat yourself, you always do that. You never do that. If you use those words, you can't do anything right what you're saying in your head to yourself. But if you ever said that to your spouse, you're probably facing a fight or a divorce. We can't divorce ourselves. So if we really think about self compassion and love, then we stop using those words. We catch ourselves when we're doing it, and we say, I would never, ever say that to a friend. And if a friend ever said that to me, it would really hurt my feelings.

[00:18:18.870] – Allan

So as soon as you can start getting past those words, then you can open up to the possibilities of who you're really supposed to be. That's where we get to the next few steps, where you're talking about getting energy and reprogramming and empowering yourself and doing those things. But until you get past this point, because I think in my opinion, a self love, self compassion piece you have to do this step.

[00:18:45.430] – Dr. Ellen

And it's a beautiful story. And it all starts with that self talk. And the interesting thing is that self critic, as you said, I think you said the fat bastard. We developed that inner self talk before we're ten years old. We developed this inner critic because our caregivers criticize us, right? They tell us to finish everything on our plate and keep our room clean and get good grades. And if we don't do these things, we are in danger of not being loved and cared for. So when we get to be adults, we internalize the voice of our early caregivers. That inner critic becomes very real in our lives. And we think and this is an interesting thing that I realized in so much of my research is that we think that we need the inner critic to motivate us, like you said, to get on the tennis team and to get that job and be successful at work. But the research really shows that the self criticizing actually undermines motivation. Because when you criticize yourself, you shut yourself down, you generate cortisol, you feel bad about yourself. Whereas with self compassion. We want to do those things because we want to be happy.

[00:19:51.970] – Dr. Ellen

And actually, self compassion is very energizing. And unlike self esteem, which for a long time, psychologists really emphasize self esteem, self compassion actually is not contingent on anything. You can love yourself and support yourself regardless of how well you do at the gym, at your job. It's a muscle that you can build that constantly grows. That's why it's such a focal point of my work and the book that if you don't love yourself, you can't create a next great chapter. And it really comes down to being kind yourself rather than critical. To be mindful when you're struggling and suffering. So to stop and notice and say, oh my gosh, that was a tough time right now, particularly the kind of days that we've had. I've talked to so many clients and friends who have had so many losses. And with Covid it's been really difficult, extra challenging to stop and say, what do I need right now? And treat yourself like a good friend. And also to understand this concept of common humanity that we all make mistakes, we all fail. It's part of the human condition. So I'm so glad that you have been discovering this yourself.

[00:20:55.810] – Allan

Yeah. So now the next, the third step you have is about energizing yourself.

[00:21:02.290] – Dr. Ellen

Right. So if you want to have a next great chapter, you've got to take care of your body. So in this chapter, I really just summarize my 30 something years in the health and wellness field. So diet, it's not complicated. The media wants you to think that you have to go on some crazy diet and eat really weird foods or cut certain things out. But it really comes down to eating more plants. So really personally, I try to get between seven and ten servings of plant foods every single day. Plants are so important, they help to reduce inflammation. If you are trying to lose weight. Plants contain fiber, which is the part of the plant that we don't digest. They fill you up without filling you out. If you're going through menopause, those plant fibers can help you with menopause symptoms. And it's really in my work, I've really found if people add more plants in, it crowds out other things. So eat more plants. Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't have eaten. So really sticking to whole foods, foods that aren't processed, staying away from things like added chemicals, added sugar, and then eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed

[00:22:11.510] – Dr. Ellen

So if we did those three things, if we ate more plants, ate more whole foods, really didn't stuff ourselves, we would really be healthier and get to a healthy weight. Certainly with movement, I recommend at least 25 minutes a day. I think at midlife, less is more. We still need to build muscle. At midlife, we start to really lose our muscle mass after 30. If people don't do strength training, their muscle mass really erodes at a very quick level. It's also one thing I found so interesting in my book is that women at midlife need more protein. So the protein requirement in general is .8 grams/kg. At midlife, we need one to one and a half grams per kilogram. So we actually need more protein to support that muscle mass. The lower estrogen levels we think about bone loss, but we also can have muscle mass loss due to the estrogen. So the bone building is really important. Stretching is also really important to do that with your exercise and of course, cardio. And as far as nutrition, D is very important. You live in Panama, so I'm sure you get plenty of D.

[00:23:18.520] – Dr. Ellen

But here where I live in Vermont, I take vitamin D every day. Most people living in the north are deficient in vitamin D, but 50% of people are. So it's super important for your immune system, for bone health, for even how your mind functions. And then I think rest is really important. It's so important to rest between workouts, giving your muscles time to heal and grow stronger. It's also really important to make sure that you are managing stress and resting during the day and also getting 7 to 8 hours of good sleep and of course, also staying hydrated. So things we've heard before. But I think again, just having really simple, smart goals for yourself, maybe getting an accountability buddy, hiring some help, someone like yourself who can help people get that accountability and hit the mark is so important. But taking care of your health is really important. A lot of people are just blaming it on I'm getting old, I'm getting tired, I'm gaining weight. But you really can reverse any kind of health challenge that you're experiencing at midlife. So that's number three and number four is to reprogram your brain. So I think at midlife we do start to not be quite as sharp.

[00:24:29.860] – Dr. Ellen

I know myself sometimes it's hard to remember everything. I think part of that is that our minds are so full of so many things and we're not as mindful as we could be. So we're not just focusing on just doing what we're doing while we're doing it. So mindfulness is really important for your brain. It's interesting to note that at midlife and at any point in your life, you're always making new neural connections. So your nervous system, your brain, your neurons are always making new connections. So if you've experienced issues in your life, whether that's trauma, depression, memory issues, you can reprogram and rebuild your brain through things like mindfulness, through taking time and writing things down, which helps commit things to long term memory by really doing more of what lights you up, what's important. And of course, exercise is super important for your brain. And eating right is also important for your brain. Your brain is one of your most nutrient hungry organs in your body. It uses about 20% to 25% of your calories every day. So taking care of your brain means taking care of your whole body. There certainly is a brain body connection.

[00:25:44.450] – Dr. Ellen

And also a lot of interesting things I talk about in Rock your Midlife, about the microbiome. I don't know if you have come across some of the research which is this. We have an organ that's not really part of our body. It weighs about 4 pounds and it's made up of microorganisms. So bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, a lot of them are very good for our health. They help with our digestion. They actually can help with your immune system and with your mood. And you can build a healthy microbiome again, eating more of those plants, eating less sugar, having less alcohol, less additives, and then also eating what's called probiotics. So you're eating some healthy organisms yourself, so you can take a probiotic supplement, or you can also eat things like sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, which contain these microorganisms. So that's step four is reprogramming, working on your brain.

[00:26:40.930] – Dr. Ellen

Step five is about empowering yourself. So for me, your empowerment really starts with that step one, authenticity. So knowing that this is who I am and this is what I'm meant to do in the world, it's all about having power from within. So often we look from power from without, so we look to other people, we look to our job or organizations to make us feel good.

[00:27:05.340] – Dr. Ellen

But empowerment is really drilling down and saying what makes me happy? What do I want to do in the world? What are my geniuses and what are my strengths? And also I combine in Rock your Midlife this idea of authenticity with the law of attraction, which is simply this idea that, like attracts like. So the energy that you put out attracts energy to you. So if you are positive, if you're working on yourself, you're practicing that self love and that self compassion, you're going to attract opportunities and people in your life who are going to feed your soul and feed what you want to do in your next chapter. If you're walking around complaining and feeling bad about yourself in your life all the time, then that's where you're going to be stuck. It doesn't mean that you need to be a Pollyanna. And difficult things happen. And we need to hold ourselves when we're sad, when we're grieving, when we're frustrating, but we need to not sort of push those emotions down, but really take care of the difficult emotions. And then we can sort of get to this neutral ground with things like gratitude.

[00:28:14.540] – Dr. Ellen

And then we can really work on more of those positive emotions, like joy and happiness. And so that empowerment is some emotional up leveling, as well as really being yourself and putting yourself out in the world in the most powerful way you can.

[00:28:29.140] – Dr. Ellen

And then moving to step six. So I love step six because what happens is after you've done step one through five, you start to change. It's like you've been that Caterpillar, and then all of a sudden you're like, oh, my gosh, I'm coming out of my Chrysalis. I'm the butterfly. My wings are drying. The only problem is the people in your life might see that and think that you're still the Caterpillar, and you're like, no, no, I'm a butterfly. Can't you see? Like, I'm colorful and I'm flying and I'm eating nectar. And so in this chapter, which is called Rehab Your Relationships, I give people three specific techniques to really work with the people in your life. So the first thing with that is really to get your people pleaser. And you're a good girl. A lot of us have people pleasers. It kind of goes back to what I was saying before about early caregivers, wanting everybody to like us.

[00:29:20.850] – Dr. Ellen

So really saying yes when you mean yes and know when you mean no. Putting yourself first, it doesn't mean that you're selfish. It just means you've got to put on your own oxygen mask right before you can support other people. I teach people something called the nonviolent communication. So specific techniques to communicate with people, which really involves getting your needs met and then also setting boundaries. So really, I have people go through an exercise where they create a personal bill of rights, where they really decide, this is what I stand for. This is my bottom line. And if you cross it, these are the consequences. And I think we don't do that a lot. I don't know how good how it is with men so much because I work mostly with women, but having a bill of rights and just deciding this is what I stand for, whether it's with work, whether it's people that you're in intimate relationships with. But it's super important to get your needs met, to set boundaries and to really work on those relationships.

