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Category Archives for "fitness"

June 28, 2022

How to get adventure ready with Katie Gerber

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On episode 544 of 40+ Fitness Podcast, Katie Gerber, co-author of Adventure Ready: A Hiker’s Guide to Planning, Training, and Resiliency, helps us prepare, train, and enjoy even the longest hikes.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:03:00.010] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things?

[00:03:01.640] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:03.540] – Allan

I'm doing okay. Yeah? Doing all right.

[00:03:06.420] – Rachel

Good.

[00:03:08.110] – Allan

Well, that's good. Good to hear.

[00:03:10.470] – Allan

Well, we're into the low season, and so what happens is we have all this blank time at Lula's, so you're looking at just day after day after day of no people here. Now, that could sound great to somebody, but it's revenue. We got to pay the bills. We still have employees. We still have electricity. We still have things we got to do. And so there was nobody, like, no bookings at all. I was really only on one listing agent out there besides ourselves. So you can come directly to our website to book. But we're then connected into we were connected into one other, what they call Ota, which is just someone who sells your rooms for a commission, and we run one, and they dried up, so we weren't getting any up from them either. And so I've been working since we opened to try to get on these other places, and they just weren't happening. And I was like, I just don't understand. I do what I'm told to do, and then nothing happens. And so I managed over the course of the last three weeks to get on two of the other ones.

[00:04:22.150] – Rachel

Good.

[00:04:23.410] – Allan

And that's helped. A lot of bookings are coming in through those two other sources, one in particular, and then there's one other source that I wanted to be on. And when I first tried to start doing this, like I said, this was back November. I'm trying to get on this one, and we had already had it was already an account, and so I was just trying to access the account, and things were a little backwards for them because to ask for help, you have to log in. Well, I didn't have the login criteria.

[00:04:52.350] – Rachel

Oh, no.

[00:04:53.200] – Allan

I couldn't log in. Okay. And because I couldn't log in, I couldn't get to their extranet to ask for help, and there's no external email or anything to contact them at all. There's no way to reset the password. There's no way to do anything else on that site, and so you're just completely locked out. So I created a new site. I'm like, I created a new website, another one, like a whole new start all over. So there won't be any reviews on that and all that. And that's fine. We'll work that out. But I go to set it up, and they're like, we want to confirm your address.

[00:05:27.920] – Allan

So they want to mail me something. Well, we don't get mail here. You can't physically mail something to me. You can mail it to a US. Address, but that's not going to confirm that I'm at a physical address. So then they want to do it online, and I've been going back and forth. They're like, Are you on airbnb? Send your listing stuff, and we'll confirm you. I sent it, and I got nothing. And then they sent again, and they say, Okay, well, we can get on a zoom call with you. I'm like, Cool. So I go to book the zoom call, and then it comes back with this, okay, your appointment is set. It's going to be on Google Meet, but there's no link to the Google Meet. I email the woman, I'm like, I didn't get a link. I didn't get a code or nothing. And we're supposed to be on the call. It didn't happen. And so I booked another one right after it on the same thing. And again, it never sends me a link to the meeting, and she's not responding to emails. So I've been working on this for months, months and months and months, seven months going on now.

[00:06:27.560] – Allan

And just this one place I can't I'm not going to say their name out loud, but one of them that I was trying to get on because it's one of the bigger ones, they're not equipped to help.

[00:06:39.490] – Rachel

That is so bizarre. Crazy thing.

[00:06:43.550] – Allan

So that's my morning frustration supposing to have someone get on a Google call with me so I can confirm that we are who we say we are, where we are. And yes, that fell through. And still she's not responding to my emails. And I'm like, I don't understand.

[00:07:01.810] – Rachel

No. Terrible customer service.

[00:07:04.380] – Allan

It is, but we are on those other bookings, and so if you're looking for a vacation spot, come on down to Bocas Del Toro. We've got rooms.

[00:07:14.590] – Rachel

Awesome. Yeah, that sounds great.

[00:07:18.100] – Allan

So how are things up there?

[00:07:21.190] – Rachel

100% things are great. I've had a really rough spring with allergies just to pick up mano, and I haven't been running for about a month because of the mano and the fatigue, but now I feel I'm back to normal out there walking the trails and enjoying some time outside. So I'm feeling really good outside doesn't want to kill me right now.

[00:07:41.290] – Allan

Outside, doesn't want to kill me right now.

[00:07:43.780] – Rachel

Not now, anyway.

[00:07:45.910] – Allan

All right.

[00:07:46.660] – Rachel

Feeling great.

[00:07:47.890] – Allan

I guess that's just one of the odd things I really have never suffered with allergies. And I lived in Austin, and I'll tell you, you moved to Austin, and you may not have these problems before you moved to Austin, but almost everybody who lives in Austin develops allergies.

[00:08:05.860] – Rachel

Wow.

[00:08:06.380] – Allan

Fortunate. I never did, but I was only there for about three years, so maybe I just missed it, but yeah, unfortunate. And then here in the jungle, nothing.

[00:08:17.500] – Rachel

That's awesome. That's really good. I didn't have these problems in Florida. When I lived in Florida, it was not nearly this bad, but the trees on my property here, I'm pretty much allergic to most of them. It's just my poor planning on taking notice of the wildlife in my area.

[00:08:36.670] – Allan

Okay, well, I hope that things are good and that things are not trying to kill you and you can get back out to your running.

[00:08:42.920] – Rachel

Thank you.

[00:08:44.770] – Allan

All right, are you ready to talk to Katie?

[00:08:47.300] – Rachel

Yes.

[00:08:48.210] – Allan

All right.

Interview

[00:09:30.910] – Allan

Katie, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:09:33.850] – Katie

Hi, thanks for having me.

[00:09:35.630] – Allan

Now, your book is called Adventure Ready: A Hiker's Guide to Planning, Training, and Resiliency. And I have clients that hike and love hiking. I actually have one. He does a lot of day hiking, and then I just got a client and his aspiration is to do Appalachian Trail. He'll be 65, so he said he's going to break that into sections. And so I think when people think of hiking, because I know, like, here on the island or on the different islands they'll put together hikes, there's a hiking group. I'm a member, although they tend to plan a hike, like, they'll email today for a hike they're going to do tomorrow. And I'm like, I didn't have time to plan. I didn't have time to schedule. And no, I can't make that one. So a lot of them work that way. But these are hikes through the jungle, and they're usually a few hours, like half day things. But hiking is really kind of this diverse sport, if you will. I mean, similar to running where you could just do a 5K or you can do a marathon or you can do an ultra marathon or even take it further, some 100 miles multiple days in a row.

[00:10:50.410] – Allan

Can you talk about hiking and kind of some of those variables that maybe we haven't heard about so we can get an idea of where we're going with this?

[00:10:59.290] – Katie

Sure, yeah, that was a great analogy with running. Like, there are many ways to engage with hiking and backpacking and this whole world of through hiking, which is something that my book speaks to. And so with day hiking, that's what you're talking about. Like, you have that local group that does a lot of day hikes. So that's essentially just anytime you're getting out for the day, not sleeping out overnight, it could be a couple of miles, or for some people, it could be like a 30 miles day. It could be a day hike. It's a big day hike, but it could be a day hike. And then there are these long trails that usually referring to there's a debate about what a long trail is, but it was like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, anything that's usually like 100 or so miles or more, anywhere up to a couple of thousand. The Continental Divide Trail is 2800 miles, and there are different ways to hike that type of trail, to backpack that trail. Essentially, you could do it in sections. So some people will hike like a couple of sections each year and eventually what we call a thru-hike, which is to hike the entire trail.

[00:12:05.900] – Katie

They will thru-hike it over maybe a decade or something by adding up sections. Or there's some people who like to go out and to hike the entire thing in one season. So maybe they start like the Appalachian Trail, for instance, that you're talking about your client. Maybe they'll start in late April in Georgia, one of the terminus, the southern terminus, the Appalachian Trail, and hike all the way north up to Maine, the northern terminus, in one season. So that's 2200 miles. So yeah, there's a lot of different ways to engage in hiking and backpacking kind of depending on your life and how deep you want to go.

[00:12:39.880] – Allan

Yeah. And if you're doing over 2000 miles and you go the wrong direction, even a step, that's no problem,

[00:12:47.090] – Katie

you don't want to do it.

[00:12:51.650] – Allan

You had some great stories in the book about exactly that, especially when you're talking about the Orientating and back before GPS were really popular and you're looking at a map and you say, well, that's that ridge and you start walking that direction only to find that no, the next ridge that you were looking for isn't there. So you got to turn around and go back to where you were.

[00:13:10.390] – Katie

Yeah, it's the worst. It's the worst feeling. Exactly. Especially when you're on like a 2000 miles hike, even missing a trail junction by a mile and having to backtrack you're just like, no. Yeah, that's why learning the navigational skill set can be really helpful.

[00:13:25.220] – Allan

And you do really good job. I was in the military and had do a good bit of that myself before the days of GPS, the compass and the map of your friends if you learn and practice and I think that was one of the key things you talk about in the book is this is a skill that requires practice. You help us with that. Now, one of the things you put in there and I love it because I live on an island in the Caribbean and so people bring things here and they leave them. The locals are kind of the worst, but people will go out and they will make a trail less likable, less fun. And we actually, because some of the stuff is private property, we've had owners just say, no, you can't come on my property anymore because of this. But you talk about the seven principles of Leave no trace. Can you go through those? Because I think it's really important when we're doing these things to make sure that we're doing them responsibly. So just to give people food for thought, if they're going to get out of nature, which is what you need to do, you should be out in nature. What's the protocols or etiquette we need to follow?

[00:14:30.030] – Katie

Absolutely. Yeah. And I appreciate that you're bringing this up? Because I think any of us who are going to spend time in the outdoors should be aware of these principles because we just want to leave as little impact as possible out there so everyone can continue to enjoy it. Essentially, there are these seven leave no trace principles that we talk about in the book, and obviously we didn't develop these, where there's a center called leave no trace center for outdoor ethics. Essentially, these principles are designed to minimize our impact on the outdoors, help us be good stewards of the land that we're walking through. And so these principles are designed mostly for backcountry use, but they can be used anywhere, like you said, in a local park or on your trails, out behind your house or anything like that. Sure, I'll briefly go through them, and we can talk a little bit about each of them. So the first one is to plan ahead and prepare. So by planning ahead, essentially, like individuals who are going out or groups that are going out can be better set up to stay safe and then to practice these leaving a trace principles.

[00:15:28.950] – Katie

So, for example, if an inexperienced user goes out into that country, maybe in the sierras, and they don't know that there's a fire ban there, because in the southwest, where I live in Colorado and then west of me, we have very severe wildfire problems in the summer. So if someone doesn't know there's a fire ban and they only brought food that can be cooked over a campfire, then they're almost like forced to start a campfire where they shouldn't be starting one. Or maybe if someone doesn't plan a trip properly and they don't know what the trail is going to be like, and it's more rigorous than they expect, and they have to camp in a place that's ideal, then they could be damaging some of the fragile surfaces, for example. So that's why planning ahead and preparing as the first step is so that you can be a better practitioner of these leaf and trace principles. So travel and camp on durable surfaces is the second one. So durable surfaces would be anything like sand, rock, ice, snow, anything that can withstand impact. Some vegetation can, some can't. And examples of nondurable surfaces would be like cryptobiotic soil, which is a type of living soil in the desert that prevents erosion.

[00:16:39.110] – Katie

Delicate alpine tundra would be another one, like wet meadows where you trample the grass and it doesn't bounce back easily. So just knowing, like, what are durable surfaces, what aren't durable surfaces, traveling on trail where you can and if you're traveling in a group, knowing how to minimize your impact on those non durable surfaces, essentially knowing where you can camp where you're not going to cause further impact and just how to go about that. And then the third one is disposable waste properly. That refers to, of course, packing out your trash. A lot of people may have heard the phrase pack it in, pack it out but it also refers to human waste which in many cases like in a river quarter should also be packed out or if you're like in a fragile alpine environment it should also be packed out or if you're going to barrier waste like which digging a cathole is sort of the way that the accepted practice to go about that to know that you have to take it deep enough 200ft from water, away from high use areas, away from game trails and places that animals are going to use regularly and then packing out your teepee in some places where it's like moist and hot and it's going to break down, that's fine, it'll probably degrade but in a lot of places especially again where I live where it's dry or if you're in the alpine and it's just not going to break down because there's not enough heat and there's not enough moisture, just pack it out and knowing the best practices around that and one other part of that whole topic of it's not really disposing of waste but it kind of goes under.

[00:18:10.720] – Katie

This is like not putting soap into the waterways. A lot of people like oh well it's a biodegradable soap, I can use it in the waterway but we don't want to do that as well. So it's part of that leave no trace ethic. The fourth one is leave what you find which is pretty straightforward. It's like any we go out there because we all want to see these beautiful flowers or beautiful we find beautiful rocks or like when I was in Utah guiding last month we were finding artifacts like old arrowheads and things like that and it's so tempting for people like oh I want to take this home and I want to show it to people, it's so cool. But part of leave no choice ethics is just leave what you find. Other people want to enjoy it as well. And then another part of that is to avoid landscaping an area with like fire rings or log chairs or things like that avoiding like moving things around too much in an area or if you do naturalizing it again before you leave the area. Minimizing campfire impacts is principle number five. Again I mentioned fire ban so knowing when and where fire bands are in effect if you are allowed to build a fire in an area knowing whether it's going to cause potential damage to that country there looking around knowing is there sufficient firewood that I'm not going to further impact the area.

[00:19:26.600] – Katie

Like will removal of this firewood be noticed? I mean understanding how to minimize the impact if you do build a fire, like if you build a fire ring you should build it in a ring if the one exists you should dismantle the ring if it doesn't exist and there are other methods to building campfires that you can minimize your impact. Respecting wildlife is principle number six. So that's just like keeping your distance, not being too intrusive. I think we've all seen those national park photos where people are having their cameras and they're right up in the moose's face or, like, way too close to the bison or the bears, and it's obviously stressing the animal out. And so it's like, we want to avoid that. We don't even want them to know of our presence unless we're trying to just sort of gently spook them away so that we can pass through a trail. But it also means not camping too close to a water source where we might be scaring the animal away from coming to the water source, not camping right on top of a game trail where we might interrupt their travel to and from where they're trying to go.

[00:20:28.920] – Katie

So, yeah, just generally being respectful of the wildlife. We're in their home, so we want to be respectful. We would being a house guest in someone else's home, and then the 7th one is being considered by other visitors. We're all trying to be out there enjoying nature. And so I think just being cognizant of what you're doing, like using your headphones instead of playing music loudly through a speaker, which might disrupt other people or disrupt the wildlife or keeping your dog leashed or just sharing the trail with other users, whether those are pedestrians or equestrians or bicyclists or whatever it is, just being thoughtful of other people so we can all enjoy the outdoors. And if you want to learn more, is this lnt.org is the place to go to really get all the details on that.

[00:21:16.890] – Allan

LNT for leavenotrace.org? Okay, cool. All right. Now it's the end of June, and so for most of the places that people would be either hiking or training, because that's the other side of it, is if you're going to start your hike next April to do the Appalachian Trail, for example, you're training now, so you're getting out and training. And one of the things that happens for a lot of us is we're trying to push ourselves because, again, we're carrying a pack. That pack could be over 40 lbs, maybe 50 lbs sometimes when you first start with the food and you're in the heat. So you've got to train your body to do that. We're going to talk about conditioning in a minute, but one of the things that hits a lot of us is just the heat and all those things that can happen with regards to illnesses, heat illnesses. So we're talking about heat exhaustion, heat stroke. Can you kind of talk us through what we should be looking for as far as symptoms, that the heat starting to really be a problem for us and what we should do about it?

[00:22:16.410] – Katie

Yeah, absolutely. Definitely something valuable to be aware of. So, yeah, as you were just saying, these heat illnesses can occur essentially like on a spectrum, there's a progression. So there's heat rash and heat cramping which most of us are familiar with, like from exercising outdoors and heat, those are pretty common and can be prevented and treated by consuming adequate water and salt and cooling off and resting in the shade. And then as you mentioned, there's more serious forms of that. If those aren't treated, that would progress to heat exhaustion and then to heat stroke. These also result from exercising in the heat and the humidity, not consuming enough water, salt and they can essentially cause the body temperature to rise above critical levels. So prevention is best. So if we can stay hydrated, consume electrolytes, pay attention to when we're starting to overheat and we can rest and not try to, we are pushing ourselves, but maybe try to not push ourselves beyond what is comfortable in the heat or at least just paying attention to our own body and what's going on in there. So you're asking about symptoms. So heavy sweating, muscle cramping when you start to get a headache.

[00:23:34.830] – Katie

Nausea is a big one that I've seen before. If you're starting to get nauseous, dizzy, of course fainting is a pretty obvious symptom. Pulse can change, either become really rapid or really weak. So when you're starting to see any of those changes, there should be like red flags. Like hey, it's time to slow down, find some shade, cool off immediately, whether by putting cold water on the skin, any way that you can cool down, replace some of those fluids in the body, take some electrolytes if you haven't been taking in any salt or anything like that. And then if you don't treat that, that can progress to that heat stroke which is a medical emergency. So if it progresses to that point and that's a temperature greater than 103. And some of the symptoms would be that you stop sweating, actually you start to get slurred speech and essentially there's any changes in consciousness, that's when you need medical help. And so hopefully you're carrying some sort of either a cell phone or an inreach device which is like a satellite communication device that you can get yourself help.

[00:24:36.590] – Allan

Or you're traveling with a hiking buddy. And so this is something also if you notice that your hiking buddy is getting confused, they've stopped sweating, start asking them a couple of questions that they should be able to answer and if they really start struggling with those types of things, it's time to call it quits and get that person some help. okay. So yes, we need to condition ourselves for this stuff. And you start thinking, how does one go about training for a 2000 miles plus hike? And it kind of brings me back to my marathon days and the way we would say it was you either feel the pain before you do the run or you're going to feel it after you do the run, but this you're going to feel it during because this is not just a one day thing. And the phrase you use in the book, which I like, is to hike yourself into shape. And some people can and do that, but it's going to make for a very unpleasant first few weeks. Can you talk about how someone could go about planning and conditioning program? You have some in the book.

[00:25:41.090] – Allan

I don't have to give all the way the stretching and all of this stuff. We're going to talk about that's in the book, but it just gives us an overview of how someone can look at planning their conditioning so they're ready. Like my client that wants to be able to do this in a few years, he wants to start conditioning himself for it. What should he be considering and how should he be going about this?

[00:26:02.090] – Katie

Yeah, absolutely. And like you said, it's a great idea. So you can hike yourself into shape. So some people, they're kind of different schools of thought. Some people are like, oh, you don't have to do any training ahead of time. You'll hit the trail and just walking every day, you're going to hike into shape. And it's like, yeah, that's true in some cases, but you're going to be a lot more prone to overuse injuries and just to not completing the goal that you set out to do. So of course, I and my co-author Heather, are big proponents of physically training yourself to be ready for that hike. And I think the longer out you can start, the better because that way you're not going to be tempted to ramp up too quickly. So that's one of the principles that we talk about with training, is building a training plan for yourself where you're balancing cardiovascular training, strength and mobility exercises and rest, of course, because that's an important part of a training plan, as well as giving yourself your body enough time to adapt to the stressors from exercise that you're actually strengthening building muscle and not like just wearing yourself down.

[00:27:04.100] – Katie

So, yeah, the training plans, we essentially talk about how to build your own individual training plan. And we go through some exercises in there where you can test yourself for muscle weaknesses. So that's one aspect of it is doing different tests on your own body so you can determine if you have places where you used to get injured a lot. We're going to invite you to focus extra strengthening effort in that area, whether through different exercises, whether that's through doing lunges or toe raises or calf raises or things like that. So figuring out where your personal weaknesses are and then building a plan that builds your endurance by slowly building up the miles, gradually including enough rest days in there. And we talk about a protocol for how to figure out where to start because it depends. Are you starting from the couch are you starting from someone who is already relatively in shape. So we kind of talk about how to build those miles gradually and what to start with and how to build up. And then including those strengthening exercises and those mobility exercises like I was talking about, whether that's strengthening your inner thighs or strengthening your hip muscles or things like that.

[00:28:18.040] – Katie

Any of those muscles you're going to use with backpacking. Essentially, we're just trying to get the body adapted to carrying a weight on the back over uneven surfaces, because that's different than what a lot of us are used to and what a lot of our bodies are used to. We talk about how to build those, balance out those aspects in a training plan so that your body hit the trail with your body being ready, and you're not going to have to go home early from overuse injuries. And it's so much more enjoyable when you show up in shape. I've seen both sides of it. Some people go off the couch and they just struggle a lot. And then other people focus a lot of time into that training ahead of time. And you can hit the trail doing more miles and it hurts so much less. And you can keep up with your friends if you're going in a group. So I'm definitely an advocate of training your body.

[00:29:08.800] – Allan

Yeah. One of the things I kind of liked about what you had in the book was it was also know yourself. So it's like put on a 40 pound pack and walk kind of the same grade of hills and things that you're going to be doing on there. And if you notice, okay, your core is not really stabilized well enough that you can handle a pack. You need to maybe bolster your core work. Maybe you're arching your lower back and over time that's going to fatigue. You can do some cobras and some things like that to just make sure that you're in a better condition to handle how your body is going to respond. Because I saw something and there was where I got to find this because it was so cool. It was the trail pronation, which I guess as you're carrying weight and you're moving up a trail, the way you walk, the way you move, it changes it changes the whole dynamic of your kinetic chain. And as a result, you have to look at the shoes you're wearing and be ready to change those out regularly. You also need to just train yourself to be in that different position for hours at a time.

[00:30:17.090] – Katie

Yes, absolutely. It's such a good point as a lot of people, especially sometimes, like, if people just do walking as their training or they're transitioning from running or something like that, they kind of forget about how putting a pack that's anywhere from 20 to 40 lbs on the back really changes, like your center of gravity and how you carry your body. And exactly like you're just saying, how does that affect how you move and how do you train for that?

[00:30:43.070] – Allan

And then how much you've conditioned yourself, then blends into the plan for the trail. It's like if you know you're not going to be able to do 20 miles a day for five consecutive days, then you've got to come up with a plan for one, okay, maybe it's going to take you a little longer. You probably have to carry more food so your pack might even be heavier and you're going to move slower. Yeah, but that's your plan and you have to kind of balance that out. And so knowing your conditioning and then that helps drive your plan. Knowing your plan helps drive your conditioning and it's kind of a back and forth thing.

[00:31:13.370] – Katie

Absolutely. Yeah, exactly like you said, knowing the daily mileage that you're capable of, what's comfortable for you, taking into consideration that weather might get in your way or heavier pack might slow you down, all that stuff really ties into exactly how much food you're going to need to carry when you're expected to get to point B and then point C and D resupply places along the trail. And you're also thinking about, okay, am I going to finish in time to fit inside this weather window is what we say. Because you don't want to be out there on a 2000 miles trail. It's a little different than planning for a three night or even a five night trip because you're like, oh, I'm going to go out and it's June 1 through six, no problem. I know the weather is going to stay nice, but when you're out there for months at a time, you have to be kind of thinking about, okay, am I going to be able to finish in time? Am I going at a pace that's adequate to get me to Canada before the snow starts flying and all of that. So it's another reason why being trained and like you're saying, just knowing your body and what you're capable of is very valuable.

[00:32:19.270] – Allan

Yeah, well, Heather did a fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail. I think if I did it, it would be the slowest time and I would have to go through a lot of snow, probably two years of it, to get that baby done because that's something else. Now we can talk about the physical preparation, but I know from experience that you can get yourself as physically prepared as you ever want to. You can have all your planning, you have everything mapped out, but stuff happens. This is hard stuff. You're not talking about walking an hour or 2 hours and then calling it a day. You guys are doing upwards to twelve, maybe even more hours to get the distances that you want to get so that you can keep this sustainable for you. How do you mentally prepare for something like that?

[00:33:14.750] – Katie

yes, such a great topic and one that I really love talking about with people because it's something that a lot of aspiring through hikers or long distance hikers don't think as much about. They think a lot about I've got to get the right gear and I have to practice my navigational skills and I've got to get my food ready and all that. And all those things are super important and we cover them in the book. But that mental preparation aspect, that's something I wasn't ready for on my first hike. I mean, I kind of had an idea from having read blogs and things like that, but there are some tough conditions out there. Like you said, you're not just out for an hour over the course of multiple weeks and months, you're going to encounter crappy conditions, you're going to miss your loved ones, you're going to be hungry, your body is going to hurt no matter how well trained you are. There's going to be a lot of aspects to it that you can't really prepare yourself from a fiscal perspective, but you can't prepare your mind for it. So, I mean, I share the statistic in the book, but it's estimated that 75% to 85% of aspiring through hikers on what we call the Triple Crown trails, which is the at, the Pct and the CDT actually quit before reaching their goal.

[00:34:31.770] – Katie

And when you think about that, it's interesting because backpacking is a skill set that you need to learn, but it's not particularly technical. Someone who does, who studies and goes out in practice, you can become proficient at it relatively quickly. And yeah, it's a great physical feat to accomplish, but you can adjust your pace, you can slow down and all of that. So why is it that so many people are failing to reach their goal when they're out there? And I think it's a lack of mental preparation, failing to prepare your mind for the fact that it is going to be hard because I think when a lot of people are thinking about going out on these trails, they're thinking about all of those really desirable things like the beautiful scenery and being away from their laptop or their work schedule, kind of being on their own time, the simplicity of being out there, all those things that draw us out there. But they're not necessarily thinking about the fact that they're going to have blisters on their heels that are the size of a quarter and that they're going to run through their food too quickly and be hungry or they're going to be scared at times, whether it's of animal or weather or anything like that.

[00:35:39.150] – Katie

So yeah, there's a saying that through hiking, success is 90% mental and it's mental preparation. That's why we kind of go through some different strategies in the book of how to prepare yourself mentally for a long hike. And I'm happy to dig into those if you want to get into those specific?

[00:35:53.840] – Allan

Yeah, absolutely. Now, I know I've written a book, too. Congratulations on the effort. But you also said you like to journal. You are already sitting around with a notebook every day after you finished your hike or maybe even the morning before you started your hike. So I imagine that discipline of journaling helps you with writing this book as well. So I know that was one of the big ones that was but the one that was most interesting to me was the practice voluntary hardship.

[00:36:24.050] – Katie

Yeah, it's an interesting one, I think, that you don't necessarily think of right away. But for me, that came about really when I started running when I was younger. I did cross country in junior high and high school, and I noticed that when I would so it's become skilled at anything. It's practice and it's putting in the hours. And I would notice that when I made myself go out on the rainy days or go do twice a day in the afternoon. So I grew up in Ohio, and it was hot and humid, and I would make myself go in the morning and then go again in the afternoon no matter how much I didn't want to. And it was amazing because I would get out there and I would be like, oh, this isn't like that bad. I survived this. Like, oh, I went out in the rain and I survived it. And so I think that principle of practicing voluntary hardship is like building your inner resiliency, like letting yourself, your body and your mind know, I can do this hard thing. I'm capable of it. And this hard thing isn't going to it might not be even as hard as your mind is telling you it's going to be.

[00:37:27.760] – Katie

Like with those runs, I was saying, Oh, I got out there and I was like, Oh, I got wet. Okay, that's not a big deal, I'm fine. Or just putting yourself in those situations, anything that's sort of a little bit on your edge of discomfort to just train your body and your mind into that belief and knowingness that you're capable, you can do those challenging things.

[00:37:51.230] – Allan

Yes, I had an author on it. I know his first name was Michael, but his book was called The Comfort Crisis. It was a great book on this topic. He got himself in a situation where he just got dropped off with these guys out in the tundra about as far north as you could ever go, and he spent 30 days out there. And it's kind of one of those things it taught him that in these hard things do they'll teach you this, that you guys said words like embrace the suck, or those types of things. And it's funny to say, it's not funny when you're doing it, but then after it's over and you survive, it's kind of like, well, good. I feel like I've accomplished more because I went through this hard thing and I think that's where the kind of build up of all of this is going is okay, yes, you can journal, you can meditate, you can breathe, and those are all important things just for life, everything in life. But if you make things hard on yourself here and there, it just gives you this resilience from a mental perspective that you wouldn't have otherwise.

[00:39:00.010] – Katie

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And there's like a big trend in wellness and such a trend, but science and research behind it is like cold baths and cold exposure and part of it is like yes, it does have absolutely benefits for your mitochondria inflammation, all of that. But I think part of it too is like the mental benefits. Exactly. It's like showing yourself that you can do hard things and you can get through it and that makes you more capable for other hard things in life.

[00:39:28.450] – Allan

Yeah, because I prefer the heat shock proteins of going out when it's in the high eighty s and putting up with that versus the cold any day. Maybe I need to do that. But I don't actually have anywhere I can take a bath here, so I'll have to figure out and the ocean is 70 deg, so it's not going to do it. But I agree with you there.

[00:39:51.120] – Allan

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

[00:40:00.750] – Katie

Yes, that's a great question. So of course I'm going to say daily time outside. For me, that is probably one of the biggest, most valuable wellness practices in my own life. Even if it's just you only have time for ten minutes, 15 minutes, getting outside, ideally as close to sunrise as possible, getting that natural light into your eyes, setting your hormones, optimizing those for the day, your circadian rhythm, all of that and just the stress relief benefits of being outside. I think it's so valuable, I think having something planned each day that you look forward to or that you're excited about, whether it's a walk outside or for me, like journaling time over my coffee or my tea, whatever it is. Time with a loved one snuggling, a pet, whatever it is. Maybe it's part of a morning ritual, anything that I think feeds and nourishes you. It's such a great antidote for the busy and often like stressful lives. Many of us live in the modern life or find ourselves in, whether it's a stressful day or a season of life. Just having those things each day that we can look forward to. It's just really important having that reason to get out of bed.

