Category Archives for "guest/interview"

November 29, 2022

How to hack your metabolism with Catherine de Lange

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Metabolism is life. On episode 566 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Catherine de Lange and discuss her article in New Scientist magazine, Hack Your Metabolism.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:09.790] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are you?

[00:01:11.970] – Rachel

Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:01:14.160] – Allan

I'm feeling a lot better. We've been in a drought situation. I think I've talked about this a little bit over the course of the weeks, but we had to travel. It was a busy time at Lula's, and then no water, no rain, and they completely used up the reservoir, pumped our tanks full of mud, which we had to pay someone to go in and clean those things out. And then they kept pumping mud, so we ended up with mud again in the tanks and no rain. And so we had to turn off the city water. We just can't take that. And then it was like, you got to buy water because the local service, everybody wants it, and they just weren't making it over to our street. So we end up having to call some guys and give them some money to come over and pump some water into our tanks. But the good news is it started raining yesterday. It's been raining now for two days, so we're in a lot better shape now for getting this rain. And as far as I'm concerned, it can rain for the whole week, and I would just be ecstatic for sure.

[00:02:12.690] – Allan

I know it's weird. People like you want it to rain. I'm like, yes, we do. That's our water. That's where it comes from for us. And so it's all water catchment at some level or another, even the city's pumping it in general, it had to be caught by them or by us. And so we do have a little bit of water catchment ourselves, but it's got us rethinking how we've structured, how the tanks are structured back there, because we've got four 400 gallon tanks, and generally that would run us for a week here, provided there's not too many checkouts with laundry getting done. But generally, we know four tanks should last us about a whole week. But we got down to where we had less than six inches in two of the tanks. And so literally probably only had 50 gallons.

[00:02:59.460] – Rachel


[00:03:00.120] – Allan

And that was not going to last for even a few showers. Once I got back here, I wasn't taking showers. I took a shower in Panama City and then got on the plane. And then for about a week, I didn't take a shower.

[00:03:12.640] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:03:13.590] – Allan

Again, the water wasn't there. And our guests, they come in, they want to take a shower after they've been out doing their tours. And we couldn't do laundry, so we got down to, like, the end. And so it's like, okay, here we have to watch sheets because we have to make a bed. It was interesting. This is the second one we've had. They say they're going to do some infrastructure stuff to kind of remedy this maybe in the future. But this was a bad one. Relative. We had one four years ago wasn't quite as bad, but it was one of those things where you just really paying attention to the water, make sure you're not using any more than you need to, and doing all that.

[00:03:54.580] – Rachel

That's pretty important.

[00:03:56.010] – Allan

Yeah. Well, we are a Third World country, so it's going to happen.

[00:04:00.160] – Rachel

It happens, sure.

[00:04:01.210] – Allan

Yeah. And so you're not all the way up there. You're almost up there in a beautiful part of the country. My favorite part of the country. So what's going on?

[00:04:13.600] – Rachel

Yeah, Mike and I are enjoying a few days of vacation down in Pensacola. Today we're on the beach. We'll be in town later on, but we've been enjoying a few free days here at the beach. And sun's been great. The weather's been actually really great until just recently it got cold, but it's still perfectly sunny and we have snow at home, so I can handle the cold of Florida much better than I can handle the cold of snow in Michigan right now. So we're just enjoying some time here before we head back home.

[00:04:43.930] – Allan

Good. All right, well, safe travels.

[00:04:46.540] – Rachel

Thank you.

[00:04:47.610] – Allan

All right, are you ready to talk about metabolism?

[00:04:51.030] – Rachel



[00:05:07.260] – Allan

Catherine, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:10.310] – Catherine

Hi, thanks for having me.

[00:05:12.280] – Allan

Your article was called Hack Your Metabolism. And three words, three very important words. I love talking about metabolism. Obviously, a lot of my clients, people will come to me, they want to lose some weight, and so we start talking about metabolism and energy usage and how all this stuff, how we know or think it works today and why certain things work for us and other things don't and all that. So we go back and forth on metabolism, and that's really, in the end, what we're trying to manage around. I've never really liked the word hack, but I get the context that you're using. Here's a lot different than what a lot of people think hacking is. So this is not about taking some cleanse juice or getting on some kind of weird, take this metabolism boosting pill and you're going to hack your metabolism. This is real science.

[00:06:04.090] – Catherine

It is, yeah. So I work for New Scientist magazine, where really a lot of what we do around diet and metabolism is to try and cut through a lot of the pseudoscientists out there and really look at the evidence and base everything that we do on facts. So it's absolutely not about some kind of magic pill or some kind of thing that you're going to eat that's going to do some magic to your metabolism. I don't think that exists. And yeah, it's very much about science and evidence and what we actually know in this actually a field of research that is changing all the time.

[00:06:39.490] – Allan

Now, in the article, you kind of got into this concept of metabolic flexibility, and we've talked about that a few times on the show. But why is metabolic flexibility so important?

[00:06:51.940] – Catherine

Well, this is really something that I didn't know that much about before I started to research this article. And I'm sure your listeners know if you've spoken about it before, but metabolic flexibility is your body's ability to switch between burning different fuel sources, so really between burning fat and burning carbs. And obviously that's kind of interesting to people who are trying to manage their weight. But for me, what was really surprising was how much disability is linked to overall metabolic health and how much it's a predictor of your likelihood of having metabolic syndrome. So this is a kind of trifactor of problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity and being able to switch between these fuel sources. So having a good metabolic flexibility seems to protect you from that and really seems to be a good predictor of your future metabolic health. So it's really important.

[00:07:54.260] – Allan

Yeah, I know a lot of people, they'll try to go from being purely sugar burners and then they'll want to go and get on the keto diet. And so they'll say, okay, I'm cut out all these carbs. And invariably about two or three days later, they have this horrendous crash. Some people call it keto flu, I call it carb withdrawals. And it comes back to this process called metabolic flexibility because we're changing fuel tanks. I mean, literally going from one type of fuel to another. And for a lot of us, we're just not that flexible, so we sputter a good bit until we get there. How would someone build metabolic flexibility from the perspective of being able to switch more easily?

[00:08:35.140] – Catherine

Yeah, so where I was coming out with this article was definitely not about doing some extreme diet, doing the keto diet, although I think it's really interesting when you think about that crash and the kind of I think often with a keto diet people feel like they don't have so much energy, especially high intensity exercise. So can we train our body to be better at that? Can we improve our ability? And the researchers that I spoke to seemed to be saying that in order to improve it, the best thing is exercise. So people who exercise regularly seem to have a better metabolic flexibility. And on the flip side, people who have a poor metabolic health, people who are obese have a worse metabolic flexibility. And actually, one researcher I spoke to did a very extreme experiment where she took a bunch of healthy, fit women and made them take bed rest for two months. So they did absolutely no physical activity for two months, and they became metabolically inflexible. And another long term study looked at people over five years and found that if you are metabolically and flexible, you're more likely to develop obesity and problems with blood glucose.

[00:09:50.610] – Catherine

Doing regular exercise seems to improve their ability. And also, it looks like you can train your metabolic flexibility. So you don't need to go to the extremes of cutting out carbs completely. But if you, say, eat your meals earlier in the evening and have a longer period where you're not eating overnight, perhaps having fewer carbs in the evening as well. So that gives your body the chance to burn through those carbs that you have. It gives it the chance to switch to burning fat while you're asleep, so you don't need to do anything about it. Rather than if you eat a carb heavy meal late at night, snacking before you go to bed, your body has no chance to actually make that switch. So what people were telling me that the scientists that I spoke to was it's about giving your body the chance to regularly switch so that when you're asleep, you can switch to burning fat. Then when you need the carbs, you can eat them. And your body is really good at just using them straight away to fuel whatever it is you're doing, and then give your chance again, your body the chance to switch again.

[00:10:55.300] – Catherine

So regular exercise and regular brakes from carbs, basically, so that you can switch even during the day.

[00:11:02.810] – Allan

Okay, now you utilized the tool called lumen. And in the article, you also talked about continuous glucose monitors. Can you talk about what those tools are and how they would help us track our metabolism?

[00:11:14.670] – Catherine

Yeah, and I think it's interesting to think, for me, this comes back to a big shift, I think, in the way that scientists are thinking about metabolism, because a lot of the things that seem quite straightforward to us. And, you know, I've always been really interested in metabolic health and exercise and diet. And before we thought that we understood which foods were kind of good for us, what they did to the body, how much energy you got. And what we're discovering is that this one size fits all approach to nutrition really isn't working for people and probably isn't scientifically accurate. And more and more research shows that even your eye or even identical twins could eat the same food and have a hugely different reaction in their body. And so the devices like the Lumen device that I tried, and blood glucose monitors, they kind of provide a window into what's really happening in your body. And I think it's just a sign of the times that we're starting to understand that everybody's body is responding very differently to food and exercise. And so the Lumen device that I tried is I actually have it here.

[00:12:26.490] – Catherine

It's like a small kind of inhaler. You take a deep breath in, and then you breathe out into this device, and it's supposed to measure how much oxygen and carbon dioxide you have in your breath. And the claim is that this is a good indicator of whether you're burning fat or carbs in that moment. So you get a real time measurement. So I would do it when I woke up in the morning, and they say even if you just do it once in a day when you wake up in the morning, and then it gives you a reading on a scale of one to five of whether you're burning fat or whether you're burning carbs. And then I also used it when I was trying it out for exercise. So I don't really like to eat before workout, but do I need some extra carbs to fuel it? Or actually, have I got enough carbs that I'm good for my workout, I don't need to eat anything, and I can just go and not have to worry about running out of fuel. So that's the Lumen device with all of these things, they claim that because they have so many users, they can really gain these insights about what different habits do to our health that we wouldn't get usually.

[00:13:44.350] – Catherine

So I think that's interesting. And continuous blood glucose monitors, I don't know about you, but for me, I used to think that kind of monitoring blood glucose levels was really just for if you had diabetes or prediabetes. But again, increasingly we're realizing that many of us are having dangerously high spikes in glucose levels just during a normal day, even if we're very kind of otherwise healthy. And that could be a problem. So by monitoring your glucose levels continuously for a period of time, you can really start to understand how your body responds to different food. And like I said, how you respond to something could be very different to how I respond. And so those insights are really interesting and potentially quite confusing for people as well.

[00:14:31.030] – Allan

Yeah, at the point being and I think I saw this was a study out of Israel where they were monitoring people's blood glucose levels all through the day, and they were logging what they were eating when they were eating, and they were comparing that data. And one person can eat a banana and they're just fine. And another person eats a banana and their blood sugar shoots up. So it kind of throws the whole idea of the gi index and the load kind of throws that out a little bit. Because if we're going to have different reactions to different foods and I haven't seen anybody that studied this, but I would even think it might be different for people over different periods, span of time. 20s probably could do that, but it may have done the banana better than someone who was in their 50s. Same person.

[00:15:16.630] – Catherine

Yeah, absolutely. Even in one day.

[00:15:19.650] – Allan

Yeah. So twins can be different then we can be different because genetically they're supposed to be identical. So you had a strategy in the article that talked about not really so much timing of carbs, but that by eating protein and fiber first, you set yourself up to have a better outcome. Could you talk about how protein and fiber are at one, how important they are to us and why, but how it could be used to help us manage our blood glucose levels?

[00:15:50.340] – Catherine

Yeah, I mean, they're hugely important macronutrients. As I'm sure your listeners are aware, protein is really important for building muscle, principally, and fiber is key to healthy digestion and it's also really important for feeding the microbiome, which we know is increasingly implicated in all sorts of health metrics. But the idea behind the strategy that I wrote about in the article is that say you had a plate of food and you had some meat, some vegetables and some bread, and the order that you eat that food could make a difference to your blood glucose levels. Because if you eat the fiber first, so either the leafy vegetables that you have, that's going to kind of line your digestive system. Fiber, a lot of fiber is not digested, so that will line your system and then you eat the protein next. That's digested much more slowly than carbohydrates, so it slows down your digestion. And if you eat the carbs on top of that, then it means you'll have less of a spike in your blood glucose afterwards. And the same logic means that if you did want to eat some dessert, you should probably eat it straight away as part of your meal rather than having it like a snack later in the day when you've given your digestion that break.

[00:17:16.870] – Catherine

And if you eat it at that point, you're just going to be hitting your system with a massive sugar high.

[00:17:23.770] – Allan

Yeah. The interesting thing is this is they bring bread, in the United States, I know, they bring the bread to the table first. So everybody's passing around eating the bread, waiting for their food to come and we're eating it in the wrong order.

[00:17:37.470] – Catherine

Yeah, it's the same here. It's exactly the same.

[00:17:40.870] – Allan

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

[00:17:49.110] – Catherine

I mean, it's hard to pick three and I think, well, I've also written a book called Brain Power, which is all about things that we can do to improve our mental health and our brain, the way that our brains function. So I think I'd pick three that are unrelated to the metabolism stuff, because I think the most important thing you can do for your wellbeing is exercise, whatever that means for you. So walking in the park or hitting the gym. But exercise is amazing for our body and our brain. We know that. And I think increasingly I've been writing for New Scientists and elsewhere about the importance of spending time in nature. So connecting with nature seems to be really, really good for our mental health. So I would take that exercise. If you can do it in nature, then you can do to get two in one go. And also the importance of daylight, and especially as you know, in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter, we're spending a lot more time with artificial light. We know that spending time outside in direct sunlight early on in the day is amazing for your energy, for your mood, for your mental health and for sleep later.

[00:19:00.340] – Catherine

So my three would be take exercise in nature, if you can in the morning when you're getting that sunlight, I think that would be the kind of the best thing that you can do for your physical and mental wellbeing.

[00:19:13.270] – Allan

Great. Catherine, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:19:19.950] – Catherine

So all the things that I write about are on the New Scientist website, so newscientist.com, and my book is called Brain Power: Everything You Need to Know for Happy, Healthy Brain. So you can find that in all the usual places.

[00:19:33.480] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/566 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Catherine, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:19:42.940] – Catherine

No, thank you for having me.


This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Athletic Greens, the makers of AG1. I started taking AG1 because I realized I wasn't getting a broad enough variety of vegetables in my diet. We get good quality vegetables where I live, but limited types, and even if you get a good variety where you live, current farming practices might degrade the quality. It's hard to get both.

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Post Show/Recap

[00:21:27.190] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:21:28.840] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This was a really helpful interview for me for having metabolic flexibility. It's something that I've been trying so hard to achieve lately, and this was really insightful for me.

[00:21:41.230] – Allan

Yes, it is important. We had Cyrus and Robby on episode 560, and they were both type one diabetics. So they were talking about diabetes and managing your blood sugar and having metabolic flexibility, because in their research, that's really kind of the linchpin of health from a metabolic perspective. It's not that you're always keto or you're not eating any sugar. It's not that do something any weirder than just eat. But the way you do it and how you approach it and making sure that your body is able to adjust and use the different fuel systems is a valuable aspect of human life. And so you don't have to be extreme if you're just smart about it and paying attention. And that's part of what the hack part of this article was. She's using tools like the Lumen Breath Analyzer to figure out what's going on. She knew she was burning fat. This is actually started the story. She was in France and she didn't want to eat the Croissant, and so she had the lumen, and she was sitting there and she knew she was burning body fat at that particular moment. And she wanted to keep burning that body fat for energy.

[00:22:58.390] – Allan

She did not want to use the Croissant for energy. And she was able to do that with Lumen. Because when we're losing fat, when we're burning fat, our body does this chemical reaction. It turns it into carbon dioxide and water. And so what we're typically losing is that breathing out of that carbon dioxide. And you've probably heard this if anyone's talking about global warming, the weight, the number of pounds or tons of carbon dioxide that are being emitted. And it seems weird that a gas would have weight, but it does. Not a lot, but it does. And so when it adds up, that is weight. So you're breathing out more carbon dioxide when you're losing weight and using body fat for that than you would otherwise. And that's what this tool knows, is how much carbon dioxide relative to oxygen. And there's a formula, and then once it'll tell you where you stand, burning that fat.

[00:23:56.590] – Rachel

It's a helpful tool. I know that when I started Keto gosh years ago now, I've lost track. I went through that keto flu you talked about, and we had the fatigue as my body learned how to switch over to fat burning. And since then, it's been great. It's helpful for me as a runner to be able to go back and forth between having some carbs and burning fat and not needing all of the extra running nutrition that a lot of us runners need to use. But I just want to clarify that I don't eat bread. That's the one thing I'll probably never go back to. But I'm looking for carbs in my vegetables, not so much in the breads and pastries and whatnot. But it's been helpful. And so the next thing that I'm looking at is my blood glucose. So it's something I want to keep an eye on, even though I have the flexibility right now. I just want to make sure I'm not overworking my pancreas.

[00:24:49.200] – Allan

Yeah, well, we had a podcast sponsor that does that continuous monitoring. I wore one for a few weeks. I was in ketosis. So when I was talking to the dietitian, she was like, I don't see numbers like this. She says, my blood sugar did not move. It was right at about 70 every single day. Every time it measured, it did not go up, it did not go down. And she's like, what are you doing? I said, I'm eating a ketogenic diet and I'm in ketosis. So it's like, if I need any energy, I'm just going to body fat for that. And I'm not eating anything that would surge my blood sugar. And I'm eating protein, and I'm eating fiber. And as a result, my blood sugar stayed constant for the entire three weeks that I was wearing this thing.

[00:25:38.850] – Rachel


[00:25:39.810] – Allan

And I figured I would probably stay in a pretty tight range. I didn't realize it would be that tight. Like one or two points movement the whole time. So that was kind of odd. But it was what ketosis can do. That's a strategy. She's eating low carb when she wants to burn fat, but she will eat carbs. And basically that's the metabolic flexibility that she wants. You're able to eat carbs because you go out and do a very long run, and you've got maybe 2 hours if you're going at a good regular pace, you've got about 2 hours of glycogen in your muscle liver, and then that's where most people to run in a marathon, about mile 14 bonk. And the bonk is where they've used up all that glycogen. And if they didn't refuel, they didn't take in sugar while they were doing this something fast, because you can't be fiber and leafy greens, and it can't be just normal carbs and your body. So if your body is not used to using fat for energy, you bonk. Or if you're not taking the gooze bonk. And so you're, being a ketogenic runner, have the capacity to flip back.

[00:26:50.280] – Allan

So you can do that. You'll start burning fat throughout the whole thing, depending on the pace you go. And so you're not completely, maybe not even completely getting rid of all of your muscle glycogen and liver glycogen, but you're able to complete the run and then you stop after and you have a beer and Insulin comes to the rescue and says, we got all this stuff. We got to get out of here. And the muscles and the liver are the first preference. And so the instant will shuttle that into the muscles in the liver and you're fine. You're probably not even necessarily leaving ketosis. And if you do it's for a very short period of time and then you're right back in.

[00:27:30.340] – Rachel

Yeah, I think that's part of the benefit for renters is that we keep this process moving, we keep using the energy we're putting in. So on a sedentary lifestyle or on a rest day, I still need to keep an eye on food, just make sure I get enough for a regular day, but not so much that I need to go run 2 hours to burn it back off again.

[00:27:58.010] – Allan

I think, again, one of the core of this is to realize that you can track this stuff. The lumen is a great tool. The continuous blood glucose monitor is a great tool. Just getting one of those meters from a local pharmacy with the strips and testing your blood sugar from time to time, testing to see how certain foods are going to affect you, the order with which you eat the foods, that's an important thing. And so just kind of seeing how all this works in your body, we're all bio unique and so how food processes in your body is and maybe even different than it was ten years ago. A lot of us, like, I could eat anything 10 15 years ago and couldn't put on the way, and now I am. So something has changed. Same human, different results. And so you won't know if you're not measuring. So that's just one of the cores of it.

[00:28:52.930] – Rachel

for sure. Yeah, I think that would be a really fun experiment to try, if not a continuous, periodic glucose check just to see. Like you had discussed how different people can maybe have a different reaction to having a banana. And a while back, I was interested in trying sweet potatoes and I was concerned about the reaction I would get with that blood glucose hit. So, yeah, it would be really fun to try that out and experiment with different foods.

[00:29:19.240] – Allan

Yeah, there is a good bit of fiber in sweet potatoes. I could I can't eat sweet potatoes as a part of a low carb diet. The problem is I would go to the restaurant and order it and they would come out and they'd say, okay. I say you got cinnamon, and they're like, well, it's already mixed with the sugar. They literally buy the cinnamon. And I'm like the sweet potato. It's called sweet potato. It's already in the name. You don't have to add sugar to things that are sweet. And so Tammy would get upset with me, but I would bring butter, and I would bring cinnamon to the steakhouse and pull out my butter, and I'd put a pad of butter on the steak just to add a little bit of fat. And then I would have my own cinnamon to sprinkle on my sweet potato, and I would also cut it. I'd buy the steak, and the steak was like three or four servings, so I cut it in half, cut the potato in half, ask them for a container, put that away, and then eat half a meal, which was plenty. Okay. And so it's just kind of those little tweaks when you start understanding what's working and what's not, that you can do certain things.

[00:30:23.650] – Allan

Some people's carb threshold will be a lot higher, particularly if you're active, your carb threshold probably is higher than someone who is not able to exercise or chooses to not exercise. You're choosing to have a low carb threshold, or you're choosing to have a high carb threshold based on some of your actions. So there are ways you can get through and use it. So it's not really hacking as much as just understanding what works for you and making that your thing.

[00:30:54.100] – Rachel

Yes, absolutely. Very individual.

[00:30:56.810] – Allan

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

[00:30:59.470] – Rachel

Sounds great. Take care, Allan.


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Another episode you may enjoy


November 8, 2022

Are you asking yourself the right questions? | Dr. Corey Yeager

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Dr. Corey Yeager knows that healing and performance come from getting past ourselves. We do that by asking ourselves the right questions and building our self-awareness. In episode 563 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss his book, How Am I Doing?: Conversations to Have with Yourself.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:07.990] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:10.060] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:12.250] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Just wrapping up things here. This is going live November 8. My daughter, I guess, got married. We're recording a couple of weeks, so I'm assuming the answer is going to be yes. And all the way to the end, of course, an event or something. So at this point, yeah, we married off one of our daughters and we should be arriving back into Bocas today and get back to running the bed and breakfast and opening up my studio and, of course, training my online clients.

[00:02:40.990] – Rachel

Very busy.

[00:02:42.370] – Allan

Yeah. And then we're just a couple of weeks away from launching the holidays challenge.

[00:02:48.480] – Rachel


[00:02:48.930] – Allan

So if you haven't signed up for that, go to crushtheholidays.com. And it's 35 days of coaching with mindset, and we talk about different things, about how we get past the temptations of these holidays, this eating season. And so if that's something you've struggled with putting on a little bit of extra weight during the holidays, I strongly encourage you to come check out that challenge at crushtheholidays.com and enjoy the challenge with us. Like I said, there's a Facebook group, there's prizes for participation and a daily lesson about mindset and, of course, accountability, because you can pick out partners in the group or message me in the group and just be a part of everybody holding themselves accountable to do just a little bit better, which doing just a little bit better is crushing the holidays.