[00:30:21.130] – Allan

I think with me, like you talked about men, and I think the reality of it was that I was so focused in one facet of my life that those relationships were gone. Any of them that I still had were the toxic ones that just seemed to cling on because they'll cling on till the end. And I was like, okay, I have to get rid of the toxic people in my life, particularly the ones that I can, because there were some that I couldn't because they were like my boss. Get rid of some toxic things and then start looking and seeking out the people that bring you joy, the people that you know are good people for you, the people that are going to support you. Jim Rohn says you're the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. And 15 years ago, if I would have put that list together, wrong people. And so now I make a point of spending the time, my time with the people that I care about the most, and I know care about me. And so they're lifting me up versus tearing me down all the time.

[00:31:31.230] – Allan

And so even as a guy, you might not think about it a lot. But if most of your time is spent with your drinking buddies at the bar after work and you guys are just tearing down beers, buying each other rounds, and that's all good and fun, but that's your path. That's who you're surrounding yourself with, and that's going to leave you stuck. So you've already done these things. You're trying to beat us butterfly. Maybe not a butterfly for a guy. Maybe we're moths, I don't know. But you've become something better than that and it's time for you to move on.

[00:32:06.650] – Dr. Ellen

That's awesome that you did that. It's difficult, though. I know myself before I made these changes, I left 25 year marriage and substances were a part of our social life, and now I'm so much more judicious. I mean, I might drink occasionally, socially, occasionally have a glass of wine, but my new man in my life may be on say, we practice kind of yoga together. We go cross country skiing, we got a tandem bike, and we have a tandem kayak. And I think that's really the relationship thing is so important because often when I start working with people, I'm sure you noticed this, too, Allan, is that people are really scared. If I make these changes, what's it going to do for my relationships? If I lose the weight, how am I going to go out to that restaurant and order things and say, well, I don't really want to drink, I don't enjoy doing this anymore? Or what's going to happen with my primary relation, my marriage? If I lose weight and I get in shape and I change my lifestyle and my husband or wife stays the same, what's going to happen? Am I going to lose friends?

[00:33:04.060] – Dr. Ellen

And so that's a difficult question that I think a lot of people when they're sort of thinking we're sort of at the beginning of the year and people are thinking about change, and I think covid made people really reevaluate their lives. A lot of thinking, gosh, if I change, what if, what if this happens? And what if that happens? And that's again, I talk about this a lot before the steps, talking about getting unstuck and immunity to change. Often we have something deep seated. So I'm sure it was hard for you to think about, gosh, if I change my life, if I'm going to get up at 05:00 in the morning and get to the gym, well, that means that I can't go out for those drinks with those guys. And if I say, Gee, I really want to start finding new friends, what's going to happen with those relationships? But I know myself when I cleared away some of the old relationships, new relationships is space for new relationships. And there's lots of really amazing people out there who can support you and love you, who want to have a healthy lifestyle. But there's a lot of fear, I think around.

[00:34:00.670] – Dr. Ellen

And that's something that I also, when I work with people looking at this immunity to change. I've had a lot of clients who don't do the self care because they want to be available 24/7 for the grandkids. And they think, well, if I join the gym or if I take that yoga class or that self development thing, then I won't be available to babysit all the time. And they don't even realize that they've got this underlying belief feeling like, well, I won't be needed then. So sometimes you have to really look very deep. And I think this weight loss spiral keeps people in a very stuck place where they never have to look at what would happen if I really did change, what would really happen if I stopped dieting? And I just said, you know what, I'm going to start focusing on my lifestyle and really make some deep changes.

[00:34:46.070] – Allan

Let's talk about the 7th step on this. And then I do want to jump in and talk a little bit more about fear, because I see that a lot.

[00:34:53.230] – Dr. Ellen

Sure. The 7th step is enlightenment. So enlightenment spirituality is really all about connecting with your passion and purpose. And we're all here for a reason, and there's a lot of problems in the world. So we all have talents and gifts to share with people. So this is really all about how to connect with your soul and your spirit. You might want to rediscover religion that you experienced when you were younger or just experience a new spiritual path. So I give people a lot of specific things they can do to create a spiritual practice, to create a relationship with their soul. I like to say that you are a soul having a human experience, maybe flip that around, said thinking, I'm a human, I have a soul, and I kind of go to Church on Sundays, and I experience it to see what's it like to connect with your spiritual self. I mean, for me, a lot of that is doing various yoga practices, certainly being out in nature, nothing to me connects me more with all that is than just being outside and seeing the birds and the snow and the trees. So lots of specific things that people can do, because I think when we get to the midlife, we're wiser and we want more of that type of connection.

[00:36:08.520] – Dr. Ellen

And hopefully we've created more space and time. And we know that so many people at midlife are quitting their jobs. Right. They're just thinking about gosh, you had that same experience saying that, I don't want to do this anymore. It's not making me happy. So the big piece of being happy is finding your passion and your purpose, connecting with things like gratitude, so I really dig deep into spirituality as well as sort of the positive psychology behind things people can do to really be happier, more joyful.

[00:36:38.960] – Allan

Yeah. Now with fear, you had two acronyms, and I think these kind of sum it up of the kind of the two sides of this. And the first acronym was false evidence appearing real. And the second was face everything in rise. And the two sides that I see there is the first one is most of the fear we have is not rational. And it's more of like a worry, something like you said, the what if, what if this were to happen and then you're afraid. It's like, well, I don't want that to happen, so I just won't do this. Or the other side of fear is just a point where you sit there and say, you know, I've put up with being this way or being unhappy, and I deserve more. And you talked in the book about how there was, like you of happiness down to midlife. And now we're in this bottom of the trough. And as soon as we recognize that, then the fear should start to dissipate because of the opportunity, like I said, the opportunity to go back up the other side of that view of what we see over the course of most people, not everybody but most people is that opportunity to find the same kind of joy we had when we were children.

[00:37:53.330] – Allan

So can you talk a little bit about fear and a little bit how we can overcome fear?

[00:37:58.070] – Dr. Ellen

That's a great question. Yeah. Well, the first thing is to understand the neuroscience behind fear. So we have this living brain, which is our amygdala that's in the back of our brain. It's the primitive part of your brain that is there to protect you from danger. It doesn't care if you're happy, doesn't care if you're fulfilled. All he wants to do is keep you from being eaten by a Saber tooth Tiger. So it's great if it's 100,000 years ago where, yeah, you could get eaten. You had to protect yourself. There was danger around every corner. But in today's world, if you're listening to this, you're not in any danger of getting eaten right now, right. Where you're perfectly safe. But we have to understand.

[00:38:39.900] – Allan

Well, the lady at the PTA meeting might shoot my head off, but that's about as bad as it's going to go.

[00:38:44.800] – Dr. Ellen

Yeah, exactly. We've got this part of our brain that is really trying to protect us. And then we've also got what's called the default mode network that runs down the center of our brain, which is constantly scanning the environment for what could go wrong in self definition. So again, your brain is just looking around, and this part of our brain evolved again hundreds of thousands of years ago when we were in tribes. There was a lot of social comparison where you had to figure out where do I fit? So maybe somebody was good at cooking and somebody's good at hunting and somebody's good at healing and somebody's good at creating clothes. So we all have to sort of figure out where we fit. But now we've got this crazy social comparison where we literally can be online with millions of people comparing ourselves to other people. So we're constantly scanning the environment for what could go wrong? My check could bounce. I could lose all my money, or I could lose my job or I could lose my marriage. So we're constantly worrying about that. Worrying about where do I fit in, what's my status? So the first thing is to really just call it out.

[00:39:49.910] – Dr. Ellen

Just fear is really in your mind. So what I like to say is name it you tame it. Just say, this is just fear. This is just my brain. And a lot of times it shows up. The worry shows up in rumination, which rumination comes from the root of it is ruminants, which are I live in Vermont, so I don't know you probably don't have a lot of cows in Panama

[00:40:10.070] – Allan

there are some

[00:40:12.590] – Dr. Ellen

we've got goats and cows and sheep and ruminants chew their cod. Right. They chew the grass and then they chew it again. So it's chewing things over and over in your mind. Again, the neuroscience we do this because if I think about my problems all the time, if I think about 04:00 in the morning and I'm worrying about, like, my boss and I didn't get this assignment on time and what's going to happen to me? We think if we worry about it, we're going to solve it. But Ironically, what happens is it keeps us stuck and out of problem solving mode because all we're doing is chewing the problem over and over again in our head. So the first thing is just to name it, just to call it out and say, this is just fear.

[00:40:51.350] – Dr. Ellen

It's just part of being human. May be giving yourself a little self compassion because you're having this thought mindfulness can be really helpful. Learning how to focus your thoughts. Whether you start a meditation practice just you just have to be long. Just watching your thoughts for five to ten minutes a day or finding ways throughout the day to sort of focus on your breathing. Calm yourself down. So the first thing is name it you tame it and then feel it you heal it. So where's fear showing up in my body? So emotions are felt experiences in your body. So often fear will show up maybe it's a tightness in your throat because you don't want to speak your truth. Or you might feel it around your heart because it involves a relationship or often it's in our bellies. Right? We're afraid. So name it you tame it and just let it come and go. And then a couple of other tricks that I like to use, see if you can change fear into excitement. So fear and excitement or anxiety and excitement are very similar in terms of the physiology. So when we're excited or we're anxious, our pulse might go up, we might sweat, we might flush.

