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Category Archives for "fitness"

July 29, 2019

Mental Toughness with Michele Ufer

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

  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston
  • John Somsky

Thank you!

With the techniques Michele Ufer shares in his book, Mental Toughness for Runners you can push your body to new levels. On episode 392 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we share a few of those techniques. 

Allan: 02:00 Michele, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Michele: 02:03 Hi Allan. Thanks for inviting me to your show.

Allan: 02:05 You know your book, it's on mental toughness, it's on a lot of things and as I got into it, what I really appreciated was the way that you layered the information in there so that you gave me a really good foundation for understanding the mind over body. And then you just kept taking it to a deeper level and a deeper level and a deeper level and all these lessons and things that were in this book. I really liked how you related them to the event that you did. And so I'd like to kind of just start out with, could you tell us a little bit about that event and you know, why you thought 15 weeks was enough to train for an ultra marathon when you'd never done anything close to that and how you used mind over body as a basic way to do that.

Michele: 02:57 Well, when I signed up for this ultra marathon Atacama Crossing, I just realized, oh, it's just three and a half months to go. So I had no choice. And uh, all the people around me, they told me I'm crazy. I've never done a marathon or half marathon before. I'm not an experienced runner. I'm not even felt like being a runner and then signing up for such race in the driest place on earth and just people, just look at me like I'm stupid crazy. It was out of I don't know, they couldn't imagine and uh, yeah, but, but finally it was just very short amount of time and I said to myself, I told myself then you really have to think wisely how you spend these a couple of weeks. And, uh, my main goal was to get as fit as possible on the physical side, but not to train too much. I don't want to get exhausted when arriving at the start line. And a main or key point for me was the, was the mental training part, the metal training session, because I titled The whole project, an extreme mental self test.

Allan: 04:13 And it was, I mean, we're talking 240 kilometers and for, for us Americans, I'll kind of put that in relation. When I, when I did the 50-mile run, that was, um, to me that was extremely long. This is far in excess of 50 miles.

Michele: 04:30 MMM. Yeah, it was a 250. And during my training for this phase, the largest distance I covered was, I was shocked when I was looking at my GPS watch pad. It was 29k so I felt like, oh Jesus, do you really want to travel to Chile and started this race with the maximum distance of 29k in your longest training run. But then I said to myself, what if it's your hobby? It will be a great adventure. And uh, if you can't run anymore, you switched walking or trekking. So it will all be fine.

Allan: 05:08 Yeah. Yeah. So I want to start out because when people think about training, I think they think just like the physical aspects of it. I know I typically have and just figured, I don't know, maybe the mental toughness just comes from the fact that you are continually putting yourself through the long runs. You know, like, so someone's going to train for a half marathon or marathon they say on their day off their Saturday or Sunday, they're going to do the long run. And over time they inched that up to make it a little bit more and a little bit more. And then you know they tapered down for the race and the training has been their mental training even though they didn't really take the time. But in your book you're talking about actually taking time to train your mind, not just the running part of it, but to actually train your mind. Can you talk about that mental training, how it's going to help us improve our performance?

Michele: 06:00 Yeah. First of you, you're absolutely right. During your race or during the long runs, you have a lot of time to train your mind and even if you push yourself through it, this has a huge impact on your mental toughness. As you mentioned at the beginning. I'm not really a fan of mind over body. I rather think mind and body has to do kind of teamwork in order for you to achieve top performance or the goals you want. And for example, in German speaking countries where the book got published first, there is tons of books out there and they all focus on one thing, physical training plans. So they tell you when to run, how long to run, when to do cross training, how long the long run should be, when to do interval runs and whatever, and at the same time, all runners they say and confirm the mental aspect of performance is very important, but it's not represented in the training plans, so it's completely, it's not there.