[00:03:39.520] – Rachel

Sounds awesome. Sounds like fun.

[00:03:41.370] – Allan

So what are you up to?

[00:03:43.840] – Rachel

I'm exhausted and also accelerated probably 50 50 over the weekend. Mike and I did the calcresture, which was our 30 hours running event, and it was a low key event by a run club. So, like, no pressure to be running for the entire 30 hours. You could go do the loop, which was about 5 miles, and go have breakfast and come back or take a shower, come back. You had the 30 hours to do as many loops as you want. And we had a lot of family and friends up there join us. And the donations from this event go up to one of the research facilities up here in honor of Mike and in research of kidney cancer, which my husband is fighting right now. So the event raised $4,000 for kidney cancer research.

[00:04:33.730] – Allan

So awesome.

[00:04:34.990] – Rachel

It was fantastic. It was a wonderful weekend. Lots of friends, lots of miles, lots of fun.

[00:04:41.360] – Allan

And your family too. Close by Michael and it's like everybody was there and made a really close knit family affair thing. That's awesome.

[00:04:49.530] – Rachel

It was perfect. It was really wonderful to share all this time together. It was fantastic.

[00:04:54.450] – Allan

Great. Well, are you ready to have a conversation with Dr. Yeager?

[00:04:59.050] – Rachel



[00:06:08.060] – Allan

Dr. Yeager, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:10.960] – Dr. Yeager

Thanks for having me. I'm excited to have this conversation with you today. I look forward to it.

[00:06:16.060] – Allan

I am too, and for a very good reason. Is that your book is called How Am I Doing? 40 conversations to Have With Yourself. And every time I have a client that's trying to lose weight. I can tell you 99 9% of the time, we're in our own way to improving ourselves and making ourselves better. And these conversations that you put into this book, while it seems really simple, it's really a way for you to break away from those things. So the negative self-talk, the limiting beliefs, all those are built into this. And it makes sense because you're a performance improvement person. I mean, that's your primary role right now. You've been doing this your whole life. I know when you were talking to kids in the schools, it was the same conversation that you're having with professional athletes that have been in the league for years. And so I think as we get into how we're going to fix ourselves, we have to start with the head, we have to start with the mindset. These conversations, as I said, I think are critical for us to have as a part of self-awareness.

[00:07:18.340] – Allan

So as a model of getting better, you have to know where you are. You have to know where you're going, which, like an athlete would know. This is the level of performance I have to have to make it to the next level or to be able to win this game against the Lakers or whoever. Yeah, you know, you got to win that game, you know, where you have to be physically for the season. And so you have a direction and then you set some goals for yourself. But then when you get to that self awareness piece, these are the tools. Make sure you get there

[00:07:44.700] – Dr. Yeager

100% and use the term that I think is critically important for the work of this book. But I think in life in general is becoming more aware of self. So self, that introspective space, but also becoming aware of self in the context of others. Critically important. Who am I? Not just who am I individually, but who am I in different contexts, I think becomes really important. And it really is the cornerstone of what the book is all about.

[00:08:16.650] – Allan

Yeah, because I think a lot of times we have this outward projection of what we want people to believe. We have this inner projection of who we believe we are. And both of those can be vastly different from the person that we actually are.

[00:08:31.780] – Dr. Yeager

And Allan, they can be conflictual. Those two worlds and those two people, if you will, can come into conflict within the south who I believe I am and who I think that I am becoming and who others think I am or tell me who they think I am. Those can be conflictual spaces. And the book is about working through that conflict, prioritizing self in the context of others. And all of that starts with knowing myself, becoming more aware of who I am.

[00:09:03.940] – Allan

Now, you do that with a process called narrative therapy. And obviously asking these questions, you can imagine that's where we're going to go with. Can you describe what narrative therapy is and why it's so powerful?

[00:09:15.600] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah, I think there are a multiplicity of ways to approach therapy. The one in which fits best for me and I found fits best for my therapy, my clients, is narrative therapy. And really what narrative therapy is a way to get people's stories. If you just tell me stories about yourself, that becomes content. And my job is to listen to those content laden stories and search for a pattern and regurgitate almost, if you will, a process back to you. So, narrative therapy is really one of the cornerstones of narrative therapy that I utilize a lot is personifying our issues. So, for instance, many times people that are dealing with mental illness issues almost describe themselves as their issue. I am a depressed person, I am whatever fill in the blank as opposed to personifying that problem and putting it outside of you. You can almost say in narrative therapy in ways you personify it. If we were talking about anxiety was an issue you were struggling with, I would almost say let's turn that anxiety into a person. That anxiety comes to visit. And sometimes anxiety can be something that pushes us to be successful, but it can also paralyze us.

[00:10:41.550] – Dr. Yeager

So how do I approach understanding that anxiety in a way that it comes to visit? But I just like a person, I can tell that I don't want you here today. Right? So finding that ability to be in more control. I think the other piece that I would say about narrative therapy is recognizing that each of us is the expert on our lives. No one else is an expert on my life the way I am. So instead of me as a therapist sitting in a position of all knowing we don't know all, I am just learning about you. You are the expert on you. So getting people to understand that they are the expert on their lives and I am a facilitator of the change they are seeking.

[00:11:23.140] – Allan

A lot of times I'm having a conversation with a client and I don't even really have to tell them what to do. They already know. They have to just be somewhat comforted to know that they have the right answer to start with and somebody's there that listening, if someone cares.

[00:11:38.190] – Dr. Yeager

This is that process of you being the expert and me facilitating your change. One thing I would say, Allan, about therapy in general with narrative therapy is that if we recognize that we are the experts on our lives and we hope or seek some level of version of change. One of the things that I start off with people, players, everyone that I work with is asking them what does change mean to you when you say you want to change? What are you seeking to change? And what does that mean for you? For instance, in the therapeutic realm, what we describe as change is. We describe it in two ways first and second order change. First order change and I'm a metaphorical therapist, so I use a lot of metaphors. First order change would be like walking into your home or your apartment and saying, I want to change this. So first order change is saying, I'm going to paint all the walls a different color. I'm going to change all the furniture around and put new pictures up. So if you come into my house and you were there a week ago and I make that change, it will look quite different.

[00:12:43.410] – Dr. Yeager

Second order, deeper, more profound change is saying, I'm going to knock the walls down in this apartment or in this house and forever change the structure of my home. That's a level of second order change, which is a much more profound version of change. So I asked people first, before we endeavor upon this work, what change are you seeking? Are you seeking profound knock the wall down changes? Are you seeking to just change a few small pieces that will look different, but it will be changed nonetheless?

[00:13:17.210] – Allan

Dr. Yeager, who is the most important person in your life and why?

[00:13:21.410] – Dr. Yeager

I am the most important person in my life unquestionably. And that's not being selfish. That is just recognizing that I hold all of the information about who I am and how I came to be where I am and knowing and understanding that in a way that's not selfish, but that I have to prioritize the importance of me. That doesn't mean that there aren't moments that I choose to put others first, but at the core of who I am, I recognize that as being the most important person in my life. My wife is clearly and keenly important. My children are very, very important. But I say oftentimes to my wife, before I can be a good husband, before I can be a good father, a good therapist, I must first be a good Corey for Corey. That's the beginning, the precipice, the genesis of understanding myself as the most important person in this world. And then that allows for me to show up in this world as a better version of myself as a better father, as a better husband, as a better therapist is first, starting with knowing who I am and seeing myself as the most important person.

[00:14:32.790] – Allan

Yeah, I kind of look at it from the perspective of if you don't have your own candle lit, you're not going to be able to light someone else's candle with it. You got to protect your claim. You got to protect yourself.

[00:14:45.560] – Dr. Yeager

Like being on a flight, they go through the whole little spill. When you get on the flight, if the oxygen level in the cabin drops low, you're going to have the mask that drops down. But what do they tell you if you're traveling with a child? Put your mask on first. Well, why? Does seem selfish. No. Because if I am fumbling around trying to put my son or daughter's mask on and I pass out, now, all of a sudden we're both in trouble. If I can get my mask on first, then I can maneuver and manipulate and support them in a more meaningful way. That's putting myself first. That's not being selfish.

[00:15:23.950] – Allan

Yeah. I was in Puerto Vallarta not long ago, and I landed and there was an earthquake and come up to the resort just after the earthquake, and there's a woman, and she's really distraught. And I'm sitting there with her and I'm like, okay, I can tell you're really upset. What's going on? She said, well, when the earthquake happened, we had to leave the building, and my husband could not walk down the stairs, and so she had to leave him and go get help. And she didn't want to leave him, and then they wouldn't let her go back, so they sent two men up. Everything ended up okay, but it was just kind of one of those moments of, if I don't take care of me, I'm not going to be able to take care of her. And in fact, I might actually hurt her.

[00:16:05.070] – Dr. Yeager


[00:16:05.760] – Allan

My wife, that is, in the future, because I put her in that kind of situation. And so I think as you start looking at this process, if you're not taking care of yourself, you're not taking care of anybody.

[00:16:18.040] – Dr. Yeager

That's right. And I think we've been sold a bill of goods as human beings that others should always come first. I think that's kind of what we're taught almost at a level below consciousness. We're almost taught to make sure, don't be selfish, be selfless and make sure that you put everyone else first. I think that's backwards. Right. To your point that taking care of self is really, in essence, taking care of others.

[00:16:45.240] – Allan

Yes. We're told, I think the way it goes, we're coming upon that season anyway, is it's better to give than receive? And that's a part of that messaging. But the whole point being is I could take a dollar and I could give it to you right now, or I could take that dollar and I can build it up to $10 or $100 or $1,000 and give that to you later. And so it's kind of making that investment in yourself is only going to benefit you and everybody else. So you have to make that happen.

[00:17:13.540] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah. Investing in self is critically important and not something that we're necessarily taught to do. So we have to really endeavor upon a process of being curious what the book is about, being more curious with myself, asking and answering questions that will help me push into better and deeper sensibilities around who I am and how I came to be.

[00:17:37.090] – Allan

Now, a lot of these questions will get very uncomfortable.

[00:17:42.640] – Dr. Yeager

That's good.

[00:17:45.340] – Allan

Yeah, it is good. You're going to get outside of your comfort zone. And maybe one of the ones when I read it, I was like, okay, this is hard one, and how much time do you spend looking in the mirror? And that answers changed for me over the years. There have been times when I didn't want to look in the mirror because I didn't like who I was. And there were times I looked in the mirror and I was very proud of who I was. And it's but it's not a solid state. It changes based on who I am, when I am. Can you talk a little bit about why that's such an important process for us? And like I said, maybe the hardest of all the questions that I went through, I was like, this one is really, really hard.

[00:18:26.440] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah. So you talked about that comfort or discomfort. I am a big believer, Allan, that any discomfort, pain, instead of it just being pain or discomfort for the sake of discomfort and sake of pain, we'll lean away from that because we don't want pain. We don't want discomfort. We want to be comfortable. But if you think back and reflect back throughout your life, some of the moments that were most uncomfortable produced the biggest growth that we have in our lives. So how do we reframe our thinking into a way that says, I'm going to welcome in this discomfort because I know that it's going to produce something. My kids, who are all, I'm 6'3, around 300 lbs, depends on the meal and maybe 310 is the good meal. All my boys were big boys. They would come to me when they're 8 9 10, eleven years old, and walk into my room and say, dad, my knees are killing me. So they're having growing pains. So I would say to them, that is an indication that you're growing. You want to be big like dad. So this pain that you're feeling, this discomfort that you're feeling, is solely an indication that you're growing.

[00:19:42.090] – Dr. Yeager

So it makes it easier to deal with that pain and discomfort. So if we think about engaging in this work of the mirror, it's not that you have to stand in the mirror for hour after hour, but finding the ability to be more comfortable with the person that looks back at you. You said it earlier that sometimes you would avoid the mirror because you weren't happy with the person that was looking back at you. Well, why is that? Because that man in the mirror knows all of you, knows every aspect of who you are, how you came to be. So it's uncomfortable to engage with that man in the mirror. But if we can find the ability to stand firm and be curious with that man or woman that's in the mirror, we'll learn a heck of a lot about who we are. And once again, the more I can learn about who I am or how I came to be, then I get to show up in the world a better version of myself. So finding that ability to stay in the moment, engage with self, be curious, and better understanding of us gives us an opportunity to better ourselves in our social networks.

[00:20:52.660] – Allan

Yeah. The times that I didn't want to look at myself was when I truly not being congruent to the man that I wanted to be.

[00:20:59.340] – Dr. Yeager

There you go.

[00:21:01.910] – Allan

It's a clear indicator if I didn't want to look myself in the eye, that I wasn't being me. I was doing things that were contrary to who I should be. And until I stopped doing those things and started doing the things that were building me to be the man I should be, that changed a bit. Now, I still haven't spent as much time looking in the mirror as I probably should because there's still things to fix. I mean, I never finished molding. I'll never finish fixing process. Yeah, it's a process. And so this is a really good tool. Like I said, it'll be uncomfortable. And I agree with you. Everything great takes effort and maybe discomfort, if you think about it.

[00:21:38.310] – Dr. Yeager

And this term that you use, I think, is a very important term, congruency. That's really what we're seeking in life is the ultimate version of finding ourselves as being successful, is moving with a congruent self. That who I think I am, who I seek to be. Is that congruent with my actions on a daily basis? If the answer is no, then I have to start to move in a way that says, I want to build that puzzle so the pieces fit together. Congruently. This is really what we seek in life. And the book, in my hope, is a move towards that congruency.

[00:22:16.120] – Allan

Now, one of the things that I think that's a lot of people apart is that it's how they face challenges. And so you have the question, what are the challenges you face in your life? And then you move that forward in that conversation to talk about lynch pin problems, can you kind of walk us through that thought process and how that would work?

[00:22:33.490] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah. So, for me, after football was done and the realization was that I wasn't going to be a multimillionaire playing football for the next 20 years, I was kind of lost. So I found a really good friend, and that friend was alcohol. So I began to have struggles with alcohol, and it would numb me and it would allow me not to engage with who I was or better understand myself. So it became a great friend to me, and that struggle ensued over the next number of years. But once I stopped drinking and figured out that this was really a big struggle in my life, I got the opportunity to look back and say, man, that was a huge lynch pin issue. That when we find that lynch pin issue, that's that cornerstone struggle that we have many times, there are a lot of issues that come off of that lynch pin. And if we can focus and fix and address that lynch pin, we'll find that many other things will start to fall in place. So when I stopped drinking, my finances were in a better place. When I stopped drinking, my relationship with my wife got much better.

[00:23:42.750] – Dr. Yeager

My ability to be there for my family and my kids improved drastically. So all of those issues improved off of that lynchpin issue. So asking our So what is my biggest challenge and better understanding that challenge may then allow for a number of things to fix themselves in my life if I address that lynchpin. So this is once again a critically important endeavor, but not easy. So the book is really simple, but that doesn't mean it's easy work. If you read the book, it's simple. A twelve year old can read through the book. So very simple. But the work that ensues off of the book and the questions and the conversations are challenging. But that's an important thing. We want to be challenged, I hope. And from that challenge, we better ourselves. Nelson Mandela said a quote that I live by. He said, in life we never lose. We either win or we learn. I think this is extremely important, that if we can reframe our thinking around struggle and say it's not a loss, I didn't lose. I got an opportunity to learn. And guess what? I'll make more mistakes as I move through life.

[00:24:57.700] – Dr. Yeager

But the hope is I won't continuously make that same mistake over and over because I learned from it. So seeing the world reframing some of these challenges, these lynchpin issues, in such a way that we can take a learn from that it betters us as we move forward.

[00:25:14.710] – Allan

Now, another thing that comes up a lot when I'm training is that people believe, or they have a belief about themselves. So I have a client, we sit down with a certain weight for her to do a certain exercise, and she says, this is as high as I can go. And I just get a smile on my face. I said, Give me six weeks.

[00:25:33.040] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah, that's right.

[00:25:35.510] – Allan

And I see it time and time ago. Like a client says, I don't believe a woman over 50 can lose weight. I hear those untruths all the time. And so it's your question is what untruths are you telling yourself about your current existence? Why do we have so much trouble seeing outside of our own lives?

[00:25:54.560] – Dr. Yeager

Well, I think that kind of our upbringing may set us up to struggle to see outside of ourselves, really in a profound and deep way. And one way in which to cope with that is to tell ourselves lies, to tell ourselves untruths. If you tell an untruth enough, you can convince yourself that it's not a truth. So there was a philosopher, an existentialist, that really talked about what is the existence of why am I here? What is life about? His name is Jean Paul Sark. And Sark worked on something that I utilize a lot and talk about a lot that's connected to this untrue. And it was a concept that he coined called bad faith, saying that we can tell ourselves these untrue stories over and over in a way that helps us kind of manage and manipulate life. So, for instance, if you're working at a job that you absolutely hate, you'll tell yourself the story that there's no other option. I've got to keep doing this job. I absolutely hate it, but it's how I pay my bills and my mortgage payment and whatever it is. So we tell ourselves this story that we know deep down is not true, but it allows me to manage and manipulate through the day to day process, but it's not true.

[00:27:13.620] – Dr. Yeager

So can we challenge ourselves and start to uncover and discover? What are these untruths that I'm telling myself? If you sit with yourself enough and say, so what lies am I telling to myself? You'll have answers to that question. Now the process really says, okay, now I'm aware of it. We have a choice. We can keep making those untruth statements and say, it's almost like the Matrix. Which pill do you want? I want to tell myself the lies, and that's what I want. Then I'll stay there. But if I take the other pill, I will uncover all kinds of options that I didn't necessarily think about or didn't really want to uncover. But now they're here. Now the truth is going to be able to battle with the untruths. And guess what? I can make some different choices. Now, that doesn't mean we always will. I may stick with the bad choices, but now it's not from a space of unconscious or subconscious movement. It's now into the consciousness. And what does that mean? It means now I can start to battle with cognitive dissonance. Now I have a battle that ensues about that new information enters, new truths enter my thinking.

[00:28:29.110] – Dr. Yeager

And now I get to say, yeah, I hadn't really thought about that. What am I going to now do about it? Am I going to choose to keep down that same lane or am I going to move in a different way? Now you have some options, and that's what we really hope for in life. The more we want a multiplicity of options, and that's what the book is hoping to point out, that we do have options. It starts with awareness, and then we get to do something about those. No new options.

[00:28:56.620] – Allan

Yeah, I kind of look at it. And you even talked about you being your own best friend a little bit in the book, but it was this concept of if your friend told you she's just not going to be able to lose this weight, you would not tell her. You're absolutely right. You're over 50. You're not going to lose the weight. You're going to turn around and say, yeah, you can. You're going to be the best cheerleader for that person. And so if you find yourself saying something that you wouldn't say to your own best friend, that's probably a part of the cognitive distance that's going on in your brain right now.

[00:29:25.990] – Dr. Yeager

So, Allan, you point out something that's really important. So we have this concept of self talk. We're always having conversations with ourselves. So as I'm talking, Allan, you're talking to yourself right now. What question am I going to ask next? Do I believe what he said on this?

[00:29:43.240] – Allan

I absolutely do.

[00:29:46.840] – Dr. Yeager

The self talk is continuously occurring, but if we tune in and become more deeply aware of the self talk, we may start to say, man, I'm really negative with myself, and I didn't realize I was even doing it. So if we start to think about personifying, this self talk, this negative tape that can be playing over and over in our heads, and if we take those negative thoughts and tell ourselves, if I had my best friend take that tape of Negativity and spew it back to me and say all those negative things back to me, would I remain friends with them? The answer is easily, no. I wouldn't remain friends with you if that's all you were doing was telling me these negative stories over and over. But we're doing that to ourselves over and over, Allan. So if we can better frame this misunderstanding in such a way that says, I don't want that Negativity over and over in my head, the first step of that is being aware that's even occurring. The next step is moving that negative conversation into a more positive space that I'm, okay, I'm going to make it through this.

[00:30:56.440] – Dr. Yeager

Every struggle that I've had in my life, I've made it through to this point because I'm here and I'll make it through whatever this struggle is. Now, I've changed that tape. I took that negative tape out and replaced it with a positive tape. Now I get to move in this world in a more positive fashion every day. And if that positive tape is plain, the chances that my outcomes in life are positive increase exponentially. So that's really what this self talk is about, and how do we frame it and understand it in a way that we can move it, as opposed to just having to be unconscious and playing negative thoughts all the time.

[00:31:36.550] – Allan

Now, I think for a lot of us, well, every one of us, change is scary, change is uncomfortable, and we've talked about a lot about discomfort, but everybody kind of wants to change, and they basically start cataloging. If you could change anything, what would you change about yourself, about your environment, about your job, about your relationships? Every one of us will probably be able to list three or four things about just about every one of those. But you asked the question, what do you most hope to change in your life? Can you talk about the significance of that question?

[00:32:12.190] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah. So again, I think to your point, there's tons of things that we would like to change. I want to change my wardrobe. I mean, there's a ton of things we can fill in the blank and nausea about the things that we want to change. But the work that I'm discussing in the book is saying, all right, so what is the most profound, biggest thing that I hope to change in my life? Because I think too often we get caught up in trying to address everything all in one moment. I just want to get everything better, but does it work? And then we get consumed with and overwhelmed with trying to do too much. So there's an African proverb that says, how do you eat an elephant? Well, the answer is one bite at a time. So this question of what do you hope to change most is taking the bite out of whatever, that struggle that you're having. Not trying to address every struggle and change every aspect of my life, but prioritizing what it is that I see as the struggle of the challenge that is most pressing for me, then I get to go about taking a bite out of that and working to change that, as opposed to trying to be overwhelmed with addressing all of these issues at once.

[00:33:32.920] – Dr. Yeager

And what we'll do when it feels like it's overwhelming, we end up doing nothing. I coach football and I coach offensive line. And one of the things that I tell offensive lineman, you have two guys that are coming at you. What a guy will tend to do is try to block both of them. When you try to block them both, you end up blocking neither. So it's connected to change and what we prioritize. Pick one thing, stick with that, work through that process, and that becomes a win. When I can work through that process, all of a sudden I have one small win. And if I can have one small win, I now convince myself that I can have two wins, and those two wins can turn to four wins. So all of a sudden, I get to change and build upon that one bite sized approach to change. And I think that's really my work, is to help facilitate the change process. I'm not going to change your life, but I'll help you facilitate your own process.

[00:34:34.540] – Allan

You have to be willing, yes, put in the effort to make that change. And questions, like I said, they're just a really deep dive into who you are in helping you build a plan and find the things that you need to change, to be congruent, to be who you're supposed to be. So it's a great, great tool.

[00:34:51.450] – Allan

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

[00:35:01.310] – Dr. Yeager

Three. You're going to make me narrow down to three? I'm going to struggle.

[00:35:06.490] – Allan

Remember what you just said? What's the big thing?

[00:35:09.570] – Dr. Yeager

Yes. There you go. Prioritization. Prioritization.