[00:41:56.360] – Dr. Ellen

But if we turn that into excitement, like when you're in a roller coaster. Right. You're like, this is scary, but you know that you're safe. So see if you can just flip it around and say, you know what? For me, I love public speaking, but it also creates a lot of anxiety. So I turned into excitement. I'm really excited to speak today to share my truth and my passion for midlife. So change it in excitement if you can. And then I think my favorite technique is just focusing on breathing. So even the Navy Seals use this four X four X four X four breathing. They call box breathing. So what happens is when you breathe in for four, hold it for four, exhale for four, hold for four. It calms down your physiology. So what happens is you turn off that fight and flight, that cortisol, and you fire up your rest and digest. So simply doing a few minutes of deep breathing or simply breathing in really long exhalation, the long exhalation really helps to help you reset your physiology. There's so much that we can do. Listening to music is another powerful thing.

[00:43:08.300] – Dr. Ellen

So if we listen to music, that either you could listen to Rocky. Right. If you wanted to turn that fear into excitement, or you might listen to something that kind of calms down your nervous system. That's really helpful. And essential oils are really great. So those are just a couple of techniques. But I talk about fear a lot in the book because frankly, it's something that keeps so many people from moving forward. If you look at the research, it's so interesting that children, they have their fear animals, they get over it. Right. If you see an animal that's fearful, they go through their stress and then they reset. We don't do that as much at midlife. Right. We stay in this chronic stressful situation, which, of course, is creating a ton of inflammation and is really at the root cause of so much of our health. So maybe for motivation, see if you can really work on your fear and anxiety and your chronic stress as a way to help yourself heal and feel great in the coming year.

[00:44:03.500] – Allan

All right. Now, for a lot of us, this is never going to be a straight line. So even if we go through the steps and seems kind of linear because there are seven of them and some of them might take us a little longer, I think we all know that. But eventually, as with all things, issues are going to come up. And one of the things you said in the book that I thought was really interesting because I used to say this about my brother that he was happily miserable. But you used the term comfortably uncomfortable. And that kind of touched me because I was going to go one of those moments that you're saying for a lot of us, we don't want to get outside our comfort zone. Now in the book, you had 21 tips for getting unstuck. Can you just share some of your favorites?

[00:44:47.810] – Dr. Ellen

Sure. I would say it's interesting. There's so many things you can do. One of the greatest things to do is create a new habit. So if you take a look at the research on breaking habits, making habits, it's better to replace a habit that is not serving you with a new habit. So I'll give you an example. Let's say, for example, every day at 03:00, you get hungry, which is kind of your cue to eat. You go to the vending machine and you have a candy bar and a soda. And then the reinforcing reward is you kind of get a little bit of a lift from your fatigue so you could create a new habit. So instead of that habit, you can go ahead and stock up and have snacks in your desk, things like healthy portions of nuts, fruit, maybe sugar free yogurt and water to stay hydrated. And so when 03:00 hits, you get that hunger sort of fatigue thing going on. Instead of walking to the vending machine, you grab your healthy snack, you grab your water bottle, and you go for a 10,15 minutes walk. And your reward is that you feel energized, you feel good, but it's not this kind of energy that comes from sort of the sugar caffeine high and then crashes.

[00:46:03.440] – Dr. Ellen

So creating a new habit is a really great thing to do. Another unstuck thing I love to do is declutter. Declutter a drawer, declutter a closet, declutter your garage. It is so freeing and energizing to declutter some aspect of your life, and it creates space for something new. It creates a sense of accomplishment. I think we all love to do it. So just put something on your calendar for some time that you're going to do a little bit of decluttering.

[00:46:32.330] – Dr. Ellen

Another thing is to just do something new. So go somewhere new, drive to a new place at work, read a new morning newspaper, make a new friend. Just create some newness in your life. Create a new hairstyle, change your hairstyle, change your hair color, wear a color you don't normally wear. But just doing anything new, I think, again, we are creatures of habit. It's so interesting when you look at the literature, something like 45% of the things we do every single day are automatic. Things like we tie our shoes, we make our coffee, we take our shower, either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. You've got to shake it up and try something new.

[00:47:12.230] – Dr. Ellen

I really also like rising with the Sun, super energetic to really get into the circadian rhythms where you are living. So I get up usually with the sun. I love watching the sun set and the sun rise in the morning. You actually have more energy when you're kind of on those vibes with the sun. So just really just trying to do some new things. And I give 21 tips in my book, so if you're feeling stuck, just do something new. Getting accountability buddy, is really awesome as well. So having somebody who's also trying to make some changes in your life, learning something new. So I think I was saying earlier in the episode, I just got myself a ukulele, and so learning to play the ukulele, I'm creating those new things, those new brain neural connections in my mind, which are so awesome. Make a bucket list. That's another awesome thing to do. Make a bucket list. Actually, we don't even have to call it a bucket list. We can call it the next chapter list, right? So it's not about things I want to do before I leave the Earth, but things that I really want to do in this next chapter, I think we have space and time.

[00:48:21.960] – Dr. Ellen

Kids are empty nests. Maybe we're downsizing a little bit from our work. We're downsizing our home. But don't just fill it up with the same old, same old. Do something new because there is really a million things to do in the world and everything is so accessible right now. So get really conscious about it too. Maybe a little bit less television. I think it's so tempting to fill our days with TV. So maybe being a little more judicious with your media time and really picking something that you want to learn and do this year.

[00:48:50.810] – Allan

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

[00:49:01.610] – Dr. Ellen

the first thing I would say, progress, not perfection. So we haven't really talked about perfectionism. I talk about it a lot in the book. Rock your midlife. But perfectionism will just kill any wellness strategy because let's say, for example, you set this goal and you say, I'm going to work out every single day or I am going to eat this perfect diet. I've got this diet plan. I'm going to follow it. If you are a perfectionist, if you mess up what happens? You give up. You're just like, okay, I didn't do it right. I feel bad about myself. And I see this all the time with a lot of the people I work with are recovering chronic dieters. We see this. They go on these diets, they do it perfectly. They fill out their Journal, they do all the things, and then all of a sudden they blow their diet. They have one dinner out, or maybe they have a little bit of alcohol and inhibitions go down and they have slip up and then they go right back to the same old crappy, standard American diet, same thing with workouts. You miss a workout and then all of a sudden you miss too.

[00:50:06.960] – Dr. Ellen

And then you stop working out completely. So focus on the progress that you're making. Focus on the fact that I'm going to just carry an Apple in my bag and when I need a snack, I'm going to eat that or I'm going to start a walking program and I'm going to walk for 25 minutes every day. Maybe you'll do 45. And I love this idea, too, of set smaller goals to say, I'm going to just do three push ups. And while you're down there, you'll do ten, but you've got to sort of start out with small things that I love. You're probably familiar with Mel Robbins, who talks about the five second rule. Another great way to get over fear is just count to five and just do it. Do something small and focus on the progress you're making, not perfection. And when we're talking about goals, it's so important to set smart goals, which I'm sure Allan, you help your people set smart goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time sensitive. And these are things that you have control over. A lot of people set goals like, I'll lose 25 pounds. Well, that's not a smart goal and you don't have control over.

[00:51:10.290] – Dr. Ellen

But you have control over something. Like every day after lunch I'm going to take a 20 minutes walk or something I've been working on. One of the things I struggle with is eating late at night and my fiance and I are really trying hard to eat earlier in the day and just say, okay, we're going to not have anything after 08:00 and I'd like to move it to seven. But setting a smart goal, maybe even like three nights a week, we're going to have dinner at 07:00 and we're going to stop eating by 08:00. So set smart goals. And then I would say a thing too is and this is something that I focus so much on in my work and my book. Have fun. We've got to get away from this punitive attitude around weight loss. When I started my career 30 years ago as a registered dietitian, people would come into my office and I would say, Why are you here? And they said, well, my doctor told me I had to see you. And then I would ask them, what did you have to eat last night? And they would say, Well, I knew I was coming in to see you.

[00:52:11.730] – Dr. Ellen

So I had a double stuffed crust pizza, an ice cream or a steak. And they didn't want to be there and they weren't at the stage of readiness to make change. And it was all because you've been bad. So now we're going to punish you by eating this diet that is this draconian, 1200 calories or 600 calorie diet. And you're going to be miserable. Healthy eating is really fun. Like my partner is an amazing gardener and I am so inspired by what he grows and what I can Cook and we love to work. I don't even want to call it work it out. I mean there's nothing we like better than getting on our town and bike and going to the next island and biking for three or 4 hours. You're exhausted but it feels fabulous. I love doing yoga and I love lifting weights and I love eating healthy. So just get away from this attitude that being healthy is some punishment for your earlier sins in life. And I guess at a fourth, no matter where you are at, if you are breathing more is going right than wrong. You have like 32 trillion cells and all they want to do is keep you alive.

[00:53:21.650] – Dr. Ellen

So thank your cells. I like the dog barking to emphasize that right. Thank your cells. Treat your body. Weld stop beating your body up and learn to love yourself, practice and self compassion with my research really showed is that it really will help you with your body image. Focus on your function and feeling good. Don't worry so much about how you look. I think we also need to focus too on you can be sexy and beautiful. I'm at 60 and I feel more beautiful and sexier and healthier than I've ever felt in my life. I'm slowing down a bit but I think I'm gorgeous and I love my life and I'm having so much fun.