[00:41:10.130] – Katie

And then that kind of leads into my third one, which is something similar we talk about in the book. It's like knowing your why, having that strong sense of purpose or vision for what you are, putting your energy towards each day, what you're putting your time towards in this season of life. Something that just keeps you going through the inevitable challenges that you're going to face in day to day life. Just having that strong sense of why and purpose.

[00:41:35.970] – Allan

Thank you for that. So the book is called Adventure Ready: A Hiker's Guide to Planning, Training and Resiliency. If someone wanted to learn more about that book or learn more about you, Katie, or your co author Heather, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:41:50.290] – Katie

Sure. The best place to go would be katiegerber.com, which is my website, and then my co author and I, Heather, are both active on Instagram, and so mine is @katiegerber and she's @wordsofthewild. So you can find either of us there. And I have more information about those online courses that are the companion to the book there. There's also a free backpacker nutrition course on there. So lots of backpacking resources on the website for anyone who is interested in doing more long distance hiking, backpacking, day hiking, any of that. So I just want to help people get started and get out there safely and confidently.

[00:42:25.680] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/544, and I'll be sure to have the links out there. Katie, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:42:36.270] – Katie

Thanks so much for having me. It's a lot of fun talking to you.


Post Show/Recap

[00:42:46.330] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:42:47.890] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a great interview and listening to Katie talk, really just invigorated my excitement about hiking. And I've got a big hike plan this fall. We're supposed to be hiking across Isle Royal up in Lake Superior, Northern Michigan, and all the tips that she had to share with you were just fantastic. It was a great interview.

[00:43:09.260] – Allan

Yeah, it's a really good book. She and Katie and Heather, they're pros, they do this regularly, they've done it for a while and they know their things. They know their stuff. Heather having the record fastest known time for the trail, that's not something you just get showing up. You got to keep moving. You got to keep doing it. And so that's why I thought it was really important to have them on to talk about this book because a lot of people, this is an accessible thing for a lot of people now maybe not 2000, 2200 miles hike throughs, but that said, you break it into segments, you break it into pieces. Most of us are going to live within daily reaching distance to do a day trip, to go out and just do a day hike. And it's a great way to reconnect with nature. It's a great way to just get away from all the digital toxins and stuff in our lives. And don't take your phone except to have it in your pocket as a GPS if you get lost or to call for help. But this is a great opportunity for you to get out, see things that most people don't see because they don't bother to venture out.

[00:44:34.140] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Yeah. So many things to chat about. She had mentioned showing up in shape and being prepared, and I just wanted to highlight that going on a hike is a little different than just walking to your mailbox or walking through the grocery store or something. Sometimes these trails, like my little trail downtown that I use a lot, is asphalt paved. I can't get lost, so it's a perfect trail for me. But there's a lot of dirt trails and there's a lot of things to see out there, and it's a little bit of different type of hiking, and you need to be prepared for that. Different type of walking.

[00:45:06.590] – Allan

Yeah. And the weather and everything else. That's what in this book. That was one of the other things. They do a really good job of walking you through the planning. There's worksheets. There's all kinds of things in there for you to literally plan your hike and then go do your hike. I wanted to discuss that with her, the preparation, at least from a physical perspective and then from a mental perspective, because, yes, you can plan to use the hike as part of your training because if you do fewer miles, the beginning, and then you can build up your endurance and you can do more. And maybe if you're working really hard I know if I tried to take three months off to go do something like that, then I'm going to be working my butt off those last days, and they're going to be long days, and I'm not going to have training time during the week and maybe not even on the weekends as I'm trying to get myself ready to take that kind of time off to go do it. So, yeah, you train how you can with what you have to get yourself in the right kind of shape, because the worst thing you want to get into is that you throw that 40 pound pack on your back and you can't really even do it.

[00:46:21.230] – Allan

Your three month hike just became a three year hike because you can't do it. So you're going to want to be at some level of condition to be able to hit some mile markers. You're going to want to be able to put some miles in. So the training is important, but you will be able to somewhat train yourself to be better as you go. So you can even factor that a little bit into the plan of a gradual, I like to say gentle nudges of additional mileage as you go as long as again, and she even said this in the book, is you got to factor in your rest days. Probably Heather didn't take too many rest days when she was breaking the record, but when you're going at it, you might plan okay, we're going to be near this city there's town and I'm going to go act like a townie for a little while to eat restaurant food and sleep in a hotel bed and take showers, lots of showers. And then you can go for another sprint, but you have to factor in who you are, where you are and then do that and then the mental side of it, I was telling you before we got on the call I was going to do 9 miles Sunday and I kind of didn't feel really good about my digestive system when I have messy pants.

[00:47:38.640] – Allan

And so I thought so I stayed around town. So I was like, okay, I'm going to stay between my house and the gym. They're about a little over half a mile away. So I'm just walking down towards the gym and sort of walking right back towards the house and I do a couple of loops and I'm like, okay, I feel pretty good. And then I got about a mile out of town on an outback and so I'm somewhere around 5 miles and I noticed that my arm is chasing and it's very uncomfortable. And so now I have this do I quit or do I not scenario. And I was like, well, I have a mile to walk back and then I could put something on it. But then am I going to really want to get out and continue to do this or would I just quit? And so I was like, no, I'm just going to finish it. And this is uncomfortable, but I'm going to embrace the suck, if you will, and just keep going. And today I'm wearing a tank top. That was a tank top too, but I'm wearing a tank top with a much bigger drop in the sleeve so I'm not re scuffing it as I go.

[00:48:41.810] – Rachel

That's good. Yeah. We're preparing this trip for Isle Royal and we've been planning it for over a year. We're going to walk about 50 miles across from island end to end. And there are no showers, there's no gas stations to pick up food. So we're practicing everything that we need to have on this island right now. Actually, over the weekend, Mike and I were taste testing some different freeze dried foods, really lightweight camping foods that we'll be packing in. We're testing our equipment. We're making sure our tent can withheld some leaks if it rains. You know, there's a lot of planning that goes into that. But also while you can do some conditioning on a hike like that, it is good that you arrive at having practiced your equipment and know what it feels to wear a 30, 40, 50 pound backpack. I mean, there are certain things you can't just show up as a newbie. The first time Mike and I hiked Isle Royal with our family, gosh, I think it's going on 30 years ago. It was really neat to see this wonderful newly wed couple they had chosen Isle royal as their honeymoon vacation.

[00:49:51.320] – Rachel

And the woman had never hiked before in her life. And when we did find them at the end of the island, her feet were just blistered because she didn't practice her boots, she wasn't prepared for the backpack. I mean, they're just a myriad of problems that she had. But she gutted it out, she made it to the end, which is amazing. But my best advice, if you want a successful and happy and fun trip, is to show up fit and practice to the best of your ability.

[00:50:19.850] – Allan

And that's what the preparation is key. And that's one of the things that this book is really good about, because it asks you all the questions, like something you're going to say, like, you were just talking about food. How many calories will you be burning every day? So how many do you need to consume to maintain? And so it's not the normal, what you eat. You can say, Well, I only eat 1600 calories a day. That's when you're sitting at the computer doing your job, driving around, you're not walking 12,15, 20 miles a day or more. Because some of these hikes, they're doing eight to 10 hours of movement per day, easily. And so they're looking at their calorie requirements and say, Okay, that's easily 3000 calories. And this is for woman, it's a lot, but they need to have that amount of calories. And how much do all those calories weigh? Because if you're carrying a casserole dish, yes, it's heavy. So, yeah, the freeze dried stuff, the granola stuff like that, and then get knowing that it's something you can tolerate. Because the worst case thing is that you get out there and you eat something that doesn't agree with you, and you're not making your miles those days because you're in a bush in a squat position.

[00:51:50.000] – Rachel

Yeah, that's a problem. We have very precise transportation on both sides of the island. We get dropped off at a certain time and then we get picked up on the other side of the island in, I think, seven or eight days. So we need to be there no matter what, otherwise we're getting off the island. It's very important that you know how to practice all these things. And like she said, the mental aspect of it, if you've got blisters, you've got an upset stomach, you've got shaping, these things are very common and you need to be mentally prepared to push through it. Like in our case, when we have a very specific time, we need to meet our planes. There's a lot to it, but it's so fun.

[00:52:33.010] – Allan

Well, you do need to check out this book. I think this will help you a lot.

[00:52:36.560] – Rachel

I think it will. Thank you so much.

[00:52:38.680] – Allan

Right, well, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:52:41.470] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:52:42.450] – Allan

You too.

[00:52:43.170] – Rachel

Thanks.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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How to become a superager with Jim Owen

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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.

Transcript

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

Good.

[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

Sure.

Interview

[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

Right.

[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

Congratulations.

[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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Another episode you may enjoy

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How to optimize your nutrition with Alan Aragon

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One of the most common questions I get is: “How do you optimize my nutrition for…”.

Whether it is for weight loss, building muscle, or performing better, there are many factors. In his book, Flexible Nutrition, Alan Aragon answers this with what science tells us.

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Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:03:03.680] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:03:04.890] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:06.630] – Allan

I'm doing all right.

[00:03:07.920] – Rachel

Good.

[00:03:09.310] – Allan

Been a busy week. We had that flood here in the gym, and so we've been trying to work on the roof and keep that going. So that's been pretty massive. And then, of course, they took the holiday break, took a couple of days off, and it rained for two solid days. Which was great. No, it actually ended up being great. We were like in a rainforest and a tree, like almost like a Treehouse thing. And it wasn't really technically a tree house, but it felt like it based on where it was on the Hill and then just sit there. I read two fiction book novels.

[00:03:42.650] – Rachel

How nice. What a nice change.

[00:03:46.140] – Allan

Yeah. I mean, I don't hardly ever read fiction anymore because I'm constantly reading nonfiction. In fact, I think I've got a book I've got to read today. But, yeah, it's kind of crazy. I sat down, I brought two books with me because I just wasn't sure how far I would get into the first book, and I ended up finishing both of them.

[00:04:05.070] – Rachel

That's awesome. Would you recommend either of what you read?

[00:04:09.160] – Allan

Well, one of them, yes. I suppose. I don't know if you get on Amazon and prime and the Netflix kind of stuff, but on Amazon Prime, there's a show called The Man from High Castle.

[00:04:22.730] – Rachel

Oh, I've heard of that.

[00:04:24.050] – Allan

Okay. And it was a really good series. And so this was the book that basically was the basis for that television show. And obviously when you have a television show with all the episodes and all that, there was a lot more into the plot of the show than there was in the book. But it was really interesting because particularly since I knew the characters from the show to get into their head, because now this was told from basically the Omnipotent perspective where you're in his head, each of these characters head. So that was good. But it's a good book. It's interesting. And then the other one was called Bocas del toro. But oddly enough, none of the action in the book actually happened in Bocas del toro.

[00:05:15.050] – Rachel

So I wonder what the inspiration was for that name.

[00:05:18.660] – Allan

Well, that's where the guy ended up. The main protagonist, I guess, of the book. He ended up in Bocas del toro at the end of the book, but it was kind of he said it was based on some actual facts and things that had happened to people. So you have to assume that this was a person that actually dealt with this.

[00:05:38.330] – Rachel

Cool. Very cool.

[00:05:40.260] – Allan

So how are things with you?

[00:05:41.800] – Rachel

Good. I actually just finished a book myself. I read this book probably once a year or so. I just finished reading The Old Man in the Sea by Hemingway.

[00:05:51.730] – Allan

Yeah.

[00:05:52.340] – Rachel

It's a classic tale. It's a quick read. And I've been thinking about why I was so drawn to it. And it's about endurance. It's about a man holding onto this fish for as long as he could and after several days of holding the line. But one of the things in the very beginning of the book that amuses me so much is that the old man is in Havana in the, gosh, when was that? Prior to the 1950s, I think. And he liked baseball like a lot of Cubans did. And probably still do. But his favorite player was DiMaggio and he was talking with one of his friends about baseball, and he said he needs to watch the Tigers of Detroit as well as the Indians of Cleveland, who have changed their name recently to Guardians. But it was just interesting to hear him talk about the Detroit Tigers, which is our team. So it was just really a fun little twist at the very beginning of the book, but great book. I would always recommend it.

[00:07:01.930] – Allan

Cool. Well, you ready to have a conversation with Alan Aragon?

[00:07:05.820] – Rachel

Sure.

Interview

[00:07:53.730] – Allan

Alan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:56.610] – Alan Aragon

Hey, Allan, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

[00:08:00.210] – Allan

Now your book is called Flexible Dieting: The Science-based, Reality-tested Method for Achieving and Maintaining your Optimal Physique Performance and Health. I've read a lot of books. You're probably my I want to say close to 330th interview over the time I've been doing this podcast and I read every single book and there's at least I would say 100 citations that I earmarked or just made notes of that I want to go back and read because this was so well researched, so well organized and put together in a way that when you get through it and you would kind of admit this yourself, there's points where it feels a little trudgy because there's science and it's hard not to. But when you get done, you're like, this is what science is supposed to be, not some of the stuff we've been doing for the last few years, not what nutrition science has been doing for the last several decades. This is how you do science. And I really appreciate the way you put this book together.

[00:09:16.990] – Alan Aragon

Oh, cool. Yeah. Well, thank you. The book's title is kind of misleading. I was asked to do the book and then I said to myself, you know, this is my opportunity to leverage the powers of a large publishing house to write the ultimate evidence-based nutrition book that covers how to optimize body composition and athletic performance and just go fully science-based with that and try to make it readable for the mass audience. And so calling the book Flexible Dieting, it sounds like some almost like a pop diet book that has some sort of a hook. But then when you go through it, it's like gosh, if I wanted to learn about all the macronutrients, if I wanted to learn about different ways to enhance various sports, and if I also wanted to kind of learn what flexible dieting is that's in there, too, among a million other things? It's an interesting book, man. I commend you for getting through it. It's like an encyclopedia.

[00:10:38.330] – Allan

Well, it is and it isn't. Yes, it is. It is. From the perspective of when I have a question about when is the best time for me to take my protein? I have a chapter on that. I've took a couple of chapters. Whether I'm dealing with performance, whether I'm dealing with strength, whether I'm dealing with fat loss, whatever my goals are, I literally now have a reference book to go back and say, okay, at least from a baseline of what science was in 2022. So this is one of those books where I'm sorry, but in about five to ten years, you're going to have to I think you've tied yourself into a second and third edition or something like that. I think there's a rule. Yes, but at least what we know today. Yes. We're going to start with because it is important flexible dieting, because that's the hook, if you will. But that is a part of the fact that there is so much information out there, and there are what a lot of people call the hard and fast rules, the rigid. You must do this. You must do that. And a lot of us really struggle with that.

[00:11:51.820] – Alan Aragon

Yes.

[00:11:52.720] – Allan

And what we're talking about is the continuum of dietary control. Could you kind of go over what that is and why that's really important for us to understand because particularly weight loss or muscle gain and they're kind of on other sides of each other. But if we're really looking at changing ourselves and we want to eat the right way, common sense would say, well, find a rigid plan and just do it, grind it out, even if you don't like it. And that's going to get you the best results. But for a lot of people, that's not true.

[00:12:26.650] – Alan Aragon

Yes. Diets are all effective as long as you stick to them. And the $64 million question, well, in Elon's case, the $44 billion question would be how do you stick to a diet? And so what I feel is the magic answer to that is you have to find an approach that works for you. You have to find methods that work for you as an individual. And this is going to be different from everybody. It just varies from person to person. And there are certain immutables. Like, for example, if you wanted to lose weight, you have to impose a net caloric deficit by the end of the week, technically, not necessarily by the end of the day. If you want to gain weight, you have to sustain the opposite hyper caloric conditions or caloric surplus conditions. And as is the major public health issue of obesity, there is a problem with the general public eating too much by the end of the day, the week, the month, and you can take anybody on the planet and give them a script and say, hey, follow this 100% and they are going to lose weight as long as that script imposes a caloric deficit.

[00:14:09.650] – Alan Aragon

Now, the minute that deficit gets swallowed up or just gradually stamped out over time, then the diet will stop working. And so flexible versus rigid dietary control, that concept attempts to capture the difference between on one far end, handing somebody a specific menu with very specific foods and the timing of the foods and the exact grams and gosh, even whether the foods are organic or not, you hand them that script and you say, okay, just follow this. And on the very far end of flexible control would be telling somebody, Eat less of this stuff and maybe more of that stuff and you'll be fine. So somewhere along that continuum is the proper approach for the individual. This is the most non hookish hook ever. But flexible dieting is really the flexibility of the approach that you take to accomplishing the goals. Because honestly, some people do really well with rigid dietary restraint. You tell them, okay, this is what you need to eat. And then they're just most comfortable doing it. And they're comfortable and they actually have fun plugging numbers into a God forsaken app. You know what? That is that particular individuals psychographic, if you will, and that's perfectly fine for them.

[00:15:59.590] – Alan Aragon

Whereas if you take somebody who hates that idea and you tell them, okay, you're going to need 100 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 60 grams of fat a day. Here's your app, plug it in. Here are the allowable foods. And then just make sure you accomplish this every day. If they don't like to do that, they'll honestly, they'll last like two weeks doing that, and then they'll just throw their phone out the window and say, screw this, I'm going to try Keto or Paleo, see how that works. Flexible dieting. The approach as sort of an overarching principle is that everybody needs to establish their own personal approach to dieting. And the concept of rigid dietary control versus flexible dietary control is sort of a sub concept where rigid control involves dichotomous concepts like good and bad foods. And you have to either be precise or it's all or nothing. And flexible dietary control is the idea where it's not black and white, there's not absolute good and absolute bad foods, particularly when you think of how they fit into a diet. You can create a good or a bad diet, but the good diets can still contain a margin of in quotes, naughty foods, bad foods.

[00:17:34.630] – Alan Aragon

So, yeah, it can get a little bit intricate when I attempt to explain flexible dieting. But yeah, that's it one thing flexible dieting is not. And this is what everybody kind of gets wrong because of how the diet culture ten years ago propagated this idea. But flexible dieting, and if it fits your macros, those are not the same thing. People just kind of conflate those terms, which is false, because if it fits your macros, A IIFYM is not a diet to begin with, and B IIFYM is not what people have been led to believe it is, which it was propagated as a junk food diet or eat whatever you want as long as you hit your macronutrient target. So that's not flexible dieting. Counting macros is not necessarily flexible dieting, but everybody calls it that because a rumor got started and then it just spread across the Internet. And then that was the end of that. And I watched it happen. And I knew with the flexible dieting research and the literature what that attempted to get across. And it has nothing to do with counting macronutrients. It has everything to do with not seeing dietary approaches as an all or nothing thing with good or bad foods and flexible dieting as a protocol.

[00:19:11.170] – Alan Aragon

It really just says, look, if you're one of these people who likes to be more rigid with the type of restraint they apply to the diet, then good that's you if you're somebody who likes a more qualitative or habit based approach and you don't want to crunch numbers and you don't want to weigh stuff and measure stuff all day long, great. And that's the approach that you take. Keeping in mind, regardless of your approach, if you want to lose weight or body fat, the approach you take has to default you to eating less calories, or somebody will correct me fewer calories by the end of the week, month, year, et cetera, in order to lose weight.

[00:20:01.690] – Allan

One of the reasons why the IIFYM kind of concept really took off, I think, is one you're on a message board. So anything on the message board or Twitter, the fewer characters you use, the better. So it's quick and it answers a question like, well, here, but it doesn't answer it exactly. There's another concept that you've got into in the book that I really do. I think this will take a lot of people further down into understanding this concept of flexible dieting because I think at times we might sit there and say, I really kind of want to have a beer with my dinner or I'm going out with friends on Saturday and I know we're going to go to my favorite Italian place. And so you start looking at what your food plan is and how you're planning on going about your day. It's the concept of discretionary calorie allowance, and I like that because it keeps you aware of the goal line. It just doesn't tell you what every step you have to take is.

[00:21:09.070] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, that's true. And the concept of discretionary calories is basically it's organized moderation, I guess you call it. It's moderation with a plan. So how do we execute moderation? This is an observation. It's not, amazingly, there hasn't been any controlled research comparisons of one approach to moderation versus another approach to moderation, but it's been a long standing observation over the decades that up to about 20% of total calories can come from basically whatever you want. And as long as the other minimum 80% of the diet is from wholesome stuff, whole foods, minimally refined foods, the inquote good stuff, clean stuff, I guess you could call it. Then you will be perfectly fine, and you will get as good results as somebody who attempts to be 100% perfect with their diet all the time. And it may even be more sustainable to keep a diet going in the long term if you allow this 10-20% margin of Yolo foods or foods like desserts, alcoholic beverages, deep fried stuff, and things that would normally be taboo on a stereotypical clean diet. So as long as 80% to 90% of the diet is wholesome, then you're doing great.

[00:22:59.770] – Alan Aragon

And then that 10 to 20% discretionary calorie allotment will provide you a respite or a margin of sanity. If you want to let your hair down once in a while and eat some fun stuff or some naughty stuff, and then you can sustain the program a lot better than thinking you have to just kind of grit your teeth through the whole thing for weeks and months until you reach your goal. And it just doesn't work like that. I want to throw in a little wrinkle here for folks kind of confused about the idea that we need to add naughty foods into the diet. If you're the type of person who doesn't like those kinds of foods, if you're the type of person who just hates the idea of eating cakes, candy, cookies, ice cream, alcoholic beverages, fried foods, et cetera, then you don't have to. Eat 100% Spartan if that's what makes you happy. And that's what you want to ride into the sunset with. But we have to be aware that the vast majority of us are going to be able to sustain the diet for a lifetime more successfully if we allot discretionary calories.

[00:24:28.010] – Allan

Yeah. And the cool thing is you are paying attention to your nutrition, so you're getting the nutrition your body needs, and you're keeping your calories in line with what you need to hit your goal, whether that's to lose weight, gain weight, all of that's in line because you know what you're supposed to be doing and you're staying within kind of this flexible, okay, pivot here. I need to be a little bit more rigid. I can be more rigid because my wife's not here for the next two weeks. So I can be really rigid if I want to. Where she's going to come back and want to socialize and go out to dinner and do things. So there I know for the next two weeks I'm probably going to have a lot more of those discretionary calories hitting my palate. And as long as that doesn't trigger me and cause me to kind of say, okay, one beer becomes two and then two becomes four. As long as I'm not triggered by what's going on, then that can be a really good way to sustain this. Now I'm looking at my notes, and this is sad because this is more about me.

[00:25:28.720] – Allan

It says a lot about your book, but it just looks like a hodgepodge of things. I was having so much time reading the I'm like, I want to talk about everything. But the core of it is there were a couple of concepts that were in the book that I've never talked about here. We've talked about the importance of eating protein and getting enough protein, but I've never talked about the reason why we need enough protein. And that relates to protein turnover, muscle protein turnover, and the fact that being over 40, our ability to maintain and retain our muscle and maybe even gain muscle is that formula is changing for us as we age. And so the importance to me, the importance of protein goes up substantially over the age of 40. I think that's what was one of the thoughts that was in my head. And then in the book, you talk about the protein intake hierarchy of importance. Can you talk about those and again, one, why is protein what is this turnover thing that's happening? Why do we need protein? And then how do we get our protein? What's the hierarchy of intake? Okay, a lot of ideas.

[00:26:47.030] – Allan

I know, but it was like as I was reading, I was like, this is so good. And I kept doing it. So pardon the question not being a question, but I'm asking for an essay.

[00:26:59.390] – Alan Aragon

That's cool. It's funny, because when I answer these questions, it hits a point in my answer where I'm somewhat self aware that, oh, gosh, I've been rambling for about five minutes now for one question.

[00:27:11.210] – Allan

I'm totally cool with that. You guys need to take a potty break and come back in the middle. That's also good. It's here at the podcast. You can hit pause.

[00:27:19.910] – Alan Aragon

Great. Yes. Dear audience, you may take a break. Yeah. The concept of muscle protein turnover. You have two sides of this cycle. One side is muscle protein synthesis or the build up side, and then muscle protein breakdown, which is the catabolic side. So this cycle is a perpetual thing that goes on in the body on a 24 hours basis. And so when muscle protein synthesis is equal to muscle protein breakdown, then you're basically just maintaining your muscle, which is a good thing. And then you've got muscle protein synthesis exceeding muscle protein breakdown, and then you've got muscle growth. And then you have the loss of muscle when the breakdown side of the cycle exceeds the synthesis side. So that's kind of the idea of muscle protein, what we call turnover. And so for the older population, there is a phenomenon called sarcopenia, and there's even a related phenomenon called sarcopenic obesity, which is sort of a combination of pathology. So sarcopenia is an age related loss of lean body mass. And sarcopenia is underneath the umbrella of a larger phenomenon called frailty, which happens with advanced age, with just a general loss of function that's related to undue weight loss, specifically the loss of lean tissue mass throughout the body.

[00:29:11.450] – Alan Aragon

And under frailty, we've got the loss of muscle tissue, which is sarcopenia. And this is a major problem in the aging population. And a lot of people don't realize that getting enough protein is crucial to successful aging. And that's because as people age, there's not only a tendency to not move around as much, but there's also a tendency to not push and pull and squat as much. So non-exercise activity goes down. Exercise activity goes down as well. And this can be a gradual sort of insidious thing that sneaks up on people where they're just sitting a lot more, lying around a lot more and just not moving as much and certainly not making formal visits to the gym or the track or the field or the pickup basketball game. And what happens is a phenomenon called disuse of the muscle tissue. And there's an interesting thing that can happen where you can take young people and put them on bedrest, and their muscle structure and function will just start to resemble somebody who has aged muscle or almost sarcopenic muscle because you can create muscle that resembles muscle, that is of somebody of an advanced age if you just impose disuse on the muscle.

[00:30:57.990] – Alan Aragon

And so this can happen at the macro level where you're just looking at muscle mass. And it can also happen at the micro level where you impair the so called muscle protein synthetic response, the MPS response to feeding. So in bedridden muscle muscle protein synthesis in response to protein feeding is actually lowered after a relatively short period of disuse. And in older people, this just happens more gradually. And it happens over time because of a gradual progression of disuse. And there are other factors too involved with aging muscle and the deterioration of its structure and function. So protein's role is to make sure that you minimize these age related muscle losses. But just as importantly, protein intake synergizes with resistance training to create an environment that prevents a physiological environment that is not the interior decoration of your home office, but it creates this physiological environment, the combination of protein intake or enough protein intake and resistance training. That combination will prevent muscle loss and can even oftentimes cause muscle gain in folks who really need it. The good news about preventing sarcopenia is that it is possible and it is even possible to reverse the earmarks of Sarcopenia.

[00:32:55.730] – Alan Aragon

And anybody at any age can just start performing resistance training, as long as you do it safely and gradually enough. And then you can get muscle structure and function back. And protein plus resistance training is the recipe for that. And there are other factors, too. You can't just do it on no calories. You have to be eating enough calories, because the recipe for muscle growth really is enough protein, enough calories, and then make sure your resistance training. So that is the role of protein and the importance of it. When we're talking about muscle protein turnover and how it relates to aging and with the older population, their dietary habits are really kind of crappy in terms of achieving enough total daily protein. So it usually begins at the first meal of the day where a significant amount of protein or any real amount of protein at all is basically neglected. And then lunch has a moderate ish amount of protein, and then dinner will contain a substantial hit of protein. But by the end of the day, you're really looking at sort of like one and a half meals that have enough protein to total by the end of the day in order to make sure that this particular population is getting enough protein, let alone are they resistance training.

[00:34:32.770] – Alan Aragon

So let's imagine they are resistance training. There are still challenges to getting enough protein in the older population because the total amount that you need to consume is usually about 50% to 100% more than what's typically ingested. And it's not the easiest thing to tell somebody who's in his fiftys. Sixty s, seventy s. Hey, bro, you need to double your protein intake and you need to start weight training.

[00:35:03.090] – Allan

I have that conversation all the time. So yeah, okay. That's why we're having this conversation. Now, your publisher, because you brought it up. I'm familiar with your publisher because I've had lots of their authors on they tend to be in the Keto space. They tend to be in the low carb space, from my experience. And you did start talking about Keto. So I was actually when I got this book, I was like, oh, flexible dieting. And then this being a predominantly Keto publisher, maybe they're branching out and that's good. But I was almost expecting a Keto book, to be honest with you. So I was kind of surprised we didn't get into Keto. But then you did. And then I was not surprised why we didn't get into Keto, particularly if you start looking at what the goals are here, which is to gain muscle, to increase strength, to improve endurance. As you said in the subtitle, was it optimal physique performance and health? And you pretty much did in the book talk about how Keto works within all of those realms. Could you kind of go through that with us?

[00:36:13.920] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, sure. And before I go into that, I just realized I needed to quickly answer the hierarchy of importance with protein. So with respect to protein intake, there is a hierarchy of importance that's worth touching upon. And of most importance with protein intake is total daily amount. That's tier number one. And then the next tier down is the distribution or the pattern of protein doses throughout the day. That's of secondary importance to the total amount that you have by the end of day. And of least importance, there is the timing of protein relative to the training bound. And so, Interestingly, we could go into an hour on each one of those tiers.

[00:37:07.140] – Allan

Yeah. And you do. And that's the cool thing in the book is you literally do talk about the science behind, because I get the question, should I be doing a protein shake after my workout? Do I have that 1 hour window? All those questions are actually answered in your book with citations, lots of citations, lots of evidence, lots of science. Again, you've answered the question and you answered over and over, depending on what the goals of the person training are. So the hierarchy is important, but the core of it is get enough, get enough throughout the day, and then the rest of it will take care of itself, particularly for those of us over 40, if our training volume is not professional caliber, those other two tiers actually mean a little bit less than they would otherwise, in my opinion. But the sign says get enough. That's the first tier. Get that done. And for a lot of us, that's a struggle because it's in our food. But many of people are trying to do multiple things at once, trying to lose weight, trying to eat a certain way, trying to live our lives, and having ready protein when packaged snacks are a little bit easier.

[00:38:24.030] – Allan

Sometimes not so easy. But you do dive into this deep. That's why we're scratching the surface here and get into the book, because the science is there. The advice is there. The actual grams are there. It's all in there.

