Category Archives for "fitness"
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Let John Little help you make the most of the time you spend doing resistance training. On this episode, John and I talk about his book, The Time Saver's Workout.
Allan: 02:45 John, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
John: 02:48 Thank you Allan. Pleasure to be here.
Allan: 02:50 I'm really excited to have you here. Uh, you know, I had Dr. McGuff on to talk about some of his books, including Body By Science. When I was first doing my first interviews. I was usually kind of a little star struck when I met him the first time. And I'll have to admit just, you know, reading your books, I'm a little star struck talking to you too.
John: 03:08 Well no need for that, Doug. I can understand. Yeah, I consider Doug one of the brightest minds in exercise science.
Allan: 03:15 And I think you are too. That's you know, it's just, based on the research that you've done. I mean, I, you know, you've, this is a very well researched book. We're talking about The Time Savers Workout, which I think is actually pretty cool because most of us, if you ask people why they're not working out, they'll say most of the time they'll say, I don't have time. So giving us the workout that is, I guess biohackers like to call the minimum viable dose is really, really cool.
John: 03:43 Oh, well thanks. Well, I mean it in, from my vantage point, I just think the most valuable commodity in our lives is time. Once spent, it's irretrievable, you can't get it back and nobody on their death bed is going to say, Geez, I wish I'd spend more time in the gym because life offers way more than, you know, what a gym does is that the purpose of a workout really is to be an adjunct to your life, not the reason for it. And so, you know, doing any more than is minimally required, seems to me time that could be better spent.
Allan: 04:17 Yeah. I know when I was, I was in my twenties and you know, in college I Kinda had this time like, so I'd, I'd finished my final class, you know, around 1/1 30 and then I would go to the gym and I'd get my workout done and then I would just sort of hang out. And typically it was the owner would say, Hey Allan, you know you're going to be here for another hour I know, I'm going to get my lunch. You know, just if you're okay to hang around, that'd be cool. And I'd hang around eventually just started, give me the gym membership for free cause I would do that stuff for him. But I loved being in the gym. You know it was fun. I had a lot of friends there and it was really cool. But like you said, now I'm kind of a little bit more time restraint sometimes. And I go into the gym and it's funny because you'll walk into the gym and the folks who are working out typically just doing, you know, the, the arms, you know like I'll see someone workout and I'll go in and do a full body workout and leave. And they're still, they're still working those little bycepts.
John: 05:14 Yeah. Oh for sure. For sure. Well I think back when you and I, because we are approximately the same age had started training. It was like a cause celeb that we were behind. We wanted it to be bigger and stronger individuals, you know, in the worship of muscle was the church. And uh, anyone who was in gym was a compadre, you know, we were, we were all part of the same belief and put a value on looking like professional bodybuilders that uh, you know, and looking back was probably uh, misplaced, but that at the time it fueled our young imaginations. That's what we wanted to do. And every hour we could spend in a gym or among people that shared our belief was we might learn something or it might advance us a little closer toward our goal. And I think eventually over time and after banging your head against a brick wall in terms of and arrested development, that is not progressing despite the efforts, many of us began looking for another way.
We didn't want to give up the cause entirely, but eventually we kind of recognize that, well, maybe what we were told wasn't completely true and well that maybe, you know, you know, our diligence and the money that we throw out the window every month on supplements and protein powders in order to achieve this look, that was never going to come. Maybe we'd been duped. And consequently, I think a lot of people who were of our antiquity probably just wash their hands of the enterprise at a certain point in their lives and either, you know, in despair stopped doing anything like that or, or went into some other form of activity that was at least enjoyable and didn't promise unrealistic rewards for their time. And so certainly in my case, I was lucky too recognize that there was an alternative out there. And that was mainly through the influence of people like Mike Metzler and people that said as much, you know, that, you know, number one, you're never going to look like, you know, a champion bodybuilder. It's not the genes, but number two, there's still a lot to be gained from this enterprise. And so my interest, especially as I got older, shifted more onto the benefits that proper resistance training could impart to a person as opposed to the cosmetic component.
Allan: 07:30 Yeah. You know, I've talked to a lot of people in a, in a, and I've even in my book I kind of said, you know, when I talked to you about fitness, when I say fitness, you know, I'm not, I'm no longer talking about the kind of fitness that you want to be a professional hockey player or you that you want to be Arnold Schwarzenegger or that that's what you've kind of, you fitness to me, fitness now, once we get over 40 should be more about living the life that you want to live. And I think anyways, resistance training is an absolute imperative for us to do that.
John: 08:04 Yeah. To be able to do the things that you enjoy doing. The things that give your life, meaning. You have to be strong enough to, you know, to be able to do them. And the natural process of, of aging is entropy. You know, we're going to lose fibers, not lose them, but downsize them to the point where we can lose the ability to use them. And that suddenly restricts the circle in which we can move in terms of things we can do. So anything we can do to keep that balloon in the air in terms of full fiber health and function for as long as possible is a step in the right direction because it's coming down. You know, it's just, that's the natural, you know, entropy of human existence. You know, when you're born you're kind of, it's kind of like a bullet that shot in the air and it reaches the peak height at about age 25, but then it starts to return to earth and, um, you know, up until 25, you know, you've got bigger and stronger just as part of the natural growth process.
And so you would have gotten bigger and stronger by taking garbage out every week. Didn't really matter what you did. But, um, once you pass a certain age, typically once we exit our twenties, our body becomes like a very stingy board of directors and they want to know why they're investing this energy into keeping these muscle fibers preserved and hanging around that you simply never use. I mean the fight or flight fibers, the fast twitch fibers, the ones coincidentally that happened to have the greatest potential for the size increase that infect that affect our health the most dramatically are the first to go typically because cost the body the most energy to keep them on the payroll. So if you autopsy a 90 year old, you're going to find slow twitch fibers that are very well preserved, but the intermediate fast twitch are going to be decomposed at an alarming rate unless you do something to convince your body to keep them.
Allan: 09:54 Yeah, I know I was, I was reading a study and they had done um, some biopsies of older runners, you know, runners that had run their whole lives. They compared those two active runners in their twenties and thirties and found that from a, you know, from the, like you said, the, the fast twitch muscles, I got that right. Slow twitch muscles. I guess they retain those and they literally their look. So from a, from a muscular perspective, they had stayed very similar and the same can actually be said for people that do resistance training. Right?
John: 10:28 Right. Yeah. I mean that if you do a type of resistance training that calls upon fast twitch fibers and intermediate twitch fibers, you will preserve them. They're still going to be a loss. There's just, you can't buck up against nature, you know, and definitely, but, you know, whatever it can be done to preserve them, we'll preserve them and the thing that can be done to preserve them as to use them to give your body a reason to keep them on the payroll and uh, you know, otherwise, the natural course of things is simply to downsize them. Um, so when you do a type of resistance training, the cool thing about resistance training is that it hits all three classes of fibers, generally speaking, it gets slow twitch, intermediate twitch and fast twitch. And so your body is given a very strong prompt to hold onto those despite the aging process. And I think that's very important, not only for our functional ability but also for our metabolic health because each of those fibers contain metabolic pathways that he rode with the muscle. If you don't do something to preserve them.
Allan: 11:24 Now, one of the things that I think a lot of people struggle with is that they go in the gym and there they get a program. And here's a program where they see all the images, you know, the before and after, before and after. Uh, and some of those that are before and after, they're, they're in their forties and 50s, and you see them, they kind of put on a good amount of muscle, but someone else will do the same program and not quite get the same results. And you kind of talk about in the book about how we kind of each have our own individual response to how things work.
John: 11:57 Right? Absolutely. And there was a study that I quoted by a physiologist named Van Etten. And what was interesting about this is they had two groups. One that was mesomorphic are quite muscular and the other thinner ectomorphic and they put them on an identical exercise program for a period of 12 weeks. And then they monitored the results. And at the end of the study it was discovered that the mesomorphic or the group that was muscular before the workout experienced significant gains in muscle mass while the ectomorphic group experience no significant improvement at all. You know, so the takeaway from that is those who are inordinately muscular to begin with who have that genetic gift will gain size and strength from the bodybuilding efforts to a much greater extent. Then those who are not, you know, who don't share that morphology.
And of course the bodybuilding industry ignores this, But it also looks, when we think back on our early training careers, and you mentioned Arnold, I mean he was the guy, right? So we went into the gym and we bought Arnold's book, the education of a body builder. And we followed his program as best we could. We never got Arnold like results. But if you look at a picture of Arnold when he was 18 or 17, I mean we would have been happy to look like that, you know, when he started. But um, you know, it just isn't in the genetic cards. So to ape, you know, a popular bodybuilders program, the very fact that you're looking to look different than you do with strongly suggest that you don't have the genes to look the way that you want.
Otherwise even a little bit of training would suggest that potential. So, you know, anytime you see a bodybuilding magazine, and I used to write for bodybuilding magazines, the articles in there really have zero application to you, zero. So, and it's like trying to copy an Olympic athletes training program. You know, good luck with that. I remember Mike Mansour, who was perhaps the most honest bodybuilder I ever encountered in my career saying, you know, someone had asked him that, Sarah had mentioned that Roy Callender, who was another famous bodybuilder who is known for his density of muscles, that he did something like a hundred sets for his chest. And Mike said, well you try doing a hundred sets for your chest and see what happens. He said, you'll end up looking like a jockey. He said, because most of these bodybuilders would look like jockeys were not for the amount of steroids and take, and that was never discussed in the magazines really back in the day.
But genetics are the big ones. They are what will determine how much muscle, if that's your interest you can put on and it determines everything else from your height to your hair color. I mean it is the, you know, the Great Oz. It's the one that makes the, you know, the declaration as to how far you can go. And for most of us, we're going to bump up against our genetic potential in terms of muscle size, which is a more discernible, easily discernible indices of potential, usually within a year, at the most two years of training. And it's interesting being older now, my sons have friends who were at the age I was when I got into bodybuilding or in the strength training and the friends are into it and you can see it, you know, a real difference in their physique over the course of one year, maybe even a year and a half.
And then boom, that's the end of the road. And they're frustrated because, you know, their first year of training, they were experiencing this transformational benefit cosmetically of doing these workouts. Muscles were big, muscles became bigger and as a result, they're metabolic rates. Increased body fats tended to come off the body a little easier and they want to keep it going. And I recognize that as, you know, an attitude that was president of myself at that age, but it doesn't, and then they started looking for other things that can help them. You know, maybe they need more protein, maybe they, they need to change their program to one more closely resembling that of a, a bigger type of bodybuilder, but they're not going to get any bigger. And you've been around long enough to know that you've probably observed the same phenomenon. It just, there is a genetic cap that's put on these things. We don't know what it is ahead of time, but we do know that the, the best gains most of us ever had were first year of training, you know, serious strategy.
Allan: 15:58 Or after that coming back, I mean if you, if you trained as a, you know, when you were in your 20s or 30s and you, maybe you got untrained because you just, you know, life got in the way. Like with me, when I came back in the gym, it was like, okay, boom. You know, things looked really, really good. And then like you said, it Kinda plateaued. So you'd go to the trainer and said, okay, you know what, let's mix this up. Let's try something different. But yeah, general sense. You could refine it a little bit, but you just really couldn't go beyond that, that line.
John: 16:28 Well, you can't transcend. Yeah. You can't transcend it. So the thing is you, you go to training for a while, your muscles be conditioned, they atrophy, you get back into training, they come back again and you notice the difference. But you know, as far as some of these older guys that appear in the magazines, I mean, it's clear that there's some chemical enhancement going on there. Uh, you know, no, 65 year old has 2% body fat and a 17 in chart, you know, and suddenly built at age 60, you know? Yeah. I mean, it just doesn't happen unless you're, and the thing is steroids are an interesting thing. It's not that dissimilar for, or from what they know, you know, euphemistically called testosterone replacement therapy. You're still getting synthetic exogenous hormones put in your body. You know, you're not producing. And the problem is that nobody knows what the long term ramifications of this is.
I mean, most of the bodybuilders that I grew up being fans of in the 70s are either dead or have had serious coronary problems. And because there's never been studies done on steroids long term because they were originally not intended to be used for cosmetic purposes cause they were used to treat burn victims, you know, to facilitate the production of tissues. But then we found out, you know, about this great muscle building component and that became the priority. But there was never longterm studies done to know what the problems are. I mean step and think after, you know, several hundred thousand years of evolution, maybe there's a reason that's 70 year old guys aren't producing the same level of testosterone they did it 17 you know, and when we know that if someone gets certain types of cancers, the first thing doctors will do is, is try and cut out any testosterone in the body at all because that causes the cancers to spread, to metastasize.
So there's tumors that can be awakened in your body, let's say from certain endocrine responses that may not be, you know, a good thing to awaken. We don't know. We're kind of, we're playing with nature a little bit with that. But like I say, there's, there's probably a reason after all these years of evolution, that our bodies tend to reduce testosterone production. So when I see a guy in a magazine who claims to be whatever, 70 years old and he's got he's got a physique that more closely resembles that of a steroids taking 20 year old, that doesn't impress me, that tells me, hey, I have a very insecure seven year old who, who thinks you know that life is all about from the neck down. You know, you don't see pictures of these guys writing novels. You don't see pictures of them painting great paintings or, or composing music.
They just sit there and in a speedo and say, look at me. And that's the extent of their, you know, their enthusiasm for life. I knew a guy in California, he used to hang on to Joe Leader's office quite a bit and uh, he always claimed to be older than he was. And because he thought he looked more impressive physically. If he told people he was 75 or whatever, he was maybe late sixties but heavy steroid user and would be open about it and say how great he looked. And uh, and then, you know, it wasn't enough that he was married. He had to try and impress younger women. And I mean, nothing the guy said appealed to me at all. I didn't find them cool. I didn't find them. Uh, oh Geez, I want to be like this guy. I mean, to me, you know, the fake 10, the capped teeth, the perfectly quaffed hair and fake muscles, basically. It's Arthur Jones old line about a little boy in a gorilla suit. And this was an old man in a gorilla suit and the gorilla suit wasn't that big to begin with.
Allan: 20:02 Yeah, I think the key of it is, and you know, and that's what I really like about the listeners of this I have on the show, is they're not looking for necessarily the vanity look, they're not going for that approach. This truly is about wellness and what can we do and how can we use resistance training to enhance our wellness? And one of the concepts that you had in the book that I think is really, really important for us to understand is this conservation of energy and how that impacts how our muscles grow or how we lose weight. Can you kind of talk through a little bit of this cconservation of energy and our bodies kind of do that?
John: 20:42 Yeah. Well, it's a funny phenomenon. I've labeled it the conservation of energy phenomenon or CEP just so I can have a moniker for it, but it's just the natural course of action of the body to conserve energy every step of the way. Energy is one of the most vital resources that we have apart from air and water for without it, we die. So very early on in our species history, our bodies discerned to means by which it would learn to control the amount of energy that it was outputting from the body for any tasks that we have to undertake. Since all of the tasks were muscular in nature, therefore impacted the muscular system. So you can, for example, the most common example I use is the first time you ever drove a standard automobile standard trans mission. It was exhausting. You know, every muscle group was fully engaged and as well as your consciousness, as you check the mirrors and your work to clutch and the shift and the brake and the gas, that by the time you finished your first session learning how to drive a standard automobile, you were exhausted.
But then fast forward, you know, about a month or two and you find yourself zip and down the highway changing gears while you're changing the radio. It's effortless. And it's, it's not that the, you know, the first time you did it, that was a real workout, but it felt like it. But later what happened was your body recognized that it over mobilized its forces. It used way more muscle fibers and thus way more energy than a required in order to to accomplish this task that you've set before that of changing gears and working the clutch. So over time it learned to pull back and just use the precise amount of fibers at the precise time that they were required rather than all together at once. And consequently, your heart and lungs and your metabolic system where no longer servicing 100% of the tissue they use, they were two months previously when you first started, maybe it was on the order now of 15% so it's not nearly as demanding.
But then I could see that application to every physical activity we did. For example, runners who let's say in the northeast when the snow comes, they have to run indoors on a treadmill cause they don't wanna run on the ice. So they, you know, tick along on their treadmills and they believe their cardiovascular systems in pretty good shape. And then the snow goes away in the spring and they say, okay, time to run on the road. Well, invariably their first road run feels like they've never run before in their lives. You know, their hearts going like a trip hammer their sweating, pouring sweat through their chest is heaving. Their muscles ache for days after the first run. But they do it again just like the guy in the standard automobile and they do it again and they do it again and they do it again. And Lo and behold, that same route run at the same speed. You know, less than a month later. It's effortless. The older pulse rates barely leaving a baseline. They're not no nearly as sore, they're not breathing nearly as heavy. And they pat themselves on the back saying, I've really improved my cardiovascular system. Well, no. What happened was the CEP stepped in again. So now, you know, rather than the first time running where your heart ones, we're servicing the working 100% of the tissue. Maybe now it's on the order of 25% maybe less. So of course your pulse rates are not going to be driven up. You know, of course the amount of fibers brought into play won't be as much. But now I see it in everything. I see it in everything we do from lifting a Coffee Cup to working out and the body's means of conserving energy.
And they did a fascinating study that I cite in the book where they tested the calorie burn or the energy of people walking and they got a value of that. And then they put them in an exoskeleton or a mechanical suit that altered their gait to the way their, their strides so that it was more demanding, was a little more challenging and to nobody's surprise, they burn more calories. But the very next time they put on the Exoskeleton, they were right back to the calories that they were burning before the body have made the adaptation. So it occurs, you know, probably quicker than we think. But you can see that that has preservation value.
We kind of have two things that are hardwired into our consciousness with regard, maybe even to our DNA as regard to energy. And one is if you come upon energy, consume it because it may not be there tomorrow. And the second one is if you don't have to output a lot of energy, don't because you may not get it back out of your environment. Now this has a lifesaving value to the species such as ours that live for eons in a environment of food scale because it'll allowed us to conserve energy until we got to an area where there may be a little more food to sustain us. But the only thing that's changed does not our biology over this time, but our, our environment, I mean we now live in an environment of food abundance. Consequently these two impulses are still at play. So if there's energy, we opt to consume it. And there's still almost a primal fear that you know, it may not be there tomorrow. And the other thing is when it comes to exercise, all of us instinctively load high energy output activity.
And it could simply be because there's a part of our biology, it says you may not get that back. You know, don't work quite so hard, especially if you don't have to. So given that most people aren't physiologists, they don't know the workings of the body when they hit their forties I think, Geez, something's changed. Like I just saw a snapshot of me on holiday and I look like a beached whale. I've got to do something. I've lost whatever. You know, I used to be strong, I used to have muscle, I want to get that back so they know they have to do something psychologically. But the biology says, and I don't like this all out, you know, effort in the gym. That's a, it would be like, you know, running hurdles on the track. It's not a pleasant activity, but it's that type of activity that is necessary to activate and engage and stimulate and thus preserve those three classes of muscle fibers.
If you can do something that our psyches like, like going for a walk, you're only gonna use slow twitch fibers and over time you send a message to your body that the other two classes of fiber are dead weight because you're not using them. So it hastens their deterioration. So it's important to do a type of activity that we might initially perceive as being unpleasant in terms of its effect. Lactic acid burns, not pleasant breathing heavily, is not, it's not pleasant, but they there, it's just basically getting comfortable with your biology. You know, the heavy breathing and the lactic acidosis is simply a byproduct. It's the exhaust system of fast twitch fibers. So the more comfortable you get with your biology and you recognize there's nothing threatening going on, you know, the healthier you will be and the easier it is to train in a manner that is necessary to preserve all of those fibers and the metabolic functions.
Allan: 27:26 And that's what I really liked about this was when you kind of got into it and I was thinking, you know, most people are looking at resistance training and saying, okay, well this is going to get me stronger. This is going to improve my bone density. I may gain some muscle mass. But it goes well beyond that in that if you're training appropriately with resistance training, as you mentioned in the book with what you call the high energy output, you are tapping into your glycogen stores through all three types of muscle fiber and as a result you're actually setting yourself up to be metabolically advantage. So if you're struggling with high blood sugar like prediabetes or diabetes, if you're struggling with weight gain, that actually resistance exercise done the right way can actually go a long way towards helping you with taht.
John: 28:16 Oh absolutely. More so than any other activity really. And that is probably the only reason, apart from safety considerations, that resistance training moves to the form. It comes from the front of the line, those the preferred form of exercise, number one, it's a low force and if you run, you've got anywhere from three to five times body weight coming down on the joints with a single foot, you know when you're running. And then you also have the other issue that every time you do an activity, be at weight training, running, lifting a coffee cup. It's like a rope going over the face of a rock in terms of joints and where in terror. Now the hinge joints in your knees or the hinge joints and your elbows are not that dissimilar from the hinge joints in a door. In that they have a lifetime of normal use built into them, exceed that normal use quantity and your on a fast track to a replacement.
So when someone goes out for a bicycle ride, let's say, which was a seemingly innocuous activity, at the very least, they're going to open and close the hinge joints in their knees 10,000 times at the very least. So it's not that dissimilar to going to your door and opening and closing at 10,000 times over and above the normal use of that door. And if you do it three or four days a week, you've got a multiplier to put on it as well. So it's not a coincidence that people who are heavily involved in athletics, for example, and have, you know, two or three practices a week and maybe one or two games a week through a varsity career or high school and college, all of them end up arthritic. I can't think of anyone I knew who was on the varsity football team or hockey team that now has either had a knee or hip replacement or severe arthritis.
And it's overused and I think the earlier we're cognizant of this in our lives, the less problems we're going to have down the road. The benefit from exercise comes from a deep fatiguing of the muscles. That's the prompt cause the body to make an adaptation, whether it's in terms of endurance, which essentially is more glycogen storage and a muscle or strength in a muscle and you know, shy of that. There's not really a hell of a lot more you can get out of exercise anyway. So when people say, well, I'm going to do this for my cardiovascular system as if running for example, you know, the muscles involved in running where somehow divorced from resistance training or when you do resistance training. But the problem with that is when the CEP kicks in, you now have to change that running program in order to get the same benefit, the same stimulus, same effect, same fiber involved.
And that typically equates to running greater distances so now or cycling greater distances. So in the case of the cyclist, those 10,000 opening and closings now have to be extended to 20,000 to 30,000 to 50,000. And so that rock or sorry that rope goes over that rock face that many more times. And again, all to reach the end goal, which is to fatigue the muscles meaningfully enough that the body produces a positive adaptive response. And that's, that's what it is. If you think about, um, the best example of fiber recruitment stimulation and the effect would be cycling. Again, if you're cycling on the flat, and let's say you went out with a buddy, you could converse for as long as you want it to, an hour, hour and a half back and forth while you're riding on a flat surface because you're only using slow twitch fibers. You're not even really aware of your legs moving.
But then you come into a hill and as you start to go up the hill gravity, and I'll start to pull you back the other way. So the muscles have to work harder, uh, to keep you moving upward or up to grade. And consequently, at some point at the lower base of the hill, you begin to feel something's going on metabolically in my muscles, now I'm aware of it. Maybe we're not going to converse at quite the same rate that we were prior to this. But you continue on and as you get closer to the summit, your legs are on fire. You know, you're breathing very heavily. You all, you have to stand up now because it's very difficult to complete the revolutions of the pedals and maybe even you have to stop and get off the bike and walk it up the rest of the way.
But once you, once you do that, you notice that your breathing continues the heavy breathing for a protracted period, there's a tremendous cardiovascular stimulation far greater than what you had for writing for an hour on the flat surface, just from maybe 30 seconds to a minute of demanding muscular work, high energy output, muscular works. And so with resistance training we can manipulate certain variables. The load, the time of the muscle's underload and we can also control the forces, which is very important for our joint hill. But you know, when you finish a proper set of squats or leg presses or whatever lower body exercise you choose to do, it should feel like you just rode your bike to the summit of that hill from a cardiovascular and metabolic standpoint.
Allan: 33:01 Yeah. As I was getting into that part of the book, I was thinking, okay, well you're kind of talking about high intensity interval training, but I guess the problem with high intensity interval training is typically there's also the forces involved. But when you go to the resistance training, you're able to control the force.
John: 33:17 Well, right? I mean in high intensity interval training, there's lots of ways you can do it. Typically it's done on a a bicycle or a stationary bike. At least that's what most of the studies have been done on because it's easier to test vo two Max and things like that in a controlled environment. But, uh, you know, when you pull back big enough and take a more macro view of things, you see that in both cases it's demanding muscular work and resistance training. I mean, that could be another definition for it as demanding muscular work. And so the more demanding the muscular work you do, the brewery for your such exposure to that type of work has to be, and that's simply because you run through fibers at a quicker rate and you exhaust them just like the, you know, the faster you run, the less distance you can run.
So demanding muscular work is good and it gives us the benefit that we touched on at the beginning of freeing up more time. You don't have to be riding your bike for four hours, three or four days a week because of getting all of our, all of our adaptations are fixed. They're kept, and that includes cardiovascular adaptations. That's why not all of us can be Lance Armstrong's, we just don't have that genetic fifth year that lance had that allowed them to excel in cycling. He's perhaps not our best example because lance took a lot of other things as well to become a great cyclist. But genetically he had the [inaudible] to be an exceptional cyclist. You before he veered off into chemicals and other peoplehave that gift to be great Hockey players. The best example of that would be, I think I mentioned the book is Wayne Gretzky. He is bar none, the greatest hockey player in history because of the amount of records that he set.
And let's say you've been studying physiology and exercise science for 30 years, and the parent comes to you and says, Allan, I want you to train my son for hockey. I want you to get on as strong as possible because he's going to be playing a midget level hockey next year and you'll see you okay, I can share with them what I know. But right after he leaves, he gets a phone call from Wayne Gretzky says, Hey, I'll train your kid. Who's it going to go with? Most parents are going to go with the athlete because he knows this guy's been there. He's got the trip, the tips and secrets to make them a superstar. So interestingly enough, Wayne Gretzky was made the head coach of the Phoenix coyotes team in the NHL some years back, and he was the head coach for a period of five years.
So for five years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each of those players had the full benefit of his wisdom, his whatever tips and secrets Wayne Gretzky had to impart, and they finished dead last every one of those years and didn't produce one player of the caliber of Wayne Gretzky, which tells me at least Wayne had a gift. It was genetics. He can't tell you why he was the greatest hockey player in the world. It just worked out for him. You know, uh, just happened to be that way. He had the right genes to excel in the sport of hockey, whereas most, most people don't, which is why most people never make it to the NHL level, let alone, uh, you know, shatter all the records in the NHL. But you can see that right across the board that in athletics,
Allan: 36:19 When I was playing football, you know, you had Herschel Walker and walks out and he's just this huge specimen of a man and you're like, holy crap, what is he doing? You know? He's like, what is he doing? I want to do what he does. He's, he's just doing pushups and sit ups. Yup. And you're like, he had the gift. I could do pushups and sit ups, you know, kind of look like that. I'm not going to be that fast. I'm not going to be that strong. You know, there's just, yeah, there's just some aspect, he doesn't know what it's like to be a little guy.
John: 36:52 Well, and the reality is, I mean, whether you're Herschel Walker's coach or Wayne Gretzky's peewee coach. I mean he trained and played his players exactly all the same. And, and yet Wayne Gretzky came out of that. So if you wanted to hang up a shingle and say, you know, send your kid to me. I trained Wayne Gretzky in peewee and look where he is now. He probably would have made a lot of money, but the reality is everybody that trained in the same way that Wayne Gretzky did went nowhere on his peewee team. So it's just, it's these guys falling through the genetic cracks that excel because they have this genetic gift. Herschel Walker is a perfect example. Bo Jackson was another example. Jim Brown before him was another phenom who just had the genetics to be an exceptional football player. And these are the ones that make it to the top. And it's the very fact that they are exceptional. That is far different from the norm that has caught our attention in the first place and what distances them from ourselves. They are how we would love to be, but we won't be well, you know, we'd like to entertain that thought as long as possible because who would want to be Herschel Walker?
Allan: 37:58 But you know, I came back to kind of what we can be, you know, cause we're, we're all now well past that point.
John: 38:06 Welcome to the club.
Allan: 38:07 Yeah. Uh, even thinking that's possible. But I do want to get into this because you've, you've got some training protocols in the book and I really want to help someone understand how when we talk about this deep fatigue or you know, the high energy output. How does that relate to a workout? And then why does that then result in us spending actually less time in the gym.
John: 38:32 Will you spend less time in the gym because of the nature of how the programs are engineered. Number one, you want to use all three classes of fibers and we want to do what's called a sequential recruitment, which means you go from a slow twitch to intermediate twitch the fast twitch and for that to happen, there has to be a meaningful load imposed upon the muscles so that it doesn't, all the work isn't done by slow twitch fibers if the weight is too light. Since we have a type of fiber slow twitch, which is very slow to fatigue and very quick to recover, they're the same fibers you use on a walk, for example. It's very easy for the fibers that you initiated the exercise with to recover. By the time you've completed a certain amount of repetitions and therefore you never break out of that cycle.
It's slow twitch, slow twitch, slow twitch, slow twitch, but the load is meaningful. That's like you ride in the bike up the hill. Now you're, you're going through these fibers at a rate quicker than they can recover at and the body has no choice but to recruit the next order of fibers in line. So we move on to the intermediate twitch and have those fatigue out before the slow twitch fibers that you started with fatigue out. Then we'll move onto the final class, which is fast twitch and that's where you'll notice, you know the difference in respiration and the burn and, and all of these things. So the protocols are, because they're demanding because they cycled through fibers at a quicker rate. You're basically out of gas after about a minute and a half to two minutes of work. So it's, it's like you starting your, your bike ride up the hill halfway up the hill, you're just flipping off the hour you did on the flat, which didn't really do much except recycled slow twitch fibers.
But there are also done with an eye toward minimizing wear and tear or opening and closing of the joints. One protocol in the book, which is called done in one requires, but one repetition just performed incredibly slowly and can take up to two minutes to complete, you know, a full extension and contraction of a muscle. Other protocols such as the Max Pyramid will burn you out really quickly and in fact is so demanding that you might not need, need more than two exercises in a given workout to reap the full benefit because you simply won't have, you'll want to give 100% but you won't have 100% left to give for a third exercise let's say. And the protocol that I tend to start most people with is, is an old one and um, you know, went back to the 1940s. It was designed by the physiologist Forman Watkins.
And the reason I put it in there, it's because it's time tested. It's probably put more muscle on more people than any other protocol combined. And indeed I would venture to say that most other protocols since then have been footnotes to Dolores and Watkins method and it's pretty standard. It's three sets, approximately 10 reps per set is very light and as strictly a warm up that utilizes some slow twitch fibers. Second set is heavier, it uses what's left of your slow twitch and uh, some intermediate twitch. But then the third sets, the work set, it's the one that allows you to incorporate or to activate all three classes of muscle fiber. And so it's just three sets of 10. That's most basic fundamental training protocol and the history of resistance training.
Allan: 41:44 Yeah. And you, and you can pretty much do these with just some full body exercises like the, the dead lift the leg press, the squat, bench press, overhead press. And in a sense you'll get a full body compound movement workout with three to four exercises. And you know, if you're doing that and you're not taking big long rests between this and then basically you can get through a workout and you know, less than 20 minutes
John: 42:09 For sure. Oh, for sure. Yeah. Most of our clients don't, uh, worked out longer than 12 minutes and that's, that's at the high end. Some that some can be as low as six, but the idea really isn't to look at a clock to see whether or not you exhausted your muscles. You're gonna know if you've exhausted them by the effort you've put forth. And we keep progress charts and notes so that you know there is no waste of time. We know what weights you can use and we know, you know how long in the case of using a stopwatch you can sustain that contraction or how many repetitions you can perform so that when you come in the next week, we know exactly where to where to start just so you're not wasting any time and I think that again, time is such a big thing.
We don't think of it an exercise because we know we're used to seeing people get better by doing something more. You know, you got better at the piano by practicing more, you get better at stick handling in hockey by practicing more. You know, all of these things require more time to lay down certain neural pathways to perfect a skillset. But conditioning training is a completely different animal. It's not a skill set, although there's some motor learning involved. It is. It is a metabolically demanding high energy output activity. And when you're tapping fiber such as the fast twitch fibers, you know, they were not, you know, they're not on our bodies as a, as something that, uh, we needed to use on a daily basis when you, our ancestors didn't have fight or flight situations imposed upon them, you know, every day from 11 until two, you know, like people at the gym, these were sporadic occurrences maybe every seven to 10 days.