[00:54:01.470] – Dr. Ellen

Thank you, Dr. Ellen, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Rock Your Midlife, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:54:09.720] – Dr. Ellen

Just go to themidlifewhisper.com and I'm easy to find. That's my website and I'm the only midlife Whisperer in the universe as far as I know. Also you can just go to Amazon and put in Rock Your Midlife and the book will come right up for you.

[00:54:24.730] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/525 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Ellen, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:54:34.330] – Dr. Ellen

Thank you, Allan. It's been such a fun conversation. I'm looking forward to more conversations in the future.

[00:54:39.640] – Allan



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Another episode you may enjoy


November 1, 2021

How technology will expand our lifespan and healthspan with Sergey Young

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Through science and technology, we've already doubled the human lifespan. Sergey Young believes we can double it again, maybe in our lifetime. We discuss his book, The Science and Technology of Growing Young.



This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.

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Let's Say Hello

[00:03:46.270] – Allan
hey, Raz, how are things?

[00:03:48.430] – Rachel
Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:03:50.530] – Allan
I'm doing all right. Kind of settling into my life back on the island. Getting things going. Lulu's is open, and I'm happy to say that Tammy got her first online reservation.

[00:04:03.310] – Rachel
How exciting.

[00:04:04.570] – Allan
So, yeah, that's looking at her. I think they're staying later, like in December, sometime around middle of December something like that. But that said everything went through. She sees the reservation. PayPal, we're using that to process right now. She figures out the whole accounting and banking and credit card acceptance, but basically ran it through PayPal. And you can also use a credit card with PayPal because the way they're all set up, but yeah, so looks good. Looks like we're on track and she's got herself a bed and breakfast.

[00:04:38.470] – Rachel
That's awesome. Congratulations. That's so exciting.

[00:04:42.850] – Allan
I'm really excited for her because she's a little nervous about all this and how things are going to happen and opening right as we go into the busy season. So it's not like we've run through with monthly renters. So as far as running the building, I think she's comfortable with that. But it's just going to be making sure that back end stuff of the booking and all that computer stuff is all working and people are finding it. So if you're interested in coming down to Panama Lula's bed and breakfast in Boca del Toro and you can go to lulabb.com.

[00:05:16.390] – Allan
And that's where you'll find her website. You'll see some pictures, see the rooms. You can book the rooms there. And if you have any questions, just email us and message me and I'll let you know what's going down.

[00:05:28.690] – Rachel
Sweet. That sounds great.

[00:05:30.910] – Allan
How are things up there?

[00:05:32.530] – Rachel
Good. It's getting cold. Saw some Frost today. Run faster. I'm in a taper right now. My last big race for the year is in a couple of weeks from now at the end of the month. And Mike and I both are actually running the Cal haven it's going to be about 33 and a half to Mike garments has said 34 miles. So it'll be my last big race of the year. I'm looking forward to it.

[00:05:59.510] – Allan
So Mike's going to do an ultra, huh?

[00:06:01.310] – Rachel
He is. He's going to be official. Officially official.

[00:06:06.350] – Allan
1% of 1% of runners out there.

[00:06:08.210] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:06:09.290] – Allan
Have done something like that. Good. I want to hear how that goes for you.

[00:06:13.130] – Rachel
Absolutely. Sure will.

[00:06:14.630] – Allan
Obviously cold, but you're not going very far south to that one.

[00:06:20.270] – Rachel
I'm pretty happy about that. I'm glad it's not going to be in the dead heat of the summer. So this will be nice, I think.

[00:06:25.370] – Allan
Yeah. Mine was in March in Mississippi, so it wasn't too bad.

[00:06:29.750] – Rachel
Yeah, it could have gone either way, though.

[00:06:31.910] – Allan
Yeah, but it was in a pine forest. Humidity and heat would have been the only problem in a situation like that, because it's not a lot of wind for the most part, but it was what it was, but good. So you got your big race coming up. Good luck with that.

[00:06:50.450] – Rachel
Thank you.

[00:06:51.350] – Allan
All right. So let's have a conversation with Sergey Young.

[00:06:54.770] – Rachel


[00:06:56.810] – Guest Intro
Our guest today is a longevity investor in Visionary with a mission to extend healthy lifespan of at least 1 billion people. To do that, he founded Longevity Vision Fund to accelerate life extension technological breakthroughs and to make longevity affordable and accessible to all. He is on the board of directors of the American Federation of Aging Research and the development sponsor of Age Reversal XPRIZE Global competition designed to cure aging. He has been featured as a top longevity expert and contributor on Fox News, BBC, Sky News, Forbes, and Thrive Global with no further Ado, here is Sergey Young.

[00:07:37.430] – Allan
Sergey, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:40.490] – Sergey
Hi, everyone. I'm so excited to be here. I'm 40 plus, right. So I'm 49, and I'm turning my 50 in the next month.

[00:07:51.950] – Allan
Happy birthday. Happy birthday. There you go. And I'm 55. So we keep you in the club even after you turn 50. So you're going to stay in with us okay.

[00:08:02.090] – Sergey
Love it.

[00:08:03.170] – Allan
Now, your book, The Science and Technology of Growing Young, an Insider's guide to the breakthroughs that will dramatically extend our lifespan. And now my favorite part and what you can do about it right now. Because as I was reading through some of this and you even acknowledged that it sounds like science fiction. But if I start thinking back to the science fiction I read when I was a teenager, author C Clarke and others, some of that stuff is actually happening right now. We don't quite have flying cars like the Jetsons, but there's a lot of cool stuff that's happened just in the last ten years.

[00:08:38.990] – Allan
That is really quite striking when you start thinking about where we were and how fast things are moving. And so,

[00:08:48.230] – Allan
As I got into this, I was like, this is pretty exciting. This is pretty exciting. And to know that at 55, I'll probably see a lot of what you talked about in this book come true.

[00:09:01.790] – Sergey
I agree. Yes. We live in an exciting time like we can see in the next 5-10 years from now, we're going to see just a lot of transformational and fundamentally different things offered to us and massively available. And we're going to go today for the example, what is on the horizon and actually two Horizons, like near and far horizon of longevity innovation. But what is more exciting? There's so many things that we can do right now to stay on longevity breach while we wait for all this revolution to happen.

[00:09:37.370] – Sergey
So let's cover this today as well.

[00:09:40.610] – Allan
I think when we use the term longevity, it seems that most people will think, well, that's just living longer, which is not really all that exciting. Like the Queen song, Who Wants To Live Forever? The reality is nobody really wants to live forever if they just keep getting weaker and weaker and sicker and sicker.

[00:09:59.990] – Allan
So in the book you talked about the three dimensions of longevity, and I think all three of them are important if you're really going to have I guess what I would call good longevity the right kind of longevity, not just longer, but better. And you can talk about those three dimensions of longevity..

[00:10:18.890] – Sergey
So we actually use the term like, in addition to life span, which is basically the quantity of your years. We use the term health span, which refers to quality of your years or the years in your life when you have healthy and happy State. So that's important as well. The good news, all of the technologies that we are supporting through longevity Vision fund investments. Right,

[00:10:47.210] – Sergey
And through our proponent work, they work both on health span and life span. It's not like we're just trying to add 5, 10, 20 more painful years to your life. So I think it's important to recognize. When you talk about three dimensions of longevity, I think it's very interesting to observe how the science of longevity and the science of medicine has changed over the last few decades. What we've done so far and this is the first dimension we've been just avoiding early death. That's, like the sole focus of the medicine, the sole focus of everything which we've been offered so far.

[00:11:35.570] – Sergey
And if you look at the figures, we've been pretty successful with that. So in the last 100 years, the average life span in developed world increased from 35 to 40 years 100 years ago to 75 eight years today. So we doubled our lifespan average lifespan on Earth in the last hundred years. Well, this is a good news. Like the bad news, the maximum lifespan, which is today somewhere around 122 years, to be precise, because of this beautiful French woman who died 20 years ago was still the same.

[00:12:16.670] – Sergey
So what we're doing, we're just moving statistical average. A lot of people avoid dying at an early age. And obviously there was a huge impact of infant mortality, which was ridiculously high 100 years ago. That's why this whole notion of medicine was just like making sure you don't die early. And currently, if you look at the 50 plus, like, 90% of deaths are happening because of four diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and neurogenerative disease. So that's, like, 90% of that, this is our killer monster diseases.

[00:13:01.610] – Sergey
And I think we've done a lot in this field. What we haven't done so far is two other dimensions. One is life extension, just literally adding years to our life. That's one. And the third dimension, which is even more revolutionary, is reversing aging. Right now, we already know all 3000 genes in our DNA, which are responsible for aging processes inside our body, and therefore they're responsible for longevity. So if you look at centenarians where we look at genetic research of centenarians, centenarians are people who live 100 years and beyond on this planet, these 3000 longevity genes tend to work better in their bodies.

[00:13:51.570] – Sergey
The idea is if we can influence aging on many levels, including the genetic one and make sure that all these 3000 genes work in a proper way, we can actually become younger.

[00:14:03.570] – Sergey
And that's beautiful.

[00:14:04.470] – Sergey
You can do it on genetic level. You can do it on epigenetic level, right? Like the way these genes manifest itself inside our bodies. But even today, like on the lifestyle level, I've seen some studies where in the course of eight weeks, simple changes in sleep, diet, physical exercise only list three things, eight weeks reverse biological age of people in the study by three years. So they all became, on average, three years younger.