[00:35:13.770] – Allan


[00:35:14.960] – Dr. Yeager

So I think a couple of the most simple ones are even starting off with your sleeping pattern. How well do you sleep? Getting good sleep matters that if I get a good night's rest, I wake up more refreshed and find the opportunity to face the day in a more positive nature just from the very beginning. So I think getting good sleep is a cornerstone, one that's very simple. I think another one that we must develop is budgeting our energy, that I only have a finite amount of energy, so I can't give it all away all the time. And that's not being selfish, that's just using a budget, a process of budgeting my energy. Where do I choose to give this energy? Why am I choosing to give this energy to this project or this person? But it has to be in a fashion that we budget it because it's not endless. So where am I giving my energy? And why I think is an important piece. Journaling is another thing. Finding the ability, the research tells us if I have a struggle, a couple of ways that I can address that struggle are talking to someone, telling them what my struggles are, and then journaling.

[00:36:29.610] – Dr. Yeager

And both of those processes are ways in which we can get that negativity out. It's all bottled up inside of us. What we hope to do is get it out. So if I come to you, Allan, I'm seeking help and support, you're not going to be able to fix my issues, but if I trust that you'll listen and hear me and allow me to spew this out, I'll walk out of that session of that conversation feeling lighter. You didn't fix it, but I got to talk about it. I got to relieve pressure around that issue. So finding the ability to journal or talk to others, I think is extremely important. We have to give ourselves grace as well, Allan. We do well as human beings giving people around us grace. If you mess up or do something I don't like, I'll say, no, Allan, I don't worry about it, it's okay. But we won't take that same notion with ourselves to tell ourselves, it's okay. I struggled with that, but I'm going to keep moving. In life, we must be rivers, not ponds. A river is ever moving, ever regenerating itself. A pond can become very stagnant.

[00:37:39.570] – Dr. Yeager

So we want to keep moving. Finding the ability to keep moving. Last couple that I hit on, and I know it's more than three, I apologize already. How do we find the ability to stay in this moment? The only true thing that we have in this world is the current moment that we reside in. What happened ten minutes ago is gone forever, never to return. What will happen ten minutes from nowis Allan is yet to be seen. But this moment we know we have. So how do we find the ability to stay in the current moment? Practice gratitude. I'm happy and thankful for all that I have that has got me to where I am in this moment. And lastly, do we have the ability to focus and have an internal locus of control? That control is important, but not nearly as important as knowing that I own and control who I am and how I'm moving this world. So being clear on the control mechanisms and controlling the controllable things that we can, and not being as worried about those things outside of our control, where we tend to dump a lot of energy and we don't impact it, we can't move it, but we dump energy into it and it doesn't change anything.

[00:38:57.600] – Dr. Yeager

So use that energy to control the things that you can control. That's an internal locus of control. So I know I gave you like, seven, and I know you asked for three, but I tried to pick

[00:39:07.780] – Allan

that's all right. You got a whole offensive line coming at me. It's worth it. We do need to journal because we can't beat people up on the football field anymore.

[00:39:17.100] – Dr. Yeager

That's right, we don't have that outlet. Journaling is the new.

[00:39:23.290] – Allan

All right, thank you for that. So, Dr. Yeager, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the things you're doing and your book, How Am I Doing? Where would you like me to send them?

[00:39:32.710] – Dr. Yeager

So you can really if you Google Dr. Corey Yeager or go through any of the social media outlets, instagram, Facebook, Dr. Corey Yeager, Google my name. The book is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, any of the major book outlets, you'll be able to find it at your local bookstore, community-based bookstore. So it'll kind of be everywhere. If you google Dr. Corey Yeager, you'll find me everywhere.

[00:40:00.490] – Allan

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

[00:40:04.230] – Dr. Yeager

Hey, I appreciate it, man. It was a fun conversation, Allan. Thanks.

[00:40:07.470] – Allan

Me too. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:40:17.510] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:40:19.170] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. You know, I could have listened to you guys talk for probably a couple more hours about different questions to ask. I mean, you guys pick some doozys about self talk and being self aware and all these wonderful things. Very useful.

[00:40:32.670] – Allan

Well, for one, I was able to cherry pick 40 questions, the ones that I thought would actually be the most relevant to the show overall. But that's good. It's that self awareness that is tripping all of us up. And there are different ways to get to self awareness. And, you know, like, I have the quiz. What's your health blocker? Quiz so you can go to 40plusfitness.com/quiz and take that quiz and it's a really simple little tool puts you in one of five categories for what's blocking you the most. And so there's tools. But this book is kind of like I'm just swimming in the top little bit of 2ft of water and he's down into the deep, deep depth. And so this is like the deep dive into who you are all the way down to your soul. And so when he asks the question, you're asking questions like, what are the lies that I tell myself? Or what brings me the most joy in my life? And initially you might just throw out an answer and then you start diving into it a little bit deeper. You're like, okay, I'm not being authentic.

[00:41:38.520] – Allan

I'm not living the life that I should be living based on who I'm supposed to be. Because most of us have this self image and part of the time and it's also a major reason why we struggle with our health and fitness is we're not living up to that.

[00:41:52.360] – Rachel


[00:41:53.510] – Allan

We have this idea of who we're supposed to be and we're not walking the walk. We're not quite there yet. And so this is a great opportunity for you to look deep and figure out what are those things that are really keeping me away from doing the things that I know would bring me joy and would make my life better and would make me a better person. Because it's in there.

[00:42:14.490] – Rachel

It is.

[00:42:15.340] – Allan

It's in there. And you just have to take the time to say, okay, what's there and why is it there and what can I do about it? And when you really get down to figuring out how you are today, that initially sounds like a very easy question. But it's so deep that this is not, like you said, literally every question in this book. You could spend a week thinking about. You can make this like an annual 40 weeks out of the year, spend the time going through the question and then spend that week really, really diving deep into yourself, okay, about what that question means to you. And then the better thing because I'm a very much of an action oriented person. What are you going to do about it?

[00:42:58.900] – Rachel

That's right. Well, you know, one of the questions you talked about was showing up for yourself and you discussed if you had a friend that said, oh, I can't lose this last few pounds or I can't do this. You would never agree with that. You would tell your friends, sure you can. You can do that. You would be the encourager. And so why aren't we doing this for ourselves more often? And similarly kind of in the same book, you know, as a mother, I used to prepare healthy meals for my kids because I wanted my kids to grow up healthy. And sometimes I let that slide for myself. Or maybe I don't cook the healthiest foods for my husband, but he does most of the cooking, I'll just tell you that. But why doesn't that skill set translate to ourselves when we are so giving and caring for other people? Why can't we do those exact same things for ourselves? It's a good question to ponder and to figure out how to fix that.

[00:43:51.810] – Allan

Yeah. And so, yeah, at the realm where I'm talking 30,000ft, looking down, it's just that you're a giver and you want to give to the family, and you want to do what's right for your family. And so you're looking at your co pilots, the people who are in the plane with you, and you're spending more time taking care of them than you are about yourself, forgetting that you're all in the same plane.

[00:44:15.600] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:44:16.530] – Allan

Or car.

[00:44:17.640] – Rachel

And that's important.

[00:44:18.720] – Allan

Yeah, in some cases. Some folks. I know this wasn't the case with you, but the people that are in that car with them aren't supporting them. They're taking and they're taking, and so you've got givers and takers. And so there's sometimes there's really bad stuff going on, and that's where these deep dives can be very, very good because you're just like, Why do I keep doing it? And sometimes you're doing it because that's who you are. And sometimes you're doing it just because you've been pulled into that and held into that. And you need to understand that at a deeper level to ever break through that. Because if the resistance is there internally and you don't deal with that, you're going to revert. If the resistance is external and you don't deal with that, you're going to be fighting that battle all the time. So it's really important to get in there and understand yourself and your situation and come to those answers. Because it's not a simple, oh, I just need to stop doing this. It should, but it can't. It won't.

[00:45:17.890] – Rachel

It's not always that obvious too, Allan we may not recognize the people that are sabotaging what we're trying to accomplish. Like you said, if it's not us sabotaging ourselves, we may not recognize those situations. So having this list of questions like Dr. Yeager put together in his book, it might be really beneficial just to sit down and give some of them a little bit of a thought process.

[00:45:41.860] – Allan

Yeah. If you're not where you want to be in the self awareness area, this is a great book to walk you through it. Basically, if you hired him at probably something that's going to be well into the big hundreds of dollars an hour for him to listen to Utah, these are the questions that he would ask. These are the big questions that you'd go into a session and he might spend several sessions really pulling out of. You the real answer to this question. And he does some of that in the book. So if you're someone who's going to wants to do this, I'd say, yeah, go ahead. And get the book. It's on audible.

[00:46:15.570] – Rachel


[00:46:16.140] – Allan

So it's on audible. You can get the hardbound book and it's just a journey that you'll take with yourself. I know you're a big fan of journaling, as am I, and you're like, buy yourself a journal, listen to audiobook, listen to a chapter, and really think through that question. And don't stop until you've gotten to the end of the question and you have an answer. And here's the interesting thing about the human brain is by the time you get to the end of all the questions, if you were to start back at the beginning, you might even have different answers for those questions after you go through this, and in fact, you probably should have different answers for those questions after you've gone through a process like this.

[00:46:56.220] – Rachel

That sounds fascinating. Yeah, I think I need to get my hands on some of these questions.

[00:47:01.540] – Allan

They're in the book.

[00:47:02.800] – Rachel

All right, on it.

[00:47:05.210] – Allan

Alright, so I'll talk to you next week, then.

[00:47:07.110] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[00:47:08.190] – Allan

You Too.


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


November 1, 2022

A fun new look at yoga with Emily Sharratt

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Emily Sharratt is an editor, writer, and qualified yoga instructor. She has been teaching for over seven years, as well as having a regular practice for almost 20. Her teaching method encompasses a wide range of yoga styles, from Vinyasa Flow to Yin. And she considers the final relaxation the most important part of class.

On episode 562 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss her new book, Yoga Animals


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:12.940] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:15.090] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:17.130] – Allan

I'm doing good. Crazy busy, but good.

[00:02:21.340] – Rachel

That's good.

[00:02:22.990] – Allan

Yes, we've got our daughter's wedding coming up. In fact, I think this episode I will actually probably be on an airplane to Mississippi where my daughter is getting married. And yes, it's going to be kind of insane the first part of the end of this month and the beginning of the next one because I'm just putting so much into trying to get the Crush the Holidays Challenge thing done. I'm really excited about the structure of it this year. It's a little different than it was last year. All new videos, everything is all new. So I'm like completely almost recreating it from the ground up and it's going to be a lot better than it was last year. So I'm hopeful we get enough people in there. We get a lot of people in there because it's a really good challenge. If you have struggles during the holidays of eating too much, I call it eating season. If you have trouble with eating season. This is a way for you to not lose ground during the holidays by keeping you focused for most of it and then working on Mindset every day, finding something within ourselves that's going to help us get stronger mentally so we can get stronger physically and healthier and all those other things.

[00:03:35.380] – Allan

So you can go to 40plusfitness.com/crush and sign up for the Crush the Holidays Challenge. And then of course the retreat. That's going to probably be almost be planning that probably every day all the way until it goes live in May. But just trying to put some structure to it, understand it so that when it comes time to put it out there and market it that people know what it is and it's not going to be like your. Look, there's a ton of different types of retreats so it's almost everything under the sun. But it's not a boot camp where I'm going to beat you to death with exercise and stuff for five days. There are exercise sessions that are optional, but I encourage people to come. And then we're going to do some movement, we're going to do some things. A lot of that outside, but the other part of it is that we're going to have Mindset discussions and I'm trying to make it as accessible as possible. So I'm going to try to do a broadcast of the first session. So the first session, well, not really the first 1st session, but the sit down session is a Mindset.

[00:04:40.830] – Allan

So we start working through Mindset. And so about an hour and a half, we'll have a live session and I'll have it available online for free. Or you can upgrade to the recordings if you don't happen to be able to listen live each day when it's going to happen, which I think will probably be something like nine to 10:30 or something like that. But a lot of people can't just be online every day or watching zoom every day during those hours. So if you can't, there will be recordings and that will be really cost effective for you to get those. And each day there'll be a thing you're working on with Mindset. I'm going to do a workbook so the whole course thing will have a workbook for you to work through. The people that are here, we're then going to go into it. So there's implementation that happens after the lesson here. If you're at home, you're doing that on your own, but if you're here, we're walking through it.

[00:05:35.950] – Allan

so that's that. And then they'll probably there will be, be a VIP level for the people that are here. The VIPs will get to stay in Lula's, but we only have six rooms. So that's going to be limited to six people in the VIP unless someone is nice enough and two people that know each other or are okay. So we'll just go in and we'll both go VIP together and maybe work out something on that since they're sharing a room, but it's going to be limited to 6 VIPs and they'll get more so they'll have more access to me with some deep dives. They're going to get some awesome additional workout stuff that we'll do each afternoon. They're good to see parts of the island and things we'll do outside that the others won't get to do. And I'm going to throw in a couple of other little cool things to help them with their wellness over the course of that week. But that's starting to line up. I'm going to structure it and get it all organized, but still pretty new. So if you're interested in the retreat, I need to see an interest list.

[00:06:40.750] – Allan

Or at some point I'll just say, okay, I'm doing this for myself and that's not going to be fun to have six empty rooms here in Lula's and nobody here for me to go say, okay, it's time for the morning walk run. It's just not going to be that cool. So I need to see if there's some interest, and if I see that, then I'll go ahead and really get this thing pushing forward. But you can go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat and that will take you to the retreat interest form. You just put your name and your email and that lets me know that, yeah, there's people that are raising their hands saying, I'm definitely interested in the Bocas portion of this, or even if it's just, okay, I may not be able to do the Bocas thing because of travel and passports and all that. You will need a passport, but those things, maybe that's outside the realm of what you want to do or can do. There will be a broadcast of it and recordings if you need those as well. So a lot of moving parts with the wedding. It's also getting into busy, starting to get into busy season here in Bocas with our national holidays.

[00:07:43.320] – Allan

So it's just bang, bang, bang, bang.

[00:07:45.810] – Rachel

Of course. It sounds very busy, but exciting too.

[00:07:49.020] – Allan

Yeah, a lot of new stuff and getting out of some old stuff, which is still very sad, but everything has its chapter to turn the page and move on. So how are things up there?

[00:08:00.690] – Rachel

Great. Mike and I just spent the weekend in Detroit. He and I ran a 1 mile and a 5K race on Saturday and then I ran the half marathon on Sunday and a bunch of our running friends from our run club here did the full marathon on Sunday and it was just a beautiful weekend in Detroit. So we had a great weekend. I'm exhausted from all the running around, but seeing the city was wonderful. It was nice to get away.

[00:08:27.700] – Allan

Good, I'm glad to do that. All right, so are you ready to talk yoga?

[00:08:33.040] – Rachel



[00:08:57.710] – Allan

Emily, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:09:00.370] – Emily

Thank you.

[00:09:02.890] – Allan

I saw the title Yoga Animals and I was like, this is perfect. This takes everything about yoga that would keep someone away from yoga and literally just kind of makes it happen. I've gone to yoga and I can tell you I'm one of the least mobile human beings on earth because I fancied myself as a bodybuilder when I was younger. So my lifting style and the things I did were not functional. They were to build bigger muscles. So I lost a lot of mobility by not being mobile when I had the opportunity to be mobile. Twenty-five years of a sedentary job did its damage as well. And what I like about the idea of these poses being named after animals is when you really think of it that way, instead of some Esoteric name or Indian name or something, it just opens it up. And I'm like, I could see parents or grandparents in their living room doing these poses and their kids just kind of like saying, wow, this is cool, I can do this peacock pose, or I can, there's a ton of different ones out there, but they just all sound fun. And particularly when you say it's an animal, I'm going to do the cat pose or I'm going to do the downward dog or the upward dog.

[00:10:27.060] – Allan

You know, all those poses just sound fun when they're put that way. And so, like, when I did do yoga, it's like I was in a room with a group of people, they were all much more accomplished than I was. The instructor would actually get up and walk over and, like, push down my hips to try to get my legs in the right position. And so it's just kind of one of those things where I knew I needed it, I needed the mobility, but it was just even for me, as someone who was generally fit, it was intimidating.

[00:10:58.600] – Emily

Yeah, I mean, we have tried to move away from that, pushing people down, things like that. It's a little bit old school, but yeah, to say the animal first thing, I think the storytelling element to yoga is a big part of its appeal. I mean, maybe in some cases it's also a bit off, but in a debate, people might prefer the kind of exercise a bit more straightforward. But for me, the storytelling was definitely what kind of enticed me in. And it's why a lot of the movement might overlap with Pilates. But for me, pilates will never quite have the same appeal because it feels a bit more like I'm sitting down or getting on my mat to do the exercises. To do my physical exercises and doesn't have that element of story which I love so much in yoga. Personally speaking. Anyway. But I think it's true of children as well. Children really engage with yoga in a very immediate way. My own children do as well. It's kind of nice to see.

[00:11:56.160] – Allan

Now, one of the things I liked about the book was that you had illustrations in there just to kind of give us an idea of what the pose or the movement looked like, which was really cool. And there were over 30 poses, 32 poses from the wild. Again, it's just something that just draws me into that to enjoy that. But you had those illustrations and I had written down the name of your illustrator, but those are really good and made it a very beautiful book.

[00:12:23.670] – Emily

Yeah, absolutely. Well, actually, there are two illustrations to the book, so there's one who did this stunning, very kind of very realistic, but also very artistic animal drawing to match along with their name, as we say, that's Jade Mosinski. And then the other Jade, the other illustrator, also Jade. Her name is in here somewhere. I hope it's in here somewhere. Jade Wheaton. And she did the kind of step by step illustrations which were really what we were very careful to get right, because obviously they're quite minimalistic in their style. But when you're thinking of people practicing from home without a teacher there supervising and making sure everything done safely, it felt extra important to make sure. So there's quite a lot of me standing back and saying, could you just slightly tweak this? And then sometimes saying, we can't find any photo references online. Could you please do it for them? Whoops. It is in the midst of yeah, in the midst of a lockdown, sort of being at home and getting people to photograph me. Taking this as step by step, it's not so much the finished poses, which you can always find photo references for, but it's the step by step to get into them all.

[00:13:38.100] – Emily

The kind of little bits to match along with my illustrations. That was my instructions. So, yeah, I hope they are useful for people. We certainly took care to get them right.

[00:13:50.200] – Allan

Yeah. And I think that's what's really good about this is you have full descriptions, so even if you didn't have the illustrations, it would work. The illustrations just kind of enhance for those of us that are not visually impaired. It really does enhance our ability to see what that looks like, which allows us to emulate it a little bit better.

[00:14:09.820] – Emily

Yeah, true.

[00:14:11.660] – Allan

So why is yoga a great movement practice?

[00:14:16.910] – Emily

Well, I'm a firm believer that there is a yoga practice for everyone. And I have spoken to a lot of kind of friends and family and people who are a bit skeptical of that notion. They say no, but like you said, almost, I'm really inflexible. You'd be surprised how many people you get saying I couldn't possibly come to your yoga class, so I'm really inflexible and I think that's exactly why you should come to my yoga class. Yes, but then equally you get people who say, oh, they struggle to kind of sit still with you, maybe to get to the meditation side of things. I really believe that you can customize your own yoga practice to suit yourself. And for me, that's kind of fundamentally what yoga is. It's the practice of checking in with your body, with yourself daily and seeing where you are on that given day, in that given moment, and providing yourself with what you need. So for me, my yoga practice is very different from day to day, but maybe some days I just want to sit and do some breath work, a bit of meditation, some very gentle structures kind of achieved for in my body.

[00:15:23.790] – Emily

Some days I might want something more dynamic or something more playful or silly, especially if I've got one on both of my kids kind of crawling over the map. Then it takes on a different tone and I just really believe that. It's a bit like when people say they don't like reading and I say, oh, you found the right book. I kind of feel the same way about yoga that they need to define the practice that suits them and it can look completely different from anybody else's and that's the beauty of it. And I think what makes it really special and maybe different from most other exercise forms I can think of.

[00:15:54.820] – Allan

Yeah. And what I like about it is not only are we building mobility with that we need, but you can also use yoga to build strength. I've been in a yoga class that was all about stamina, kinda weird, but it was yeah, we moved a lot, we held some poses, but we moved quite a bit. So it was an intense little workout, body weight workout. And that's the other thing that's really cool about it is yeah, you'll need a mat probably, and you might want a yoga block, but that's your investment about it. So it's something anybody can afford to do.

[00:16:35.510] – Emily

Yeah, I agree. And that's helpful to have. But as a push, you could practice your yoga with a towel. It's just something to stop you from slipping, especially if you are doing kind of a bit more of a cardiovascular session. It might get a bit sweaty and depending on what's cushion if you're kind of holding for longer. But really it is a very kind of low requirement and something that you can practice on your own. So you don't need gym membership, you don't need personal trainer, you don't need any, generally speaking, would recommend that people do attend some classes, whether it's in person or online, just so they get a bit of a sense of how to practice safety. They have some kind of guidance when they're starting. But yeah, it is incredibly flexible in that way, practicing any corner that you can find a little bit of floor space for yourself.

[00:17:35.740] – Allan

I think one of the reasons that yoga has taken off, I remember 20 years ago, people talk about yoga and it's like, oh, that's that woo woo stuff. It's left the woo woo, and it's now mainstream for sure. And I live on an island, and I could tell you I can't throw a rock and not hit a yoga instructor. But one of the other things that I find very valuable about yoga is that it was really centered on understanding and feeling your body. There's a meditation aspect to it. And you mentioned breath work. I'd like to talk about breath work and what that looks like and why that's important.

[00:18:20.660] – Emily

So, again, in terms of you go back to yoga's roots, breath work is really fundamental. It's one of them. I won't go into all the details of that. I'm not the expert to do so. But there are various kind of limbs of yoga of which physical yoga is only one. So the yoga that we're talking about here really is the practice of having yoga is only one limb of a full yoga practice, and breath work is one. So it's come back there in the fundamentals, but if you just take it in maybe a more kind of media accessible level for those of us who don't have the background in the spiritual scriptures of yoga, it's something that, again, that I think everybody needs. And there's a breath work practice for everyone and for every scenario. And it's something that you don't need to do as part of full yoga practice, especially once you've got into the habit. So I think people often are like, I don't need to be taught to breathe. I've been doing it for blah blah numbers of years. But you'd be surprised how many of us don't breathe. That for what we think of as that yoga breath, that diplomatic breath, right.

[00:19:27.070] – Emily

Kind of down into the lower abdomen, of course. And then when you say that, when you're teaching new students, I say, I do appreciate that your air is not actually going into your belly, but that kind of effects of inflating your belly as you apply the diaphragm and the time it gets fished out, those deep, full breaths. We do them when we are born. We're kind of born being able to do them, but we unlearn them. And I think we can get into especially we have very stressful lifestyles. You get some shallow upper chest breathing and we need to be taught again just for our general health. But it's amazing what it can do for kind of mood regulation. And like I say, it's something that when you've got into the practice of it, first of all, your general breathing is better, but you also have something you can take with you into other aspects of your Life. So. It's something I've used in childbirth. I've used some parenting. Very regular, calming breath. I try to model as well. If I've got a stress of work situation going on, it's that kind of a hard reset, turning yourself off and on again, that you go, okay, let's go back to the basics.