Allan: 07:10 I was guilty of that too. You know, I've had clients that, you know, say, okay, I want to run, I want to run a 5k. I'm like, okay, well here's, here's a training plan for you. And it's, you know, it's the slow progression of the distance and then doing some speed work and you know, all to go up to a race day when I know they're going to be capable of completing the race. But you're right, I've never sat down and say, okay, we're going to need to do some mental training on top of this, make this a more enjoyable part. I give them that training, but when you're talking about a 5 k or something like that, most people within a reasonable amount of time, there's not a lot of pain and aches, but if they want to run a certain time, that's where this is going to come in. Or if you're, you know, I'm looking at this as a trainer and saying this applies to everything. If you want to, if you want to be able to ride your mountain bike further, if you have a little bit of this training even a little bit, I think it's going to go a long way towards helping you be more successful.

Michele: 08:12 Yeah, definitely. And I got a lot of feedback, although the book is dedicated to runners first, not especially or not just long distance runners or ultra runners, I got a lot of feedback from middle distance runners, 800 meters or whatever. They have to be mentally tough as well. And I even got some feedbacks from soccer trainer or tennis player or executive from a business corporations, and they say this applies to all kinds of challenges because the main goal of a mental training or mental toughness training is to work to achieve your goals maybe a bit smarter or to even achieve them at all.

Allan: 08:54 Exactly, and I really liked that you put that idea and so this is not just a sports performance book or a running book as you say. It actually can apply to a lot of part of our parts of our lives. Having that mental toughness to be able to push through when things get tough and maybe even have some fun when we're doing it. I love the story when you talked about Santana floating or floating or running when you first started this story. I thought, okay, Santana has me running along with them. And then you talked about the carousel and I was like, okay, but you had fun. You didn't just tough out this race. You had fun while you were doing it because of the mental training you had done.

Michele: 09:30 Yeah, exactly. It was a, the fun part for me was a key point. I really, when I, when I signed up for the race, 10 seconds later I started crying because it was such an amazing step for me. And uh, two minutes later I went into the living room and started listening to music. It was Carlos Santana. I was listening to some songs from seventeens, uh, one court revelations and the other one try a little bit harder or try a little harder. They fit perfectly to this project and they really become a very motivational for me. And when I sat there listening to the music, just automatically kind of mental training started, I started visualizing how to get to the finish line or the moment when I get to the finish line, how proud I would be, what I would feel like when I arrived at the finish line. And, but also, hey guy, now you signed up for this race. There's no return way and what is the key challenges in order to complete this event? And immediately a lot of things went through my head and I just started ordering, developing mental images, self-talk elements. And emotions and tons of things that were really very helpful.

Allan: 11:00 In the very beginning of the book. You put in an example that I feel like really resonated with me because it was just a simple little experiment, and you call it the lemon experiment and you can show us how, a thought a single thought and an image in your head can change your body. Would you take us through the limit experiment?

Michele: 11:21 Yeah. Yeah. I like to, it's very famous experiment and really wonderful example on, uh, to show how conscious thoughts or mental images effect our bodies really immediately in a minimal most of the time. So, dear readers, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to invite you now to those little experiments. Imagine holding an already peeled lemon in your hand. It's plump early ripening and therefore particularly sour lemon, very sour lemon. And imagine what the lemon surface feels like as you turn it over and move it around in your hand. And now imagine raising your arm and passing the lemon under your nose to smell it. And you begin to notice a pleasant, fresh lemon scent. And the longer you hold the lemon in your hand, look at it and sniff it and the stronger the lemon fresh scent becomes. And now imagine bringing the limit to your lips, opening your mouth and taking a big bite.

Oh, that's already there. This little exercise. For many people it works particularly well with their eyes closed and the more intense and detailed the attention that is focused on the mental image, the more senses or cognitive channels activated and generally, the more significant is the immediate physical reaction. So some people, they really shut it when they imagined themselves fighting into the solid limits or other facial muscles they contract or increase in production. So immediate impact, if just such a little image has, can have such a huge impact, then we can use this information to control our thoughts during tough moments. And I did that in the during the Atacama race really a couple of times, like you mentioned the Carlos Santana image, if you want, we can talk about this a, it was really funny, but it was also very functional. I use this image to change my, or to put myself in in a different state, in a functional state and to feel freshness and to have fun and whatever.