[00:14:40.350] – Allan
That's fantastic. And I like that you put sleep first because as a personal trainer, everybody thinks that's kind of odd. But I actually think sleep is the missing link for a lot of us as far as.

[00:14:54.330] – Sergey
It was the biggest discovery. For me, sleep is like the last thing that we think about when we're trying to redefine our lifestyle. And for me, the big change was actually reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. It was my book of year 2019. Before that, I was just boring hours from my sleep. I can do more sports, I can do more work, I can spend more time on traveling. And literally I was just sleeping like five, five and a half of hours during Monday to Friday.

[00:15:32.010] – Sergey
And after reading this book, my rule is 8 hours in the bath, which is at least 7 hours of sleep. And I use a lot of devices to track my sleep. So like Whoo Apple watch, et cetera. So that's important. I do remember the quote from my discussion with Dr. Jake Cradle from London. He's the founder of one of the longevity clinics in London. So when we met first time, I'm asking, Jack, Jack, what is the number one thing? If you have literally 1 minute, what would you suggest?

[00:16:09.450] – Sergey
And he's like, Sergey, every evening we have an opportunity to visit the best clinic in the world. We go to bed and we sleep. And I thought, what a beautiful way to underline importance of sleep on our coronal health. Like all other aspects of our health.


This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.

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[00:18:14.990] – Allan
Now, as we talk about longevity, and one of the things I think we look at is we'll see that picture of the 95 year old or 85 year old woman who looks fit and is athletic and she's out doing living like she's 30. And then you see the 85 year old woman that's in a wheelchair and can't really stand on her own and she's lost all of her independence. I think we look at aging as comparing those two people, but they're the same chronological age. So when we're talking about longevity, one of the concepts you brought up in the book by Carlos Lopez Otin was the nine hallmarks of longevity.

[00:18:52.490] – Allan
And I think the reason I'd like to talk about these is because if you're starting to put together a strategy for your health, for your wellness, it's really important for you to understand the underlying tenets of what's going to help you get there and why these things are so important. When we're talking like we're just talking about sleep, what does sleep allow us to do? Balance our hormones, get our energy systems working, our mitochondria resting and doing their thing. And so can we talk, just go through them pretty quickly.

[00:19:22.190] – Allan
But just overview of what they are. The Nine Hallmarks.

[00:19:25.730] – Sergey
So for many centuries and decades, we've been trying to find and develop unified theory of aging, and we fail. Like there is no unified theory of aging. You ask different people in scientific circles and they would give you, like the different answers. So there are still a lot of people are working on that. But we use in terms of scientific framework for our effort to reverse aging and fight age related diseases. The thing which was published I think it was back in 2013 and it's called Nine Hallmarks of Aging.

[00:20:09.750] – Sergey
And I do think it was pretty important work by a number of reasons. So one thing, it shows you that you need to look to basically all of them. There's no silver bullet for human health and performance and fighting age related disease or the aging process into your body. It's not going to be like in 510, 20 years from now. It's not going to be like one silver bullet and one solution to aging. You always need to appreciate the complexity of human biology and looking at the problem of aging or your health and performance through different lenses.

[00:20:45.990] – Sergey
And they all complementary and probably in your workout. You've seen it a lot. People kind of asking you like, what are the one thing that I need to do to change my life and improve the level of my health and physical health and mental health? There's no such a thing like one thing. The first important thing about nine hallmarks of aging is the fact that none of nine of them, and they mutually nonexclusive. Right.

[00:21:14.130] – Sergey
They're complementary if you can use complementary in the context of aging and age related diseases. So second thing, it gives all of us investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, an opportunity to look on a more comprehensive scale and influence different parts of it and appreciate the complexity of this call. And I want to give our audience the flavor of what are the components? What are the dimensions of aging and what levels they happen inside our body? So the first thing is, it's called genomic instability is basically mutations of our DNA, of our genetic code inside our body.

[00:22:01.770] – Sergey
And sometimes they occur when we were born. So we kind of inherited this from our parents.

[00:22:12.730] – Sergey
Sometimes, it happens because of the external, environmental or our lifestyle choices influence as well. But if you ask scientists, many of them would say that our longevity and level of health and actually happiness, like 30% to 40% predetermined by our genetic set up. And we've done a lot of progress in this field, like, 30 years ago, it took 13 years and $3 billion for US to sequence human genome. Right now, it's just a few hundred dollars and few hours. So that's really important. And as always, you've probably seen it in so many cases.

[00:23:00.550] – Sergey
Like, the first step is just literally understand that. So sequencing human genome was, like, important first step to develop gene editing and gene therapy on the later stage. So that's one thing well, second thing is, it is about telomeres. And some of you probably heard about telomeres before. So telomeres in a very simple way, it's almost like protective caps of our chromosomes.

[00:23:31.630] – Sergey
Right. So what they do, they protect chromosomes. But then when cells are going through divisions, right? They basically worn out and it's actually limit, like, a number of times our cell can divide. And with the time what is happening is attrition of telomeres protective cups. And that's why we kind of becoming older. And then finally, we die the third one. And we already touched on this a little bit in the beginning of our conversation. Is it's called epigenetic alterations? But what it really does is remember we discussed genes.

[00:24:23.990] – Sergey
Genes are expressing themselves inside our body through the very complex mechanism. I'll not go into details of that right now, but what is actually happening is you can basically influence the way certain gene or genetic combination express itself in the body. So you don't need to change your genetic setup, right? You just literally can switch on, switch off some of the genes. And with the time, specifically, in the last probably 5-10 years, we've seen a lot of positive developments in the sales. So think about, like, one thing is to change your genetic set up and a genetic code.

[00:25:07.310] – Sergey
And this is really important. This is really expensive, sometimes inefficient difficult and risky. Well, the other thing, if you can have an opportunity or ability to switch on switch off some of your genes.

[00:25:23.450] – Sergey
And that's a different level of complexity. It's still difficult, but it's much easier than just changing your DNA. So that's important as well. What else you've heard about mitochondria in our cells? So mitochondria is almost like a power plant. This is the thing which are responsible for bringing the energy within the cell. So sometimes what is happening? They become dysfunctional because of the disease or particular medical condition. And it's obviously changed the whole work of the cells. And then aging process starts inside your body. What is more interesting, like stem cells exhaustion.

[00:26:20.190] – Sergey
So sometimes the stem cells, which are responsible for immune system and overall, inside our body, we just run out of it. And I don't know if you heard about the organ called thymus. It's right here on our chest until we turn somewhere around 20, thymus are in a good healthy condition. It's actually responsible for high immune level that the younger adults and kids have, starting from age 18 or 20, time starts to shrink. So therefore, your immune system starts to degradate. If I can use this word, and therefore it produces less and less of the stem cells, and therefore it has lower ability to fight external and internal enemies inside your body and inside your mind, actually as well.

[00:27:28.330] – Sergey
And I'm just looking at hallmarks. What I find also interesting is there's a hallmark related to cellular senescence.

[00:27:40.510] – Sergey
So, it's basically when we're losing the ability to take away dead cells outside of our body, they just waste. And the volume of that cells are increasing inside our body. And therefore it negatively influenced a lot of processes inside our well, first healthy body. It's basically this number of hypothesis and number of ideas why we each and I do think it's just very interesting to look at this from a different perspective and understand there are so many things that you need actually to influence in parallel at the same time to fight aging.

[00:28:30.370] – Sergey
And we're looking at the companies and probably all nine of these hallmarks. And it's really interesting how science and technology can help us to fight aging inside our body on many levels. On, like, genetic level, epigenetic level, on cellular level, et cetera. Yeah.

[00:28:50.170] – Allan
And like you said, everybody wants a simple one, simple rule. Give me one thing. Tell me what to do. And we can see it's really not that simple, but it's not outside of our control. And particularly as technology gets better, I think we're going to see better opportunities for us to fine tune, like, all of these knobs just don't be thinking about. Okay. I got one knob that does everything the steering wheel. Now you're going to be able to turn all of them. And that's where I want to talk about this concept of precision medicine or personalized medicine.

[00:29:23.230] – Allan
You probably heard some things about, but the gist of it is this normally you go into your doctor and you tell your doctor what's going on. He does a couple things, maybe a couple of tests, and then he comes back and says, okay, we're going to try this and the this that he's giving you the pill or whatever the treatment is, it helps 80% of the people. And that means 20% of the people it doesn't help. And so you try that and it doesn't agree with you or it doesn't work.

[00:29:49.810] – Allan
And now we've got to try something else that helped 80% of the people. And it didn't help 20%. Then there's a third thing we can try and on and on and on. But with precision medicine, we're getting closer and closer to understanding why it doesn't help those 20% and why it does help those 80%. And as a result, they can go directly to maybe medicine number three and make that work. Can you talk a little bit about why we're able to do precision medicine now? And what are some of the things coming up that's going to make it even better?

[00:30:23.410] – Sergey
So we're talking about completely different approach to medicine. And this is happening already. And the whole transformation will happen in the next ten to 20 years. And it's happening. The main fundamental reason is that finally we have an ability to process data related to human health. And before that, it was all in the head of the doctor that he or she would need to quickly grasp what is the problem with you recall from his or her memory? Like, these symptoms, they usually mean that you're suffering from that.