And consequently our body's never evolved. A means by which the fast twitch fibers or the fight or flight fibers required a really quick recuperation before they can be brought into service again. And so they don't, it takes time for those fibers to recover. And it takes time for those fibers to adapt and slow twitch fibers and fast twitch fibers do not share the same recovery profile. So while you can go for a walk for an hour using slow twitch fibers and upon your return home you could probably go out for a walk again because you've recovered from that very low. You know, it's not a high energy output activity, but you do a set of reasonably heavy squats to the point of muscular failure where you can complete another rep, try and do another set right away. You won't have the inclination, all of your energy and resources have been called upon at a very, very high level. And then you just have to give your body and nature, if you will, time to make the necessary adjustments. So the next time you perform such an exercise in such a fashion that's not nearly as demanding physiologically as it was the last time you did it.
Allan: 44:49 Yeah. That's one of the beginner questions I get all the time is should I just do the same workout every day? And I'm like, no. If you did it right the first day, you don't want to do it the next couple of days.
John: 45:00 And you don't want to do it again until you really have to. I mean there's two factors. One, the immediate after effect of a workout is a depletion. You get weaker. Energy was used up, glycogen was burned up, which is an energy selling them in a muscle and in some cases fibers or damage. So when that happens, you're not, you're not looking to do that again, you're, you're, you're essentially tripping the growth and repair mix. He doesn't have the body into motion by doing these workouts. And that's the same mechanism that comes into play. If you should ever cut yourself or burn yourself and the next time that should happen, just informally observe how long it takes for that little bit of skin or Dermis to bridge the wound. And that's just a little bit, it's usually seven to 10 days anyway. So the, the healing process, which is where the benefit that we're after occurs takes time.
It's not a, it would be the, like the workout is the stimulus, which is like when you cut your hand, well that's a stimulus to your body to produce new tissue, to close the wound. And when you work out with weights its extinguished your body to produce a little more, you know, a thickening of the muscles. But you don't hasten the process by recutting your hand every day, you know, you delay it. And the same is true with a workout. And I remember speaking with Doug McGuff about this and he said, interesting point, he said, but did you know that the skin repairs itself through the ectodermal germline, whereas muscles come from the Mesodermal germline? And I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. So I said, no, I didn't know that. And he said, well, here's what you need to know about.
He said, the active Dermal Germline, which you mentioned with the cut, which takes over seven to 10 days to heal, he goes, it is a germline that heals much, much quicker that muscle does. You said so if you scratch your cornea can be pretty well on its way to repair in 12 hours, so if you're going to be doing a very demanding workout, don't beat yourself up. If seven days ticked by and you haven't been back to the gym yet, you know you may need the extra day or two for full recovery because again, it comes from a metabolic line that is not quick and turning over proteins necessary for a rapid repair.
Allan: 47:08 Okay. John, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
John: 47:19 Hmm, that's interesting because it's an interesting definition because consists of three completely unrelated conditions that are under one umbrella term, but each is important to consider. Fitness is your ability to function, to do things that you want to do. Health is simply the absence of disease and happiness is a subjective term is what makes one person happy, might bore another person to tears. But I believe that the type of training that we've been discussing, high energy output training will look after the first condition you mentioned and to some extent it will positively impact your health as well. It won't cure a disease, but it might help prevent your health from deteriorating to the point where your body can't combat certain elements that might lead to diseases such as say, diabetes and perhaps the ability of your body to carry out the dictates of your mind in terms of doing things you really want to do and enjoy doing might lead to happiness of a sort and stave off conditions such as depression to some degree, which in fact the medical literature is indicated about resistance training. But only you can infuse your life with purpose depending upon your individual psyche and that will give you peace of mind to some degree.
Happiness is an interesting topic because as a perpetual state is foreign to human beings, and I'm not sure that it would be desirable as there is a vast spectrum of human emotions that collectively make up what we could call the human condition and some of them are the furthest thing from pure happiness, but to experience them all to live your life within each nerve fully exposed during this brief go round that we have is to experience the totality of your humanity. And according to some philosophies, at least your experience of a particular emotions opposite tends to heighten your experience of that emotion when you experience I again, as you know, you often only know things through contradistinction.
So after all, what would darkness mean if you only ever knew light, but to your point, given that the studies have shown that your health can be preserved with proper resistance training, given that the studies have shown that your functional ability can be tremendously enhanced through proper resistance training. And given the fact that studies have also shown an interrelationship between psyche and Soma. For example, if you're constantly worried and stressed, you can get a physical condition known as an ulcer. You have to think that would also work in reverse. So whatever it is that makes you happy, usually it's an activity or something that you enjoy. You need your muscles to get you to it or to perform it. And this was a means by which you will enhance and preserve your ability to do those things that you enjoy and to do it, you know, as best you can in the absence of the disease better than any other activity. And certainly fire quicker and more thoroughly than any other activity.
Allan: 50:04 Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with you because, you know, I think, you know, if you kind of go back to some of the happiest times in your life, it typically involves you spending time with someone that you care about, like a grandchild or something like that. And your ability to be engaged with them and doing the things that need to be done. So I agree with you there. And then, you know, if you're really doing this workout the way you're supposed to, it's not going to be the most pleasant day of your life. So you're going to be very unhappy for that 12 minutes.
John: 50:35 But yeah if you can get comfortable with being uncomfortable for, you know, six to 12 minutes a week in order to have all of the benefits of resistance training can give you, you know, maybe it's a deal worth taking.
Allan: 50:50 I think it is. I really do. So John, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the books that you've written and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?
John: 51:00 Well, I don't really have a dedicated website about any of that. Certainly for the books, they can go to any of the online bookstores. They're available there. Amazon carries all my books and that will at least be able to give them a means to see what I'm interested in, what I'm working on. And as I tend to publish quite a few of those and if they're on Facebook, feel free to look me up and say hello.
Allan: 51:23 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/388 and I'll be sure to have links to the books and also to John's Facebook.
John, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
John: 51:38 Well thank you Allan. It was a pleasure to speak to you.
I hope you enjoyed that conversation with John Little, you know, it's, um, it's always good to get the most out of our time working out so that we're getting the best benefit in the shortest amount of time. Bang for the buck, right? So go back and listen to that again. Go ahead and get his book, The Time Savers Workout. Really good book as well. I did want to let you know, again, I do have those slots for one on one training. You can email me Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and I'll send you an application. But if you're just on the fence with this and you're just not quite sure, why don't we schedule a 15 minute consult? You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min and we can schedule a 15 minute consult. We can talk about what your needs are. We could talk about what your goals are. I can give you a little bit on the phone there just to kind of give you a taste, a little taste of what it's like to be working with me. One on one. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min. Thank you.
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Allan Misner: 01:20 Dr. Bubbs welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Bubbs: 01:23 Allan, thanks so much for having me on.
Allan Misner: 01:25 You know, occasionally I will run into a book, your book is called peak, the new science of athletic performance that is revolutionizing sports. And like I said, I run into a book and I start reading it and then the author's cites this study. And so now I'm on Google trying to read the study. So then I read this study abstract and I'm like, oh, that's really interesting. So then I pull up the actual study and I read the actual study then to get back into the book and I read a little bit further and I find another one.
Dr. Bubbs: 01:56 There are lots of opportunities.
Allan Misner: 01:56 Yes there is. This is, this was a very well researched book and the research that you went to, I was actually pleasantly surprised that that was really good research. It was not this, uh, you know, put together by some, you know, by Gatorade and they're trying to advertise their sports drink. These were good solid studies that really do back the science of this book. And so I was really impressed with the citations and I have to admit, because I usually read all of every book before I do an episode, but I've still got a ways to go on yours because I'm learning new things pretty much every page I turn.
Dr. Bubbs: 02:38 Well listen, I appreciate that. And yeah, definitely the book is all about connecting people with the experts in their respective field in terms of not only athletic performance but human performance in terms of just upgrading how you look, feel and perform and also providing people with just some general rules to follow as well as what you just mentioned, which is that deep dive that if you do want to go down the rabbit hole, then there's lots of places that you can definitely do that as well.
Allan Misner: 03:02 Yeah. and you know, I guess the other side of this is a lot of times people will sit there and we use the word performance and yes, you're dealing with a lot of athletes and coaches and that type of thing. But in reality, the way I look at it is human performance is just sure ability to do the thing you want to do the best you possibly can. And a lot of the lessons that are here that even though we're, in many cases sometimes we're talking about those elite athletes, there are parallels to how we want to manage our health. You know, in terms of longevity, in terms of, capacity and then just overall wellbeing
Dr. Bubbs: 03:40 100%. I mean, as you get to working with really elite athletes and Professional Olympic level athletes, I mean, the level of training and the volume of training, the intensity of training is a tremendous load on the body. And it compromises health at that elite level. And for folks who are just trying to improve their health or lose weight or if they're struggling with whether it's weight gain, you know, pre diabetes, high blood pressure, those are big stressors on the body and they're there 24/7. So even though it's coming from different areas, you know, when you talk about human performance, the stress load can be just as high, if not higher. And folks that are struggling with their health as they are in and athletes were really pushing themselves.
Allan Misner: 04:17 Yeah, the statistics are baffling to me. You know, half, half the people in the United States, have prediabetes or worse. The obesity rate is just astronomical. So a lot of people right now are really struggling with their health. And I think it's just a common misconception of, I go in and get a blood test and the doctor tells me I'm fine. Uh, cause I had a consult I was doing just a week or so ago. And he told me, he went to the doctor and his blood glucose levels resting, fasting blood glucose levels were hovering right around a hundred. And I said, Ooh, I think you should try and get that down closer to 80 and maybe even below 80 if you can. And he thought I was, you know, a little weird. He's like, what are you talking about? My doctor says I'm fine. And I'm like, well, you know, your doctor is looking at a reference range, that includes a lot of sick people and so he's getting you to what he's calling average and I think you want to get closer to optimal. So you introduce in the book the concept called the blood glucose dysfunction spectrum. And, and I really liked that because it doesn't, it's not this, you're sick or you're healthy. It really kind of goes to that range of you're really, really sick. You're kind of, average. You're doing okay. And then your peak. Can you kind of talk about that spectrum and how it relates to us as humans being healthy and overall performance?
Dr. Bubbs: 05:47 Absolutely. I mean, I think the first thing is, you know, it's nothing inherently new in a sense, just looking at things in terms of a continuum. In science and in medicine, we have to define things. And so when we look at things like blood glucose dysfunction, we say, well, if you're less than a hundred milligrams per deciliter, then you're considered normal. If your levels are between a 100 and let's say 125 milligrams per deciliter and a course, these are, you know, us, measurements, then you be considered prediabetic. Now that's a pretty wide range. And so this idea of continuum is, well, if you're 99, you're normal, but if you're one on one, you're now prediabetic? That's, that's a pretty small shift there. So we have to then consider that as you move up that chain, if you get above 125 and now you're considered diabetic. And so classically in medicine we've said if you are type two diabetic, it is irreversible.
Dr. Bubbs: 06:39 It needs to be managed with medications and therefore people tend to get put on medications for prolonged periods of time. Sometimes those medications, if they do need to take things like insulin can make them gain more weight, which tends to make the process worse. But really if we even zoom out just for a second to kind of look at the general population. This past summer I was in the UK and they had a picture of a beach from the 1970s cause there was a heatwave this past summer in the UK. So they had a picture about 40-50 years ago of a beach in the UK. And you literally hundreds and hundreds of people in this photo. It was difficult to pick out anybody who was really overweight or obese to almost impossible. It didn't look like anybody was, you fast forward, you know, 40 50 years later and we're, you know, two thirds of the population now are overweight or obese and starts saying, okay, well what the heck's going on here and there, of course it's very complex and there are lots of different reasons, but part of the book is we're trying to hammer on some of these bigger points.
And one of the ones that really hits at home as the, the amount of household spending on what they call ultra processed food, things that come in boxes and bags and junk food, so to speak. And if we look at the US and the UK, it's over 50% of what we buy comes in a box or a bag. We think about the European countries. This is where it really stands out because if you go to places like Spain, it drops all the way down to 20% places like France, 14%, Italy, you know, classic Mediterranean diets and those regions, 13%. And when you get into places like Portugal has only 10%. So this is really interesting because now we have this idea of effectively when you're eating processed foods, you're getting stuff that's packaged, even things like cereals or packaged breads, pizzas, all that stuff, um, comes from these types of foods.
And that's an easy way for people to, if you start to limit some of those foods, you're going to reduce your total caloric intake. You're going to reduce typically your sugar intake, but also your intake of added fats and these foods as well. Cause there's a nice, you know, processed food companies are pretty smart. They make sure that combination of salt, sugar and fat is just the right amount to really stimulate the brain, stimulate all the, you know, the, the hunger and the thirst and to make you want to eat more of it. Right. That becomes interesting because obviously in the news now we see is it sugar, is it carbs? Then we have folks focusing on fat and a lot of the newer research now coming out, I mean a lady named Emma Stimpson and her um, group there at the National Institute for Diabetes in their research, they found that effectively it's the combination.
So when you put high fat together with high sugar, which is again what you typically find in ultra processed foods, that was an independent predictor of weight gain and obesity and overeating. So those are some really big points to say, okay, this is one of the, our food environment plays a big role in this whole story. And if we come all the way back to that sort of idea of blood glucose dysfunction, this is where you'll find a lot of folks hovering up towards the top end of that range. So hovering up around 101, 110, 125 so that should definitely be a little bit of a yellow flag to say, or a red flag, if you will, to say, okay, we've got to go back and look at what you're doing from an attrition standpoint. But also things like exercise, things like sleep, things like stress. Those can also increase blood glucose levels as well. So just knowing where you are in that spectrum and then comparing yourself to yourself year after year, after year rather than, as you mentioned, the general population because unfortunately, yeah, you're comparing yourself to a group that aren't in the best of health.
Allan Misner: 10:15 Yeah, I know they'll do these studies sometimes and they'll say, okay, well what did you eat last week? And, you know, someone will go through and kind of list out and I think if they actually truly logged what they ate, that they would find that they're in a box or a bag, a lot more than they think. I mean, I'm here in Panama on an island and I was thinking, okay, you know, we have fresh produce, it's year round because the weather's great, It's moist, wet and rains. And I said, I'm not going to have access to all kinds of fresh, healthy food, but there's all these supermarkets here that are catering to, you know, the, the backpackers and the expats and there they're carrying the same bagged and boxed crap that I think could get in the United States, uh, and charging people a premium to have it for sure. But people are buying it.
And you know I think that's kind of one of the core lessons as you come into this is, you know, if you're finding yourself in that spectrum and you're moving up rather than at least maintaining or moving down, you're not doing what's best for yourself. And I liked that in the book you were talking about. When we started talking about longevity, you know, from an athlete's perspective, it's their ability to continue to perform at that high level but it also involves our ability to live longer and they're kind of following the same track if we can keep ourselves where we're supposed to be. So can you talk about how this concept of Blood Glucose in our blood glucose levels, how that's affecting our longevity?
Dr. Bubbs: 11:51 Definitely. I mean, that's one where, you know, having some metrics and some markers to assess year end year out of how you're doing is a really important thing. And Blood Glucose is fasting. Blood Glucose can be a really nice one of, when we look at mortality rates, what do people die of? What's the number one killer of, when we look at that heart disease by far, you know, almost 50% it's about 41% of fatalities are from heart disease. So we say, okay, well what happens then if you're a person whose blood glucose as you mentioned, like your friend there, maybe you're in the 100 milligrams, 110, 125 or maybe you're even prediabetic. Well what does it tell us about some of your risks? Well, you know, there was a large study done in the late nineties a 22 years study on fasting glucose. A risk factor for your heart disease risk. And this is done in folks that were non diabetic.
And so in this one, if you were actually greater than 85 milligrams per deciliter, so you're in that upper core tile, that top fourth you're actually at much greater risk about a 40% higher risk than the, than the other folks, the lowest folks in the, in the study. So that's an issue around heart disease risks. A follow up there that's called the Whitehall study that was also done in this connection between fasting blood glucose and cardiovascular disease. And what they found takes it a step further because what they found is that as your blood fasting blood glucose increases, so does your risk of cardiovascular disease. So again, another really important point to kind of hammer home how this can be a decent metric for us to track. And interestingly, I found the strongest association was in 40 to 49 year olds, which typically obviously as you get older, your risk increases, you know, but one of the things that we tend to forget about is things like lack of sleep.
You know, if you don't sleep enough at night that following morning, your blood glucose levels will tend to be higher. And if you do that persistently, that can really lead to, you know, causing you to have persistently higher blood sugar levels. You see this even if you do a lot of traveling, if you take a lot of planes, for work, travel, jetlag, all that type of thing, you'll notice even if you do a blood test on the back end of that, your blood sugars will actually be higher than they normally would be. And that all comes down to this idea of, you know, lack of sleep is a stressor as well. And so that's kind of the trickier one to put your finger on with folks is you know, that stress load in their life can be a key point as well in terms of how good their blood glucose control is.
And you know, for the athlete that typically come from intense training and we see that as well, athletes who are really fit great blood glucose control. If we really pushed them hard, their fasting glucose in the morning, will also be elevated. Now in the acute term, that's not a problem. It's okay to have that happen. But if you're at a period where you're resting or you're deloading if you're an athlete training, then it should come back down into this ideal range of, you know, definitely less than a hundred and ideally less than sort of 80, 85. Um, that would be what we'd be looking for in those periods of rest. And I think for a lot of folks, sometimes when you get a few metrics done and get a bit of testing done, that's when you can actually really, you can put a number to things for people and that really hammers home the idea of, okay, let's, we've got to go back to how you're eating, how you're moving all these lifestyle factors and figure out what are the biggest levers that you need to adjust to help, uh, improve your overall health. And as you mentioned, just improve your, your longevity or what we call health span, which is the amount of years that you live in, in very good health, your total control of independence. Um, you know, unfortunately the last 8 to 10 years, the last decade of most people's lives is spent in pretty poor health and you know, needing, requiring care, full-time care even. And so that's really what we want to strive for folks, is to be able to, to age healthfully.
Allan Misner: 15:36 Yeah. And I think that was one of the kind of big wake up calls here because you know, you hear a lot about particularly some elite athletes that really push themselves over the years and how it adversely affects their health in particularly longevity, you would think, okay, they're eating the best quality foods and you know, they're aware of the nutrition and you know, they've got the right people behind them making sure, of course, you know, the glycemic index of their food is there, so they're not necessarily eating, you know, all the crap because of the way they're pushing their bodies because they're not getting the sleep because they're flying, you know, from east coast to west coast to play a game or being in a match or do an event. They're taking a toll on their health and it's showing in their numbers. If we were looking at it, just trying to reverse engineer and say, how did I get here? There's a lot more to it than just what you put in your mouth.
Dr. Bubbs: 16:31 100% and I think you know, one of the big differences as well as this, as you mentioned, if somebody is physically fit than what we're seeing is just an acute picture. And because they have such greater resiliency, when they do take the stress load down, everything falls back into these sort of normal ranges are ideal ranges. Where for, unfortunately for a lot of folks that that stress or that season doesn't end, so to speak, right? You're always going to have the long hours at the office. You're always not sleeping enough because of the kids or projects or family commitments. And so all of a sudden that becomes your chronic picture. And that's definitely when it's time to, to figure out how we can tweak your exercise program or make sure you're getting sufficient sleep and all these things that are real fundamental pillars, but they're often times not quite as sexy as some of the new, you know, whether it's a supplement or medication or or or, or trendy exercise that comes out that people tend to get their attention directed towards. But when you look at what the best in the world are doing, it really is just being excellent in the fundamentals.
Allan Misner: 17:26 Yeah. I liked the story you shared about Federer and how kind of maybe one of his secret weapons of how he came back and really started dominating again was just focusing on something as simple as getting enough sleep.
Dr. Bubbs: 17:39 Yes, it's incredible. I mean this was obviously this, the research on sleep in the last decades really exploded in an interview I did with Dr. Cheri Mah who is a medical doctor and sleep expert that works with professional sport and I had her on my podcast and and she was mentioning how he was definitely an early adopter and for quite a while there was trying not to let the cat out of the bag so to speak because it was having some significant impact on his performance and obviously now more people know about the benefits of sleep for performance in terms of things like reaction time, sprint speed, accuracy, all these, these types of metrics, but also for general population in terms of memory, cognitive function. Absolutely crucial. The tricky part is even despite everyone kind of knowing now that sleep's good for us, when you look at the numbers, we're still not, you know, not getting enough. Even the athletes aren't getting enough. The average person gets 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night, 30% of the population get less than six. And that's when things really started to nose dive. I mean, if you're getting less than six, that's one big flashing lights on the dashboard of your car start to go off. And you know, it's definitely time to check the engine or a reboot a little bit.
Allan Misner: 18:43 Yeah. In the book you introduced, I mean, it's a concept I've known about for awhile because I'm obviously talking to folks about this all the time. It's carbohydrate tolerance. And the gist of it when I'm having a conversation with a client would be, you know, how many carbs should I have? And you know, I'd be like, okay, well it depends, you know, for me, I'm like, depends and they don't like that answer. But can you talk a little bit about carbohydrate tolerance and why what works for one individual may not work for another?
Dr. Bubbs: 19:13 Yeah, this is definitely, I mean, nuance is definitely an area that's, that's tricky for folks because people want to have, especially when you're starting out, you want to have a nice clear roadmap or plan of what I should do. Um, and so if we look at the example of the popularity of the low carb diets, you know, something I use a lot in my clinical practice, again, if we zoom out to 30,000 feet, what are the top six foods that people eat? Well, unfortunately it's things like grain based desserts, breads, soda, pop, alcohol, pizza or five out of the top six. And so that's where the bulk of your calories are coming from that are going to impact ultimately how much weight you're gaining or how much weight you're losing. And so if we put somebody on a low carb diet, all of a sudden we cross off five out of the top six most calorie dense foods.
Dr. Bubbs: 19:59 And so that's a great way to help to support weight loss. You're basically directing people to eating more protein, to eating more vegetables, fruits, etc. And so that can be a great strategy for people to lose weight as this idea of how many carbohydrates that, I mean at the end of the day it comes down to your total caloric intake. Now, the tricky part is, as I mentioned, the carbohydrates make up just so much of what's in our own food environment. So they're much easier to come by. And so this is where for some people in general rule we would say is the more activity you're doing, you know, if you're an endurance athlete, you might get up to eight to 10 grams per kilogram of carbohydrate, which is, you know, you just imagine a guy riding in the tour to France with a whole table full of pastas and breads and all these types of things, right?
Just a ridiculous amount of food. But that could come all the way down to folks are falling more of a low carb Keto approach or maybe more sedentary or have to work at a job or you know, they're not moving very much. You're sitting at a desk and you might only be eating 50 grams instead of 850 and so that's the one that swings the most in terms of the amount that we can take in. What I try to do and whether it's with athletes or with clients, is to first start with protein intake. Protein has a lot of benefits in terms of overall health, in terms of bringing on not only the essential amino acids you need, but also bring on a lot of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, really supportive in terms of weight loss because you get a bigger thermic effect. So it costs more energy for your body to break it down, which has beneficial and it also tends to keep people full.
And so if you can, if you can solidify somebody's approaching intake and say, okay, we're going to consume, you know, typically you don't always have to tell the clients how many grams per kilo, but you might say we're going to have 20 grams three or four times a day. Or if they eat three meals a day, you know, have a bit of their palm size worth as opposed to 30 25 to 30 grams. And then that way you've got the protein dialed in, they get used to that, they don't need to think about that and all of a sudden it becomes easier to sort of turn these dials if you will. The dials being fat intake and carbohydrate intake. And it really is different depending on the person and depending on what the person likes to eat is important because when we look at, you know, the problem isn't taking weight off people, the real problem we look at the research is keeping it off right because nine out of 10 people will regain it at the end of the year.
So ultimately, you can do strategies in the short term that helped you to lose weight, but ultimately you have to find a strategy that you enjoy enough to keep doing. Right? Because compliance is is the best predictor of how well you're going to do on a diet. So I try to tell clients you know that first four, eight or 12 weeks, there might be some strategies that you've got to just grin and bear it and get used to it. And then as, as we move down for down the road, we're trying to match up what you like to eat with your lifestyle so we can kind of see some can support that longer term weight loss.
Allan Misner: 22:48 I've found with a lot of my clients that if I, you know, we go ahead and we introduced maybe some new foods that they haven't tried before. We take away quite a bit of foods that they typically enjoy and they go for a little while. Their pallet kind of resets the way they taste, sweetness resets. And in many cases what they used to not like, they now find themselves enjoying. And when they go back and try some of those things that they used to like they taste the chemicals, they taste the ultra process and they don't like it nearly as much.
Dr. Bubbs: 23:22 Absolutely. And I think that's one where, you know, in North America or in the West, you know, breakfast is that meal that tends to be the one. If people are on the run, you're grabbing a coffee and all of a sudden, you know, all the options in the menu tend to be higher calorie, higher carb and higher fat. Right. So not the greatest combination. So if you can get people to have, you know, basically protein and veggies and some healthy fats and then the amount of carbohydrates or it depends on, you know, the amount of weight you want to lose or how much activity you're doing. That can vary a bit in terms of if it's a, you know, a very small to small, so it's a more moderate portion.
And we typically try to time the carbohydrates around exercise too. If you're going to have, you're trying to get leaner, you still want to have a decent carbohydrate consumption or you do want to enjoy some, you know, sweet potato or whatever it may be. Then having that before you do higher intensity sessions or directly after, it can be a nice strategy to help direct that into either being able to use it for fuel while you're training or on the back end as you've broken down your muscles in that training and used up the glycogen, which is the carb stores on the muscles than the carbohydrates you're eating are going back into the muscles to top that up, which is, you know, a nice way to be able to recover from exercise.
Allan Misner: 24:32 I definitely want to circle back around on this concept a minute. One of the things I did want to get in before we leave this whole blood glucose dysfunction spectrum was the linkage between your blood glucose levels and depression. That kind of actually got me. I spent a lot of time looking at your research in that area because it was something I had not really thought about. You know, obviously you eat something and there's a kind of a mood affect to it cause there's things such as dopamine and everything's going on, but I had not really understood that connection before for the long-term actual diagnosis of depression. Could you kind of get into that?
Dr. Bubbs: 25:12 Yeah, it's one that I started to see more and more of in my practice. I deal a lot in men's health and it was surprising to me the number of clients that were coming in that were taking medications that you know, felt that they were struggling with low mood, and depression is defined as having low mood for greater than 12 months. And more and more patients were coming in. And it's, when we look at markers like blood sugar levels, I mean this is again, this idea of trying to find the minimal amount of markers to follow that influence the most number of sorts of systems or the most areas of the body. And when we start to look at the connection between blood sugars and mood, you know it gets to be pretty compelling. There's a lot of research coming out of Scandinavia around you know HA1C Levels, which is your HBA1C which is your three month average of blood glucose.
And so when that is higher, you're in a much greater risk of depression as well as when you're fasting insulin. So insulin does a lot of things in the body, but it's typically classified as the blood sugar hormone, right? It's helping to get the food you eat into your cells. Now that's persistently high. It's also associated with increased risk for depression. We see studies in military cadets as well. If you're, when you get yourself tested the morning, if your fasting glucose and insulin its higher first thing in the morning, as well as post-meal, those are also predictive of depressive symptoms, more depressive symptoms. And for folks who are struggling with, with diabetes, we know that when if you're insulin resistant, you're actually three times more likely to struggle with depression. So the really interesting thing is when we look at actually all those studies is medications don't alter any of those responses.
When we look at the general population, it's definitely one that we want to make sure we're considering. And to your original point around just knowing where you are in that sort of continuum or knowing what your number is for for your blood glucose level. And we'll probably talk metrics here as we go with HBA1C would be a good one to always have and typically run by your doctor. But that way you know, and this isn't to say that just your blood glucose is the only factor that leads to low mood and depression. But it's definitely one that contributes. There's obviously all the, you know, psycho social emotional factors as well. But for me as a clinician or a nutritionist, it's always, I'm trying to raise the playing field. So if I can get rid of or improve blood sugar dysfunction than it might be, you know, we're raised the playing field so that, you know, the cognitive behavioral therapy or whatever other talk therapy that the person might require, it's going to help them and improve their condition. And again, even if they're taking medications, we're still seeing improvements if we just help to correct the blood sugar, the assumption.
Allan Misner: 27:54 That was so fascinating to me because I'd never really made the connection to food a little bit, but not to that level, which was, like I said, just really, really fascinating. So someone decides, okay, I want to go ahead and get this tested. And we've talked about fasting the blood glucose levels. We've talked about, you said HBA1C I just typically we just say A1C. Those are the common. What are some other tests that you think would be appropriate for someone that just kind of wants to get a good baseline to know that they're managing their carbohydrates appropriately?
Dr. Bubbs: 28:27 Yeah, so those first two tests are typically run by by most doctors there is, you could add fasting insulin to that. You typically have to ask your doctor, you probably have to pay out of pocket but that's used in combination with fasting glucose to give you an assessment of your insulin resistance, a measure called homa-IR which is a calculated measure that gives you a bit of a deeper picture. You know, none of these metrics are sort of infallible or you can't hang your hat on just one. But it does give you another big piece of the puzzle to look at. A few more that I tend to look at with clients, GGT is a liver enzyme and of course everything that we eat primarily gets directed to the liver. And then particular obviously carbohydrates, sugars. And this is where, you know, I'm sure your listeners have probably seen the movie Super Size Me from years ago when the guy decides to eat nothing but Mcdonald's for 30 days, I believe it was every meal of the day.
And this is where there's a moment in the movie where the doctor's eyes are kind of bulging as he's looking at the labs for this individual who's only eating Mcdonald's and the liver enzymes were through the roof. So as GGT levels are enormous and this is due to the high processed foods, high simple sugars, etc. Um, and so it's a very early predictor of things going wrong. And so that's kind of a nice one to throw in there. Again, it's very, and then the last one would be around inflammation. Systemic inflammation again goes part and parcel with weight gain, with prediabetes, with poor cardiovascular health. And so CRP would be a measure of that. And that's, you know, a pretty easy set of metrics to, to be able to track, uh, you know, year on year. And then if you are, if you're struggling with your health, then you want to track more frequently, maybe a couple times a year.
And if you really need to shift things, you know, if you're looking like you're in moving into diabetes or you're really, you know, there's hypertension or what not, then you might want to even go quarterly. And always, the first line of the first port of call is obviously for the doctors is to compare you to the norms because they're trying to cross off serious conditions and diseases. But once you're past that threshold and that's when you want to start comparing you to you every time and making sure that, you know, are you trending towards disease? Are you trending away from disease? Cause obviously we want you to be trending a side that's pulling you away from all those chronic conditions.
Allan Misner: 30:40 Yeah I go in for wellness visits three, four times a year. And I happen to have a really good doctor that kind of understands that just being average is not really what I'm after and that's not why I pay for additional lab tests. But I'm actually looking for, you know, what's that good thing that I can do for myself to kind of get myself more optimal and the actions and the things that I do with my health and wellness that are always kind of directed towards that you got me really intrigued about the continuous, blood glucose monitor and I was looking it up and unfortunately I'll have to ask my doctor if he's willing to give me a prescription for one, cause you can't just buy it over the counter. But, um, I was really interested in trying, try and one of those out just to see what it tells me about some of the foods that I'm eating and how they affect me. So thank you for reminding me that those are available. But like I was doing some research after I read that your book. I was like, Oh, I've got to get a prescription for this. Uh, which is kinda sad.
Dr. Bubbs: 31:38 Well, I mean, nowadays you can actually even order them, you should just be able to order them online. And you get the continuous glucose monitors are a really fascinating way to look into how you personally respond to food. Because you know, for anyone who's not familiar, they effectively, you know, in the back of your arm you, it's a little bit of a pin prick that goes in and this sensor stays on you continuously for a week or two. And it's basically measuring your response to all the food that you're eating. So how high your blood sugars get when you eat a meal. Importantly afterwards, how low they get and for how long they stay low. But also things like, you know, if you get a bad email and you're stressed out, well your blood, your blood glucose will respond to that or, or maybe you don't sleep enough and you'll see some big shifts there.