Allan: 13:41 Yeah, I think the one that would, the one I liked that you'd probably tell us about, you said you were running and I guess the ground was particularly rough. It was, you know, of course you're in the desert so it's very hot. You imagined water like on a beach washing up over your feet.

Michele: 13:55 Yeah, exactly. One of the key points for me during the preparation was during these ultra races, the feet, they carry you the whole way. They are crucial for your success and many people suffer from blisters and I dunno, the feet will swollen like crazy. There's always a lot of sand and stones in the shoe so it makes all time. Things get bloody and it find my feet to be most important and I was defining kind of a goal. I wanted to achieve a process goal for my feet. How do I want my feet to feel what do I think my feet should be like in order to carry me through the race. And I defined the feet should be, should feel fresh, really, absolutely fresh. And I was searching for an, for an image that presents this freshness. And uh, there came an image into my head when I'm walking at the seashore barefoot and uh, the water is just, I don't know how to say in English, gets over the feet and gets the waves, just get over the feet, get back when the waves getting back.

There is some wind who make feel the feed even fresher. And I really imagined this in a very intensive way and finally felt that my feet got more and more fresh and I have another image just walking, I don't know, in the mountains on fresh grass in the morning, still a bit baffled as well. And with my wife, hand in hand, very relaxed. And I really focused on this feeling of freshness. And finally I was able to activate this feeling during tough moments when, I don't know, we ran 80k and it was hot of course in the desert. But getting into this image, I felt my feet fresh and the result was I didn't have any blisters at all. And yeah, made it to the finish line finally.

Allan: 16:08 Yeah, it's, it's crazy. But it works, you know? And um, but I want to kind of jump on the other side of the conversation because I think a lot of us start there and it's, it's self sabotage. And so in the book you kind of really get into some of the words when we're talking to ourself, we're doing this stuff. There's words that we need to start avoiding.

Michele: 16:27 Yeah. Yeah. It's very interesting. Years ago I was invited for conference, a sport medical conference and it took place in, in the Alps, in a ski resort and in during the morning that people were involved in scientific lectures. And in the afternoon we had ski courses, ski lessons. And, uh, during one of my lectures I was presenting people with the techniques that have an immediate effect on their performance. And it was confronting them with the instructions or maybe self instructions that are very common whether we talk to ourself or we talk to friends if we want to help them as a trainer, whatever. There's a self talk, like don't put so much pressure on yourself or daunting to up when you run. Or maybe the participants in the congress were skiing, oh don't take the snow gun or don't ski staight at another skier. So very, very common self-talk I think. And I explain to people that it's really dysfunctional because it moves as exactly in the direction we don't want. So this is kind of the realization. They are all well intended, but they have the pitfalls and still lead to precisely the opposite behavior. The one we wish to avoid.

Allan: 18:02 No, I know they, they, they tell you, you know, if you see a police officers pulled someone over to the side of the road and you're passing by, don't look at the police car. Keep your eye on the road where you're, where you want to be driving because so many people are looking at the police car and ended up hitting the police car.

Michele: 18:19 Yeah, exactly. That's it. You, you, you, you move in the direction you're focused on. And this is a true also with the self talk if we're talking about don't do this, don't do that. The problem is our brain doesn't have any internal representations for denials. So when someone is talking to us or we are talking to ourself stuff like don't put so much pressure on yourself, then a lot of areas in our brain start working, connecting each other. This can be centers for cognition, image processing, movement control, whatever. And there's always the center for visual imagery, uh, affects and circumstances involved as well. So when someone tells me, don't stiffen up when you run, I have to represent this first in order to then deactivate it again. But uh, in this moment, the focus is already a guided into the wrong direction.

Allan: 19:22 Yeah. I can't remember the animal you used in the book right now, but it was sort of the concept of don't think about a polar bear, immediately whats her head gonna do. It's gonna think polar bear. And so now you've got to say, well I don't want to think about a polar bear. So you have to try to clear that image out of your head and it's very difficult.