[00:20:47.800] – Emily

And you notice that you feel calmer. You feel more in control. Your heart rate gets slowed. It's a really incredible practice. And there are loads and loads of different yoga breaths which can be used in different ways. Once you've been doing yoga for a while, some of them will start be sort of dropped in quite casually into a yoga instructor sort of parlance. But as I say, it's not even necessarily you don't need to know the names, but how they make you feel is really quite striking. And they're useful tools for all of your life.

[00:21:25.310] – Allan

Yes. And as you mentioned, with kids and stress and things like that, this is actually an off switch to your nervous system going into this fight or flight. So most of us in what's going on today and everything that's going on in our lives spend a lot of our time in this fight or flight mode. And so taking this time to really check in with your body to breathe in deeply, which, again, we have to relearn because we stopped doing it. Stress breathing is chest breathing. And when you sit down and start breathing into the abdomen and you really get those deep breaths, it just slows everything down inside your body. And as a result, you're stressed less. And so it's a huge tool for you to manage your stress. And the cool thing is you can do it anywhere. My boss would call me on the elevator on the elevator up to my boss's office. Because it was almost always bad news. That's corporate life. But it was almost always bad news. So I would just do box breathing in the elevator, just going up to my bosses so that I didn't go in there in a complete fight or flight mode.

[00:22:37.230] – Allan

So I could go in there as calm as I could get. But it was a tool. And so this is a tool that you'll learn as a part of a yoga practice. And you've got that built into the way that you set up these programs, which is quite dynamic. Now, as you look at these poses, the animal yoga animals, you use a mix of vinyasa, flow and yen. Can you talk about what those are? Because I think we get thrown these foreign words.

[00:23:04.050] – Emily


[00:23:04.630] – Allan

And so it just kind of seems like okay. I don't even know what that means. Can you just talk about what those two things are and the value of each?

[00:23:13.170] – Emily

Yes. So, vinyasa I Think It Literally Needs To Be kind Of Put In A Certain way. But Actually The Way I Use It is that It's a flow rather than yin, which is more static and I'll go into more details about yin a minute. But in a yoga session you're quite often hear the instructor say if you'd like to take a Vinyasa and that's the little they mean. That's a sequence in the middle of a sun salutation where you basically flow through top of a plank, down onto your front, up into a cobra or an upper facing dog and then down facing dog. So that's just kind of wrestling through very quickly and people say you like taking a vinyasa now if you want to rest, you can come straight down with facing dog. Really essentially what we're using vinyasa for is a flow of poses strong together and one of the benefits one of the uses for it is that getting the kind of cardiovascular side of things into your yoga practice. Getting the breath going a bit faster. Getting the heart rate going a bit faster. Growing through more quickly. Getting everything moving around the body more quickly.

[00:24:26.220] – Emily

It has a bit of a dance like feel to it as well. So there's just pleasing to the brain in that way and then yin is not part of the traditional yoga system but it's something that is becoming increasingly popular now. I think part of yin is actually what you were just talking about there with the breath work is about a kind of hard reset of an early system. So what you're doing is you're holding a pose for longer. So you might take a gentler variation of the pose to begin with because our tendency from our modern lifestyle is to kind of muscle into the most extreme version of the pose and then hold but that's exactly the opposite skin. That's not what you're supposed to do, you're supposed to be accommodating yourself, maybe using props. We probably use more props in yin than other forms of yoga. So you can have a bolster or a blanket or cushion for like that. You get yourself supported in a pose and they're really only kind of a handful of pose that we really need to routinely in where it's more appropriate. And then you suddenly you hold and you come to your breath and come to look at yin.

[00:25:36.900] – Emily

It might look like nothing very much is happening at all because somebody is surrounded by all these cushions and they're not gonna talk. But actually it can be really challenging because first of all, once you're holding it for longer you start to notice areas of discomfort in the body but also in the mind. That's where your mind starts to get a bit chatty and so it's a really useful practice for flexibility just on a physical level because it's where you can really access those deep muscles and practice the art of properly letting go. It's very good, I would say, on a psychological and emotional level. Again, to kind of give yourself this break and to send this message to your nervous system. There is no urgency. There's no rush. We're resting here. We are not in any danger. We're just going to go deep inside and soften and see where it takes us. And of course, I would always say, and I'm sure any yoga state, if it gets too much, if you're really in a certain way, you're in pain. We don't want pain. But if you're in extreme discomfort, of course you can always come out.

[00:26:43.840] – Emily

This is not being enforced, but it's really interesting to see what comes up, both physically and emotionally. All sorts of things can come up. You might see people have a little cry in a yoga session, yoga session when they emerge from the pose, because it's just released all sorts of things that we hold in these pockets of tension in our body. So that's the kind of difference. And my personal yoga practice and the yoga that I teach tends to include a mixture of both. I might sometimes teach a session that's much more yin based, for whatever reason, or much more kind of restorative yoga, or I might teach them more than one. But equally, sometimes in classes, I incorporate elements of both. Certainly in this book, I incorporate elements of both because I think the mix is really nice and really kind of beneficial for us. And it's what I find the most effective myself.

[00:27:31.990] – Allan

Now, as I went through the book and I was just looking at some of the different poses, I was like, okay, well, that one looks like I could do it. That would take some practice. And I think that's why we call it a yoga practice, because there's some of these I'm like, there's no way. I think that's what's cool about the way you set up the book is now you also give us a structure for how we can put these together, focusing on the ones that we can do and then trying the ones that maybe are right on the edge of our capacity so that we improve. So this is something that can be progressive over time. As you get into your practice and you get better, you can add some of these other more difficult elements. And I think that's great. Can you walk us through the structure? Because you set up a structure, starts with breath work and ends with your final relaxation. So you start in a very nice, wonderful place, and you end in a nice, wonderful place, and there's a lot that happens in between. Can you walk through that?

[00:28:37.540] – Emily

Absolutely. Talking about the structure of the book with the publishes, I said, this is how I plan this is how I literally plan every class that I do. You start with breath work and you end with relaxation. And actually, I would always start with a convincing meditation as well as time allows. So that was part of my training. But for me, this structure is how you kind of say you kind of hit up the key points because it doesn't have a yoga. But for me, you have the option by following through this structure in the book to see what I can do. The most fully rounded yoga session. And you say you don't have to do everything. I think if you do everything, it would take quite a long time. So great if you've got the time to dedicate. But the way I would kind of plan if I forgot half an hour to an hour to myself and I want to do a yoga session, I would always try and start with just some quiet time, just to kind of check in with myself and my body. Some breath work needs to overlap. So again, I find the breath work really helpful way to just get into my body and kind of out of my mind and set the tone for the rest of the session.

[00:29:53.800] – Emily

And then I would do that on the floor. So I would have always come through from my breath work. I've been through cat cow, which is a really nice way of warming up the back. And again, like you've done before with that piece of sedentary lifestyles and sitting at computers on bones. That's probably the first place that we're like. Yes, you need to kind of warm up through the spine and it takes you from facing dog and up to standing. I would always start off my leg sessions quite early on with some sun salutations because they're like a way of warming up the whole body. You might get the breath, you might do some slow, some that's fine as well, but you're warming up all the muscles that prepares you for any other stretching or strengthening you're going to be doing. Maybe get the heart rate up a bit, maybe get the breath a bit faster. And then from some sun salutations, I would move to a standing sequence because it's kind of a natural progression, I suppose. You're still standing and still on your feet, so you move to a standing sequence which might also, depending on the day, it might also go fast or more slowly.

[00:31:00.750] – Emily

It includes some poses that..But the warrior sequence I've got in here to kind of link from Stanley poses and then again, while you're on your feet, you might do a Stanley balance pose. Balance is a kind of famous part of yoga and people get a bit hung up on it, but it is again, this is a way of checking you with where you are at a given day. It's a good way of improving strength and getting the two sides of the brain working together, which is kind of really important for us at all ends of our lives. Then for me, then, when I come down to the floor, so I might start off with a seated twist. We've got half a little bit of fishes in the book. And then got Deer Pose, which is a nice yin, really gentle pile twist option. And then I would move to my forward fold section of the plan. And so there are a couple of really classic portfolios that aren't included because they don't really fit within the animal theme. But you could have like a Paschimottanasana, which is a seated forward fold the legs together is quite famous for a wide legging one.

[00:32:00.630] – Emily

Here we've got butterfly and cow space. So they're good hip openers. They're kind of getting a stretch opening into the back of the body. A folding inwards. For me, forward folds are my personal challenge, I've got really kind of strings safe. So it was a good moment kind of checking in and seeing how I'm feeling about that today. And then you see some hip openers on the ground. So we've got Swan and a lizard, actually and one legged pigeon, frog actually we've got a good few hip openers so it's a good place to come and see them from when you don't forward folds. And then I would move onto my back bends. So they obviously are kind of reverse of the forward folds. You're opening up the front of the body. It's very important that you kind of carefully engage the core, the lower belly to protect the back. So people can be fooling themselves into the back ben because they look really spectacular and might feel really good at the moment, but you have to see the caution. So we've got Seal, we've got locusts actually is a good kind of gentle opener. Camel is a stronger one.

[00:33:13.180] – Emily

And then I move into some inversions and arm balances. So we've got Dolphin, feathered peacock, pro and crane famous ones. Balances blindfold. We've got a good few of these arm balances and inversions. And then I would always do after these, I would always do fish as a nice counterpost. Much chest safe now. And then we start to move to more restorative ones that's kind of cooling it all down. So we've got Rabbit and crocodile and then again, not animals but corpse pose savasana. We would always wind up a class and like I say, it doesn't really matter to me how long or short the session is. I would always make sure I have that kind of cooling down and that calming time, even if you end up for a minute, I think it's really important. So in the book I kind of talk you through a guided relaxation where you're relaxing to pass the body in turn. There are various different kind of formats you can take. But the kind of key thing is lying in illness, pulling your body down, kind of coming back to that breath. That's kind of how I would structure a class.

[00:34:30.790] – Emily

And that's how you can work with the book as well that you can kind of work through and you can shoot maybe one forward fold rather than all of them. One back bend, one hip hop and one inversion and or arm balance. Or as I say, if you love those, you can try them all. The kind of option there to do a nice router session, several. And you can go back up and do something different each time.

[00:34:54.450] – Allan

Yeah. I think it's pretty easy to see that this is going to run you through a full body thing. You're going to be connected to your body as you do these things. And we're really talking about building strength, building stamina, mobility, pretty much all of it at this point. And then again, just bringing yourself down at the end for that final relaxation. Now, I know from the book that your favorite pose is the one legged king pigeon.

[00:35:26.890] – Emily


[00:35:27.700] – Allan

Okay. Which I would aspire to, but that's a long ways off. I'll just say I can't do it. I'm just saying I can't do it right now.

[00:35:38.490] – Emily

It's a work in progress. Yeah.

[00:35:40.840] – Allan

Now let's talk about we talked about mobility, strength and all, but for a lot of us that are sedentary, I mean, office jobs, we're sitting at our desk now. We've got our smartphones. And so we're down there and it's becoming somewhat what a big problem where people's shoulders are starting to round down, their necks are craning forward, and we're just losing posture that we would have had before if we were doing the things our ancestors did of moving around, foraging, hunting, all the things we would do. We don't do those anymore. Now we're keyboard warriors and we're phone warriors. And so that's what we're doing and it's messing with our posture. If we wanted to put together a few of these poses that we could do on a fairly regular basis to kind of offset some of that posture problem, what are some exercises that we could do and what do they look like?

[00:36:36.340] – Emily

So I'll just say, as a general rule, that whenever you're doing yoga, if you have an instructor there, you'll hear repeatedly drop the shoulders down back, drop the shoulders away from the ears. Because as you say, it's just so common place that the shoulders creeping up and back is rounding. But if you wanted to just practice, if you want to take a couple of minutes and just practice a few of these, I would definitely start on all fours as possible with cat cow. The instructions are all there in the book, but it's really coming from that position of all fours. And you move the spine through its range. It's kind of range of spinal flexion and you get really nice delivery rounding into the shoulders in tap. But then you also get the counter movement in cow and just. You know. As I said before, as soon as you do it, I think 90% of us are going to think. Oh. Yeah. You really noticing where the discomfort is back bend is really good for countering that rounding. But as I mentioned before, it's important to make sure you're engaging the core that you're connecting with

[00:37:36.450] – Emily

Your kind of core muscles, your muscles, you're protecting the back. You're not just really it feels like an itch or to scratch and you might fling yourself into it because it feels initially very good, but you don't want to cause any injuries, especially if it's not a fitted or movement. So when working with any of the backbends, and like I said, Lotus is actually a really nice, gentle one, you can do lotus in a more extreme way, but when you're just used to follow the instructions to do it in the book, it can be really gentle. It's a way of working all the muscles in the back in a gentle way, but it's really good for strengthening. So I think strengthening your back as well as opening countering, the rounding is important, but you want to make sure the back is strong. We want to kind of keep the muscles strong, especially as we get older. So you have to say cat cow and Lotus, seal or maybe in the book you go from Sphinx to seal. Sphinx is a gentle version as well. So it's where you come onto your front and you have your elbows under your shoulders and forearms parallel and then sprawling through the collarbones.

[00:38:46.150] – Emily

Drop the shoulders away from the ears and that can be a really nice gentle one just to kind of hang out in. And then finally I'd say maybe crocodile, which is an alternative way to take your final relaxation, but it's prone rather than on your back, so that can be quite a nice one as well. Opening into the back body in a really gentle way. But even if you're just sitting at your desk and you do a few shoulder rotations each way, shoulder, shoulders, up and down. And I know it's really hard, but keep working on kind of lengthening, lifting up from the crown, sending the tailbone down, just to try to make it that you don't have to think about it, but to begin with, you will have to think about it a lot. I think it's really important because it can, of course, later in life, if we're not kind of really thinking about that posture all the time.

[00:39:34.570] – Allan

Yeah, I think it's pretty easy to see that all these names, they sound fun. Crocodile, dog, cow or cat. These are all fun. And so if you're doing this, and you start doing this as a practice and you've got kids or grandkids around, they're going to come play with you too. And I think that just makes us a really special thing that you can share with them. Because one, it's getting you healthier, it's teaching them and they're seeing a great example of someone who's trying to improve themselves and you're just building a better relationship with the people around you that are enjoying this with you. And again, the book does a really good job of explaining how all these movements and poses work so you can just start working your way through it getting better and better because again, it is a practice. There's probably I'm sure there are lots of people that are in yoga that can do all the poses in there and not have a problem with them. I'll tell you, right, I'm not one of those people. But it does give me something to aspire to as I know that, okay, I have a mobility issue and this is a pose that's going to help me deal with that.

[00:40:45.370] – Allan

Or I have a posture issue and these are some poses that have been put together that I can go through and do in a reasonable amount of time. I mean, the posture poses you talked about, literally, you do a warm up and you sit down. I would encourage breath work and then you get into some of these and really do a lot for your posture and probably less than 15 minutes, including your warm up. So really easy and accessible. And the book makes it clear what you're trying to do and where you're trying to go. So I really appreciate that.

[00:41:19.460] – Allan

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

[00:41:29.740] – Emily

I would say it's finding a form of movement that gives you pleasure. So whether that's the over, whether it's completely different. For me, I was somebody who never enjoyed PE or gym class or whatever at school and I wish that yoga or something had been an option. I wish there had been more options, basically because it was very much about kind of committed to sport, which is not my personal thing. And it really put me off exercise for a long time. So finding something that gives me pleasure, it's not a chore, I might still have to kind of remind myself to do it, but it's something that I always feel kind of better for and I know through perhaps I always feel better for doing. I would say personally, for me, it's important that it fits within your life. So, I mean, by all means, like I say, it gives you pleasure to kind of go really out of your way and go to a friend who's really into figure skating and she goes very far across London in order to do her figure skating because there aren't that many race, but that's fine. But for me, I do a lot of walking because it fits in.

[00:42:35.250] – Emily

I build it into my life and it means it never gets neglected because it's literally how I get from A to B 9, 10. I walk most of my day. I go to work, I drop my kids to nursery. I walk to the train station. I walk everywhere. I also personally, for my kind of well being, a connection to nature. So that's also a big part of this book and how I kind of access what I wanted to talk about in this book was how I think we can feel in our modern lives very cut off from the natural world. But I do account for a lot of popularity of yoga with being that it is about reconnecting to nature in nature's most immediate representative, which is yourself. So you are not set of nature, you are part of nature. And it's reminding yourself of that and reasserting that. And so maybe it's not a yoga practice for everybody, but maybe it's just stepping outside, taking some deep breaths, going to the park. For me, that's a really important part of it. And do yoga outside. So much better. So, yeah, I'd say those are my three personal strategies.

[00:43:49.780] – Allan

Thank you. Emily, if someone wanted to learn more about you, the things you're doing and your book Yoga Animals, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:43:58.170] – Emily

The best place for that is my Instagram account, which is at EmilyTreeYoga. You can also find out more about the book from the publishers. But yeah, so the Instagram account is a good place to go. And there is a YouTube session online that I did go with the book. So I will apply that link.

[00:44:21.240] – Allan

Okay. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/562. And I'll be sure to have links to the book, to Emily's Instagram and to that YouTube video. Emily, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:44:36.280] – Emily

Thank you. Lovely talking to you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:44:44.140] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:44:45.750] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a neat book. I really would love to get my hands on a copy to see the different animal named poses and what they look like. I personally enjoy yoga, and I have my athletes do yoga on occasion. I wish I did it more often. I need to make it a more regular practice, but I love it. That book sounds wonderful.

[00:45:06.550] – Allan

Yeah, well, I'll name a few more about the cat cow and things like that. Some of these, you'll know, like, you'll know, downward facing dog and upward facing dog. And then there's things like the bee breath and the lion, the camel, the dolphin.

[00:45:23.790] – Rachel


[00:45:24.610] – Allan

The peacock, the rooster, the fish, the rabbit, the frog.

[00:45:29.070] – Rachel

Don't know any of those.

[00:45:30.450] – Allan

Butterfly, I would say. I didn't know half of these either. They resembled other stretches and things that you see out there. I think a lot of us what was weird to me is she didn't do one that I use a lot. And it's the bird dog. Yeah, I use that for core training. Whenever I'm training someone, I like to have that as one of the exercises in the core training because it does so much. I was surprised she didn't have that one in there. But anyway, yeah. And then besides having the exercises in there explaining why you're doing what you're doing. And then how to do it. And having some images of you in that position or moving through that flow. It's just pretty clear and there's a structure to it. Which is what I actually found very exciting about this. Was because you go to a class and then they're just going to say. Okay. Next we're going to do this. And if you don't have a background in yoga, because she's done yoga for over 20 years.

[00:46:30.100] – Rachel


[00:46:30.730] – Allan

And then she's been teaching for seven. So for her, it's second nature to put a workout together and put a yoga workout together, similar to I can sit down and put together a workout, you can tell me what's going on with you and any injuries, and then I can help you put together a workout. That's the skill set that you develop. But she gives you the structure that she uses for you to basically use to start. And so you can say, okay, I need some breath work. I'm going to do something. Sun salutation seems to be something that's non-negotiable in her workouts that's going to be in there. So you kind of go through that process and then it's standing and the different movements and flows and then into the relaxation at the end. But it gives you that structure saying, okay, I can pick and choose. So it's not like a buffet where you just load your plate with everything. You pick a protein, you pick a vegetable, a couple of vegetables, and then pick a starch and then maybe pick a dessert, which we'll just call the relaxation at the end. But you kind of get the idea that makes it very easy for you to go through.

[00:47:35.830] – Allan

And it's a gorgeous book, by the way. I was fortunate enough to be able to get a hard copy while I was traveling through the United States and were able to have it here. So it's something I'm definitely going to incorporate in my mobility work. So in addition to some of the other things that I do, some of these poses are going to be really good for areas where I'm not as mobile as I need to be. And so I'll probably go through that book and I may not follow her structure, but I will definitely incorporate some of those exercises and movements into the mobility work that I am doing already.

[00:48:14.010] – Rachel

That sounds wonderful.

[00:48:15.280] – Rachel

Yeah. I prescribe different yoga videos for my athletes because as runners, we just get so tightened up, especially those of us that don't stretch regular basis as we should. But doing a yoga video, it's very relaxing. And like you discussed, it really does help you to practice your breathing and get deeper breaths in because like you mentioned too, we tend to breathe in a really shallow, inefficient way, especially the more stressed and anxious we get. And taking those deep breaths like you had mentioned is just so relaxing. It just resets the whole system, and that is super helpful for relaxing your muscles after a workout or a run. Like what I do with my athletes.

[00:49:00.510] – Allan

Perfect. All right.

[00:49:02.550] – Rachel

Anything else you want to talk about?

[00:49:03.940] – Rachel

No. Great book. I'd love to get my hands on one.

[00:49:07.110] – Allan

All right. So again, if you're interested in learning more about the retreat and being on the interest list, go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat. And we're doing the Crush the Holidays. It's going to start November 20, so sign up, shuts off November 19. So don't miss your chance to get out there and do that. There's all kinds of prizes and things that happen along the way to include referral, prizes and those types of things. So get in early, get active in the group, get active in what we're doing, and Crush the Holidays.

[00:49:37.680] – Rachel

Sounds great.

[00:49:38.800] – Allan

I'll see you next time.

[00:49:40.180] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:49:40.870] – Allan

You too.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


October 25, 2022

The seven circles model of health and wellbeing with Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins grew up actively engaged with their indigenous cultures. Chelsey from North Dakota, and thus from Arizona. Seeing the deep need for health advocacy, they are actively speaking and teaching across North America. Chelsea is a writer and health advocacy it. She is the cofounder of well for Culture. Thosh is a photographer, board member for the Native Wellness Institute and a cofounder of well for Culture.

On episode 561 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast we talk about their book, the Seven Indigenous Teachings for Living Well.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:15.190] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:02:17.200] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:18.970] – Allan

I'm doing pretty good. I had a very productive weekend.