So it's definitely a really nice way to see individually how you respond. Because in some of the earlier research, you know, someone who ate a banana or let's say, or a piece of fruit that should have a moderate glycaemic index response, they were seeing responses as if they didn't know, eaten a cookie. And on the flip side, people who ate a cookie had a really smooth response to glucose. And so this is where, you know, depending on our individuality, we actually, you know, you could end up on one side of the coin or the other and we dive into this a bit in the chapter around digestion because it looks like the microbiome, all the bacteria in your gut are having a big impact on how you as an individual are responding to the food you're eating. It can sort of amplify your blood glucose response, you know, in sort of the, you know, the bad scenario if you will or, or buffer it. And people who are, you know, maybe genetically or whatnot. Lucky.
Allan Misner: 33:08 Yeah. There was an Israeli study that I had read about one time and they use these continuous monitors, and logged everything they ate. So they logged what they ate, the time of day they ate it. And the differential between how different people experience the food from a blood glucose level and then even a recovery perspective afterwards, uh, was really kind of fascinating because, you know, everybody just thought, okay, this is the GI of this food. So if you eat and your blood sugar's gonna soar, but that's true for some and not necessarily for others. So I do think testing is really a kind of a cool way for you to really know, uh, how things are affecting you and then it'll just allows you to make better decisions. Now, a lot of my clients, and a lot of folks that I interact with a, they're in the Keto environment. Uh, I practice seasonal ketosis and I, you know, I know, okay, as soon as I go into Ketosis for a period of a month or so, ny endurance performance is going to be, uh, well rubbish for lack of a better word. Uh, and then, you know, over time I pick up that performance my body gets more metabolically adapted. Um, and I'm able to go. Now if, if someone wants to use ketosis, what are some things that they can do to optimize their general performance, in one case I guess it would be a weightlifting or, or you know somewhat for body composition and then also for endurance athletes.
Dr. Bubbs: 34:35 This is a really interesting area and in the research, especially as it relates to not only general health but also in terms of athletic performance, cause when we look at even the highest level, so in an endurance sport you know cyclists, tour de France, they're now using in the last half decade or more targeted plan strategic workouts where they will have very low carbohydrate intake and this can be anywhere from 30 to 50% of the workouts were there on purpose trying to have these workouts where the person's intake of carbohydrate is low and or the glycogen, you know, the storage form of carbs and our muscles is low and that can be low due to you know, doing two day sessions. So you maybe do an intense session in the morning, you deplete the Glycogen, you don't consume a lot of carbohydrate and then you have an afternoon or aerobic session.
Or it could be after a fast. If you sleep at night, you're going to use up the liver glycogen overnight and then the morning that liver glycogen is going to be low because your liver also stores a carbohydrate in the form of glycogen. And that again elicits a different response. So what does all this mean to the person listening in at home? It means you don't always have to carve up for your workouts. If you're trying to be fit and stay lean or be fit and lose weight, then you definitely want to start to take advantage of these opportunities to have workouts where you don't have a lot of carbohydrate. And so I think for a lot of people, the easiest one is that morning workout, right? You go to bed, you wake up in the morning, you might have a coffee and then off you go.
So again, because your liver glycogen levels are lower, you're going to have a different response at the cellular level. And that can help in terms of training adaptations as well as some beneficial health effects. And so with that, you don't have to always, you don't have to go into a full ketogenic diet to elicit a lot of these benefits. You know, we see in some of these trainings studies that even a few days of of lower consumption can elicit a lot of these positive effects. If you're somebody who, you know, let's say if you're somebody who's struggling with weight gain or you're prediabetic or you have a lot of weight to lose, then the more quickly you drop your, your carbohydrate intake. If you're really trying to get into Ketosis, you just need to be careful a little bit cause it's gonna feel definitely a quite intense for you.
And so making sure you might pair that up with more lower intensity exercise for that person who just kind of dipping their toe into it. Where as someone who's more seasoned, let's say, um, I recently talked to a guy named Dr. Wes Kephart who did a study on the ketogenic diet and crossfit trainees. And then these were, you know, moderate to advanced trainees and they got very good results in terms of leanness. They maintain muscle mass and they were obviously doing intense exercise with very low carbohydrate intake. And so you can push it up to that scale. If you're more seasoned to it, if you're used to doing it. Yeah. So you definitely got some options on that front. And at the end of the day, as I mentioned before, you know, in looking at all this research, like if we look at bodybuilders, you know, their carbohydrate intake can be up as high as in the elite ones up as high as five grams per kilo, which is, which is a lot of carbs.
So, you know, try not to fall into the trap of thinking that if I just lower my carbs, I'm going to get leaner. You know, it still comes down to these principles, which is what the book's all about as well, which is your total caloric intake. So you know ketogenetic diets can be a great way to reduce calories. That can be a great way to elicit a lot of these positive adaptations to exercise. But then you need to do a little detective work, you know, just see how you respond, see how you feel with various workouts and ultimately always know what your goal is as well. You know, is it to lose weight? Is it to improve your health? Are you really chasing some performance metric that you're, that you're after? Cause that'll dictate the way that you should do it.
Allan Misner: 38:16 Yeah, you got me thinking in the book as I was going through the book and I was like, okay, you know, I like when I'm in ketosis, it's kind of almost a natural thing for me to kind of drift into intermittent fasting. I wake up in the morning, I'm just not really hungry. Like you said, I'll probably have a coffee but I don't do the bulletproof or any of that cause it's just black coffee. And then I'll go, I'll go work out. Uh, and I typically do the workout fasted, which you've got me thinking in terms cause you even put that quote in there, you know, breakfast like a king lunch, like a pauper, mean like a, like a prince and then a dinner like a pauper, which is effectively the kind of the flip scale of the way I would do intermittent fasting. Do we have less, uh, general glycogen when we're in Ketosis or does it not recover at some level where we just maintain it? Or exactly how is all that working? If I want to, you know, actually as if I'm lifting or doing endurance athlete, endurance work is, I mean obviously I could, you're saying I should just try it and see how it works?
Dr. Bubbs: 39:19 There's a few options here. So let's start with even the intermittent fasting. So there's, you know, an easy way to start people off is to do the idea of not eating breakfast. Right? Cause again, as we mentioned before, breakfast is typically the meal a day where people, there's a lot of bad options on the menu if you're, especially if you're eating out. And so I find a lot of my clients, men in and women, you know, you just canceled breakfast out all together. All of a sudden there's more time in the morning to get some emails done to call clients or customers or get the kids out of the house or whatever, or meditate you know, you've got more time on your hands all of a sudden and now you're eating, you know, typically a 16 and eight, um, you know, technically call this time restricted feeding, which means you're just shrinking the window that you're eating.
Dr. Bubbs: 40:02 So you might delay your breakfast till 10 or 11:00 AM and then you're going to eat for about eight hours. So until six or 7:00 PM and then again, you're not going to eat for 16 hours, which sounds like a long time. But you know, you're sleeping hopefully for seven or eight, so it's not so bad. And so that's one way of reducing.
Allan Misner: 40:19 We know from the book they should know from the book eight to 10.
Dr. Bubbs: 40:22 Yeah, yeah, for sure, but the interesting thing as well, so that's the one strategy that you can use and it's an effective strategy. You know, it's no better than than caloric. Um, and effectively counting your total caloric intake in a day. There are some different benefits to it, but it isn't a strategy to get people to lose weight. So you can, you can use that for awhile. The flip side of that is when you look at a lot of the research on fasting, if you just stop eating at 6:00 PM, even if you have breakfast, if you just stop in the evenings to allow that longer period of time, then you'll also get a lot of benefits.
So, you know, the big take home message here is that in today's environment we eat for 14, 16, 18 hours a day. You know, if the average person is only sleeping six hours, we're effectively eating for 18 hours a day, which is just way too much. Um, so finding a strategy that works for the person to be able to say we've got to shrink that window, because you know, grabbing a snack on your couch at night if you're watching game of Thrones or whatever it might be at 9, 10, 11 PM, you know, those are the opportunities where now when we feed in the evening, that really starts to disrupt circadian rhythms.
And you know, as you mentioned Dr. Satchin Panda's work at the Salk institute and you know, he found his original research in animals was where all of a sudden if you fed, you know, animals the same amount of calories, but you allowed one to do it in an eight hour window and you let the other one just eat all day long. The mice who had access to food 24 seven and they effectively got fatter and sicker and follow up studies in humans. This is just in prediabetic men. If you compare it to even a 12 hour window to a six hour window, you'd actually see that oxidative stress, blood pressure cravings are all increased in the folks that are eating in the bigger window. So again, another interesting strategy of using that time, restricted feeding, intermittent fasting to be able to say, hey, if we shrink the amount of hours in the day that you can eat, you're going to tend to eat a lot less calories.
And the other big fundamental is this. Yeah. If you can try to limit how much you eat late at night, you know, if it's Friday or Saturday night, don't worry about it. We want people to live a little, but it's that, you know, five other days of the week where we should just be a bit more vigilant and just get into a good routine and good practice of not eating. Because once we get used to the, um, the habit, I mean it's a bit like Pavlov's dog where as soon as you sit on the couch, uh, 9:00 PM to watch a show or whatever it might be, all of a sudden you just want to eat something even though it's sort of mindless eating and reacting. Right?
Allan Misner: 42:53 Yeah. And, and I've seen that, you know, anecdotally with a lot of people I've talked to and worked with and if, you know, if they will go ahead and do that, that restriction and just start walking their breakfast back and they get into a shorter window. One, they find that they're associated better. They're not snacking as often. They're having bigger, better meals and uh, they, they lose weight. You know, it happens time and time again and they just feel better. I think that's the other side of it is when your body's not constantly working to deal with the food, you're sleeping better, you're feeling better and you get used to that new way of eating that I think is probably a lot more ancestral than we would than we would think because you wake up in the morning, if you don't have refrigeration, um, and you didn't have boxed foods, uh, there's no milk and there's no cereal. When you wake up first thing in the morning, you've got to go catch or you know, forage for what you're going to eat. And by that time it's probably a little bit later in the day.
Dr. Bubbs: 43:54 It's definitely something that, you know, we've only really eaten three meals a day for the sort of the last century or so since the industrial revolution. So that's one that, uh, um, you know, it's definitely an interesting note and one of the things that I found in my practice is guys and gals do great with the intermittent fasting or a time restricted feeding, delaying breakfast for the first while if they do hit a roadblock at some point down the line, you know, their weight loss has plateaued or they haven't achieved the goal, they want it. They just flip it and, and, and kind of do the reverse way of what we just discussed, which is having breakfast, lunch, but making the dinner earlier, you know, cutting things off at 6:00 PM is a great way to again, you know, see some more progress.
The trickiest part is that our society today doesn't tend to lend itself to, to try not to eat after 6:00 PM cause you know, it's normally like meetings, family dinners, social events, everything happens at night. So that's, that's a trickier one to actually get people to do, but they can get some great success with it as well.
Allan Misner: 44:52 Absolutely. Dr Bubbs, I define wellness as being the healthiest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Dr. Bubbs: 45:02 That's a great question. I mean, this is where, you know, in writing the book, it's a combination of my work with in an elite sport or at work, in clinical practicing, you know, all types of patients. And it does come back to this idea of we want to really focus on the fundamentals. So even complex problems that I see with the general population are athletes who are struggling. When we go back and look at these big pillars, there's still a ways to go, or sometimes it's just the fact that the person is taking their focus off of them and they sort of dipped off a little bit.
So if we're looking at three things, the first one's going to be nutrition. You know, what, what are we doing and what are we consuming? And so again, based on today's talk, avoiding ultra processed food, so eat real food, whether you know animal protein or vegetable, protein, veggies, healthy oils and fats, those are crucial to have it. If you eat most of the mostly that and try to keep that eating window to, you know, a maximum of 12 hours, that's a great first place to start. You're going to improve your health, you're going to lose weight, and the more you need to do that, then then you can refine that as you go.
Number two is going to be sleep. Sleep dovetails in with stress. And when we look at whether it's athletic performance, cognitive function, overall health, you know, sleep correlates to all these things. And so most people now sort of give you the, I know, I know I should get more sleep, but you need to, if it's listening at home or, or a coach or a clinician listening in, you know, we need to find out how much they're actually sleeping and then hold them accountable to say, hey, every week we're going to add 30 minutes. So if you're only getting six, we got to get you to six and a half. And then the next week we got to get you to seven. And as long as you're in that range of seven to nine, which is the national sleep foundation recommendation, typically like see people about eight, but, and giving them some strategies because again, people will tend to work on their laptop before bed. People will tend to watch programs that are really stimulatory at night. People will tend to do things that don't set them up for sleep. Um, so, so layering in whether it's some relaxing work, some stretching, it's a hot bath or shower, meditation and any kind of those practices is really big as well.
So once you've got that nutrition, sleep, the third one for me is going to be movement. And this is one where when we talk about weight loss, we always think about the hour that we're in the gym in the day. We don't tend to think about the other well not quite 23 hours cause hopefully you're sleeping for those eight but the rest of the day, which in that research would call non exercise activity thermogenesis. And that's just the amount of moving you do in the day. You know, the walking around up and down the stairs around the office, that accounts for a massive portion of your ability to lose weight. And when we look at no hunter gatherer populations or before the industrial revolution, we were far, far, far more physical and doing things. When we look at the blue zones today, all of those areas in the world where people live the longest, that's a huge common area amongst all of them as the fact that they all had to move and be physical and go up and down, you know, whether it's mountains or etc. So make sure there's movement in your day, whether that's 10,000 steps, whether that's carrying the groceries home, whatever it might be to start spending less time being sedentary and more time being active. Uh, is definitely a huge part. And if you can tie that in with some aspect of being, you know, community or friends, you know, it's a walk with your friend or meeting somebody for coffee or you know, whatever it might be.
I had one client actually we got him to every morning rather than have his coffee at home. He was a retired guy, uh, you know, he's pretty fit but still had to improve his health and we just got him to go walk 15 minutes to get his coffee and walk back home. Uh, and that was enough to start shifting things a little bit and then improving his health. So anything that you could layer in that just becomes part of your routine that you know in a few month's time you don't even think about anymore because it's just so second nature. That's when you're really going to get some of these big wins to help achieve your goals.
Allan Misner: 49:01 Those are really, really cool. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing those. So Dr. Bubbs if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about your book Peak, and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Bubbs: 49:13 Absolutely. Well listen, it's a pleasure to be on Allan and they can definitely check out the books available, Peak at all the major bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, Amazon, local book retailers. They can also check out my work at drbubbs.com, my podcast, as well as on their Dr. Bubbs Performance podcast. And if they're on social media at Dr. Bubbs, on Twitter, Instagram, all those good things.
Allan Misner: 49:38 Cool. So Dr. Bubbs, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Bubbs: 49:42 Fantastic, Allan, I really appreciate it.
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Michael Matthews knows a thing or two about gaining muscle and getting lean. On episode 382 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, he and I dive deep as we discuss his book, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger.
Show notes are pending…
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If you don't have your body in alignment, it is very hard to reach optimal health. Brenda Shaeffer is a physical therapist and the author of the book, Aligned for Success.
Allan: 01:50 Brenda, welcome to 40 plus fitness.
Brenda : 01:54 Thank you Allan.
Allan: 01:54 I have the specialty in corrective exercise and I see it myself. Someone will walk in and they'll start to lift and I'll be like, no, no, no, no, no. Let's do this right. I realize, okay, you can't lift weights right now. You need to get yourself fixed first because if you try to put load on the body and the frame, the way you're doing things today, you're going to break yourself. So I always go through with my one on one clients, this sort of evaluation just to see if there's any movement. I talked to him about any injuries they've had. But Yeah, you put together book pretty much will allow a lot of us to do that for ourselves.
Brenda : 02:27 That's right. And really over the many years that I've been a physical therapist, what I realized is that people actually limit themselves a lot more than they need to. And with our medical system, the way it's become over the, over the years that I've been practicing, which is over 40 years, what's happened is people have become defined by the diagnosis that they receive in their doctors office or as they've self diagnosed on the, on the Internet, and they've actually become very disabled. So I became very inspired by that and actually put together this book and actually have also developed a system of education that people can actually look at and learn to assess themselves and start doing corrections on their own in everyday activities and apply it to their every day activities to actually do more than they expect they should be able to be able to do. This is thank you to many of our good researchers and the technology available today that is proving what pain is and how our brain processes pain and actually how we move and also how the most common pain problems have happened in our muscles and bones.
Allan: 03:42 I'm really good about focusing on form while I'm doing the work, but, and your book, Aligned for Success. I kind of came up with this epiphany and I should have thought of this a long time ago. I was actually doing crossfit and I was traveling. So I was at a crossfit that I wasn't familiar with and the instructor came up to me and said, because we were doing one arm kettle bell thrusts. And so that's where you kind of squat down with the kettle bell by your side and you've only got one in one hand and then you basically do a squat and when you come up you thrust the kettlebell up in the air. When I was doing these thrusts, he said to me, he said, do you cross your right leg over your left leg pretty regularly? And I said, you know, I do that when I sleep. I said, my right leg actually goes behind an under my knees so I don't hyper extend my left knee. But I had never really experienced any pain. But that was kind of one of my original epiphany's and then seeing it in your book was just everyday normal things that we do can really affect the way our body moves, and then therefore later on particular if we put ourselves under load, we hurt ourselves, we feel pain.
Brenda : 04:49 That's exactly right and really again, the research that's now available. And again, thank you to the new technology that's available to measure how our brain is perceiving the inherent danger signals. What's going on is that what's most important for us as an individual to understand is that we need to be much more aware of what our alignment is, or another words, relative alignment of our legs, our core and our arms are during our everyday activity. That's actually as important or in my view, more important than when we're in the gym, when we're much more attentive to what our form is because that's, we're really in static positions where we're not getting as much circulation through our joints and through our muscles and our Fascia. And that's really where we're losing the battle and where we're creating the set up to have failures in our tissues. And that's where we're creating the problems that then we have failures in the gym. So that's kind of the message which we're looking at trying to teach people. And again, the body reset system, which is sort of the situational applications of how to learn how to use our bodies with proper alignment that the aligned for success book was a platform for that we've just launched, is actually going to show people how to to keep in proper alignment in everyday activities from texting, sitting around using your computer at home in a comfy chair. It shows you that you can be in proper alignment in everything that you do and that it's really once you learn a very easy three step method on how to look at yourself and make sure you're aligned from the ground up, from your feet, your shins, your thighs through your core and your arms, and then make sure you're supported in all of those parts of your body that you can sustain the best circulation and not have compression. In other words, have best health in both your structure, your circulation, your hydration, nutrition system, and also your electrical system, which are the three parts of your body. You can have best health so they can expect to have the best fitness level of your body at any stage, any age of your life.
Allan: 07:01 One of the things you said there that I think is really important for someone to understand, because a lot of people don't get this. They'll, they'll say, well, I feel pain in my hip or I feel pain in my neck. But it starts at the feet.
Brenda : 07:15 Absolutely. You have 26 bones in your feet and really you have to understand that unless you're in a very specialized job or you're a circus performer or something like that, most of us literally are always engaging with our bodies to move forward. We're doing things with our feet first and so when we're getting up to move, we're pushing. We're engaging with the ground first from our feet, so it's a chain reaction. Think of a domino effect. When you first hit the ground, the first thing that hits the ground is your foot, and then the chain reaction happens is the fancy word is kinetic, which means movement. The movement chain that happens is the first bone has the floor and then the next bone has to react to that and then it moves all the way up. So if one bones not in the right order, the next bone is going to have to react to that. But it's actually, it's all little sensors that are embedded in the ends of each bone. It's embedded in the ligaments, the tendons, the Fascia, everyone's heard about, which is just this sort of like a Saran wrap type tissue that's around every structure. Meaning when we're talking about muscles and bones and things, it's around the tendons, it's around muscles, it's around nerves that's also embedded in them little sensors that tell when things are stretching too far and it tells the brain that there may be danger if it stretched too far or there's too many toxins. In other words, there is a chain reaction of alert systems of information that go to and from your brain so the brain can make adjustments as needed. But at any rate, there is a chain reaction that starts at your feet and then your brain's adjusting muscles, circulation, and so forth as that chain reaction happens, it happens at your foot so that at the time it gets up to your hip, there was an adjustment. If you're hip has to be adjusted significantly by the time it gets your neck, there's even more significant adjustment. So you really need to make sure from the foot you have the best alignment possible. And if it's not there, then your neck will have to have an adjustment. Also, very often people say, well I just need you to look at my neck cause I just hold my stress in my neck. And I'll often say, well actually what you're doing is you're holding your foot up from your neck. So it really needs to be systematically a very, very much of a system that you're looking at yourself from the ground up. Are you in the best alignment? Again, to ensure that the information that gets to and from your brain and your nerves, your arteries and veins have the best position and they're free from compression and also from overstretching, so all that information and all the circulation, hydration, nutrition, and also the trash gets out back from your veins, get back in through your core to be processed. So all the systems of your body can be in their optimal function and again, so you can have the best health possible again at any stage. Any age of your life.
Allan: 10:06 Yeah. A couple things, I mean in general, as I looked at kinetic chain and I was kind of educating myself on this topic and then I saw it again in your book was I had an injury to my right ankle when I was 29. So a long time ago, it doesn't affect me in day to day life, but if I try to do a squat because my ankle is not functioning the way that it should, it's slightly tighter, my right ankle is slightly tighter than it should be, now my calves will compensate for that.
Brenda : 10:36 Correct.
Allan: 10:36 My calves get tight since my calves are tight, they're not allowing my leg to move the way that it needs to, which means my hips have to move differently. And then I ended up leaning forward on a squat and I have difficulty getting to proper depth on a squat. So what I end up doing is I end up spending some time before I'm going to do squats to really focus on loosening up my calves, getting my ankle as mobile as it will be under the circumstances. And then I'm able to safely do the work. A lot of people would go at this because if they start to feel pain, there's going to be this element of fear and then they're gonna move differently.
Brenda : 11:12 Correct. And again, this has been a long held misunderstanding about flexibility. I think one of the misunderstandings about flexibility, and this is coming from the world of training and physical therapy, particularly as we, I think in this field made people believe that flexibility is actually more of an exercise where flexibility is actually simply a measurement of how much mobility or how much motion we have at each one of the junctures of one bone to the next. And that's actually called a joint. And in your case if you actually had an injury to your ankle where you maybe never get full range of motion there or it's a difficult place to get range of motion or mobility. The concepts of, again thinking in threes, which is again a concept that I introduced in the book. One of the three things we think about is always having readiness before you do any of your activities. And in your case where you think about, “well, I really need to get the mobility that I need before I do activity.” You need to spend a little extra time and make sure you get that mobility with a little extra time and say, well, how much do I need to do my correct range of motion? And instead of being fearful of it and saying, well, I have pain. Remember pain's a positive alarm to make you pay attention and understand that tightness is even the warning sign before pain almost all of the time, you know what the injury was. So your expectation should be, oh well then I can expect that to be tight. And instead of thinking, “well I just need just stretch that” just know well if I just do a little bit of an active release, kind of one second on, have a little teeny bit of a stretch and a little bit off. Another second on a little bit off another little second on you'll notice that your brain says, okay, well I understand Allan, that I just need to let you move the little bit in a row release. I'm pretty soon you'll have enough mobility. There's no reason to be fearful when you understand that that tightness was just a little bit of a warning. If you didn't take that warning, you'll get a little pain and then your brain will understand that it's safe to move. It's just a new science that we know that that's what this means.
Allan: 13:22 And that self awareness is really critical when someone goes into a chiropractor because there's shoulder hurts or their neck hurts. Just kind of paying attention to the way you move and what what's going on with your body. Now you have this three step method that allows someone to kind of do that kind of self awareness assessment.
Brenda : 13:42 Right, and actually have a, what's called a flexibility. I still use that word because people tend to like it, it's actually a mobility checklist. Were really from the bottom up, I'm using sort of a general checklist that can get more specified in this. The book is actually an introduction to for a general, again, the question that that I think we've all missed in the past is, how much flexibility do we need or mobility for general activities. And the question is how much mobility do you need? And then I know we'll talk about this possibly in a in a minute, is what are your goals? What are you trying to do? Are you trying to be a gymnast or are we trying to be a Cirque du Solei performer? Or are we just trying to go out for a walk?
Allan: 14:25 Or walk down the stairs without pain.
Brenda : 14:28 Exactly! What are our goals? But say, if you're just going to get through a day and just, you know, go to the grocery store and make dinner and take care of your kids, you don't need, you know, a whole heck of a lot of mobility. So what I've introduced in a line for success, my book is just a general mobility check for everyday living. You know, just get through your day and mow the lawn and go to the grocery store and maybe go for a bike ride. But it's a mobility that checks to make sure that you have enough mobility for walking and picking things up off the floor and reaching overhead to get things out of your closets to fix dinner and load the dishwasher and so forth. But it's checking for side to side mobility of your legs, of all the joints and how much mobility you have to reach down and get things off the floor and look overhead and reach overhead and reach behind your head and reach up your back. But it's looking for a sequence of motion and that's also been missed. And secondly, can you do that motion with the speed force and finally the endurance that you need to move it. But within that, there were also looking for can you attain and maintain the proper alignment of all three parts of the skeleton structure that we have. And when we're looking at the skeleton part of your structure, there's also three parts. It's your leg, and then your core, which includes the three parts of your pelvis and includes the actual core, which is the lumbar and thoracic spine, which literally have almost no movement. And then finally the top part of your core, which is also three parts, it's your two sides of your rib cage and your breastbone. And finally the parts of your arms that you then have your hands hooked on the end, which have three parts, which are your arms, your shoulder blades, and finally your collarbones.
Brenda : 16:17 It's again looking to see can you maintain proper alignment and the method teaches you how to use your own hands to consistently and become confident and competent and being able to look and see if you can maintain, attain and maintain your alignment in both still possessions, in other words, still postures and also in basic movement patterns.
Allan: 16:44 Yeah. One example I really liked from the book that I think will give someone a really good visual of this. As you have someone sitting basically with their feet on the floor, they've got what you kind of call the three points of contact, effectively their butt and their feet, they're sitting comfortably, their arms are at a comfortable distance, a little bit away from the body. And then you have them put their hands on the kneecap with their middle finger basically pointing down the Shin Bone. And the idea is that your third toe should line up with your middle finger.
Brenda : 17:13 Correct.
Allan: 17:14 And so what this is saying is if you, if your feet want to splay out for one reason or another, then you're going to have an improper movement form. And that's going to go all the way up the kinetic chain. And so you can start training your brain to keep that foot where it's supposed to be starting originally when you're just sitting down and that's going to make it more comfortable to walk, it's gonna make it much more comfortable to run. And so a lot of the activities we want to do, we can start doing even static just sitting. We can start assessing to see if there's these things that aren't moving in the way that they were functionally designed to move.
Brenda : 17:49 And right away, I had a woman this week, she literally couldn't stand from her chair and her husband was there to help her get up. She said, well, I just can't do it. I said, well, you know what? Here's what you do. if you're sitting there, and we'll just joke sometimes, say there's that foot sticking out to the side again. If you put your middle finger right there in the center of your kneecap and it's aiming down, and it's not aiming at the bottom of your third toe, just lift the front of your foot up a little bit and move the front end a little bit. So now it's aiming at the the center of your third toe and I see we're going to call him a name, whatever, it's some sort of crazy guy moving back over there and it's just your brain has had to adapt over time for whatever reason. At some point, maybe she had sprained her toe and or maybe she had had a broken ankle at some point. Your brain is designed to help you survive at some point just to keep you going and if you don't reset your brain, your brain just continues to adapt. It's a positive thing. I've stopped using the word compensate because it's actually, there's a lot of research behind it, but it's actually in the English language. The linguists have figured out that the, the “c” sound is actually a negative sound to your brain and an “a” sound is more positive. We need to be positive and talk about things in ways we know our brain responds better and it will help enhance improvement in pain recovery. But if we actually know that it's a good thing, our brain has adapted. Speaking of adapt, by the time we're in our forties we'd be army crawling if we never got over it. I mean it's really cool how we actually can recover if we, if we allow our bodies to heal they will heal. So if all we have to do is lift our foot up and that makes our three parts of our leg lineup better, actually, if we go to stand up and we really just, instead of sitting there with one foot sticking out to the side and I have our knees together, we literally just put our heels out, the width of the chair lineup, our knees so we look down and go, oh wait, let's make sure we're aiming our middle finger towards our middle toe. Lean forward a little bit, keeping our core length, the right length and quickly stand up. Most people in stand up right away and they don't have pain. So that's something you do right away and you can become pain free almost immediately and feel strong. Alignment always comes before strength and you don't have to have perfect alignment.
Allan: 20:12 Well, the cool thing, alignment is going to help you avoid painful situations if you are doing something active. Alignments also going to help you properly apply strength. So as you're trying to come out of the chair, now that her feet are square, she has the base of support on the ground to actually get out of the chair. But it also helps with balance. So as we get older and people want to change, I'm going to use the word compensate.
Brenda : 20:39 Right! Adapted
Allan: 20:42 We adapt because of fear that we're going to fall. We changed our gate, we changed the way our feet sit on the ground. Those changes now go up our entire kinetic chain and actually are a problem. So taking some time to focus on this alignment from the ground up is going to do a lot for making sure that you maintain strength, maintain balance, and avoid pain.
Brenda : 21:04 Right?
Allan: 21:04 So in the book you had something that I thought this was, this was actually really, really good because most of us will go to a healthcare professional and the main goal is, oh, my neck hurts, so I'm going to go to a chiropractor and the goal is for my neck to stop hurting. But you agree we should set goals but not that kind of goal.
Brenda : 21:23 Correct. And that's actually approved by, it's not me, again, it's the researchers in the science labs have figured out that actually pain is not actually the goal. And I know that seems kind of mean of me to say the patients are also kind of surprised by it. So I kind of see why by having a little bit by having resources and references. It's not that pain is not important, but it's actually not, it's not measurable. It's measurable in each individual. But here's the thing, you need to actually have a goal that's measurable when relating it to pain. So you're much better doing an activity relating what you're doing when you have pain. So it's actually a activity related pain score. So I've included that in the book and that again is referenced, it's a researched scale where you actually just say, okay, if I have an activity that I have pain with, then you can actually start seeing if you have improvement and then you can start developing and adjusting what solutions you're actually attaching to how you're trying to solve your problem.
Brenda : 22:36 In other words, if you think, well, my friend Susan told me to go to doctor so and so the chiropractor instead of just going every single week, what you should see is if ahead of time you said, well, I'm going to go to doctor so and so, and the goal is get rid of my neck pain because I have neck pain every time I sit at the computer within 30 minutes. Well, if it's going to be a successful solution, you should notice that if you've said my goal is to get rid of my neck pain in four weeks and I'm going to go see this doctor so and so, you should say, well what's a reasonable time when you see doctor so and so that I should get rid of my neck pain cause I have neck pain within 30 minutes? Well he should be able to tell you how long it's going to take. And so first of all, if he can't tell you that. I would question why you're going to that person. But also that'll tell you A, whether he's the right person, but B, if you're not getting any results, why are you going back to that person? Because either one, you're not actually, maybe you don't have the right diagnosis or again, maybe that's not the right person. So you have to know whether you're, you're using the right tool to get better. It's why people don't get that, or either they don't have the right diagnosis or they're not applying the right tool.
Allan: 23:48 Well, the chiropractor is helping you from the perspective of dealing with some misalignment for a moment. If they're focused on your neck, they're going to fix that misalignment, but the next time you sit down at your computer, you're probably going to run into the same problem because you haven't found the root cause.
Brenda : 24:06 That's what I'm saying. Do you need to go to the chiropractor? That's actually a question.
Allan: 24:11 Or bring the ergonomic specialist in to say, let's look at my desk or can I get an adjustable workstation so I can sit part of the time and stand part of the time. And that might be part of the solution to get you in proper alignment.