Michele: 19:41 Yeah, exactly. We, well that's a, I don't know, [inaudible] we are very much conditioned to these negations, but they have the pitfalls. So what we should do, what were first the language that focuses on negative things on things we don't want or on mistakes leaped to these results that we wish to avoid. So we should rather learn to focus on goals instead or on things we really want instead of things we do not want.

Allan: 20:13 Yeah. So instead of saying don't put so much pressure on yourself, it's run relaxed, stay relaxed, enjoy. Then two other words that you use or that you talk about. Are the words, try and must.

Michele: 20:26 Yeah, if we use the word, I don't know if it's the same in in English speaking countries, but in German speaking countries they word must is very popular. But it's also very problematic because must always induce this kind of pressure and at the same time kind of reactions to do or to want the opposite. So imagine yourself telling, I must train today or for me it feels hard already and we should avoid this word and rather choose, something more productive. Like I will train today. Oh, I go, I'll go train today.

Allan: 21:05 Or better yet, I get to train today.

Michele: 21:08 Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And the word try feels like it will be hard. You have to put a lot of effort in something. So it would be a good idea to change it as well. Not I try to, I try to prepare the nice presentation for the meeting. No, I will prepare it and that's it.

Allan: 21:34 And yeah, so, so with this, you know, the focus is focused on where you want to go instead of the things that you want to avoid. But invariably, you know, we have these things in our head, they talk to us all the time. We can't shut them off. We call it self-talk, but it's the voice in our head and for a lot of us, we need to change. We need to manage it. And it's not as easy as just saying, I'm not going to necessarily, I'm not going to use these words. That helps. It definitely helps. But when you're in a tough situation and the self-talk is starting to move against you, what are, what are some training things that we can do to kind of make sure that we're in a position to turn that around, to change that self-talk because that's at a point where we're at our physical weakness, you know, we're weak physically, we're emotionally tired and fatigued and now we've got this, this internal dialogue that we need to turn around. What are some tools that we can use to make sure we're in a position to do that?

Michele: 22:28 Hmm. I think the first step is to be aware of your self talk and especially of negative self talk and a very easy strategy, which also is backed by science. It's proven and helpful is to start violating a little kind of diary. Just go through your last race, tough race maybe or situations. And I remembered the self talk you had. Was it positive, was it negative? In what moments do I have negative self talk and what exactly is the self talk like or what do I tell myself? And I can make a list and when I have a bit of time, maybe during the next long run and I want to combine running with some mental training, I can spend a little bit of time changing these talks, this negative self talks into positive ones and the next time I'm on a tough moment and maybe I realized, ahh okay, the inner voice is there.

Again, the negative inner voice is there. There's one very powerful strategy. It's a thought stop. So whenever I realize, Oh, I'm into negative self talk again, just tell yourself stop. Or maybe you can combine it with a kind of gesture or with an intern rhythm image of, I don't know, a button, the red button, which when you push it, it makes a solid like or whatever. But this technique is a very powerful to just, yeah to stop the negative thinking this automatism but then if you stopped it you have to offer your brain something else instead. Otherwise the brain could jump back to the last rather negative self talk again. So don't leave the brain in a kind of vacuum. Offer him as positive self talk and you could prepare this before race or once when you started working on your diary and you found this might typical self negative self talk in this or that situation and you have turned them into a positive one. You can combine it with the Stop Technique. So whenever negative self talk you'll stop, you make a thought stop and then you'll switch consciously to a positive self talk that is rather functional.

Allan: 25:00 Okay. Can you give us an example of how you've used this before?

Michele: 25:04 Easy example is last couple of days it was really hot in Germany and uh, people are complaining all the time and now you can go out running and start or let you in a voice complaint. Oh, it's so hot. It's so hot. But that's not really helpful. You suffer more than you might have to suffer. So you could just work with the thoughts, stop technique, maybe use your inner B or whatever and switch immediately to positive, hey, running in heat is a great opportunity for me to improve going through challenging conditions and I just adapt to speed and well get enough drinks or whatever or just enjoy the sun. Well, we are not in a very sunny state, so yeah, be happy. Finally, you have some sun, enjoy the sun, whatever. It's really very personal. And sometimes these self talk or images, they just pop out spontaneously, very spontaneously. But you should be open for this.