[00:02:23.260] – Rachel


[00:02:24.410] – Allan

And just came out with a lot of different things that I want to do going forward because I'm closing the gym, which is a sad part. But then I decide, okay, I'm going to make good out of that one way or another. I'm working on some things there that I'm not really ready to talk about until after the gym is closed and I get that chapter closed. But as you're listening to this, you missed this. But this week, the special week, we're recording this in the group, the Facebook group we have, which you can get at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/group. Our challenge this week is called the Braveheart Challenge, and it's about facing a fear, something that you're afraid of, and it's stretching yourself outside your comfort zone and going outside your comfort zone, I've said this before, I don't always live it, but I say it is. That's where things happen. That's where you get better. That's where you improve. That's how you change, is getting outside of your comfort zone. So that's what this week is about. And several people over time have said, well, look, you live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

[00:03:29.440] – Allan

You got a bed and breakfast there got equipment and stuff there. You should do a retreat. And I agree with them. Yeah, I should, but I always have talked myself out of it for one reason or another. But I'm announcing that we're going to do a 40+ Fitness Retreat. On the last week of May here in Bocas del Toro. And so both of our daughters will have been married by that time we'll come back, and we're going to have a one week retreat here in Boca del Toro. The thing is, I can't do it with a lot of people because it just functionally wouldn't work right now. It's not like we have this auditorium or place that we could really host it at this moment. So I got to limit the number of people. So it's probably going to only be about 30 people, and then we'll have to cut that off at some point. Sure, there are a lot of other things I'm going to talk about, and the best way for you to keep up with what I'm doing is to go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat and yes, I'm going to ask you for your email so I can email you the stuff that's going on.

[00:04:36.030] – Allan

So as I start to develop this, because this was just to sit down this weekend and scratch out on a piece of paper, what does this look like? If I do a retreat, what do we do on Monday, what do we do on Tuesday, what do we do on Wednesday? Kind of thing. So I mapped it out for the whole week. Now you're going to travel down here, it's two days down and two days back, so you're going to take off a little more than a week. That's why I wanted to put that out there. A lot of times people say we're doing a retreat next month, and you're like, I don't have time to book airfare and get there next month or two months, and you might even have a passport. So get your passports in order, get on this list, 40plusfitness.com/retreat. I'm going to go first come, first serve, and I'll reach out and I'll say, Are you interested? And if they say they are, okay, here's what it is, and you've got to be on this list because I'm not going to open it up to the public if I know there's people that are interested now.

[00:05:26.950] – Allan

So get on the list, then I'll know you're interested. I'll send you the information as it develops, and then when we're ready to take signups, you'll be the first to know and be one of the 30 people. That will be what I hope is the first annual 40+ Fitness Retreat.

[00:05:42.270] – Rachel

That sounds awesome.

[00:05:43.480] – Allan

Yeah, that's what I've been working on. And I'm also going to redo the Crush the Holidays Challenge.

[00:05:49.480] – Rachel

Oh, cool.

[00:05:50.790] – Allan

Not ready for that yet. I just started on that, so I was kind of brainstorming this retreat, and then I'm brainstorming, and I'm starting to work on getting things together for the Crush the Holidays Challenge. So I've been putting all that together. So that's been a very creative, busy weekend, but I'm doing it.

[00:06:06.760] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds really exciting. How fun.

[00:06:09.880] – Rachel

Yeah, it would be a beautiful place to have a retreat. That sounds awesome, Allan.

[00:06:14.590] – Allan

Yeah, it'll be right after our busy season. A busy season here runs all the way through Easter, which this year is in April, and then we can finish out our Easter rush, go do the wedding with our daughter Summer, and then come back and have a retreat here with some of our best friends at 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:33.700] – Rachel

That sounds awesome.

[00:06:35.220] – Allan

So how are things up there?

[00:06:36.930] – Rachel

Good, good. Just getting ready for the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving's around the corner, my favorite eating day of the year. And so we're starting to make our plans for the holiday, and I haven't given an update in a while, probably to the listeners, but as you know, my husband has been battling kidney cancer, and we just found out that his surgery date will be December 8. So he'll have his surgery that he'll lose his kidney that day, and then he'll have some recovery time right before Christmas, so that kind of works out for our family. It'll be nice, a nice, relaxing December for us. So I just want to let you know that that's coming up, and we're pretty happy about it.

[00:07:17.830] – Allan

Yeah. And then he'll be able to go into January and February with the ice fishing and the hunting, and he'll feel a lot better then.

[00:07:24.360] – Rachel

Yeah. Where he's actually making plans. Ice fishing will be great.

[00:07:29.560] – Allan

Yeah. Good for him. I'm glad he's getting this done, and it's working out well for him.

[00:07:35.940] – Rachel

Yeah. Finally. Good news.

[00:07:38.160] – Allan

All right, well, you're ready to talk about the seven circles?

[00:07:41.230] – Rachel



[00:07:43.090] – Allan

Chelsey, Thosh. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:46.760] – Chelsey

Great to be here. Thanks for having us.

[00:07:48.720] – Thosh

Thank you for having us.

[00:07:49.690] – Allan

So your book is called The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well. And there's so many good things I can say about this book, and we're going to get into some of those. But I think one of the things that really kind of struck me was there's a saying out there about, like, one of the biggest curses is to be the smartest person in the room. And you guys put yourselves in situations where you are not the smartest person in the room. And you did it many times, talking to some really intelligent and people who have just been around and understand the Indigenous life, and they remember the lessons from their grandparents and their great-grandparents, and they shared that with you. And you took all of those great learnings and melded them into something that is beautiful.

[00:08:37.990] – Chelsey

Well, thank you. I'm so glad that that's what you got out of it. And indeed, one of the first things that we always like to acknowledge is that our knowledge is not our own. We grew up in our communities. We grew up amongst our elders, amongst spiritual leaders and political and cultural leaders, and who have just been so generous with their knowledge. And so we just feel really grateful to be able to share it in a new way.

[00:09:05.020] – Allan

And I think the other thing that's interesting is both of you are from different parts of North America, so you bring your own kind of dynamics to it. But you didn't just stop there. You reached out across all the spectrum of what's out there and acknowledged that there's not, like, one teaching, there's not, like, one thing that permeated everything. But you found these threads of commonality, and you kind of use them to stitch up what this whole Seven circles thing is all about. It encompasses bits of all of them, but not any one of them really dominates the way that you approach this, because you saw wisdom across the spectrum.

[00:09:46.690] – Chelsey

Absolutely. So there are seven different areas of our health and of our lifestyles that we feel our ancestors really exemplified in their lifestyles and that Indigenous teachings continue to find unique ways of explaining. And so while much of the wellness conversation is focused specifically on food and fitness, which are two very, very important pieces of it, and those each are a circle, there are also these other pieces that we've identified. And the main point is, though, that all of these are so interconnected, you can't remove one from the other. And when we created the seven circles of wellness, we were seeing that almost every other wellness model or book was organized by lists or by pillars, without necessarily visually connecting these. And so we just found it really important to actually show this model where they were all visually connected.

[00:10:48.400] – Allan

Yes. The word I like to use is matrix. It was really a tight model because I think people know that, as if you have a bad food day, you're probably not going to sleep very well and suffer some other health consequences. So it really does show how all of these work together, Symbiotically, to build a model of health.

[00:11:08.360] – Chelsey


[00:11:09.300] – Thosh

Yeah. And you mentioned that we're from different parts of the country, and my people come from what is now known as Arizona. I was born and raised on the Salt River cuca community. It's a reservation right outside of what is now known as Scottsdale Phoenix area. And a lot of what we put into seven Circles, as Chelsey said, is what we learned from in our community is what we are raised in, and some of it is knowledge and information that we are putting back into practice that we've only heard mentioned and that hasn't been practiced. And that's really happening all across Native communities, native American communities in the United States and also First Nations communities in Canada. We have aspects of our precolonial indigenous life ways that we have revitalized and preserved and are applying it today and to help us to be in thriving health and to reclaim our health. And that's what the seven circles are. Sleep, food, movement, ceremony, sacred space, connection to land, and connection to community and people. So in all seven of those areas, there affect our spiritual, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. And so we see that those are the seven aspects that have allowed our people in precolonial times to live in thriving hell, to survive the harsh climates that they did, and to really thrive and to pass down the knowledge and information to our generations today.

[00:12:33.180] – Thosh

So we believe it's a model that's certainly suitable for all people from all walks of life to utilize. It's sort of like a template. And people can use whatever cultural context that we raise in to zoom in out these areas, to find out how they can bring balance, restore balance and harmony with their overall health and see themselves connected to the land and connected to the community around them.

[00:12:55.170] – Allan

I do want to dive into a few of these circles while we're on here. We can't obviously get into all of them. That would be a very long episode. But there are a few that I want to touch on because obviously I can't get off of a podcast without talking about movement because I'm a personal trainer and I'm also a nutrition coach, so I can't leave a call without talking about nutrition and food. So there are some others I want to talk about. But there was one thing you brought up. This is a quote that was in the book. And I want to read this because I think this is really important for someone to understand what this model does for you. Okay? “Engaging with the Seven Circles of wellness is not a crash diet or new year's resolution. This is a sustainable, long-term everlasting cycle of seeking health and wellness that you have already been participating in, whether you know it or not.”

[00:13:45.110] – Chelsey

Yes, absolutely. There are so many people out there who are practitioners of health, who are exemplifying wellness and demonstrating leadership in these different areas. But it's just that sometimes we're not seeing that. We're not giving ourselves credit for the way that we're keeping our home and the way that we are taking care of our family members and the way that we are getting good rest at night, really on a good routine with our circadian rhythm. All of these different areas of our I mean, there's dozens of things that people do for their health that they're not even realizing are really important. And so if they can continue to do those and in addition, find a modality of movement or a way of connecting to a good way of eating that works for them, then we're looking at a really nice, balanced lifestyle. And sure, we're going to fall in and out of balance in all of these different areas on pretty much a daily basis. I have a bad cold right now. I have gotten pretty bad sleep the last couple of nights, but I'm not going to sit here and beat myself up over it.

[00:14:56.820] – Chelsey

All it is, is just acknowledging, okay, I see that I have a cold, my health is out of whack, and I know that it's a cycle and that there are steps I can take to get back to that place. And when I have those seven circles in front of me, it becomes very easy for me to identify which of those areas am I neglecting and can I once again address so that I can feel some semblance of balance again? So it's just a constant cycle. It's in and out. It's ebbing and flowing. And we're all participating in that.

[00:15:30.360] – Thosh

Yeah. And we like to share that. Viewing these changes like a change of relationship to food or finding a modality of movement that works for them, we encourage everyone to see this, to view this as these are life ways. It's a way of life that you're finding it. You're constantly evolving. You're constantly learning. And that there's no finish line. Right to healing and health and wellness. That it's never a finish line to where finally you get your A1C down to a manageable range. And then you think.

[00:16:00.600] – Thosh

Oh, I can eat whatever I want now. Or I've gotten my PR deadlift to a certain number and. Oh, that's it. I can just stop training that from there. I've accomplished that goal. And we always try to encourage everyone that we are constantly evolving. And we look at all these aspects. These are a way of life in whatever way we choose as far as our sleep habits to modes of stress relief such as meditation or food waste or whatever modality movement. It should be something that we could adhere to, it can adhere to for longevity. How long can we do this? It should support that, I believe.

[00:16:36.310] – Allan

The way I look at it, and this is some of my background, I was an auditor, so of course this is the way I'm going to look at it is this sort of like a self audit, like you're looking at your life from these seven prisms, these seven directions. Because that's the model's kind of built in a circle around you. And you literally go out, look and say, how is my movement practice? Am I doing the best I can for myself there? How's my food? How's my sacred space? And so you kind of can look at yourself from that holistic way of saying, okay, I'm doing well, here I could do better there. This is not, at this point in my life, all that important relative to some of these others. And so in the book and this is not a test, because I know when you write a book, you wrote this maybe a year or two ago, but you gave an example, and I think it was a really good example, and I'm sure you could come up with something similar. Like, you talked about a man who was 40 years old and where he was in his life at that point.

[00:17:33.330] – Allan

And then you flashed forward to when he was an elder, which I would guess was probably in his 60s or 70s, and everything had shifted in his seven circles, but he was still living the right life because he was still true to where he needed to be. Can you kind of talk about how that works for someone? Because there are folks that listen to this show that are in there somewhere in their 30s, but there's in their 40s, some are in their 70s and 80s. So for someone who's looking at how to apply this to themselves, can you kind of give us some examples?

[00:18:08.060] – Chelsey

So a life of wellness is not something that we only find in our youth. And that's why I absolutely love the concept of your podcast in the first place. I just have to say that because isn't it unfortunate that the idea of 40 plus fitness is novel or unusual to so many people, but in reality, we can continue fitness and healthy eating and connection to land and all of these different circles until the day we die and our ancestors exemplify that, and we can reclaim those practices today. So, yeah, in the example that you're talking about in the book, we share a scenario of a man, you know, that when he's 40, he's really thriving in you know, I don't remember the exact example,

[00:18:57.780] – Allan

That's what I said, but it's not a test. It's not a test.

[00:19:01.160] – Chelsey

He's really thriving, I think, in movement because he's getting his exercise and he's thriving in sleep because he's getting his good 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night. He's neglecting his connection to land a little bit because he's having trouble finding time to get outside. He's neglecting his sacred space a little bit because he's got young kids and it's been really difficult to keep his yard trimmed and to keep his house tidy and stuff like that. But he's aware of that and it's in his mind and he's working toward it. Those are just some examples. And then by the time he's an elder, his food circle has really grown and is really healthy because when he was 40, he started to learn how to plant and how to grow food. And so by the time he was of elder age, he was not only in the habit of that, but he was an expert and a person who others would come to for guidance in how do I re-establish a relationship to food. And so that just shows that we have different seasons of life. We're going to show and exemplify wellness and health in different ways in those different seasons.

[00:20:08.530] – Chelsey

And it's okay that that changes as long as in general we are aware of these seven circles and we're doing our best in those different areas and allowing them to grow and change.

[00:20:20.680] – Allan

Now, the way I think that happens, and you can correct me if I'm wrong is that's a part of the fact that this is a cycle and the cycle is learn, engage, optimize. Can you talk a little bit about how that cycle works and how that allows us to continue to be good at what we're good at and then be aware of where we need to grow?

[00:20:42.560] – Thosh

Yeah. And that's what we've outlined is that as you mentioned, learn, engage, optimize. And learning is that phase of life where learning to implement these new life ways we are exploring, we are talking to people, knowledge keepers. We're maybe reading the scientific evidence associated with each of these circles right here that teach us a little bit more about that and then engages. We are being proactive with implementing this. We're implementing all these practices. We're seeing what works. It's the trial phase. We're seeing what works. Maybe if someone is incorporating different methods of fasting and they are trying different what does it help you to fast for an extended twelve hour window or do you have a small four hour fast? Are you cutting off eating at a certain time? They're discovering, they're discovering various modalities of movement. Maybe they're discovering different things on the land like learning to forge some food, plant, hunt, fish exploring these things right here and finding community, finding a community to be a part of to do these activities with that support this way of life. And then to optimize as they've already discovered that you've done the work and you've discovered what's working.

[00:21:50.160] – Thosh

You're able to experience the benefits of these changes in the lifeways. You're able to experience, you're able to even report changes just anecdotally on how you feel or maybe even it's reflected in all of their biometrics. Maybe their insulin sensitivity improved, maybe their cortisol went down. Maybe their LDL HDL levels have improved because they've incorporated more exercise and changing the way they're eating and maybe experiencing less stress because they found some modality of stress reduction meditation of some sort. So that's that optimize section right there and now they're able to teach that and share and be able to incorporate others into that journey so they can learn as well.

[00:22:31.630] – Chelsey

Yes, and the key too as well is that at the end of the optimize there is no end. So I'm sure you know this very well is the more you know, the more you know, you don't know. So the beautiful thing about that optimize section is now because you've been learning and engaging and practicing all these different areas for so long, you're like, okay, now I want to know even more about this, this, and this. And I want to really hone in and really become an expert in these areas. And after the optimize section, the learning continues.

[00:23:06.460] – Allan

Yeah, and we're changing too. That's the other thing that's going on as we get a little older, the things I did when I was 40 or 30 or 20 aren't in my best interest right now. So it's a relearning of what is it like to be in the mid 50s and how I should train, how I should eat, how I should live my life. And all those different Seven Circles is just you have to be looking at them and understand that you get older, you have to change your ways to fit your new living environment.

[00:23:36.070] – Chelsey

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:23:37.500] – Thosh

We love that. That's your interpretation of that, too. And that's what we would hope for, because we know people probably see us on 40 she's in 30s. People probably see, oh, this is maybe something only for young people. Well, and I'm glad that you were able to view the utility in all cycles of your life, all stages of your life. And that's what we hope for. And that's why Seven Circles isn't a circle, it's circular. Just like everything in our world moves in cycles and circulars, even down some very molecular level that we are made up of. Everything is in cycles, everything is circular. And so we're constantly evolving, and we just each new phase of life, we're finding out how can we adapt this modality to serve our needs here and there.

[00:24:15.750] – Chelsey

Yeah, and I know for ourselves, like, something that's really important is like, we recognize we're in an early season of our marriage, for example. We've been together for ten years and married for three, I think. And we're in an early season of parenting. We have a one year old and a four year old. We know that there are going to be so many changes and shifts in our lifestyle, but rather than viewing it, which unfortunately, so many Americans view when I'm 80, not even just 80, people think that when they're 30, they can't be fit anymore or they can't exercise anymore, or they can't be healthy anymore in the same way. What we see is not that we can't do these things, but that we're going to be doing things differently, and that it's not better or worse, it's just different. And that's great.

[00:25:12.040] – Allan

Now you have one of the seven is movement, and you had a statement in there that movement is not fitness. And I think the reason that that resonated with me is because fitness has kind of become this look. Do you look fit? Do you have that thing? You see the CrossFit? Who's the fittest man and who's the fittest woman on earth. And I'm like, no, they're just the best exercisers. And to me, fitness is like fit for task. And so as you say something so if I want to grow my own food, well, I'm going to have to get down and touch the earth and I'm going to have to get back up as I get older, I don't want anyone to be put on by me. So when I'm 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt. And so there's this kind of these things that you go through and say. So when you say movement is not fitness, can we kind of dig into that a little bit?

[00:26:12.600] – Thosh

Yeah, absolutely. Movement, we like to use that term because when you do say fitness for people that haven't yet adapted any sort of like movement routine into their life, that can be intimidating for some people. And we find that too, because our work is in within our Native American communities where we are experiencing lots of collective grief and historic trauma. Sometimes that prevents people from moving and then from there we see the prevalence of certain health disparities, which lack of movement is not the symptom that goes deeper than that. But what we see is that maybe some have not discovered movement in a way that appeals to them. Maybe the fitness gym culture is intimidating for many people and I can understand why. I can certainly see why. So we say movement because what we do, what we believe is it encompasses everything from swift walking to dancing, free movement, weight training, functional training, yoga, CrossFit, any sorts of conventional sports, combat sports, working with the horses, canoe culture. There's movement that comes in many different, many different modalities and we always share with people. It's important to discover what's the movement that you're going to be continued to be excited for and that you're going to continue to experience benefit.

[00:27:31.260] – Thosh

You're going to improve muscle metabolism, you're going to improve cardiovascular health, neurogenerative health, and you're going to allow that release of anxiety and stress through all the fuel good neurotransmitters that become present once you start to exercise and put yourself in a little bit of discomfort. We encourage everyone to discover what modalities, one that excites them.

[00:27:53.660] – Allan

Now, as you got through the model and you get into the point where we're looking at optimizing, and I think for a lot of people, they want to know, OK, why is this important? And you went through in each section a section that said, how this section heals? How this.. So in movement heals? There were dozens, so we don't have time to list all of them, but give us just a couple of examples of how movement heals.

[00:28:19.010] – Chelsey

Well, one thing that's a big one for me is mental health. So movement helps, it's a guaranteed boost of endorphins, it's a guaranteed ease of anxiety. For me, I know that when I step into the gym to lift some weights or when I get onto my yoga mat to do some stretches and Pilates, I will experience that boost in mental health that I might need for that day. And it's a way of feeling accomplished. It's a way of feeling like you then I see it almost as a clearing of space in my mind because I've moved my body and I've got my blood flowing and I've got my energy up. Okay, now I can go and be a better mom. I can be a better practitioner of my work. I can get these emails done, I can do these annoying logistical things. I can clean my house. Movement is a big one for mental health.

[00:29:18.040] – Thosh

Yes. And we share that the seven circles, they're all interconnected, meaning that they also overlap so many times. If you are looking at food waste, like the circle of food we have that if you zoom into that, that can be broken down as farming the land. And that's something that where I come from, people in Arizona, that's what we did in pre colonial times is we farmed the irrigated, various melons, various varieties of beans and squash and corn and they forged. So that we meant taking many steps, thousands of steps per day on the land, foraging, hunting, all that kind of stuff. And so if we overlap that circle of food and movement, we will see right there that also comes into play as the circle of community because we are on the land doing things with those that we love. So, like in our family, for instance, we have one and a half acres that we grow food on and it requires us to get out there with our tools, our shovels and picks and everything and go to work. And I like that aspect of it because I'm able to do that and I have motivation and empower to do that because I also exercise for these sorts of life ways.

[00:30:27.930] – Thosh

Like my own personal fitness regimen is to support me, to be doing things on the land that are going to support my lifestyle, such as acquiring a food, doing stuff with family, being able to maneuver on the land. And so there's how we see how movement heals us because we are allowing to be out on the land to do those things, to produce food there to do with people. And it's nutrient dense food and it's cultural significance sustainably sourced. And so the way I see it is that movement should complement all these other aspects of your life. It should make those easier. And that's why I believe that each movement modality or each movement practice will vary from person to person.

[00:31:07.610] – Chelsey

Yeah. And then of course, there's so many of the scientific benefits and the medical benefits as well of movement which are just myriad and touching back to what Thosh mentioned there about community. Like I know even as a family, as a little family of four. Movement is at the center of our recreation. It's at the center of the fun and the joy and the laughter that we have with our two little girls. And we hope that it will continue to be in many ways, it's at the center of our marriage as well. Because while there are lots of sure, sometimes we like to go on date night and go out to a restaurant, but at least as often we like to do, you know, maybe we'll go on a hike together or we'll do some weight training together in the gym. And it's a great way of bonding and having goals and a shared interest in something that goes beyond the superficial. So movement is just such a powerful tool for connecting family and marriage and community and connecting to the land and getting better sleep at night. And it really is medicine. Movement is medicine.

[00:32:18.630] – Allan

Now, I can't leave the movement conversation without talking about the seven basic movement patterns that you had in the book because I do think these are kind of important because everybody is going to have their favorite. My co host, Rachel, she's a runner. She'll keep running and she runs and runs. She also lifts weights and does other things. I'm more of the weight lifter, but I also kind of have my endurance bits, just not like her. So I think people will gravitate to the things they like the best, which are often the things they end up also being the best at. But can you talk about the seven basic movement patterns?

[00:32:53.660] – Thosh

Yeah, and that's something that we just kind of learned from functional training and just from other trainers we've worked with and just our own learning of learning about and what's the best way for us to move the body and that's one thing we learned about is incorporating squat movements, hip hinge movements, lunging, pushing, pulling, rotating in a gate, such as you mentioned running. My thing is I love to sprint. I don't have that much time these days to run distance. I did growing up because I come from a community of runners historically, where people were runners, and we still do today. I just don't have a whole lot of time with our children as young as they are in our work, as busy as they are. So I like to get my cardiovascular endurance in through training on the heavy bag or getting in some sprint intervals. But we always share with people is that if you're looking for just overall longevity and you're looking for just functionality that we can look to structuring your regimen around, maybe I'm doing a circuit where I'm incorporating a lunge movement, a hip hinge movement, and then maybe I'm doing a rotate movement.