[00:38:40.720] – Alan Aragon

Yes. If anybody listening to this episode wanting to know, well, then how much protein do I take? I can give you a gram number, but do you know how to translate those grams into chunks of food? Well, some of you do. And for those who do the gram amount, that kind of encompasses what most people require to optimize their total daily protein intake is somewhere between .7 to 1.0 gram/lb in quotes, ideal body weight or target body weight. And I say that because if somebody is obese and they base their protein intake on their total body weight, they will be consuming an unnecessarily high amount of protein in a lot of instances. So protein targeting would be based on target body weight or goal body weight. So that's zero, .7 grams to 1.0 target body weight. So for those of you listening who are dying to know what's the sweet spot? Total daily protein. Well, that's it.

[00:39:52.660] – Allan

Yeah.

[00:39:54.410] – Alan Aragon

Okay. So on the keto.

[00:39:55.710] – Allan

Yeah. Let's jump into keto.

[00:39:57.200] – Alan Aragon

With keto. Keto is an interesting thing because it works very well for weight loss. And the caveat to that statement is it works very well for a temporary period for most people who try it. And that's because there appears to be a general inability to sustain strict keto, which by most definitions is 50 grams or less a day of carbs. Most people cannot sustain that for the long term. And the people who try to, their carb intake ends up roughly tripling over the course of a year of attempting keto. So it ends up tripling from the original assignment of eating less than 50 grams a day. And so that is the main issue with keto is that it works really well for fat loss and weight loss. And the way that it works for those things is that it removes a lot of options, a lot of food options. And the options it removes usually are foods that are hyperpalatable carbon fat combination foods that are very easy to over consume. And so when you remove those options, you simply are defaulted to eating less total calories by the end of the day, end of the weekend of the month.

[00:41:35.570] – Alan Aragon

And so there's a lot less variety in the diet. There's a lot less opportunity to overeat in the diet. There's a lot less motivation to sit there and overeat your fatty piece of meat. So that's how keto works. Of course, the problem is most of the majority and I can't put an exact number on what that exactly means. But more than half of the subjects who get on keto end up reaching the upper limits of keto by six months, certainly by twelve months. So for those of you who are on keto and have been on it for a few years and love it, and that's the way you do it. I don't care, man. That's great. You found what works for you. That's wonderful. But my issue with keto is when people go around saying that keto is the best keto superior, keto does special things, and it's actually a double edged sword to keto. When you look at long term health and when you look at the optimization or the protection of cardiovascular health, because with keto being a high fat diet, you're looking at 65% to 85% of the diet coming from fat, then you better be pretty Dang careful about the type of fat that you're eating because that's the predominant source of calories in your diet.

[00:43:04.050] – Alan Aragon

And if all you're eating is land animal fats all day mixed with there are other crappy kind of vegetable based fats as well, then you're setting yourself up for dyslipidemia and then the development of cardiovascular disease and then potentially cardiovascular events. So it can be a double edged sword but the thing about keto and the good thing about keto is while you're on it, you're probably going to be losing weight.

[00:43:36.170] – Allan

And I kind of put this in that continuum of dietary control as keto fits in the kind of the rigid range. And it is something that you do have to manage because from a nutritional perspective, if you're not eating certain vegetables, as you mentioned, if you're eating certain foods and excess to try to make that happen because keto didn't get the nickname of being the bacon diet for no reason, people were like, oh, sure, you can eat all the bacon you want. And that's not really the right way to do keto. And keto is a way of eating. I use it. I use it as a tool. It's a temporary tool. Like I said, for a period of time I can get over into the rigid mind frame and mindset, and it works fine for me. But when it comes to wanting to put on muscle to get stronger, keto might not be the best approach for us. And surprise, endurance athletes might not do well on keto either.

[00:44:32.690] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, that's definitely true. And that definitely is what the research evidence shows. So the collective literature on keto and performance is that it's a bad bet for that. But that's not too far fetched when you consider that athletic performance is really a carbohydrate based thing. It's based on the availability either from what you ingest around training or from what you store in your muscles. So glycogen being the stored form of carbohydrate, if you are under fueled from a carbohydrate perspective, that will always compromise the potential for maximally performing. Now there are alter endurance athletes who try to lowball their carbs, and that's fine. But they are more the exception than the rule in terms of the elite in that area and even the ultra endurance athletes who have done really well and claim to be low carbing when you look at their actual programs, they're consuming carbs throughout the race, so they just happen to be consuming less than what's normally recommended by the major organizations. So keto is something that if you have a lot at stake in terms of trophies or medals or endorsements and stuff, then you're not going to be a keto athlete who is compromising or jeopardizing his or her potential for maintaining that elite status.

[00:46:22.910] – Alan Aragon

It just doesn't happen. Now, if you're a weekend warrior or a regular guy just trying to look good at the pool or the beach or at the high school reunion, then under carving is not an issue. If you want to do good at the weekend soccer game, you might be compromised a little bit by being on keto, and you might not make the score the most amount of points out of the rest of your buddies. But it's not that big of an issue. Where keto becomes an issue with athletics is at the elite level and the professional level, you're not going to see many pro athletes at all even going near Keto because it's a liability.

[00:47:07.430] – Allan

Yeah, I think where you kind of hit the road, the rubber hit the road for me when we were talking about endurance was I think a lot of us look at endurance and think of it as a, oh, I'm going to start with this pace and I'm going to run that pace for the entire part of the race. But for most people that have done any competing at all, they know there are periods of time when you're going to try to go a little bit harder, a little bit faster. For a lot of us that are just recreational athletes, that's once you see the finish line and it's right there, you're going to try to sprint to the end. And the reality of it is you may not have the kind of gas you wanted to have during some of those sprints or faster bits of work because you don't have the muscle likage and necessary to make it happen.

[00:47:52.130] – Alan Aragon

Yes, that's correct. And it's those moments that separate the top finishers from those who don't place. It's the so called race winning moves being climbing uphills either running or cycling, passing that ending sprint towards the finish line is going to be a high intensity effort. And so those who are under carb simply do not have the biochemical reserves required to power those race winning moves. And, yeah, it can make the difference between winning and losing.

[00:48:32.870] – Allan

Now, there was one other thing that you had in the book that I could not leave without talking about because to me, this solved kind of a question I had because you're trying to work with a client or someone's trying to work with themselves. And they're like, well, I'm trying to chart my calories and my macros and my food. And like you said, they've got that app. And they're like every day, every day they're in the app. And then in the end you're like, okay, well, How'd you do today, How'd you do today, How'd you do today and one bad day, then kind of can become this bad cycle, particularly for individuals who've struggled in the past. So if you've gone through something and you struggle and fail, you work and fail, and now you're trying this again. But this quick single digit adherence rating system, I think this could be the key for a lot of people that have struggled with that start and fail cycle that they go through every time. So if you get nothing else from this flexible dieting book, I think this system is key. Could you tell us about this system?

[00:49:44.290] – Alan Aragon

Sure.

[00:49:44.700] – Allan

How it works?

[00:49:46.190] – Alan Aragon

Yeah. This is something that I put together and started implementing back in 2005, 2006. And it first appeared in the self published book I did in 2007. And I used to call it the calendar method, where you just write a number down from one to ten where you're basically rating your performance or your adherence or compliance to the program, with ten being perfect. And so when the calendar is up on your wall and you're seeing a bunch of eights and nines and tens, and inevitably you see progress at the end of the month. So you are marching towards your goals. Whereas if you see just a bunch of five, six, and seven s littering up the month, then you have a sense of self accountability and a sense of awareness of why your progress is not happening. And so this real quick self grading system on a scale of one to ten, how good did you do? The fact that it takes like 1 minute to think about and write down the number was kind of a big win because people, well, clients who hated taking detailed records, they loved this method as long as they could be honest with me and honest with themselves about their performance.

[00:51:12.120] – Alan Aragon

On a scale of one to ten, it just took them 1 minute or less. It took them 10 seconds to think about how they did and write down the number and send it over. And nobody's going to be sending over nines and tens and then at the end of the month wondering what the hell happened. It just doesn't work like that. When you can establish a certain level of trust with yourself or with your clients, then they really can't. Once they're familiar with the program, they know whether they're following it or not. A lot of times with people that they're very honest about why they're failing at programs, they're like, I know what to do, I just don't do it. And you know what? That's true. So let's see if we can establish some accountability here that you can either have with yourself or with your coach or your practitioner, your dietician, your trainer, and let's just do a self grading system. I call it the accountability rubric, where it's one to ten. And over the years towards the 2010, I developed a way to make that rubric, that one to ten scale a little bit more concrete.

[00:52:36.840] – Alan Aragon

So it's more of a checklist. It evolved into being a checklist where there's ten specific points or tasks that you need to have completed throughout the day in order to grant yourself that number. And if you hit all ten of those things, which could be drink enough water, get enough sleep, get enough protein, eat two to four fruits a day, two to four servings of vegetables a day down the line, ten things, ten healthy things, then give yourself the ten if you got all ten and so on and so forth. And so that made the accountability rubric a little bit more real and a little more concrete for people to kind of think about. But at the same time, it still took about 25 seconds to look down the list and see whether you hit all those checkpoints, and then you can take a look at the month. If it's littered with eight, nines, and ten s, you're going to be reaching your goal. I'm glad that you found that system helpful, and there's a bunch of different things like that in the book that I hope that the readers will resonate with at least one of them.

[00:53:51.510] – Alan Aragon

But yeah, this is something that I've used pretty extensively in my practice.

[00:53:58.810] – Allan

Cool. Even doing it for yourself. It's just to say if I want to start implementing a new habit, a new action, I want to get better sleep, more sleep. It's a one to ten. It's a simple thing. You wake up in the morning, how is my sleep? And guess what? They still sell paper calendars. You can still buy them. You can still have one of them, and you can still sit there and look and say, okay, if I'm not doing better than a six or seven, what's going on? You can catch yourself pretty early in the month. As you start seeing that slide, it's like, okay, what am I doing here? That's not helping me do this, because I know this action gives me the result that I want. Like I said, I really appreciate that tool. And there's like you said, a lot of that just good stuff in there. I told you before the call, I could spend two, three days talking to you about this.

[00:54:55.420] – Allan

Thank you

[00:54:57.490] – Allan

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

[00:55:08.330] – Alan Aragon

The first one, this might be really cliche Allan, but get enough sleep, get enough good quality sleep. And per the scientific literature, it is a low probability that you're going to be optimizing your health if you consistently dip far below 7 hours. And I know a lot of healthy people and people who are just very vigorous getting five, 6 hours a day. But that's them. And that's how they're wired. And that's how they're built. And per the scientific evidence, they're not in the majority. So statistically, at the population level, you would want to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night or at least try to. And if you're not one of these people who can and you feel amazing with that 6 hours a day, great, fine. But just know that statistically people sleep is optimized at seven and up. And so that would be the first. The second thing would be, for God's sake, lift stuff if you can. And it doesn't have to be Olympic lifting and powerlifting and bodybuilding and flexing in the mirror between sets like you and me, people can do activities that do involve resisted joint movements that aren't necessarily at the gym.

[00:56:42.770] – Alan Aragon

They're not necessarily in the weight room where you're fighting for spots with the gym Bros. A lot of people are intimidated by the word resistance training. They're just picturing barbells and dumbbells flying around. But any kind of movement that you can just involve your joints with resisted movement. There's a million resources and ways to do it. You can go outside and do it. You can go to a park and do various things. It doesn't have to be at the gym. Get resistance training in your life. Get enough sleep. Make sure you get resistance training as a foundation, as a non negotiable part of your training. Some people think that all you need to do is go for a bunch of walks throughout the week and you're good. Well, okay, as good as walking is, that's not going to save you from sarcopenia. That's not going to save you from the ravages of aging. That's not going to allow you to age, amazingly like Allan Misner. So what people need to realize they have to do a certain amount of pushing and pulling and maybe some squatting or some at least leg extension and hip extension and things to stimulate the lower body on a resist basis, whether it's more primal and organic type of movement outside or whether it's in the gym.

[00:58:08.330] – Alan Aragon

So I'll be number two. The third one, eat the foods that you personally like most. Forget about whatever diet book is telling you are the super foods that everybody needs to eat. That's just a load of baloney, really. If you take a survey of all the centenarians in the world and super centenarians, they all eat different foods. They all have a different list of favorite foods, and almost all of them list a bunch of crap they include in their diet every day too. But yes, stick with the foods that you enjoy personally, because there's psychological and physiological signature reasons why you gravitate towards those foods. And we as humans are not completely devoid of any instinct. We have a feel for what we like, and there's good reasons for that. So you will be able to stick to your diet long term if you stick to the foods that you like within a healthy eating pattern. Right? I'm talking about foods within the food groups and you should be getting the food groups. So those would be my three if I could boil it down to three. And I guess maybe if I may add a little sub thing under the eat the foods that you like.

[00:59:35.220] – Alan Aragon

Eat them in the pattern that fits your personal preference and schedule. There's a lot of color blue going around about when you should eat your foods. How much should time restrict the eating window? Can we only eat from 08:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. in order to maximize? That's all majoring in the minors. That's not going to make somebody freaking awesome at 70 compared to maintaining their exercise program and a decent overall food selection of the foods that they love. When you eat your foods in the day, that should be determined by how you prefer it. Do you like to eat dinner at 08:00 P.m. Instead of 06:00 P.m.? Cool. Eat it now. Do you like to have a pre bed snack? Great. Have that. Do you like to skip breakfast? Is that how you function best?

[01:00:31.400] – Alan Aragon

Cool. Skip the hell out of breakfast. It's not going to make or break you. There are very silly books going around saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you have to stop eating, x foods or stop eating carbs that you have to make sure you don't eat like 3 hours before bed. That's a load of crap, Allan. And I can't emphasize that enough how trivial that advice is in the big picture.

[01:00:59.390] – Allan

Thank you.

[01:01:00.100] – Alan Aragon

My advice is do what you can stick to within the context of an overall healthy selection of foods.

[01:01:09.800] – Allan

Great. Thank you for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book Flexible Dieting, where would you like for me to send them?

[01:01:18.410] – Alan Aragon

AlanAragon.com. And then we've got the various links to my stuff. So I have a research review as well, a monthly research review for the nerdy types who like to really dig into the details. And then I've got my book Flexible Dieting, that's going to come out on June 7, but it's available for preorder, as you and I are speaking.

[01:01:46.430] – Allan

But this episode is going to drop on June 7th. So, yeah, the book is available now wherever you want to get books. You can also go to his website alanaragon.com, if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/541 I'll be sure to have links there. So, Alan, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:02:05.030] – Alan Aragon

You got it, Allan. And you as well. Thank you so much.


Post Show/Recap

[01:02:15.930] – Allan

Hi, Rachel. How was that interview?

[01:02:18.070] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh, it was great. It was really interesting because right at the very beginning you drew me in with the title of the book Being Flexible Dieting. But the $64,000 question, how do you stick to a diet? Isn't that the question of the year?

[01:02:34.560] – Allan

Yeah. Well, he went to a publisher and sometimes publishers want to change the name of a book. You might think this is the name of the book. So there was discussion about flexible dieting in the book. In all fairness, it was a part of it part of the conversation, which is an important part of, like you said, sticking to a diet. But really, what this book is about is about nutrition for performance or physique.

[01:02:59.760] – Rachel

Okay.

[01:03:00.760] – Allan

And health. So it was science based, meaning he went to the science, the studies that were out there. He didn't pick a side of a conversation and say this is what it is based on his beliefs. He literally went through and said, okay, what is out there? Everything that's out there. And then based on what's there, can we draw a conclusion? And in some cases, he didn't really feel like we could. But for a lot of it, he literally would go through and say, okay, based on all these studies, this is what it says. And this is the bet if you want to perform well at strength training, this is what you eat, literally giving you the calories, giving you the macro breakdowns, all of it. The flexible dieting comes around and, okay, that's all good and fine if I know what I'm supposed to eat, but can I stick to it long enough to see that performance improvement? And that's where the flexible dieting comes in of saying, okay, if you're getting the nutrition you need and you've got a little bit of buffer calories in there that you have maybe 90, ten, you say, so 10% of my calories.

[01:04:13.530] – Allan

So I'm going to eat 2000 calories as I'm trying to cut weight of that. Or 200 calories can be, for lack of a better word, crap. It could be chips. It can be a candy bar or maybe half a candy bar, depending on how many calories are in it. But you see where you can go and say, okay, I don't have to eat perfect all the time to see these things. If I go in and I at least know that I'm getting the nutrition that I need, that's the first one. And then second, I'm not just overeating because of these lack of a better word, empty calories. And then the way I would say it is, enjoy the heck out of it. So don't make it just any old candy bar. Make it your favorite candy bar, or make it something higher class, higher end stuff. Don't just drink just any beer. Make it a beer that you're really going to enjoy. That kind of mindset makes it a lot more sustainable.

[01:05:15.120] – Rachel

Well, the other thing that really attracted me was that he said that your calorie deficit doesn't have to be a daily thing as long as you have a calorie deficit over the week or the month or the year that it takes for you to get to your goal weight, if that was the main goal. But yeah, you don't have to be really rigid with your eating rules day by day. So I like that approach.

[01:05:39.610] – Allan

Yeah. Even though there's a lot of things about the human body that are built into the rhythms of a day or a month or a year, the reality of it is there's nothing magic from the calories in a day. You can gain weight in a day. You can lose weight in a day, but you're not going to lose a whole lot, and you're not going to gain a whole lot. If you do notice the scale move any at all really much on a day to day basis, that's mostly just water shifting around. You went pee one more time than you did the day before, you weigh less simple. And so I think the key of what he's talking about there is just know that there's sort of a target of what you're burning doing the work that you're doing. And you don't have to create an accounting system like it's General Electric. You can go through and say, I know these foods. I know this is how my body reacts to it. I know what a serving size looks like. I know about how much. And for many of us, we do eat the same foods as staples on a fairly regular basis.

[01:06:53.050] – Allan

So if you know, okay, this is my dinner. I have it probably once a week. You don't have to look it up every time. You don't have to say, okay, what are my macros? What are my calories? You just know. I'm getting a third of my protein in this meal. I'm getting half of my carbs in this meal, and I'm getting 35% of my calories in this meal. And if you just know those kinds of things, it's just plug and play and enjoy your food and then occasionally flexible. If something happens and you need to be flexible, then just let it go. You're not destroying yourself in a day.

[01:07:27.830] – Rachel

Yeah, right.

[01:07:29.160] – Rachel

The other thing I really enjoyed was the part about protein and how usually people 40 and over or maybe even 50 and over or even 60 and over have a strange relationship with protein in their diet. It seems like they skip it for the morning and maybe have a tiny bit at lunch and then throw it all at dinner hour when it seems more appropriate to spread it throughout the day.

[01:07:51.510] – Allan

It's easier to get if you spread it. That's absolute truth and unfortunate. Food guidelines, foods that's available, they're highly dense in carbs and not the nutritionally dense carbs, but bread. So there's pizza, there's hamburgers, all those foods. And you say, okay, what's the protein? And they have some protein. But you look at the protein in the cheese and the pepperoni, assuming you even got that on there. How much protein is in a pizza? And I'd say, probably not a lot. I haven't looked it up, but I would say less than 20% of the total calories is coming from protein breakfast cereal. Maybe there's some in your milk if you're even drinking regular milk, because maybe you're doing the soy milk or maybe you're doing the oat milk and you start looking at the protein of that and the protein that was in the cereal. And you're kind of like, okay, 75% of my calories are coming from carbs, 20% from fat, and now 5% protein. So it's almost devoid of protein.

[01:09:06.690] – Rachel

Right.

[01:09:07.490] – Allan

And most of us should be eating more protein than we are. It's hard to shift over until you actually make a concerted effort to get protein into every meal.

[01:09:20.170] – Rachel

Well, yeah, exactly. I don't think we don't pay that close attention to how we eat, our habits of our eating. And if you're in a habit of having cereal for breakfast or a sandwich or something at lunch, you just don't notice that you're not getting the adequate amount of protein probably. The other thing he mentioned, too, was the ratio for how many grams of protein per body weight. He mentioned that it's not the body weight that you're at, it's at your goal body weight for the purpose of weight loss, which that is something I don't know that I paid attention to. I don't know that I've heard it like that before.

[01:09:59.850] – Allan

Well, yeah, because what they would typically base it on is they would say your lean mass. So what you're thinking in terms of this, let's say you're at 30% body fat and you want to get down closer to say 20 or 15. Okay. Then you're going to want to lose the body fat. And if you were to do that, you lose that amount of body fat to get down to, you're going to be closer to your lean body mass weight. So realizing now you're carrying less fat. So the way you are is closer to lean body mass weight, particularly if you're like a bodybuilder and you're trying to get down into the single digits, you're carrying very little fat and most of the mass that you have is your lean body. So that's where that number comes from is really just a function of saying rather than think about it from lean body mass. Because for a lot of us, that's hard. Unless you go get a DEXA scan and they tell you your body mass is this amount of fat, you don't know. So it's easier to just base it on where your goal weight would be and just use that.

[01:11:08.140] – Allan

Now that's going to overstate it a little bit from the numbers, but it's not significant. Again, if you're just thinking unless you're trying to go from 50% body fat to 40%, then if 40% is your target, you're going to probably be overeating some protein because that's not really a lean body mass. But you see, for most of us, it's like we want to get down to that 20 to 15 range. So that's where that number is coming in.

[01:11:35.080] – Rachel

Yeah, that was great. It was a great discussion. Really interesting.

[01:11:37.930] – Allan

Yeah. This goes down is so far my favorite book in 2022.

[01:11:43.270] – Rachel

Wow.

[01:11:44.020] – Allan

If anyone is really looking at improving their performance, I would strongly encourage them to read this book because it's going to give you a formula for how you can eat to optimize your performance. And whatever you're trying to do, get stronger, run further, faster and just look better.

[01:12:02.260] – Rachel

Awesome. Great discussion.

[01:12:04.400] – Allan

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

[01:12:06.330] – Rachel

Great. Take care.

[01:12:07.510] – Allan

You too.

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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

Less...

How to use joy to improve your health and fitness with Dr. Michelle Segar

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Many of us think of weight loss and exercise as being joyless, in fact taking away the things and foods we love. In her book, The Joy Choice, Dr. Michelle Segar shows us there is a better way to get healthy and fit. By choosing the joy choice.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:02:35.410] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:36.530] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:38.070] – Allan

I'm doing okay. How are things up there?

[00:02:40.600] – Rachel

Really good. Really proud to announce my son just graduated from College. He's got a job lined up with General Motors, which we're very proud and excited for him. And so this month we're working on finding him an apartment to live in and he'll be about fledged in another month or so. We're pretty excited to be one step closer to that empty nesters part of our lives.

[00:03:03.900] – Allan

Congratulations for him and you because I know as a parent these days you're engaged.

[00:03:10.280] – Rachel

Yes, I am.

[00:03:11.510] – Allan

When they're going through the College years.

[00:03:14.530] – Rachel

Yeah. I'm pretty happy to be done with that Bill. I'll tell you that right now. And he is, too. Yeah. He's very excited to be done with College and starting this next chapter of his life, and we're very proud.

[00:03:25.990] – Allan

That's cool.

[00:03:27.020] – Rachel

So how are things with you?

[00:03:28.520] – Allan

Well, we had a new house guest come in. A holler monkey.

[00:03:35.650] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:03:37.400] – Allan

And so this holler monkey, we're about 2 miles away from where any of the holler monkeys would hang out. I've never heard or seen a holler monkey this far into town. Heard stories. Now, of course, once it happens, like, oh, well, this happened a few years ago kind of thing. But, no, this dude was literally coming across the wires, and, of course, Buster has to fend the habitat. So he's barking like crazy trying to get to this monkey. I'm trying to keep him away from the monkey and just try to figure out, okay, how do I get the monkey to shoo or go away? But I don't want to also don't want them to get hurt. I don't want to get hit by a car and so many things going through my head, and then all of a sudden, the monkey zap, touched a wire they weren't supposed to touch and just fell. This is from the second story, probably, I would say a good 25ft drop and just lands on pavement. I hear speck when he hit the ground. I ran over there. He's stunned. I take a picture, and I go online. I message Tag, the guy that does our local humane society kind of stuff, Papa Gato.

[00:04:53.050] – Allan

And so he brings a woman over. But before he gets over there and really before I get my post all the way down and go back out, this monkey's woke up, goes across the street and climbs up an almond tree. And so he's up in the tree. So Papa Gato goes and gets his trap. We put a couple of bananas in there, and we set the trap up. Well, the monkey stayed in that tree for almost two whole days.

[00:05:20.310] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:05:21.690] – Allan

Stayed overnight. And then it was late the next afternoon that he finally, I guess, get climbed down and just took off because I didn't see him slip out. I would go out there every couple of hours and check on him just to see if he was in the tree. He would move from side to side. So I knew he was generally okay. Somehow, another he came down. He just ignored the bananas we had out there for him, and they just took off. And so hopefully he's going to be okay. He'll find his way back to where he needs to be. I hear these male monkeys will get kicked out of their troop, and then they just have to go find a place to be that's not where their troops at because they're not welcome there anymore. So I think he just strayed and got himself on the wrong side of town.

[00:06:06.490] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness. What an adventure.

[00:06:09.980] – Allan

Then he got shocked and it was so interesting because we had a guest up there on the balcony when this is all happening, he's just looking around like, oh, my God, what's going on here? And then all of a sudden the monkey gets electrocuted and he's messaging his wife and his daughter said, don't come back yet. Don't come back yet. You don't want to see this. I thought the monkey was done when he hit that concrete and electrocuted, I thought, oh, that poor monkey. But he was able to climb up the tree and spend a day up there, I guess heal a little and then decided it was time for him to move on because there was no water on that land where he was. So he was going to need to go somewhere just to get water. But interesting weekend.

[00:06:54.680] – Rachel

Yeah, for sure. Holy cow.

[00:06:57.650] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to talk to Dr. Segar?

[00:07:02.300] – Rachel

Sure.

Interview

[00:07:52.090] – Allan

Dr. Segar, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:55.150] – Dr. Segar

It's great to be here.

[00:07:57.170] – Allan

Now I'm going to say joy is one of my favorite words. And I have a question that's going to come up later about wellness, and it includes happiness. But after I wrote the book and after I've asked this question hundreds of times, I kind of wish I'd use the word joy instead of happiness because I think that's really the word I was after. So your book is called, The Joy Choice: How to Finally Achieve Lasting Changes in Eating and Exercise. And, you know, I think anybody that's tried to change one or both of those knows it might be the most challenging thing they've ever done. I know for me it was. And while I didn't call it the Joy Choice at the time, most of what you're talking about here, it just resonates with me very well because it was effectively what took me over eight years of trial and error to figure out. And they can get this book and get a lot of the details of how to do it in a much shorter time.

[00:08:59.750] – Dr. Segar

The reason why so many people haven't figured it out yet and that it might have taken you eight years is because we've been taught an opposite approach that really gets in our way. It clouds and contaminates our thinkings and our emotions about eating and exercise and really derails what we're hoping to achieve. So that's why it's so hard. And I think the biggest thing is for people to really understand it's not their fault. It's because the whole formula that we've been taught, not the whole the majority of what we've been taught over the last three to four decades has been based on science, but it hasn't necessarily been based on how we can best sustain a behavior within our complicated lives.

[00:09:52.790] – Allan

Yeah. And you got into some of the science on that, which was fascinating. And we've seen it in other areas I have in Health and Fitness, where they'll take one study and they'll say, okay, this is the study, and then we're going to drive everything else off of this one study. And the one I'm talking about in particular that was in your book was you were talking about how long it takes to build a habit. And granted, we can say based on that study, 66 days potentially, but the standard deviations, for someone it was two weeks, and for someone else, it was almost a whole year on average. Okay, 66 days. And we drive a lot of the way we approach this on a study like that. So it's no wonder that you're not one of the people that happens to be on the right end of the 66 days. It might take you longer. It might take you a different approach, which is what you get into with the Joy choice.

[00:10:57.290] – Dr. Segar

I'm not sure that's even the most strategic question that we could be asking to focus on how long is it going to take me to form an automatic habit? As you know, in the book, there's a lot of concerns I have about telling people that they should be forming habits for healthy eating, exercise, and I'm sure we're going to get into that in a little bit. But the idea is that focusing on the process instead of the outcome, what do I need to do consistently to actually be able to stick with this long term? That's focusing on the process. That's the goal. That's what's going to get us where we want to go. So that's really the best of the question we should be asking is what do I need to do? What is most likely to get in my way, and what can I do to overcome or prevent those things?

[00:11:49.940] – Allan

Yeah. And we definitely will get into that. There was a concept you had in the book that I thought was brilliant, and it's called the motivation bubble. And the reason I think that it's great is because I think when someone actually understands this concept, it's like that happens to me every single day. It's not just every single time I try to lose weight or every time I try to start an exercise program, I build this motivation bubble. That bubble pops as soon as something gets around it. And we've got these. Can you talk about the motivation bubble because we go in with the best of intentions and we're excited.

[00:12:35.810] – Dr. Segar

Right? Well, we usually decide we're going to change our eating or start exercising more for a very specific reason. Either we're excited for a trip we're going to take or that magazine cover or our doctor gave us really scary news and we start and we're in this and we're full of motivation because we've decided we're going to do it. But the motivation is like a bubble. And as we know, bubbles are very fragile and we might blow a really big bubble, but it doesn't take much for that to bump up into anything else. Anything that bumps into it is going to burst it. This is how we've been taught to initiate behavior change in this fragile bubble of motivation without a lot of strategy, without understanding the types of things that are really going to get in our way. And bubbles burst. And that's why I use it. And that analogy came organically out of an interview, and I've just been using it ever since.