[00:31:08.350] – Sergey
And it was just a hypothesis, right. You can go through a certain diagnostic. It was pretty generic. And then there's, like, a set of protocols, like, for this disease, you can try this, this and this. It usually works for, like, 60 or 70% of people you're right.

[00:31:25.990] – Allan
I guess I was just a little optimistic.

[00:31:28.330] – Sergey
Yeah. That's true.

[00:31:29.590] – Sergey
I mean, we've seen therapists which working, like, 40% to 50% of people sometimes. So this is what happened so far. And as you can see from my description, it was very symptomatic.

[00:31:42.010] – Sergey
So, you would need to live for the disease until disease will manifest itself. Some of the diseases, some of the indications it's solvable, but in some it's like dangerous, like cancer. Cancer just a few decades ago was kiss of death because people discovered that usually in like, stage four, when disease manifests itself, there was not a lot of diagnostic developed on that diagnostic tools developed for that. And they are all pretty expensive, invasive, like colonoscopy, gastroscopy, some of the cancer markers in a blood test. So what is happening now?

[00:32:28.210] – Sergey
Well, the beauty of this, like early detection and prevention of the diseases, give us much better chances for recovery and sustaining the quality of life. So stage four cancer survival rates are 10, 20, 30% depending on the cancer type. Right?

[00:32:48.910] – Sergey
I'm just generalizing it that's simply the figures. So this is what happens when you just wait until disease will manifest itself at the level when you just decide to see a doctor like early detection of cancer, like stage one, for example, recovery rates for some of the cancer types are 90% or even 100%. Well, that's amazing. And what is more important? It's cheaper to treat early stage cancer and it's much more effective in terms of sustaining inequality of your lifestyle. So that's beautiful. So how are we doing this day?

[00:33:30.430] – Sergey
Well, first of all, it's generating and taking a lot of data. The whole feedback loop feedback cycle and our ability to grasp this data is changing. I'm wearing like, Whoop and Apple Watch. You can wear Samsung watch or fitbit doesn't really matter. Our wearables are becoming personalized health care devices and things will change. Right now, I'm using this account, like 10,000 steps today, so you can use Apple Watch to do extra cardiogram to detect five different type of Rhythmia. Or if you fall down on the street, you can call ambulance for you.

[00:34:11.390] – Sergey
So that's just the earliest signs of this becoming diagnostic devices. So a lot of data needs to be collected and can be collected today through different diagnostic tools, including wearables, DIY boxes, et cetera. Or like full body MRI, CT, et cetera. So that's kind of one thing. This call feedback cycle as compressed, you can actually detect a problem really early. Rather than wait for your annual discussion with doctor and see if something wrong with your body. Second, we finally have artificial intelligence to process all this data.

[00:34:57.810] – Sergey
And this is extremely important. If you look at statistics, I know the figure for US. I think it was 25% to 30% of all data in US are health related. It's just massive amount of information which there's no way the human being can process that even in the context of one person. So that's the beauty. Like last two years, when I've done annual screening, my full body MRI was first scanned by artificial intelligence. And then I had a discussion on radiologist. And just to give you a little bit of flavor of that average radiologist working under time pressure, which I would assume their everyday condition can detect early stage breast cancer from MRI from the scan in 38% of cases because it's early stage.

[00:36:00.450] – Sergey
Right. You're not sure or it's not detectable with human eye. But if you empower the same person with artificial intelligence, the detection rate goes up to 98% to 99%. Can you imagine that? So that's the beauty of that. We're talking about MRI. We have a lot of diagnostic tools right now. You can look at your genomic setup, you can look at your microbiome and we just go on and on. There's so many data we can collect about our physical and even mental health, which is super helpful to define the therapy, the intervention for you personally.

[00:36:44.830] – Sergey
So it's much earlier. It's much more personalized. It's obviously data driven and technology based. So that's like a new version of medicine that we are currently creating.

[00:36:58.930] – Allan
Yeah. And it does the huge thing of eliminating human error in most of these cases because it's got a lot more capacity than any of us would have, even as a collective group, it's going to outperform us.

[00:37:13.390] – Sergey
It is. So the other important thing is actually, it's not only eliminating human error, but it leaves human, like, the most interesting and enjoyable part of work.

[00:37:24.550] – Sergey
Right? You don't need to spend, like, 13 minutes to go through the scan. I enjoy discussing with my radiologist for, like, 30 minutes. And this is amazing. More human interaction, more focus on your needs on your particular situation and more emotions. And what I also like about this whole thing is the small, convincing power that I can get from this conversation with doctor. He or she can tell me like, well, Sergey, you need to change that and that try this change. So I'm on the path for, like, improvement and optimization.

[00:38:04.450] – Sergey
And doctors can spend more time working with me, trying to convince me and support me on this path.

[00:38:12.610] – Allan
Cool. Now another topic I wanted to get into. And just to preface this, I'm not a doctor. I'm not a medical doctor. You're not a medical doctor. So we're just talking about this from the perspective of just understanding what this is. And maybe some of the issues that will come up with it is stem cells. So more and more we're hearing about these stem cell treatments. As you said in the book, only a fraction of them, a small number have been FDA approved. So there's these people popping up with stem cell therapies and they're very promising.

[00:38:46.030] – Allan
The science is extremely promising. They can show you study after study after study. That shows really great things. But it's not all upside. But in the future, it might be very important therapy. Can you talk a little bit about just generally what it is and what we should be watching out for if that comes up in a conversation with our doctor or a clinic.

[00:39:09.250] – Sergey
Okay. So stem cells, which has the potential to develop itself into any other different type of cells in our body.

[00:39:24.050] – Sergey
Right. So they pretty generic. They are responsible for our immune function, and they basically serve as repair system inside your body.

[00:39:36.170] – Sergey
so, they can become specialized, like become a blood cells or muscle cells or brain cells. And that's really important repair mechanism developed for us by modern nature.

[00:39:55.310] – Sergey
So, having said that, so that's important. And it's great that we discovered number of interventions and treatments and approaches to use stem cells in treating different conditions. So that's kind of good news. They still are really early stage of going through the trials and really early stage of regulation. So I do believe that if you have particularly difficult condition and it's a matter of life and death for you, you can take a look at stem cells treatment and interventions today. So you just need to be much more considerate with your choices of treatment. For the rest of us,

[00:40:47.630] – Sergey
I do think it's okay to wait another five to ten years until all of this will go through FDA approval cycle. And we'll give more clarity not only on potential benefits of using stem cells treatments, but on potential downside effects as well.

[00:41:05.750] – Sergey
So, as you can imagine, right. I'm part of longevity community. I'm really passionate about this whole thing. I've been offered so many times to do stem cells. What I don't like, well, Sergey, we kind of do it in US, come to Costa Rica or Panama, in Bahamas, and we're going to do it there. Why should I? So I'm 49, and I do believe that at least for another ten, probably even 20 years, combination of my lifestyle intervention, early diagnostic use, the benefit of technology, which technology can offer to us today is a great plan to stay on longevity bridge.

[00:41:57.670] – Sergey
And in 5, 10, 15 years from now, we're going to see more regulatory approvals in the field of regenerative medicine, whether it's stem cells or organ regeneration or organ replacement and a lot of different things. And not only that.

[00:42:14.830] – Sergey
Like, the major part of my book about the near horizon of longevity innovation. You've seen it, Allan. And a number of chapters then we go to DIY diagnostic, regenerative medicine, genomic medicine, which is genetic, gene therapy, etc. And this is all very promising. What I like that we're going to see almost like a mix, a combination of different breakthroughs in different areas which can use for our special specific situation. The other thing which we will see in the next ten years is longevity and build. So it's going to be new, completely different class of drugs which would address aging problem and its core.

[00:43:04.750] – Sergey
So right now, every drug should have an indication and it should fight particular disease. They disease specific but we're going to see completely different drugs which will influence aging processes inside our body and therefore will help us to fight and minimize risk of getting it related diseases. As we discussed cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurogenerative diseases as well. So I'm really excited. It can be existing drug reposition and repurposed like Metformin, the old diabetes generic drug or Rapamycin, Immunosupression, or it can be drug developed with the help of artificial intelligence.

[00:43:45.430] – Sergey
Like a Longevity Vision fund. We invest in two companies which used artificial intelligence to compress the discovery cycle. And they do the impressive things. And for the audience to know, like developing a drug is like super expensive exercise. It's like in the US, it's twelve years. It's $2.6 billion for every drug to develop. So our AI technology big data will help us to compress this process and make it cheaper or more efficient as well. But there's so many exciting things happening. Like my other favorite example is what we discussed in the field of gene editing and gene therapy, like genomic medicine.

[00:44:36.550] – Sergey
Remember the case that I brought the first human genome has been sequenced in the course of 13 years. They actually wanted to stop. I think after the first two years of the exercise because in the first two years, they managed to sequence only 1% of genome. That's it. The whole story is in the book.

[00:44:57.310] – Sergey
It's amazing. Like fast forward today we are all participating in a global experiment in the field of gene therapy because MRNA vaccines like Moderna, some other Covid vaccines are the outcome of gene therapy work. And well, for me, it's positive, not sure about the rest of the audience.

[00:45:17.950] – Sergey
And I was just looking at the article a couple of months ago and it starts with moderna vaccine has been developed in a course of two days.

[00:45:28.990] – Sergey
This is amazing.