[00:33:54.790] – Thosh

And then the next one I'm doing pushing, pulling, and then maybe incorporating a squat movement and maybe I'm ending it with a jog around on the block or whatever, but we always also encourage that. Look at your session. Are you doing are you straight training today? Are you training for power? Are you training for muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance? And I believe that those are good, sort of good little templates to kind of abide by and to help someone who may feel overwhelmed, especially on social media or seeing all these different types of workouts and people who are not as aware of the body at a physiological level may feel overwhelmed at what to do. But I think that the seven basic movements and very specific system of power agility, strength, mobility, flexibility, speed, endurance I think that it's quite simply putting those together and that's a really simple template to kind of keep us on track.

[00:34:49.840] – Allan

And it does sound kind of intimidating if you're not from this space. So I totally get that as well. But that's where your learn, engage and optimize cycle really kind of comes to play. It's like, okay, I'm going to learn more about strength training because I know I'm not as strong as I need to be or I know that my mobility is not as good as it needs to be. So I need to learn more about how to be more mobile. Maybe it's a Pilates class or a yoga class or just some stretching that you're doing off of a video you see on YouTube. But you're learning, you're trying, you're engaging and then you're optimizing. So it may seem big, but they say, how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time, take that bite and try it and then move on to the next one.

[00:35:35.890] – Chelsey

Exactly. What I love is self empowerment. I love the concept of we can teach ourselves to be our own experts. And as beneficial as it has been for me, and as much as I love the fact that I can go on YouTube and copy step by step thousands of different workouts that are out there and available to us and that is how I've built my own movement practice in many ways is by using the Internet and by using books and by going to classes. At the end of the day, there's also going to be a time where I am waking up in a hotel room because I'm at a conference and I've got 20 minutes and I need to move, otherwise I'm not going to get any movement in for that day. And if I have spent a lot of years and a lot of time learning these seven basic movements and having some idea in my head of this arsenal of very basic workouts that I can do without necessarily needing equipment and without necessarily needing a video or a trainer in front of me. Then that makes me that much more likely to engage in a movement practice on a daily basis.

[00:36:42.790] – Chelsey

Or if I'm in the airport and I've got 20 minutes and I'm sitting there at my gate? What can I do without having to break into a full sweat and have my equipment with me? But can I do at least something? And so those are those spaces where I think so many of us could benefit from is incorporating movement throughout our day in a seamless way. And I think that that's where the seven basic movements really helps people.

[00:37:08.440] – Allan

OK, the next one I want to work on is food. Obviously, as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, I have to talk about food. And I'm going to come back to sacred places because I do want to talk about that. Now, you had something in the book. It's one of those things that sometimes you're reading and you're reading something and in your head it's like they're saying something deeper and it's not what's in the words, it's what the words represent. You know what I mean? And so you were saying that you started talking about the term colonization and I was like so I started thinking about them, like, yeah, fast food colonized our main streets and avenues and then processed food, colonized our grocery stores and almost take them completely over. We're at this point where in all this happened not to benefit the people, it was for profit and growth. It's sort of like your stories, your history. We're being colonized now and we're not even where it's happening.

[00:38:06.190] – Chelsey

Yes, that's what we always say for sure is that Indigenous people aren't the only people who are being impacted by colonization, by colonization of the land and of our food systems and of water sources and the infiltration of a sedentary lifestyle. Like, everybody is impacted by this. Today, one in three Americans are diabetic and more than that are on their way to being diabetic in the next ten years. I mean, these numbers are scary and they are staggering. And we are obviously all being impacted by this system. And it's really up to us as individuals and as families to take it into our own hands to try to find some way to improve our relationship to food once again and to take that as seriously as we take going for our annual doctor checkups and any other piece that we do for our health.

[00:39:07.920] – Allan

Now, in the book, you did share seven actions that we can use to strengthen our relationship with food. Could you get into those?

[00:39:16.010] – Thosh

Yeah. Again, we always use a lot of historic reference and when we look at how did our people, as Indigenous people, how do we acquire food? They're really all people across the world. How did they acquire food before the industrialized era, before globalization, before the commodification of resources? How did we acquire food? And that was one is that our people had forged people forged food. People hunted and fished. People had grown food people had planted. Even before industrial agriculture, cultures around the world were farming. They were farming. And that's what we look at with a lot of our native cultures right here in what is now known as the United States is that that's how we acquire food. And in a spiritual sense, our people had always eaten with gratitude. We always had spiritual practice associated with our food waste. So there were ceremonies of giving thanks when the food was harvested, whether it was the plant, whether if it was an animal, even if it was seeds that we planted or we forged from the land. There was always words that were recited to give thanks for that food source because we've always seen ourselves not separate from what they call nature, but a part of the land.

[00:40:24.780] – Thosh

We are a part of this interconnected inextricably connected network of living organisms. As human beings, we are part of that. And we have these foodways that we engage in right there. So there's those four foodways right there. There's the hunt, fish, porch, grow, give thanks. And then today we've added the grocery store. Like shopping smart, being able to navigate the grocery store and find out what foods are right for you that are within the grocery store, what foods are there that you want to support? Maybe some people are conscious consumers and they want to reduce their eco footprint. Maybe they want to support ethically sourced foods so that's where they can make those choices, in the grocery store. And then cooking, getting familiar with cooking if they haven't already cooked before. And we encourage everyone to learn to cook. We love to cook. We're always cooking several times a day in our home. From our cultures, it was always looked at as cooking was like a ceremony that you're supposed to be having a good heart and a good mind as you're preparing this food right here and you're serving that food with love and it's going to nourish people.

[00:41:24.910] – Thosh

And then the other is for breastfeeding, right? And I'll let her talk about that too. Is honoring, acknowledging breastfeeding is the first food of the baby. And that's something that's a big part of our cultural upbringing as native people.

[00:41:36.720] – Chelsey

Yes. And with breastfeeding, we always say we support and encourage any way that a parent is able to feed their baby. So whether they prefer formula feeding or pumping or breastfeeding, it's really up to them. But in general, what we've observed is that those who do want to breastfeed don't always feel safe or comfortable or are given the time and the space to do so in relation to their career in their workplace. And so breastfeeding as a part of those seven actions means just like not only to be a breastfeeding mother, but to support breastfeeding mothers in being able to feed their baby that way if that's what they choose, because there are so many nutritional and emotional benefits to it.

[00:42:17.140] – Thosh

In the way we see it, it's the baby's first food. And that's what gets a child set on a path to eating nutrient dense, whole food. And we always honor the beginning in our cultures, we honor the beginning of that.

[00:42:29.440] – Chelsey

Yeah. So those are the seven actions that folks can take to restore what we say is the relationship to food. And what we know is that not everybody is going to do all seven of those. It's okay if you're not a hunter. It's okay if you're not growing a field of corn, beans, and squash in your backyard. Some people simply don't even have the space for that or the technology or the knowledge that they have to do that. And that's fine. What we hope is that there's at least one in those seven that everybody can connect with. And we know that, for example, we can all center gratitude in our relationship to food. We can all view food as a lifegiving entity that nourishes us spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, and viewing it beyond what it has become, which is sort of this commodification and just this object that lives on a grocery store that has no life outside of that. Really, once we reestablish that relationship to food, we can begin to center it in a way that promotes the improvement of our health.

[00:43:35.860] – Allan

Yeah, well, they process the life out of it. So closer you are to where it's coming from, the better. And so hunting and foraging and growing your own is definitely going to serve you a lot better than being beheld in what the grocery stores and the food industry wants to serve today.

[00:43:54.260] – Chelsey


[00:43:56.960] – Allan

So let's go back to sacred Place, because we've talked about home basically making it a good place for you. And a lot of times we talk about our home gyms. That's always fun. You guys have a home gym as well. You turn your garage into a home gym, but it goes deep. And also we talk about toxins because if we're bringing certain cleaners into our home, obviously that's not serving us. But the term sacred space and the way you use it is a lot deeper than just physical.

[00:44:26.060] – Chelsey

Yeah. So we encourage everybody to view their home as a sacred space or any place where they spend a lot of time really in your office. And what that means is it's not religious. It means having reverence for that space. It means recognizing the ways that your surroundings impact the way that you feel and the way that you're able to perform your duties as a human being. When our space feels right and when our space feels important and put together and that it makes sense, then the whole world around us is making more sense and we're able to again move forward and carry on and do the rest of our duties. The first thing that Thosh does when he steps into that garage gym, as he sweeps it out, he wipes down the surfaces. He makes sure that things are in order before he takes the tears it up and then does his really intense training session in there, and then and so on and so forth. And so, you know, sacred space is making your home a place that facilitates well-being

[00:45:34.060] – Thosh

yeah, anywhere where we learn, where we eat, where we live, where we laugh, where we love, where we do any of these things together, not just solo, but together with people that we love. These are sacred spaces because they contribute to our overall health and wellness, our feeling of connectedness, our feeling of being empowered. And for us, that's what sacred is as native people, when we're using English language, the word sacred, that's what it means to us. Anything that really is important that contributes to essentially our health and wellness. And one of the first things I do in the morning, too, especially in the summertime, the warmer times season, when the sun comes up earlier, is that when I get up, like around five or 530, the first thing I do is open the windows to the living room and intentionally let that morning glow in, the morning light in. And I'll sit there and let that come into my eyes and to kind of help me get started for the day and visualize the day. And sometimes, if I'm not too much in a rush, which I'm working on, I'll do my meditation if my coffee steeps, but sometimes I'll have my coffee and I'm just visualizing the day.

[00:46:35.010] – Thosh

I'm thinking about how I want this day to go, and I'm visualizing everything being executed in that laying down at night again. But I let that sunlight come in. And that's what we do in our home now. We let the sunlight come in. And that's what a lot of our spiritual leaders in our communities have always told us, is to make sure that we let the sunlight come in and let the healing come in. Do positive things in your home, have laughter, play beautiful music of good high frequencies, also sing in the house, have family time, prayer time, ceremony time in the home. And it invites a really positive energy into the home and contributes to our health and wellness.

[00:47:09.640] – Chelsey

What I encourage the listeners to do is think about a person in your life whose home, when you visit that home, or maybe it's from your childhood, maybe it's one of your grandparents, when you walk through that door, you're just at peace. You're just, wow, like there's something rich here. There's something that feels very comforting and just very inviting about the presence and the way that that person keeps their home. Is there a smell? Is it because of the way it's arranged or the colors that are used, or because there's so much natural light, or there's this great smell of food cooking or something like that? Think about that home and try to emulate that. And one thing that you'll notice is it's not necessarily going to be the biggest home. It's not necessarily going to be based on a specific location. It could be anywhere. It could be any size of home. It's really just about the love that goes into it. So we encourage folks to just put love into their home.

[00:48:09.190] – Allan

I think, as you were saying, that one of the things that struck me was I thought about my grandmother and grandfather's house and how safe I felt there. And I'm like if you had measured my cortisol level when I was at grandma's house, right there, you're already got a health benefit just by having that feeling when you're in your place.

[00:48:30.260] – Chelsey

There you go. And you know what? And I do think that some of this, just like anything else, I think that sacred space is one of those pieces of health that inevitably is actually going to improve as we get older. Like, I haven't quite figured out that formula yet for just how inviting and how great my grandma thelma's house felt. Like, I'm still trying to figure that out, and I'm definitely getting better at it as I get older and learning to incorporate these different elements. But, yeah, I think that it is a piece of our health and of our wellness that makes so much more of a difference than what we even realized.

[00:49:05.100] – Allan

Yeah, and I like how you took it beyond just the physical now that we're into the space that we're in with Facebook and Twitter and all of that, and you talked about our digital spaces, and I will say that that was one of the core takeaways from your book that I have incorporated. I have not logged onto Twitter since I read your book.

[00:49:25.460] – Chelsey

Wow, that's awesome.

[00:49:28.390] – Allan

Can we talk just a little bit about digital spaces before we

[00:49:32.810] – Thosh

yeah, totally. That's something that we are learning with and it's something that's very I think it's going to be a complex relationship with everybody based on some people like yourself and us. Part of our work requires us to be on social media to an extent, to share these ideas, to share about the book, you know, to create a more awareness about indigenous life ways for our own communities, and to share these other messages for people outside of our communities. And so we've always seen social media as a tool, but with any tool, you have to have boundaries. And we believe that now we're in that age where social media is required, that we have to facilitate a healthy relationship with social media because it has the means to negatively impact our sense of wellbeing, with what we're seeing on there, with our activity, that we are engaging with certain people. And we have to filter, we have to limit what we are seeing on social media because it could make us angry. It could trigger things, especially in the heated social political climate that we've seen to not be able to get out of in this country, in recent years.

[00:50:36.790] – Thosh

Social media is one that we have to regulate our input. What are we seeing? What are we hearing right here? How does it make us feel? We need to assess that and determine what do I need to unfollow and do I need to create a schedule for myself? Maybe I'm only on social media one to 2 hours a day. Maybe I only post two, three times a week. Maybe I go on social media fast for one week, for 30 days and I don't check into that. And I'm being present. I'm being present with my own self, my own thoughts, my emotions. I'm being present with those that are within my space, that I work with, that I go to school with, that I live with, that I love with being present right there because we are seeing that. And there's scientific evidence too. There's a plethora of studies that come out that have shown that we get a dopamine release even when we receive a notification and that that can create that addiction there social media addiction, we know is a real thing right there. And so the science is there. The emptiness, the feeling of loneliness and emptiness that became exacerbated during COVID-19.

[00:51:33.270] – Thosh

And people were left to really only connect during the virtual world to the virtual world. Now that we're out of that lockdown, people are stuck in that behavior pattern and more addicted than ever. So we see that social media is something that we certainly have to be conscious of our interaction with it. We have to create these boundaries with it. And it's going to be different from everybody for sure.

[00:51:52.500] – Chelsey

Yeah. And that goes for technology in general too. You know, even something as simple as cleaning off your desktop if it gets messy or organizing your emails in your inbox, that can give us that same sense of peace and being able to move forward and clearing that space in your mind so that you can complete other tasks. We need to clean those spaces just like as we need to clean up our table or make our bed in the morning. And those are actions, those are wellness practices just as much as getting in the gym or cooking a healthier meal.

[00:52:23.200] – Allan

I'm going to ask you each one at a time, these questions because I've asked all my guests this since nearly the beginning. So I'll start with you Thosh. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:52:40.390] – Thosh

Three strategies to get well and stay there? I think the first thing I always go into is the mind and I always share with people what is the vision you have for yourself in the future, even tomorrow, ten years, 30, 50 years down the line? Who do you want to be in that time? How do you want to think? How do you want to feel? And how do you want to act during that time? So I always share with people to have that vision of yourself, what is being well mean for you? What does that feel like and what actions do you have to take in order to become that? And I always share with people, we have to visualize it, know where we are going, and every day, every day we have to do something that's helping us to get closer to that. And we have to have things that keep us accountable because we all get off track. We all get off track. We have to have some method or mode to keep us accountable. Some sort of system that keeps us on track with our mission. We have a mission that we've created in life that has to do with health, has to do with family, it has to do with school, career, whatever it is.

[00:53:50.080] – Thosh

We have to stay on that mission there and to visualize how that's going to be and to make every day to step into that. So that's the first thing I encourage everyone. The first strategies, have a vision for yourself. Have a vision for yourself. And the second strategy is to find what modalities, what lifeways are going to assist you in that. And then that's where the learn, engage, optimize comes in there. Learning things, engage with it and then learn to optimize it so it gets you closer to that vision that you have of yourself right there. And then the third I would say is make sure that these are life ways and practices that you could adhere to. They're sustainable for the long run. They're not something that I'm just going to do this until I get at this weight or I'm just going to do this until my, you know, A1Cs at this. It's a continuation. We're always evolving, we're always healing and evolving from something. And so I believe that that's what it is. Have a vision for yourself, find out how you're going to do that and then make sure it's something that we can adhere to I would say.

[00:54:49.020] – Allan

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

[00:54:59.660] – Chelsey

I would say the first thing would be to look within and to create a wellness practice and a lifestyle that is true to yourself as an individual. And don't worry about competing and don't worry about being the best or what your neighbor is doing or what's trendy really honestly try different things in food, in movement, in these different areas of health that feel authentic to you, that you can incorporate as sustainable practices. And don't be afraid to be an individual when it comes to those things. So that's number one is really be authentic to yourself. The second one that I would say is surround yourself with a support system and also be a support system because community is so integral and family is so integral to our health practices. We can't put that on the back burner. We truly have to find folks and to align ourselves with friends and relationships and to also be a role model for people like our children or like our nieces and nephews and others who look up to us. Sometimes we get so frustrated, I think, with things that are out of our control. Sure, you can't change society, but you can impact the way that your family is operating.

[00:56:28.200] – Chelsey

You can really make a difference on a daily basis with those things. So that's number two is community. Let's see here. The third wellness tip that I would offer is to expand your mind outside of anything that you've already seen in mainstream wellness and really taking a deeper look at all of these different areas of our health that might be impacting us and being open minded all the time and the lifelong learner to different ways that we can optimize and improve our lives. Taking in teachings from elders, from youth, from parenting, from hardship, from all of these different areas of life that help us grow and create resilience. Rather than looking at those things in life that we try to avoid because we can't avoid them, we're human. Let's embrace those areas of hardship and those areas of struggle and growth as things that teach us. So that would be my third is in just really expanding the way that we think about health and wellness far beyond the typical and just opening our minds a little bit more.

[00:57:45.520] – Allan

Thank you. Now, the book is beautiful. And there were images in the book, you're photographer Thosh, right? But you didn't take all the pictures because you're in some of them. But there's some beautiful pictures and some wonderful stories. Like, I just had an image in my head as I was reading and you're talking about hunting with your daughter strapped to your back bow and arrow and just a whole family there. And the fact that I know when my daughter was about that age, she'd be screaming her head off and I'd have no chance in heck getting her just beautiful stories about how you guys are trying to live this and use this and teach this. And so I encourage people that are kind of looking for just kind of the excitement and encouragement and motivation to make changes in their whole life, not just their health and fitness. To check out your book. If somebody wanted to learn more about you and your book, The Seven Circles, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:58:39.260] – Chelsey

Thank you so much. Yeah, we would love for them to visit our website wellforculture.com, which includes a lot more about what we do and it has links to every other place where you can engage with our content. I would say we're very active on Instagram. My handle is chelsey.moves and Those is thosh.collins. And then we also have our shared page, which is at wellforculture. So those areas where you can definitely, easily and quickly connect with us. And if you visit Harper Collins website, which is our publishing company, you can find our book, the Seven Circles indigenous Teachings for Living Well. It will also be available via audiobook. We narrated our own audiobook and it is available through pretty much any retailer you can think of. And we encourage people to make their own choice there and to support whichever book seller they feel best about supporting.

[00:59:31.870] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/561, and I'll be sure to have links there. So, Thosh and Chelsea, thanks so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:59:43.690] – Chelsey

Thank you for having us. It's been so fun to be here.

[00:59:46.230] – Thosh

Yes. Thank you, Allan. We enjoy this conversation. Thank you for your interest in our work. We really appreciate that.

Post Show/Recap

[01:00:00.710] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:00:01.960] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really neat interview. And, you know, you and I do talk a lot about the importance of sleep and food and movement, but we don't often talk about the sacred space, the connection to land, a connection to community. There is a lot to our lives that need a little bit of balance. So this is pretty important to have a sense of community and to be social and take care of, to have some pride as to where you live and whatnot.

[01:00:27.040] – Allan

Yeah, my whole journey, when I started, I was doing a self audit. I guess this way you could say I was sitting on the beach in Mexico and just doing my crap, but it was a self audit nonetheless, and it was, okay. I'm only doing well in one space, and it's not even really an important space. My career was great, but my health, my fitness, my connection to people, my connection to the world, all this stuff, it was just broken. And so a lot of people talk about, you know, you need to be broken before you can be fixed. I was completely broken, and it took me a long, long time to do this and get an understanding of what I could do to make myself better. And so it's a process, and it's a process that you have to be real with yourself, you have to be honest with yourself. And The Seven Circles is a really good model as you go through the book and say, okay, how am I doing on social connections? And how does that fit in with who I am today? So one of the things that I'm excited about is community.

[01:01:36.300] – Allan

And so we've got the Facebook group, and I've got clients and I've got friends and all that. Well, then, now we've got weddings that we're going to. And so I'm entering a phase with the daughters getting married and everything, where now I'm going to work on connecting and that social thing. And so it's just that back and forth of saying, okay, what's the most important things for me? And then making sure you're not leaving some of these things behind that are important. It's easy for us to sit at our desks and it gets cold and it's dreary outside and so we're going to stay in the house and bundle up and not get out, you know, and so that's that's a problem too.

[01:02:23.520] – Rachel

oh it is.

[01:02:24.570] – Allan

So it's just looking at those as just a consistent reminder to prioritize and understand we have to be doing something almost all the time, doing something in all seven of those areas, but at the same time looking at where we are in our lives and say, okay, this one is more important than that one.

[01:02:45.790] – Rachel

Yeah, well, we go through these phases in our lives, right? I mean, when the kids are young, your kids are your priority. My kids are older and almost out of the house at this point. So now you can focus on some other things, maybe. Well, taking care of Mike as he's struggling with his cancer and taking care of my family. I have a run club that I participate with, so I'm busy with my friends and making sure that we have those social connections. But just like they said, there's one of I can't remember which one who said it, but they said it's not about having a diet or a New Year's resolution. It's a lifestyle change. And the part that really hit me, though, is that it's constantly evolving and we're constantly learning. And just like you said, we need to take the time to have that self check, that self audit. And where are we today? Are we doing good with our food but not with our family? Are we getting good sleep but not enough movement? It's a balance. It's a balance between a lot of different things.

[01:03:47.060] – Allan

Well, the reality of it is this, okay, so if you imagine you're driving down the road and they tell you, have your hands at ten and two, okay, you can take your hands off the steering wheel, the car is still moving forward.

[01:04:02.140] – Rachel

That's right.

[01:04:04.540] – Allan

You can be doing this good or you can be doing everything bad. It's up to you, but you're doing it. That was one of the core things out of that quote that I said, was, yeah, you're doing it, but even if you're not doing it, you're still making a choice to not do it. So you could take your hands off that steering wheel, the outcome probably won't be very good. A non favorable outcome, absolutely. But you kind of get the idea is that you're still moving, you don't have a choice. Your life is still going on and that aging curve is still happening. And your time on this planet with the people you love is still limited. So the time is still happening, the movement is still happening. Everything's still moving. And if you're not engaged in making the most of that, that was a choice. It's still a choice. And so since you know that now, just take a few minutes. This book is pretty good about like I said during the self audit, there are tools out there, but this is a really good one and it's Matrix, so you really can kind of dig down.