[00:13:40.670] – Allan

Yeah. Now there are some of us, like your husband, who is able to create habits, and you can call him a habitor, is what you call them in the book. And then there's people that are not habitors, and we call them you call them unhabitors. Can you talk about those two people? And why is it difficult for certain individuals to be able to form habits? And other individuals might just say, okay, naturally, here's my habit, and I start doing it three weeks later. I'm just doing it every day. What's the difference?

[00:14:12.890] – Dr. Segar

Well, before I answer the question, I think we need to create the context. And what people care about is they have some North Star they want to achieve. They want to be healthier, they want to have a better sense of well being. And in order to achieve those north stars, we need sustainable behavior change, because if you make a change and don't stick with it, you're not going to be able to achieve those goals. So sustainability is this fundamental thing we need. But sustainability is really the symptom of something else, and that is consistent decisions day in and day out. Now, I don't mean identical decisions. I just mean a sense of consistency in our choices that favor doing the behavior. There's a couple of ways to create consistent decisions. One is through our unconscious automatic thinking, which would be via habit formation, and the other is through our conscious thinking. So let's pause on our conscious thinking and focus now on habit formation, which is offloading our choices to exercise or eat in certain ways to our unconscious and automatic decision making. And let me just say, habits are great. I'm thankful for my flossing habit.

[00:15:33.690] – Dr. Segar

I'm thankful that I have a habit to feed my dog in the morning because it will starve otherwise. So I'm thankful I don't have to think about those things, but those are very simple things, and there are personality differences that I'll get into in a minute. But if we think about different behaviors like exercise, flossing happens in the bathroom. There's not a lot that's going to get in the way or disrupt it. But when it comes to physical activity, we've got places to get to. We've got transportation, we've got potentially changes. We've got other people whose logistics were in charge of there are so many different things that can get in the way and make it very complicated. Habit formation happens via what's called the habit loop, which is a queue for behavior like I brush my teeth and the cue is brushing, and I automatically think reach for the floss. I floss, and then there's some type of reward, and that fuels a process in our brain that automates it as soon as we get that queue. And again, for flossing, it's pretty simple in the bathroom. But step outside of the bathroom into the chaotic, crazy life of hubbub that many of us live, and that cue is going to get disrupted.

[00:16:50.760] – Dr. Segar

Now, getting back to your question about habitors versus unhabitors. Habitors are people like my husband, and God bless him, he lets me use him as an example. There's nothing wrong. Habitors are awesome, and I love them dearly. But what's most important is that we understand which we tend to be. And a habitor tends to be someone who is very disciplined, who has a very organized schedule that doesn't lend itself to a lot of disruption, and that makes it easier to form habits even for complex behaviors like exercise. But unhabitors and I happen to be one of those, one of the lucky many millions. I think more people are unhabitors because unhabitants tend to be less organized. We tend to have more hubbub and unexpected in our lives. We may manage many people's lives and pets, whether at home or at work. And so there's a lot of room for the unanticipated to just fly in and disrupt any habit loop that we might be trying to create. So that's the big difference. Does that make sense?

[00:18:05.740] – Allan

Yeah. The way I like to talk to people about it, a lot of it's going to depend on how you do your self awareness, and as you sit down with your self awareness understanding. Okay, am I the kind of person who can get into a Porsche and get this done? And I've got no disruptions. I got nothing in the road in front of me. It's a straight road, and I can just haul versus someone who's now got kids and other things. So now I'm driving in a minivan and I can't go as fast, and the road is curved, and maybe there's a whole lot of road construction in school zones and everything else going on in our lives. It's going to keep us from getting as far as fast and understanding that then allows you to take the approach one with patience, understanding that your life is not completely 100% of your control, which is what the joy choice really, when it comes down to it, is where the real value comes in is I don't have to Super manage my life. I don't have to worry about that I'm in a sports car. I can be in my minivan and be very happy with the progress that I'm making.

[00:19:06.890] – Allan

That's kind of the way I put where I'm at. The way I like to approach this with what you're talking about is once we know who we are, it's a lot easier to make some decisions. And then once we know how to approach it, we make better decisions.

[00:19:21.470] – Dr. Segar

You know what it's about fit and match. And let's step outside of exercise and healthy eating just for a minute, and let's think about what other areas in our lives we know that where we learn that we're fit is so important. We might, when we're younger, want to date and pick the raciest coolest person. But when it comes down to who we want to spend the rest of our life with, that person might have very different characteristics to fit us. Or if we think about schools, the fit with who we are and what kind of learning context teaching we need will determine whether we have a successful and a positive experience. So it's the same when it comes to changing our behavior. Are the strategies we're trying to use a fit with who we are in personality and our life context, or are they not? But we haven't been taught to ask that question.

[00:20:24.470] – Allan

Yeah. Now in the book, you talk about the decision disruptors and you use the acronym Trap. I love acronyms, too, because they help us remember some things. And these are really important because if you can recognize these traps, then you're in a much better place because so many times these traps get us. And by the time we recognize that, we've gone off the trail, our motivation bubble has popped and that day is effectively, in our minds, ruined before we ruin our day. If we catch ourselves in that moment, which is we'll get into the pop in a minute. But we start with understanding where the traps are. Can you talk about what Trap stands for and what these potential disruptors are?

[00:21:10.920] – Dr. Segar

Yes, and I call them decision disruptors, because what this book is about is what we really haven't been taught for the most part and what to do when our healthy eating or exercise plan bumps up with an unexpected conflict because the societal dogma has been all or nothing thinking, which really, if your plan is disrupted, the only alternative in that paradigm or that binary is nothing. And so people do nothing. And so the goal of the book is to help people at those challenges, those choice points, those momentary decisions about what to do and so things that disrupt those decisions, that tend to be internal in our heads that we might not be aware of are temptation, rebellion, accommodation, and perfection. And while these traps are active and often they're often unconscious. So one of my favorite quotes of all time it has to do with this is from Dan Siegel, and he says, name it to tame it. So if we can name the trap that is staring us in the face, we can really remove a great deal of its power to control our decisions, which is what we're focused on in the book.

[00:22:30.330] – Dr. Segar

So the first one is temptation. And temptation is just this visceral feeling. We have to we want that chocolate cake. It is in front staring us down. It's seducing us or, wow, the couch and that beer is calling us to watch more something on Netflix. Right now we're watching The Good Place, which is really funny. So temptation, when we hear that word, we know what it means. But what we might not know is what new theories based on how our brain works proposed. And that is that it's our past experiences with the chocolate cake and the couch and the beer that is really exerting pullovers. It's not what's in front of us. It's our history of past memories of participating these activities and what it felt like and what it sounded like and the emotions we had and the people we were with. And when we understand that, then we can name it. Oh, that isn't just that chocolate frosting listening in the light. It's how I felt when my mom made it for my birthday every year. And when we can notice that. I mean, I already know you started off this conversation with self awareness.

[00:23:54.370] – Dr. Segar

Self awareness is what people need to be able to notice those things. And so when we understand how the brain works when it comes to these temptation choice points, then we are much more empowered to take charge and not succumb to something that we might not want to succumb to. So do you want me to go to the second one?

[00:24:17.440] – Allan

Yes, please.

[00:24:18.090] – Dr. Segar

Okay. So the second very common disruptor that I've seen in my coaching clients is rebellion. And in my last interview, the podcaster asked me, why would people rebel against something that they themselves have planned to do? Well, there's a really great reason why. And the reason is because we have been socialized to initiate an eating plan or to start a new exercise regimen out of shoulds because we think we should do it because our doctor told us to, because our company told us to, because we think we're overweight, whatever the reason. And when we initiate a behavior change out of that mentality, which is the most common way actually to initiate a change in this area, it makes us feel like we're not free to choose the things we want to choose. And it's human nature. And theory support us that human beings are motivated to reclaim their freedom when they feel like it's been taken away. So if you think you can't have pizza because it's not on your eating plan, well, guess what we're motivated to do? We're motivated to say screw you plan. I'm going to have it anyway. So that's rebellion.

[00:25:38.780] – Dr. Segar

I bet you've seen that a lot in your work.

[00:25:40.780] – Allan

Is that I do. My very first client was doing great, seeing results. Everything was wonderful. I was excited. She was telling me these wonderful stories or interactions with her granddaughter. And I was thinking, okay, she's on a really great track. So she's experiencing the benefits of what's going on and things she had told me before. She hates exercise and everything. And I'm like, well, you know, we're going to do some and we're going to do. And so we were going along. And I think similar to what you'd said in the book, it's like when she started rebelling and then disappeared, it was my fault. It really wasn't her fault. I should have recognized early on that she was starting to struggle with the shoulds, even though she was seeing the benefits. I was focused on the benefits and thinking this has to motivate her when the reality was she was having an internal conflict with the shoulds and eventually just realized I was the bad guy, if you will, of the should. And every time she thought of me or thought about being on the phone with me, there was a should that kept coming out and that was too much pressure on her.

[00:26:56.700] – Allan

And so she just decided to rebel and disappear, ghost me. And because we weren't, again, not a family member or friend or somebody I was close to, when she decided to ghost me, she's gone. I think the one that you talked about was more on the perfection side, but I think as a coach, I should have recognized the warning signs. And now, having read your book, seeing this trap, listening to what my clients are telling me and understanding, hey, you don't have to do this. There's no shoulds here. Let's talk about it. And let's see how we can get past this trap because I missed it.

[00:27:37.550] – Dr. Segar

Until we recognize it, we all miss it because we haven't been taught to name it and categorize it. And I want to say something that people that coaches and personal trainers are doing is having their clients take the trap quiz on my website and then going over it with them to see, oh, is rebellion one of your traps? Yes or no? Is it temptation? And it can be a diagnostic for a coach to use with their clients. I personally found it really helpful. But let's move on to the next trap, which is accommodation. And this one is a little counterintuitive. People don't think about this as intuitively as they would think about rebellion or temptation. And it basically refers to whenever we come up against the needs of someone else or work needs, we just instinctively unconsciously drop what we had planned to do for our physical activity or our healthy eating because we say to ourselves, and again, most of this stuff has to do with self talk or unconscious processes that we're not aware of. We just said, oh, I have to join the celebration. I'm going to forget about my plan. I don't even want to eat that cupcake.

[00:28:53.820] – Dr. Segar

But if I don't eat it, it's going to hurt their feelings. And so that's accommodation for eating, where you just kind of decide what I've been doing doesn't matter. I just need to be in the celebration with everyone. Now the reality is there's a ton of ways you can participate in the celebration if you don't have all or nothing thinking. But if you do, then the only option is eat the cupcake. And from an exercise perspective, we see this a lot. And I'm sure you see this all the time. When people have some kind of planned exercise and our work needs, our email inbox, those urgent things are non urgent, but mounting things never go away. And so if we always feel that what our work is more important than our own walk or selfcare, then we're letting accommodation get in the way. And I want to say, people assume that people like you and me, who might be proponents of active lifestyles and self care, that we don't struggle at all with these issues. But I know I do all the time. And this has been a hugely busy time with the book launch.

[00:30:12.430] – Dr. Segar

And I have had to consciously make joy choices day in and day out about my walking because I have a lot more to do right now. And so I'm sure you experienced that too.

[00:30:25.690] – Allan

Yes, that was kind of the interesting thing. As we went through the traps, I was like, okay, well, yeah, that happened. So temptation got me. And then accommodation perfection. I had a hard time finding examples of rebellion for myself. I just kind of looked through, I said, okay, I haven't taken your quiz. So I'm interested. As soon as we get off this call, I'm probably logging in and taking a quiz. But the accommodation was a big one, because what I found was I wanted to work out every afternoon during my lunch hour. And so I would just have it in my mind that as soon as I took my lunch, that was when I was going to go to the gym. Invariably, a meeting would get scheduled. My boss would call, something would be going on, a report. I have to get out today, something I've got to get done. And so I would say, okay, well, I'll just do this instead. And then that day I get my workout. And what I finally found was, okay, what I have to do if I want this to happen is I literally have to block out my calendar as if that's the most important meeting of my day.

[00:31:25.640] – Allan

It's with my boss, myself, but it's with my boss, my real boss, me. And it's not something I can cancel. And so when I made that non negotiable meeting on my calendar, no one else could book a meeting coming up about a half an hour before that meeting, I actually turned my email off, so I wasn't hearing the Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding leading up to that hour. And then when my hours was up, I put my clothes on and I go and maybe my work boss would call. And so I'd say, okay, what do you need? Come on up to my office. I was walking up to his office in my workout closed. He's like, what's going on? He's like, well, I was on my way to the gym. Here I am. What do you need? He said, well, I need this. I'm like, okay, well, I need an hour to get my workout done, and then I'll have it over to you. Cool. And now, would I have done that before? No, because I didn't have the awareness, self awareness that I was letting that accommodation trap happen until I realized, okay, I keep missing workouts because I'm accommodating these other things.

[00:32:26.480] – Allan

And again, I didn't have a label for it exactly. But I just understood that if I didn't take that time back, I would always lose it.

[00:32:35.450] – Dr. Segar

What the book would address in that scenario is, let's say you walked upstairs to talk to your work boss, and what he needed you to do was going to take 25 minutes, and you had another meeting on the hour that you had to take. So the alternative is that instead of saying, oh, I didn't get that hour, what else can I do? In the 35 minutes that I have left, I can't go to the gym like I plan to because I'm not going to get all sweaty. So that's what we're trying to help people learn is how do you navigate in flexible ways? That unexpected thing that did cut into your hour, despite your great strategies of blocking off that time in your calendar, right?

[00:33:24.010] – Allan

Yeah. Now, the last one you had was perfection. And I actually think I know for myself this one's, the one. If I could have solved this one, it probably wouldn't have taken me eight years to figure this all out, because a lot of us suffer from this. And in many cases, it's the perfection trap that then really almost sets off everything else. I mean, all the other traps happen because we're already caught in the perfection trap.

[00:33:52.020] – Dr. Segar

Yeah, I'm smiling really big right now because you couldn't have said it more perfectly. Perfection is the most common one. It's what our society has taught us, socialized indoctrinated, us to do, and it does set the stage, because if perfection is the bar, then of course you're going to rebel and eat the whole piece of cake because there's no in between. You're going to succumb to temptation because you can't have it. You can't have it, and then you're going to rebel against that darn diet anyway. So perfection, you are right. I call it it's so big, I call it a Dragon. It's the all or nothing Dragon. And we have literally been so it's not our fault we have all or nothing thinking or perfectionistic approaches because our society has evolved in a way to teach us. But that is the old behavior change story. It's outdated and misguided many of us. And the great news is the new science offers us a whole new story of behavior change. And it will have a happy ending because it's based on what a body of science shows work. And I don't want to leap into the solution because you're guiding me along.

[00:35:12.140] – Dr. Segar

But perfection is the old story of behavior change and it is outdated.

[00:35:19.550] – Allan

Now with perfection and I think this is really where the breakdown of all this comes together is everybody believes that the reason they're failing is because they lack self control. And regardless, it's almost as if, okay, well, if I had more self control, I wouldn't fall for these traps. But that's not really the case because we don't have a lack of self control. It's not a failure, as you mentioned earlier, it's like we're not broken. We're wired the way we're wired. And it's not that we need more self control, we just need to go into what you call the choice points with our head up and being aware.

[00:36:04.970] – Dr. Segar

That's exactly right. We need to understand that the choice points right now and right now is the place of power because they accumulate over time. And that's why the perfect, imperfect choice or option is the solution, because right now we might make a choice that's imperfect, but it keeps us on the path. And the next now we might hit the Bull's eye, but the next five, we might make another perfectly imperfect choice, but we're still staying consistent. And that reinforces himself and keeps us getting the benefits over time. That continuously reinforced why we're doing it in the first place.

[00:36:51.770] – Allan

So the approach that you take to do the joy choice is called Pop. Again, another acronym. Again, they'll remember this, okay, trap is Temptation, Rebellion, Accommodation, Perfection. And then Pop is the approach that you take to get out of these traps. You recognize the trap. To do that, we've got to do a few things. And that's what the Pop is about. The story you told in the book about one of your clients using this technique I think was really good and I'd like to use that here. And that was the woman who decided, okay, I'm going to do a pool workout five days a week. It's going to be my bridge between my work day and my evening. And in theory, when you say that to a personal trainer, it's like, that sounds brilliant. That should work great until Alex got involved. Yeah, go ahead.

[00:37:51.210] – Dr. Segar

She comes home from work, her in laws are visiting, and she's thrilled to enact this perfect plan. And she hears screaming up in the window and looks up and sees her young son crying because she is in his happy place without him. And he's distraught. And she's like, oh, no, I've been gone all day. But I really want this, my time, this movement, listening to my music in the pool and helping me transition from brain heavy day to heart full evening with my family. And her old way of thinking would have been either I have to choose between meeting Alex's needs, which is not being in the pool and going and getting him or going out of the pool to comfort him, or fully meeting his needs and dropping my pool workout. But we had had a session, and she remembered that instead of letting this is what I say. Instead of letting the circumstances or life burst your bubble, you can pop your plan. And when we say we're going to pop our plan, we are taking ownership of our thinking and the situation. And again, we are not aiming for perfection here. So what did she do?

[00:39:16.660] – Dr. Segar

She popped her plan and pop stands for pause. This is where she said, oh, my gosh, accommodation is staring me in the face. Alex needs me. I'm yearning to go to him, but I know that I can name it and I can say, oh, this is what's happening. I have some control over it. Now, let me get my attention back on the pop process. Then she opened up her options and played with the options. Well, what could she do? She could take a walk after work with her family. She came up with another option that I can't think of off the top of my head. Or she could bring Alex into the pool and play around, walk with him, and basically do a modified pool workout with him. Still getting her physical activity and meeting Alex's needs. And of course, that was like the Ding, Ding, Ding. And she P, she picked the joy choice, which was staying in the pool, worked out to give her the transition she wanted. But instead of doing it alone, Mommy time with music, she decided she would do it and be active with Alex so that she could fulfill these two different what had been conflicting but had a mutuality that she could choose.

[00:40:38.180] – Dr. Segar

So she picked the joy choice, which is what we do at the end of the pop process.

[00:40:43.410] – Allan

Right. And the advantage was this. And this is the kind of added benefit that really wasn't built into her original model. But it worked was she had the in laws get Alex ready for the pool, which gave her, like, five to ten minutes to do the kind of the unwinding thing that she intended to do while she was in the pool. She got her head straight, got herself that transition from work to heart. And then Alex is in the pool with her. It wasn't the workout she intended, but she still got movement in, as you said, the perfect imperfect. And she got it done. And as a result, she was in control. But she had to get that pause. She had to recognize the trap, and then she had to make the decision that was the right decision in the moment for her. The joy choice.

[00:41:31.490] – Dr. Segar

That's right. That's the beauty of it is the joy choice lets us meet the many roles and responsibilities that give our life meaning and still take care of ourselves. And there's a new definition of success. And that's another reason why it's the joy choice, because we are successful when we do something instead of nothing. And she was so proud of herself, and that was the beginning. Once we do it one or two times, it really does become intuitive. And the beauty of it is that once we start doing it with exercise and eating, we actually can do it. I do it in all areas of my life because it's a way for me to regroup and be flexible and pick the most optimal choice for that particular challenge.

[00:42:23.980] – Allan

Yeah. Now, the way this would apply for, like, one with temptation. You talked about in the book, how if you walk by the cafe and you see that croissant, chocolate filled croissant, and it's glistening and it's calling your name and it's a loud voice and you're really struggling to walk away from this cafe and you find yourself in line magically. And then you realize, okay, again, pause. Why am I in this line? And you realize, it's not the chocolate croissant. It's the last time you were at that cafe with your friend, you guys had a wonderful conversation. You had that chocolate croissant. And the blend of the moment is now in your memory. So one of your executive functions has tied into this and said, this croissant is kind of a reminder of kind of a reliving of a great moment in your life. You talk about the chocolate cake your mother made. This is kind of another one of those things. Now, you can recognize that this is temptation.

[00:43:25.810] – Dr. Segar

Absolutely. And when we recognize that it puts it in perspective, it takes away. It's not the dark force that's drawing us in. I mean, if we think about eating the cake as the dark force, then we've already succumbed to it right before we ate it. So once we recognize, oh, Geez, this is what's going on. This is what's going on in my brain. It's not that when we remove the tension that it's this evil thing that we shouldn't have that's off the plan or that we feel that we should do and want to rebel against. We really put ourselves in control. Again, it's a decision. And it doesn't mean that people will decide not to have the croissant, but they're going to do it understanding the meaning it has for them without tension. But they're going to make a conscious choice instead of an unconscious reaction. Or they might say, you know what? I really want that chocolate croissant for all the reasons above, but I don't need to eat the whole thing. I actually would be really satisfied and proud of myself to eat half of it, wrap the other half up, and maybe I'll have it for dessert, or split it with my family after dinner, or I'll save it for the next day.

[00:44:41.410] – Dr. Segar

Learning how to be flexible is the key to sustainability. I mean, the research clearly shows this.

[00:44:48.170] – Allan

Yeah. Especially if you find that you're an unhabitor and you can't sit down and just say, I'm going to do this and stick with it. If you've struggled in the past with that, it's very likely you are an unhabitor. It's likely that you fall into these traps. And if you really go back and think about it, you'll start to see the patterns, and you just have to stop and recognize that pause and recognize when you're repeating that pattern and make another choice.

[00:45:17.530] – Dr. Segar

Absolutely. And it is, again, it's really important for people to recognize am I more like Michelle's husband Job, who's a habitor in all areas of his life, or am I more like Michelle and a little disorganized and a little comfortable keeping dishes in the sink and sometimes feel like, oh my gosh, how am I going to do all these things? So self awareness and fit is really the structure we need to set us up for success long term.

[00:45:49.930] – Allan

And so in the book, you give us a lot of tools as we start going through this process, because we can say it pop and go through it and we can talk about examples. But the reality is that you get good at this or get better at this by practice.

[00:46:08.290] – Dr. Segar

Like anything, like anything. Like any new things, we need to give ourselves Grace when we don't do it, quote, unquote as well as we hoped we would or thought we should anytime we learn something new, it's a learning process. And giving ourselves Grace is like we should give other people Grace when they're learning how to do something. That's a really important part of this, too. And that's part of why it's the joy choice, because it's all about being forgiven forgiving. It's about being imperfect like we are honoring that and making sure that our strategies for physical activity and healthy eating match with the imperfect lives that many of us live.

[00:46:59.470] – Allan

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

[00:47:08.770] – Dr. Segar

I think understanding that we need self-awareness is the fundamental element. Without self awareness, we can't know what we need, we can't know what we want. So first and foremost, we have to have the intention of becoming more self aware. Then when we decide that we want to do something toward our happiness or wellness, we want to make sure that what we're choosing to embark on is the right thing at the right time. So, for example, if someone now, this is different for different people. And this is why self awareness is really key to understand this. So for example, if someone just has a baby, they have a brand new newborn baby and they're like, I've got to get fit right now. They have a newborn that's a week old, that doesn't sleep through the night, and that person decides they're going to start working out every day or whatever. I would say that is probably the wrong thing at the wrong time. And the workout has to be perfect. Now, exercise is a great way to facilitate your sleep. But if you add something to grandiose onto an already overwhelming situation. So that's where fit of what we're doing when is really important.

[00:48:26.610] – Dr. Segar

So I just want to take a step back and say physical activity is great for new moms. It's the overarching plan that they create that would be important. And of course, walking with your newborn is a great way to be active. But that's just an example. You said, how do you do it? You want to make sure that what you're doing is the right thing for the right time. And then the third thing is, I think considering whatever you're doing as a process of learning, where one day you're going to have a couple of steps forward, you're going to hit the bullseye, and the other days you might have to make joy choices. And that the goal isn't perfection, it's staying on the path through doing something instead of nothing.

[00:49:10.510] – Allan

Great. Thank you. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Joy Choice, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:49:19.150] – Dr. Segar

Well, the book should be everywhere. So they can go to their local bookstore. They can get it online through booksellers online. If they want to take the quiz and learn more about the book, they can go to my website, which is michellesegar.com

[00:49:35.590] – Allan

awesome. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/538 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Segar, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:49:45.910] – Dr. Segar

Thanks for having me. It was really fun to talk with you.

[00:49:48.950] – Allan

Me, too. Thank you.


Post Show/Recap

[00:49:57.470] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:49:59.090] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. With an interesting conversation you had. There's a couple of things I'd like to talk about. But first, I'd like to talk about setting or creating habits. It sounds like it's still a good thing to do, but not everybody is able to create habits quite as easily as everyone else.

[00:50:14.010] – Allan

Yeah, there are people that they decide they want to do something, they're going to start taking a multivitamin or they're going to change something the way they do something. And then pretty easily after that, they're just doing it. They're not even thinking about it anymore. For most people, for a lot of people, works fairly well. If you do it long enough, it's different for everybody. You may have heard numbers out there, like 21 days or 66 days or whatever. And the reality is that the science that's out there, while there was an average of 66 days to make an action automatic or feel automatic where you weren't thinking about doing it, you just did it. 66 was the average. But the spread on that was really wide. Some people less than two weeks, other people almost a year. And so you can't just say 66 days. But for a lot of people, if you get to doing a simple thing over and over, eventually it just becomes a habit. You get up in the morning, you brush your teeth, you put the coffee on, you walk the dog. There's simple things that become like a ritual when you do them.

[00:51:31.890] – Allan

But big caveat, it really only works for simple things. When you want to do something like food prep or something like that, that's a whole series of actions. Then you have to go deeper than a habit because habits not going to get you there like that. There are habitors, like she said, like her husband, that once they start doing something, it does. So if you're doing Sunday meal prep, Saturday grocery shop, maybe Sunday morning grocery shop, and then Sunday meal prep, yes, that can become like a normal thing on your schedule that you get to doing and feel like a habit. But most of us are not going to feel comfortable that that's an automatic thing. And then anything that gets in the way pop, we're out of it. And we may not even go back the next Sunday and do it because we stopped doing it this Sunday before.

[00:52:27.630] – Rachel

That's a good point. Which brings me to the other thing that I think is more useful is that Traps acronym that she had for the decision disruptors. And the reason why that was such a light bulb moment, I love the phrase decision disruptors because we are all trying to make good decisions. We're trying to eat healthy and be active and stuff. But just things tend to get in the way. And her acronym of Traps kind of outline some of those things, some of those reasons why it's hard for us to stick or make these better choices.

[00:52:59.730] – Allan

Yeah. The temptation one is fairly common. And you'll see, so you go to work and a vendor brings Donuts.

[00:53:08.500] – Rachel

Right.

[00:53:09.410] – Allan

And you had no intention of eating the Donuts. You're even doing intermittent fasting. So you haven't eaten since dinner and you weren't going to eat until lunch. And you walk in the break room and there's those doughnuts, and you find yourself grabbing one of the doughnuts without really even thinking about it. And there you are. The rebellion is one that I don't see as often, but I see it from time to time. Accommodation is probably one of the most important ones because it's something that particularly women who are caregivers to their children, they take priority. Taking them to soccer practice, picking them up from dance, and just shuttling your kids around Burns up so much of your time that it's really hard to take time for yourself. And then Unfortunately, I think a lot of women will feel guilty taking that time away. I want to go for a run, but that's 45 minutes that I'm not here with my child.

[00:54:15.870] – Rachel

My guilt is strong, and it's definitely a driver in a lot of our decisions. But what I tell people is I tell people you can't fill from an empty cup. You need to take the time for yourself and take care of yourself before you can care for others adequately. But yes, I can definitely see that one. And the last one she had being perfection. That's a big one, too.

[00:54:40.090] – Allan

Yeah. She's absolutely right there, because so many of us are all or none.

[00:54:47.680] – Rachel

Yes.

[00:54:48.930] – Allan

And I'll admit when I learn about myself, when I think about myself and I've done that self awareness thing that I had to do, I recognize, though, that I do pretty much have to be all on or I'm off. I need to push towards that. But it also creates those other problems. And I've worked with people like this. I have a client right now that's going through some of this, and he wants to eat keto, but this is going on. This child graduated from this that one's going here and there's this party that he has to go to. And so he finds himself off keto, and it just creates this cycle of and unfortunately, guilt, which he shouldn't feel. We villainize food, and so we feel like we've let ourselves down if we are not perfect. And the reality is if we know that perfect isn't possible.

[00:55:55.390] – Rachel

Right.

[00:55:57.610] – Allan

Particularly for us, it's like something's going to come up. I can't think of a year that I've gone through that there wasn't a holiday or birthday, right?

[00:56:05.520] – Rachel

Yeah, there's always something, isn't there?

[00:56:09.370] – Allan

So at some point you're going to go to a party or go to dinner. At some point, somebody's going to bring Donuts to the break room and you're going to end up eating one. That's fine. The point that she was getting at was don't let that be what beats you, right. The joy choice in her book. It's about finding your path where you feel good about your decisions. And so if you can get rid of that concept that these are bad foods and good foods and bad food, then you kind of get to where this is all at and we're going to have another guest on in a few weeks. And his name is Alan Aragon and he's got an excellent book as well. And it goes really deep into some of these same concepts of ways that you can look at just doing better than you're doing now. And then he talks about this concept of discretionary calories. The way he puts it together is if you're eating your calorie level, Then it's okay if up to 20% of your total calories is coming from stuff that you would put in a bad food list.

[00:57:35.850] – Rachel

Sure.

[00:57:36.360] – Allan

So if you decide, okay, I want to have a Coca Cola And you're like, okay, that's sugar. I don't need that sugar. But I can fit that in my calories for the day. And because I know I'm getting good nutrition otherwise, that 80%. Then I know, okay, I can have the Coke and still stay under my calories, then that's fine. And so it's just trying to get away from the perfect is really important. So looking for tools, looking for things that are going to help you just kind of go through this and then it's hard, don't get me wrong, it's probably the hardest thing to do Because it's the mindset of change. So different things we talked about in this interview. There's even more in the book those tools and things that you can do. So I encourage anyone that's struggling with mindset, struggling with this willpower motivation, habits stuff. This is a good book Because it's just down to Earth stuff. It's science based. So she did go back into the science, looked it up. But at the same time, it kind of gives you a way to get through this without feeling like you've failed every single time you're not on plan.