Brenda : 24:23 Well, but again, you have to remember, and there's lots of stats on that and I've included quite a few of those in the book, but also in a lot of those are available and I've given references for that. There are a lot of statistics that prove that having the solutions in just changing equipment only takes care of 20% of the problem. Having a person learn how to change themselves, it takes care of 80% of the problem. So when you're looking at spending your dollars correctly, there's a huge benefit and learning how to take care of yourself. So I think one of the take homes needs to be to understand that you, the individual are the only thing that you personally own control and can adapt. So remember that ergonomics is only a field. It's a field of study and field of engineering human for humans that actually develop equipment and supplies for an average size person that is completing a task. So for example, if you're going into a public building, the architects and the designers for those buildings are designing the doors, the desks or whatever's being used for an average size person, it's called anthropometric measurements. It's still in this country because we have huge variances and people in sizes. Those measurements are still only be made for people between five foot five and five foot eight. So again, none of this equipment is alive. So it's not able to say when you sit down at something, it's not alive.
Brenda : 26:00 It's not going to change. It's still up to the individual user to be able to determine when and how to make changes. So again, in the book it talks about how to change that, and again in the body reset system, it provides you the participant in that system some examples on how to again change your use of the equipment. And it's kind of the next step of the three step method on how you then can reassess yourself and make the changes. But the statistics are quite clear. Again, it's your responsibility to learn how to become confident and competent that you can look at your own body with your eyes, your eyes tell your brain or the brain senses that tell your brain 80% of the information your brain needs to know how to assess the environment, about looking down and seeing, oh, is my body in the right position. The other sense that uses is touch and all the little sensors that are embedded in your, in your ligaments and your joints. And finally you memorize things by how things feel. So it's very cool and the new part of the information is so cool because it makes the next generation that are under 40, hopefully not have to suffer the need to have to have all the total joints and all of these things that the people now over 40 in particularly the groups that are in the 60s and over, that have had to have total joints. That's where regenerative medicine hopefully won't have to happen anymore.
Allan: 27:31 It's kind of staggering how many people are getting hip and knee replacements these day?
Brenda : 27:36 Well, I'm hoping, I'm hoping it's not going to have to happen on the under 40 group anymore. If we embrace this, this stuff is going to make it so good for the next generations. If we just understand that we can get control over our bodies and in this 85 to 95% of the musculoskeletal disorders, and this is a world health organization number, they are preventable. They're predictable and preventable. We just literally need to rethink what's happening. Understand that if we goal set differently, we recognize what's going on. We then reset our bodies and learn that we need to get ready to use our bodies differently. We need to recover and give time to repair. We can use our bodies optimally for a lot longer than we think we can. We have in the past.
Allan: 28:25 And I like that. I liked it that you have kind of this real true proactive approach.
Brenda : 28:31 Oh, its very exciting!
Allan: 28:32 So one of the other big things in the book that I thought was really, really important was that by empowering yourself to say, okay, I am part of the solution here, you're going to develop a team.
Brenda : 28:43 Absolutely.
Allan: 28:43 And so talk a little bit about the solutions team, what we should be looking for, how we should approach developing this team and evaluating this team to see that they're still serving us.
Brenda : 28:53 Well again, and I touched on it earlier in the book it comes on an electronic version or print. But anyway you do it I would highly suggest that first you really sit down and be very honest and goal setting. And that's also available in the book, and again, in the e-version or print, but really sit down and get very honest with your calls and depending on the stage that you are, where you're really ready to make a change. If you're not quite ready to actually figure out goals, still maybe start with a solution team and what in the stage one of solution team, you literally can just sit down and say, I already know what I want to do, but just sit down and write down every single person that you have been using for advice, whether it's paid or not, so it can include your best girlfriends or your book club friends .
Allan: 29:41 Or your book.
Brenda : 29:43 There you go. Anybody, whoever it is, or you've been going to a chiropractor or a naturopath or a card reader or whoever it is. I had a friend today go, I'm really embarrassed to tell you, but I've been calling this guy and in West Virginia and I didn't know any of his credentials, but he was sending me some stuff to put on my tongue. I'm like, Oh for God's sake! But at any rate, whoever it is and the way it's set up is to write down who it is, and you're the only one looking at this, but at least it will start telling you who it is, what their credentials are, and meeting credentials, anything you know about them. So you get a reality check on A, Do they have credentials or is this just literally somebody doing snake oil? Are they licensed somewhere? Have they had any validated education of any kind of, but most importantly, what kind of results have you had from this person and then does it match any of your goals at some point. And then the other thing is there redundancy. Sometimes people will just put down this person as, for example, bodyworker. Well, what is a bodyworker start saying? What are they doing? What does a body start specifying what they are? Because again, good for you if you have endless money, but at some point, what else do you want to do with your life? People come in and say, well, I just want to come in and work out. And I said, well, do love to work out in they're like not really. I mean that's fine if that's what you want to do, but if you want to do something else, like you want to play with your kids or you want to travel, then if you're having to work out all the time and go to all your appointments all day, what else are you doing with your life for the next 10 years?
Brenda : 31:16 So it's a way of sort of sorting that what you want to do and then get your goal specified. And then as you sort of work through actually what your goals are. And I have people write down their goals in three categories. Every day activities, what do you really want to be doing? And then in that section they also write down what they're doing now. And it has to be in specific measurable goals that can't just be, I want to get rid of pain again, we talked on that earlier, but I have them do it in three categories, everyday activities, things like driving, putting on my shoes, whatever it might be in recreation. Leisure activities. Whether it's you know, your high level sports person or or whatever it is, leisure activities, what do you want to do, knit, whatever it is. And thirdly, work related activities and if somebody is retired, I still make them write work activities. If you know anybody that's retired that the joke is, Oh I do more work now than I ever did before, so I still have them do work related activities and then the thing is that I have people then prioritize their goals and then when they do that and then they really figure out what's going on, they prioritize the goals. And then when they get those prioritized then they go back and redo their solutions team. Then they start figuring out what their actual solutions might be and what tools they might use. That way you get started on what you actually do want to do to get to your goals and put timelines on it. So as you get started, you put timelines, then you can start figuring out and reassessing if your solution team is actually helping you get to your goals so you can get the right team and not get redundancy.
Brenda : 32:48 And there's been a lot of studies about how many people should be on your solution team and you really want to make sure per the research that you keep your solution team down to about three people is really what the recommendation is. If you get more than that, you're getting too much in most cases, too many cooks in the kitchen. So again, you want to prioritize and try to get down to the smallest number of people on the team and you really want to get people that are really on your team and are really willing to work with each other. My advice to most people is if you get people sort of trash talking, others, you know, it's a big giant red flag. The too good to be true things, again, giant red flag. People that just say, trust me, or I'm sure you don't, can't understand this. Again, big red flag.
Allan: 33:33 You're on your solutions team too, so they have to listen to you and what you need and if they're not, then there's someone else out there that is.
Brenda : 33:42 That's exactly right.
Allan: 33:43 Brenda, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Brenda: 33:53 Well again I think in my view it's again getting yourself back in the driver's seat and being most honest with yourself and getting out of waiting for everyone else to give you advice. And I think I touched on most of them. I think in, and I'm in the Musculoskeletal business I guess is more what I'm speaking to today and when I start writing this book, I started to go more into whole health but in my career of over 40 years I stayed mostly with musculoskeletal stuff because that's what I do. And in that, I think if you can continue to stay with understanding the body is interacting in all three systems and if you can continue to stay, as I talked about before, is when you are listening to your body and staying current with actual research and stain and understand that nothing is static in the body, it's very dynamic and understand you've been given a huge gift of a body and of a brain and I think understand that the whole thing will, the whole body will continue to heal itself and continue to operate if we continue to rethink and stop, rethink and continue to recognize what we need and then continue to reset and think of our life in chapters and keep us balanced as we can and then we will be able to to reach our optimal fitness for a lifetime.
Allan: 35:11 Awesome. I like those. Brenda, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, Aligned For Success, where would you like for me to send them?
Brenda: 35:20 My regular website is www.brendashaeffer.comif you'd like to go for a little free giveaway at of the top 10 mistakes that people make. They cause pain and it's at the bodyresetsystem.com that's site and the book can be gotten on Amazon and it's an anywhere at this point. Again, it's electronic version and also print version. I'm always available to chat with anybody when they need to.
Allan: 35:50 And it's not just a book its a complete workbook section. It walks you through this whole process to get aligned and figure out what you need to do for yourself. So Brenda, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Brenda : 36:04 And thanks for inviting me. Thank you.
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Tammy and I decided to move to Panama as an opportunity to slow down and reduce stress. On this episode we discuss why we chose the sloth life.
Allan: 00:47 Hello. Today's podcast is going to be a good bit different than anything else that I've done on the show. We are actually recording in our little bitty apartment in Bocus del Toro, Panama. So you're very likely to hear the sounds of chickens, cars, kids, music, all kinds of stuff going on in the background with us, roosters for sure. You know, the thing about it is this is kind of our new lifestyle. We're not going to necessarily live in this town as we go forward, but there's going to just be some differences in the way that we live our lives and the things that we let stress us. So I wanted to actually take you through the story of the move to Bocas del Toro and I couldn't think of a better way to even do this show without also letting you hear from my very special guest today. My wonderful wife, Tammy.
Tammy: 01:37 Hi everyone. I'm glad to be here.
Allan: 01:39 And so as we, as we got into this move and, and the reasons we were doing this move, I thought it would be a great lesson for us to have on the show. And there's been some people that have been fairly curious about this move and each time I talk to a guest and I remind them that they're very likely to hear sounds in the background, that they wouldn't hear any normal recording studio, definitely wouldn't have heard in Pensacola where I was recording the show. There's going to be quite a bit of that now, and I think you'll see as we go forward on the show, even during some of my interviews, you're likely to hear some of the sights and sounds of what's going on here, uh, in Bocas town. So I want to give you just a little bit of the history of how this all came about because you may or may not know me that well, you may not have been a longtime listener, but I was in corporate America for over 25 years. And at the end, you know, I was pretty high up in the rankings as far as executives in a business and the business I was in, uh, well, we were on a pretty healthy downturn. And by healthy, I mean straight down.
As a result, the company was doing layoff after layoff, after layoff. And as you can imagine, being the boss of quite a few people, it fell on me to have those, “You're, you're not needed anymore” conversations, and the goodbyes and all that goes with that. So to say that this was a stressful job, I think would just really be an understatement. It was, the stress was almost debilitating. It was something that when my name finally showed up on the list and we finally went through that and I was sitting at my home in Pensacola and it just occurred to me that I really just didn't want to go back.
This was not a financial decision. This was just a, I know that job is killing me and if I go back and do it, I am effectively sacrificing my health for the job. I decided that I wasn't going to do that anymore. I wasn't going to let making an income be something that was going to detrimentally hurt my health. It wouldn't be fair to me, and one, I think I'd be disingenuous to you if that's how I lived my life. And so I made the decision to not go back to work and to effectively figure out a way to make an income.
That's when I kind of ratchet it up and started doing a little bit more personal training. Uh, and I decided to start working on a book. And there's other things that I had in the works, but because of the current state of healthcare in the United States, one of us had to get a job so we could pay for health care. And uh, Tammy was nice enough to take that on. So she did get a job. Uh, just really just for health insurance. There was no other reason for her to have a job. We didn't need her to work. We just needed the health insurance. It was just far too expensive. I think I got quoted $1,600 a month for health insurance, but I'll, I'll let Tammy tell you a little bit about her taking the job, what that did for her and against her and how she felt about it.
Tammy: 04:46 Well, first of all, I didn't work for like, I dunno, five years before that I took a job here and there doing different things just because I was bored and wanted to do something. And then when it came down to where he decided not to go back to work and we need he insurance, because in America you have to have medical insurance. Getting the job was a little stressful, but at the same time I was kind of excited to go back to work, just to get away from Allan because he's in the house all the time. But, um, I took a job that something I didn't know, but it was interesting job. It was just basically for the insurance.
I also met a lot of nice people and had a good time working there. However, I was not really wanting to work, who wants to work really, you know? But the only reason why I didn't want to work with more because of having to have a boss to deal with or having to watch what I say or do. And you can't really be, I wasn't really comfortable, I guess I got used to being at home for the last five years or whatever it was, taking care of the house, the dogs and Allan and doing what I wanted to do. But going back to work, you know, it helped us for for wha, about almost a year. And it was, the insurance was great and then we decided we were watching TV and decided to take it a step further and I'll let Allan go ahead and start that conversation.
Allan: 06:18 So yes, we were watching Netflix and we came across a show called Death In Paradise and it's an interesting show where they take basically a British detective and they put him on a Caribbean island and he's living in this little bungalow and obviously he is a Londoner through and through wearing his suit every day, obviously uncomfortable in the 90 plus degree, 90 plus percent humidity environment. But he's really good at his job and they decided to keep him. And that's what kinda started the series. And we were watching the series as it went through and I think they had like seven series. They went through three different detectives, each kind of bringing a different feel to the show.
What was consistent about it was the, you know, the location, the beauty. And this guy lived in a non air conditioned open shack, basically a little bungalow on the beach, but it was beautiful. It was beautiful and they made it work and they were comfortable they are. And that got Tammy and I to talking about how we could change our lifestyle, we could reduce our stress, we could reduce our expenses, we can reduce our environmental footprint, uh, if we went somewhere and did something like that. And that got us to searching for different places.
Tammy: 07:38 And I started thinking that I was wanting to go to Belize. So he checked out Belize and all Allan got attacked by mosquitoes and not justattacked but like a swarm of mosquitoes. And then we went during the time that the season wasn't very pretty, the beaches weren't very nice. I guess the seaweed came in and it just wasn't as nice as we thought it was going to be. I mean, it is a beautiful country, beautiful place. Not saying anything bad about it in that way, but we really, you know, we're thinking something along the same line. And then I came home from work one day and Allan told me to keep an open mind and he mentioned Panama and I'm like, well, what's in Panama? And he goes, well, there's no hurricanes. And then there's also the Caribbean island. Cause, I mentioned, I said, well, we want to live on the Caribbean. And he said, well there's, there is a Caribbean side and it's Bocas del Toro. He'd been there before with his daughter 10 years ago?
It's changed a lot since then, apparently. And it's changed a lot since we came here in July. But when we got here in July was only here for a few days. And I knew the beauty of it was there and it was very pretty here. And I'm looking at the beaches and just the possibility of living on the water and off the grid, basically, rain catchment and solar for your energy and power and with lights. And why not go for something different and do something in a different change in life and uh, get out of our comfort zone and make an adventure of it.
So we decided to open this up, this idea up to a Panama and we've been here for almost a month over just over a month and make it, making a lot of new friends, and people here are very nice. The culture is different, just the Indian villages that are around. It's been an amazing month so far and we've learned so much about the people here. Um, and the expat community as well. And then, um, you know, we, we decided that this might be where we want to be. So we've been looking at places here to make a footprint here for ourselves.
Allan: 09:48 Yeah. One of the cool things about Panama is that they, they make it fairly simple. And I say fairly cause it's, it's not actually simple, but it's much simpler to be an ex pat and live here to get your residency here, uh, than it is in a lot of different countries.
Tammy: 10:03 It's still not simple.
Allan: 10:04 Not simple, but, uh, with some help from an attorney and you got through a process. They do want investment here. They do want people here. Uh, so they do value, uh, ex pats and, and they make it, uh, make it a way for you to get here. And as long as you prove that you're not going to be a draw to their society, you're going to help improve their society, they're very much amenable to allowing you to have residency here. So we're currently working through that process.
I am actually looking at buying the gym here. There's a gym on the island and I'm in negotiations with the current owners, to sell me their shares in the company. And, so I will be a gym owner here. And we'll be living what we refer to now as our sloth life. And I know, you know, the term sloth often gets a lot of bad reputations, but if you see a picture of a sloth there, they're pretty damn cute with the exception for the claws.
Tammy: 11:01 Allan is afraid of the claws.
Allan: 11:03 They'll slowly claw your eyes out. But uh, anyway, the sloth life in my opinion is this, this concept of finding the right size for you, finding the place and finding the people and finding that connection, the thing that's going to give you the lower stress level give you the more connectedness to not just the people, but the place.
Tammy: 11:29 Just slowing down a little bit even in life and not having to rush and worry and think about everything that's going around it's just, it's just stressful with regular life like that and living this life life is what we're calling our slough life is being laid back more and relaxed and, and just living at slow walking down the street slow and taking things a little slower. We don't need to rush through life. Life is here us to enjoy.
Allan: 11:55 And so that's, that's kind of this concept of 2019 for me. Uh, and for Tammy is how do we find that place where we have that connectedness where we have this, uh, this more relaxed environment and where we're able to basically just be, be ourselves and not worry about punching a time clock, not worried about the deadlines at work. Uh, be our own boss. Um, so that we can make what we need to make and be who we need to be. You know, if you've read any of the studies on the blue zones and people living the longest in the world, they live in places like this. Uh, they live in places where they walk, they eat locally grown foods.
Tammy: 12:36 There are no fast food restaurants here. Thats a great thing!
Allan: 12:41 And don't bring any please. Uh, yeah, there are no fast food restaurants here. There's some really nice restaurants here with really fresh food, so it's a really cool place to be. It does have water catchment for most of our water, and you know, a lot of the places are completely off the city grid um, so the electricity is generated by solar. So there some feel good about that. And uh, you know, the, the island is looking at recycling programs and a lot of other things. A lot of self sustaining places are building up around here. So it's, it's, it's becoming a really cool, cool thing.
Tammy: 13:14 We should probably back up a little bit Allan about Bocas del Toro. Where is that? What it is? It's an archipelago of nine big islands, I believe with a bunch of little islands all around it. And we're in the main island of Isla Colon in Bocas Town right now and the other islands where we've been trying to explore a few of the other islands around us as well, there's so many islands out there, there's no way to explore them all, but we would like to try and do that. So anyway, Bocas del Toro is just an archipelago of islands out here. For any of you who were curious.
Allan: 13:51 Yeah, it's not the easiest place to get to because you have to connect in Panama City. And you actually have to fly out of a different airport if you were coming in from the international airport. So there's a little bit of a task to getting here, but once you're here, you know, you have access to everything you need for the most part and you find you don't need a lot of the things that you think you need. Uh, but Amazon does deliver here.
Tammy: 14:14 After about two weeks!
Allan: 14:16 But they do deliver if we needed something.
Tammy: 14:18 I have not tried yet, but I might.
Allan: 14:21 And so I talk about in the wellness roadmap that, you know, as you're looking at stress, uh, you know, probably the best thing you can do for something that's chronically stressing you is to just eliminate it. And I think that's what we've been able to accomplish with this move is I don't have to worry about laying anybody off again.
Allan: 14:42 I can come in and I can run the gym and I can have employees and I can make it fun for them. And I'm the boss of the, boss of the boss. And so, you know, I can make the things the way they need to be, uh, to fit where we are. Uh, you know, Panama as a culture is very laid back and I like that, you could be challenged by it if you don't understand that, that's the nature of the people. But you know, they tell, tell you when you come here, don't think you can change Panama. You have to change for Panama if you want to be here. And so that's really the crux of what this, this move was all about. I know some folks have been curious about it. Uh, I'm glad to be able to get my wife on the show for the very first time.
Allan: 15:26 And this is episode 375. I'll try to get her on this show a little bit more often here and there. But I think the key of it is and the takeaway that I want you to get from this is that you really do have a lot more control over your life than you think you do. We let stuff, we let jobs, we let things imprison us because we have this innate belief that we have to have these things.
We have to order that, uh, that shirt from Amazon. We have to order those shoes, we have to, and so our closet gets full, we put weight on and then we can't even wear the clothes we just bought from Amazon, so we go buy more clothes and those sit in our closet and we know we're going to get into those skinny jeans one day. So we hold on to them and, and I'm just here to tell you that you don't have to be locked into that cycle.
You can make changes. Is it a sacrifice? Absolutely. But the trade offs can be quite substantial. I don't have the income I had before, but I have the life that I want and that to me is worth any amount of money that I could have been paid. So I doubt very seriously that you're going to ever see me in a corporate boardroom again. I have no desire whatsoever to go back to corporate life. I'm going to do my own thing and that means I'm going to be giving 100% to my clients and making sure they get the results that they deserve. I'm going to be giving 100% to this podcast and making sure that I'm bringing on the best possible guests to teach you and give you the information you need to find your health and wellness.
I'm going to be doing the things with the gym and others just to help people here be healthier and more fit. So, My life now is, is dedicated towards wellness. Uh, but not just yours, mine as well. But if there's anything that I can do to help you on your wellness journey, please do reach out. If you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min I'll give you a free 15 minute consult. We can talk about your health and fitness goals. We can help set strategies for what will work for you. If stress is something that's really affecting you. We can talk about strategies for stress management and where you can, I'd encourage you to completely eliminate the stress. I know that's not possible for everything, but you know, I think I can help you get through some of these stressful moments or eliminate these stressful moments through just this little console.
So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min and that will take you to my calendar. You can set up a 15 minute consult with me absolutely free, no obligation. I want to help you reach your health and fitness goals. So please do get your free consult. So before we cut out though, I wanted to say bye to Tammy and thank you for being a part of 40 plus fitness.
Tammy: 18:21 Thank you for actually having me for the first time. He's never asked me, by the way.
Allan: 18:25 I haven't. I'll be honest. Yeah, I haven't asked her before this, but I felt like it would just, it would not be the complete story of me telling about the move to Bocus without having you on.
Tammy: 18:37 No, it wouldn't be. He needs me.
Allan: 18:39 Okay. So thank you for listening today and I'll talk to you next week.
Speaker 4: 18:44 Bye.
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Our guest today is so much fun! Lyn Lindbergh is a health coach and the founder of the Couch to Active community.
Allan (1:10): Lyn, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Lyn Lindbergh (1:13): Hello, Allan. Thanks. Good to be here.
Allan (1:17): I always like interviewing podcasters, because I know, one, you’re going to make it very, very easy for me from a sound and quality perspective.
Lyn Lindbergh (1:27): Or will I?
Allan (1:29): Or will you? Remember, we’re doing mine first and then I’m going to record on yours.
Lyn Lindbergh (1:35): I’ll be good.
Allan (1:35): It goes both ways. But the cool thing is, your book is called Couch to Active and that’s also the name of your podcast. I really, really like that. I think so many people today get locked into this concept of, “I’m not going to look like that person, so maybe I shouldn’t even try.”
Lyn Lindbergh (2:04): Yeah, that’s it. That’s a tough thing for people because I think we all have that image in our head of either the bikini body or the sweaty, ripped six-pack abs. Most of us will never get there, even if we do train exactly by the book and do everything by the book. But the thing about Couch to Active is, that’s not the point. And we recognize that for most of us, that’s not even what we want.
Allan (2:33): I agree. I’ve always tried to tell my clients, because some of them want that look. And I say, “If it’s a look you’re after, that’s great. You can aspire to that, you can work towards that and I’ll do what I can do to help you get there.” But what I’ve found is in the end, when I start really digging in with them, it comes down to, what do you want to be able to do? That’s where the “active” concept to me comes in. Active in your mind could be being able to run around with your grandchildren at the zoo, whereas active for someone else could be they want to go do a Spartan.
Lyn Lindbergh (3:11): Exactly. I found that at the core, I want to live a life I love. I want to love my life. If I’m going to the gym for an hour a day, doing a workout that I hate and dread every day, just so I can look a certain way, that doesn’t make me happy. That doesn’t make me find any joy at all. That’s where it falls apart for most people because really, it’s that internal feeling that we want of joy and peace and happiness.
Allan (3:48): think the other side of this is, you’ll see a training program, like Couch to 5K or something like that that’s put out there. Someone will get out there and start doing it and then all of a sudden something gets thrown in their way. It could be a health issue, an injury. How do you coach, how do you talk to people about dealing with those health issues that just pop up and get in our way? It’s never going to be a straight line, but we want it to be a straight line. How do we deal with that?
Lyn Lindbergh (4:19): I want it to be a straight line. If you find it, call me. I’ll give you my number. That’s the interesting thing. There are, as we know, a gazillion workout programs, pills, potions, lotions, gyms, you name it. Anything that you can give your wallet to, it’s out there for you. In and of themselves, for the most part, there’s nothing inherently wrong with them, but most of them are designed for when life is going good. The problem is, like you just said, what happens when the cart gets upset? What happens when you have chronic illness or surgery, or God forbid, we age? I have found that a lot of times one of the big things that we forget about is compassion, and compassion for ourselves. Part of my journey was I got a couple of chronic health issues that I’m really public with. I’m missing 30% of my lung function and I’ve got fibromyalgia and another mysterious disease we’re still trying to figure out. It keeps me in the back of the pack all the time. And I had to pause and really look at it and say, “Why am I beating myself up trying to get the faster 5K time when I can’t? Why is this so important to me?” I redefined success as doing what I can do today and honoring what my body can do today. And if today all I can do is a 30-minute walk and maybe 20 seconds of jogging, and I do it – that’s success. Or if today I’ve got a big flareup and all I can do is grocery shop and then take a 4-hour nap – if I honor my body and what it can do one day at a time, one hour at a time – that’s my new success criteria. For me and for tons of people I’ve worked with, that becomes so freeing and so liberating. Then you can begin to really have that incremental success and gain strength, because you’re not torturing yourself over the things you can’t do that you used to be able to do, and instead you’re focused, or I’m focused, more on that positive what I can do. It’s just a better, happier place to be.
Allan (6:59): Yes. I like how you started that out with the word “compassion”. I’m in the process of reading a book that’s set up so that each day there’s a verse and it’s based on stoicism. It’s called The Daily Stoic. Each day there’s a little passage from Seneca or Marcus Aurelius or one of the original stoics, and then he writes his little blurb, his little bit about it to get you thinking about things. The first section of that is clarity. As I’ve gone through it and then I read in your book, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to how much negative self-talk I have.
Lyn Lindbergh (7:44): Oh, it’s huge.
Allan (7:45): I called myself “fat”, and I guess I was fat. I considered myself to be fat, so I used that word. And every time I noticed myself slip up, the negative self-talk would kind of step right back in. What are some things we can do to get that compassion back for ourselves?
Lyn Lindbergh (8:08): Just push the “Happy” button and you’ll feel happy.
Allan (8:12): Where is that button?
Lyn Lindbergh (8:13): I’ve been looking for it. It doesn’t exist. I won’t give up hope, I’ll find it someday. No, you’re exactly right, Allan. That compassion piece is huge, because our generation – when I say that I mean 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s – we were just drilled with that concept of “No pain, no gain. Grit, self-discipline. Try harder, try harder. Live like you’ll die tomorrow.” We’ve all heard these thousands of times and it just puts more and more pressure on us and we end up feeling bad. Like you said, we feel fat and out of shape and ugly. So, part of it is to really start paying attention to what that brain is thinking. When you put on the pants in the morning and you look in the mirror, what is that brain saying to yourself? For me, a lot of it has been just talking to people about body image. If we talk about body image, for example, it’s an issue for – I’ve discovered and learned because I hang out with a lot of bodybuilders and a lot of women that you would call “tens”. We all have body image issues and we all are hard on ourselves. It’s really that awareness of, “I am beautiful. I am handsome.” The reason I’m dancing around this is the work is just huge to do around it. One thing that helps me is to realize if I ask myself the question, “Who are the best friends in my life? Who are the people that I have the most respect for? Who are the people I most admire?”, none of them fit on the cover of a Cosmopolitan or a Vogue magazine at all. When I bring that back to myself, it helps me remember this body external thing really isn’t that important. It helps me give myself compassion. That’s the external piece of it.
Allan (10:35): I’ve found that it really comes from a practice called gratitude. You sit down and you think about the things that make you happy, those moments of joy when you can sit back and say, “This was good.” And what I’ve found is if you are eating the right foods, you can be grateful that your body’s using that food to improve your health. Like you said, you go out and do that 30-minute walk with 20 seconds of jogging. When you’re done with that, that’s something you should celebrate. You should be happy that you had the capacity to do that and that you’re doing something to improve yourself. And when you find yourself starting to go down that negative thought path, that’s when you want to turn it on and say, “Okay, I might not have eaten very well today, but I kissed my wife in the morning, I called my daughter and told her I loved her.” All those different things that you do, you can feel gratitude for. And if you keep practicing gratitude and keep looking for joy, a lot of that negative self-talk goes away.
Lyn Lindbergh (11:45): It really, really does it. And then possibly too is to take inventory of who’s in your social circle. They say you’re the composite of the five closest people around you. Whether that’s true or not, everyone’s saying it, so it must be true, right? So, what are those folks around you saying? Are they helping you with a positive mindset?
Allan (12:12): And it’s not on Facebook. Everybody’s presenting their best front side image in Facebook and filters and all the other stuff. Just realize that you don’t have to keep up with them; you just have to keep up with you.
Lyn Lindbergh (12:27): Yeah, what do they say? Don’t compare your inside life to everybody’s outside life or public life. Absolutely.
Allan (12:35): Exactly. Which is also why I’m not on Instagram. I might be the only personal trainer that’s not on Instagram.
Lyn Lindbergh (12:43): I’m barely on Instagram, because of the peer pressure.
Allan (12:48): I can’t do it. Plus it’s a phone thing. You can’t do it on a browser. I’m too old for that.
Lyn Lindbergh (12:55): Yeah, what is that? Okay, good thing. 40+, not too many of us are on Instagram, so we’re good.
Allan (13:05): Now, as we go through things, I think this is where a lot of people start to struggle, and you talked about it a little bit with your lung issue – we’re going to hit these barriers. And they’re natural barriers, because if we were all meant to be six-pack abs, bikini body people, then everybody would be, if it was easy. But it’s not easy. There’s an overabundance of food and there’s overstimulation where it’s easy to sit on your couch and never leave. Literally if the pizza guy would walk in the house and put it down in front of me, on the coffee table, I would never leave the house.
Lyn Lindbergh (13:50): I’ve got teenage boys. That’s exactly the life they would love.
Allan (13:54): “Hey, come on in!”
Lyn Lindbergh (13:56): “Right here, Mom. Just put the pizza right here, I’m good.”
Allan (14:00): So there are all these things that are going to distract us and keep us from getting where we really want to be. How do we break those barriers?
Lyn Lindbergh (14:09): When it comes to breaking barriers in fitness, one of the things that I like to share a lot is when you think about your biggest barrier, it’s not a gym membership. It’s not cash to throw at a personal trainer. It’s not all kinds of things. It’s the couch. The couch is our biggest competitor. Then we look at, what are our barriers to getting off the couch? And I say that metaphorically, because I know some people are listening to this and saying, “But I’m not on the couch. I’m just so busy.” One of the things that we do and teach, we call the “breaking barriers list”. The reason this exercise, the “breaking barriers list”, is important and impactful is because it helps you get crystal clear on what your real barriers are versus imagined barriers. And then it helps you get really laser focused on what you can do that requires the least amount of work to have the biggest impact on your ability and motivation to exercise. So, this is what I do to get people there. You could even start this right now. You just get any old piece of paper, or if you prefer to type on your computer, and you think of every single barrier to exercise that you can think of. And there are the big barriers: “I broke my leg”, “I got really sick”, “I have an aging parent I’m caring for”, “I have a job that I can’t quit”, “I can’ just quit my job or retire. I’m not there yet.” And then there are all the little, tiny barrier, like “I’m just busy” or “My kid called and I needed this this afternoon when I was going to work out.” This happened to me once – I showed up at the gym with two right tennis shoes. I forgot my left tennis shoe. List them all out; then go through that list and really ask yourself objectively, “Of all of these barriers that I see, which ones can I actually impact today, or which ones can I impact in the future?” You take the ones you can impact today, pick one and say, “Of all these barriers…” Take this stupid example of two right shoes. I can pack my gym bag earlier and leave it in the car and it’ll be there for me. Pick one and just work on breaking that one barrier, and let all the rest go. Maybe the next day or the next week, pick another one and let all the rest go. And just work through that list. Then the next question that always comes up really naturally is, what do you do with the barriers that are here to stay? So myself, for example, missing 30% of my lung function – that’s there to stay. It’s probably only going to get worse the rest of my life. You’ve got to make peace with those. That’s the real hard work, and it goes back to that compassion piece: “What can I do, given this barrier?” Sometimes it’s really easy to try to think, “Life should be perfect, life should be perfect. I’ll never give up, I’ll never give up.” And it’s not giving up; it’s just facing reality head-to-head and getting yourself in a real positive mind space and a positive mental space around it. So, that’s the whole “breaking barriers list” piece that we work through in a nutshell.
Allan (18:10): To me it comes down to self-awareness. If you can do this exercise, this is groundbreaking for getting you on track to really accomplish some great things, because once you start understanding what those barriers are, you eliminate them. I learned the same thing. I had to pack my gym bag the night before, or invariably I would forget my shoes or my socks, or just forget the bag. I literally packed the bag and set it by the door, so I’d almost have to trip over it in the morning to get out the door.