[01:05:14.370] – Allan

Why is my sleep suffering? I'm under a lot of stress. I'm not moving enough. I'm not getting enough sunshine to set my circadian rhythm properly. I'm on computers in the middle of the night again, messing up my circadian rhythm because I can't be in my own head and just lay there and enjoy that space. You're doing something. Whether you choose to think you're doing it, you're still making that choice. So this is a good opportunity for you to look for that, find the balance. And find the balance that's right for you now, right? Yeah. It could be different a year from now. A six month period of time when both of our daughters are getting married. A lot of travel, probably not as much sleep. Might eat some things that I wouldn't normally eat because that's what my daughter chose to have as the meal at the wedding. It is what it is. Rehearsal dinners and all that other stuff. And daddy daughter dances and all that.

[01:06:19.990] – Rachel


[01:06:21.260] – Allan

So it's a different time for me right now. Closing a gym and my daughter is getting married and then about to launch something that scares the crap out of me. It's a thing. So just realizing where your focus needs to be and staying focused on the things that matter most.

[01:06:39.120] – Rachel

Yeah, that's great. Sounds like a great book.

[01:06:42.280] – Allan

It is a good book. And it's written from a perspective. Again, this isn't something. The stuff is what they came up with. I mean, obviously they built this model, they built the seven circle model. And so that is something, but it's driven off of what they call wisdom from their elders. This is not new stuff, guys. This is how we've always lived. We've just gotten away from that connection to how we are supposed to live. It's real food, movement, sleep, connection, connection, all seven of them. If you really think about it, those should be they are major components in living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. When I talk about wellness, you noticed I didn't just say health and fitness. There's the other stuff, the happiness, the joy, all that, all that has to be there. At some level, you're going to have moments in your life that are not as joyful as others. And that's just a check. It's like, okay, am I prioritizing and doing the right things for what matters most for me? If you are, then good. If you aren't, then you've got some work to do.

[01:07:56.920] – Rachel

That's right.

[01:07:57.450] – Allan

And guess what? We always have some more.

[01:07:59.070] – Rachel

Always. We are always evolving and learning, too. Give yourself a little grace as these things get out of balance and come right back in balance.

[01:08:10.380] – Allan

Yeah. So, as a general reminder, we've started this month with asking you for a review. So if you can get on your app what you're listening to right now, and leave the podcast a review, it's going to help us grow. And what we want to do is make this fun. So we're going to draw one of the reviewers, and in November, I'm going to send you some stuff. Okay? I'm going to send you some cool stuff. So go to your podcast app. I've got a tool that lets me see those reviews and I appreciate I read every one of them, even the bad ones. They teach me something like a self audit, but you're honoring me, so I love them. Even if it's bad review, it's good. It works out either way. But leave us a review and honest review, and I'm going to pick one winner each month and send you something cool. I'll read your review on air, and then I'll send you something cool. And then again, another reminder. I am looking to put together the first 40 Plus Fitness Retreat. Again, I hope it's the first and there's more, and it's going to be here in Bocas del Toro the last week of May.

[01:09:11.610] – Allan

I think it starts the 29th. You can go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat, and that's the only people I'm really going to talk to. I'll tell people it's happening. But if you want to be in the know and you want to make sure you're one of the 30 that gets to come here and do this with me, you need to be on that list. Again, I'm not going to send you anything to that list directly, but I'll make sure, you know, as I decide and start planning and getting things together, you'll see it come together and I may even ask your opinion on some things. So if you want to help me make this the best thing ever, then I'm all ears. Or I guess eyes, because I'll be reading the emails, but that will be a list. And I'll email you what's going on and you can respond back. I might ask, like I might ask some questions, some surveys, just to make sure that I make this the best event ever. At least the best event I've ever done.

[01:10:04.240] – Rachel


[01:10:05.110] – Allan

Yeah. So, yeah, 40plusfitness.com/retreat.

[01:10:09.490] – Rachel

Sounds great, Allan.

[01:10:10.990] – Allan

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

[01:10:13.570] – Rachel

You better. Take care.

[01:10:14.980] – Allan

You too. Bye.


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


October 18, 2022

How to master diabetes – Dr. Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Dr. Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro both suffer from type I diabetes. Through their research, they've found a plant-based lifestyle is key to managing diabetes. On episode 560 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss their book, Mastering Diabetes.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:23.830] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:25.210] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:27.320] – Allan

I'm doing well. I'm back in Bocas.

[00:02:29.710] – Rachel


[00:02:33.890] – Allan

Sometimes it's just hard to know. Okay. There were a lot of incidents where I was dealing with the changes that have happened in the United States since Covid. I've only been back twice since Covid happened, since main point of Covid. And so much has changed to the way people treat each other, the way things work. There's a loss. We lost a great deal. I don't even know how to really say it any different than that, but the country is different than it was before Covid, and not in good ways. Not in good ways at all. But I'm moving past that. I'm like, okay, well, I can control what I can control. We're getting ready to go back up to the States in a few weeks because my daughter's getting married.

[00:03:23.300] – Rachel


[00:03:23.850] – Allan

So we'll be flying back up there for a wedding. Hopefully this will be a non eventful trip other than a wedding, and then we'll come on back. But there's one thing I wanted to say before we get too far into this episode, was that I want to start doing something cool as a give back to the audience. And so the only way I can know that you listen to this podcast is if you go and leave us a rating and review. So whatever apps you're listening on, be it Apple or Google or whatever, one of those that's just kind of a specialized tool, almost every one of them is going to have a way for you to rate and review this episode. So if you take a few minutes to do that, you can probably do it while you're listening to the episode. Just take a few minutes to do that. And what I want to do, I want to start doing is about once a month. So this is the 18th. So why don't we say about the middle of November, we'll take a break and we'll pick a winner out of the reviews that we get.

[00:04:26.680] – Allan

I've got a tool that I can see all the reviews in one place, and I'll go on that and see who the reviewers are. We'll pick a review, and I'll read it in the hello section. And if you hear me read your review in the hello section, you just message us. I'll tell you where to message us at the time, and I'll send you some slack.

[00:04:48.410] – Rachel


[00:04:49.730] – Allan

Okay, so this is going to be a way for me to know you're out there, see a rating and review from you, and then I'll give you a way to message. Just message me, and then I'll make sure you get that swag. I'll need an address, mailing address, but that's about it. And you get some cool stuff.

[00:05:05.700] – Rachel

Neat. That sounds like fun.

[00:05:07.910] – Allan

So how are things up there?

[00:05:09.900] – Rachel

Good. October is the best month of the year, probably for running, and I've got a lot of races on my calendar, so I've been outside quite a bit. We got the Detroit Free Press marathon is coming up. After that, we're doing a 30 hours run called the Cal crasher, so that should be fun. And then my local coffee shop is doing the Java Jog. It's a 5K, and there will be coffee on the course, so I'm pretty excited to run a fork.

[00:05:39.970] – Allan

You're going to get a PR. You're going to get a PR.

[00:05:42.530] – Rachel

I don't know. I'll be pausing a lot to sip my coffee, but I'm pretty sure yeah, right. You know I will. Yes. So I'm looking forward to that. So, lots of good stuff happening up here.

[00:05:55.230] – Allan

Oh, good. So are you ready to talk about mastering diabetes?

[00:06:00.030] – Rachel



[00:06:43.010] – Allan

Cyrus. Robbie. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:45.970] – Robby

It's very great to be here.

[00:06:46.960] – Cyrus

Thank you so much, Allan. I appreciate the invitation to be here today. I think we can have a lot of fun, talk a lot.

[00:06:51.780] – Allan

Oh, yeah.

[00:06:52.340] – Cyrus

A lot of fun stuff.

[00:06:53.200] – Allan

Yeah. And this is a big one. This is a big one. I think you guys said somewhere in the book that people with diabetes, on average are spending over $13,000 a year on health care more than those that aren't. And at some point, a third of adults in the United States are going to have diabetes. That's astronomical. You start putting those kind of numbers together with millions of people, 100 million people paying $13,000 more per year for medical care, that's just insane.

[00:07:31.970] – Robby

It's bonkers.

[00:07:32.900] – Cyrus

It's absolutely bonkers. On one hand, you can look at the statistics, and you can get scared for humanity and think, oh, my God, how do we get ourselves into this position in the first place? But then, on the other hand, you can take a look at it and say, you know what? The food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the sort of, like, general health recommendations that people are acting upon these days don't seem to be working, so let's find another way. And we like to approach it from that perspective and think, you know what? Okay, fine. There may be a problem right now, but the problem is not set in stone. The problem is very changeable, and there's a way to significantly improve your health using your food as medicine. And that's what we can talk about today.

[00:08:14.930] – Robby

The exciting part, which is really the cornerstone of our book, is that the solution has been known for almost 100 years in the evidence-based research. It's just not being communicated to the public, and that's what we're here to do.

[00:08:28.790] – Allan

Now, the book we're talking about is called Mastering Diabetes: the Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. Now, personally, I knew about most of them. I didn't know that there was a type 1.5. So I do kind of want to ask a little bit about that one. But type 2 I've known about. A lot of adults are dealing with it now. Children, prediabetes. Almost every client that comes to me at some level is pre diabetic, if not diabetic. And then I happen to know about gestational diabetes because my wife, when she was pregnant with my daughter, she had that. And so I was familiar with this. But it's kind of mind blowing how many people are affected by these things. Can you kind of talk a little bit about that and then talk about what the different types are and what they mean?

[00:09:26.780] – Cyrus

Sure. Okay, so let's think about it this way. In today's world, there are approximately 30 million people in the United States, plus or minus a few million people, so call it 30 million that have been officially diagnosed with some form of diabetes. So that's basically approximately, let's say, 1/10 of the US population. But of those 30 million people that have been diagnosed, approximately 90% of them are living with type two diabetes. And approximately 10% of those people are living with type one diabetes. So I have type one diabetes. Robby has type one diabetes, and type one is considered the juvenile onset version of diabetes that's actually an autoimmune condition. So 90% of them with type 2, 10% percent of them with type one. But here's the thing. There are 85 million more people who are living with prediabetes, and a lot of those individuals don't even know about it. They don't even know that they have prediabetes, they don't know that their glucose is elevated, they don't know their A1C is elevated, and they don't know that they're actually at an advanced risk for chronic disease. And that's kind of the scary statistic, is that most people who are living with prediabetes are just walking around as a medical liability, but just have never been told about it by their doctor.

[00:10:45.630] – Cyrus

They've never been tested, or maybe they haven't even been to the doctor recently, so the statistics can get grim again. But there are many different flavors of diabetes, and we can kind of like walk into each one of them relatively slowly and make sure that people get a full understanding. Type one affects people who are younger than the age of 30. It's an autoimmune condition, which means that your immune system, for any number of reasons, has been tricked into believing that the cells that produce insulin inside of your pancreas, called the beta cells, are a threat to you. And as a result of that, your immune system actually goes in, attacks and kills and commits programmed cell death to those beta cells. And as a result of that, your insulin production capacity goes from being normal or 100% all the way downwards of less than 20% less than 10%. And some people have effectively zero beta cell function. People who are living with type 1.5 diabetes have a very similar reaction. It's an autoimmune reaction, but it affects people older than the age of 30. So it's an adult onset version of type one diabetes that actually happens to be slow progressing.

[00:11:53.240] – Cyrus

So rather than going from a normal insulin production to a dangerously low insulin production over the course of 12 to 18 months, which is what happens in type one, people who are living with type 1.5 diabetes end up experiencing a gradual loss in insulin production over the course of three to five years. And some people actually never lose full insulin production capacity. It just kind of takes a long, long time, and it's kind of a slow grind all the way down to a dangerous level. So that's type one and 1.5. Now, prediabetes is the precursor to type two diabetes. Prediabetes occurs when your glucose has become elevated. And what that means is that your fasting blood glucose elevates beyond 100 mg per deciliter. So you can think of 100 as basically being the cutoff. If you're less than 100 in the fasting state, that's a good thing. That means you're likely non diabetic. But if your glucose starts to elevate between 100 and 124, that means that you could be living with pre diabetes. Another indicator that doctors use is they take a look at what's called your A1C value. A1C value is basically just a long term marker of blood glucose control, and it measures your average blood glucose control over the course of approximately three months.

[00:13:09.350] – Cyrus

And so a normal A1C value comes at below 5.7%. If you have developed prediabetes, that means that your A1C value is between 5.7 and 6.4%. So you can use one of two indicators either a high fasting blood glucose between 100 and 124, or an elevated A1C value between 5.7 and 6.4%. Okay, the next category is people who are living with type two diabetes. And type two diabetes is basically advanced prediabetes. So basically, people who have crossed through the prediabetes threshold and have now gotten to a more advanced state of the disease at that point, people are living with a fasting blood glucose greater than 125 milligrams per deciliter, or their A1C value is now 6.5% or higher. And finally, you have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a temporary version of diabetes that affects women who are pregnant. And women who are pregnant often find out about it somewhere around the 28 week marker. And that's when they're screened for predecessor for gestational diabetes. Women who develop gestational diabetes, usually it's the first time that they ever recognize they have a blood glucose imbalance. But what's important is that the lifestyle that they are living has actually set them up for diabetes during pregnancy.

[00:14:33.980] – Cyrus

And most of those women will go on to developing type two diabetes into the future after they deliver their baby. So that's the real sort of the scary part of it is that it's not just a form of diabetes that you develop when you're pregnant. Even if it happens to go away, more than 60% of all women actually will develop type two diabetes in the future. The most important thing to think about here is that prediabetes, type two diabetes and gestational diabetes are all results of another condition. And the other condition is called insulin resistance. And insulin resistance is the baseline condition that can turn into prediabetes that can then progress to type two diabetes and can also manifest as gestational diabetes in pregnancy. So really, in order to understand how you can maximize your health as a person with type one diabetes and minimize your risk for many chronic diseases, rather than worrying about all the different flavors and colors and shapes and sizes of all these different types of diabetes, just think about insulin resistance. We got to hammer home what it is, how it was created in the first place, and if you can really focus your efforts on reversing insulin resistance and becoming as insulin sensitive as possible, then prediabetes fades away into the background, type two diabetes fades away into the background, gestational diabetes fades away into the background, and type one and 1.5 just becomes much simpler to manage.

[00:16:02.960] – Cyrus

And as a result of that, your chronic disease risk can go down significantly across the board.

[00:16:08.150] – Robby

Allan, one thing I want to add to everything Cyrus said there about type 1.5, it's just like a public service announcement is, it is amazing the number of people who come across our offering and our coaching program who have been diagnosed with type two diabetes but find out through a series of tests that they are actually living with type 1.5 diabetes. So if anybody listening to the show, a couple of red flags. Number one is if you are underweight or at an ideal body weight and you've been diagnosed with type two diabetes, that's a red flag. You know what? I got to look into this a little bit further and really check into that's, like, the number one thing. So I just want to share that and make sure people know, because you hadn't heard of type 1.5 and a lot of people haven't, and then they might hear something like I'm saying or Cyrus is saying and like, wow, you can reverse type two. They're trying their hardest, but it's not being reversed because they don't have enough insulin being produced. It's just a really important thing for people to be aware of.

[00:17:10.230] – Allan

Yeah, the interesting thing is I had a client come to me, and we were talking about their doctor visit, and they're like, well, the doctor said everything's fine. I'm like, okay, well, we know that you're overweight. And I said, what was your A1C. And they said, 6.2. And I said, So what did your doctor say? And the doctor says, well, we just want to keep an eye on it. And I'm like, slapping myself in the side of the head. Like, what?

[00:17:37.840] – Allan

What you know what I think it is? Because it's getting so common to see people with pre diabetes that doctors have become numb to it. They're like, I can go tell them to work on their lifestyle. They're not going to do it, so I'll just have to wait until they're over the edge and then we'll start the metformin and the insulin. That's the answer they have.

[00:18:00.590] – Cyrus

I mean, it's such a backwards philosophy because it's like, imagine you have a car and you have a tire that's not fully flat yet, but it's definitely losing air pressure, right? A doctor saying, okay, we're just going to keep an eye on it. We're just going to keep an eye on your elevated A1C value. That's like you driving around a car with a low pressure and saying, oh, you know what? I'm not going to go put air in that tire, which I'm just going to see what happens over the course of time. But you know what's going to happen over the course of time, right? It's going to get flattered, you're going to lose more air pressure, and you're eventually going to have a flat tire. So it's not necessarily the recipe for success. And then secondarily, also, we're not here to talk smack about doctors in any way, shape or form because we love doctors and we know that they're very motivated to try and help people achieve better health. But when I hear this statement of, like, my doctor didn't tell me what to do because my doctor said that most people won't change, right?

[00:18:55.850] – Cyrus

If doctors find that most people aren't changing, chances are they're just not using the right methodology. They're not using the right words, they're not using the right motivational tactics to try and get people to make changes. It is absolutely possible to get people to make some significant changes, but if it hasn't been working for you as a doctor, then chances are you just need to modify their approach. And it's that simple. People want to change. There's no question about it.

[00:19:18.410] – Allan

I look at it more like the car analogy. I love that because that was what I used in my book. I look at it more like you're the passenger. The doctor is sort of like a passenger in the car and sees you coming up and sees that the car in front of you has hit their brake lights and decides not to tell you until you crash the car into the back of that other car. Yeah, that will repair our car rather than not hit the car in front of us. Because diabetes is really that big a deal.

[00:19:48.930] – Cyrus

No question. Great analogy.

[00:19:51.090] – Allan

Now, a lot of people, I've heard it several times, I want to say that Alzheimer's is related and they want to call it type three diabetes. What are your thoughts on that?

[00:20:02.250] – Cyrus

Yeah, this is a great question. So over the past ten years, actually, over the past 15 years, there's actually been a large body of scientific evidence that has made the connection between insulin resistance in your peripheral tissues. Peripheral is a word that you use in biology when you're describing everything that's outside of your head, anything that's outside of your central nervous system. So peripheral refers to your muscles, your heart, your vasculature, your liver, your kidney, your digestive system, your microbiome, and your sexual organs and beyond. So insulin resistance is canonically thought of and talked about and measured inside of your liver and muscles. Those are the two principal organs in which insulin resistance is generally talked about and can manifest easily and can actually be reversed. But insulin resistance isn't generally talked about when it comes to your central nervous system, aka your brain. But this body of research has actually uncovered that there is a very strong association between people who have insulin resistance in their peripheral tissues and people who develop cognitive decline, aka dementia and eventually Alzheimer's disease. And they say, Wait a minute, hold on. Why is there such a strong connection?

[00:21:22.090] – Cyrus

Metabolic dysfunction in your peripheral tissues is associated strongly with people who develop cognitive decline in the future. How is that the case? This body of research has actually gone a little bit deeper to see if there's any type of evidence that they can find for a cognitive decline at a younger age. And they actually find that you can develop insulin resistance of your brain. And this is fascinating information, because insulin resistance of your brain can then manifest itself in the future as cognitive decline and inability to properly process thoughts and decreased spatial recognition, decreased ability to speak. And as a result of that, it can manifest as dementia. And then dementia can, over the course of time, develop into full on Alzheimer's disease in many individuals. So because of this connection, people are the research community has said, you know what? Alzheimer's disease is actually type three diabetes. It is another version of diabetes that actually affects your central nervous system. And there's a molecular explanation for exactly what's happening inside of neurons inside of your brain. So it's a strong body of evidence, and over the course of time, I believe that it's going to get stronger as more evidence comes to light.

[00:22:45.950] – Cyrus

But the point is that insulin resistance, sure, it can affect your heart, it can affect your vasculature, it can affect your liver, it can affect your muscle tissue. But in addition to that, it also does negatively affect your brain today. You just might not experience any symptoms of that for 20 years into the future. And at that point, when you start to manifest symptoms, those symptoms are actually a result of many years of metabolic dysfunction inside of your brain that has accumulated over the course of time due to the insulin resistance pathology. Does that make sense?

[00:23:22.620] – Allan

Yes, it does. Thank you. Now, in the United States particularly, we don't do anything halfway. When they came out with the low fat kind of kick, everything started coming out low fat, and people were terrified of fat. It's like, Stay away from fat, stay away from fat. All these products came out. They pulled the fat out of everything and they replaced it with sugar. And then people were like, well, no, obviously it's not the fat, because we're getting fatter when they remove the fat from our food. So obviously, now everybody's kind of swinging way over to the other side of saying, well, it's carbohydrates, and now carbohydrates are the enemy. And to me, it's just as misinformed because it's looking for that simple rule. We love the simple rule. Why are carbohydrates actually not our enemy?

[00:24:12.990] – Cyrus

Okay, this is phenomenal question. There's so many ways we can go here. So let's go back to this idea that we tried to eat a low fat diet as a community, as a society, and a low fat diet didn't work. If you actually look at the data to try and figure out how low fat Americans as a generality became, americans never actually went on a low fat diet. We think we did. We talk about the fact that we tried a low fat diet as a community. It didn't go low fat. The actual percentage of calories that humans were or that Americans were eating prior to eating a low fat diet was 38% of calories. When they adopted a low fat diet, they went from 38% to 37% of calories. That's no change. As far as huge, massive change, let me tell you, right? So there was really no from a statistical perspective, from a biological perspective, there was no change. And just like you said, even though we think we ate a lowfat diet, we actually started eating a high sugar diet. And I use the word sugar very loosely there, because we actually started eating a high refined carbohydrate diet.

[00:25:23.370] – Cyrus

And what I want people to understand is that this carbophobia that has happened over the course of many years, that's actually been recycled many times since the Atkins diet first came out in the 1970s, it didn't really take hold. It got reinvented in the 1990s and all of a sudden became very popular. So in my head, I think of the low carbohydrate diet as starting in the 1990s, and then from that point onwards, it got recycled into the South Beach Diet, into the Zone diet, into the Paleo diet, and then into the Ketogenic diet, which is where we're at. So we're at, like, version four or version five of a low carbohydrate diet. And the messaging seems to get stronger and stronger and stronger every time it reincarnates itself. And the messaging here is that carbohydrates are bad for you. Carbohydrates will make you fat, carbohydrates will make you more diabetic, they will spike your insulin use, and they will lead you to an early grave. And the problem is that, number one, you can't take all carbohydrates and lump them into one category, because that is just biologically inappropriate and it's biologically inaccurate. I can go out into the woods and I can find carbohydrate all over the place, the trunks of trees made out of wood, that's a carbohydrate.

[00:26:39.720] – Cyrus

I can go into my bathroom and I can find toilet paper. That's a carbohydrate. I can pick up a piece of white paper right here. That's carbohydrate. So we have to be very clear when we're talking about what carbohydrate actually is, because you can't just say, oh, I ate a low carbohydrate diet. Well, technically speaking, I don't eat wood, so I'm eating a low carbohydrate diet, right, but it doesn't really make sense. So we have to differentiate between carbohydrates that are known to increase your risk for chronic disease and carbohydrates that are known to decrease your risk for chronic disease. The two of them are fundamentally different than each other. The ones that we know from a scientific perspective that actually significantly increase your risk for chronic disease, including diabetes and heart disease and obesity, are refined carbohydrates. Cookies, crackers, chips, pastas, sodas, sugar sweetened beverages, pastries things that come in packages and cans. Those are known as refined carbohydrates because they had to go through a manufacturing process in order for them to become edible, in order for them to become presentable for you to put in your mouth. Whole carbohydrates come from fruits and starchy vegetables and legumes and whole grains.