[00:58:54.980] – Rachel

That's wonderful. That sounds like a really useful book and I love that it offers tools to help people get through these really tough traps like she had mentioned and these other tough situations. I think that's fantastic.

[00:59:07.490] – Allan

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

[00:59:10.100] – Rachel

Great. Take care.

Patreons

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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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How to improve your health and fitness through self-reliance with Clint Emerson

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Clint Emerson is a retired Navy Seal. In his book, The Rugged Life: The Modern Guide to Self-Reliance, he shows us how to be more self-reliant and improve our health and fitness as a result.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:02:34.450] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things?

[00:02:36.260] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:38.260] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Tammy got on an airplane about 15 minutes before we started recording this to fly out for a vacation trip that she's taking with her friend. It was one of those pre-covid trips that got canceled. And so now it's like she's now on the list and got to go. So she's going to be enjoying herself for two weeks, and then I'm going to be responsible for Lula's, which will be interesting. No, I've done it before for her to go back to the States for things. It's just going to stick for two weeks and it's a slower period right now, but just some additional moving parts in my life, but otherwise everything's going well.

[00:03:18.560] – Rachel

Good. Glad to hear it.

[00:03:20.650] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to talk to Clint Emerson?

[00:03:23.960] – Rachel

Sure. Sounds great.

Interview

[00:03:51.790] – Allan

Clint, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:54.460] – Clint

Hi. How are you doing, buddy? Nice to be here.

[00:03:56.700] – Allan

So your book is called The Rugged Life: the Modern Guide to Self Reliance. And I think a lot of folks will sit there and probably wonder, well, why on Earth would Allan have somebody talking about self-reliance and homesteading and all of those types of things on a health and fitness podcast? But in my mind, self-reliance and health and fitness are like intertwined. They're like hand in glove. You can't really have one without the other in a grand sense of things. I guess you can be healthy and fit without having some of these things. But I think some of the things that you get and we'll get into that in a few minutes from living a little bit more of a rugged life actually enhances your health and fitness.

[00:04:43.750] – Clint

Yeah, exactly. You just nailed it. Like I always say, on the crisis side or with 100 Deadly Skill book series, first and foremost, your human performance is everything. To be able to get yourself out of trouble, to get your family out of trouble, you've got to have at least the heart, the lungs and the strength to get yourself away from whatever that threat is. And it could be natural disasters, man made events, you name it. It's out there. And rugged life really is stretching out. It's what you do as a lifestyle, the things you do everyday that can one give you far more fulfillment. And you get a Huger sense of satisfaction when you're doing it yourself. And most of the things that whether it's hunting, building, fishing or farming or whatever it is, those are physical activities. You're going to probably get in better shape than just visiting the gym for an hour to each day. So I think you hit it dead on is that living a more rugged life will exponentially increase your health, both mentally, physically and emotionally.

[00:06:02.830] – Allan

Now, in our world where, yeah, I've got a gem half a mile away from my home, we can call Uber Eats and they'll deliver just about anything you want. Netflix is on, Hulu or whatever your streaming service, or maybe you got more than one of them. We have everything pretty much at our fingertips. We don't have to lift a finger to do anything. And I think it probably might have been even about 20 years ago when the Internet was really just getting started someone wanted to do the experiment to see if they could stay in their house for an entire year and never leave. And way back then, back in the late 90s or so, this guy was able to do it early 2000s, late 90s, was able to literally stay at home for an entire year and not get out. Now, for many of us, we are in a situation with COVID where we weren't permitted if we lived in the city, particularly to get out. Now, I kind of kicked myself when we came down here at Panama, I didn't choose the rugged life. We chose something a little bit easier, an apartment in town, which meant we were pretty much trapped in our apartment in town with the lockdowns they did here, which were a lot more stringent than the United States.

[00:07:15.610] – Allan

Our friends who lived out and about on different Islands, generating their own electricity, catching their own water, living a little bit more of a rugged life than we were. They had a lot more autonomy, a lot more freedom. So that's kind of one of the reasons why I think the rugged life now appeals to me a little bit more than it might have before is seeing it firsthand. My friends were actually able to get out in the sun for more than 2 hours twice a week and walk around and do things. But for the normal person, what is this rugged life that we're talking about? And why would it be something that someone would want to do when there are so many easy ways to live our lives today?

[00:07:55.750] – Clint

Yeah, man, you had a bunch of great stuff. I think. First I'll start by answering the question with the pandemic certainly taught us all that being a little more self reliant can be very valuable. It can be important. It can just allow a certain level of independence and freedom that you can't get if you are reliant on all these other things that you mentioned. So I would say first and foremost, you don't have to dive 100% into the rugged life. I've built the book so that you can just dip your toe if you want. You living in an apartment in an urban environment can do a lot, even with limited space, to increase your self reliance and actually fend for yourself, whether it's these vertical gardens now, I mean, you can grow just about anything inside your apartment in the corner with very little maintenance. It's just time, right? Just wait for things to grow and then, you know, you've got it. Or if you decide you dip your toe a couple of times and you like all these different little projects that you're doing and you're realizing, Holy, Holy crap. This is actually not just is it giving me something in return, but the hard work that goes into it just feels so much better than using an app, right?

[00:09:14.610] – Clint

I mean, you don't get any satisfaction except the fat pill that shows up to your doorstep by using all the different Uber eats and whatever else is out there, having your groceries delivered to your door. Yeah, that's pretty cool. But what if you could just grow some of those things yourself and that's just a piece of it, right. If you're not into the farming aspect, then maybe it's the hunting. If you're not in the hunting, and maybe it's just being your own handyman, being your own power grid, be your own homemaker. I mean, I was surprised at how many household products, especially in the hygiene and the hygiene and grooming side of the house, that if you just got beeswax and some coconut oil, you can make shampoos, pomades and conditioners. Right. So the other piece to this whole thing with the rugged life is it's more like a family experiment if you get the whole family involved. I feel like it brings everybody together because we are so stuck on technology these days. You have an entire family sitting in a living room. It's on Netflix, like you mentioned, but everybody is still on their own personal devices and there's no solid family time.

[00:10:29.480] – Clint

So rugged life, at whatever level you want to kind of live it. You will find out that whether it's one project or a dozen projects, when the whole family is involved, you're just going to all be so much more healthier. You're going to get that camaraderie going again. And you're not just a bunch of individuals living in the house together.

[00:10:54.430] – Allan

Yeah. It's interesting being down here. I run into a lot of people that they do this thing. They say, okay, look, this is so cool. There's this island, I'm going to go out there. It's just land. It's just raw land. It's jungle. We're going to clear a little bit of it. We're going to build a house. We're going to use solar, we're going to use water catchment. We're going to do these different things like composting, and we're going to have a garden. And this just goes on and on. And what happens, though, invariably, is that they move down here, they make that happen. They build their dream house. And then as a couple, one or both of them kind of decide after a period of time that this was not what they signed up for. They miss some of the creature comforts that they had because they kind of went a little too far into the woods. The jungle, if you will, before really going through and analyzing. Okay. Is this really me? Is this really me long term? Is this a project that I'm going to do and then get bored with? In your book, you had what you call the top ten are you sure about this thing? Could you go through some of those to help someone kind of see because it sounds so cool off the grid, doing this thing, growing my own food, chickens, you know, the whole bit. It's a lot of work.

[00:12:25.270] – Clint

You are correct. It is, yeah. Some of the top ten is basic questions like, do you like vacations? Because guess what? As soon as you bring in animals, you're not leaving because you got to take care of them 24/7. Right. You are going to live to take care of animals that in rich parent are going to take care of you. So going on a vacation becomes very difficult. You really have to like the people that you and your family. Right. You all love each other, of course, but you have to like each other because you're going to be working as a team like you never have before. And you're really going to see people's strengths and weaknesses, and everyone's going to have to adapt. But ultimately, you just hit it again. It's very romantic to think that, hey, yeah, we're going to go buy a chunk of land in the mountains, and we're going to build a cabin. We're going to have this awesome fireplace every night. And I'm going to be butchering these big steaks. And it sounds all great. It really does. And everybody should aspire to do it. But there is nothing easy about it. And that's why it's the rugged life. It can be very hard work at times, but the return on that hard work is far better than what you get from going to the grocery store, though. That is convenient. And so there's a balance. If convenience is at one end of the spectrum and then the rugged life is at the other. Right. Anything rugged isn't going to be convenient. Anything convenient isn't really going to be all that rugged. So you just got to find that happy medium for you and your family.

[00:14:10.500] – Clint

And that's why I do not suggest just jumping in 100% because you might find out that you hate it. I definitely push the hey, take some of the projects in the book and see if it's something that appeals to you. And the other biggest piece to all of it is that you're going to fail and you're going to fail over and over again. You may spend a lot of time getting the perfect soil, mix it with the compost going, then everything to make the perfect vegetables. And then those things never grow or they die or a predator comes along and eats them for you before you even get a chance.

[00:14:50.470] – Clint

Right. So there's a lot of frustration, a lot of fail. So you have to be prepared for that and be the kind of person that's going to go you know what? I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep going. I want to keep going until I get this right. And so if you're that kind of person and you enjoy learning, then you should give it a shot for sure.

[00:15:10.550] – Allan

Now, the cool thing about this and that's what I like is while you talk about that continuum of convenience to the rugged life is you can pick and choose your battles. You don't have to be in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Like you said, it can be something as simple as saying I'm going to do a few of these things for myself. And I like that concept of saying, okay, I can pick and choose now, one that I like to pick where I would pick. If you're really thinking about your health and fitness so that, you know the food you're putting in your mouth is there's nothing better than you being responsible for growing that food, particularly with vegetables. Vegetables. It can be simple as a vertical garden. It can be herb garden, it can be tomatoes. And I like your idea of upside down tomato growing right there. Can you go through some of the considerations of why we would want to grow our own food? And then if we're going to grow our own food, what do we want to think about as far as the approach and what we do?

[00:16:12.030] – Allan

Because it sounds simple. Put a seed in the ground. And having been in a family where we did a garden, we had three acres for basically, I think it was six of us, it was a lot of work. What are some considerations and things to think about if you're going to start growing your own food and where are some lines, like if I'm going to try to grow food for my whole family versus just have some additional good quality food for me on my plate each night?

[00:16:38.720] – Clint

Yeah. I think a good starting point is always what climate zone do you live in? Right. So if you have this dream of avocados. Right. And you're going to grow them and you're going to have as many avocados per day because it's a superfood and it's awesome and you can heat it 24/7, which I can you really have to start with climate zone. Right. And this is old school Farmers Almanac type stuff. Where you go, all right, where do I live and what am I going to have the highest success rate of growing that actually benefits my health. And so that's going to narrow the list really quick. So that's where I would start is the research and also talking to local farmers, going to some of your farmer markets and talking to everybody, selling any of the vegetables and fruits they have going there. And getting educated is like the biggest number one step so that you increase your success. Next, once you figure out what that is, it's a good idea to start indoors. Right. You can set up a basic lighting bank and get the seeds, the kick start they need with a little bit of soil.

[00:17:57.090] – Clint

And once they actually start to grow, you actually see them break the surface of the little pods that you put them in. Then you can basically put them outside using just common language. You're taking something that started growing and you're going to transplant it to outdoors. And it's a very fragile moment, but it'll be fine making sure the soil outside matches the soil that they're in. And then now they're outside in sunlight and on their own. And you're going to have to obviously give some care and maintenance. You're going to have to do research on pest control, any of the other predators that might want to nibble on whatever it is you're growing and basically put up whatever fortifications you need, which a lot of times just chicken wire over your garden will keep out the birds and any of those little ground animals like rabbits that want to come in and get a free meal. But I think the biggest piece is really doing the research in terms of what's going to give you that highest level of success in the area in which you live. And you really got to pinpoint it, especially like where I'm at Texas.

[00:19:07.730] – Clint

North Texas is far different than South Texas. And what you can grow in one, you can't grow in the other, even though you're in the same state.

[00:19:16.430] – Allan

Yeah. You have a really cool map in the book that kind of breaks it down into zones. Obviously, I'm a lot further south than any of your zones, and we can do avocados here. One of the interesting things is when you plant that, you have to set your expectations. You won't have avocados for ten years and then you won't have avocados at all if your dog digs up the plant.

[00:19:39.590] – Clint

Exactly. And that's a great point, because people do on that same point. They think about like Apple tree or an Orange tree or a peach tree. But you're still talking several years before you really get to the good fruit that tree produces. And like here in Texas, the pecan industry is huge. Right. And monetizing acreage, let's say you've got a couple of acres and you can put 50 to 100 trees, but a pecan tree is going to start producing pecans for ten years. Right. Like I said, it's still that you have to do that amount of research and put it in and then also regulate expectation. Right. Expectation management is a big part of all this, like you just pointed out.

[00:20:29.690] – Allan

But the advantages are this. You know what's in your food, if you use pesticides, you know it, if you use something in it, you know it, you know the seeds, whether they're heirloom or there's some of something else. But you know the food because you were in hand. And I can tell you when you grow your own food, it actually tastes better because you have a pride of ownership while you're eating that food that you just don't get when you walk into a restaurant or have Uber Eats deliver it to you.

[00:21:01.190] – Clint

Yeah, no doubt.

[00:21:03.470] – Allan

Okay, again, you can do all of this if you live in the right climate. You can do all your food. It can be plant based and it can be awesome if you can grow enough and you need to, again, make sure you are growing enough if that's what you're going to do. But for a lot of folks, we are meat eaters, so on the board. So we're going to want a little bit of meat in there too. And that's where things like raising your own animals, you talked about some considerations there as far as vacations and other things you got to do hunting and fishing, which there are also some general considerations about that. Why would we want to raise our own animals, do hunting and fishing? Why would we want to go through the effort of doing that? And then what are some things we need to think about to go through that process? What that's all about?

[00:21:54.170] – Clint

Yeah, harvesting anything like you pointed out, is going to be healthier in the long run. But it's also important to note it might not be cheaper. I think a lot of folks think that, hey, I might save money by having chickens. Well, not at first. And it's going to take a while to get an egg for as cheap as you would buy an egg at a grocery store. It takes a while to get there because you have to invest. But something like chickens are somewhat easy. And it's important to note you have egg chickens and you've got meat chickens. The egg chickens obviously good at laying eggs almost all year round. You might have to put some lighting because they lay eggs based on the sun. And then you've got your meat chickens, which don't really produce very good eggs, but man, they're good to eat. There's even one breeded chicken that you literally have to Butcher it at about eight to twelve weeks because it gets so fat its own legs will snap. So there's a lot the thing about rugged life is each chapter is novels on their own of information that could be written, no doubt about it.

[00:23:07.580] – Clint

But growing your own meat, yes, it locks you at home, but you know where it's been, what it's eaten and what it's doing 24/7. So the safety and eating it, the health benefits in eating it are all just automatically there when you've been doing it. And what I've also pointed out in the book is if the farming aspect of harvesting your own meat isn't your thing, then hunting certainly is the other option, because then it doesn't require you to be stuck at home raising these animals, whether it's chickens, goats, pigs, you name it. So then you can go Hunt. And with hunting it's popular. Bow hunting has become more popular these days, so a lot of variance to going and hunting, but that has its own skill and set of patience and work that goes with it. There is some investment, but I would say buying a rifle and ammunition is cheaper than raising or keeping pigs, for example. If you don't do it right, they can destroy everything. And the same with goats. People see these goats when they go to yoga, climbing on them and like, oh, I want one. But what they don't know is those things will eat the tires off your car if you leave them there long enough with your vehicle.

[00:24:38.030] – Clint

But overall, once again, knowing where your meat is, looking out for it 24/7, butchering it and serving it to yourself. I mean, that goes back to where our country was 200 some years ago, where every man, woman and child were self reliant. And they had all of these skills in the book and then some because it was just a way of life. And by drawing from a couple of these things here and there, you might find out that you like it as well.

[00:25:15.360] – Allan

Yeah. A couple of things that you can consider. In my opinion, if you don't want to go, like, full on with all of this stuff, is it's very common for folks to go in with a farmer. They know everybody goes in with the money, they buy calves, and they know where that's being raised. And there's kind of like a co op, if you will. So it's one way to kind of get around of you having to buy the land and you having to run the animals is that someone who's more skilled at that. But there's a great opportunity for you to learn those skills. Also, with the hunting and fishing is often you can get into groups. I know we would go hunting back in the day. They'd run dogs. So you'd have the guys running their beagles. And we'd all set up in different spots. And then you get done and it's like, okay, the dog that did the chase, he's going to get his first pick. And then the guy who shot the deer is going to get his pick. And then, yeah, the rest of us, if we didn't happen to hit that day, we're getting a little bit of something there.

[00:26:15.210] – Allan

So it's an opportunity to kind of get those things. I can say the hunting and fishing is hit or miss if you're going by yourself, but there are opportunities for you to get involved and try some of these things. And maybe to me, the biggest challenge of a lot of this, if you haven't done it before and you have a lot of great advice in the book, is the butchering of the animal, which is something that many people haven't experienced. But once you start getting into it, it's like, okay, now I understand where my cuts of meat come from. I know what this animal's life was like. And you're right, it's kind of intense, but it's a good intense to know the quality of your food and to know where it's coming from and to know that you had a hand in either making it or killing or catching it.

[00:27:05.210] – Clint

Yeah, you are dead on. And for people that want to try, kinda like the easy route, but it's also somewhat difficult. Homesteading World rabbits have been very popular. And because you can in a very short period of time. And I point out in there rabbits, they do hump like rabbits within a short period of time. With six rabbits, you can turn that into 46 kits or so. And then before you know it, you've got enough meat to eat five days a week for a family of four. And it's just exponential with rabbits. And they're smaller and easier meat to manage, especially if you don't have the land. But yeah, there's a lot of options. You make some great points doing things as a group. And the co op options, both with eggs, milk and meat, are all out there and available these days.

[00:28:05.390] – Allan

Yes, I'm going to tell this story probably shouldn't, because it's just kind of embarrassing. But I'm going to say I'm going to tell you anyway. I had a friend and they raised rabbits. That was their thing. They raised rabbits and they had the kids, the cages for themselves set up. And you try to check the rabbit to know if it's a boy or girl, and it's really hard to tell. And so they thought they had these two boy and a girl, and they put them in the cage and they were fighting. So they assume now, okay, they must both be boys and they're fighting. So the father wanted us to kill one of the rabbits. He picked one of them. He said, go kill the rabbit. And so we go out there, we grab the rabbit, and he hands it to me and I go to grab the rabbit. I'm holding it against my chest, and the rabbit just kind of rests its chin right there on my neck.

[00:28:54.090] – Clint

And you're like, I can't do it.

[00:28:55.540] – Allan

Yeah. And so a little tear starts coming down my eye. I'm 15 years old. My friend turns around, he looks at me and he looks at me for just a second. Then he gets a tear in his eye. And his father drives up about this time in his truck and he looks at the two of us. He says, damn it, build another cage.

[00:29:15.930] – Clint

Yeah, that sounds about right. That's what I said. It's easy, but also could be difficult because killing a rabbit. Yeah. They're so soft and cuddly. It's the last thing you want to kill. And they know that, too, about themselves,I think.

[00:29:32.960] – Allan

Okay, this one did because that chin on the chest, on my shoulder, that was enough to say, okay, this one gets a second chance.

[00:29:42.030] – Clint

That's awesome.

[00:29:43.010] – Allan

But I think that's the other thing that I wanted to kind of get to with this is that you start having a newfound respect for the food that you're eating. So the concept of waste, the concept of just going out and doing something for the sake of doing it. You really get a sense of what the cost of this is, not just from a financial perspective of what we're dealing with, but just knowing that what you're doing is about survival, about you doing the right things for yourself. Again, I think you approach this with a very different mindset. Maybe you do eat less meat because the emotional cost of raising the meat for you is a little bit higher. And as a result, you're eating less red meat and maybe a little bit more vegetables, a little bit more plant based. And in the end, that turns out to be a more helpful choice for you.

[00:30:37.590] – Clint

Yeah, I think you're right. You're investing more than just money. When you go down this path, there's time and effort, then there's on the receiving end, whatever it is you're deciding to grow or harvest what it's given back to you. And so there's this relationship that forms with a lot of what you're doing, and every aspect of it becomes valuable, and you don't want any of it to go to waste. I think with people just do one little thing here and there, holistically they will kind of start to grow up in a different way than what we're used to, because these modern conveniences and technology, I think we all know it and we see it all the time that these things are necessary evil. And I mean, look at us now. It does give us these great capabilities. I'm communicating from Texas to Panama like live feed right now. And that aspect is just incredible. Right. But at the same size really makes us lazy and complacent. Like I said, 200 years ago, everybody knew this stuff, and now it's very rare, and it took a pandemic for people to wake up and go, oh, yeah, it might be a good idea that I know how to make something as simple as hand sanitizer.

[00:32:01.900] – Clint

Right. We all learned it really quick when the shelves got empty, along with toilet paper, which is really odd. But now that we're somewhat through it, this is an opportunity to really embrace it and start trying new and different things. And hopefully that's the kind of impact the book has on everyone. Yeah.

[00:32:24.340] – Allan

And I think other folks are going to look at it and say, okay, there's also the aspects of inflation and where my food is coming from. You look at some of these industrial plants where they're bringing in meat or eggs or whatever, and it's just horrific to see some of the stuff that they do to these animals. And to know that you can do this in a different, more sustainable way, I think is really a big step. Plus, again, not initially, but over time, just depending on what goes on in the world, being self reliant, having the sustainable source of something, whether it's vegetables, food, whatever, meat or whatever and being able to Hunt for yourself, being able to fish for yourself, those things is going to give you a way of having control. When inflation is out of your control and you just have to pay what the market costs. When you want to have a steak or have some fish or have some eggs, you just pay what the market is versus if you are doing your own thing and get to a point of sustainability, it's now just about you taking care of the animals and them taking care of you, as you said earlier.

[00:33:39.090] – Clint

Yup, you've nailed it. I mean, it's a crazy world and I'm not a fear monger by any means, but reality is reality. You come out of a pandemic, you've got Russia invading countries, you have interest rates already going through the roof. The economy is screwed because of supply chain issues. Supply chain issues aren't getting fixed because other countries are still dealing with the pandemic which slows things down. And recovery is just going to take a while. The economy is always kind of like this accordion and the impact of today, we may not recover for a couple of years down the road. And so being more self sufficient and self reliant.

[00:34:23.250] – Allan

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

[00:34:33.990] – Clint

it's a good question. Number one, having a routine that looks after you first, right? I always have to tell myself, look out for myself first each day. And that's only because if I let the day get a hold of me, then I may not actually do anything for myself. And when I say that, I mean you get up and you work out, right? And get that workout under your belt. It's also the same as, hey, I get my coffee, the MCT oil and collagen in my system right off the bat as well because I'm looking out for myself first and then, okay, sit down and organize your mind, right? So I'm a big list guy. So get those lists and keep your mind healthy and get the clutter out and down on paper. And then start tackling those tasks in the order of priorities in which whatever it is you're dealing with for the day. And then of course, you have to power yourself. So make sure you're taking in the things that fuel the body and fuel the mind. I like the intermittent fast. I feel like it's done. Everyone is different about that kind of stuff.

[00:35:49.190] – Clint

But for me, waiting till around lunch time to really start taking in calories seems to work. And then I pretty much eat somewhat healthy from lunchtime till about six or seven. And then that's it. I think regulating and getting into a routine and then implementing what can I do that's healthy for the mind, healthy for the body, healthy for the spirit and then just integrate that into my day. Then boom, it becomes automatic after some time, and then before you know it, you realize, wow, I feel a hell of a lot better than I did a year ago. And that's how it should be, right? Every year you get older, you should be able to go, I feel better than I did last year. Hey, you know what? I feel better than I did last year, even though I'm getting older and it seems to be working. But I don't know. I'm no expert.

[00:36:43.930] – Allan

It's working. Clint, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, The Rugged Life, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:36:53.350] – Clint

Yeah, my entire ecosystem is @clintemerson.com super simple. You can pre-order or order the books right now, right there. And I really do appreciate your time and any of your listeners that go check clintemerson.com out or my Instagram page. I thank you ahead of time.

[00:37:12.140] – Allan

All right. Well, thank you so much, Clint, for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:37:16.870] – Clint

No, thanks for having me, buddy. You got a great thing going.

[00:37:19.520] – Allan

All right. Thank you.


Post Show/Recap

[00:37:27.590] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:37:29.270] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Wow. I'm telling you, you're speaking my love language here. We talk a lot about home studying at our house up here.

[00:37:36.650] – Allan

Yeah, I see a lot of videos. I know that your husband is a Hunter and a fisherman and just kind of the whole idea of the whole concept of going out in a hut on a Lake and cutting a hole in the ice and sitting there, not my thing. I'll take my kayak out here in the water and cast out or fish from a beach. But I think the thing that I wanted people to take away from here is understanding the source of your food and taking that on as a personal challenge, to be more involved in the food. It's good for you. And it's great for the younger generations who in some cases have no concept whatsoever of what this stuff is and potentially how bad some of it can be. I would never encourage anyone to really go spend a whole lot of time diving into this, because it's not pretty how animals can be mistreated and terribly raised. So the more you're able to get involved, the more you're able to create sustainable opportunities for yourself. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, a small herb garden, a small this or that, going in with a few friends and finding a co op.

[00:38:58.810] – Allan

And you mentioned a few cool things.

[00:39:01.100] – Rachel

Yes, we do a lot of gardening at our house, and I say we very generally I do not have a green thumb. It's all my daughter and husband, they're way more skilled at this type of thing than I am. But we choose our vegetable gardens based on how we eat, and we tend to eat a lot of peppers and tomatoes. We do a lot of herbs. So we choose some pretty easy things to grow. And we put some in the ground, some in pots, like herbs can decorate your kitchen. It would look lovely and smell lovely to have some good herbs in your kitchen. And then on top of that, if gardening isn't your thing, our local community has an area in town where you could for a low price of just $20 in the entire summer. They'll give you maybe a ten by 20 or so square foot area where you could grow whatever vegetables you are so inclined to grow. So if there's no room on your property, there's a place to go. And also my brother and sister in law, they have been doing a co op where for a weekly fee, they get handed a bag of vegetables, which is really fun from their local farm because you never know what you're going to get.

[00:40:10.720] – Rachel

So you can get really creative in the kitchen if you're getting some vegetables that you may not normally Cook with. So there's a lot of affordable options if growing isn't your thing. So that's what to look into.

[00:40:23.490] – Allan

And the reality of it is there's some work involved. I grew up and we had three acres, and so that was a chore. And then after you get the food, you have to think in terms of you don't want it to go to waste. Like, we had plum trees and there was like three or four plum trees and they would all come ripening at the same time. I can personally tell you from experience, don't eat a lot of plums at one time. Plums are prunes, okay? They're just moisture prunes, and they will do the same thing. So what you end up doing is saying, what are the preservation techniques that I can employ to keep this food and have it for later? So you talk about tomatoes and you can tomatoes. You learn how to use the Mason jars and hot water and creating pressure and put the caps on and letting it sit and hear that pop. And you're like, OK, we're good. Same thing with the preserves that we did for, like I said, the plums, we would do that also with blackberries. The BlackBerry preserves went very, very fast, though.

[00:41:35.190] – Rachel

That would be delicious.

[00:41:36.650] – Allan

They were. But that's the whole point. We knew where our food was coming from, the chickens and Ducks and turkeys that we raised. We knew what they were eating, we knew where they were. And so that gave us some ownership there and changed behaviors because it wasn't the simple thing of throwing things out and not utilizing them because you knew the cost and you knew what was involved with the fishing and the hunting. It was like, okay, we know where our meat is coming from. And we know sometimes we're going to be lucky and have a good harvest, if you will. And then other times we're not. And we have to look at what's going on. Why aren't there as many deer? And maybe it's a good thing we're not getting a big harvest this year Because if there's not enough deer for us to see the deer, Then maybe we don't need to be hunting the deer as much. So it allows you to get more creative with understanding the environment you're in and hunting and fishing and growing your own, raising your own. I think those are just huge opportunities for us to become more self sufficient.

[00:42:41.610] – Allan

And Clint book, again, it is about being resilient, it's about being self sufficient. And it goes a lot deeper. He teaches things about welding, solar panels, water. So all the things that you would say if I was really going to homestead and figure stuff out for myself. And is it a complete manual for how to do this? No, but it is an excellent source. If you're saying I really want to start figuring out I want to buy that cabin in the woods and move there. I want to buy that house, that property down there here about Bocas del toro, where I can own my own island for less than $200,000 And I can build a sustainable house with solar water catchment and all that. This will give you some general ideas about what's involved in doing that and kind of coming to the conclusion. And I really cut out to do that Because so many people move down here and say, yeah, this sounds great until we go three weeks without rain. Or we go three weeks with rain.

[00:43:46.830] – Rachel

Yes, like you just did. Oh, my gosh. Yes. Well, it's good to try some of these little things and absolutely buy the book because it's good to read about and do your research before you invest a whole ton of time. Because you're right. Failure happens. We evicted two groundhogs last year that ate a good chunk of our garden before we could. And it's just these type of things happen. So it's good to try these experiments every now and then and see what happens.

[00:44:15.450] – Allan

Okay. Well, Ras, that's all I really had for this week. What about you?

[00:44:19.750] – Rachel

Sure. No, that's great. Take care.

[00:44:22.440] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:44:23.400] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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April 26, 2022

How to get fit in just minutes per day with Dr. Robert Davis

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One of the biggest obstacles to getting is shape is finding the time to exercise. In his book, Fitter Faster, Dr. Robert Davis shows us the current science behind getting there faster, literally in minutes per day.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:03:24.190] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:03:25.970] – Rachel

Good. Allan how are you today?

[00:03:27.960] – Allan

I'm doing all right. A little waterlogged. We got about 2ft of rain in the last three days.