Allan: 26:14 Oh good, good. And then you know, I think one of the other things you talked about like you know to make sure there's no vacuum there is to maybe fill it up with something that's a little fun. You know where like you said the Santana thing or you know, water running over your feet or walking in a cool damp morning mountain air grass and those things where you're putting something into your head that's, that's there. That's going to keep those negative thoughts from returning.

Michele: 26:42 Yeah. Even another strategy might be in order to prevent negative self talk or images to occur, just fill up your mind with tons of positive self talk. For example, if you, that's a strategy I used. I've been in Russia two weeks ago at the race called TransUral. It's a race series, four races 160 280 kilometers each and the first day for me was very tough. There are difficult days and weeks before didn't sleep enough. I had to stop every couple of minutes to do some footage for TV documentary that will be broadcasted in a couple of months. It was hard for me. The next day I really switched my mind and I said, okay, you shared, you are here. It's free choice. So start enjoying the race while taking the footage and I started working with a self talk, very easy but which has worked for many years for me, the self talk was just I few fresh and relaxed, fresh and relaxed, fresh and relaxed.

I enjoy it being on the way, whatever. And I spent hours out there on the course just repeating this all the time, repeating, repeating. I run fresh and relaxed, fresh and relaxed. What happens was I started feeling fresh and relaxed, fresh and relaxed and there was no chance for negative self talk to enter my brain because it was completely full of this positive self talk. So nice way to avoid the occurrence of negative self talk and you might get into kind of a trance state if you use it like a mantra. Repeating, repeating, repeating, repeating.

Allan: 28:33 Yeah. I've, I've used mantras during particularly tough times. We had a, when I went through basic training in the military our captain was a green baret and so he loved this thing called a flutter kick and basically lay on your back and you lift your feet off the ground and you just start kicking your feet. Like you're almost like you're scuba diving upside down and you know, just kicking your feet and after a while, you know, you start feeling the burn and your abdominals and front of your top of your legs and it's hard to just keep going. So your body wants to quit, you're in a lot of pain. And I just, because I was in basic training and I was stubborn, I just, I can just, I will not quit. And that was my mantra as I'm kicking. And the more it hurt, the more I had to actually verbally say it versus just say it in my head so that it was getting louder and louder than what I was feeling. And he walked by and saw me and heard me and said, yeah, you won't quit. And we went for another few minutes and I made it through the entire time and didn't have to put my feet down. I felt it that afternoon because that was a tough workout. But it got me through it and it kept me going. When more likely than not self talk would say, Hey, put your feet down. He's going to come yell at you. And then you'll just lift him back up and start kicking butt. You can rest if you want. You know, you know that whole, he's telling me most and my brain is saying, okay, I don't want to quit. But turning it into a mantra and just continuing to repeat that just allowed me to push a little harder than my body would have normally let me.

Michele: 30:05 Hmm. Yeah. It just stays even some evidence from science that this works. For example, studies showing that, uh, people that enter into this kind of trance state, they might perform better but feeling less exhausted or what is the strain is less than what they objectively have to have to master or if to go through.

Allan: 30:27 Michelle, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay Well?

Michele: 30:38 I'm not really, well, this is now the big question. The listicles, I've heard about it. People love listicles. The three top strategies, and normally when I'm talking to journalists, I tell them, sorry, I can't deliver because we are all very different. We have different goals, we have different concepts maybe of what being happy means. We are living in very different contexts. So it's really hard to offer the three magic strategies. I think one, maybe one, one advice, be love what you do. Maybe it's not the answer you are expecting.

Allan: 31:16 No, no, no. That is, that is a big part of it is I talk to people about fitness. You know, you don't necessarily want to have to look like a bodybuilder or a crossfit athlete or you know, an elite runner. That might not be your goal for fitness. Your goal might just be to be the best grandmother you can be and train for that, you know, make that your thing. Because now that's your, your why. That's your vision. That's everything you want to be. So yeah, I very much agree with that. It's um, to what you have.