Lyn Lindbergh (18:46): You and a million people every day.
Allan (18:49): And I’d double check. You have to put those little strategies in place for the things you know are going to trip you up. I walk into the office on Friday and I see the sharks chumming in the break room. I know they brought donuts. I’m staying away from the break room.
Lyn Lindbergh (19:06): That’s a hard one. That’s an advanced skill.
Allan (19:14): It was funny. These were particularly weird – they were called Spudnuts. They were made from potato flour, so probably even worse than regular, from a sugar high. They put your blood sugar through the roof. And I loved them too. Then I was like, “Okay, I’ve got to get away from that.” So, I’d have nuts in my office and I’d see them be just like sharks chumming. I decided I can’t go there. I’d go to my office and sit in my desk and not go into the break room until lunchtime, because they would usually be gone by then.
Lyn Lindbergh (19:51): That’s great.
Allan (19:54): That was a practice of self-awareness and understanding what the barriers are that are going to keep me from getting what I needed. That was one that would come up every once in a while. I can’t keep them from bringing donuts in, but I have to know myself to deal with it.
Lyn Lindbergh (20:13): Absolutely. It’s funny how this moment of shame is coming back, which I must let go. When I worked in a corporate office for 20 years, sometimes I would even be good at leaving those donuts alone until everybody was gone and it was only me.
Allan (20:35): When nobody is looking, it doesn’t count.
Lyn Lindbergh (20:37): Exactly. And part of that mindset and self-awareness, one of the things to break through that usually gets people really excited and helps them feel young and alive again – it’s really looking at your stereotypes. When you’re looking at breaking barriers, really challenge your stereotypes about who does what kind of exercise. So much of the time we think yoga is for the skinny girls and aqua aerobics is for fat and injured and out of shape. That’s so, so wrong. If you can break through your stereotypes of what kind of exercises you do as a person and try something new, it’s amazing how creative you can get. I had one woman who came to me and she was so excited. I had no idea how this came about exactly, but she said, “I was listening to your thing about breaking through stereotypes, because I’ve never exercised in my life.” She was almost 50 and she’d never exercised in part because she didn’t see herself as somebody who would exercise. And she said, “I finally found it and I love it. I got a treadmill. I put it in my dark basement downstairs with no windows. And every morning I read a book on the treadmill.” I just had to laugh because I told her that would be torture for me. I would hate it. She loved it though. She said, “I can do this.” So what if everybody else hates a treadmill in the dark by yourself? She loved it and that’s what got her to make a breakthrough.
Allan (22:36): I think what’s really cool is that you’ve got to find your place. I could tell you you should be doing all this lifting and you should be doing some cardio. We can go through the “shoulds” and there’s a valid reason for each one. You should be working on balance, you should be working on mobility, all those different things that we do need to make sure we’re maintaining. But how you get there can be your own unique joy, your own unique path.
Lyn Lindbergh (23:05): That’s really where the “smile” factor comes in in a big way. I’ve got folks who back country ski, folks who sword fight. For real, that’s a real thing.
Allan (23:18): I know, fencing. I envision this old lady beating the crap out of somebody with a sword.
Lyn Lindbergh (23:28): She just turned 50 and she’s so excited. “You won’t believe what I’m doing.” But we all know body doesn’t know or care if you’re on a treadmill or walking. To your body it’s movement. So, if you’re moving and it’s exercise, it counts. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a gym or not.
Allan (23:49): Very much. Now, every once in a while something is going to come along – a car accident, you’re out going for a walk or a run and you slip on some ice and you twist your ankle or mess up your knee or break an arm, and now dealing with this setback. And a lot of times it’s, “I can’t use my leg because I twisted my ankle.” So they stop exercising. They figure since they’re not exercising, they’ll just eat what they want to eat, go back to their old ways, and they end up with this setback. What was an unplanned detour now becomes a, “Let’s turn around and drive back home” kind of thing. How do we deal with that?
Lyn Lindbergh (24:35): The setbacks is a really interesting, tricky one. One of the things I love that you said, Allan, is “when” you have a setback, not “if” you have a setback. I think that’s an important piece, is realizing that setbacks are normal, they happen. They happen to all of us, they happen to me. Some of the setbacks that really trip us up the most is a lot of times we get in our mind that we’re going to finally be a person who exercises, and now all of a sudden I’ve got my plan and it’s all perfectly laid out. But that’s not the way it is; life changes. Those are the tricky ones, when like you said, you’re moving to a new home. So, new routines, new everything.
Allan (25:23): The gym on this island that we’ve moved to is not really a gym. They have some dumbbells, they have a leg press. I would call it more of a fitness studio. They do classes. I’m thinking if I go there I’m probably going to have to do the classes until I get my equipment here, which is going to take me a little while because you have to put it on a container ship, it has to go on a boat. It’s going to be a while before I see that stuff. So, that routine is completely thrown out; I have to come up with other things. I even asked if they have tennis courts. There are no tennis courts on this island. Unless I want to build my own. I could build one and then charge people to use it. That might not be a bad idea. A lot of the things I was thinking my lifestyle was going to entail when I move down here, it’s not here. So I have to change and I have to adapt. I’m doing a lot more body weight stuff, I’m doing a lot more walking. Those types of things are the things I’m putting into my regimen. I’ll probably lose a little bit of muscle mass because I’m not lifting like I was lifting. I lost a little bit of strength, but I can do what I’m going to do until I get my equipment down here.
Lyn Lindbergh (26:42): That’s exactly it. I would say for any of those setbacks – whether it’s a broken leg or moving to an island with no tennis court or, quote, unquote, “real” gym – one of the pieces to start out with first and foremost is that compassion piece again. Start first from a place of compassion for yourself and realizing this is normal. Setbacks do happen. And when you get there, which it could take you 10 seconds or two weeks, it depends, then you can start talking. If you live with someone, talk to them about your goals and your desires. If you make a new friend, talk to them about your goals. You’d be amazed at how people can help you find resources to make it happen. Really, at our core, most of us want to be exercising. Most of us want to have a buddy to work out with. That’s where I usually have folks start. And again, back to breaking through that stereotype of, what kind of an exerciser am I? What do I do? I can get massively creative to start really focusing on what exercise is going to meet my goals and make me smile? And those three things really are that sustainable piece that helps you stay in a good mindset for it all. Because again, Couch to Active – I’m all about living a life you love more than just creating out workouts you hate.
Allan (28:22): Yeah. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Lyn Lindbergh (28:37): I would say for me in my life, because getting and staying well has been complicated and I know I’m not the only one – education is huge for me. I’m an avid reader, constantly reading. I tell you, for anything, if I Google “Is keto good for you? Is keto bad for you? Are oranges good for you? Are oranges bad for you?” – the amount of data out there is just ridiculous. The more education you can have on everything, the better. The second one for me – a huge piece of physical wellness is also mental wellness. I think our generation has been raised with a lot of anxiety, a lot of pressure to perform and a lot of that negative self-talk. So I think a huge wellness piece of that is to not be afraid to crack that door open. If something inside of you is saying you need to look at mental health, look at it. And then the more simple one is, get the junk out of your kitchen. That’s what I had to do. If it’s there, I want to find the “Happy” button and the “Unlimited Willpower” button. If you find those, let me know, Allan, because junk’s got to stay out of the kitchen.
Allan (30:09): I’m pretty much the same way. My wife bought some Life cereal the other day and she was like, “Don’t judge me.” I’m like, “I’m not judging you.”
Lyn Lindbergh (30:18): Food shame!
Allan (30:20): But at the same time I knew I would end up in that box at some point. I knew myself. I almost said I’ll just eat it all so it won’t be here anymore. I didn’t go that far, but I did actually eat some of the cereal. Lyn, I want to thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about the book, Couch to Active, where would you like for me to send them?
Lyn Lindbergh (30:54): Just have them Google Couch to Active and head over to the website, www.CouchToActive.com, and everything’s there.
Allan (31:04): Excellent. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/374, and I’ll be sure to have links there. Lyn, again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Lyn Lindbergh (31:15): Thank you. It’s been a ball.
I hope you enjoyed that interview with Lyn. Really fun character, very goofy, but has a lot of fun with life and that’s a big, big part of the wellness formula. You have to be happy with what you’re doing. I love how she brings that to the table and it bears in her podcast and in her book. Do check those out.
Spring has sprung. As this episode goes live, we are into just the spring season starting up. And you know what that means – that means we’re going to be wearing a little less clothing, revealing a little bit more of our bodies. This is a perfect time to really start working on your health and your fitness. So if you’re looking for a coach and you’re interested in getting things done in the most efficient and effective way, without injury, I’m available to be your online coach.
You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programshttp://40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs, and from there you’ll be able to see the various programs that I offer. I have group, one-on-one, and I do have some “Do It Yourself”, if you are so inclined to push yourself. I do have programs that have been proven effective for losing fat and for gaining muscle. So if you’re interested in training with me, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs.
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As we look to the new year, our health and fitness move to top-of-mind. On this episode, I discuss how commitment, strategy, habits, and tactics can help you reach all of your health and fitness goals.
As we close out 2018, I thought it would be good for me to do an episode that was geared towards helping you be successful. As we go into a new year, this is often the time of year where people want to really start bearing down on certain goals – be it health, be it fitness, be it wealth – different things that we put on our plate that we want to accomplish in the new year. And if being healthy and fit is something that’s on your plate, which for most of it is, these four words that I’m going to share with you today and how they apply, is going to be very, very important for you to be successful.
The first one is commitment. A commitment is so much stronger than any other thing that you’re going to do for yourself. You could say you have a resolution, you could start a diet, you can say you’re going to use willpower, do things to improve your willpower; but in a general sense, all of those are typically designed to fail. What you need is a commitment.
When you commit to something, you just do it. It’s much more personal to you. It’s much more ingrained in your psyche to be successful when you have a commitment.
Commitment is comprised of two things. The first one is your “Why”. Your “Why” must be deep and emotional, and generally fixed. What I mean by that is, it needs to be something that you truly, truly care about. If you don’t care about it –
If you’ve been following me for any period of time, you know that my commitment, my “Why” is my daughter. It started out as my daughter, then when I got married to Tammy, it’s now my wife and our children, and then
I don’t want to just be here for them; I want to be working with them. I want to be doing things with them. I want to be active with them. I want to be participating in their lives. So my vision is for me to be independent, fit and strong, to be able to do the things that they’re doing to be engaged in their lives.
So I put those two together: my “Why” – my children, grandchildren, my wife; and my vision is to be active in their lives, to be independent. That’s my commitment. My commitment is to do the work and do the things that are necessary to make sure that I am the person that I want to be for them. That’s my commitment.
The next word – strategies. Strategies are the things that we do to ensure that we’re going to be successful. And that only comes about if we really do a good deep dive exercise of self-awareness and looking at our lives and saying, “What’s realistic? What’s the most likely outcome if these things happen?”
So, strategies are the things that we do to keep us on track when something might have knocked us off. A perfect example for me is, every once in a while if I see M&M’s, particularly peanut M&M’s, I’m all over them. It’s very, very hard for me to walk past a bowl of M&M’s and not just eat them all. I know that’s a tendency of mine, so I just don’t buy M&M’s. I don’t have them in the house, I don’t have them in the cupboard, so I’m less inclined to do that thing.
Another one that I’ve talked about a good bit is, when I was going to an office, if I didn’t pack my gym bag the night before and leave it on the floor where I would almost practically trip over it on the way out, I would sometimes forget my gym bag or I’d forget to pack socks or shoes or something silly like that, and I’d end up missing a workout. So, for me to make sure that I am consistently going to the gym, I have to pack my gym bag the night before.
Now it’s a little different because I work from home, but I need to put my gym clothes out. Right after I finish recording this episode, I’m going to go down to the gym and do some work, because I already have my gym clothes on. They were the ones I left out for me to get into this morning when I woke up, so I have my gym clothes available to me and I’m ready to go work out. So, the strategies are the things that we do to help ensure that we stay the course.
The next one is habits. Habits are the things we do without even having to think of them. One habit will be that you brush your teeth every evening before you go to bed. You probably brush your teeth every morning when you wake up. Habits are the way that you drive to work each day. Habits are the natural little things that you do in the course of living your day-to-day. The way we’re going to build a habit is by making it a part of each day regularly.
Just like brushing your teeth became like a ritual before bed – working out, eating well – those have to be habits. I talked about the strategy of walking around the grocery store. Now I don’t even think about going down any of the
And the final one that I want to talk about is tactics. Tactics are the things we do to get healthy and fit. I may ask a client when they first go in the gym and they want to start lifting, “I’m going to put you on a five by five program, doing these five exercises.” When I say “five by five”, that’s five sets, five repetitions of these five different exercises that basically give them a full body workout each time. So the tactic is the five by five.
As far as eating, some of my clients like to go low-carb. And when they go low-carb, that’s a tactic; it’s the style of eating that they’re choosing. They’re choosing a tactic of low-carb as a way of potentially losing some body fat, and yet fueling themselves.
So, as you look at the things that you would do, I want you to make sure that the tactics you’re using are the ones that are really going to move the needle. So the tactic of getting a B12 shot once a month – while it might boost your energy, that’s not a “move the needle” tactic so much as making sure you’re getting in a good amount of water each
The B12, or wearing an altitude mask, or all these other little crazy things that are out there, are not going to move the needle nearly as much. Now, there might be a point in your fitness and health journey where those other tactics make sense to add to your repertoire, but you want to focus your energy and your time on the tactics that are going to do the
Now, I say commitments, strategies, habits, and tactics in that order for a very specific reason. The commitment lays the foundation for everything that you’re going to do. When you’ve made a good commitment, you have a good vision of where you’re going to go and you have a good “Why” that’s going to keep you going. So the commitment has to be the first thing, it has to be done right. Once you have a good commitment in your mind and you’ve written it down and now you’re going to practice that commitment, everything else will fall in place so much easier.
Now through self-awareness, through knowing the basic things going on in your life, you can start establishing the strategies that are going to lay the framework for how everything else is going to work. I’ll use myself as an example.
I said that I want to be independent and active with my children and grandchildren, and whatever they’re doing in their lives, I want to be a part of it. I know that if I want to live a longer life, I need to feed my body the types of food that are good for it. So my strategies have to be built around, how do I make sure that I’m getting good food? How do I make sure that I’m doing the right things to keep myself fit? And fitness in this context is very different than CrossFit fit or just wanting to be able to complete a particular task, like a race or whatnot. This is fitness to be the person that I want to be.
As we age we’re more likely to fall, and that fall is likely to put us in the hospital or kill us. I want to make sure that I don’t fall, so in addition to training my strength so that I can do the things I need to do, I need to train balance, so that I’m as balanced as I can be and I don’t fall as often. Those are two different things that I’m working on within my fitness, so I have to put the strategies in place to make sure that I do that.
Strategies I’ve talked about – leaving my clothes out so I know that I’m getting my workouts in. Strategies of making sure that I’m shopping for the best quality foods, going to the farmer’s market, or at least walking the perimeter of the grocery store.
Now, after you’ve done a strategy for quite some time, it becomes a habit. So going down into my basement gym and getting in a good workout each morning because I’ve put my clothes on – suddenly now it becomes a habit of, that’s just what I do. I wake up and I go down to the gym. And maybe I’m doing some strength training, maybe I’m doing some balance
My tactics are saying, “Buy a whole bunch of vegetables. Just look for everything that’s fresh and organic. Get the best quality vegetables I can get and fill up my cart with those. Going over to the meats, look for the high-quality grass-fed meats.” And that’s what I do. Whether I’m at the farmer’s market or at the grocery store, I’m looking for the highest quality. So my tactic is high-quality food. My tactic is I’m going to do strength exercises, which are basically lower rep heavyweight, and I’ll do some balance work on a regular basis as a function of my workouts. Those are the tactics that are going to get me there.
You see how if I try to skip the order, I never develop the habits? If I don’t have the commitment, I’m never going to get to the habits. And so many people like to start this journey with the tactics.
We’re rolling into January, so it’s like, “I’m going to go on a diet.” What does that mean? It’s like, “Well, no candy or cakes for me.” They’ve got a tactic – they’re cutting out
Are they really going to have the commitment and the ability, the strategies to walk away and not eat the cake? Or are they going to make that a failure point in their plan and lose their diet? So, as you go through this, just remember, you need the commitment to make sure that all of this stays in place.
The strategies will be the ones that keep you on the road the most, keep you most effective. The habits are going to be the things that become automatic for you, which actually makes getting well very easy once you’ve developed healthy habits. That takes time, it takes effort, but if you have the commitment and the strategies in place, you can and will develop really good habits for your health and wellness. And then finally, the tactics. The tactics you choose need to be the best ones that are going to move the needle the most for you, where you are on your journey today. In that order – commitment, strategies, habits, tactics.
I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you have any questions at all about this – please, please, please, reach out to me. You can get in touch with me at email@example.com. I love getting emails from you guys. Or you can go to the Facebook group at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group. Both of those are great places to interact with me. I love getting emails, I love having the discussions on the Facebook group, because that’s where other people can get the benefit of your questions and our comments and what’s going on there. So please do go check out the group or send me an email if you have any questions or want to talk further about this topic.
Alright. It’s that time of year when we all start getting a little bit more focused on goals, commitments, resolutions and all of that. So I hope you’ll take today’s lesson to heart as you do kick in for the new year and get your fitness stuff going on. It is very important for you to make sure that you’re committed to have the strategies in place, to develop the appropriate habits, and also to make sure that you’re finding the right tactics to make sure that you’re successful in meeting your fitness and health goals. This is the perfect time for you to hire a coach, and I would like to be that coach. As a coach you can have me for accountability, you have me to bounce any questions off of, you have me there to make sure that you get the most out of the time and effort you’re putting into the gym and into the kitchen. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs to learn more about what I do with my coaching.
I have two basic programs – very simple “Do It Yourself” programs; or if you really want me with you along the way, you can join the group fitness or apply for the one-on-one. I do have some slots open for one-on-one clients at this time. So if you’re interested in really kicking things up a notch, meeting all of your wellness and fitness goals for the year, I highly recommend that you hire a coach and I hope that you’ll choose me. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs today. Thank you.
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Our guest today has been in the fitness industry for over 19 years as a personal trainer and gym manager. She is the author of the book Are You a Gym Mouse? With no further ado, here’s Agi Kadar.
Allan (0:58): Agi, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Agi Kadar (1:02): Thank you, Allan. It’s great to be here.
Allan (1:05): Your book is Are You a Gym Mouse? The title itself is cute and imaginative, and I really liked the messaging, taking it from being the gym rat to being the gym mouse. You covered a lot of things in the book that I see year in and year out in the gym. Someone comes in intimidated, they shun the free weights section. Often they won’t even go to the workout machines. They’re on the treadmills, on the ellipticals. I thought it was really good to put this kind of book out there for someone that knows they need to do the training, they just aren’t motivated to do it because of the intimidation factor, because of the lack of knowledge factor, all the different reasons that someone doesn’t want to go to a gym.
Agi Kadar (1:56): Yes, that was exactly the reason I wrote the book. I have been working in a gym for 19 years and have seen a lot of gym mice come and go. They are just too intimidated to do more than get on the treadmill or on a bike. And I want to show them that it is okay to be a gym mouse. You can still get all the benefits of moving, and get better, get healthier, get stronger, and not feel intimidated by others that might be fitter than them. They probably were a gym mouse at one point or another.
Allan(2:31): How would you go about defining a “gym mouse”? When you see someone, how do you say, “That’s a gym mouse.” What does that look like?
Agi Kadar (2:40): Someone who might actually take a while to even come into the gym and join. You can usually tell right away. Some people even told me that they sat in the car for 30 minutes before walking in. They’re usually scared of the machines, the free weights, especially
Allan (3:28): I was an athlete in high school, so I was familiar with weight equipment and whatnot. But my first foray walking into a gym was, it was very broken up. You’ve got your treadmills, and nine times out of 10 those are going to be close to the door. And then you start working into the machines, and then in the back corner space – in this gym it happened to be a bigger part of the whole overall gym because it was more geared towards weightlifters and professional bodybuilders and that kind of thing – were the guys and the women in the back lifting the weights. I was 14 years old. I was in no way capable of doing what a lot of the other bigger guys were doing, and I can get that. You see this guy go over there, he’s got 500 pounds on the bar doing deadlifts or squats. And I’m thinking to myself, “I’m going to go
Agi Kadar (4:44): Exactly. I hear that from people: “I’m afraid to go back there with the weights because I just don’t belong there. People are going to look at me.” And it’s not true. If you look around in most gyms, you do find the regular people; a lot of gym mice out there. Even in the classes, not everybody is in perfect shape. They’re all there just to move, have fun and get healthier, and they really could not care less what you are doing.
Allan (5:14): We all started somewhere. I’m a trainer, and I’m into my workout, but if I see anybody, I’m only going to recognize one, people that are in the gym the same time every day and I see them every time, so I’m going to know who they are. And then I’m going to see the newbies, and the only reason I’m paying any attention at all is if I notice them doing something that I see the potential for them to really hurt themselves.
Agi Kadar (5:45): Yes. That’s one of the reasons I do recommend beginners to go to the gym instead of starting a workout by themselves at home – to get the guidance and get help and make sure that they do it right, so they can get the results so they don’t give up.
Allan (6:04): I have a book that just came out. In the book I talk about you can get strong doing body weight work. You can build a home gym, you can put things in your home and then add on equipment as you go. But there is the danger factor there because now you’re by yourself and if you drop weights on yourself, there might not be anybody else there to deal with that. The core advantages of the gym for me were the variety of equipment that you could never get in a home gym, the fact that you don’t have to pay to upkeep it, and you don’t have to pay to store it and keep it. I’m giving up half of one of my garages just to have my home gym, which works for me because my truck doesn’t even fit in my garage. So this is my gym. But what are some reasons why you think someone should venture? Why should the mouse venture into the gym?
Agi Kadar (6:56): My one reason – what you just said – not to get hurt. But a great, big reason is other people there that are just like them, so they won’t feel alone. They feel more confident, more motivated to actually do
Allan (7:50): Yes, absolutely. Now, what I think a lot of folks don’t recognize is that not all gyms are created equal. There are some gyms that are dedicated to women alone, there are some that are dedicated to meatheads, and there are some that are all across the spectrum. Some of them are organized with all kinds of classes, some are not. Can you talk about how someone can go about it? With
Agi Kadar (8:28):That’s a great question. I do believe you have to find the right gym for you,otherwise you’re probably not going to go. I would definitely recommend that you look around
Allan (10:08): I think that first point you had – convenience is probably one of the keys. I had a membership with Anytime Fitness. And one of the reasons I kept that, even though I had other gyms… I had my own home gym, I had a gym membership near my work, and then I had an Anytime Fitness. The advantage of the Anytime Fitness was that they had gyms all around the world. So when I was in Calgary, I could go to the gym for free. When I was in Mississippi for a football game, I could go to a gym for free. So, look for some of those chains that will actually let you go in. And like you said, it needs to be close to your home. It needs to be something that you would almost have to drive by it on your way home.
Agi Kadar (10:55): That’s a good point. Or even close to your work, or whatever is more convenient for you. But definitely convenience will make it a lot easier to get there and stick to your routine.
Allan (11:09): Another thing to look at is some of the services they offer that might be those add-ons that are going to make this gym really special for you. Some of them have the special classes, so they’ll be doing some strength classes, some aerobic classes, spinning classes as a part of the whole service. Some of them have infrared saunas, swimming pools, those types of things. If those are services that you and your family would enjoy, those are really nice to have. And then the other is personal trainers. If they have a cadre of personal trainers available, particularly at the beginning when you’re trying to learn what these crazy-looking machines do and how you’re going to get over to those iron plates and the bars and how you’re going to do all that, it’s really good that they have trainers. In many cases the trainers will give you an orientation. They actually should demonstrate how to do the work. And if at any point in time you’re concerned about your form, typically you can go over and ask the trainer on duty, “Do you mind spotting me? Do you mind watching me and telling me if I’m doing this right? I don’t want to hurt myself.” And 99% of the time they’re going to be able to go over there and give you a hand and help you lift safer and lift better. So, don’t discount those add-ons, because even though you say, “I might not need to go to a gym in another town”, suddenly you’re going to visit your grandmother or your aunt and you’re like, “Do they have this gym there?” And when they do, it’s pretty cool that you don’t have to pay a walk-in fee for one of those other gyms.
Agi Kadar (12:43): Yes, definitely. That’s why I said just go to visit a couple of gyms and find out their policies. Like you mentioned, the chains – some of them you can just go anywhere. I work for a gym that’s a franchise, but you can still get a travel pass and go to other gyms and use them on vacation or anywhere in the world. And the other thing, like you mentioned, the trainers. When you go to a gym, find out if they offer a couple of free sessions to get you oriented with all the equipment and free weights or whatever else you want to use in the classes. We give two orientation sessions and we actually write up a workout routine for people to get started with.
Allan (13:29): That’s really
Agi Kadar (14:18): Probably the biggest thing is, just like in life, be courteous and keep everything the way you would like to find it. Cleanliness; just clean up after yourself – that’s one big thing. And respect other people’s time and space. Some people are just there to work out and get to work, or they really don’t have a lot of time, so they don’t want to chat. They don’t want you to interrupt their workout, so you need to respect that. If you’re retired and you have the time and there are a lot of other people that stay for a while, that’s great. Go and talk to them at the juice bar or sit down and have a cup of coffee. But don’t interrupt others’ workout. I think that’s one of the biggest rules that people need to know. But at the same time, also share. Sometimes the gym mouse might feel like, “I can’t go over there, they’re using that machine.” But they’re just sitting on it and talking, or texting, or resting for a while. It’s okay to approach them then and ask them, “Can I share that machine with you?” Or that area. You can work in with others nicely. Sometimes it is also for the gym mouse to know their rights, not just the rules. That’s why I dedicated a whole chapter in my book to gym etiquette.
Allan (15:40): I think you could have written the whole book on it.
Agi Kadar (15:42): Probably. And I got a lot of feedback that I should print it out and post it inthe gym everywhere.
Allan (15:51): A few that I’ll mention that I think a lot of people miss, and it goes back to being courteous. If you pull a set of dumbbells or some equipment from a rack, return them to the rack. For the convenience of everybody, the dumbbells are typically laid out from smallest to biggest and lightest to heaviest. And that’s important because it keeps the big guys from having to stand over in your area if you’re using lighter weights, and vice versa – you’re not having to cross over. Typically if someone’s working in the heavier weights, they’re not going to be on the other end, where now you have the opportunity to work. So make sure you’re putting your weights away. Notice that a lot of people actually use the mirror to monitor their form, so try not to get between someone that’s working out and the mirror until they’re done with their
Agi Kadar (17:00): Yes, definitely.
Allan (17:02): You’re going to wipe down your machines and your equipment when you’re done with it. Almost every gym’s going to have a bottle or something that you can wipe that off. And by all means, you can wipe off before you use it and after. They don’t mind you using their paper towels. We really don’t, because we want to keep the equipment clean and nice. But at the same time, if you come into the gym sick, we’re in a small enclosed space, typically with a lot of people. We’re just going to get more people sick, and they’re going to get more people sick. So, if you have a cold or flu, stay home. If it’s a flu and fever, probably not even a good idea to work out. If it’s a head cold, you could probably still do some exercise, but try to do that where you’re not compromising the health of other people.
Agi Kadar (17:50): Yeah, definitely. I always tell people, if you’re in doubt, just think about what you would want somebody else to do. Do you want to go in there and have someone sneeze on you? Definitely, that was
Allan (18:20): One of the cool things about the gym, and you mentioned this a little bit –there’s this effect that happens when you’re around other people, that it makes you work a little harder and it makes the workout actually a little bit more enjoyable. So, group classes are a great way to get started if you’re really uncomfortable and you want to build some fitness before you really dive deep. But when you’re in the gym, realize that we’re all trying to do the same thing. You’re surrounding yourself with other people that are interested in their health and fitness. So, sometimes we help each other. And what I mean by that is, I might be doing a lift and I might be concerned that I’m not going to be able to complete the last rep. If it’s a bench press or squat or something like that, it might be difficult for me to do that last one, and I might ask you for a spot. If someone asks you for a spot and you know how to give the spot, then by all means. If you’re uncomfortable that you’re not going to be able to properly spot somebody, then don’t be afraid to tell them that you don’t feel like you’re strong enough or you don’t have the spotting technique. But as you get into this, realize that we’re all there to kind of help each other out. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a spot if you think you need one, because it’s better for you to have that spot – someone there to catch the bar so you don’t drop it on yourself than it is for you to try the lift and hurt yourself.
Agi Kadar (19:40): Yes. People will be surprised how helpful others can be. Even some of the meatheads or gym rat-looking people are usually very welcoming to new people and they encourage them. That’s a great
Allan (20:04): We like
Agi Kadar (21:40): Yes, totally agree. Or just walk up to the front desk and ask them, “Is there a trainer available that can help me?” Chances are, they are just walking around and they’d be happy to help you. They want to keep busy. They want to show what they know and they all want to help you.
Allan (21:55): And that’s a part of their marketing shtick. If I have an opportunity to show you something, then you’re going to understand what kind of trainer I am, how skilled I am, and other people are going to see me helping you. I can tell you managers want their trainers on
Agi Kadar (22:25): Yes. I always tell people to just ask instead of hurting themselves or doing it wrong. It’s much harder to unlearn a wrong move than do it right in the first place.
Allan (22:34): And we’re over 40, so more likely than not, doing it wrong is going to lead to some form of injury. You really don’t want that. That’s going to keep you out of the gym, and now you’re going to be an injured mouse at home.
Agi Kadar (22:51): We don’t want that.
Allan (22:53): So any other gym etiquette tips or things that someone should know? We talked about how there are certain gyms that will fit them better, there are certain etiquette tips that once you get comfortable with how that gym works are going to work for you. Anything else?
Agi Kadar (23:09): Definitely if you’re not sure, just ask around what’s expected of you. Just little things sometimes people don’t think about, like bringing your gym bag to the floor. If only one person does it, it’s not a big deal, but can you imagine 10, 15, 20 gym bags all over the place and people tripping over them? It’s really dangerous. Another thing is bringing a cell phone into a class, for instance, and texting or making phone calls, disturbing other people. That’s really one of my biggest pet peeves that I try to encourage people, not just for the benefit of others that you don’t disturb the class or the instructor, but also for your own enjoyment of your time. You are here to work out. If there is an emergency, I can understand some people want to keep their phone on them. That’s great, but if you don’t need to, don’t do it. Relax, recharge.
Allan (24:09): A lot of times the gyms will be playing music, and it might not be the music that you want to listen to. So, have some Bluetooth headphones, listen to your music. There are also applications that you might want to use to log your weight because they’ll give you all kinds of cool graphs and information that kind of
Agi Kadar (25:21): Yeah, definitely sharing is a very good rule.
Allan (25:26): It’s a skill. Working
Agi Kadar (25:59): Yes, exactly. I like that.
Allan (26:05): You don’t have to ever become a gym rat. You could stay a good gym mouse and still enjoy the health and fitness benefits of being in a gym or a fitness club. So, a question I’m asking all of my guests now and I want to ask you, Agi – I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Agi Kadar (26:33): I’m really happy that you mentioned happiness because I think it’s a very big part of it, and very important. One of my strategies that I would recommend is,find something you like to do. Do not make exercise a chore. Especially for a gym mouse or someone who feels like that’s not their biggest talent or skill – to move, but they know they need to do it and they want to do it. Don’t try todo something you hate or you really dislike. Find something you really enjoy. Take a class. They all the classes, see which one you like. Or try out training with a trainer. Try out working out with a buddy. Just really find something you like. You like dancing? Put on music and dance around the house, or take a Zumba class or some other type of dancing class. But really, really important that you enjoy what you do. You will stick to it more, you’re going to look forward to it, and you’re still going to get all the benefits of the gym or just the movement. That’s one of my tips. The second one is, create a habit and stick to it. We are creatures of habit, so it is a lot easier to stick to a habit than keep stopping and creating a new one. Find a time that works the best for you and stick to it. Make it as an appointment. Just really think about it as a very important thing, part of your life, something that you do every day or every other day or so many times a week, just like brushing your teeth or washing your face.