[00:03:37.400] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:03:39.410] – Allan

And it happened during what's supposed to be one of our driest months. March is supposed to be one of our dry months. In fact, the first year we moved here in March, we had three week drought, and they ran out of water on this island. They had a truck water in from the mainland for us. And then in December of that year, we had probably one of the worst rains they'd ever talked about, and they flooded the streets and flooded everything. I think the rain we got this time was even worse than what happened back in December. We literally got 2ft of rain in three days. We were in the middle of reroofing Lula's, so we're investing in this plastic PVC roof because we had a tin roof and it was rusting through and we're getting leaks. Well, we got leaks. So we had guests with leaks in the rooms, leaks over their bed, this and that. It was a little bit of a challenge there. And I had leaks at the gym. So we had this strip here, and I kind of knew it probably would leak, but I thought our guys had done enough to kind of help it from not happening.

[00:04:46.210] – Allan

But I just think the volume of water that was literally when we say buckets, that doesn't even really describe it. It was the hardest rain I've ever experienced. I've been here for over three years, but it was more than buckets. It was wild.

[00:05:06.390] – Rachel

My goodness. I can't imagine.

[00:05:09.350] – Allan

Yeah. So we're a little waterlogged. A lot of the papers and things that were on my desk because it just happened to leak right over my desk.

[00:05:16.620] – Rachel

Oh, no. Oh, my goodness.

[00:05:20.220] – Allan

It was a good thing I don't keep a computer just sitting on the desk here. It probably would have got ruined, but everything is kind of right now starting to have a little bit of an Orange hue to it. Everything metal. That is a bit of water and humidity. But hopefully another day or two will dry out and we'll figure out what my problem is on this road. But, yeah, the roofers are back at Lula's, so good. They know to kind of probably do a little bit of work there and two or three more days touch wood. We'll have our roof at Lula's Redone, and hopefully my landlord here will be able to do something. So next time we get a heavy rain, I don't have to move everything out of the way and have buckets cross the floor.

[00:06:03.220] – Rachel

No kidding. My goodness. Well, my fingers are crossed for you.

[00:06:07.200] – Allan

So you had a race?

[00:06:09.110] – Rachel

I did.

[00:06:10.080] – Allan

And you did a lot better than 5 hours.

[00:06:12.200] – Rachel

I did, yes. Last weekend we were in St. Louis for the St. Louis Marathon, and it was my husband's first official marathon, although he's done an ultra before, so kind of skipped a step. But he ran very well. And I also ran very well and secured a new PR at the ripe age of 50. So I'm quite excited to have a new PR of 4 hours and 38 minutes. And it was just a great day. It was a beautiful day to run. And I had a fantastic trainer who made me even stronger and more confident as a runner. And I did what I did, set a PR.

[00:06:54.400] – Allan

Congratulations.

[00:06:55.680] – Rachel

Thank you. Thank you so much. It was a wonderful time. I could not be happier.

[00:07:01.350] – Allan

Kind of the takeaway from this is if you set something in your mind and you make the investment. And the investment was time, effort, patience, and money because you did hire a trainer, but the trainer was telling you to do things that were like counter to what Rachel was saying traditionally. Yeah. It's like, no, I got to run more, not less. I've got to run harder. I got to run slower, not faster. She was challenging you to get outside your comfort zone and do some things. And you did. And the results speak for themselves?

[00:07:41.200] – Rachel

Very much so. Yes, very much. I had a great 16 weeks of training with her. And the different types of running that we did throughout the training period were a little different for me. Usually I run for different goals and different reasons. And you're right, this was definitely out of my comfort zone. And it was a very strong training cycle and it showed on race day.

[00:08:06.920] – Allan

Good. Congratulations again.

[00:08:08.900] – Rachel

Thank you so much.

[00:08:10.420] – Allan

All right. Well, we have Dr. Robert Davis back on the show. He did the Super Size Lies book, and now we're going to go. He's done a review of his book Fitter Faster. So you're ready to have that conversation?

[00:08:24.780] – Rachel

Sure.

Interview

[00:08:50.370] – Allan

Dr Davis, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:53.370] – Dr. Davis

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

[00:08:55.830] – Allan

I love seeing a book from an author who wrote a book that I love. And your Lies book. I can't remember the exact title of it, Super-Sized Lies, and it was about weight loss and all the lies were told about that's great book. I recommend everybody get a copy of that, too. But today we're going to talk about your book, Fitter Faster: The Smart Way to Get in Shape in Just Minutes a Day. And one of the things that's really cool about this is that this is not the first time this book has been out. You're actually updating it, meaning you've learned a few new things, a few new tricks, a few things we can do to get fitter faster. And you've touched on maybe the number one problem that most people will say. It's like, of course, my doctor tells me to eat better and exercise more. But working my working day, by the time I get home, I get dinner and get everything settled. When, when am I supposed to do this? And getting it done in minutes a day is true because as I went through your fitter faster program, those workouts, almost every single one of them is probably less than 20 minutes.

[00:10:09.960] – Allan

I mean, you need some warm up time for these obviously some cool down time stretching and things like that. But literally, if you can dedicate 20 minutes to your health and fitness each day, six days a week, this program is excellent.

[00:10:25.230] – Dr. Davis

Well, thank you. You're absolutely right. That is the number one reason people say they don't exercise can't exercise consistently because they don't have enough time. And the idea is that we wanted to help people overcome that barrier in addition to other barriers. And we can talk about those. But the number one barrier being a lack of time. And to do that by coming up with ways to exercise that are more time efficient. So to use certain techniques, they can allow you to get just as much, if not greater benefits in less time. And that's really the key. So that people can, when they have only ten minutes or 15 minutes, can still get in and work at it, because often people say, well, I only have ten minutes. I only have a few minutes. Forget it, because I don't have enough time. And so we try to eliminate that as an excuse.

[00:11:07.050] – Allan

And the cool thing about this is you're not just giving them shorter workouts and saying, okay, just do these shorter workouts and they're going to work. This is science based. You didn't just go and say, okay, how can I give them this easy button? You look back at the science and said, what does science tell us? Is something that we can do that's going to give us the benefits at the kind of the minimum dose.

[00:11:32.130] – Dr. Davis

Exactly. Readers will see. I have hundreds of footnotes in the back of the book, and I hope it didn't come across as a textbook. I tried really hard and so that it did not. It was very user friendly. But for people that want to know about the science, wanted to delve into it more. And to see that what, as you say, we're recommending is based entirely on the latest science. I wanted to make sure that people knew that those references were there for that reason.

[00:11:55.480] – Allan

Well, even though I geek out on a lot of this stuff, obviously, I can tell you it's not a textbook. It's very well written, it's very easy read. And we even talked about it before we got on the call, the workouts themselves and the demonstrations that you have in there, the pictures. I know how hard that is. I've seen a lot of books, a lot of workouts printed. It's among the best I've ever seen. So this is a good book if you're short of time and you want to get something done. But we're going to spend some time today talking about first, why would I want to sweat? Because that's uncomfortable. I can sit in my air conditioner and I can do this. Let's have some conversations. Let's have some phone calls, let's watch some Netflix or do something else. In the book, you go through what you call the Big Six benefits. Can we go through those Big Six? Because I think they're really important. Obviously, as a personal trainer, I would, but they are. And you go into the science in each and every one of these of why exercise gives us this benefit.

[00:13:01.850] – Dr. Davis

Sure. And let me say first, Allan, I like to say that if there were a pill, they could do everything that exercise could do, we'd all be clamoring for it, and we can talk about these Big Six, and there are others as well. And so the list is really very long of all the benefits that exercise has. I really believe it's the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. And yet it's a shame that so few people take full advantage of it. With that in mind, we can go through, as I say, as you said, what I call the Big Six.

[00:13:27.780] – Dr. Davis

So the first one is simply the research shows that exercising regularly, regular physical activity, helps people live longer. And not only does it help people live longer, but it helps people live healthier so that there's in many cases what's so called compression of morbidity, which means that the time that we have debilitating conditions is condensed, typically toward the last few years or the end of life, so there are fewer years of disability. You cannot say that it adds years to your life, but life to your years as well.

[00:14:02.090] – Dr. Davis

So that's a key point there also we hear about this all the time. Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. That's something many people are familiar with. Less risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, lower risk of certain kinds of cancer. That includes colon cancer, breast cancer, and boost your brain power. What that means is there's a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and those who exercise regularly. Also, people who are not affected by dementia just have clearer thinking, often better memory, who often experience that people experience that often who regularly exercise. Mood is another area of important area. There's a lower risk of depression among those who exercise regularly and among those who have symptoms of depression. Exercise can often help improve those symptoms. And then finally, what I like to call fending off feebleness as we get older, we have various conditions that can make it harder to do everyday tasks. So bones tend to become less strong. Osteoporosis, arthritis, we lose muscle mass as we get older, and so regular exercise can help all of those things, and particularly muscle mass as we lose all those muscle mass as we get older.

[00:15:22.110] – Dr. Davis

And what that means is that people often as they get older, have trouble doing everyday activities, getting up and down from a chair, walking up and down steps, doing simple things. And so this impairs their quality of life. And by helping to preserve muscle mass, particularly exercise, can help us live Fuller, more active lives longer.

[00:15:41.490] – Allan

The interesting thing is and I think every one of us, if we just sat down, we're all in our 40s, 50s, 60s, maybe even more. But as we sit down, we start thinking about this. It's like, well, of course I want to live longer, but I want to live better. And every one of these benefits, if you really think about it, what's the number one killer of men and women in the United States? It's heart disease. What's number two and maybe even scarier is cancer. And so there's evidence to support the fact that this is going to make us not just fitter. So what we're capable of physically doing is going to make us live longer and live better. I think those are huge, and they're really big. Now you go into too many more, as you mentioned, I think I could sit down and probably come up with a list of 100 things that exercise does for you every day and for the rest of your life. But there's one surprising one that's missing from your list, and it's probably the main reason people walk into a gym in the first place and see all those treadmills sitting there is most people believe that they need to exercise to lose weight, but weight loss is not one of the benefits that you list in either your big six or your surprising step.

[00:16:55.830] – Dr. Davis

Yeah. And people find that surprising, that weight is not there. And as you say, Allan, people that's often the number one reason people start an exercise program or look to exercise to help them. And that's unfortunate because helping you shed pounds is the one thing of all the things we talked about and the other things exercise can do, it's the one thing that it doesn't do so well. And the reason is fairly simple. And that is the kind of exercise that most of us do that is going for a brisk walk, taking a yoga class, riding a bike, all of which are fantastic for your health, have all the other benefits we've talked about. And people should absolutely do. They don't typically burn that many calories. And so what that means is that you're going to get a much bigger bang for your buck if you focus on your diet, changing your diet when it comes to your weight rather than exercising. Now that said, there are benefits related to weight that come from exercise. For example, exercise, while it may not be so great at helping you actually shed pounds, it has been shown to be effective at helping you keep weight off.

[00:17:52.380] – Dr. Davis

So once you lose weight or in the maintenance phase, help trying to keep that weight off. Exercise is very important for that. It's also important for helping you to avoid gaining weight in the first place. So there is good evidence for that. Also, there is evidence that exercise can change your body composition so it can reduce body fat, particularly visceral fat. That's the kind of fat around the waist that's often associated with negative health effects. So while it can have weight related benefits, it often does not have the benefit that we look to the most, which is just to help the shed pounds. And I think it's important that when people go into an exercise program that they're fully aware of that their expectations are managed, because too often I think people go in, they start a program, they say, okay, I'm going to do this, I'm going to lose weight. They don't lose weight. And then what happens? They give up on exercise. And so they say, well, it's not working the way I intended, so I'm not going to keep exercising. And that's a shame, because as we say, it has all these other benefits.

[00:18:48.050] – Dr. Davis

And I think it's important to reframe exercise not as a weight loss tool, but as something to enhance our lives and to improve the quality of our lives. And I think if we do that, then people are less likely to give up on exercise the way they do if they see it simply as a weight loss tool.

[00:19:03.060] – Allan

Yeah. One of the things I like to say is weight loss tends to be a side effect of getting healthy and fit. So if you're doing the right things physically, you're putting information in your body. So movement to me, any kind of exercise that you do is a form of communication. You're telling your body, I need to get stronger. I need my bones to be more dense. I need the capacity to be able to run a little faster, run a little further. So I'm building stamina. And through that process, then your body says, okay, well, we're viable, healthy human being here. Maybe this body weight doesn't need to be here. So our hormones start acting the right way, our body starts sleeping better, our stress management is better. All those surprising seven stuff that's in there that I encourage you to get the book. And so all of a sudden, yeah, you do start losing weight, but if you focus on weight often, that does derail you because you might be putting on muscle mass, you do a particularly hard work out your body water. The amount of water your muscles carrying, your body's carrying might vary and you very well could put on weight.

[00:20:16.650] – Allan

That's water weight. And so weight itself is measuring one element of about four to include your actual muscle, your bone, the water in your body and fat. And so if you want to lose weight, there's easier ways to do it, cut off a limb or something. But exercise is not specifically for weight loss. The diet is going to do a much better deal there. But I think the exercise is very important, as you mentioned. One, it helps you keep it off. You've got more bone, you've got more muscle mass. Your resting metabolism is going to be a little higher, not much, but a little, which says annual hormone profile, your sleep, your stress, everything is going to be telling your body you don't need to accumulate fat. You're in a good place.

[00:21:07.810] – Dr. Davis

Right. Absolutely.

[00:21:09.450] – Allan

Now for many of us, okay, you can say, hey, you can live longer, we can boost your brain power, which I think a lot of us would love that we don't forget where we put our keys often, which is kind of a plus 40 thing. But there's the motivation of that that comes around. And then there's the other things that go on around us, someone kind of cheering us on or a friend that's working out with us. And those levels of motivation and things that push us to do things are really important. Some are more valuable than others. Some come from within and some without. We call them intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors. Can you talk a little bit about motivation, where it comes from, and what those two elements are really are? Internal, external, intrinsic external, and how we want to use those to make sure we can get better faster?

[00:22:06.870] – Dr. Davis

Sure. Well, extrinsic you mentioned motivation means motivation from the outside. And this is the kind of motivation that's particularly important as you get started, because if you're just starting an exercise regimen, it often is tough and it's tough to sort of get in the habit of doing it, to keep doing it. We all know that. So certain things can help this kind of extrinsic motivation, one is trying to make it more enjoyable. So, for example, listening to music or save if you're exercising indoors, saving a favorite TV show or on Netflix or whatever it is, so that it's something you look forward to doing, teaming up with a friend, joining a class, things like that, that can essentially make it more enjoyable and give you more motivation to do it. Interestingly. Money is a motivator for some people. I talk about how that is a motivation for people, and their studies have been done. People are given money that particularly the beginning can help them exercise to continue their exercise program, rewarding yourself with something like a vacation or a concert or massage, something you enjoy and saying, if I reach a certain goal, then I'll do this, by the way, it shouldn't be food.

[00:23:13.200] – Dr. Davis

So if you're trying to lose weight, that can be counterproductive. But some activity you enjoy as a reward. That's another example of extrinsic motivation, just sort of external motivation to help you keep going. So those kinds of things can be very helpful, particularly, as I say, as you get started. But over time, what we want and what happens to many of us I know it's happened to me over time. It wasn't this way at the beginning, but it is now is that you shift to intrinsic motivation, meaning you exercise not because of some external reason, but because something inside of you just wants to do it. And I think the way at least I've arrived at that and tell other people they can is instead of focusing on a lot of these long term benefits, and certainly they're fantastic, all the things we talked about lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer, and all the rest. But sometimes that's not enough to motivate you to go to the gym today, right. If you think about I'm not going to have a heart attack in 20 or 30 years, it's easy to stay on the couch.

[00:24:07.500] – Dr. Davis

So the thing to focus on in that case is how am I going to feel right away right after exercise? What is the immediate payoff? Think about that instant gratification. Does it mean that you're less stressed, that you feel better, that you feel less anxiety, you're better able to deal with a stressful job or screaming children, or you're going to sleep better tonight, or you just feel more empowered? Those kinds of immediate feelings that you get from exercise can be very motivating to help people keep going over time. And you don't feel that you have to go exercise. You feel that you want to because you have these benefits. And so that's an example of intrinsic motivation that we all sort of, I think can achieve over time, which is to say that exercise goes from something that you have to do to something you want to do because it's going to help you feel good. And I think that ultimately is what can motivate us to continue exercising for the long term. I know that's what's worked for me because now I started off as a kid who never wanted to sweat, never wanted to get off the couch, who hated gym class.

[00:25:12.180] – Dr. Davis

And over time I started exercising in various ways. And now I can't imagine not having exercise as part of my life because of how I know how it makes me feel better. And I think that's not something we can't expect or cannot expect to have intrinsic motivation overnight. But over time that's I think a very powerful force to get us on track to make exercise something that we continue to do.

[00:25:36.210] – Allan

The way I like to look at it is for me to really push myself so to push myself past what I would call my baseline. So I have a baseline of fitness that I'll just do. This is who I am. This is what I do and to push myself past that. So let's say I want to do a little bit more. I'll typically do something like sign up for a race. So I'm signed up for a tough Mudder in August, and it's going to be the 15K one with the obstacles.

[00:26:04.990] – Allan

Yeah. There's some electricity and some water and some heights, cold and a lot of uncomfortable things. I find that fun. I really enjoyed the time that I've done it before, so I'm really looking forward to a future event. But it's intrinsic. It's extrinsic knowing, okay, there's this event, this thing coming up. I have to kind of push myself to be ready for that or not. I can just go in and suffer through it and probably still do it, but just not enjoy it. And then there's the intrinsic, which is I can't wait until Sunday. And the reason I can't wait until Sunday is that's my long day. And my long day means that I'm going to be walking from here. And about mile four, five, I start hitting the beaches of Bluff here in Bocas, and they are gorgeous. And I get deeper and deeper into the jungle. There's fewer and fewer people. I'm a huge introvert. So that opportunity to spend some hours by myself is a huge reward. It recharges my batteries like nothing else. When I can go an hour or so without seeing a human being, for me, that's brilliant. If I could go a day without talking, it would be brilliant.

[00:27:19.800] – Allan

I would love that. So just knowing myself, the intrinsic motivation of getting out there on the trail, and there's a part towards the end I'm just now getting because I'm starting to push my mileage up. I found a spot they call Jungle Highway now, and you're literally walking through the jungle. There's no one. It's just you on a nice path walking through the jungle, the birds, the monkeys, all of it. To me, that's a huge opportunity that I look forward to, but it means that I'm already at something like ten to 12 miles. So there's an element of I have to push myself to earn that. If I want to see that jungle, if I want those birds and those monkeys, I've got to get past that four mile out and 4 miles back. So there's a push to get to the better parts the next thing. So if you can find those opportunities where you're going to enjoy what you're doing even more, signing up at a gym that you really like, it's got all the stuff you really enjoy. For some of us, that's wonderful. Having a home gym where you can just feel proud when you're sitting there in your basement or garage and just enjoying the heck out of yourself because this is my space.

[00:28:33.870] – Allan

Those are just opportunities for you to bring that inside and really have some pride and some enjoyment in what you're doing.

[00:28:41.490] – Dr. Davis

Yeah. And I think that's a great point. And as you say, that works for you. And I think it's important for everybody to find and it takes time sometimes what's going to be motivating for you. Right. And it's going to be different for all of us. But to sort of give exercise and fitness enough of an opportunity to allow you to find that, because it may not be readily apparent when you start. But over time, you can see okay, I can see these things in ways that I feel or these aspects of my routine where I do feel really good and motivated and motivated to continue. So I think it's important to find what works for you.

[00:29:16.290] – Allan

Now we talked about weight loss a little bit, and as I said, I would say probably 99% of the folks that walk in and want to talk to me about training them, their number one goal is weight loss. We said that's not going to necessarily happen in the gym, but it's going to come from what you eat. And your performance when you're working out is also hugely affected by what you eat. So in the book, you include eight eating rules. And these rules are designed to kind of help you on your fitness. So you're getting the nutrition your body needs and making sure you're not just, I guess, following broscience, because again, there's you didn't do broscience here. Can you go through these 8 eating rules? Because I think it's really important for someone to understand that when you start thinking of food as fuel and food as building materials, those two primary things. There's other reasons we eat. But once you get on those two, I think it makes the fitter faster program even better.

[00:30:23.910] – Dr. Davis

Well, let me just say first, I think I went through these rules because so often, as you say, people here around exercise all kinds of different advice. And often they come from gym rats, eat a bunch of egg whites, drink chocolate milk after you work out, or drink a bunch of Gatorade, the list goes on things you're supposedly supposed to do if you're working out. And I think often these things are not only not effective, but they can actually derail people, particularly if they're trying to lose weight or other things by adding calories. So what I've tried to do is sort of issue some guidelines here. Now, granted, everybody's different. So part of it depends on what your goals are. So somebody who's a middle aged woman is going to be different from a young man whose bodybuilding in terms of what their diet needs to be. But nevertheless, there are some general principles I tried to sort of lay down for people to keep in mind. One is to get plenty of protein and to try to include protein at every meal. And you hear about the importance of protein and building muscle. And it is important.

[00:31:23.070] – Dr. Davis

But sometimes people end up getting all their protein or most of their protein, for example, at dinner. And it's important, I think, to sort of spread that out and get some protein at every meal. And that protein sources are things like poultry, eggs, dairy, beans, soy. And then at the same time to go easy on the processed red meat. It doesn't mean you have to never eat red meat, but it just means to minimize that. So that's obviously one macronutrient to focus on is the protein. Number two would be the carbs. So here to go for complex carbohydrates rather than refined carbohydrates. So that means things like complex carbs will be fruits, vegetables, whole grains. And to try to minimize things like chips, cookies, crackers, sweets, those kinds of things that are refined range, white bread, the third thing. And the third macronutrient, of course, fats. And here to go for the good fats, we all hear about the good fats, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, things like that. And to de emphasize saturated fats and trans fats. So those are the three macros. We hear those principles. Those are principles that apply to healthy eating, but they apply also when we're trying to eat in an optimal way for exercise, when it comes to hydration, water is your best bet.

[00:32:43.720] – Dr. Davis

So we hear, as we say, about sports drinks, Gatorades, replacing electrolytes. That may be important for athletes, for people that are exercising for very long periods, particularly in hot conditions. But for the vast majority of those people going to the gym for an hour or going for a walk or going for a bike ride, it's not necessarily necessary to have a Gatorade or any kind of electrolytes to replace once you've lost. So water is your best bet. There fad Diets again, we hear these different diets. I talk about a lot about this in my previous book, Super Sized Lives. And there's sort of all kinds of diets that people hear about when it comes to related to weight training into the gym. But I think generally the idea here is to just focus on healthy eating and forget about diets with a bunch of rules. Not only are they not sustainable over the long term, but in some cases, they can actually cause harm. When you're looking at ingredient lists, a general principle I like is that shorter is better on boxes, on food labels. And if it has a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, it's take it as a red flag.

[00:33:50.790] – Allan

I'm going to step in just a second and say if it has no ingredient list, you're probably better off. You'll notice the tomatoes sitting on the farmers market, the chicken, if you want to buy chicken from a Butcher, particularly no ingredients list, doesn't need one. It's tomato.

[00:34:15.690] – Dr. Davis

I like that. Yeah. The best is no, the best is zero ingredients. Right. And so it has some ingredients when a box shorter is better. So that's an excellent point. And then when it comes to related to this, so you have the nutrition label. Right. But then you also have marketing claims on packages, all kinds of marketing buzzwords. We see things like gluten free, vitamin fortified, organic, multi grain. All these words and studies show these can often lead people to falsely conclude that the food is more helpful, it's better for them when in fact, it's not. And so generally, to ignore all of these claims and to look just at that nutrition label, look at things like calories, protein, added sugars, fiber. Those are the things to look at in that ingredient list, as opposed to all these sort of marketing buzzwords that you often see on the front of the package to look beyond those. And then finally, foods that are often marketed for exercise, energy bars, particularly not to be fooled by this, because again, if you look carefully at that label, you'll find that many energy bars have lots of calories and in some cases, as much sugar as a candy bar.

[00:35:20.100] – Dr. Davis

And yet people will eat these after they exercise, think, oh, this is good. I need to get this refuel after I exercise by any energy bar because it has protein or because it just seems like it's something that people who exercise should eat. And in fact, they can be eating unhealthy foods and adding a lot more calories to their diet more than they realize. So, again, not to be fooled by these kind of in many cases, these are highly processed as well. So I think that to sort of look beyond, again, that kind of marketing around these so called exercise friendly foods.

[00:35:50.370] – Allan

The core for me is experiment with your nutrition. There's some basic rules that most of us can follow. These are intended to make your performance when you're working out sufficient so that you're recovering from your work, you're fueling properly and you're getting the protein your body needs. You feel full, you feel satiated, you're not overeating. Because, again, if weight loss is part of your overall program, you still have to manage that part. But knowing you're fueling, knowing what you're putting into your body is equally important if you want to make sure that you're everything you need to be to be able to do these programs.

[00:36:31.650] – Dr. Davis

Right. Absolutely.

[00:36:33.690] – Allan

Now, your Fitter Faster program has a lot of variety. It's a six day on, one day off kind of program. Obviously, if someone needs to ease into this, then maybe they skip a day here and there as their body tells them. You talked about a lot of that. That's one of the things I really like about your book is you have a lot of asides, if you will, of that. This is Dom, and this is what this feels like and why you're having it. And this is this and this is what's going on there's a lot of information in there that's put together in a way that okay, here's a little bit of information to help you. But as someone's going into this, they're going to ease into these and get into this program. But the program itself has three levels. So regardless of whether you're a beginner all the way to advanced, this is a program that's going to be able to work for you. Can you give us a little bit of insight into your program, how it's put together and what someone can expect?

[00:37:29.670] – Dr. Davis

Sure. And we'll continue at that point you made about beginner, intermediate advance, because somebody could be different levels for different types of exercise. Right. So we have both cardio exercise as well as strength training, and so somebody might be intermediate or advanced when it comes to their cardio, but just starting with weight training or strength training. So it's important to assess where you are. And we have tests and there are ways to assess self assessments where you are with that. But yes. So it includes what we try to do is to include the various elements of a well rounded and comprehensive exercise program. And those are aerobic conditioning, strength training and also flexibility, because we hear for the official recommendations from the government or you should have at least five days a week, 30 minutes a day of cardio or aerobic exercise. You should have at least two days a week of strength training and then have some flexibility. And that's a lot. And so it's easy to see why people like I can't do all that. That takes too much time. So we tried to do is to combine all of those in a way, as we said earlier, that is more time efficient but allows you to incorporate all those elements.

[00:38:34.550] – Dr. Davis

So we have a couple of days, a week of more traditional kinds of strength training. But we would do it in a circuit. So as opposed to someone the way that many of us training, you do a set, you rest, you do another set, you rest, you go through a circuit. And we have people go through one circuit which research shows can be very effective. Certainly two or three can be more effective, but that first one is the most important. So if all you have time for is one circuit, that's great. And so we have that. So a couple of days a week, you have a circuit of just traditional strength training. And also you go through relatively rapidly. So there's some aerobic benefit there, too, because you're going from one exercise to the next pretty rapidly. One day a week, we have what's so called hit training, that's high intensity interval training. That's where you instead of going at a steady state, say on walking or biking, you go hard for, say 30 seconds easier then harder than easier. And research shows, as many of your least listeners, I'm sure know is that hip training, high intensity interval training can be just as effective, if not more effective with regard to cardiovascular and other benefits than conventional aerobic activity.

[00:39:40.610] – Dr. Davis

So again, this is a great way to save time. You can get more benefits, and just about anybody can incorporate this. You don't have to be a high level athlete. It doesn't mean you have to run. If you walk, you simply walk at a faster pace for, say 15 or 20 or 30 seconds, and then go at a more moderate pace. So whatever activity you do, you simply do it with more intensity for a short time. And that's how you can incorporate hip, whatever your level happens to be. We incorporate conventional cardio for one day. We have what's called hit plyometric exercises. Those are jumping exercises that are done in a high intensity interval fashion. And then we have one day where you pick your own activity. And this is an important, crucial part of this is because you're not going to stick with exercise if you don't do things you enjoy, or at least you do things you don't hate. Right. So it's important to do things that you're going to enjoy. And so there's so many different ways to move your body. And so we have a day that it's important where you just pick what you do.

[00:40:36.920] – Dr. Davis

The same goes for the hit day to pick the activity that you enjoy and for cardio. So there's a lot of choice built into this, tailoring what activities you like to do. And I think that the other important point I'd make here is it's also varied. So you notice every day of the week there's something different because number one, if you do the same thing day after day after day, you have a greater risk of injury, overuse injury. And it's important to mix things up. And second, it just reduces boredom. So that often you do the same thing every day. You get sick of your workout, you get bored, you're more likely to stop. So if there's something different every day, that's crucial as well to keep you motivated and keep it interesting.

[00:41:13.270] – Allan

Yeah. But you have two different resistant training exercises up for each level in the book. So as you go through on day one, you'll do workout A. I don't think you called it workout A, but you'll do the first one, and then on your next resistance day training, you'll do the next one. And if you get through that and you're doing that, it's like then your step up would be potentially doing another level of circuit. So you did one, and now you're worked up to where you can do two and then maybe the three. By the time you can do three of these, now you're ready to potentially move up to the advanced on some or more of these exercises. And so it does provide quite a bit of variety with regards to the training. And then yeah. The kind of the add in there of kind of doing things you enjoy. So if you like playing tennis, your standard day of doing what you want to do can be go play some tennis, enjoy yourself. So I like that. I like the way you put that all together.

[00:42:13.530] – Dr. Davis

Well, thank you. And it's a testament to my co author, Brad Kolowich, who's a personal trainer who I work with to come up with the plans. And again, it was very important for reasons you said, to make them so that people start basic exercises at the beginner level, and then we move to more compound movements as you get to the advanced levels. And people again, as you say, can move once they're ready, they've been able to do three sets to move to the next level.