Michele: 31:46 Yeah, I may add something else. We have fun while doing what you love and be aware of yourself and uh, what, what you really need, what is good for you in a certain moment. I really feel like many people, they, they lose a bit of context to there. Their buddies, they don't really listen to themselves. And so this might be a very basic strategy, but a powerful and some people really have to relearn, listen to themselves and to their bodies.

Allan: 32:15 Yeah. Your book, Mental Toughness for Runners I think is going to make me a better trainer with a lot of the lessons that are in there. I'm going to take the heart in my own work and training, but I think I'm also going to share a lot of that with my clients because I do think they're very powerful strategies when we're hitting those tough times. So thank you so much for coming on today and sharing this with us. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Michele: 32:41 Well, first of all, if they want to have a look at the book. Yeah, check out their local bookstore on the internet shops. Maybe people want to have a look on my website with some additional information on the book and some readers comments as well. And Yeah, I'm always very happy to receive feedback from readers and share success stories, so I'm really looking forward to get in touch.

Allan: 33:05 Okay. Do you have that link for your website?

Michele: 33:07 Yeah, it's Micheleufer.com

Allan: 33:10 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/392 and I'll be sure to have a link to his website and the book.

Allan: 33:18 Michelle, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Michele: 33:22 Thank you Allan

Another episode you may enjoy

I am human

Patreons

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

  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston
  • John Somsky

Thank you!

Hello. This is going to be a solo episode and it's going to be slightly different than most of the other solo episodes that I've done. I want to start this one with a quote, I'm reading a book for an upcoming podcast episode. Really looking forward to talking to this guy and I know you're going to get a lot out of that conversation, but he has a lot of quotes in his book and this is one that just really resonated with me at this point in my life.

It is easier to provide wisdom to others than to ourselves.

~ Francoise de la Rochefoucauld.

Now the reason this one kind of hits me in the gut is, you know I've been doing the health and fitness thing for a while now that the podcast has been going on for over three and a half years. This is episode 390.

So I've had a lot of conversations about health and fitness. I've had a lot of solo talks with you about health and fitness and you know, I feel like I know my thing, but just to be bluntly honest, over the course of the last couple of months I haven't been doing things for myself the way that I preached to you that you should be doing for you. And so, you know, I effectively call this my slide and over the course of the last couple of months I've kinda been on this slide and there are a lot of things that I could put out there and say, this is why it happened. This is the cause, you know, when this goes away then things will get better. But I need to go ahead and address this. And in addressing and going through the mental processes of, okay, getting myself mentally ready to change this, to solve this problem.

I've come across some things that I think would be valuable to share with you. So I'm going to take this step back and kind of talk about what's been going on over the last few months to kind of set the stage for where I am right now. As you know, my wife and I decided to move down to Panama. We put the house on the market in December thinking it would sell fairly quickly. It was a hot market. Everybody is telling us our house was in a prime location. Everybody would want to see it so we didn't expect the house to stay on the market very long. And we planned our trip to travel down in February, but unfortunately the house did not sell before February. In fact, it's still on the market, which is this little concerning. But you know, it is what it is. We just have to deal with this.

But we decided to go ahead and go back to the United States to get it to get better organized because we were afraid if someone came in and wanted to close, we'd be running into a time crunch of getting movers in, getting cleaners in, getting everything organized. So we wanted to do a few things to get organized for a move. To make it a little bit easier for us when the time does come. And then we also wanted to get our dogs. We had two dogs, Joe joe is our Chihuahua and Angel is a German shepherd. We wanted to get them down here to Panama with us cause we miss them a lot. And so we traveled up there to do some work on the house to pack up some things, you know, dealing with the movers, getting all that organized.