Allan (28:16): Or picking up your spouse from the airport.
Agi Kadar (28:18): Exactly. Don’t leave them stranded there. Of course, if something comes up, where you get sick, you might miss your workout. But if it’s maybe a matter of time, that you usually work out 30 minutes and you only have 15 minutes – go for 15 minutes. You’re still going to keep that habit, so you’re going to feel that accomplishment: “I did it. It was a harder day today, but I still did my workout, even if it’s 15 minutes.” Or if you have to, just do a little bit or move at home: “Okay, I missed the gym today. I’m going to go home and dance around while I’m making the bed and washing dishes.” Just anything, so you keep that habit of moving every day or at least sticking to your workout routine. I really think it’s very important. Even if you get maybe injured a little bit. I had a client who sprained her ankle, and my advice to her was, “It’s only your ankle. You have a lot more body parts and muscle groups there that you can work.” And she said she kept hearing my voice every day: “It’s only an ankle”, and that got her over that initial shock of, “Oh my God, I can’t do anything.” She came to the gym with a cane for a while, but she sat on some of the machines or sat on the bench and did upper body exercises. She did core exercises, and she was so happy that she didn’t have to stop her routine. So, keeping that habit I think is very, very important.
And the third one, I think probably the most important, is to supercharge your motivation. Most of us know that we need to move, we need to exercise, and we probably know all the benefits of exercise – our health, appearance, weight loss, a lot of other benefits. But sometimes it’s not enough to get us out on a cold, dark morning to get up earlier and go to the gym, or after work when you just want to go home and curl up in front of the TV. So you have to find a personal, maybe a more emotional reason to do it. What I mean with that is something that you really want, and you need to be in better shape for
Allan (32:56): Yes, absolutely. Those are wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. Now, you said you have a special gift for anyone that wants to come and check you out. Tell us about the gift and tell us where we can learn more about you and the book, Are You a Gym Mouse?
Agi Kadar (33:16): Yes. I created a “Have Fun Exercising” 30-day challenge that I recommend to every gym mouse to maybe commit to it. It’s just helping you get started and sticking to an exercise routine, just to commit to moving every day. And it doesn’t have to be in the gym every day, but just commit to even 15 minutes of movement every day. I included some tips, some fun and more unique ideas – how you can move even without going to the gym or doing a formal exercise, and little tips to motivate yourself and sticking to it, and then reward yourself for sticking to a 30-day plan. Once you stick to it, you will keep that habit going. And I’m betting on it that you will feel better and you’ll keep wanting those benefits. You can find my gift at GetFitGift.com. We’ll send you the free PDF and a surprise also with that, that I don’t want to tell you. You have togive that gift. And you can also find out more about my book and about me on my website at AreYouAGymMouse.com.
Allan (34:38): Awesome. This is episode 360, so in case you’re running or you’re out and about and you couldn’t write that down, just remember this is 360. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/360, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Agi, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Agi Kadar (34:58): Thank you, Allan, for having me. It was great.
I wanted to let you know if you do enjoy the podcast and you’re interested in checking out The Wellness Roadmap book, it is available on Audible and iTunes. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook. Actually, if you don’t have an Audible account yet, Audible will actually let you have the book for free. So, you can check it out and get it for free actually, by checking out Audible, going to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook.
I also wanted to check in with you and see if you were potentially interested in helping to support the podcast. We do have a Patreon page. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and there you can go ahead and leave a small monthly donation for the podcast. And I’ve got some levels in there. So if you want to get more involved with the podcast, learn more about what we’re doing here, really be more a part of it, a support for this podcast, it’ll help me keep paying for the audio production and the show notes. I’d really appreciate it. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Pateron. Thank you.
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The statistics around falls for seniors is staggering. On todays episode, we meet Carol Clements and discus her book, Better Balance for Life. If we want to be well and maintain our independence, we must focus some effort on maintaining balance.
Allan (0:56): Carol, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Carol Clements (0:59): Thank you. Happy to be here.
Allan (1:02): I was so happy to see your book that when I reached out I was like, “Yes, we’re not talking about this enough.” Everybody’s talking about getting stronger, building endurance, being able to do what we want to do in our lives. But in my mind, and I’ve even said this on the podcast a couple of times, my balance is not what it needs to be. And I’ve always known that; it’s only now that I’m in my 50s that I’m starting to say I have to start doing some work on this, because it’s not going to get better by my acknowledging the problem. I actually have to do something about it.
Carol Clements (1:47): Right. It’s definitely trending in media; there’s lots of scary statistics about falling and aging and balance. Then of course in the fitness industry there’s a big trending balance. You’ve got the BOSU training balls, you have stability balls, and Stephen Curry standing on a wobble board and shooting baskets. So everyone knows that this balance training edge is very productive because of the unifying of the body to become stable on unstable apparatus, which is what they call it at the gym. But I didn’t want my book to be about what you would do at the gym, so I had to create the instability in the person’s daily life that would be safe and they could practice balancing.
Allan (2:53): A few of the statistics I saw when I was doing the research on the topic of balance, it was something like one in four people over the age of 65 fall each year.
Carol Clements (3:04): One in three.
Allan (3:05): One in three, okay. So it’s going up, I’m sure. And then the other problem is they end up going to the hospital. I think it was 300,000 in the United States per year, and 29,000 deaths attributed to falls.
Carol Clements (3:25): That’s what I mean about the scary statistics. It’s a phenomenon that needs to be addressed as a preventative.
Allan (3:38): Yes. I tell people this, that your likelihood of falling over the age of 65 is just astronomically high. Why do we fall?
Carol Clements (3:49): That’s very complicated, because it can be inner ear issues, it can be visual impairment, it can be medication, or disease, a pathology of some kind – in the most extreme examples Parkinson’s or MS. Actually my book does not encompass that kind of reason for fear of falling or balance issues. It really addresses more a physical, more straightforward situation, where as the person ages they become less active and maybe they sit more, their balance system isn’t turned on because they’re sitting in a stable position too much of the time. I can’t cover all the reasons for falling, because they’re beyond what my book really addresses. But even if you had medication or a condition –neuropathy in your feet or something – you could still do a lot of these activities and improve your balance.
Allan (5:13): That was what I liked about this, because when I’ve talked to a lot of people about falls, it typically comes down, like you said, to those medical style conditions that we have. The second stage of it is that we’ve lost some strength, and that’s going to contribute to the fall. And unfortunately without the muscle mass, we’re more likely to hurt ourselves when we fall. Then of course there’s the fact that when we’re afraid to fall, we’re more likely to fall because we shorten our gait, we get tighter, we tense our body. I’ve lived in the south for a vast majority of my life, and whenever I travel up north and there was ice, I’m walking like a duck. I know that’s not the right way to do it, but I can’t help myself because I’ve fallen before and there’s this fear of falling that’s in there. And then the fact is that we just don’t practice.
Carol Clements (6:18): Right. So, all of those things that you said are right on. It’s lower body strength. In terms of predictors for falling, according to the research, and they do an arbitrary test where, say, you have to stand up from sitting without using your arms. And then five years later the people who couldn’t do that have fallen. The studies were in some ways a little arbitrary, like they would do a test for agility, and the agility test was how quickly you could walk around a chair.
Allan (7:02): I’m a certified functional fitness specialist. That’s still the test that they teach us, is to get up, walk around the chair and sit back down. It is not a bad test. The problem is from somewhat of a liability perspective, you don’t want the client to fall. So you know that they’re going to walk slower when their perception of falling is worse, and typically their perception is correct. So really what you’re looking for is for that person to give you indicators that we need to spend time on gait and balance because they’ve given some of that up.
Carol Clements (7:46): Right. Then you’ve got the lower body strength, you have the coordination agility factor, we’ll just call it, and then as you pointed out, the fear of falling is an enormous indicator of whether you will fall in the future. So I thought as I was writing, how can I help the reader feel more confident so that they remain active and they get the opportunities of being active that provide balance practice, strength, all the things we’ve talked about, and the confidence so that they won’t be so fearful? Those are really the three major goals.
Allan (8:36): You’re right. The question I have now, in the book, you use what you call the “five principles of a body in balance”. I think in a sense for me, that created a really good framework to explain what we’re going to be able to actually do at home. We’ll talk about those activities in a moment, but this set a really good framework. I thought if someone actually sits down, goes through and understands these five things, they’re going to genuinely know the things they should be adding to their activity level. Can you talk through those five principles, because I do think they are fundamental for our move forward in understanding this?
Carol Clements (9:22): They’re in some ways postural connections, so that when the reader gets to the 10-week plan, they have some kind of functional way of aligning their body. For instance, I start at the top, with the head, and compare it to a helium balloon. It’s really lining up and finding the arms and the back, and your neck and chest, which would be a curved-over, hunched position. And then ways to stretch the front of the chest so that you can get your shoulders to be part of your back. By that I mean the shoulder blades and the, you and I would call them “lats”, but you can think of it as the side of the back. And then there’s this very difficult one, which I was labored to write, because it’s hard, about the abdomen and how there’s a connection between your upper body and your lower body. I want for the participant reader to feel like that comes from the front, because as you age you begin to be more lax about what we call the front body core, and use the back to kind of hold you up and keep you in stance. So, it was difficult and I’m hoping the reader doesn’t get too frustrated with that section, but it was too important to leave out. Then I move on to the hip, because as you age, you begin to hinge at the hip forward. Imagine someone with a cane – they’re bent over and then they can’t access the glutes, the buttocks muscles. So I’m trying to get linked in front of the hip. And then the feet, because your feet and shoes sometimes become less active. You’re not really using the foot in an articulate way to push off. So those are the five; I wanted to make sure there was a consciousness about those body parts and how they work together, because you’re going to need that when you get to the 10-week plan and do the balancing and strengthening.
Allan (12:03): Yes. Again, that’s where the light came on for me as I was going through the book, was I know the shorter, tighter gait is a problem, but I had not really put together the entirety of the whole system, which I should as a personal trainer. Actually, that’s what I should be thinking about all the time. It is when I’m working with my clients, but I didn’t turn that same logic onto myself, that it’s about your posture and your ability to hold good posture. And so, looking at those imbalances: Is your head leaning forward? Are your arms collapsed forward? And as your waist is leaning forward, your hips are now in a bad position because you can’t use your glutes when you’re walking. And now your feet are not strong enough and nimble enough. I know that we say this all the time, and I need to start practicing. I do walk barefoot a good bit here in Florida. I could probably pick up a marble with my toes, but I couldn’t do a lot of the things that I should be able to do from the top to the bottom. That’s where the light came on for me, that this is a whole body posture thing. It’s not just a practiced balance thing. It’s all of it.
Carol Clements (13:29): All of those principles I felt like were going to give a foundation from which to build the strength, the coordination and the balance that we’re going to work on. You can’t think of everything at once; that’s why I said that about getting frustrated. But it’s just a process. I even said in the book, “Be patient with yourself.” The whole idea that not being able to maintain the balance at first is really a success, because the whole point is to be in an unstable position and to recruit, like I said, all these sensory, physiological and musculoskeletal aspects of what makes a person centered within themselves to balance, and practice that. So it’s okay if you fall – not fall; I don’t mean the bad kind of fall – that you teeter out of your balance, because that’s an experience that you’ll be able to use. Say if you step on a curb and you feel like you’ve lost your balance, you’ve had practice with doing that. Your body knows more what to do.
Allan (14:59): Yes. It’s like just about anything you do. When you first got in the car to drive, there was this fear. I know it gripped me the first time I got behind a stick shift. The Driver’s Ed teacher wants to put you up on a hill and have you do the clutch gas thing. I don’t want the car to die. And when you’re in town and it’s doing it, the car behind you is kind of laughing at you. It says “Driver’s Ed” on the car, so he knows what you’re going through. But over time, you practice being in that position. It’s not dangerous, but you get more comfortable and less fear.
Carol Clements (15:40): Right. The natural automatic responses of driving – now you don’t even have to think about driving, right?
Allan (15:54): Which can get scary in and of itself when you get somewhere. It’s like, “My brain was somewhere else while we were doing this drive, but I’m glad I’m here safe.”
Carol Clements (16:03): The body remembers and will do it, so we’re trying to get that automatic response going in the person’s body with balancing.
Allan (16:17): I was completely open and honest that I know my balance is an area that I need to put more and more focus on going forward. Now, don’t do this if you’re driving, but when you’re home or at a certain place. Always do your balance test in a safe place, so if you do actually lose your balance, you’re not going to hurt yourself. But if someone wanted to do the basic balance test, what would you tell them to do?
Carol Clements (16:46): The one that I use in the book is really more an assessment personally of the person, not like I’m trying to rate how good is the person’s balance, but how do you feel when you’re wavering? So I have the person stand behind this very sturdy chair and place your hands on the chair back, and then put feet right next to each other so there’s a very narrow base. And then gradually let go of the chair and cross your arms over your chest. If you close one eye, and if you feel okay, the other eye – you will feel the wavering of the body, the body balancing going slightly forward and backward and sideways. How do you feel about that? Is it scary? Does it make you want to suddenly go stiff, or can you relax into that wavering motion, the instability, and be okay seeing it from the inside, experiencing it? For me that was the better test. We can’t see what everyone’s doing that’s using the book, but they can experience and see for themselves how they feel about balancing.
Allan (18:09): Absolutely. Like I said before, your general perception when you’re in a situation like that is probably reality. If you’re not comfortable on your wavering more than you feel like you should, and you had that urge to want to tense up and grab that chair – those are indicators that this is a modality that you can start working on.
Carol Clements (18:31): Right. And it’s good to grab the chair because we don’t want you to fall. But it just gives you the experience to say, “Yes, I do feel tense about this.” And then maybe try it again and go, “Okay, I can stay with this a little bit longer until it really feels too threatening.” But definitely, always opening the eyes, or coming off of one leg, or whatever the balance situation is. You want to trust your instincts that you need to come out of that challenge when you need to.
Allan (19:13): Yes. I guess the tagline of this book in some lines should be, “You can fix it. You can get better at balance.” Now, you talked about the implements that are in the gym, and honestly a lot of folks don’t want the gym membership, and they don’t want to go over into the corner with that odd-looking contraption and try to figure out some exercises. Because they’re on a padded floor they fall over, and that’s not fun in a lot of cases. But we can do things to work on our mobility, our strength and our balance. We can do that in our own home. And what I like is that in the book you made this, I want to say, functional, but not exactly functional, but if fits within the lifestyle of what we’re probably already doing. We’re just double-dipping by doing these activities at the same time we would be doing something we were already going to be doing. Can you go through some of the types of activities and things that you would have them doing over the course of the 10-week plan?
Carol Clements (20:26): If the person can associate the activity with, we’ll call it an exercise, even though in the book I try not to call it an “exercise”.
Allan (20:37): Nobody likes the word “exercise”. So I’m glad you used the word “activity”.
Carol Clements (20:44): The association is like a reminder. For instance, one of the very first ones is “kitchen counter flat back”. So when you’re waiting for the toast or the microwave or the water to boil, you’re in the kitchen – you do this activity, which is really just creating traction though your spine. I won’t describe it; that is described in the book of course. And that’s really going to help with body awareness and the feeling of links, and to understand the opposing forces, which are what a lot of balance is made of. For instance, in this “flat back”, you go out through your scull, but you go the opposite direction, through your tail, the very end of the spine. So you’re lengthening in opposite directions, and when you balance, you really have to do that. You have to go down through your leg that you’re standing on and go up through your spine and head. Otherwise you have no dynamic; you’re just standing on your foot without the opposing force that gives a connection and a dynamic for balancing. I don’t really talk about that so much because it sounded too technical. I just try to give the experiences. When it’s associated with an activity, like brushing your teeth, I have five different “brushing your teeth” balances that are progressively more challenging. Everybody brushes their teeth, or at least we assume they do. So, they get to the first week, do brushing teeth balance number one. In the second week… Or maybe that didn’t happen until the second week because you have some other things to prepare first, I forgot. So those associations with activities, like getting dressed and talking on the phone or texting – I made sure that it was something I thought that most people would do, so that they’d go, “Oh yeah, when I do this, I stand this way and I do this experience.” That’s for a week. And by the end of that week, you’ve mastered it or gotten better at it, and you can go on to the next week. And then there’s usually a new activity, or a same one like the “brushing your teeth”, just with a new progression.
Allan (23:31): I liked it, because as you said, you’re brushing your teeth, you’re at the counter, you’re on the phone. All of those are normal daily activities. With this book, there’s not a ton of them; we’re talking I think no more than maybe four activities in any given week. But you practice those things – so a certain way that you’re going to work your back, or manage your glutes, or you’re going to work with your feet, or look and pay attention to your head, or at this point start balancing on one foot in a supported position – slightly supported, and then you’re going to reduce that support. It’s this progression that over the course of the 10 weeks you’ll feel and see that you are improving because you’re practicing.
Carol Clements (24:16): And hopefully feel more confident, go out more and do more things and not restrict yourself according to what you think you’re not capable of doing. Besides those four activities, there are also these sidebars, and one of them is “Your Striding Gait”. Not every week, but some of the weeks there’s a “Your Striding Gait” sidebar, which is some cue to use while you’re walking, which is going to help connect and strengthen. For instance, one is that big toe push-off I was talking about. So you cue yourself while you’re walking to push off with your big toe to fall forward from one foot to the next. And just to be aware of that and practice it when you’re walking. The other sidebar is “Relax and Reward”. Some of the weeks have a “Relax and Reward”, where you do a very passive kind of stretch situation, like have your legs up the wall so that your hamstrings get a little feeling of spaciousness. So besides the four activities per week, there are these sidebars that crop up. All of that works together.
Allan (25:51): Putting your sock on while you’re still standing up – that was maybe one of my favorites, along with, you call it something else – when you criss-cross your legs as you walk side to side.
Carol Clements (26:05): You mean “tight rope walking”?
Allan (26:07): No, you were crossing over sideways. You’re moving sideways, so your right foot goes slightly over…
Carol Clements (26:12): Lateral, yes. People lose their ability to step sideways, because think about it – we’re always going forward. Then when you do have a stumble, you are so inexperienced in stepping sideways or having to step backwards. So again, it’s practice. There’s a little thing where every time you get to a certain hallway in your home, you step to the side, meaning laterally, and then you get more comfortable with that and you’ve increased your range of transferring your center of gravity sideways, not just forward like we do when we walk, as we’re accustomed to.
Allan (27:03): You talked about things you do and don’t do. If you’re walking through a grocery store or a Walmart parking lot, and the car just doesn’t see you and you’re walking forward, your only choice perhaps is to move to the side. And so you need to be generally confident and competent that you can take that side step so the driver hopefully sees you, but you don’t fall, because that’s maybe the worst case. We have these obstacles in our lives and we don’t want to limit our lives. This is great if you’re working on your balance, if you’re doing these exercises. Every one of them is great. Like I said, I had a couple of favorites. I won’t ask you what your favorite is, because I know people don’t like picking between their babies. But I do have a question I want to ask, and it can be from the book or it can be from anywhere. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Carol Clements (28:08): I wish I had some cute slogan or some inventive quick fix, but really it’s about building a lifestyle around healthy living. If you wanted to be a farmer, you’d live on a farm. People think in theory, they want to be healthier, they want to have a better diet, or they want to have more activity. But if it’s a theory, you have to change the real circumstances of your life. For instance, if you like to dine out, find the healthier places to go; maybe not the salty, fatty pizza place or something like that, and make that part of even your social life. In the book at the end I give this little pep talk and say, try a marching band, try croquet. It’s a little tongue in cheek. Basically I’m saying, find something that engages you, that’s active, so that you can get your balance practice. Tai chi is the perfect example because they’ve done so many studies with tai chi. This improves your balance because you’re standing, you’re moving. It really doesn’t take much. Ping pong would be great. Just find something that makes a fun, engaging thing and then cultivate your friends and relationships around that framework. Really make a lifestyle change, if that’s what’s necessary.
Allan (29:58): Thank you for that, really. The book is Better Balance for Life. Carol, if someone wanted to learn more about the book, learn more about you, where would you like for me to send them?
Carol Clements (30:10): I’m having a meeting with someone tomorrow about creating a website for the book and myself. So I don’t have that yet. The book actually is released on November 20th. You can order it on Amazon or Indie Books or Barnes & Noble, but it won’t actually go out until November 20th, which is right around the corner. Right now I would say, wait a while and try the website or contact me through the publisher.
Allan (30:48): Okay. Carol, we’ll do this. We’ll stay in touch and when the book is available, I’ll have a link to the book for sure. When your website’s available, I’ll have a link to your website, www.carolclements.com.
Carol Clements (31:02): That would be great.
Allan (31:04): Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/357, and I’ll be sure to have those links there as soon as they’re available. Carol, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Carol Clements (31:18): Thank you so much. Have a great day.
Allan (31:21): You too.
I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Carol. Balance is something that I’m going to be focusing much more time on, as far as my fitness routines go. And I hope you do too. Falling, hurting ourselves, the numbers are just astronomical. So it is something that you need to be aware of and something that we do need to focus on as we get older.
I wanted to give you an opportunity I had originally only offered to my mailing list and then to my clients, but I thought you might be on the fence and thinking maybe you want to try some online personal training. So, through December 25th, Christmas, I will be offering you an opportunity to train as a part of our group training for just $1. Yes, your first month is only a dollar. Normally $75, so that’s a pretty steep little discount there, a Christmas gift from me to you. I want to be a part of your health and fitness routines. I want to be a part of you getting well as we get into the New Year. And there’s no better time to start than now. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. When you click on the button to go to the signup page, there you’ll use coupon code: podcast. Again, you go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training, and then from there, when you go in to buy, use the coupon code: podcast. It’ll save you $74, so basically you’re going to get your first month of training for just a dollar. And that’s full access to everything that my group trainings have – the portal, the exercises, the programming, the weekly Q&A calls, all of it. You’ll be a part of that; just check it out. You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to, but I believe you’re going to see I’m giving you enough value that it’s well, well worth the cost, the investment. So again, 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. Use coupon code podcast at checkout.
Also wanted to let you know that the book, The Wellness Roadmap, is just about to drop live. This goes live on December 3rd. The book will go live tomorrow. So you can go ahead and pre-order the ebook. You can order the other ones and get them as well. Right now there is hardbound and a paperback. The audiobook is submitted and it should be out there really, really soon. So you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book, or you can just go to Amazon and search for Allan Misner or The Wellness Roadmap and you can find the book that way. But if you just want an easy way to get there – 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. Thank you.
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I entitled today’s show “Breaking a Weight Loss Plateau”, but the lessons that I’m going to teach you today can actually be used for any plateau that you’re on, whether it’s a plateau on strength, on mass-building, on losing weight, or even a plateau on improving your diet, because every one of those things ends up in a plateau. I use an acronym called POPP, and I’m going to discuss that and show you how each element of POPP will help you pop your plateau. Let’s first start out with why we end up in plateaus.
It’s one of those things where we’ll start a diet, we’ll change some things and almost immediately we’ll see some reward, some benefit from making that change. I know when I cycle back into ketosis, literally I could lose six pounds overnight. It happens time and time again. If I’m a little bloated, a little inflamed, haven’t been taking care of myself or eating as well as I need to, I start that low-carb, and the next day the weight just washes out of me. I know a lot of that’s water. I have the head to know what’s actual fat loss and what’s just water loss. So I’m not getting all crazy about it, but there is going to be a point, even when you’re doing ketosis, where you are going to plateau. I know a lot of people think, “I’m losing 15 pounds a month. I want to stay in ketosis, but if I keep losing 15 pounds a month, I’m going to dwindle down to nothing.” That’s never going to happen, because your body is really, really smart. It does this thing called “homeostasis”.
Homeostasis is basically balance. It’s a fancy word that scientists like to use and it just means they balance out. So, you’ve gotten your body used to eating a certain amount of food or a certain type of food. Your body has adapted. It’s been using body fat for a while, but then it says, “We’re in a long-term bit of famine here. We’re not getting as many calories as we’re burning. We’re getting some great fat and we’re feeling full. Things are good, the nutrition is great. I don’t need anymore, so I’m not going to be hungry just for the sake of being hungry.” And then your body says, “Let’s stop shedding this body fat, because we kind of like it. We’re going to stay here.”
That’s what I call your body’s “happy weight”. It’s not your happy weight necessarily, but your body is happy with it. So, how do we break this weight loss plateau, or any plateau? That’s where the acronym POPP comes in. So POPP stands for Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression. And I’m going to take a few minutes here to unwrap what each of those means and how you can use each of these and all of these to help you break this plateau.
The first one is patience. You knew this was coming. I’ve taught you already that homeostasis is just something that’s going to happen. It’s going to be there. So, just know that the journey to wellness is ever going. It’s your entire life. You’re always going to be in this mode. The first thing I hope that you haven’t done is that you haven’t looked at this whole process as temporary, as, “I’m going to go on a diet, and then I’m done.” Really to take care of your health for the long term, to include weight loss, which is really a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle.
That’s exactly what you want to do – you want to make it a lifestyle. Is this a way that you can live your life going forward? So, with the patience aspect of this, start exploring the things that are serving you and what are the things that maybe aren’t serving you. This is truly a good lifestyle that you want to maintain. As long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then you use patience to say, “I know this is working. I know that I’m doing the right things for my body. If my body is at its happy weight at this point, maybe for the time being I need to be happy with that and accept that this is a long-term process. And over time I’ll probably see some progress, but I’m not going to see it at the rate I was perhaps expecting to.”
So, patience comes in regardless of how you look at plateaus, regardless of what you want to do about a plateau. You just have to recognize you’re going to have one now, you’ll probably have another one later, and another one after that, and another one after that. Before you get to your happy weight, your body’s going to find several of its own set points, its own happy weight, so just recognize this is a part of the game, a part of life. Make your eating choices, your workouts and everything you’re doing – make it lifestyle, make it sustainable for the long term, and you’ll see the benefits over time.
Now, that takes us to other measures. If I am looking at taking care of my health, then I’m going to see improvements elsewhere. So, maybe my skin looks a lot better, maybe your hair looks a lot healthier. Maybe some things that were happening to you before – you maybe had some eczema or irritable bowel problems, other things going on in your life that were making you uncomfortable and unhappy – and now because you’ve made a lifestyle change, you’re starting to feel a lot better there.
Maybe your waist size is going down. If you have a waist size over 40, that’s a strong, strong, strong indicator, direct correlation that you probably are at risk of cardiovascular disease. If you continue to see your waist get smaller, you’re onto the right track. A lot of women will tell me they get into this whole thing, they want to lose weight because they know if they lose 25 pounds, they’ll be able to fit in that dress that’s two sizes smaller.
But sometimes they’re not losing the weight. How are your clothes fitting? They’re fitting better. Okay, you’re getting smaller.
So, you can fit in that dress. Maybe the weight you thought you needed to be isn’t the weight you need to be, because now you’re shedding fat and maybe putting on a little bit of muscle, or maybe now you’re fully hydrated and before you were dehydrated. So, we’re not dehydrated; we’re in a healthy state. We’re seeing a lot of other markers, other health measures, other things going great for us. Turning your focus away from the weight and focusing on these other measures – my waist size getting smaller, my skin looking good, getting good night’s sleep, and maybe I’m not having problems going to the bathroom. All of those things matter. They add to the quality of our life.
Focusing a little bit more on these other health measures that are going your way will let you know that you’re on the right track. That goes back to patience. That’s going to feed your patience, because it’s going to say, “It’s working. I can’t get tied up on what that scale is saying to me right now. If my body’s at a happy weight, but other things are going good for me, I need to take that and accept that and understand this lifestyle is working. So I need to stick with it.”
The next one is persistence, and that’s the “stick with it” part. Sometimes it’s very easy to sit there and say, “This isn’t going to work. It stopped. I’ve lost it.” And many people do. They get frustrated and they regress. So, the persistence aspect of this is to keep going. It’s to not let yourself get deflated that things aren’t going exactly the way you want them to. It’s continuing to do your batch cooking on Sundays, it’s continuing to do your 30 minute walks each morning.
Maybe it’s continuing to keep your sugars as low as you possibly can and making sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. All of these healthy lifestyle changes that you’ve made that are now habits – you just need to be persistent and keep doing them, because they are working. If you’re looking at these other measures and you’re seeing improvement from where you were – that’s work. That’s good stuff. That’s what a healthy lifestyle will do for you, so keep persistently pursuing good health, wellness. Wellness is health, fitness and happiness. So, be looking for joy, be looking for the things that are going to help you. That’s the persistence of constantly taking this and going and moving and doing. Stay persistent in the battle, because it’s working.
And then the final P is progression. We talk about progression a lot when we’re looking at training, exercise, because we say, “I’m going to add an extra five pounds to my squat” or, “I’m going to add an extra 15 minutes to my walk” or, “I’m going to try to run a little bit faster, so my progression is to try to increase my speed.” All of these different progressions basically mean you’re adding a little bit more effort. Typically in training, like I said, it works out as volume. The way we explain it as trainers is your training volume increases, either because you’re working out longer, you’re adding more training sessions, or you’re adding more weight.
Whatever’s making that resistance harder, you’re doing more of that. So, progression is the adding more, and it needs to be done gradually. If you’re doing gradual progression on all the training things you’re doing, it’s time to maybe think about a progression for your food.
And here’s how that looks. It’s an approach I take when I go off of what I call my “seasonal feasting period”. And we’re just now about to roll out of that because we’re approaching Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and Christmas end up being my feasting period. I’m in my feasting period, so what’s going to happen is I’m going to get into the new year and I’m going to say, “Not a special birthday; I don’t have to worry about it. This year coming up in February.
So now it’s time for me to go in my famine mode.” I’ll start into my famine mode with a very set approach of really, really low-carb, but the foods I like. I make sure I’m now doing my batch cooking and the different things I need to do to make sure I stay on plan. And then I start to shed the body fat. I’ll get to a point where the amount of fat I’m eating and the total calories I’m eating, I plateau. Like you, I will plateau. Now, I am much more focused on trying to add muscle and I’m much more focused on trying to lose fat. I might actually see my weight go up. So my measurement is not weight loss, but it’s the same concept – I’m trying to change my body composition.
Then I need to progress. And what that means to me is, I need to reduce my calories. What I’ll typically do is I will look to my percentages. I’m already fairly low-carb, so typically less than 20 net grams when I start. I look at my protein, and if my protein is where I need it to be and my carbs are where they need to be, then I slowly start trying to reduce the amount of fat in my daily intake. So I may cut another 100 calories off of my daily intake from where I was. Maybe I started at 2,100 calories and I’m going, going, going. I know I’m exercising, I’m going eat back some of those calories. On a given day, I might be eating 3,000 calories. If I had a really tough cardiovascular workout and burned 700-800 calories, I’ll eat those calories back. And then I’ll end up with maybe, like I said, close to 3,000 calories that day.
What’ll happen is I’ll say, “I need to tomorrow get it down to 2,900, or 100 less than what I would normally eat, plus what I would use.” That progression is just 100 calories. You shouldn’t think that 100 calories means that much, but 100 calories over the course of a year, is 10 pounds. So, it is a big number. It just doesn’t feel that big that day, because I’m not looking to say I’m cutting another 500, which I would typically then expect to see about a pound per week. My body’s going to plateau again really, really quickly. My energy levels, I’m not going to be able to do what I’m doing. For me, I just shave 100 off, and that 100 typically is enough for me to start seeing things moving a little bit more, not fast, but I see it, I feel it. It’s happening. That little bit of progression in my nutrition is typically enough to get me there.
The one thing I don’t sacrifice on or skimp on is, I still make sure I’m getting high-quality whole food, and I always try to make sure that I’m getting all of my nutrients. If I feel like my calorie load is not where it needs to be and I’m not eating as many carbs – so maybe I’m not getting as many vegetables or fruits – I may start taking a multivitamin supplement. I’ll probably start, because again, it’s typically in the early winter, late winter time period when I’m going through this plateau.
Often I’m not getting enough sun, so I’ll probably take a vitamin D supplement. I’m definitely taking some fish oil supplements and I’m calculating that as a function of my fat intake. As I look at all this, you can see I’m still making sure that I’m covered nutritionally. I’m only reducing a little bit of my fat calories and I’m trying to tell my body, “If you want that fat you enjoy, you’ve got to get it from the body. You’ve got to get it from me, because I’m not going to give it to you through my mouth.” And my body typically responds to that.