[00:42:36.470] – Allan

Yeah. Like I said, doing the workouts in the book, the way you presented them, you guys did a great job with that. I've seen a lot of them, and this was among the best. And they're pretty standard full body things. So these are not going to be confusing. You don't have to have a ton of equipment in most cases. I think the equipment the only two pieces of equipment I'd say Besides shoes that you'd really need would be a set of dumbbells and varying degrees based on how strong you are and a yoga mat so you can get on the floor comfortably and I guess a bench or a sturdy couch.

[00:43:12.570] – Dr. Davis

Yeah. And I think that's a key point, Allan, because so many people I like going to gyms. I didn't always like going to gyms. I was intimidated by gyms when I started. And so many people don't like gyms or it's inconvenient to go to a gym. And I think the key here is that any workout program you do needs to be convenient. Right. So if you don't like gyms, if you can't go to the gym, if it's not convenient to be able to do this at home. And so this is design where you can do it at a gym, but if you don't want to go to a gym, that's fine. You can do this at home. And I think that's, again, another crucial element of any kind of successful workout plan is it's something that's convenient for you and it works with your preferences.

[00:43:45.870] – Allan

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

[00:43:53.520] – Dr. Davis

Well, I'm going to quote the late, great Jack Elaine, who said that when it comes to wellness exercises, as King, nutritionist, Queen, put them together and you have a Kingdom. And so those are two elements. I think that there's pretty self evident, but in my world view, they're both crucial. So first of all, we've been talking about movement, all the reasons that incorporating movement into your life is so important for wellness. Second is nutrition, eating a healthy diet. That way we've talked about focusing on a whole foods diet, and that's again, also imperative when it comes to living a healthy life. So what you put into your body, how you move your body, the food you put into your body. And third, I would say for me at least would be sleep, getting adequate sleep. That's just something that so many of us don't do. We have busy lives. We're up late scrolling through Facebook, whatever, and at late at night and don't get enough sleep. And I think it's so important to prioritize sleep. It has so many benefits with regard to our health, with regard to our risk of disease, with regard to how we feel, with our ability to exercise and to do other things to make healthy food choices.

[00:45:02.080] – Dr. Davis

So really, all these things work together, I think, to incorporate, make sure that we try to get enough sleep is another crucial element of a healthy lifestyle.

[00:45:12.280] – Allan

Great. If someone want to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Fitter Faster, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:45:21.170] – Dr. Davis

So they can go to my website, Healthyskeptic.com, and learn more about this book as well as my other books. There are links there to Amazon to purchase the books. In there by the way, I have short videos I've created about fitness and nutrition and other wellness topics that take on various claims and look at the science show what's true and what's not. And then they can also go follow me on social media. I'm on Instagram @HealthySkept, and I'm also on Facebook at Robert Davis Healthy Skeptic.

[00:45:50.930] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/535. And I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Davis, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:46:01.050] – Dr. Davis

Thank you, Allan. Fine to talk to you again.


Post Show/Recap

[00:46:10.030] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:46:11.530] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. It's really nice to hear from Dr. Davis again and Fitter Faster. Sounds like he's got a really interesting book available now.

[00:46:20.660] – Allan

Yeah, the book it's interesting because we did Supersize Lies and that was about weight loss. And then he redid his Fitter Faster book, which I think the last time he had done it was like 2017. So it's about five years old. So he did add some science and stuff to it. I didn't cover the book back then. But if you're looking at the book, though, if you're looking at buying the book and you say, oh, it's got an audiobook. Just beware and beware when you're buying it. Sometimes Amazon will do this. They will show the old book and the new book. But you got to be careful. He has not done the audiobook for the new book yet. So the audiobook will be the old version and some of the paperbacks and hardbacks that might be out there might be the old version. So pay attention to the Copyright date. It's 2022 already. Pay attention to that date if you want the most updated book. And so to take it together, that book and his super sized Lies but fitter faster and his super sized Lies book really do give you a good, solid basis for understanding how to get into this stuff, how to do things right, and why some of the traditional approaches, the broscience, the hearing and this bad diet.

[00:47:41.190] – Allan

That why all those things aren't going to work for you, so you don't waste your time doing it. They're both really good entry level books for you to kind of understand these things. If you're looking for something that will let you dive a little deeper into the geek, but in a good readable way.

[00:47:59.420] – Rachel

Great. Well, why don't we get started with his exercise schedule he has in his book?

[00:48:08.230] – Allan

Yeah, the programs are really good. I'm not sure that a true advanced lifter. Now, again, I look at advanced maybe a little differently than he does, which is fair. We can all look at them the way we want to. For me, a beginner lifter is probably for about the first six to eight months that you're lifting. You're really getting used to learning how to do the exercises you're using very lightweight or body weight. It is stuff you can easily do at home as you start getting further along. So after about six to eight months, if you're starting to really get stronger, starting to figure some things out, you're going to want some variety in there. You're going to want to mix things up a little bit. This is about the time that people even consider things like splits. So you're going to do certain body parts one day. So you're actually allowing yourself to lift more often than the traditional workout. Take two days off, work out. Now you're working a body part the next day, working the body part the next day, working a body part. And as you go through, you don't really even have to take a day off if you didn't want to.

[00:49:13.430] – Allan

His program blends in both the lifting and the cardiovascular fitness things. So you are doing some hit training, some longer cardio, some fun days, your two lifting days and then off day. But as you get into more intermediate, you're probably going to have to make some choices. Okay. If I'm going to do the hit, I might have to do my hit training on the same due. I do my lifting if I'm going to do a split because I'm going to lift instead of two days a week, I'm going to lift five days a week and kind of see how you're probably going to have to double up if you really want to get all that volume in and then advanced. My advance would be if you've been lifting for over two years, you know the form, you know how it feels, your brain knows how to talk, your muscles, everything's there at this point, it's really about fine tuning. It's about making decisions on whether you're truly in this just to build more muscle, to really get stronger if you're going to compete or do things like that as an advanced lifter, it's really at this point, it's just really about kind of polishing it.

[00:50:24.810] – Allan

getting your life, getting your fitness where you really want it to be at points in time, maybe a little bit further. So you challenged yourself to do something a little different. Like maybe you want to get your physique to a certain level or you want to get your strength level to a certain thing. As I said, competitions are just saying I want a PR on the deadlift. Those are things that advanced lifter is going to be looking at is okay. Can I do the main three lifts? So bench press, squat and deadlift. Can I top 1000 lbs? Can I top 1500 lbs? Can I top 2000 lbs? I know that sounds like a lot of weight, but you're advanced lifters and the people that are really good at lifting, those are doable things. Those are possible things. Even in your 40s and 50s and 60s, there are people that do those three lifts and get over 1000 lbs.

[00:51:16.110] – Rachel

I think if somebody loves the gym that much and loves body weight training that much, I can see that type of a goal. But for most people.

[00:51:25.670] – Allan

Mostly, yeah, there's a line and you just say, okay, so I want a certain level of fitness and it will just stick there. And that's cool too. The core of it is, though, as you go through this, you're going to have some trade offs. You have some trade offs to say, Do I get a gym membership and what are the benefits of that? Do I do this at home? And I can just say, if you start out and you buy a couple of dumbbells, a few sets of dumbbells and that's working for you, or maybe the adjustable dumbbells, which take you from five to 55 lbs, I think the last time I priced them like three $400, you get a whole basic set up to 55 lbs that's cost effective. They're kind of bulky, particularly when you're starting to do low weights. Seems kind of odd to have this big bulky thing for 5 lbs, but it is what it is. But there's going to be a point where you have to just make some decisions. Am I going to have all these dumbbells sitting around my apartment or my house? Do I go ahead and buy a rack in the bars and all that?

[00:52:26.060] – Allan

And people do. What I've found is the people who make the investment, and particularly that investment in the equipment, they get into it. The ones that didn't do it initially, don't go out and buy a rack and all this waits. If you're not listing yet, try the dumbbells, do his easy beginner level stuff, get yourself into it, and at some point, you'll be like, yes, this is my thing. This is it. And now I want the rack and I want the bar and I want the lap pull down and I want this special attachment. Then that's when you make those kinds of choices for your equipment. But don't just run out and buy all this equipment or see. Okay, someone is selling this on Craigslist. I'm just going to go buy all this stuff and fill my garage with it. If you're never going to use it.

[00:53:13.390] – Rachel

Right.

[00:53:13.950] – Allan

Get yourself started. And it's a key we've talked about over and over. Get started.

[00:53:18.140] – Rachel

Yes. Got to start somewhere. And if you did have a gym membership or if you've decided to get one, you can spend some time in the gym and see what types of activities that you like. Gyms often have trainers. They could help you. They often offer classes. If you try something new, take advantage of those types of amenities. You'll never know what kind of maybe you'll like a spin class or a yoga class or Tai Chi or some such thing, as well as spend some time on the weights, just see what you gravitate to, and then maybe make a bigger investment if you decided to bring that type of stuff home.

[00:53:53.080] – Allan

Yeah. And that was his thing was, you know, you're going to have some fun days because it's a six day a week program that he's basically got set up for you. And it's balanced it's balanced across all the fitness. That's why I really like it. And I think they did a really good job with their workouts. There's a fun day in there. So maybe you go down to the gym and like you said, there's a class, water aerobics, Tai Chi, racquetball something. And you get out there and you start playing around and you start having fun. And that makes you want to maybe build up your speed and agility more, maybe build up your strength a little bit more or any of it. So the point being is there are opportunities out there. Gym memberships, they can be expensive or they can be really inexpensive. Buying equipment can be inexpensive or can be really expensive. You're going to have to make the choice, but do it on the knowledge that you are committed doing this, not just okay, I need the equipment and therefore, I will lift.

[00:54:58.550] – Rachel

Save your money. Lift first.

[00:55:01.310] – Allan

It's just a very expensive coat rack is what it is.

[00:55:03.940] – Rachel

Yes. Oh, gosh, I hate that. The other thing I wanted to talk about, too, is the trickle down effect that exercise offers. A lot of our clients come to us asking to lose weight and to have us help exercise them to weight loss, but it's not necessarily the order that it goes in. I think we need to still continue to look in our kitchen first when it comes to weight loss goals.

[00:55:27.730] – Allan

Yeah, you're absolutely right. People come to us and they say, okay, I want to lose, what's your health and fitness goal? I want to lose 20 lbs, I need to lose 10 lbs. I'm like, okay, well, personally, the way I think in my head, I don't say it out loud because I try to be a nice person. But the internal part of me in my brain says, well, that's not the question I asked you, but, okay, so you want to lose some weight, what are you eating? So then now where have I done? I'm going to go right back to what's actually the cause and effect here. But what I will say that is probably where I disagree just a little bit with Dr. Davis on this is what I have found, though, is people who exercise do lose weight faster, easier and more consistently than people who don't. But it's not because of the exercise, which is kind of weird, right? Say, okay, so if they're doing it and it's not the cause, what is the cause? And the cause is once you start doing one thing that's a healthy lifestyle choice, it becomes normal for you to do other things that are a healthy life choice.

[00:56:41.300] – Allan

So it's not that someone becomes a vegan and they become a runner because they were a vegan. But what happens if the vegan decides, okay, I'm a vegan and I need to do some exercise because I'm seeing some good health benefits from being vegan. And then they start running and they enjoy the running and they join a run club. Now they're really good and they're losing weight and they're vegan and it works, it works for them, but it doesn't mean that being vegan makes you a runner. That can cause you to run. But being vegan, if it's making you make the right lifestyle choices, other healthy lifestyle choices happened. Maybe you drink less. And that's why a lot of these studies, you have to take them with a grain of salt because they'll say vegetarians and vegans have lower this than meat eaters that eat processed meats. Well, if someone's eating just meat and processed meat and it was just a questionnaire, how much meat do you eat in a week? Because that's how they do it. How much meat do you eat in a week? I'm like, let's see, I have a meat with just about every single meal, so that's going to be 21 servings or more.

[00:57:51.900] – Allan

So I fall into that eats a lot of meat category. But a lot of people who are in these categories that they go through when they're not thinking about food, it's like, well, I had to actually do that calculation of I meat every meal, therefore I eat this many servings and then they fill out the questionnaire, whereas the vegetarian is making a healthful decision about or maybe they're doing it somewhat for social reasons, but at least at that point they equate it with a healthy lifestyle choice. If someone's making one healthy lifestyle choice, they're very likely making others. And therefore they're healthier, not necessarily because they're vegetarian or vegan. They just because they've started down a path of better choices. They make better choices. They're also probably less likely to drink as much alcohol and they're less likely to smoke and they're more likely to exercise. From a normal standard perspective, that's what you get. Whereas if they had said, how much grass fed meat do you eat in a week amongst meat eaters, if they had segmented and said how much processed meat do you eat within a week? And then they took those and segmented them, they would probably find a very similar cut around is the people who don't think about the quality of their meat.

[00:59:11.870] – Allan

They don't think about the difference between processed and unprocessed stuff. They're making different healthy lifestyle choices. In fact, that I'm investing in grass fed meat means that health and fitness is a little bit more important to me.

[00:59:26.360] – Rachel

Sure.

[00:59:27.100] – Allan

And so therefore, I'm going to make other healthy lifestyle choices. It's not a cause and effect. It's just a commonality because of what happens. But to go back to the thing is, exercise won't help you lose weight, but it will help you lose weight.

[00:59:46.050] – Rachel

That's how I feel as well. I think healthy diet and exercise go hand in hand to make you an overall healthier person and give you a higher quality of life. And just in my own example, as a runner, I've been running for almost 24, 25 years now, and I sweat a lot, so I drink a lot of water. It's just a causality for that situation. I know that I can have a beer and I love a good beer every now and then, but not in the night before an important run like my St. Louis marathon. I choose my meals very carefully. While I might enjoy a little bit of cake and ice cream at a birthday party or celebration, it's not part of my daily lifestyle because I know I need to run well the next day. So, you know, once you pick up a healthy habit, you're right, it leads to other healthy habits and then you'll feel better at the end of the day.

[01:00:40.420] – Allan

Yeah. So now if you came to me and told me you really want me to exercise you and help you lose weight, I would do it. I would do it. Here's how I would do it. I would say, okay, show up tomorrow, we step on the scale, and then I run your butt. I literally just run you ragged in here for an hour. And then I say, okay, you're coming back in two days. And if you weigh more than you did today, I'm going to work you harder.

[01:01:06.630] – Rachel

That sounds scary.

[01:01:07.960] – Allan

Exactly.

[01:01:10.470] – Rachel

Not very fun

[01:01:11.760] – Allan

right. Not fun at all. Not fun at all. It's not an exercise program that you want. It's not a hamster wheel that you want to start because the workouts if you're not losing weight, the workouts have to get harder. And guess what? We're not getting younger so they don't get easier. So maybe when you're in your 20s, Put exercise off a few pounds, Get out there and do a few days of running, Push yourself a little bit, make a couple of other probably healthier lifestyle choices and you drop a few pounds, drop a dress size. That was easy in your 20s. It's not when we get over 40, Particularly for women, as they get closer to menopause and into perimenopause and menopause, it's not easy at all.

[01:01:52.600] – Rachel

Right.

[01:01:52.980] – Allan

So just recognizing we have less muscle mass, we have less energy, we have less capacity, less resilience. So for us, it has to start in the kitchen and then a whole lot of other healthy lifestyle choices Support that process.

[01:02:09.100] – Rachel

Yeah, well, great discussion with Dr. Davis. It's always nice to hear from him.

[01:02:13.740] – Allan

Yeah, it's really good. I really appreciate that his two books, Even though they're not like part of a series, like a lot of authors will write a book and then they'll know, okay, the next book in the series is this book and then they fit together. These weren't written that way or even planned that way, but they really do complement each other.

[01:02:32.740] – Rachel

Great. They sound like great things to have on my bookshelf.

[01:02:35.830] – Allan

All right, well, you enjoy the rest of your good weather for the next week or so. Yeah, and then winter we'll be here before you or summer will be here, hopefully, but yeah, we got our three days of rain, So I'm hopeful that we'll get a couple. Today is no rain. It's clear skies, so it's evaporation. So we're at about 115% humidity, I guess.

[01:03:01.710] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[01:03:03.690] – Allan

I can literally walk on the air. It's that humid. So we'll have a few days of this humid, Then the mosquitoes will come out and then we'll probably be fine.

[01:03:16.220] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Good luck to you, Allan.

[01:03:18.440] – Allan

Yeah, you too. I'll talk soon.

[01:03:20.400] – Rachel

Take care.

[01:03:21.220] – Allan

You too. Bye. Bye.

[01:03:22.600] – Rachel

Bye.

Patreons

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

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

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

Less...

March 8, 2022

How to build a fitness program that is right for you

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube


Many people walk into the gym without an idea what they are there to do other than get a workout in. As a result, they don't see the results they want. On this episode, we discuss how you can build the right fitness program for yourself.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

R

[00:01:11.230] – Allan

Hello, Ras. How are things going?

[00:01:13.440] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:15.530] – Allan

Going well, just kind of busy, actually. Kind of funny. I was supposed to have a call and I completely lost track of days.

[00:01:23.780] – Rachel

Oh, Jeez.

[00:01:26.650] – Allan

I switched up my workouts and I did a weight lifting workout on a Sunday. And as a result, I woke up the next day thinking it was Tuesday and did a weight lifting workout and then woke up today thinking it was a Wednesday, when, in fact, we're recording this on a Tuesday. And so it's like I was completely backwards on my thinking, fell behind, thought I was way behind. And then even though everything being what it was, I should have known different. I didn't. And as a result, kind of miss some appointments and things I was supposed to do. So if I was supposed to be on a call with you on Monday night, I apologize. I thought it was Tuesday night. I just don't even know what was going on last night when I thought, okay, it's Tuesday night, tomorrow's Wednesday. What do I have going on? And okay, well, tomorrow is another weightlifting day, and it wasn't today was a cardio day. And we'll talk a little bit more in detail about that at the end. But it was just kind of one of those things of the weather here is the same every day.

[00:02:35.170] – Allan

There's not a lot of differences. I don't really have weekends the way a lot of people have weekends. Any day could be a weekend. Everybody's here on holidays. So it doesn't feel different one day to the next, for the most part, any day here. So, yeah, just kind of lost track of days.

[00:02:54.420] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness. How crazy is that? Do you keep a calendar? Do you have a paper or a digital calendar?

[00:03:00.430] – Allan

I have a digital calendar, but it's kind of one of those things where I'm trying to condition myself to not look at things unless I need to look at things. So social media maybe not look at it all the time. Log in and check in on my clients once a day or so where I need to and do what I need to do. And then it's the same thing with a calendar. It's typically just, okay, what do I know is going on today and on the Monday, but I knew I needed to record something so we could have this call because I failed to do it on what I thought was Monday. And then again, just like, complete confusion. Didn't do what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it and then didn't know what day of the week it was and did other things, failed to do other things I was supposed to do.

[00:03:56.110] – Allan

So it just kind of put me in. I'm in this kind of weird juxtaposition because my weekend and the first part of next week is going to be intense because we're moving all the gym equipment. We're moving in. So the paint is late, the light fixtures are late. So those are going to be like, I had to go actually buy replacement/alternate light fixtures, not the light fixtures I want to keep. I had to pay for those just to have light fixtures because you need light the building to do what you got to do sometimes. And then the paint is not in because we were put off the paint waiting on the light fixtures because it's coming from the same source. And I'm like, no, I got to have the paint because they're finishing up now and now I don't have paint. So I told the person we were telling them, okay, look, regardless of whether the lights are ready, bring the paint, because I've got a paint because we're moving all the equipment in on Sunday.

[00:04:51.080] – Allan

So I'm hopeful I'll get the paint on Thursday, Friday the latest, and then I'll start painting where I can paint. And then I'll start moving equipment in and continue to try to paint around the equipment. That's going to be harder, but it kind of is what it is. So a lot of moving parts in my life right now, and I just completely lost track of days. But I won't lose track of days those days because those are going to be four or five really hard days.

[00:05:18.510] – Rachel

That sounds like it. My gosh, no wonder you've lost track of days. There's a lot going on. A lot of things you're balancing right now.

[00:05:25.780] – Allan

Yeah. How about yourself?

[00:05:28.690] – Rachel

Good. I'm far less busy than you are, but things are going good. I mentioned I have a trainer and I'm working on my marathon program, and over the weekend I ran 16 miles on my treadmill, and it was hard. It was a challenge.

[00:05:51.190] – Allan

When you're training on the treadmill, do you use the distraction, like watching Netflix or something like that?

[00:05:58.820] – Rachel

I can't watch anything because I feel like I have lost balance and I don't want to accidentally trip. I think I was watching something like, I don't know, the Matrix or something ages ago, and I was trying to bob and weave along with Neo there, and I almost fell off the treadmill. I prefer to listen to podcasts or on certain days, music is actually easier to listen to. So that's about my limits of my distraction. But it was just a long day and I chose that over outside, we had single-digit temperatures and double-digit wind gusts, so I chose the safer route.

[00:06:41.130] – Allan

Yeah. And those are not the conditions that you're going to be running your race in. So there's no value to pushing yourself through something like that, other than just saying, I want to be uncomfortable for what was probably about two and a half hours.

[00:06:55.180] – Rachel

Yeah. It was definitely the right guess. Exactly like that. The snow and the ice is just too sketchy, and it would have impacted my gate so greatly that I probably would have put myself at more risk than I got off the treadmill. So at least on the treadmill, I had a consistent gate, which I think is far more beneficial for that long run.

[00:07:19.910] – Allan

Day treadmills were originally a punishment.

[00:07:24.730] – Rachel

I know, I know. I could tell you. Yeah. So things are good up here.

[00:07:32.220] – Allan

Good. So let's go ahead and get into today's episode where we talk about programming for yourself.

[00:07:38.550] – Rachel

Perfect.

Episode

Hello, and thank you for being a part of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. Today, I want to talk about a topic that is actually really important if you're looking to build your fitness and make it really matter. A lot of people approach fitness programs the wrong way. They try something that's generic. They don't get the results they really wanted. As a result, a lot of them give up. So today I want to discuss how to build a fitness program that's right for you. So first, let's define the problem. Now, the initial problem with a fitness program is that most people seem to have a singular view on fitness. So you either think that you need to build cardio or you think you need to build strength or you think you need to do this. And as a result, people get tied into one dimension of fitness. So they become runners or they go in and they start taking the classes. They really enjoy them. And so it's just basically you're doing classes. And then there's also things like people that just go in and do yoga and think that's sufficient for what they need, or people that actually just go in and do weightlifting and say, okay, that's all I need.

The reality is most of the time that's not enough. And when we do this, what happens is we tend to put the workouts first. So you enjoy the class. The class is what you do. You feel like you're getting what you need. And as a result, what we've done is we've effectively put the tactics in without really having a strategy for what we're trying to accomplish. So if you're going to work on your fitness, you need to ensure that the fitness is doing. The work you're doing for fitness is working for you. So why do we do some of these things? Well, the first one is if you enjoy doing something like you really enjoy running or you really enjoy your fitness classes, you tend to want to do it more. Or another thing that I've seen quite often is people are really good at one thing, so you're really good at running or you're really good at lifting. And as a result, that's why you want to do that one thing. But movement for the sake of movement is not necessarily always a good thing. Now I will be the first to tell you I'm not going to poopoo anyone who takes the time to do a workout.

If you're doing a workout, that's a thousand times better than not doing a workout. But there's a reason why the treadmills are at the front of the gym. And the reason the treadmills are at the front of the gym is because 99% of the time that's as far as most people are going to go, they're going to walk into the gym and they're going to get on the treadmill, they're going to do their time, literally, and then they're going to get off the treadmill, and that's their workout. Now, again, movement for the sake of movement, fine. But realize that won't necessarily get you where you want to be. You need to get a little deeper. You need to do a little bit more because you're not only missing modalities, you're missing key one of the ones you're doing. Okay. So it's great you're on the treadmill. It's great that you're lifting, but are you really pushing yourself? Are you really doing the things that are necessary to move the needle for your health and fitness? So how do we make this happen? Because it's so easy to get wrapped up into the I'm really good at lifting, and I really don't want to do these other things or I'm really good at running, and I don't want to do these other things or I really enjoy doing the elliptical or the treadmill.

And I'm really somewhat intimidated by doing anything further. So the first thing you want to do is you want to go all the way back to the beginning. I'm going to do this to you over and over again. You have to go back to the grounding that you did at the front of this whole process. And if you don't know what that means, I'd encourage you to go back and listen to any of the lessons I've talked about with regards to commitment. And so within commitment, we have this vision. Okay. And within the vision, there are multiple segments of fitness that you're going to need to have. I've never seen anyone who has this vision to be able to run 50 miles a day and that's their vision. That's not what people emotionally attached to. The vision is about enjoying your life. It's about being the person you're meant to be. It's about being able to do the things that you need to do, which is fit for task. So if you want to be fit for task, you've got to really pay attention to what that means. What does the future you what are they capable of doing?

Okay, so let's say, for example, you want to be able to travel and there are certain places you want to be able to go, like let's just say Europe and you want to be able to do the Mediterranean, you want to be able to arrive there and enjoy yourself and do the things that you want to do. Well, I can tell you one of the first challenges you're going to get when you get that trip going, because you're most likely going to have to get on an airplane or some kind of mode of transportation that's public and you're going to have to load your bag, you have to carry your bag, you're going to put it up over into the overhead bin. There's things you're going to have to be able to do that will require strength. If you're going to do something and go somewhere and you're going to be doing walking or anything like that, you're going to need some stamina. And if the roads are cobbled like they are in most of Europe, you're maybe going to need some balance and mobility is always a good test thing to have just to keep your body moving in the way that it's supposed to so you don't injure yourself.

So just in that one vision of being able to travel successfully, you're going to need strength, stamina, mobility and balance. Okay, so that's four different training modalities that you don't get if you're only doing one thing. Now, how much of each of these do you need? Again, we go back to the base. The base is your vision. Okay. If your overhead is not going to weigh over £30, then there's very little reason for you to train to be able to press over £30 over your head. Okay. If the most you feel like you're going to ever have to walk or run or do. If you're going to go do a tour or something would be about three or 4 miles, then maybe that's the stamina that you need to have. So if your vision is travel, then you need to be fit for that task. If your vision is to do something else, like be an awesome grandmother and keep up with your grandkid, maybe your stamina needs to be a little higher at certain points in time. You're picking up the child, maybe your strength needs to be a little higher at certain points in time.

And then the other thing is mobility and balance. Obviously if you live in locations where there is a potential for you to fall or slip, you need to have those skills too. So looking at your vision is really an independent topic, independent approach to you doing you to you being the fit that you need fit for task. So what you need to do, the work that you need to do is really should be driven by that vision. And if it is, that breaks down all the motivational problems that you would have. Yes, it can be intimidating to try something that you're not good at. I walk into a yoga class. I am like a bear in a Penguin shop. I don't belong there and I know I don't belong there. But if I need to work on mobility, that's a great place to do it. If I want to get into body weight strength, that's a great place to do it. Even if I'm uncomfortable, it's important for me to push myself through. And if my vision is a part of that, it makes it a lot easier to do. So how do we get started with all of this?

And I'll say the first step is always going to be a self assessment. Now the self assessment goes along with my GPS model, and the S is the self assessment. So how are we going to self assess? Well, the first is to look at our fitness and what our capabilities are. Okay, so what areas of fitness am I really good at? And I'll tell you generally strength. However, I did tear my rotator cuff a few years ago, and as a result, I am not as strong in my upper body from a pushing perspective as I was back then. So there are areas of fitness where I'm good, particularly leg strength and pulls with my back. But there are areas of strength that I'm not so good at. So kind of looking and saying, what are the areas of fitness I'm good at? I know that I'm good at strength. I know that I'm good at long, slow cardio. Where am I not good. I'm not good in balance, I'm not good at mobility. So those are areas that I may need to focus on. Okay, do I want to do more where I'm already strong?

And the short answer to that is it depends. If I need to be stronger, like I'm trying to work on building my pushing strength because I'm weaker, then that's something I need to consider. Okay, so what effort is now necessary for me to maintain or gain the fitness I need? For most of us over 40, that's going to require working each body part at least once per week. But probably just twice per week would be enough for most of us to maintain or gain some fitness at that level. Meaning if I want to get stronger at lifting weights, I'll probably need to do weight training for my whole body or for body parts at least twice a week. So what are some fitness areas that I'm not so good at? And I mentioned earlier, I'm not so good at balance. I'm not so good at mobility. So what effort is necessary for me to gain or maintain those? And that's some balance training that's putting myself in some positions where I might not be as comfortable. So instead of doing a two legged squat, maybe I'm going to do a one legged squat, or maybe I do some form where I'm moving side to side and then doing a squat.

So there's opportunities there for me to work on my balance. As for mobility, that's paying attention to where I'm tighter, where I'm not as mobile and working on stretching, working on some other efforts to make sure that I'm gaining that mobility. And for those types of modalities, for balance and for mobility, those are things that I could practically do every day. So if I'm lifting two times per week as a whole body workout, I now have five days left. I can focus on doing these other things and in some cases, maybe go ahead and double them up and I can do these others more often. So you kind of see how I'm beginning to do from this self assessment to build out the training things that I need to get in to build fitness, to maintain fitness based on where I currently am and based on where I want to go. So the first question is, is a predefined workout for you? Because they're everywhere. You can go on the Internet, you can do a quick search for anything you want to train on. And basically a workout is going to come in. So if you went on YouTube and you type, which is the second largest search engine in the world, and you Typed in mobility workout, you would be inundated by all kinds of videos that you could do as a predefined workout.

Now, I would say that for most of these, yes, for balance and mobility, a typical class or plan will work fine. So you can go in and say, okay, I'm going to do this basic stretching class or I'm going to work on this balance program. Those typically are fine for just about everybody. However, I'm going to say this, not all muscles need to be stretched. If you have good solid mobility in certain movement ranges, say you're almost double jointed in the upper body or in the lower body, you don't need to stretch those muscles. Those muscles are already long. They're already doing what they're supposed to do. Look for other muscles that are a little tighter and focus on those. So while basic plans and classes work, you just need to make sure that where you need to be focused, you are getting that focus. The next is stamina. Now, stamina is kind of one of these things that I think a lot of people struggle with particularly as we get older, and that's because we have physical limitations. Now, as we went through that self assessment, we talked about reasons why we were good or not so good at things.