So about 99% of the things that we had in the house had been moved out into a storage. And we are going to figure out what we want to keep and what we want to get rid of over the course of the next several months. Unfortunately our oldest dog, Joe joe the Chihuahua, had kidney failure and we had to put him down. So it was a very difficult few weeks at home. Then we did manage to get Angel down here. But I can tell you transporting a dog from one country to another, is extremely difficult. You have to follow a very meticulous process and if you mess it up, they could send the dog back. And so it's kind of expensive to make sure that you've lined everything up. We hired professionals to make sure that it all worked out and we got her here.

She's happy and settled in. So that's, you know, that's a good relief that that's happened. And then of course you probably know that I bought the gym and so I bought a local gym here and I've been putting a lot of sweat equity and time into, you know, getting the gym back up to a better standard. I've been buying equipment, getting the place painted and cleaned. So there's been a lot of work that's been being done that's kept me kind of busy, you know, keeping that up, keeping the podcast up. And then of course, serving my clients and, you know, just trying to be the resource that I need to be and do the things I'm supposed to do. Unfortunately, like I said, over the course of that time, I let myself fall back into old habits.

I let myself become less than who I thought I should be. And I'm very disappointed in myself.

I have a very high standard for who I am. And I'm not walking the talk, you know, I'm not doing what I'm telling you to do on a day to day, week to week basis, and that's very disappointing to me. I'm disappointed in myself. Now I can continue to sit and wallow in this self pity aspect. I can continue to be mad at myself and in the end that would not solve my problem. You know, my problem is I've kind of used, I'm doing these chores and moving equipment around, I'm doing this stuff as thats my exercise when it's not adequate. I've been avoiding, you know, worrying about what I'm eating for the sake of convenience of, you know, freeing up time if I'm not shopping for healthy food, which is not a big, big deal.

But I can tell you when I actually do a really good shopping trip here, it requires me to walk to about five different stores to get the things that I want to get good, you know, good healthy vegetables, to get good eggs, to get good meat. It requires me to check out several stores to get the best, freshest foods that I can get. So it's an effort. It's not just a, it's all ready for you to walk into one place and it's all there. And I haven't been doing that, haven't been really focused on that. And I've let that slide. And then from a joy perspective, I'm very happy with my situation here. I've got my wife here, I've got my puppy here. Very, very happy being in the jungle, looking at the monkeys and the birds and you know, living close enough to the beach that I can just walk straight down to the beach and enjoy that.

And then, you know, I love the fact that I have access to and I own a gym. It's something I had thought, you know, and dreamed kind of about early in my life many, many, many years ago. And so it's something that's kind of come to fruition at a perfect time in my life when I'm ready to be a gym owner and it fits with who I am as an individual. So the joint components are there, but I still kept hearing the old voice, the voice I wrote about in the book, the fat bastard. He keeps rearing its ugly head and with the negative self talk and all of that. So I knew I needed to nip this in the bud and I came up with a fairly simple set of steps to describe what I'm in the process of doing.

And I do believe these steps are very effective because they kind of intertwined and finger very well with the GPS process that I go over in the book and that I've talked about on the podcast several times. The first is forgive, then it's action plan, and then it's execute. So the best way I can put this together, and if you think about it in terms of let's say you missed your turn and you should have taken a left and you didn't take that left, and as a result, you continuing down the road and you're now on the wrong road and maybe you've been on that wrong road for a long time. You know, my slide now has only been a few months, but it dovetails with my feasting periods. So it, it actually was not the optimal time for me to have a slide.

So I'm doing this slide and I need to turn this around. What do I do? Well, the first thing I have to do is forgive myself. It does me absolutely no good to continue to talk down to myself, to reprimand myself, to feel bad about myself. For those inactions and actions that I did that were not in my best interest, not in the interest of me being well, not in the interest of me being the person that I see in my vision and not being true to my why. I could continue to beat myself up about that, but I have to I have to finish that. I have to be done with that if I'm ever gonna do anything about this. So the first step is to forgive yourself. And this can often be the hardest step because, you know, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect.