And now you wrap the whole POPP together, and it works like this: I’m patient enough to know that I can do this. I’m patient enough to know that my lifestyle is right and I just need to be there. I just need to have the patience to work with my body to get it where I want it to be – my happy place, not necessarily its happy place. I need to look at other measures to make sure that I’m on track with my health, and not just trying to chase after a single goal.
There was a time when I was training for a Spartan and I really wanted to be ready for that Spartan. So I was going to get stronger and I was working on my endurance. I had a strength coach; his name was Dave. And I was meeting Dave and my strength was just off the charts, going up. My deadlift when I started with Dave, was I think at 410. I was pulling 450-460 after about three months and I was like, “I could get to 500.” Suddenly I got this really, really focused mind on that singular thing, and I just started pushing. What happened was, my strength in my squat went down, my strength in my overhead press went down, and my strength in my bench press went down. My deadlift was going up, but some of the others were plateauing or stopping, and I just didn’t see it. Afterwards I looked at my journal and I was seeing over the course of a month 5% increase in strength in the deadlift, but I wasn’t seeing 5% in the other lifts, which told me I wasn’t balanced, I wasn’t focusing on the whole me. And I needed to be.
Unfortunately, during that period of time, that’s when I tore my shoulder – rotator cuff tore – so, some of the other exercises, like bench press, went down. I just dropped that. No overhead pressing. And I thought I’m still doing the deadlift, but after a while I realized I’m not there, I’m not going to make that 500. And I don’t need to be doing that 500, because now I need to be thinking about this Spartan race, and having a 500 pound deadlift is really not going to help me. I have a problem with my shoulder, and I need to make sure that I can get through this race without hurting myself any more than I need to. So, I got back on track. It took me a little while.
But you can’t get singularly focused on weight loss either. You need to be looking at these other health markers and making sure that they fit your life. Then there’s persistence, which means we should just stick to it. If you have good “stick to it-ivness”, you’ve made this a sustainable lifestyle, you now have the broad perspective of, you’re doing healthy things for yourself. That’s totally cool. Then you can sit down and have a basis for saying, “What’s the progression? If I really want to push myself out of this plateau, what are the things that I need to do to get out of that plateau?” So, you put all four of these together – POPP – Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression, and now you have a model. You have a structure to approach every one of your plateaus with a plan – the last P here. So, have a plan. And that plan has to include POPP – Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression.
The Wellness Roadmap is available now for pre-order. I’m offering it as a Kindle edition at a very, very steep discount price. You’re not going to get this book for this price after the pre-launch and the first few days of the launch. Once the book is live, I’m going to put the prices back up where they belong. But I’m basically giving the book to you. So if you’ll go to the Amazon page, look it up – it’s The Wellness Roadmap book, or you can look it up under my name, Allan Misner. You’ll find the book there.
The Kindle book edition is going to be as low as Amazon will let me put it, so basically as close to free as I could get it. I want it in your hands, and as soon as it goes live, you’ll be able to download it to your Kindle Reader. But I do ask one thing – once you’ve read the book, please do go give me an honest rating and review. Amazon loves those things. Amazon feeds off those things. Amazon will not show my book to anyone not looking for it, unless it sees these ratings and reviews are coming in, that people are seeing substance in the book.
All I ask is when you get the book and you’ve read it and you feel good about it, please do go out and give me an honest rating and review. It’s going to help propel the book and get it where it needs to be, which is in the hands and on the e-readers of people around the country and around the world.
Please do go to Amazon, look for the book The Wellness Roadmap, or search under my name, Allan Misner, and you’ll find the book there. Buy it at the steep, steep, steep discount. Like I said, it’s close to free as Amazon would let me put it. And then boom, there you go. Thank you for that.
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In her book, The Elephant in the Gym, Gillian Goerzen helps us understand how our mindset can make or break our fitness goals.
Allan (1:14): Gillian, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (1:18): Hello. Thank you so much for having me. What a delight.
Allan (1:23): Your book is called The Elephant in the Gym, and I had two thoughts when I first saw the title. One of these, I don’t like the connotation, and the other one I was like, “That would actually be a good book.” I’m glad you went with the good book route.
Gillian Goerzen (1:42): Yay! That was one of my biggest concerns when I came up with the title. I was trail running actually and I came up with this title. We were having this conversation and it’s like, “The elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about. Hey, it’s the elephant in the gym!” I was with my running mates, and the first thing that comes up was, “Am I the elephant in the gym?” Of course I was like, “No, no. Oh gosh, the subtitle’s going to have to be really clear that they are not the elephant in the gym.”
Allan (2:12): I do want to talk to that for a moment, because I think a lot of people are going to find this podcast probably in January when they’re making these decisions, and they’re going to go into the gym and feel a little uncomfortable with it. The people in the gym – other than the fact the gym gets really crowded in in January, so the people that are there all the time might be a little frustrated that they have to wait on a machine they’ve never had to wait on – but they want you in the gym. They want the gym to be successful, the gym owner to be doing what they’re doing and changing lives. And more than likely that person you see over there by the weight rack that somewhat intimidates you – at one point, they either walked in there as a scrawny 14-year-old kid, or they came in there feeling like they were an elephant. And now they’ve done this hard work over a period of time and they’ve changed. So I would look at that. I would hope people going into the gym for the first time – I know you feel intimidated and I know you want to run over and get on that treadmill – fight that urge. Get into the culture of the gym. It’s a culture of change. It’s actually a culture of comradery. The gym is a wonderful place to be once you get over that hurdle and you start getting comfortable in your own skin.
Gillian Goerzen (3:30): Really finding the right gym for you. You might come into one facility and think… We’re all so caught up in our own stories, in our own head, we make up these stories about what we think other people are thinking about us, but they’re 99.9% of the time wrong, because we actually are perceiving things that aren’t there. Most people, when they see other people just getting started, they think, “Gosh, way to go! Good for them. I’m so glad to see more people coming in.” So one is, get past that idea that we have in our head, but secondly, finding a facility that really resonates with you and has a similar philosophy to you, that you feel really welcomed in. I always like to say that we want to find that Cheers experience. You come in and everybody knows your name, and you feel really welcomed. It’s that community and collaboration that you were talking about.
Allan (4:27): And that happens; it’s just going to take a little bit of time, because when you first walk in the gym, we kind of expect that you’re only going to be there for three weeks and then you’re going to be gone. A lot of people aren’t going to invest. And people are not staring at you. They’re just watching to make sure you don’t do something to hurt yourself, because they’ve been there and done that. Fortunately though, that’s not what this book is about.
Gillian Goerzen (4:51): No, it’s not.
Allan (4:53): This is about the conversations that you have with yourself, and how we actually get in our own way.
Gillian Goerzen (5:02): Amen. Sure do.
Allan (5:07): You start out in the early part in the book and you told this story of the two wolves. Would you mind sharing that? I really think that if people can wrap their head around this story and remind themselves of this story on a regular basis, this is going to solve a lot of problems.
Gillian Goerzen (5:27): I agree. It’s a beautiful story. It’s a First Nations story, for those who aren’t familiar with it. And as the story goes, a grandfather is telling his grandson about a battle he has going on within himself. So there are two wolves – there’s one good and there’s one evil. And the grandson asks, “Which one will win, Grandfather?” And he replies, “The one I feed.” As the story goes, it’s not really about eliminating the evil wolf; it’s about nourishing the wolf you want to thrive. So if we take that metaphor into the health conversation, into how we treat ourselves, it’s not about getting rid of the struggle; it’s about nourishing the ways that we’re being successful. It’s about nourishing the ways we are building ourselves up. It’s about nourishing what we need to grow, shift and develop. So instead of fighting against the things that aren’t working, focusing on the things that are working, the wonderful things that we are already doing, because there’s always some. When I talk to clients, it’s always that we tend to focus on the things we aren’t doing instead of the things we are doing. And when reframe and turn people around to the, “But tell me about what you are doing. What did you do this past week to help yourself, to move yourself forward to health?” – there are always way more things than they even realized. And once they see those, they’re like, “I actually did quite a bit for myself this week. Awesome. Let’s build from there.” And that’s what creates more momentum. That magical motivation that we all seek is seeing that we’re actually already doing things. And you get to develop belief in yourself, the self-efficacy, the self-confidence in your capabilities.
Allan (7:18): I think when you’re going through something, you need to take that slight step back and say, “Is this a good wolf or a bad wolf?” More than likely, if you have a negative feeling, if you’re feeling down, if you’re not feeling good about yourself, you’re probably feeding the bad wolf, and it’s time to stop. So, take that step back and say, “There’s a reason why I’m not satisfied with what’s going on with my life, or my health, or my fitness.” You’ve got to take that step back and figure out what’s the wolf you need to feed to move this thing forward.
Gillian Goerzen (7:52): Absolutely.
Allan (7:54): You have a concept in the book that I really, really liked and I think a lot of people will. Again, we’re getting close to January, so people are probably getting into that premise of thinking, “I’ve got to set a resolution. I’m going to go to the gym five days a week and I’m going to cut out processed foods and try to sleep eight hours a night.” They set these standards of what they’re going to do, and actually some of them work for about three weeks, and then they miss a day at the gym. And that missing the day at the gym, they feed the bad wolf and they say, “Well, I missed Thursday. I may as well just skip Friday.” So, you have this concept called the “health zone”, which I think is going to set people into a really good state of mind, to constantly be feeding the good wolf. Can you talk about the health zone?
Gillian Goerzen (9:01): Totally. You really hit it on the head. Why I developed the health zone was that I kept having these conversations with my clients about, they’d map out this criteria for themselves, this very black-and-white, very binary relationship with what they needed to do to, in their heads, be successful with their health – whether that was going to the gym three times a week, whether that was not eating processed foods, whatever. It’s similar examples to what you were mentioning. What I noticed was when they made one choice that took them out of that very black-and-white, very binary criteria, they decided that they’d failed. And when they decided that they failed and fed that evil wolf, what ends up happening is this domino effect, but not in the direction we want. We skipped the gym, so then we think, “Today’s kind of a write-off. I’m going to have an indulgent lunch.” And then indulgent lunch leads to mid-afternoon coffee with a special treat, it leads to drive-through for dinner, it leads to not getting to bed on time, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And then start fresh tomorrow. That domino effect leads us down a path that’s not really conducive to our health, when all it was was that we maybe needed to sleep in a little bit that morning and skip the gym. One workout off doesn’t negate the two workouts that person had already done in the week.
So the idea of the health zone was to get people out of that binary, black-and-white thinking, was to really look at our lives and give ourselves more flexibility, more room, more grace to live in a range of activities. For example, instead of having a quota of, “I’m going to exercise three days per week for this much time”, or whenever I’m going to do – saying instead, “I’m going to move my body two to four days per week for a minimum of 15 minutes, and I’m going to be happy no matter where I fall in that range. No matter where I fall in that range, I’m actually still being successful.” So, it comes down to looking at that whole health range and thinking what are our, I call them, “non-negotiables”. The bottom of the range is this idea of, what are the non-negotiable health habits I’m going to maintain no matter what? Think brushing your teeth. No matter how busy we get, most of us, 90% of the time, brush our teeth twice a day. We don’t even really think about it. It’s a health habit we maintain because we see the value in doing that. So, what are the other health habits we can maintain at the bottom end of that health zone no matter what, and engage and feeling successful, and feeding the good wolf? And then at the other end of the range would be your optimal habits. Not like the sunshine and rainbows optimal habits, where it’s not going to work with your actual real life, but what’s going to work with your real life if things were swimming along in a reasonable fashion – no major bumps in life, but regular life. What would you be doing on the other end of that spectrum? And so, finding that kind of range and no matter where you fall in that, feeling really successful about the choices you’ve made.
Allan (12:31): The thing I like about this is, if you’re doing anything positive, even a small step in the right direction can make a huge difference over time. We don’t realize we were potentially living very, very unhealthy lives, and now we’re not doing that anymore. We’re better. But if you set this bar and say, “I have to be at this level” and you don’t reach that, is that going to be the thing that knocks you off permanently? And so, it’s just a function of setting that bottom level and that top level, and then trying to make sure that you have strategies in your life that keep you accountable and successful within that range.
Gillian Goerzen (13:12): Totally. I always tell my clients, something is better than nothing. If you can even do 10 minutes of a workout and just go for a 10 minute walk, isn’t that better than doing nothing? If we actually step back and objectively look at it, we’re all going to go, “Of course.” Isn’t two servings of vegetables better than none? Yeah, absolutely it is. One glass of water is better than no glasses of water, or three is better than two. All of these steps in the right direction help us, and again, doing them consistently, of course, is what is the big, big clincher.
Allan (13:52): With the book, The Elephant in the Gym, you set 10, what you call “Super You” principles, and you have a chapter about each one. We have a lot of information about each one of these so we can’t dive deep into each one. But I would like, if you don’t mind sharing the ten, and just giving us a general overview of what that means in context to our health and fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (14:15): Absolutely. I really wanted a way to wrap up each chapter, and the key message I want you to walk away from the chapter with. It becomes, in essence, a summary of the book. The first one is really about, be you. You’re unique, and so is your health, is the principle. The big thing I always want people to take away is, there’s no other person on the planet that’s exactly like you. There’s no one right way to be healthy either, because everybody is different. We all have different genetics, interests, priorities, values. We need to find the way that works for us and our lives. That’s the first one. The second one is to really embrace our humanity. There’s unfortunately this misconception that there’s a “perfect” out there, that if I just follow this program perfectly and I will do this, then I will be healthy. But it doesn’t work that way. It’s about really focusing on being human, embracing the fact that you are human, and that you will ebb and flow and you will make mistakes. It’s about learning to give yourself some compassion in those moments and learning from those changes. The third one is to show up, to really trust the process, whatever process you choose, and actually take action and move yourself forward. The fourth one is to unlock your potential. That one’s really about knowing and acknowledging that you are both your loudest critic and your biggest cheerleader. Again, that’s that evil wolf, good wolf. You can feed the loudest critic or you can be your biggest cheerleader. But part of that is that mindfulness, becoming aware of where you’re being very hard on yourself, and then how you shift that tide. And I talk about some really tangible strategies in that chapter. Number five is practicing patience and perseverance. One of guiding things in the fitness industry and the health industry is, everybody wants that quick fix, but quick doesn’t usually equal sustainable, unfortunately. We all want that dramatic result, but the dramatic result usually requires extreme measures, and those are rarely sustainable in anybody’s real life. So, understanding that things will take time, change isn’t easy. Be willing to put the work in and acknowledge that it will be tough, that there will be a struggle, and it’s very human to struggle and that’s okay.
The next one is to really explore the science and practice the art. I come from a background of a degree in Kinesiology, and I’ve done a lot of work and study over the years of the science, the physiology of exercise and how do we be healthy. There’s a tremendous amount of science to all of this – to health and to fitness. And how you apply it in your life is an art. So I say, “Explore the science, practice the art.” It’s about acknowledging what the actual science is – not the pseudo-science, the actual science. And then understanding how you apply it to your life is an art. The next one is to reclaim your relationship with food. Of course, I couldn’t have a health book without an acknowledgement around the nutrition piece. Again, nutrition science – super complex topic, but I think we’ve overcomplicated it in a lot of ways. I have 10 tips that I offer in that chapter to really reconnect to our relationship with food. We talk about, “Fly the white flag.” Let’s stop having this really intense battle with food. Food is what we need to nourish our bodies, but also to nourish our souls. And then, yawning your way to success. The other piece that we often don’t talk about in this health conversation is sleep. I call it the “unsung hero of health”. We need to be as a culture shifting our conversation and really putting more value back to sleep, because it’s really huge. And I talk about the science behind that as well. And the final one is, own it – your health, your fitness, and your life. Own that you’re going to have a unique vision, and then create that for yourself. Create a plan and an approach to health and fitness that really feels good and grounded in your life right now as it is, so that you can evolve and grow your health and wellness throughout the course of your life. Because what my health and wellness looked like when I was 20 is different than it looks like at 40.
Allan (18:56): Absolutely. I think anyone that’s hearing these “Super You” principles that you have, that resonates with us. That’s the message that I’ve had on this podcast since the beginning, almost three years ago, and this is episode 350. We’ve been having this conversation, so these principles are not new to us, but the base point is, we have to take that step back and remind ourselves why we’re doing this and what’s going on. Each of these principles is addressing a different part of both our mental reflection of our lives, and then the actions we take after we have made these decisions and we’re making these choices.
Gillian Goerzen (19:44): Absolutely. I would say the first part of the book is really addressing what you’ve been up against – all the struggle that we’ve been facing and what’s actually holding you back. And then the second half of the book is really about, where do we go from here? Where do we go now that we’ve become aware of this? We see the elephant in the gym; now, how do we address it? How do we move forward in a powerful and empowered way, so that we feel we are in the driver’s seat in our own life? And not feeling like we’re looking outside of ourselves to someone else to tell us this magic solution, that if we just follow this magic solution that this individual with lots of likes on Facebook is going to tell me what to do; and really putting the power back on ourselves. It’s like, “I get to choose. Actually, it’s up to me to choose what’s going to work for me.”
Allan (20:34): Yes, absolutely. I do want to take one step backwards. You have all kinds of actionable tips, so I don’t want anyone to think that this book is just principles-based. The principles are important, but you follow up each of the principles with some homework, action items, some things we need to do. Again, I’m very action-oriented. Give me something and then tell me what to do. You can pick and choose how you apply these things in your life. But you’ve got to take it back to this one seed, and the one seed is that you have to have a desire to change, because if you don’t truly have the desire to change, then when you actually start going up against the work ahead of you… I know this might sound strange, but getting better sleep is hard work. You’ve got to say “No” to some things that you probably don’t want to say “No” to, like Words With Friends or Netflix. It’s time to go to bed. So, it’s not going to be easy. I would love to say that it’s easy, but it’s never going to be completely easy. It gets easier, but it’s never going to be easy. So, with that hard work in front of us, can you talk a little bit about that thing we need, the desire to change and how we can embrace that?
Gillian Goerzen (21:59): I think one of the pieces around that that I really want people to hear is that we have to choose our “hard”. When you’re feeling uncomfortable in your skin, when you’re not happy with the level of health you currently have, when you feel like there are things you can’t do with your body that you’d really like to do – the example I give in the book is, you watch your child on a ride at Disneyland that you’d really liked to be in, but you don’t fit in the seat – my gosh, that is hard. So, It’s really embracing the fact that that work is worth it, because the alternative is hard too. It’s about choosing which hard do you want to live with. Do you want to live with the hard of feeling uncomfortable in your skin, not feeling like your body is in its best shape for you, not being able to do the things you want to do, not feeling vibrant, vital and alive and able to live your life the way you want to live it? Or do you want to make the other hard decision, which is to make a few sacrifices, to have to say “No” sometimes, to put yourself first, to say “Yes” to yourself and say “No” to others? I think that is hard too, but understanding that the thing that’s going to push you through is really that reverence for the alternative, which is also hard, and knowing what’s in it for you on the other side of hard.
What I talk about a lot is really connecting to, not the, “How I want to look in my body”; “How do I want to feel in my body?” What’s the “Why”? What’s in it for me to do this work and get past the hard? And that’s connecting to a really powerful, really deep, meaningful “Why”? What’s in it for you? Why do you want to do this? Not just because I know I’ll fit in my clothes. That’s nice, to fit in your clothes, if it’s about weight loss, or to be able to run a 10K – that’s also great. But what’s in it for you to be able to do those things? I talk to a lot of moms and a lot of parents. For a lot of them it’s, “I want to be a great role model for my kids. I don’t want my kids to feel like this in their body.” Okay, now we’re talking. That’s a more powerful and more motivating “Why”. So when that alarm goes off in the morning and you want to stay in bed, but you know you should get up and go and do your workout, or go for your walk, or make time to make a healthy lunch – you’re going to think of that reason and it’s going to give you the impetus you need to get out of bed and go and do it.
Allan (24:26): Yes. Part of what you’re talking here, like I said, does resonate with us. I’ve always talked about it in terms of what I call “commitment”, and that commitment is the combination of your vision – what does a healthy, fit and happy person mean to you personally? Because what it means to me is something entirely different. And when I get older, I’ve used the phrase, “When I’m 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt.” I say that because I know how many people get into their 70s, 80s and 90s and they lose their independence, and I don’t want to be that person. I know I don’t have to be that person, because I have role models I see that are 80s, 90s, 100, well into their 100s, still living active lifestyles. I just know I need to do the things to do that. Today, my vision is, I not only want to enjoy time with my kids or grandkids, when they come around. It’s if one of them tells me they want to go do a Tough Mudder, I want to be able to go do that with them. It’s not that I want to do a Tough Mudder for the sake of saying I did a Tough Mudder. I was like that when I was young and competitive. Now it’s just I don’t want my daughter to be waiting on me. I want to finish the race with her, and I want to enjoy myself and not hurt myself while I’m doing it. So, I train that way. That’s your vision. And then the “Why” part is the quality time with my family. It’s knowing that if I want to be around, I’ve got to take care of myself. I put it in slightly different terms, but it was funny as I went through the book, I kept seeing my words in your book.
Gillian Goerzen (26:13): You’ve got to love it when find that, which gives me so much hope, because I think the more of us that are having these conversations, I see the shift in the tides of the conversation around health and fitness. I see things shifting and it gives me a lot of hope because I think for a lot of years it was the blood, sweat and tears, and look a certain way. There’s still a tremendous amount of that; and still, I’m hearing more and more people having these conversations, more and more people saying, “I just want to be able to wipe my butt when I’m 90.” One of the common ones I hear from my clients with grandkids: “I want to get down on the floor and play with my grandkids, or I want to be able to take them to the park and actively play with them.” That’s really empowering, when you start talking about that vision, as opposed to being able to look good in a bikini, which is neither here nor there at the end of the day. What did you do in your bikini? That’s what I want to talk about. Did you go surfing? Did you go play with your kids in the sand and feel fantastic? Because that’s what the people in your life are going to remember. Nobody gets to their deathbed and thinks, “Gosh, I wish I’d looked better in a bikini.” They think of all the things they did; they think of all the relationships they had. Again, it’s that step back – what’s important to me, what do I value? At the end of the day, what do I hold close to my heart? That’s the core message here.
Allan (27:42): Cool. Now, I’m introducing a new, I guess I’ll call it a “segment”, for lack of better words, to this show. I’d like to ask you, what are three strategies or tactics to get healthy, fit, and happy, which is what I define “wellness”? What are three of your strategies or tactics for wellness?
Gillian Goerzen (28:06): Okay. So number one – before you embark on anything, the first thing that always comes to mind – are you willing to do this for the rest of your life? I just got a message from a client earlier today and she was curious about a supplement. And I said, “From a scientific perspective, here’s some information about it. But I want you to take a step back. If you take this supplement, are you willing to take it for the rest of your life? Is this something that resonates with you and feels like it connects to you?” Trust your instincts around, is this something you want to do for the rest of your life? If the answer to that is “No”, what’s the point of doing it short-term? Is this a sustainable thing I can do? So, trusting your instincts, really asking the questions before you jump all in. So that’s number one, is really listening to that. Number two – I really, truly believe whatever you choose to do around your health and fitness – do it, and do it consistently. There is no magic pill, there is no magic solution or program. It’s just the things we do with consistency that really add up to creating more impact in our lives and more change in our health. And the third thing is to not judge failure. So when you fall off that blessed wagon, to not look at it as you failing. If you fell off the wagon or you keep falling off the wagon, maybe you’re just on the wrong track. Maybe you just need to find a different wagon to be on and find a different way of doing things. The other analogy I like to use is, before you wipe the slate clean, take a look at the chalk marks. What can you learn from what you tried there? Get up and try again. It’s the whole, “Failure isn’t falling. Failure is choosing not to get back up.” So, get back up, try again, learn from what didn’t work. Those are higher level mental strategies, not tactical strategies, but there you have it.
Allan (30:10): That’s totally cool. That’s exactly what I think we needed to hear. If you haven’t caught it from me, I love your message.
Gillian Goerzen (30:18): Thank you.
Allan (30:18): If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?
Gillian Goerzen (30:25): There are two places they could go. They could go to ElephantInTheGym.com, all one word; or they can head to SuperYou.ca. I have those two places that they could head, and they’ll be able to find me in one of those.
Allan (30:40): Excellent. This is going to be episode 350, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/350, and I’ll be sure to have those links in the show notes. Gillian, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (30:54): Oh, such a delight. I’m brand new to the 40+ club, and I’m really happy to be here.
Allan (31:01): Welcome! We’re glad to have you.
Gillian Goerzen (31:04): So many of my friends were nervous about turning 40 and I’m like, “Bring it on. I just feel like this is going to be the best decades of our lives. It’s great.”
Allan (31:13): Cool.
I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I enjoyed having it. Gillian’s a pretty special person, and her book, The Elephant in the Gym, is a really cool book. I love the cover, I love the concepts in the book. As I was reading the book, it pretty much mirrored what we’re doing here on this podcast and what I’ve done with The Wellness Roadmap. It was really nice to see that this conversation is starting to make a good role, that more and more people are starting to recognize that the mindset we take into the gym, the mindset we take into the food choices, the mindset we take into all of our health choices, really does drive how successful we’re going to be. So, The Elephant in the Gym is a great book. I do encourage you to step out and get that.
If you do enjoy the podcast, I want to ask you, if you don’t mind, helping to support the podcast. A lot goes into making a podcast and putting it together. I pay for audio processing, so I can get the most decent quality my voice will let me have. I pay for someone to do the transcripts and put them out for show notes so you have that available to you. If you thought you misheard something, you can always go out to the show notes and read it for yourself. It’s always going to be there on the website. I pay for hosting of that website, so again, that content is always available to you. All the back episodes are available to you through the website. I pay for audio files to be stored, so there’s a host for that. And then all the other costs that go into the making of a podcast; it’s a lot more than I thought when I first got started. I thought this would be a pretty cheap endeavor. You start looking at those $5 here, $10 there, $100 there, and after a while you realize this a lot more expensive, and each of these episodes does cost a good bit to put out. I want to keep doing that and I’m just asking for a little support. A few dollars a month is going to go a long way towards helping me cover the cost of the show and continue to work to improve it and invest in it and make it better. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. There are multiple levels of support you can provide there, some with really, really cool add-ons, some pluses that you’ll get for being a part of the podcast, for being on the team and helping us get this podcast produced. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and that will take you to the Patreon page, where you’ll be able to read about the benefits and the different things you can get by being a part of the team. I really do want you on my team. I think this podcast is a team sport. Fitness and health are a team sport and we need to be in this together, trying to get our message out there. I want you to be a part of that. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. Thank you.
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Today’s episode is a solo episode. When I was a kid going crabbing, I learned a lot of things that I now apply to my health and wellness. There are lessons about patience and perseverance, and also how to deal with people that aren’t in your corner. I got a lot of health lessons out of crabbing and I want to share those with you today. With no further ado, here we go.
I know you might be asking yourself, what on earth can crabbing have to do with being healthy? And it’s a lot more than just the fact that it’s actually a very, very healthy meat to eat. Crab meat’s delicious, by the way. If you haven’t tried it, I highly, highly recommended it. In South Mississippi and Louisiana in particular, catching blue crabs is kind of a cool thing. I’ve done crabbing up in Maryland when we lived there. But we were in Manchac, Louisiana, which is a little bitty town, I guess about halfway between McComb, Mississippi, and New Orleans. I know that probably doesn’t help a lot of you; just realize it’s way, way down there. Anyway, we would go crabbing. Our parents would take the traps out with the boat; and the kids – I was 15 – we would hang out on the dock and we would go crabbing from the dock. Now, we didn’t have traps, so we had a different way of catching crabs that took a lot more patience and a lot more time. But it kept us entertained and we did our thing. What you do is you take a turkey neck, a string, a net, and a bucket, and that’s all you need. You tie one end of the string to the turkey neck and then you toss the turkey neck into the water and you wait anywhere from three to five minutes or so. Then you slowly, slowly, slowly bring that turkey neck up to the surface. Now, I’d practiced with all kinds of little different ways of how I would bring it up, but basically finger over finger, slowly inching the turkey neck off the bottom, up to the surface of the water. And many, many times you would find a crab on that turkey neck. You see the crab as you get it close to the surface, you try to get it as close to the surface as you can, and then with the net you just scoop them up. And if they’re big enough to keep, you drop them in the bucket and you get going again.
So, what on earth would a turkey neck and standing on a pier, fishing for crabs and catching them one at a time like that – what on Earth could that teach me? The first thing it taught me was patience. You had to be extremely patient pulling the turkey neck to the surface, because you basically had to have the crabs so enveloped in the turkey, eating the turkey, that he or she didn’t know that they were being moved. They didn’t realize that there was a movement upward. So this was a very, very slow, methodical process to get the crab to the surface. And then you couldn’t get them too far to the surface, or else they would recognize what was going on and you wouldn’t get a chance to scoop them. So, very, very heavy on the patience, to make sure that you have patience to get the things that you want, which was the crabs.
The second thing it taught me was perseverance, meaning there were times when you’re out there and you’re just not getting any crabs to bite onto your turkey neck. So you just keep trying. You might move to a different part of the pier, you might go into the deeper water, you might go into the more shallow water. You just tested around to figure out what was going to work for you for that day. Crabs were finicky and sometimes there was a whole bunch of them there, and sometimes there weren’t.
The third thing it taught me was that you’re going to be dealing with a lot of adversity in your life. Where you would see this adversity when you’re crabbing is, you’d put the crabs in the bucket, and obviously the crab now wants to get out of the bucket. We had a little wet towel in there to keep them moist, but other than that, they knew they weren’t where they were supposed to be. So these crabs are trying to climb out of this bucket. The problem came in that the other crabs that were in the bucket also wanted to get out, and rather than perhaps working together, each of the crabs was trying to climb on the back of another crab to get where they wanted to go, to get out. So you could pretty much fill this bucket almost all the way to the top and the crabs very seldom were able to get out of the bucket, because by the time they got to the lip, another crab would pull them down to climb up on top of them. Because these crabs were fighting each other, these crabs in a bucket – almost none of the crabs ever got out of the bucket. You were safe to let the crabs stay in the bucket, and most of the time not have to worry about anything other than getting the next crab.
Those are three basic lessons, and I want to relate those to health and wellness and where those come to play in your health and wellness. We all are being brought up in this environment of, “I want it now”, instant gratification. And I can tell you that health and wellness are not instant gratification kind of things. I mean, seriously not. The reality is, it took us many, many decades in some cases to get out of good health, we lost our fitness over a series of years; and to get back to a state of fitness, to get back to a state of health is going to take some time. We have to be patient and keep at it, or we’re not going to get what we want. We may make a mistake and that sets us back. So, I’ve been sitting there for five minutes, I’m trying to bring this crab up and I make a mistake. In making that mistake, that crab gets away. Now I have to toss the net back down and wait a little while again. The process of getting healthy and well is going to take you time and you need to put in that time to make that happen. That means staying consistent as well.
The other one is perseverance that I talked about. Now, just because something isn’t working for you, you have to understand whether it’s your method or whether it’s just situational. When I talked about crabbing, we’re looking at maybe the place on the dock where I’m at – they’re not schooling down below there and I need to move to another place on the dock. I changed my tactics; I moved from one location to another. I didn’t change my approach. I’m still using the string, still using the turkey neck and the net, but I’ve moved to a new location. So sometimes when you’re training for something or you’re working on a diet and you’ve plateaued, you just need to have the perseverance to keep going. You may change your tactics to mix things up a little bit, but in a general sense, you just keep going. When you marry those two things together – patience and persistence, you have an excellent formula for getting whatever you want in your health and fitness. But you have to have both. Having both and applying both allows you to be successful. It allows you to get more crabs when you’re crabbing as well.
The final thing is the crabs in the bucket. If you’ve listened to the podcast before when I was doing a lot more solo shows, you’ve probably heard the episode when I talk about saboteurs. The saboteurs are just like those crabs. As you’re trying to climb out of that bucket, you’re trying to get healthy, they’re the ones that are doing things to pull you back down. And they’re doing it for the same exact reason that the crabs are – they want to be on top. They don’t want you to change, because it belittles them, it makes them feel bad about themselves. But I want you to listen to that statement – it makes them feel bad about themselves. That’s nothing that you’ve done. That’s all on them. That’s how they feel, how they are. Rather than cooperating with you and both of you working towards your health and wellness – them being a part of your accountability team, and you for them – they’ve decided to be the crab in the bucket that’s trying to pull you down to make themselves feel better.