I mentioned the shoulder problem, so you may have issues with your needs. There's a lot of different examples of where we have physical limitations that would prohibit us from doing certain activities where we're trying to build stamina. So at least knowing those ahead of time is really important. For most of us working on stamina, it's really good to try to get this done outside. Getting outside is going to be better for you. However, there are a lot of machines that can help you do this, particularly when the weather is not so nice. This episode is coming out in March, maybe it's in March, but as this episode comes out, you're going to see that the weather is starting to improve. This is a great opportunity to get outside, but in the event you can't, it's raining, the weather's not good. It just isn't conducive for you to be outside doing these things. Treadmills, elliptical rowers, bikes. There's all kinds of machines that can help you build different forms of stamina. Mixing them up, trying different things always a good thing. Get that variety in there where you can, particularly if you're trying to work around a problem like knees or shoulders or something like that.

All that said, like I said, outside is better. Outside is better. So if you can do these things outside, go ahead and do it. And then if you're going to do a program for stamina, I strongly encourage you to use one that has been proven to be effective. One of my favorites is Jeff Galloway's run walk run method. We interviewed him on episode 248, so you can go back and listen to that episode. I'll have a link in the show notes, but that's a great program about how to build your running stamina without injuring yourself. Other great programs. You can find a couch to five K program. It's going to be sort of a similar walk run kind of thing. So you can build up that stamina in a controlled perspective to try to get you ready for a five K, which is 5 km or basically 3.1 mile. So you're looking to do something specific, either just program or the five day programs. Both are great programs and it can help you start your spam in a process. And as you get a little bit more specialized or start building up to longer distances or longer periods of time, there are other things that you can use that are fixed and then always.

We had a conversation with Rachel not long ago. She has hired a running coach to help her improve her stamina even further so she can run faster and have better times on her run. So if you're looking for that, sometimes having a running coach can go a long way towards helping you build superior stamina. So now we'll talk about my favorite thing. Okay. As I mentioned earlier, it's really important for you to understand your limitations before you start a strength program. Some of those are physical limitations. As I mentioned, my shoulder, my ability to push, my ability to do shoulder exercises very much different than what it was just even five years ago. So I have to be aware of that. I have to address that as I put my training plan together, and then the other is knowledge gap. So one of the reasons that I work on getting my certified personal trainer and the different specializations that I did was just recognizing that I had a knowledge gap in what my body was capable of doing and what I need to do. I was building most of my programming for the first several years off of what I knew when I was in my 20s.

And guess what? It doesn't work and it breaks you time and time again. So I knew I had a knowledge gap. If you have a knowledge gap, you don't know the form of particular exercises. It's really important for you to get this right. Don't do an exercise right and you put load on yourself. Opportunities to hurt yourself is huge, so make sure you've bridged that knowledge gap before you leap into any kind of program. Now, when you're getting started for most lifters, as long as you do know the form and you find the right coach or you find the right website. Strong Lifts Five by Five is one of my favorites. They teach you basic workouts, basic programming, simple lifts, five sets of five reps. It's pretty straightforward and it will help you get stronger. It's a really good entry level basic workout that you can do for quite some time before you need to switch that up. And then most gyms will have a machine circuit. And while machines are not optimal from a form perspective, it's really hard to screw up. If you're sitting in the seat properly and you've got the right posture, a machine workout can be quite good.

You just have to make sure that your settings on the machine are appropriate so that it fits your body. Most machines can adjust seats up and down, back and forward. Just making sure you're in a good position to do that workout is really important. You go to most gyms, they're going to have people available to help you learn how to set up that machine and use that machine appropriately. Take advantage of that or as I mentioned earlier, hire a coach to walk you through it. But strength is probably the only fitness modality that I would say is non negotiable. You have to be training strength, and second behind that is stamina. You have to be training stamina. Mobility and balance are also important, but if you aren't building strength and you're really just focused on stamina, you're going to lose strength, you're going to lose muscle mass. And in the long run, as we age, that's not going to be a good thing. So strength has to be a part of your program. Stamina must be a part of your program. Mobility and balance will very likely need to be a part of your training.

It's just a function of how mobile and how much balance you have now and how much work you need to do to enhance that or at least maintain it, depending on where you stand. So those are the basic training modalities. Now I want to skip into something a little bit deeper about fitness that I think is probably some things that people really struggle with in the long run. First off, a lot of people will start a fitness program and then they'll get bored. And like I said, if you downloaded a program and you started it and it's not something that's progressive, then it can get kind of boring. So if your decision was that you were going to go out and run or walk the same path, and so you're going to walk around the field or you're going to walk through the neighborhood and you've got your horse, if you will, you've measured it out and you know the length and the distance that you're going, and you're maybe keeping up with your time. You know, this takes you a certain amount of time so you can get your workouts done before dinner or before you have to go to work.

So you know how much time it's going to take you to do this. But if you keep doing the same route week in and week out, other than changes of weather and other things that might be going on in that neighborhood or in that field, it could get pretty boring. So that's one thing to be very concerned about is if you get bored and you want to quit, it can be a problem. Likewise with lifting weights, you may go in and do the same basic five exercises. When I mentioned strong lifts and you do them and do them and do them, and then you kind of say, okay, I do these every two times a week, and then eventually kind of getting boring. I mean, okay, squats are great, bench press is great, pulls are great. But in the end, that can get a little boring when you're doing the same workout week in, week out. And yes, maybe you are seeing some progression on that, but it can get kind of just dry. And so don't make sure that what you're doing and the fitness routines that you're doing don't bore you. Some people are able to do the same thing over and over and over again, and they're fine with it.

Others do need some variety. So at least be aware of where you stand with some of those things. Next, some people will see diminishing returns or plateaus. Now, this is completely normal in all phases of training. Initially, you see some pretty good results because your body is not accustomed to what you're doing. Your brain and your muscles are having a conversation. It's a very easy conversation to have once they figure out the wiring, the very difficult conversation when you first get started. So you will see yourself from a strength perspective, potentially from a stamina perspective, from a balanced perspective, and even from a mobility perspective, actually sees some pretty good gains in returns when you first start. And then it kind of slows down and then it kind of Plateau. You've seen this with weight loss. You'll see it with fitness. So a lot of people get disgruntled or upset when they don't see that continued linear progression. And I'm going to tell you, you almost never see a linear progression over and over, because if you did, then the strongest people in the world would never stop getting stronger. So there's a natural limitation on what the brain muscle conversation can do.

And then there's a limited potential for when you're actually building muscle and building strength or building stamina that can continue. At some point, you will Plateau. Now, there are things we can do to break those plateaus, but just realize, don't get dismissive. Don't quit just because you're not seeing the return. And then the other thing is sometimes you're going to see unequal returns. And so maybe your stocks are not exactly what you wanted it to be. Whereas some individuals just really can't put on a lot of muscle mass, they're getting stronger, but they're not seeing their muscles get bigger. They're putting on all the stamina. They're capable of going further. Distances are going and or going faster, but they're not necessarily losing weight because they thought, okay, I'm burning all these calories, I should be losing weight. So just recognize that even though you're pushing yourself in a fitness direction, you won't always see equal gains going forward. And even within body parts, you might not see the same. So like for me, it always was the case. My legs get stronger. They get bigger very easily now. Probably not as easily now as they did before when I was younger.

But that said, I can get really strong with my legs. I'm not capable of getting that much stronger with my upper body the same way. So I see unequal returns. And I also see my legs getting bigger when I lift weights with my legs do leg strength stuff, my upper body doesn't respond quite as well. So recognizing that I'm going to have those biological limitations, I have to keep pushing through, I cannot let that break me mentally. So these are things that are really hard to get through mentally, as if your workout is boring. If you're not seeing the returns that you used to be seeing or you're seeing unequal returns a lot of times that makes it really difficult to stick with, but I want you to go back to what commitment your grounding. There's a reason why you're doing this. There's a vision of what you want to accomplish. If you want it bad enough and you know where you're going, you will still get there. It's never going to be a straight line, so you got to keep pushing through. And that takes a lot of guts, it takes a lot of mental fortitude.

But if you have a good why and you have a good vision, that makes it a lot easier, stick with it and it'll pay off. Okay. So the whole reason we're on this podcast is to learn how to program for yourself. Okay, so first, let's get into the basics of all this. Now, the first thing is you have to know your muscle groups. You have to know what you're doing and why you're doing it. I'm going to talk about this predominantly from a lifting perspective, but a lot of this will fly across the board. Okay. So first, know your muscle groups. When you're doing a certain movement, what muscles are you supposed to be building? What muscles are you supposed to be using? For most exercises, there's going to be a pro mover, there's going to be a primate mover that's causing that exercise to move. Even if it's a compound style movement, there's a prime mover for parts of it and then potentially a different prime mover for other parts of it. So knowing which muscles you're trying to work for each exercise makes it easier for you to know that you're doing the exercise.

Right. So knowing the exercise. Okay, so what muscles am I going to work if I'm doing the deadlift? Well, the deadlift is a very complex work exercise. It is a compound movement, meaning multiple muscles are working. The deadlift happens to work the entire posterior chain. So you're working basically your back, your butt and you're working your hamstrings. So all the way from almost top to bottom, you are working the back of your body, the posterior part of your body. When you do squats, you initially start by using your quadriceps, which are the muscles in the front of your legs. And then as you get deeper into the squat, eventually your glutes are going to kick in and they're the braking mechanism at the bottom, and they're the muscles, the biggest muscle, they're going to start you moving back upwards. So knowing that a squat will require you to use both the front of your legs for a period of time and then the back your butt for the rest of the movement, and then reversing that going back up will help you make sure that you're keeping good form, working the muscles you're supposed to.

So understanding the work that you're doing is really important. That starts with understanding the muscles. Okay. Next is for every exercise you can do has a particular form to it. The form is important to making sure that, one, you avoid injury. But two, understanding that form also affects the angles on the muscles. And so a couple of examples would be whether you're doing something a pull from above your head, like a lap, pull down or pull up, whether you're doing a high row, a low row or a shrub. So what I just talked through were three different angles of rows that are all intended to work a different muscle group across, mostly your back. So the laps when you're pulling down the lats are the main mover, the prime mover. It's going to pull that bar down. If you're pulling the bar, the cable potentially to your upper chest, that's a high row.

Okay.

So that's working more of the upper back, the rhomboids and the trapezes. And so there you go. There's a whole different set of muscles. When you're doing low rows, you're now working more of the middle back. And when you're doing shrugs, you're working most of the traps and larger traps there. So you can kind of see as you change the angle of something, it's a different exercise. Hand position can also be a very different thing. If your grip is wide. When you're doing something like a bench press or push up, you're really focusing on the chest. If you get your hands closer together now, your triceps are more involved in the movement and maybe less of the chest. And if you get your hands all the way together almost now you're doing well, you're doing a push up, push up. And at that point, now you're working mostly your triceps, the back of your arm. So where you put your hands also affects the movement you're doing. So as you're putting together exercises, again, knowing the muscle you want to do and understanding the form of the exercise, these are critically the next important phase of this, or at least understanding level, is to know your volume.

Now I'm not going to get into that on this episode because we're probably already going long. But on episode 506, we discussed how to increase volume and knowing what your volume is. And volume relates to the amount of weight, the amount of reps, amount of sets, and also how fast or slow you're moving the weight. And so all of those things add to your volume. And so knowing how to adjust those so that you're getting the most benefit out of the work for what your goals are is important. So you might want to go back after you get started here, go back and listen to episode 506 just to make sure you've got a grip on what your volume is as you're getting into work. Now if you're someone who's going to get bored and you start a program, the easiest way to change a program that you already have is to swap exercises. So I'll give you a couple of examples. Let's say you have a program like the five by five. And the back squat is the exercise that was in the book or on the website. You say, okay, I'm going to do this exercise.

And then you get kind of bored with your back squats or you've got toe and you want to try something different. Maybe you try a front squat. It's a very different exercise from the perspective of the angles with which the bar is going down, how your body structured. You're going to move that center of mass a little bit. That's going to change the exercise. So the front squat is a good exercise to go back to. Another one is a lot of people will work on a leg press. Leg press is a great way for you to build overall leg strength.

A lot of leg strength, actually.

You can get really strong in your legs using a leg press. But sometimes people get to a point where they're a little bit tired of the leg press. They've gotten up to a particular weight and they feel like, okay, they've done enough. They really want to change the structure of their work or they want to do something slightly different. Maybe you introduce a hip rust. So you're basically at this point, you're elevating your back maybe on the bench and you've got a weight on your lap and you're trying to do rust. So your feet are flat on the floor, your butt goes down your hips, and then your hips go up to basically try to thrust upwards against the weight. This is a great butt glute word, which again is similar to the leg press. So something you can swap. So basically, anytime you have an exercise, you get a little bored with it or you're not seeing the progress, you can swap out another exercise that works the same muscles or muscle and plug it into the work and use that as your exercise. So not the easiest thing, but every exercise that you do, particularly if one of them is bothering you, can be swapped with another exercise, typically works the same muscle groups and gives you the same effort or at least similar effort and results.

Now, if you're going to make a change, if you're going to do something, I highly recommend that you stick with something for at least six to eight weeks before making a change. You're doing a different workout every day, every time. You're not really going to get the optimal benefit of what you're doing. For one, we talked about that brain muscle, the neuromuscular connection. That's really important. If you don't do an exercise enough, you're not going to get that your brain and your muscles are not going to talk as well as they could without that communication. You're not getting enough work. So you're not going to continue to see gains. If you're swapping exercises every week, you're not going to see those gains the way that you'd like. That will be. So you're going to want to make sure that you stick with something for a while. Six to eight weeks tends to be a really good time before we make a change. Next, you got to increase the load. If you stay with the same weights. And I see this all the time, people will go in and do a circuit. They'll set the machines on exactly the same weight and they go through them time and time again and then they don't really know or see that they're getting any stronger.

The fact that they try to raise it up one weight, they don't really feel like they're able to do it. And that's the struggle. They really haven't pushed themselves, they really haven't made it progressive. So adding a little bit of load when you're using good form creates the stimulus that causes the muscles to react and get stronger and get bigger in most cases. Okay. And then when you're doing this work and sticking with it for a while, you begin to see that strength starting to kick in. So last week you were doing the pulls and you were only pulling £20. This week you're pulling. You're now up to 22 or 25. So now you're seeing the weights get bigger as you learn the exercise, there's communication between the muscles in the brain and then actually, yes, your muscles are changing, they're adapting to the stimulus and they're getting stronger. That's a huge motivation. You start realizing that the work you're doing has a positive effect of actually seeing fitness improvement. That's a great way to know. That's a mile marker to know, hey, I am moving towards my vision. I see it, I see what I'm doing and that's important.

So make sure you stick with it at least long enough. Six to eight weeks to know what you're doing is working before you start trying to mix it up. I know, boredom, boredom, boredom, right, but that's important. So find that balance between switching things up and sticking with it long enough to know that it's working. Okay. So this is how most of us got our start. Most of us, back in the day, it was trial and error. We walked into a gym much like you might, and we had no idea what was going on. There was all this equipment, all these weights. Sometimes there were really big guys back in the back rowing around big dumbbells and big plates and all that. We see that. And I agree it can be a little intimidating for the trial and error part where we just really don't know what we're doing and we're approaching it. I hope today that I've given you some ideas of how you can approach this from a little bit more upscale. You have access to the Internet, you have access to a lot of information, you have access to me. So you won't have to go through trial and error.

Another thing that we did back in the day was we had fitness magazines, so Flex and Muslim Fitness. Those were the main magazines that came out. There were a lot of other bodybuilding magazines in the day. Those have pretty much been replaced by YouTube and different websites. But the concept is the same. There's stuff out there, some of it's good.

Some of it's really bad.

So just kind of knowing that, okay, I have to learn and I can't just try to apply this thing because I can tell you, I read magazine articles where guys were doing 100, which means they're doing 100 reps for a muscle group. A little muscle group at that. I tried it. It hurt. Did it give me additional muscle gain? No, not at all. It was probably a wasted workout because it was too much and it really wasn't set for what I was trying to accomplish at the time. But it looked cool, it sounded cool. And the bodybuilder that was touting it in the magazine was someone that I respected, but again, not necessarily the right thing to do. So take what you see online with a grain of salt, spend some time doing some research, asking questions, and put together a program that's going to get you to your vision. All things considered, being over 40 does add some challenges. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I went to NASM and got certified. And yes, there was a good bit of expense to that. I can't even tell you how much money I have spent on my education, my fitness education over the years.

And so there are ways for you to get around that. Hiring a trainer is a great way to do that. And along the way.

I've done the same.

I've hired coaches to program for me and to push me because when you have someone there, you work harder. So every time I've hired a coach, I've never regretted it. I've never regretted having someone there who wrote a program. I could look at the program and say, this is reasonable, this makes sense. And then I could push myself. And they were there to help. They were there to encourage, they were there to critique. And so my form was better, my work was better, I worked harder, I got more results, and it was well worth the investment. Now, if you want to fast track your fitness and weight loss, I'd encourage you to go to 40 Plusfitness.com. I have an application there had some problems with that website up until I today, but I will have a link to the application there. Go ahead and complete that form. And then we can go ahead and connect and see if 40 Plus Fitness Online training is for you. Programming is not rocket science, but it's also not something you can just pull something off the Internet and do and know that you're optimizing your health and fitness. So if you're still stuck and you need help or you want help or you really want to fast track what you're doing, go to 40 Plusfitness.com and there you'll see a link for an application.

Go to the application. It's not long. It won't take you long. But then we'll get on a call, I'll get on the call and we'll come up with a plan just for you. And it may not be 40 Plus Fitness online training. And that's cool. I really want to help you get where you want to go. And if this training program isn't the right thing, I will help you find the thing that is and get you started and get you moving in the right direction. So thank you so much again for being a part of 40+ Fitness.


Post Show/Recap

[00:46:38.750] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:46:40.290] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a really great and timely podcast. I think the tips that you've given about developing your own training program could not be more perfectly timed. I'm seeing a lot of questions on the Internet about why do we do this or how do we do that? And right now it seems to be revolving around strength training. That's an important modality that people just don't know how to fold into their current training programs. But I like what you set up here for the listeners because there's a good way to go about developing your own program.

[00:47:14.800] – Allan

Yeah, well, first it has to align with what you're trying to do. And that can be an event or that can just be a lifestyle you want to have or both and probably should be both. Me, I get highly motivated by having an event in front of me. I think I posted something this week in the group about how even the most elite athletes are not what they would call optimally fit all the time. They have their ebbs and flows, their seasons and off seasons. And so they're going through those things themselves.

[00:47:48.480] – Allan

But that said, they're hiring the professionals. They're doing little things that they're supposed to do. And yes, you can do those things yourself. And when I work with clients, I think the thing that sometimes just it kind of frustrates me a little bit is to have a client that really just wants to work out in front of them. They don't want to think about it. They don't want to learn anything about what they're doing. It's just like make me skinny is sort of the mantra. And I'm like, well, okay, skinny doesn't mean healthy. Lifting weights will get you stronger.

[00:48:24.560] – Allan

If they're asking questions. Well, how strong do I need to be? And I'm like, I don't know, what do you want to do? And so they're not able to answer that question because they haven't really done the initial homework. So to them, it's the workout is. And I hate to say this, as we said earlier, the punishment for being unfit. I'm not healthy and fit. I'm not the weight I'm supposed to be. So I have to effectively punish myself. So I've got to do this running. I've got to get on the treadmill or elliptical and they're not really planning out what they're doing. And then even if they do pick up a program, they don't know why they're doing the exercises they're doing. Other than that's what the program says. So they're following a program.

[00:49:05.880] – Allan

And while I said in my talk, that can be great. But at the same time, it's really hard to stay motivated. When you get to the end of that program, it's like, okay, well, I just do it again. Is there something else? And a lot of people get stuck at that. And so I'll work with someone for a number of months, maybe even a couple of years, and at the end they're like, okay, I'll see you. And I'm like, okay, cool. And then they just keep doing what I gave them until they stopped because they get bored or something gets in the way, and then they just don't know where to start back. They're like, well, I was doing this weight and doing that exercise, and now I don't know, should I lower it this amount do that, or should I just go back in and do what I was doing?

[00:49:51.610] – Allan

And that fear keeps them from starting again. And then they're out. And so I talked to him a couple of months after that, and they're like, how's it going? It's like, well, kind of fell off with the exercise. I still run and they still do the thing they enjoy doing. So they're still doing the cardio stuff, if that's what they enjoyed, or the hiking or whatever, the biking. They're still doing some of that stuff. Not all the time, but some.

[00:50:17.030] – Allan

But their eating completely falls off because again, the exercise kind of drives eating. And I don't mean that you can exercise out of bad diet, but what I found is almost implicitly 100%, someone who works out, puts time in in the gym, pays the trainer, starts eating better, and when they stop paying the trainer and then they stop working out, they go back to their old habits. So just realize that there's more there than just doing a workout.

[00:50:49.390] – Rachel

Well, I think you mentioned the very first place to start is to have your vision, to have your long term goals. And it's not necessarily like for me right now, I'm training for a marathon in April or the ultra, maybe I'll do in the fall, but I've got good role models in my life. My great grandparents didn't leave their farm property until they were in their 90s, their late 90s at that.

[00:51:14.080] – Rachel

So I'm looking that far forward. I want to be active and able to live independently well into my 70s, 80s or 90s if I'm so allowed to do so. So lucky. But that's the thing is that I've got these long-term goals and then in the medium, I've got these short-term goals about running, and I think that's what people might forget about. Sure, you can do a couch to 5K program. That's a great place to start. Absolutely. But what are you going to do after that? What is going to keep you motivated to stay active and to stay healthy and fit for the long-term? And some of these tips, like having a vision is a good place to start.

[00:51:56.800] – Allan

Yeah. When you have that vision, then everything seems to make a little bit more sense. You know, that okay, I could have all the stamina on the world, but if my grandchild comes running up to me and I can't pick them up or I have to sit in a chair because I can't kneel down and tie their shoe, those are things that are going to emotionally affect me in a way that I don't want to experience. I want to be able to get down on the floor and tie their shoe and roll around with them in the grass and not feel like, okay, now someone has to come help me up. I want to be able to do all this stuff. And so, yeah, there's this long-range plan.

[00:52:34.090] – Allan

And then for me, the short run is okay, I'm doing another Tough Mudder. And what I found is these particular obstacle course races are requiring me to be more fit in more direct ways, meaning I have to have more stamina than I think I would ever need with a grandchild.

[00:52:54.290] – Rachel

Sure.

[00:52:56.810] – Allan

Grandchild is not going to make me do 15K running in addition to 25 obstacles in a given day. Now over the course of a month, maybe. And then the other side of it is just the physical strength and being able to do the things that I'm going to have to be able to do without knowing what some of those things are because they don't broadcast all of their obstacles. You know, some of them, but you don't know all of them unless you've already done a race that season. And then generally maybe you do. But for most of us going into the race, they don't broadcast and tell you what all the obstacles are. So I know I'm going to need strength, I need grip strength, and then I'm just going to need grit.

[00:53:38.570] – Rachel

Yes.

[00:53:41.730] – Allan

One of the things I can say my training is that my cardio came back really quickly. I've taken a break I've taken a break from training and everything to kind of just say, okay, I'm off. I'm going to take an off-season. Good long off-season. And then I said, okay, now I'm back in and I'm going to work really hard all the way up until the race. But my cardio was right back there. I'm hitting anywhere from ten to twelve and a half miles easy. I'm not doing the run the way you are. I'm literally just doing a good Huff walk. But doing that today, I think I did a little over 7 miles, but the terrain was hilly so some of the grades were up to I would probably say somewhere around 15% in places that I was going so…

[00:54:29.380] – Rachel

Good.

[00:54:31.170] – Allan

It was a good walk, particularly considering it was just the 7 miles. And I know I say just the 7 miles. Oh my God, 7 miles. I'm like, I didn't start with 7 miles, I didn't start with 7 miles. It was a progression that I did over time and then your body has some memory to it and you're able to take a break and get back at it at some level and work your way back up. And that's part of fitness. It's the ebbs and flows of working your way through.

[00:55:01.490] – Allan

Now, same way with strength. I'm back in the gym, I'm working with weights that are in my opinion pathetically low. But at the same time I know for other people I'd be like, oh my God, if I could actually do that, I would be really happy. So this is not about evaluating where you are relative to other people, it's about evaluating yourself relative to those vision. What do I need to be successful for this Tough Mudder/ and a couple of things we've talked about is I've got to lose body weight. I talked about that, what is it, two or three weeks ago? Okay, well, I've already shed 12 pounds.

[00:55:40.760] – Rachel

Good for you.

[00:55:41.600] – Allan

Okay, great. And that was again, I got into ketosis and one of the cool things is a good long walk really strikes up your ketosis levels. It's kind of insane. A good long walk for you and I that's two to 3 hours or so. And so I tell you, if you check your ketones before and after doing one of your events, one of the things your trainings, particularly the longer trainings, you'll be surprised at the change in your ketones. Now if you do a weight lifting, it's actually going to increase your blood sugar and you might not see that. So just kind of knowing that and knowing where I'm going and having the experience, which is great, but you don't get the experience without the experience.

[00:56:31.020] – Allan

So if you're going to put something together, know why you're doing what you're doing, have a plan, pay attention, do some research. And above all, if you're going to hire a coach, which I encourage a lot of people to do like you've done like I do, is ask why. Have those conversations learn from it. Because that's your ability in the future be able to do some of those things for yourself.

[00:56:58.750] – Allan

I just wish I had a coach on this island that could be in there for my workouts because I know physically if they were there, I would work a lot harder. Other than the fact that I have my way of eating and my way of doing things, I don't know of another coach for people over 40 that would know how to treat me like I was 20 when I needed to be 20, because there's things I can do that I was doing when I was in my 20s.

[00:57:28.610] – Rachel

Wow.

[00:57:28.910] – Allan

Some people in their 40s can't. Okay. But also know when to treat me like I'm in my 40s and be cool with the fact that I have a way of eating that is different than what they would encourage people to typically eat. You got to have your carbs before you work out. And I'm like, well, no, if I had carbs, I just go to sleep. I'd be in a coma. So no, I don't need the carbs before and I don't even need them during literally I can take a liter of water and I'm good. That's my 3 hours of go, go, go. A liter of water.

[00:58:07.190] – Rachel

That's awesome.

[00:58:08.630] – Allan

And I do hydrate a lot after, and I've hydrated a bit before. But all I need to have with me as I go is that liter of water and I don't bonk. There's no bonk if there's anything that's going to stop me, it's just the fatigue and the legs.

[00:58:27.630] – Rachel

Sure.

[00:58:28.510] – Allan

At that point where, OK, you push yourself to the line, which is where you need to be for this training session. Good. But I know that again, from experience, from being a coach and coaching myself. So as you're putting your programs together, I think it's just really important for you to take those lessons. Realize you're also you're bio-unique. So downloading a program off the Internet works for 80% of the people. That Bell curve. But if you're an outlier, you're out of luck. You're going to have to figure something else out. And that takes experience and time and effort and paying attention to your body and doing those things.

[00:59:09.000] – Allan

And so I just encourage people, if you don't know what you're doing, ask for help. It's not that hard. And I am opening up five slots in my training. And for these five slots, I'm particularly looking for people that want to up their fitness game. So in the past, I've really focused on the weight loss. I think I've gotten those clients in that want to really work on weight loss. And if you still want to work on weight loss, you can reach out to me.

[00:59:37.960] – Allan

But right now, for at least the next six months or so because of what I'm doing for myself, my brain has really turned on to the fitness aspects of it. So if you're looking to up your game in fitness, and that can mean starting from zero and wanting to get to level one or that can be being at level five and wanting to be level seven wherever you are, I'm able to meet you there. And we can put together training programs. You can learn why we're doing what we're doing, and we can help you get that fitness together. So if that's what you want, go to 40plusfitness.com, not 40plusfitnesspodcast.com, but 40plusfitness.com and I'll have an application link there. You can fill out the application. We'll get on the phone and we'll figure out what you need. If it's my training program to get you there, it's not a fixed program. It's custom. So like I said, if you're starting from zero and just want to get to one, we can do that. If you want to ratchet it up a little bit more, we can do that too. So do reach out if you're interested in that.

[01:00:42.330] – Rachel

And then of course if it's running that you're interested in really getting good at then Rachel?

[01:00:49.940] – Rachel

I'm here. Just ask me any questions.

[01:00:52.500] – Allan

Where should they go? You've got a website, too.

[01:00:55.100] 

Strong-souls.com. You can just reach out for me there or even on my socials. I'm on Facebook and Instagram. Just shoot me a message and I'll be happy to help you out.

[01:01:05.730] – Allan

All right. And we'll have the links in the show notes for this one so if you have any questions, please do reach out to us.

[01:01:12.440] – Allan

Also, again, we're trying to put together a Q&A episode. So if some of these questions you would rather just ask and have answered on a podcast then I do want you to reach out Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and just email me there. Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. We'll take those questions. I may reach out and see if you want to record and ask your question vocally and be on the podcast that way. Or I can just read your question from your email on the podcast. But if you have a question you'd like for us to answer on an episode, we do want to try to accumulate some of those so we can get those questions together and have a duo episode with Rachel and I answering your health and fitness questions.

[01:01:58.420] – Rachel

Sweet. That would be fun.

[01:02:00.320] – Allan

Great. Rachel, anything else you want to get into?

[01:02:02.910] – Rachel

No, this is great.

[01:02:04.460] – Allan

All right guys, have a great week and we'll talk to you next week.

[01:02:08.080] – Rachel

Thanks.

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