[00:45:30.310] – Sergey
Obviously, they put a lot of work before that, right? It probably was decade plus even more. And a lot of great scientists and entrepreneurs work on that. But just an ability to develop vaccine against the new virus. I think we managed to sequence genome of the virus in just in the course of days, if not weeks after we discovered that the dangerous thing called Covid is here on the planet. So this whole Covid response, I do know this. There's just a lot of skepticism and criticism in almost every country that I went in terms of the covid response because we were fighting with a known enemy.

[00:46:12.190] – Sergey
But the rest is just amazing. See how fast we've been able to sequence genome, develop different tests to test against corona virus develop vaccines. So I'm really amazed by our ability to respond like 200 years ago, we would have Covid on Earth 25 to like, 50% of population would just die.

[00:46:37.210] – Allan
Yeah, it would have been so much different than Spanish flu. We just toughed out for the most part and did some things. But in a two year process, which I guess we're going to go through a two year process here, too. But in the realm of it, you're right. We do have to kind of open our minds to the fact that medicine will move faster, not slower. Things are going to be introduced that are brand new that we would never have conceived of even years ahead. In the book, you talked about the first Orville brothers and flight and how it was 500 years in the making, and they went against the paradigm, which was you have to flap like a bird to build an airplane.

[00:47:20.290] – Allan
And even after they flew, it took a long time for people to recognize that that's actually still possible as possible just because one person did it, they didn't feel comfortable that everybody should do it. And now almost all of us at some point in our life, anyone listening to this podcast has gotten into an airplane at one point in their life and traveled across the country. And it's opened us up to all these freedoms and opportunities to see things we would never would have seen in the past, not without huge time investment.

[00:47:49.750] – Allan
And so I think that's the concept here. That's what's so exciting about your book. You give us the near term, and we would be on this call for hours if I went into the long term because it's so exciting, I would let you off the call. I just want you to know.

[00:48:06.130] – Sergey
Look, I'm going to be living another 150 years and majority of us are going to be living longer or radically longer than we expect. So we have time, Allan.

[00:48:15.970] – Allan
Yeah, we have time. Then I'll get you on again. We'll talk about that. Sergey, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:48:36.110] – Sergey
Okay. Number one, it's importance of early diagnostics. And I always say, like, the most important day of your life every year is the day of your medical screen. I do think it's super important. We underestimate. You can even imagine. I'm an investor. I'm not MD. I saved so many lives just by pushing people doing screenings. So that's one.

[00:49:05.930] – Sergey
The second I think, is importance of the diet. And we delegated all our diet choices, like in terms of quantity and quality of our food to other parties, like big food, supermarkets, government, et cetera. So it's time to take back control and recognize the importance of the food. And this is like, the easiest way to influence our epigenome. This is the easiest way to make us healthy and body response to that is just amazing. If you switch to more plant based, I'm not saying you need to become vegetarian or vegan.

[00:49:43.850] – Sergey
You need to be religious about this whole thing, but just like decreasing your calorie and take fasting doing more plant based looking at it not only quantity but the quality of your food, avoiding growth hormones, antibiotics and equilibacterias and industrial meat and fish. It was a source of one of the most enormous change that I went through while responding to high cholesterol crisis that I had back in 2014.

[00:50:16.060] – Sergey
And the third thing is just recognizing this whole connection between mind and body. So our health and the way we age and our biological age, like how young or how old we are, is very much defined by our psychology as well.

[00:50:36.050] – Sergey
It's extremely important. So my mantra, I know it's completely responsible to dream about living 200 years today. There's no way given today's science and today's technology, I'm going to be living to 200 years. But every morning I wake up, my mantra is like, I'm going to be living 200 years in the body of 25 years old, man, and your body responds to that. Look at the book. I think this part of the book will think and grow young. And there's so many studies like, if you literally believe that your age is 5, 10 15, even 20 years below your calendar chronological age, you will become younger.

[00:51:17.990] – Sergey
That's amazing.

[00:51:19.070] – Allan
Yeah. I completely agree. I signed up for a tough Mudder in August, so I'm training for that now. But it's so funny because all of my friends that are around my age like, you're too old to do that stuff. And I'm like, but it's fun and I'm excited about it. And so, yeah, I completely agree that those are wonderful. Thank you, Sergey. If someone wanted to learn more about your book, The Science and Technology of Growing Young, or just learn more about you, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:51:49.190] – Sergey
Well, the book is available everywhere.

[00:51:51.650] – Sergey
Again, it's called The Science and Technology of Growing Young. It's an important tool for me to change the world, to change our mindset, to push more of us, to take back responsibility and control for our health, and be excited about the future and recognize, like, new developments in medicine. And it's been already on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Usa Today bestseller. Number one on Amazon in multiple categories. I'm, like, really happy. This is the easiest way to connect with me, to understand well, my religion, my promise and exciting things, which we can do today in the next 10, 20 years.

[00:52:30.770] – Sergey
You can go to Sergeyoung.com and sign up for the mailing list. Every month we're sending out amazing newsletter, translating signs in very simple words to more exciting news. And I couldn't tell you the statistics about this, but I was just looking at statistics for newsletters all around the world. We have one of the highest open rates and click rates, and people are really excited. And I'm not selling anything. I'm an investor, right? I'm just trying to change the world to bring affordable and accessible version of longevity.

[00:53:05.390] – Sergey
So Sergeyyoung.com sign up for newsletter or SergeyYoung200 on Instagram.

[00:53:12.110] – Allan
Sergey I really appreciate your mission. Thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:53:18.110] – Sergey
Thank you, Allan. You're doing a great job. So thanks for helping all of us to spread this message across. And I just wanted to thank our audience for being with us today. Stay healthy and happy.

Post Show/Recap

[00:53:38.190] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:53:39.810] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, that was a really exciting and interesting conversation about longevity. Actually, I don't think I've ever thought about how you can define the aging process. I just never gave it a thought, actually.

[00:53:57.390] – Allan
Well, you'll see it on Facebook all the time. They'll show you these memes where there's a woman that's 85 years old and she's still a professional bodybuilder and a woman who is 85 years old and about ready to kick the bucket. You see it all the time because we're all on our own aging curve. And some of that is defined by how our genes. But they're finding more and more. It's really lifestyle choices that we've made all along the way that determine how quickly we get to go down that curve and how fast that curve crashes to our end state.

[00:54:31.710] – Allan
And if you're doing the right things for your body, you can do some things to extend it. We talked earlier and you mentioned on the podcast that just doing some exercise, eating right, sleeping, doing those basic blocking and tackling things that we talk about here every single week. Add years to your life.

[00:54:52.890] – Rachel
Well, Sergey said sleep, diet and exercise, even for as little as eight weeks, can reverse aging by three years. I've never heard that before. And that's astonishing.

[00:55:05.430] – Allan
Well, we saw it. I don't want to get too deep into this, but we saw it in covid. If you have comorbidities, then covid is a scary thing. And age is one of those comorbidities. But you see plenty of people in their 80s and 90s that lived through it.

[00:55:19.290] – Allan
Okay. They got covid, and they maybe suffered a little bit, but they came out maybe didn't even have to get hospitalized in some cases. But if you had a comorbidity, if you weren't taking care of yourself at some point in your life, and you find yourself further and down below that aging curve, then it's a killer. It's a killer straight out. And so it's just kind of one of those things of the better you take care of yourself each day, the more likely you are to have another one.

[00:55:49.770] – Rachel
That's a good point.

[00:55:53.310] – Allan
That was one of the principles of why he's believing that 150 and 200 or even permanence being effectively immortal. He believes that those are possibilities for the human race. Because if science moves fast enough to add one more year within a year, then you've effectively pushed your age your expiry date, if you will, one more day and that one more day means they get one more day to have science to solve. The next thing that would kill you. We think about in terms of okay, what's killing us?

[00:56:32.650] – Allan
Heart disease, cancer, medical malpractice, the things that are killing us, most of them are lifestyle choices. But that said, if you can have a newborn that's born and you're feeding it the exact diet that that individual baby needs throughout its entire life. It's eating exactly the nutrition that it needs. Then it's going to be a healthy baby. It's going to be a healthy teen. It's going to be a healthy young adult. It's going to be a healthy, older adult. And the other things that would kill us, we start dealing with, they have artificial hearts now, they have artificial hips, they have artificial knees.

[00:57:15.290] – Allan
And so the basic principle being, they don't know where the limit is or if there even is a limit to what the human being can live, because we haven't really pushed the envelope all the way. We've doubled our life expectancy in less than 100 years. And that's just because mostly people aren't dying as babies. But beyond that, people are living longer, and we see it. We see more Centenarians than they ever have been. And you start asking them what they're doing, and they're not necessarily doing anything special.

[00:57:53.510] – Allan
Drink a glass of whiskey and drink a smoke cigar every night.

[00:57:56.990] – Rachel
You never know.

[00:57:57.770] – Allan
Okay, well, I don't think that's great health advice, but it obviously didn't kill them.

[00:58:02.750] – Rachel
It worked for them. Yeah.

[00:58:06.290] – Allan
That kind of takes me to the next thing is, well, we don't even know right now why that is why someone can do something or why something works for someone and doesn't exactly work for someone else. And that's where the precision or personalized medicine, to me, is maybe the most exciting thing out of all of this, because with artificial intelligence and all the data and things we know, we talked about the hallmarks, and you think about all those hallmarks. And if you were capturing that data for everybody or most people, the data that you would have available and the things you would know about someone when they walk in there, it's a person comes in with a rare disease, and there's no way this particular doctor would ever have seen it because it happens to one in 100,000 people.