So, don’t be like the crabs in a bucket. You can get out of the bucket. You know how to get out of the bucket – you get out of the bucket with patience and persistence. If you’re using patience and persistence in your health and wellness, you’re going to be outside the bucket and then you don’t have to worry about the other crabs in the bucket. They can just be crabs in a bucket.
I know this was a short episode, but I did want to take the time to share that lesson with you. Parts of this lesson are actually in The Wellness Roadmap book, so I’d encourage you to go out. It’s on presale at a discounted price right now, so I hope you will go out there and get the book. And again, please do leave me a review on Amazon. It’s really, really important to get the book noticed to have those reviews. Thank you very much, and I’ll talk to you next time.
I really need you on the launch team. If you could go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com, there you’ll find a signup form to be on the launch team. The launch team is going to get a lot more information about the book. They’re going to get some bonus material that I’m not going to be showing or giving out anywhere else. You’ve got to be on the launch team if you want these extras and these bonuses and some special things I’m going to be doing for them. All I’m asking are very small things from them to help me promote the book. So, I really do need you on the launch team. Go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and you can sign up there.
Now, I am going to do something special for that week of the launch. I’m going to have a bonus episode on December 6th. That date actually happens to be the anniversary date of when I launched the podcast three years ago. So, that date holds some significance for the podcast and I want to make that a very special show. It’s going to celebrate the launch of the book and it’s going to celebrate you. And the way it’s going to celebrate you is I want you to submit your questions to me that I can then answer on the podcast. There’s going to be two ways that you can do this. You can go to the Contact page at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com and record your question directly there, and then I can play that. That’ll be you asking your question, and then I’ll answer it. Or if you feel more comfortable, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There I’ll have your written out question and I’ll organize those in a way that makes sense for the show. I’ll read your question or I’ll play your question, depending on how you choose to respond. We’ll make it a really cool Q&A session, celebrating you – the podcast listener, and the podcast, and the book. So it’s going to be a special celebration week for us, having a special episode on that Thursday, December 6th. Please do get your questions in because this is going to be a lot harder podcast for me to get organized and recorded, so I’m going to need plenty of time and at some point I’ll just have to cut off the questions. So the sooner you get your question in to me, the more likely you are to be featured on the show. I do want to hear from you, so please do send in your questions either via the SpeakPipe, which you can get at the Contact page on 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com. Or you can go ahead and email me – email@example.com. I look forward to getting your questions, I look forward to helping you out on your journey, and I really look forward to sending off this book in the best way possible. So, please do join me on December 6th for the launch party, effectively the online launch party for the book. I’m really excited for you to be a part of this. I’m looking forward to your questions, I’m looking forward to having you on the launch team. Thank you.
Hello and thank you for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. I’m really excited to have you here today and I’m really excited to share today’s show with you. It’s going to be a solo episode. I got a lot of great feedback from the last one, so I did promise you and I am going to continue to give you some of these solo shows. And the topic we’re talking about today called “Modes of Transportation” is really, really important. It’s something that you really need to make sure you understand before you get into your wellness journey, until you get into your path. It’s a part of what I call the “Wellness GPS”.
What I find is so many people struggle to know what to do when, where to go, how to get there, and when they run into a problem, they really don’t have the tools to break away and get through what’s going on. So they’re in a plateau, they don’t know how to get around that. They get into a roadblock or they hit a stumble or a pot hole. They don’t know how to get around that. If you’ve set your GPS right, it will help you do those things, and if you’ve set your Wellness GPS well, you’ll know how to react and do the right things for your wellness.
I want to help you do that, so to do that, I’m going to launch a challenge. It’s going to be called the Wellness GPS Challenge. This is going to be a short-term challenge – I’m thinking probably something in the realm of about seven days. We’re going to walk through each and every step of the Wellness GPS path, get you completely set up to almost guarantee success.
My clients that have used this strategy, used this approach – they get results, and I want you to get results too.
Now, because I’m going to be working directly with you, I can’t bring on a whole lot of people to do this. It’s going to be a very small group, like 20 people. I’m only going to allow 20 people in, and if you want to be a part of it, you need to be on the waiting list, because I’m going to contact the waiting list first, allow 24 hours for them to join, and then I’ll start looking to announce it on the podcast and otherwise. But the first 20 slots are going to go to people that are on the waiting list if they want it. So you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/GPS. And when you sign up on that mailing list, you’ll be getting some emails from me to let you know what the timing is and what we’re going to be doing, and then we’re going to go ahead and launch it. If I get to 20 just from this mailing list, then I’m done. So if you don’t want to miss out on this offer of being a part of the Wellness GPS challenge, I encourage you to go join that mailing list today. Again, that’s at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/GPS.
Let’s get into our topic – modes of transportation. So I want to set the scene for you. I was probably about five years into my wellness journey, as it would be, and basically it was a yo-yo experience, to say the least. At this particular time though I was in generally good shape. I felt really good, I’d been working out, things were going pretty well, but my work schedule was just getting insane. I was traveling about 90%, and this was one of those rare weekends that I was at home and I just decided I didn’t want to do anything. I was jet lagged, I was tired, so I’m sitting on the couch just pretty much working my thumb. It’s a Sunday morning and I’m flipping between Face the Nation and various infomercials. So as I’m flipping the channels and watching stuff, all of a sudden this commercial comes on for a program called Insanity. You might’ve heard of it – it’s from the same people who did P90X and all the Beachbody people. And this was Shaun T, and this dude looked great. The folks behind him were moving, they were exercising. It all looked really good. And what was really cool about it was that they didn’t need any equipment to do the work they were doing. I was like, “Wow, I travel a lot, it’s really hard for me to find a gym at points in time with all the travel I’m doing. This might actually be the answer.” So of course I get my credit card out, I dial the 1-800 number and I order the stuff.
I come back from my next business trip, and there it is in my mailbox. I was really, really excited about it, so I just decided to rip the covers off, see what’s in it. I knew that I couldn’t carry all these DVDs with me. There were about 12 of them or so. I couldn’t carry all of them with me, so I was saying, “What do I need to do? First thing I’ll do, I’ll rip all these to my computer. I’m getting on another trip soon, and instead of having the DVDs with me, it’d be easier if it’s on my computer. I’ll be more likely to do it on the road.” So I did that first, knowing myself, knowing I needed to have it handy if I was going to use it. Then as soon as I got done with that, I put the first DVD in and it was a fitness test. So I do this fitness test and I really push myself because I want to know how well this does, so I’m going to really push myself to do this fitness test. And it was hard. Not just hard; it was really, really hard. The next day I was basically incapacitated. I felt like I’d been strapped to my bed and beat with a baseball bat. I woke up and I felt so bad, and I really didn’t want to get up. I knew I had to get ready for work and I was laying there and I finally decided, “I’m so much pain, I won’t be able to concentrate. This won’t be a good day for me.” So I called in sick. It’s kind of embarrassing now to look back at it. It’s a little funny, but at the time I was really embarrassed that I pushed myself so hard in a workout that I literally can’t go.
I only tell you that story because I think a lot of us actually approach our health and fitness thinking, “I’ve got to get this done now.” The body weight, the things that we’re trying to get rid of, the things we’re trying to do. We didn’t get into the shape we were in just a couple of weeks, in a couple of days, in a couple months. But I think a lot of us have this general mindset that we want it now. And one of the things that’s going to be a limiting factor, and I’ve talked about this a lot on the show, is just physically what we’re capable of doing. I think in a sense we all know that if we push ourselves too hard, we’re going to break.
But there’s another point to pace that I really want you to take to heart. And it’s the one that’s really the hardest for us to deal with, because we’re gung-ho and we all want to get there – and that is, what vehicle are we going to have to choose to go? The vehicle we choose is going to determine the pace with which we get there. So, in a normal example, if I wanted to drive from here in my home in Pensacola Beach to Hattiesburg, it’s about a 3-hour drive. I’ve done that drive so many times I could do it with my eyes closed. It’s a relatively straight flat road. If I got into a sports car, I could probably get there in two and a half hours easy. I’ll break a couple of speed limits here and there. I know where to not break the speed limits by now, but I’d go really quick. It’s a really easy road, I know the way. Boom, I’m there. It’s just me and the car, and I’m in Hattiesburg. So if I want to be in Hattiesburg for a football game, I’m there. No problem.
So, if you’re single, got nothing else going on in your life, no other troubles, no other problems, no other passengers or baggage – sure, hop in the sports car and get there. As much as your body will allow you to do so, that should be your pace. That can be your pace. But unfortunately many of us do have baggage and passengers. So if I wanted to go to a football game, but I also wanted to set up the tailgate for everybody – I can’t take the sports car now because I can’t carry the tent, the chairs, the grill, the food, the cooler – all the different things that I would want for the tailgate. Now I have to bring my pickup truck. The pickup truck doesn’t handle as quickly as the sports car. It can’t go quite as fast and it’s not going to get there in the same amount of time. So now with the truck, it might take me three hours to get there, which is actually substantially more than two and a half when you sit down and do the math. But because I need to carry the baggage of the stuff in my life, it’s going to take me longer. So, if I have a job that has me working 18-hour days, I won’t be able to work out as often as I may have wanted to work out. If I have some other issues going on with people that are going to want to have food and I want a social life and I want to go tailgate, then I have baggage that’s going to keep me from moving as fast as I might have moved if I didn’t have that baggage. So I have to take the pickup truck – it’s going to take me longer to get there. If I can’t do the things I need to do all the time, without regard to any other timing, any other thing, I might have some difficulty getting there as quickly. And I have to accept that. That acceptance is a very, very important thing.
Before we really get into the acceptance though, I want to talk about the final one, and that is, what if I have passengers? So what if I have six people that want to travel with me to the game? I can’t take the truck because I can’t sit six people in my truck. Now I’m going to have to buy a bus or rent a bus, and the bus is going to be a little harder for me to handle. I might not be as familiar with the transmission, I’m going to have to slow down. And then invariably one of the six or seven of us that are going might have to go to the bathroom while we’re on there. So we’re probably going to be taking a few more pitstops, particularly if those passengers happen to be your children. So, recognizing that you have people in your life that are going to slow you down, you have stuff in your life, events, work, the gym closes, all these different things that can happen that are going to potentially slow you down – you have to set your mind to understand that there is going to be a pace of movement that is going to be most appropriate for you and the lifestyle you want and need and have.
I define wellness as being the happiest, healthiest, most fit person you can be, and I put happiness in there for a reason. Not having baggage can be great, not having passengers can be great. But I’m thinking to be the happiest person you want to be, you’re going to have the baggage, you’re going to have the passengers, you’re going to have those special events. You’re going to have the people – your children, your spouse. You’re going to have those people in your life, so you have to make sure that your fitness journey, the way you set all of this up basically is strategized to deal with that. You may have passengers, or baggage, or you may have both. So you have to choose the appropriate mode of transportation which is going to then reflect into the pace with which you see movement, with which you see the journey happen. Once you satisfy yourself with understanding that that’s how all of this works, it becomes a lot easier for you to accept that you don’t have to feel the acceleration of a sports car to know that you’re moving forward, as long as you stay the path and you keep moving forward. So, getting your mindset on the front end of what is possible and how you’re going to get there, with which vehicle and what that pace is going to be like, is going to go a long way towards helping you reach your goals.
I want to close with one other thing, and I know this is going to be a really short episode. This is a really, really important topic that you need to think about and wrap your mind around, because if you really do want to meet your goals, if you have certain fitness goals that you want to meet – it’s not if you’re going to meet those goals. You must meet those goals. Your health and fitness, your wellness should be the most important thing to you right now, and if it is, then you’re going to want to pick the right vehicle, and then just understand that it’s not if, it’s when you reach certain goals. If right now I wanted to train for a 10K, I have my wife, I have a couple of trips that are coming up. I have to consider the baggage and the passengers to decide, can I do a 10K? Am I capable of doing a 10K in six weeks, or maybe I need to sign up for the next one? I still have it. It’s still there, I still set it up. It’s just a different 10K at a slightly offset time, and I’m doing that because I’m being responsible to understanding what my baggage and my passengers are. And if you’ll do that, that’s going to lend into the whole happiness thing because you’re getting what you want out of your life and you’re meeting your goals. So it’s not if, it’s when. And now you’re on the path and you know you’re going at the pace that’s appropriate for you.
Closing, I do want to leave with one other thing. There are the passengers, there is the baggage, but you are the driver on your wellness journey, period. You have to make some hard decisions, and that might mean at points in time, asking your spouse to eat a little differently or to help you deal a little differently. It might mean telling your children they really can’t have Oreos in the cupboard all the time because you’re trying to accomplish a certain thing. It might mean that you skip a time out with your friends to go do a run because your actual race is coming up really quick. Those are the tradeoffs you’re going to make, but to get the full balance of what we’re trying to get out of wellness, which is happiness, health and fitness, you’re going to have to really tie into understanding the pace that’s the most appropriate to you. That’s not just what your body is capable of doing; it’s what your life is capable of supporting.
So, take some time to think about the pace with which you should be working towards your wellness goals, and then make that your reality. Make those goals happen when they’re supposed to happen for you. You’ll be so much happier, healthier and more fit, and therefore, well.
Kiki asks, “Should I focus on strength, flexibility, or both? I answer her question and get a bit deeper into the various fitness modalities providing a way for you to decide for yourself.
Allan: Hello, and thank you for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. Today’s show is going to be a little bit different. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately. In fact, I was just looking at this – up to today I‘ve interviewed over 175 authors and experts, so quite a fit bit of interviewing going on on the show. I thought I would mix things up, particularly because I received a call through the SpeakPipe app on the Contact Page. A listener had a question and she asked me to do a podcast on a specific issue. It's actually a very important issue and it is something that I think everyone should know. So I wanted to take a little bit of time to go over her question, and it was a good question. So if you have some questions, I do want you to reach out.
You can go to our Contact Page. There’s a couple different ways to contact me there. If you’d like to potentially have your question answered via audio, on the show, then do use the SpeakPipe. I can also do that in email, so you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be glad to answer any and all questions. I do answer all of my emails, so if there’s something going on and you have a question, please do take the time to reach out. I am here to help you and I want you to know that if you’re needing something and you don’t know the answer to it or know where to look, I’m your guy. Send me an email or contact me on the SpeakPipe, which is through our Contact Page on the website 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com. So, the question today comes from Kiki, and I’m going to go ahead and play her audio section. So here we go.
Kiki : Hi. I have been listening to your podcast and I was wondering if it would be possible maybe to do a podcast about flexibility and muscle strength past the age of 40. My physio said that women over 40 should be concentrating more on muscle building than flexibility, but I always thought it should be a balance of both. So I was wondering if I’ve got it. Thank you very much. Thanks for listening.
Sponsor: Before I answer Kiki’s question, I just wanted to remind you that this podcast is sponsored by Teami Blends. You can support the podcast by going to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Tea. And when you’re there, if you use the promo code 40plus, you can get a 15% discount on a purchase of $30 or more. They have great tea products so I could get to know them. I’ve actually ordered some more. I really do enjoy their teas and I know you will too. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Tea.
Allan: Kiki, thank you so much for that question. When my clients come to me, they come to me from many different walks of life, different age ranges, obviously over 40, but I have clients in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. So, it can vary from time to time as far as what fitness modality you should focus on. I agree with your doctor somewhat that strength is important, but I also agree that the answer is probably both in your case. So, let me go through each of the fitness modalities. There are five of them that I think my clients should spend most of their time focusing on when we’re over 40:
When we talk about strength, the reason that strength is so important is that we tend to lose muscle mass and strength once we’re over the age of 35. It’s a process called sarcopenia. Now, the doctor could have said, “I want you lifting weights so you can retain or gain muscle.” In talking to a woman, a lot of times you see them kind of deflate a little bit because they don’t want to get bulky. Of course, they believe if they’d go lift weights, they’re going to look like a bodybuilder, and that’s just not so. You don’t have the testosterone to do that. You actually don’t have the physical capacity, the energy that it would take for you to put on a significant amount of muscle. You may be able to add a few pounds of muscle, but again, if you’re so onto your weight, obviously you’re going to be, “I don’t want muscle”. We’ll talk about that in a minute.
Strength is a good way to have that open conversation with someone because they can see a need for strength. If you can’t open a jar, if you can’t pull yourself up from your chair, if you can’t reach down and grab something off the ground, like a bag of groceries – then that’s going to be something that’s going to be debilitating later. It’s going to keep you from having liberty, it’s going to keep you from being independent when you get older. If you don’t lift, you’re only going to get weaker. There’s just no other way around it. You can’t live your normal lifestyle and not lose strength. You have to do resistance exercise to retain or gain strength. So, I encourage all of my clients to strength-train. I think it’s very, very important for everybody to strength-train.
Now, mobility is also very important. You can’t reach down and pick up that bag of groceries if you can’t get the full range of motion in your hips, knees, ankles. Having good mobility is important because if you move incorrectly, you have the potential of injury. So, I agree with you that flexibility and mobility are very important modalities for us to maintain. There can be good reasons for you to want to improve beyond what you’re doing now, particularly if there’s an activity that you’re interested in doing. So if maybe you want to go canoeing, there’s a lot of mobility that’s required for you to be in a canoe and operate that canoe. So having the ability to get in and out of that canoe, you’re going to need good working knees, good working ankles. And as you’re rowing, you’re obviously going to need good rotational mobility. So yes, flexibility is also very, very important. So those are the two, what I would call the prime ones that most people should be doing.
I’m also going to talk about total body composition. Rather than just talk about weight loss, because I think every one of us can probably say, “I’d like to lose a couple of pounds of fat or more, but I don’t want this to just be about weight loss because if I lose weight, I might also be losing muscle, and that’s not a good thing.” You might lose two pounds, but if that two pounds is muscle, then you’re actually in worse shape. You’re actually less healthy, because now your body fat percentage has gone up. So instead of thinking about what the scale is telling you, you should think of body composition as a percentage of body fat, or a percentage of muscle mass. Whichever way you want to think about it – cup half full, cup half empty.
Most of us are going to go by body fat percentage – those are things that can be measured. They can be measured with a caliper at a gym. So you can go into a gym and a trained personal trainer can go through a process with the caliper. You can use electrical impedance, although those tend to be off a good bit, and a lot of that will depend on your hydration. If you stay hydrated, they work pretty well. But it could help you give a trend. So you can use them on a consistent basis and see if there’s a trend, but don’t think that’s actually what your body fat percentage is. There’s also the liquid submersion and the BOD PODs that use air. I prefer the DEXA scan. There’s a price to it. I do it probably about once every other year, just to know. But in a general sense, I can tell by looking at myself, measuring my body circumferences around the waist, stomach, hips, neck, arms and legs – I can generally tell how I’m doing on my body composition.
So, total body composition is important because if we allow ourselves to have a little too much body fat, that leads to issues like cardiovascular disease, we can get diabetes. There are other things going on there. You do want to focus on your body composition, but if you’re doing appropriate strength training, then you’re maintaining your muscle. The rest of that is going to be done in the kitchen. So eating good whole foods is actually going to help you lose that body fat. That’s what we want to focus on there – not so much the weight as to make sure that we’re eating good foods and we’re losing body fat.
Balance is important, because particularly as we get into our late 60s, 70s, 80s, there are lot of falls, and most of the falls are sideways when they happen, that someone gets really, really hurt bad. So if you fall sideways and particularly if you haven’t been lifting the weights for strength, you have the potential of breaking a bone. So having good balance is one of those things that can help prevent you from falling in the first place. The strength will help because when you do the resistance exercise, you’re also helping to strengthen your bones, not just your muscles. You’re strengthening your bones. So, a good strength training regimen and then having some balance work, and I prefer to do balance work in a couple different planes. It’ll be one foot or the foot, so you get used to that. You mix that up a little bit. And then you can also work on it from the perspective of moving side to side, being comfortable with your feet side to side and not tripping up as you move from side to side. So shuffles and what I call with karaokes – those types of movements will help you maintain lateral balance, which will prevent falls. So knowing those things, you do want to make sure that you maintain balance, and as you notice that your balance is getting worse, that’s when you want to say, “Okay, I need to focus a little bit more attention to balance.”
Finally, I go into life-specific. So, you have a grandchild, and the grandchild wants to run around, so you’re going to need maybe some additional cardiovascular fitness just so you can keep up with that little bugger. Maybe you want to play some tennis, so hand-eye coordination and agility are something that you want to keep up with. Or maybe in your younger days you were on the track team and you want to try some Masters track, so some speed work might be something that would be important to you. It’s really about your lifestyle and what are those other little bits and pieces that are going to make you better at being that person? That’s where the last piece comes in.
I’ve gone over five different fitness modalities – they’re strength, flexibility, total body composition, balance, and life-specific. Those are the five that I would spend most of my time on. Now, it’s really hard to do all of those at one time and it’s really hard to know which one matters most, which is why I want to take a few minutes to go back over the GPS model that I talked about in episode 296. GPS stands for grounding, personalizing, and self-awareness. If you do those three things, then you’re going to know exactly what your body needs now.
Let’s walk through the GPS model. Grounding is where we’re going to take our “Why”. It’s the grandchild – you want to be there for your grandchildren. The vision – what does it look like? Where do you want to be with the grandchild? Maybe you want to be the grandmother that can get down on the floor and color with them and also run around the park with them and keep up with them, be able to pick them up from the ground and walk with them. If that’s your vision of you with your grandchild, now you have this idea of what you need to look like, what your physicality needs to be. The type of human, athlete effectively, that you need to be to be that grandparent.
If you take your “Why”, which is your grandchildren, and what that vision is, you now have a commitment. You can make a commitment to be that person, and you make that commitment out of self-love, just like you would make any other major commitment in your life, like when you get married or when you profess your faith at your church or your synagogue or your mosque or whatever. When you go into this and say, “This is who I want to be and this is why I want to be it, and I believe it in my heart, and emotionally want this”, and through self-love, you make that commitment – a strong, emotional, deep commitment to make that happen – that’s your grounding. Now you have a center, now you have a reason to do this, and now you know what you need to do because you know what it looks like.
The personalizing is where you start thinking about, if you’re going to take a trip and your GPS says, ”Go up to the next intersection and turn left.” So, just like your GPS would tell you what to do, now you’re saying, “I want to be able to lift up my grandchildren and I want to be able to keep up with my grandchildren.” Those are two fitness modalities – strength and cardiovascular conditioning. At this point, now you’re saying to yourself, “I know I’m going to need my strength and I know I’m going to need to be able to keep up with them.” So putting together a program or a set of goals now that says, “I want to be stronger” – how do you measure that? Maybe you go in and you get your baseline. So you go do some work and say, “I want to be able to deadlift and squat and bench press. Maybe that’s the three lifts that I’m going to measure myself on.” And those are what most weightlifters call “the big 3”. We test with those in high school, we use those as athletes. So the deadlift, the squat and the bench press is a good metric to know that you’re building strength.
Maybe for you it’s pullups and pushups. You get the idea that you can come up with some baseline, and then you can start working on your overall body strength using compound movements. And then as you do that, you should notice improvement in those baseline exercises. So you’ll set smart goals; you’ll say, “I can bench press 100 pounds”, or maybe it’s 50 pounds or 20 pounds. Whatever it is, you have a max strength. You say, “I want to improve that by 10% this next month.” Early on that 10% is possible. So it is one of those stretch goals; it’s attainable though. So part of the smart is attainable. If you try to keep going 10%, 10%, 10%, there’s going to be a point where that’s just not attainable because your strength curve just won’t allow you to get that strong. But you can early on particularly see very large improvements in your strength as you get more comfortable with these exercises. Setting a smart goal that pushes you and making it time-specific – within a month or within a quarter or within a year – those are very good. I prefer the smart goals to be shorter term. Saying you’re going to do something within a year is really hard to keep you focused. Saying you’re going to do something within a month, six weeks, eight weeks – those are probably a little bit more appropriate to ensure that you have consistency and you really work towards them.
So set some smart goals. You know you want to work on strength – you set some smart goals for strength. You know you want to work on cardiovascular – so maybe it is, “Right now I can walk for 30 minutes without getting winded. I want to be able to add maybe another 100 meters to that 30 minutes by the next time I walk.” So I’m walking faster and I’m building speed. Or maybe you’re going to turn that into some interval running. Maybe there’s a little bit of jogging in there, so I’m going to jog to the signpost. Over time your expectation is either you get the distance done faster, or within the 30 minutes, you get more distance. You can choose how you put those goals together, but you can set smart goals for your running or your walking and cardiovascular fitness, in the same realm.
So you get involved. Now here’s the thing – nobody’s perfect. We have physical limitations. But we also have capacities, and many people don’t understand that their capacities often far exceed what their brain believes. Unfortunately, our body is never going to do more than what our brain believes. If you had a child trapped underneath a car, you’ve heard the stories of women and men that had been able to pick up a car to get that child out. How did they do that? Where did that strength come from? They inherently had it in them all the time, and when their brain turned off as to what limitations they had, their capacities kicked in. So taking some time to understand what your mental and physical limitations are, is a very important step because you don’t want to break yourself. Don’t go out there thinking you’re going to be able to double your strength in a few days, therefore you’ve got to work out every day. Be thinking in terms of, “I know when I work out I get really sore, and I’m sore for a day or two, so maybe I’m going to work out every other day, and I’m going to work out different body parts.” Maybe you’re going to do a full body workout one day, next day is going to be your running day or walking day, then you’re going to do another workout, and then another walking day, and maybe then take a day off to rest and recover. And now what you’ve thought of is, “This is what I think my limitations and my capacities are right now from a physical perspective.”
And then you’ve got to think about the mental perspective. I know when I go to work and I work all day and I get off at 6:00 and I go to drive home, and it’s turn right to go to the gym or turn left to go home and have a glass of wine – I have to make that decision. But I’m tired and I know in the evenings I’m so tired that that’s a very hard decision to make. So what do I do? Maybe I should do my workouts in the morning before I get tired, before it’s really that hard. And I fix up my gym bag in the morning, I put it right in front of the door, I put my gym clothes right there on my dresser, so as soon as I get up, I see my gym clothes, I put my them on, I grab my bag and I go out the door. If for whatever reason I don’t get up in the morning – because maybe you’re not a morning person, then I still have my gym clothes there, I still have my gym bag. So I take my gym clothes, I fold them up, I put them in my gym bag and I dedicate myself to say, “My commitment, based on my grounding – I need to do this.” So this gym bag is going to sit in my car on the passenger seat. When I come out of work, I’m going to see that gym bag sitting there, just like I would see a wedding ring on my finger and say, “I committed to myself through self-love to do this thing. So tonight I turn right and I go to the gym.” So I know it was a little while I went onto the GPS model, but I wanted to take a time and talk about it again because I think it’s really important for us to get our minds right first. This GPS process that I’ve laid out here is really about making sure you know why you’re doing this, knowing what you should look like, and from that perspective it really does open up to, “These are the fitness modalities that are going to matter the most to me.”
I’ll give you another quick example for myself. My “Why” is my family. I want to be around for my family, I want to be around for my children and my grandchildren. And as I put together the vision of that, it was not just be there, not just be the cheerleader sitting on the bench, watching them do what they do. I wanted to be engaged with them while they were doing the things they loved. My daughter was into CrossFit so I wanted to be able to do CrossFit. Then she wanted to do mud runs, I wanted to be able to do those obstacle courses with her. That meant I had to work on the fitness modalities to do that.
Also, I want to have a lifestyle that I enjoy. I want to enjoy my life so I’m a better person, I’m a happier person to be around. One of the things that was missing from my life at the point in time where I made that commitment was that I wasn’t playing volleyball anymore, and it was really bumming me out that I wasn’t capable of playing volleyball the way that I had been. I knew that that was a cardiovascular fitness thing, it was a mobility thing. So, to do the mud runs, I needed the cardiovascular fitness and I needed the strength. For me to do the volleyball, I needed the mobility and the cardiovascular. You see how now I have three modalities that were very, very important to me because they tied in directly to my vision, they tied in directly to my “Why”. By tying those all in, I now had a baseline, and it was a commitment, self-love, and now I know which of the fitness modalities matter most to me.
I’m still going to go back and tell you, I think strength, mobility – which includes flexibility, and total body composition are things that we should all always be working on. The others become important to us and we want to focus on those when they matter. So the question then is, if I’ve got all these fitness modalities, I can’t do 18 different workouts a week to maintain or build all of these at the same time. How do I go through a process of methodically building myself where I need to build myself, and then figure out how I can make all that work? There are only so many hours in a day, we’re mostly all working. We’ve got to get things done, and then we have a very short window of time to get this fitness thing done. So how do I do all of them? There’s a couple of different things you can do.
One is called cross-training. Obviously, if you get into a cross-training program, maybe it’s a circuit for strength, therefore you’re working your cardiovascular system and your strength at the same time. Maybe it’s a process where you do something like a bootcamp, where there’s a little bit of all of it going on. And you’ll see improvements. Particularly early on, you will definitely see improvements with anything that you do. So just know that early on – yes, work on all of it. But as you get a little bit stronger and as you mobility improves, as your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’re going to find it very hard to do these cross-training things that are going to be sufficient for you to do all the time. You’re going to want to focus on one thing at a time, at points in time, just so you can improve those more.
That is a process that we call “periodization”. With periodization, what you do is you figure out one or maybe two modalities and you say, “For a period of maybe the next six or eight weeks, that’s my thing. I’m going to focus on that.” Periodization is basically where we’re going to take one or two modalities and we’re going to focus on it for about six to eight weeks. That might mean I want to start really working on my strength and I’m going to take about a six-week period of time and I’m really going to bear down on my strength training. I’m going to get those compound movements that I want to do, I’m going to put in maximum effort for my strength, and I’m going to really bear down on that. Then after I finish that six to eight weeks, I’m going to mix up my program. So maybe body composition is also something that I’m very interested in building, so I do a period of time. Like I said, for strength, I get done with that six to eight week period and I say, “Now I’m going to change up my programming to make it work a little bit more for building muscle mass.”
And there are slight tweaks and variations of those. For the most part, if you’re working strength, you’re going to see some muscle mass improvement. If you’re working muscle mass improvement, you’re going to see some strength, but they’re not in complete overlap. There are ways to maximize and optimize one over the other. As we were talking, for me, I want mobility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness. So what I may say is, “I’m going to do a strength period and with the strength period I’m going to work mobility. And during my cardiovascular period, I’m going to go ahead and work mobility.” So I do a big strength push and I’m doing mobility on the side. And then I do a big cardiovascular push, and I build mobility on the side. And then I can alternate and go back into strength. So you see where you can get these things all improved and then as you do that, you’re going to see optimal improvements in that particular modality. So I would never really say just do one modality, particularly if you notice doing multiple ones together gets you the results. But if you find that you plateau and your strength is not really improving, your mobility is not really improving, your cardiovascular fitness is not really improving – then that might be a time for you to really bear down on that certain modality.
So the answer, as you said, is really both. And I would say it’s even more all-encompassing than both. It’s really all of them. You should be aware of how all of them impact your vision, how they’re going impact your life, and you should dedicate the appropriate amount of time to each of those five modalities that we talked about.
I hope this has been helpful. Again, if you have any questions at all, please go to the Contact Page and leave me a message on SpeakPipe. I get back to those immediately with the short answer. If it makes sense for me to do a podcast on, I will in do one. Otherwise you can email the question to me and if you’re comfortable with it, I’ll read your email and do the same thing with a podcast episode. Please do reach out if you have questions. I love that interaction, I love that opportunity. I want to take your question because you are not the only one with that question; there are others out there. I want to take the questions that you have and I want to teach others with that.
That all said, I am going to somewhat change up the format here. I haven’t really done a lot of solo episodes since the year started. It’s been a lot of interviews. I might not even have done a single solo episode since the year started, so I’m going to actually start mixing in a few more solo shows as we go. It might be something like a three to one ratio, sometimes maybe two to one. We’ll see how that works out, but I do want to have some more solo shows and I do want to continue to bring on experts on topics that matter to you. So just know that I am out there. If you have topics, issues, things you’re concerned about, I’m available. Reach out to me. I do want to make this show important to you. I want to make it as valuable to you as I possibly can, so please do reach out to me so I can do that for you. Thank you.