And that's another reason why I wanted to call this episode, “I Am Human” is that we got to get past that perfectionism. If we want to see progress we really have to sit back and say, look, I'm just a human being. I'm going to make mistakes. There's going to be slides, there's going to be injuries. That's a part of the journey. And overcoming those quickly, getting myself back on track. That's really the best course of action for me right now, which leads us to the second step in this, which is an action plan.

So if we're driving in the wrong direction, it's pretty simple. Look for the next exit so you can turn around, or look for an opportunity to do a u-turn and find that opportunity and take it. So having an action plan, you know, what are the things that I can do to get myself back on track? And I know what they are. They've worked for me in the past. They'll continue to work for me. I need to get myself back into ketosis. I need to get my body moving. I need to start moving heavy weights. I need to do the things that worked for me that have always worked and in everything that's going on for me right now, everything that I still want, my vision and my why are still intact. I've evaluated those again and said, okay, they're still intact. I still want to go where I wanted to go. I don't want to go down this road. So I have to turn this around. And that's where the action plan comes in. Figuring out what you have to do to turn it around and get yourself back to moving in the direction that you want to move.

And then the final part of it is execute. You can write all the plans in the world. You can say, I want to start lifting heavy again, I want to get back in the gym and start doing that thing. But you gotta show up. You gotta go do it again. Now it might mean that you backtracked a little bit. It might mean that you've got to use a little bit less weight. It might mean when you go to do your cardio training you're a little bit slower or the distance you're doing now is a little bit less. That's fine. We'll get back onto that progression, the gentle nudging, all the things that we know work for us. It's time for us to do that. So it's forgive, action plan and execute. So if I missed my term once, I know that I've done that, it's time for me to forgive myself for doing it.

Find the opportunity to turn the car around and then start driving back in the direction I should have driven in the first place. So I hope you took something valuable, but before we go, I wanted to close with another quote that's in that book. Like I said, I think you're going to enjoy this episode that's coming up with Michele. But this one's a little bit longer, but I wanna I wanna go through this.

“Pay attention to your thoughts for they will become words. Pay attention to your words for they will become actions. Pay attention to your actions for they will become habits. Pay attention to your habits for they will become your character. Pay attention to your character for it will become your fate.”

Talmud

That quote means a lot to me today. Since I've forgiven myself, I've set an action plan and now it's time for me to execute.

And what I know is the thoughts that I'd been having are now going to be positive thoughts. They're going to be affirmative. I can get this done. You know, I may pull out my journal and start reviewing that again each morning. Setting my intentions for each day to make sure that my thoughts become my words, my words become my actions. And then you see where the rest of that goes.

If I begin regular actions that put me back on the proper path, then I will begin to develop the habits that will get me there. That will put me back into the frame of mind of being successful and being who I want to be. And that's going to define my character. And then obviously if I'm doing the things that I'm supposed to be doing more often than not, then I'm going to have a much better fate than if I stay on this slide and don't follow through with the process of forgiving, action plan, and execute. So if you're not feeling it, if you're upset with what's going on in your life right now, realize you can do something about it. Follow these steps and they will get you there.

If you didn't take anything else away from this lesson, but this one thing that the journey to wellness is actually not a destination. We don't ever really arrive there. Our lives are gonna be filled with twist and turns. It's going to be field with injuries and slips. And it's gonna happen to all of us and none of us are above being human.

If you're on this path and you're really struggling to one, either forgive yourself, two, to come up with a good plan or three execute. I do want to be a part of that solution and I want to help you. So if you would go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/human that'll take you to my calendar. We can book a free, It's completely complimentary, no obligation 15 minute call. And on the call we can talk about where you are in your health and fitness journey, what help you might need, what decisions you need to make, if you need to forgive yourself, the opportunity to do so, and how to go about doing that and then the plan and the execution. I want to be there and be a part of that solution. If you'll go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/human you can book your call today and we can get you on your path straight away. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

July 1, 2019

The time saver’s workout with John Little

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Thank you!

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.

Another episode you may enjoy

June 10, 2019

Reach your peak with Dr Marc Bubbs

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Thank you!

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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May 20, 2019

Get bigger, leaner, and stronger with Michael Matthews

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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.

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