[00:58:55.970] – Allan
And so he hasn't had 100,000 patients in his career yet. So he probably hasn't even seen anybody with this problem. And he stopped. Because if then that symptom, try this. Symptom, try that. Symptom, try that. And so what we are going to have with precision medicine is this opportunity for someone to walk in and all that data be there. The bloodlabs, the microbiome, the genetic, all of it is all in there. And they're like, oh, you have a predisposition for this particular problem. And that's why you're having the symptom.

[00:59:37.370] – Allan
And then you can just say something simple. Stop drinking milk. And we're going to compound you something that you take for the next so many months or years, maybe. Or maybe it's something you might have to take permanently. But at least at that point, they know that it's worked for people with your situation and how often and the likelihood based on your genetics and your blood type and everything, how it's going to work for you. And then over here, they know they're not giving you too much.

[01:00:02.990] – Allan
And they know they're giving you the right doses. And they said, okay, your opportunity for side effects is much lower.

[01:00:10.670] – Rachel
Oh, gosh, that would be amazing to have all of that data aggregated into somebody's AI platform. And it would be so helpful. Just like you said, with the side effects, you go in and you've got a problem, a gallbladder problem or a heart disease or something. And if they could look at things like your blood glucose or your cholesterol levels, maybe they could fine tune the medicine that you need to help to get healthier without having all of the weird side effects that are out there.

[01:00:44.990] – Allan
It will trickle down to everything. So, like, here's an example. Maybe you just have hay fever and you get the runny eyes, the runny nose, the itchy, the sneezes and all that. And you go into your pharmacy and based on your medical stuff, all that data and you step on a scale and they say, okay, this is how much you weigh today. This is the exact dose of medication you need probably still antihistamine, but it's going to work best for you. So it's a particular one compounded a certain way at a certain dose and just enough pills to get you through what you're dealing with.

[01:01:27.110] – Allan
So you don't end up with all these expired things. The medicine cabinet goes away because you don't need it anymore to store things that, you know, I'm probably going to get it again next year, but you only need three pills and you make it through the pollen season and you're done.

[01:01:43.190] – Allan
There you go.

[01:01:43.670] – Allan
You got three pills at the perfect dose for you, specifically for you. And it helps eliminate errors. It helps eliminate overdosing. It helps eliminate a lot of this if then and that they'll probably even know things like, what's the propensity for you to be addicted to opiates? Exactly how much pain medication does someone in your situation need to get there? So it's not one of these, the doctors overshot on the opioids because it was easy. You're in pain here's an opioid, and then they overdose, or they get addicted.

[01:02:24.530] – Allan
And then the other side of it is now they're afraid to give you pain medication at all. So they're on the exact opposite swing. Whereas with AI, it's an AI driven decision. The doctor is there a judgment call to say, hey, this is the right thing. And then they can sit there and spend that three to seven minutes they have with you and just really talk about the risk of taking opioids. They say, well, AI says it's probably not a problem for you. So here's a week's supply.

[01:02:55.970] – Allan
If you don't need them all, please bring them back to the office so we can discard them properly.

[01:03:02.630] – Rachel
That'd be nice.

[01:03:03.470] – Allan
Right? And they give you just enough. The dosing is just right for you, so that you're getting the pain medication that you need without a lot of the risk side effects and all that. So the opportunity there is there. And obviously people are working towards this because there's money involved in medication, there's money involved in health care. And so people are working toward it. And one of his things was he was really wanting to see when the medical society, when they'll start actually recognizing aging as an illness as a way of dying.

[01:03:43.130] – Allan
Almost no one ages out at this point. So very few people, very little money relative is going into aging. Whereas you talk about cancer research, heart disease, so much money is pouring into those because they're seen as the killer. But at some point, hopefully with AI and everything else is going in there, they'll start solving that problem. Why does this chemo work for this one and not for that one? And what's the best chemo for you? And what's the best treatment protocols that starts working and they become less and less a factor.

[01:04:20.390] – Allan
They're still probably just going to be a point where someone just takes their last breath and that's like, okay. So he's looking at it saying, when aging is not just a comorbidity, because they will put that on your death certificate. If you just really old and have cancer, they might put that on your death certificate, but he wants it to be a medical classification. So businesses will start trying to solve aging as a problem. He invests in those types of companies, but they're little bitty companies, tech companies, typically that are coming out with these things.

[01:04:55.610] – Allan
The science is there, but there needs to be more money behind it before it really becomes the thing.

[01:05:02.270] – Rachel
Yeah. It's a big project, though, because I can just think all of my medical records, everything's electronic now. I don't know when electronic health records became mandated, and it might have been a state by state thing, but I probably have maybe 10, 15 years of electronic records, but they're spread all over the place because I've moved. But if someone could aggregate my data, even just my data from the different networks that I've had medical procedures done in, it sure would present an interesting picture for a doctor or even this AI to mash through and see what's in there and what they could pull out of that they would be fascinating.

[01:05:44.870] – Allan
And that's what it will be. They'll say, okay. Someone with this genome with this microbiome that's this age, these are the elements and things that they're most likely to see. You could know. Okay.

[01:05:58.310] – Allan
Yeah. We talked about colonoscopies and screenings and things like that. You could know. Okay, I need to go at age 45 and get screened.

[01:06:08.330] – Rachel

[01:06:09.650] – Allan
And maybe it's even something simple. You just know. Okay. Every year, I got to get screened for something or the other because I'm at a higher risk because of all the stuff we know about it. But you're improving your diet, you're improving your exercise, you're trying to sleep better. You're doing stress management. You're doing those lifestyle blocking and tackling things and not waiting for science to catch up to. You right. There are things we can do today, and we need to be doing today, which is why I think you guys are going to really enjoy the episode next week with Delatorro.

[01:06:45.470] – Allan
He's exciting. He's fun. It's about mindset, but he talks about it. It's like you've got to lean in. You've got to put the weight on this. You got to make this happen. And he's absolutely right. So just realize, don't wait for the science to come up and save you, help you live longer, live better. The types of things we talked about, the three dimensions of aging. Don't wait for that to happen. Every action you take today is a part of making those things happen.

[01:07:16.430] – Rachel
Well, I'm really inspired by the existing genetic technology today, and I think after listening in, I'm going to talk to my doctor about having my genetic testing started. And if I can get my mom and my daughter to get their genetic testing done, it sure could paint a very interesting picture by our personal health. And who knows, between my mom's data and my data, that could help my daughter with her health and fitness in the future.

[01:07:44.630] – Allan
Absolutely. Data is going to be important. They might have some data on me. I don't know, because I've been all over like you have scattered. And in some cases, I don't think there was a computer record at all that I was ever there, especially down here.

[01:08:05.150] – Allan
but that will be important. And if you know, you have a history or something, it's worth definitely. And you do. So it's definitely worth going in and trying to get some of that data, not to panic, not to freak out, but just to say, okay, am I doing the right thing? Am I getting the right screenings and those things we should be doing? We know we should be doing that's going to be important. If you like real science, some of it is science fictiony.

[01:08:37.190] – Allan
Because we can already do some of this stuff. We just haven't heard about it. He's in the forefront of this because he's an investor in that space. So he's giving people money on the front end to do some of these things. And he does have this premise. He believes at some point we might just be immortal, that we just continue to exist. We have our normal life and we have our normal reproductive years, and then we can continue. And if you think about some of the most brilliant people or some of the most kind people or some of the most wonderful people that you've known, if they could have lived another 50 to 100 years, what would we be able to accomplish on this planet with the people?

[01:09:23.510] – Allan
Now, there's a lot of ethical things. He gets into some of that in the book, too, about living forever and what that constitutes. And is this something that just the rich people are going to be able to afford to do versus everybody else and all of those things. He has a lot of that in there, too. So if you like geeking out about almost science fictiony stuff, but it's that kind of science fiction stuff that isn't just pie in the sky. It's real stuff that could be benefiting human race.

[01:09:55.310] – Allan
It's a really interesting read. He took all that techie techie techie stuff and turned it into a readable book, which is totally cool.

[01:10:02.870] – Rachel
That sounds great because that interview was a little bit techie, but not terrible to follow.

[01:10:09.530] – Allan
And he's a businessman, his principles, he can learn the tech or at least know the tech well enough to know where he wants to invest his money and he's in that space. So it's a little easier for him. But, yeah, I'm not going to say he dumbed it down for us, but he made it readable. He made it something where you can look at it and say, oh, okay. I don't have to know how the microbiome works. I just have to know that it is one of the things that affects my health, and as a result, their ability to analyze it, to be able to maybe even make recommendations on how you can improve it based on what you eat or sleep or stress, because they all have an impact on it.

[01:10:50.390] – Allan
Then you've got practical, real advice that works specifically for you and all that's just really cool. And then, of course, replacement parts, things like that. We get into all that kind of stuff, too, and just what constitutes being a human. So it's interesting book if you like science and you like science fiction, it's just a cool read, and it's not so deep that you wouldn't understand it. He's not trying to throw words that you wouldn't know or dive down so deep into a rabbit hole that you can't get out.

[01:11:27.210] – Allan
It's just some really cool stuff.

[01:11:29.010] – Rachel
That does sound cool. The interview was great. It was really fascinating to listen to this.

[01:11:33.630] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:11:36.630] – Rachel
Great. Take care.


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