[00:28:01.670] – Cyrus

And those whole versions of carbohydrate have actually been shown by evidence based research time and time again since the 1920s to lower your risk for chronic disease, to lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease and obesity. So any time people say to me, I'm on a low carbohydrate diet, I say to you, what does that actually mean? Tell me what you're eating. What does it mean to you to be on a low carbohydrate diet? Because it's just a subjective thought. And the reality is that what most people will benefit from when they're consuming a low carbohydrate diet is to eliminate not just reduce, but eliminate the processed, refined carbohydrates. I'm in full agreement of that. Robby is in full agreement of that, and every single health professional I know is in full agreement of that. There isn't a single health expert that's going to say, you know what? You should be eating more refined carbohydrates. You should be drinking more soda. The reason why you're not losing weight is because you're not eating enough bear claws, right? Nobody's going to say that because that's an absurd thought. But the truth is that we all agree, regardless of whether you're from the Ketogenic camp or the low fat camp or the plant based camp or the paleo camp, it doesn't matter.

[00:29:17.100] – Cyrus

Everyone agrees, eat less refined carbohydrates. But what differentiates the Mastering Diabetes method and what differentiates the body of research that we have read is that people who come from the plant based world in general recognize that eating whole carbohydrates from fruits, starchy, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is actually those are health promoting foods. And the increased consumption of those foods actually will lead to a reduced risk for insulin resistance, a reduced risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and that is significantly going to improve your long term health and going to improve your short term health simultaneously. Does that make sense?

[00:30:03.670] – Allan

Yes. One of the things, one way I like to say it is if it comes in a bag, box, jar or can, you need to look out because whole food doesn't. Whole food doesn't actually even have labels on it. You walk to the grocery store and there's the vegetable section. There's seldom labels on there to tell you what's in that food, but you can go Google it if you really want to know. Now, of course, I'm a personal trainer, so as soon as someone gives me a reason to exercise, I'm like, really excited. You talked about insulin sensitivity and how important it is for us as we want to improve our health outcomes. How does exercise play into that?

[00:30:48.060] – Cyrus

Yes, I'm really glad you asked that question because just like you, I love to exercise. I will exercise voluntarily for absolutely no reason, just because it's fun and it's a great way to improve your health. But it's also just I find it enjoyable. Exercise does a lot to improve insulin sensitivity. So let's try and understand what insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity actually mean because those can be confusing contests for most people, and we have to kind of like drill into detail to figure out what it is first and then we can talk about what the solution is. So insulin resistance occurs when your liver and muscle accumulate excess fat. Now, most people in generally don't associate fat with diabetes. They don't associate dietary fat with insulin resistance. And so for a lot of people, they kind of listen to that and they're like, well, what are you talking about? Thought insulin resistance was a problem of consuming too much sugar. And I've been told my entire life that diabetes is caused by the consumption of too much sugar. And the answer is yes. You know what? Again, if you use the word refined sugar, the answer is absolutely.

[00:31:58.460] – Cyrus

You can certainly induce an insulin resistance state and certainly induce a diabetic state by the consumption of too much sugar. And I won't deny that, and neither will the research. But there's actually another thing, another component of your food that's actually going to make you diabetic faster. It's going to increase your risk for insulin resistance faster. And that thing is dietary fat. So I don't want people to misinterpret our words and think of us as being like those no fat guys or the fat police. Absolutely not. What we're suggesting is that we don't want you to eliminate your fat consumption. We just want you to reduce your fat consumption, but particularly your saturated fat intake. And the reason for that is because if you look into the biological research and you look at what happens in human beings who consume a diet that is high in saturated fat, what you will find is that the more saturated fat you consume, the more saturated fat is deposited inside of your liver and inside of your muscle tissue. And neither one of those tissues has a biological design to be able to store large quantities of saturated fat.

[00:33:04.630] – Cyrus

They can store small quantities perfectly normally, but they can't really store large quantities. So when you're consuming saturated fat from the outside world and that usually comes from animal products like white meat, red meat, fish, chicken, dairy products and eggs. When you're consuming a significant amount of those foods, the saturated fat that you're consuming actually comes locked up in this thing called triglyceride. Triglyceride is basically the storage form of fat. So you consume triglyceride molecules. Those triglycerides go into your mouth. They go down your esophagus. As they get inside of your stomach, they start to get processed through basically reducing the PH or a more acidic environment. And then eventually, they get inside of your small intestine. Inside of your small intestine is where it's basically a bio reactor where there's a whole collection of enzymes that are secreted by the walls of your small intestine plus your liver, plus your pancreas. So those three tissues effectively start to put digestive enzymes into your small intestine with the explicit purpose of ripping apart that triglyceride and taking carbohydrates and protein and breaking them down into smaller and smaller units. So the fatty acids basically get ripped off of the glucose or backbone.

[00:34:15.270] – Cyrus

And these fatty acids then get absorbed through the walls of your small intestine and they get put into these things called Kylo micron particles. The Kylo micron particles float around in your bloodstream and have one. Think of them as little spaceships. There's billions of them. And they absorb fat from your diet and they go to deliver fat to tissues. In an ideal world, if I had to redesign the human being from the ground up, what I would do is actually make those Kylo microbe particles deliver fatty acids only to your outermost tissue, which is your fat tissue because that's a safe place to store fat. Most people don't think of fat tissue as being a safe place. But from a metabolic perspective, it is exactly where fat is intended to be. Go put fat inside of your outer post tissue and keep it locked up there for a long period of time and everything's fine. And the reason for that is because the fat that goes into your outermost tissue doesn't go into your liver and doesn't go into your muscle. It's a safe place from that perspective. But when you're consuming a diet that's high in saturated fat, those catalomicron particles end up delivering fatty acids to your adipose tissue and then the spillover ends up going into your liver and into your muscle.

[00:35:18.890] – Cyrus

And that's where the problem starts. So when you have accumulated saturated fat that gets inside of your liver and muscle, then those two tissues recognize that there's too much energy coming inside of them. There's nothing they can do to block it. And as a result of that, they go, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Where is all this stuff coming from? I didn't ask for it in the first place. I'm not designed to be able to store a lot of this stuff, so what am I going to do about it? So their response is to actually initiate what's called insulin resistance. They know that insulin is the single most powerful anabolic hormone in your body. In other words, insulin can promote more fuel uptake and more growth than any other hormone in circulation, period end of story. There is no other hormone, not testosterone, not growth hormone, not IGF one, nothing that can promote more fuel storage and more growth than insulin. And so as a result of that, these tissues say, okay, wait a minute, let's just think this through. There's too much saturated fat coming in here. I didn't ask for it, I don't want it.

[00:36:16.780] – Cyrus

I don't have the mechanisms to be able to store it. How am I going to block more of this stuff from coming inside? And the answer is, well, just ignore insulin when it comes around, because insulin knocks on the door of your liver and knocks on the door of your muscles and say, hey, I got some glucose in the blood. I got fatty acids in the blood, I got amino acids in the blood. Do you want to take it up? And tissues can respond to insulin by saying, sure, give me that stuff, I'll take it. But if you ignore insulin when it comes to knock on the door, then that gives you an opportunity to say, you know what? Don't put that stuff inside of me. I don't want any more stuff. I'm full. And so that's what these tissues do as a self defense mechanism to try and block more stuff from coming inside. And so this insulin resistance mechanism actually starts from the consumption, from the excess deposition or the excess accumulation of fatty acids inside of your liver and muscle. And in that state, that's where the problem really manifests itself. Because the next time that you try and eat something that's carbohydrate rich, like a banana or maybe a bowl of pasta or a piece of bread, those foods contain carbohydrates, like we talked about earlier.

[00:37:26.690] – Cyrus

And the carbohydrate molecules actually have to get broken down into glucose. And in order for the glucose to get inside of your liver and muscle, it requires insulin. So when you eat those foods, insulin goes, knock knock. There's glucose in the blood. Would you like to take it up? And both of those tissues respond by saying, no, I don't want to take it up right now. I got all this fatty acid stuff that came in here yesterday and came in here last week. I still have to get rid of this stuff. Don't talk to me right now, insulin, I'm not open for business. And so as a result of that, insulin accumulates inside of your blood, and you become what's called hyperinsulinemic. And then in addition to that, glucose can't get out of your blood, and you become hyper glycemic. So you have high blood glucose, high insulin concentrations, and that right there is classic prediabetes. I hope I'm making sense here. Where there's a metabolic traffic jam that was actually started from the excess consumption of saturated fat that then resulted in the blockade of glucose inside of your blood that then manifests itself as high blood glucose.

[00:38:31.110] – Cyrus

So the last thing I'll say here is that people who are living with prediabetes and type two diabetes, what they'll experience is that they'll consume literally one banana, and then they'll go check their blood glucose an hour later, and they're like, look, my blood glucose is high. I can prove it to you. The number is high. I guess the banana is bad for me. I shouldn't eat carbs because carbs are bad for me. But in reality, what they're not putting together is the fact that the banana is not to blame. It's everything that you ate before the banana that created the metabolic traffic jam, that made it so that the banana was no longer metabolizable. And that's the real problem. And that's the reason why insulin resistance begins in the first place. And that's how most people get fooled into believing that it's actually the carbohydrate. But in reality, that's not the problem. Does that make sense?

[00:39:17.090] – Allan

Yes, it does. Now let's take that forward and say, well, how is exercise going to affect that process?

[00:39:24.140] – Cyrus

Okay, so exercise can help that process in a number of ways. What exercise does as a sort of generality is exercise forces your muscle tissue. You're voluntarily creating a significant number of muscle contractions and elongations inside of your skeletal muscle tissue. So when you go exercise, whether you're doing push ups or whether you're doing pull ups, or whether you're running, biking, hiking, swimming, playing basketball, you name it, any of those motions, you're forcing your skeletal muscle to contract and elongate hundreds, if not thousands of times. So it's performing mechanical work. And as a result of performing mechanical work, your muscle tissue requires glucose and fatty acids for energy. Those are the two principal fuel sources during exercise. So your muscle tissue is going to basically say, where can I find glucose? And the answer is, it can find glucose in many places. Number one, it can find glucose as glycogen, which is the stored form of glucose inside of the muscle tissue itself. So great, it's going to go degrade glycogen. It's going to pull off those extra glucose units. It's going to then oxidize those units and get ATP for it, which is a good thing.

[00:40:30.440] – Cyrus

Then it's going to say, well, where can I get fatty acids? And fatty acids exist inside of the muscle tissue because like we've been talking about, they've over accumulated over the course of time. So exercise is a way to actually get to those that lipid droplet and start to pull off those excess fatty acids and send them to the mitochondria and turn them into ATP. And that's a good thing because ultimately what we're looking for is ATP. So your muscle tissue can burn, or oxidize, I should say fatty acids, and it can oxidize glucose. And that's a good thing. And what happens is that during exercise, you actually end up with a significantly elevated rate of fuel usage. So that means you deplete your glycogen stores, you can deplete your fatty acid stores. And that's a good thing because then your muscle tissue becomes very hungry after you're done exercising. And when I say hungry, I don't mean that your muscle tissue is basically telling you that you should eat food, but in reality, there are signals that then tell your brain, oh, wait a minute, now it's time to put nutrients back inside of your muscle tissue.

[00:41:27.190] – Cyrus

So what ends up happening is that the next time you eat food, you can eat food. And the glucose and fatty acids that came from that food can actually get put into your muscle tissue using less insulin. And that's the key. Insulin isn't as necessary to put glucose back into your muscle tissue. It isn't as necessary to put fatty acids back in your muscle tissue because in the 3 hours following exercise, there is an increased ability for both fatty acid and glucose uptake inside of your muscle. And that is a non insulin depending on process, meaning that insulin isn't required as much. So your insulin requirements post exercise go down significantly by as much as 50% to 60%. And that's a good thing because that means you can take in food for reduced insulin requirements. And then over the course of the next 24 hours in between your exercise sessions, you're still able to utilize and store more glucose and fatty acids inside of your muscle tissue than under normal circumstances. And at all points, you're using just a little bit less insulin than you normally would. So what that means is that you have now reduced your insulin requirements both during exercise, immediately following exercise, and as a generality.

[00:42:54.640] – Cyrus

And that's a good thing because it makes your pancreas work just a little bit less hard. And that's a good thing because the less insulin you're forcing your pancreas to make, the less glucose I'm sorry, the less work you're going to force your pancreas to do over the course of time. And that's going to preserve beta cell function over time. Does that make sense?

[00:43:14.280] – Allan

Yeah, absolutely. So now let's dive into your Mastering Diabetes method. Can you kind of give us an idea run down of how that works and what someone would be doing? Because there were a lot of really cool things that you do in that I think a lot of people think they're going to go into this and it's like, oh well, now everything changes. Day one and this is really hard, but you guys actually have a really solid way of kind of walking us toward a different lifestyle.

[00:43:43.270] – Robby

Thank you for asking. Allan. We do have a systematic step by step approach, which we lay out clearly in our book. And so just like you said, it could be overwhelming. It could be like, oh, my gosh, I've changed everything overnight. And the answer is, no, you don't have to. If you want to, you can. And Cyrus and I share this in the book, which is interesting that we actually did. That's our type of personality, and it worked out just fine for us. But most people benefit from making changes slowly, one step at a time. So during the book or throughout the book, we encourage people to change one meal at a time. Just start with breakfast, and however long it takes you to really master that and get it under control and be like, okay, I'm confident with my new meals. Then you move on to lunch. It could be one week, it could be two weeks, it could be a month. Whatever is important to you, whatever pace you want to take, it's totally up to you. So the mastering diabetes method includes four components. So the first component is low fat, plant based, whole food nutrition.

[00:44:43.330] – Robby

The second component is intermittent fasting. The third component is daily movement, and number four is decision trees. So I'll start with component number one here. So low fat, plant based health and nutrition. It's very simple. All right, we have created a traffic light system so people know exactly what foods to eat and which foods to minimize and which foods to avoid. So green light foods are fruits. So that's going to be bananas, mangoes, pears, peaches, papaya, apples, you name it, fruits. Then we move into starchy vegetables. That would be potatoes. That would be you put, like, squash in that category, butternut squash, acorn squash. Then we move on to lentils, peas, and beans. All right, it's a lot of different variety in there. And then intact whole grains with intact being the keyword here. So that's going to include brown rice. That would include pharaoh, millet, quinoa. So these are whole grains that have not been altered in any way. Then we include leafy greens. That's going to be lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, then non starchy vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, then herbs and spices and mushrooms. So green light foods are foods you can eat at libitum on our program, which a lot of people think, wow, that's crazy. Are you serious?

[00:46:04.480] – Robby

You tell me I can use as many potatoes as I want, I can eat as many bananas as I want? And the answer is yes, especially as you're becoming more and more insulin sensitive. There are certain nuances when transitioning out of a very insulin resistant state into more insulin sensitivity. And we cover that in the book in detail. But I will say there's a couple of key principles there, which is that on our program we're encouraging, especially in the beginning when you eat these higher carbohydrates foods, you are, number one, simultaneously reducing your fat intake, which Cyrus just covered. Why that's so important? Why that's the cause of insulin resistance. But we also encourage people, when you're eating these foods include greens and non starchy vegetables. That helps blunt the bubbly and spikes you might be seeing when you're insulin resistant. We also encourage people to eat slowly. That makes a very big difference. A lot of people these days are wearing CGMs, and they can see how much of an impact the pace at which they eat their meals actually impacts their blood glucose levels. So that's a huge part. So that's the green light category.

[00:47:10.290] – Robby

Now the yellow light category, these are foods that we suggest you eat in limited quantities. So you want to be careful of how much you're consuming. It's not that the foods in the yellow category are unhealthy or we're saying don't have them. It's that it's the quantity that you have to pay attention to. So, nuts and seeds, fitness category, avocado, coconut meat, olives, and soy products. These are all foods that are whole foods. They're healthy, plenty of research showing the benefits of including them, but they're all naturally higher in their fat content, naturally higher in their calorie density. So the quantity that you consume, you have to pay attention. Whereas the green light category, these foods are all so low in their calorie density, so high in their quantity of water and fiber, that it's very difficult to eat too much. It's almost impossible. They're self limiting, whereas it's very easy to over, to snack on too many nuts and seeds. Okay? Very easy. Avocado is very calorie dense, very high fat. It's easy too much if you want to maximize your insulin sensitivity. Soy products are great. It's just that, again, they're higher in fat.

[00:48:24.110] – Robby

So all soy products are 40% of calories come from fat. Even Edamame, that's the most whole intact form of soy is 40% of calories coming from fat. On our program, we're suggesting that you keep everything under a maximum of 15% of calories coming from fat. Another way to look at that would be no more than 30 grams of total fat per day. And that would include all of the foods that you consume because there is fat in lettuce and bananas and mangoes. So that's the first part of the yellow light category. The next part would be foods that are just a little bit more refined. Okay? So even things like brown rice pasta, there's bean pasta these days. There are lots of new foods. These are great, great alternatives. It's just that they're a little bit more processed and it's better to have, have the whole intact form. So brown rice is going to be a little bit better than brown rice pasta. So we put in the yellow light category. The other food that we have in the yellow light category would be bread. Bread is another example. So even something like Ezekiel bread, that's a really great option.

[00:49:27.830] – Robby

It's one of the cleanest breads you could consume, but we still would rather have you just eat what that bread was originally made out of. There's a lot of really clean millet breads out there. Those are fun, those are great. But eating just whole millet would be a little bit better, especially for those who are looking to become more insulin sensitive. The third aspect of this green light category would be foods that are high in sodium. So fermented foods are great, lots of benefits, but excess sodium contributes to insulin resistance. You can't just eat that food at libitum. Right? So that's really the characterization between green light and yellow light and red light foods. These are items we're suggesting you minimize or just completely avoid, and that is animal products. Cyrus talks about foods high in saturated fat. Animal products are naturally, in general, high in fat. Cyrus talked a little bit about oils, I believe, already. So oils are the most refined foods you can possibly consume. All right. It's the most calorie dense food on the planet. You've taken out majority of the vitamins, the minerals. You've taken out all of the carbohydrate, all of the protein, all of the water content.

[00:50:31.580] – Robby

It's just pure fat. So it's better to have some olives than some olive oil. Again, if you want to keep your fat intake low. We also have generally processed foods, even some of the more modern day, there's like new plant-based burgers, there's all kinds of new plant-based options. And we're not suggesting that people eat processed food, really eat simple, whole foods. There's a lot of coconut products these days. Coconut ice cream, coconut this, coconut that. Processed bars are out there. So all these refined foods, whether they're considered healthy or even the obvious ones, like, we shouldn't be eating Twinkies and stuff like that. So all the processed food fits in the red light category. And so that's really the simple cornerstone of the nutrition component. Low fat, plant based whole food nutrition. Focus on green light foods. Eat those as the majority of your diet, when you're hungry, until you're satisfied. And we provide a bunch of recipes in our book. We provide recipes on our website, new recipe every week. So how to take those ingredients and trim them into something that's delicious, we make that easy for you and provide everything you need.

[00:51:41.550] – Allan

Okay. And then the decision trees, can you dive a little bit into that? Because I think that was pretty good too.

[00:51:47.110] – Robby

I'd love to talk about decision trees. So decision trees, that is our version of a diabetes logbook. All right, so anybody usually diagnosed diabetes, your doctor is going to ask you to write down some numbers so you can see how your decisions are impacting your blood glucose levels. Not very many people actually take the time to fill out their logbook. But the decision tree is so fun. Actually, maybe fun is not the right word, but it's so informative that it becomes worth it. So at Mastering Diabetes, we are teaching everybody the connection between your fat intake and your blood glucose control, all right? Your blood glucose levels. And so the decision tree is a simple tool where you are going to just simply document the facts that happen throughout your day. Okay? So you wake up in the morning, you're going to document your fasting blood glucose, okay? Then you're going to have breakfast. So what did you have for breakfast? You're going to write that down and you're going to include the total carbohydrate intake and the total fat intake. I will say, Allan, the decision tree is a little bit of a trick, okay?

[00:52:54.140] – Robby

Because in order to fill it out properly and put information in each one of the boxes, you have to log your food into nutrition software. So we recommend a software called Chronometer. It's free. And this is really the only way to get an accurate amount, an accurate understanding of how much total fat you are consuming in your diet. And the decision tree really opens up your mind to how much hidden fat is in the food you're consuming. And so when you document that and you say, okay, wow, look at what happens when I have this high fat meal and then my fasting blood glucose the next day. Look at what happens to if you're living with insulin dependent diabetes, what are my insulin requirements when I have that higher fat meal? And so the decision tree also has you log your things, like your activity, your medication use, and you're going to start to see the relationship between how your decisions impact your blood glucose levels, your insulin sensitivity, and it becomes very empowering. So I have done well over 1000 decision trees in my life, but there was a time when I did 365 consecutive days of documenting every single morsel of food that went into my body, and every insulin injection, and every blood glucose reading.

[00:54:12.950] – Robby

And it was so insightful. And once you take the time to fill out these decision trees, you end up taking this knowledge with you for the rest of your life. These are insights that you gain through going through the activity of logging your food, understanding what you're consuming, logging your medication use, logging your blood glucose numbers, and you now know that information and it's yours forever. So for people living with pre diabetes and type two diabetes, it's our goal that you use this tool to understand how to become more insulin sensitive and then you don't have to use it anymore, right? It helps you get to where you want to be and you're hopefully non diabetic. And it's gone. Now, for living with type one and type 1.5, this is a tool that's beneficial on an ongoing basis. Okay. The ratio of how much insulin you need for the carbohydrates you're consuming is going to be demonstrated based on these numbers. Right? And so anybody listening to the show about living with insulin, diabetes, you know that you got to be confident in your dosing if you want to get off the blood glucose roller coaster.

[00:55:22.700] – Robby

And the Decision Tree is going to help you get to that place. So it's sort of like a proprietary tool that we have. We give more details about it in the book, but you can also just download a document free off our website, print it out, and start filling it out, and it's really changed a lot of people's lives.

[00:55:44.000] – Allan

Yeah, I really like the amount of guidance that you put in the book and obviously the amount of research with over 800 studies and resources that you referenced in the book. But one of the cores of this, and this is really important, is you might talk to your doctor about it. They might have some questions about this, but you can find a doctor that will help you. But you guys give them the kind of that guidance to say, okay, because you're on these medications and you're going to start this change. And any time you make this change, you just really have to be on your Ps and Qs, because if you keep taking the same amount of insulin and you don't need it, or you keep taking the blood sugar lowering medications that you might be taking, and you don't start to look at it and say, well, what is actually happening here? So that's why I agree. I think the decision trees are really a big part of this thing, so that you can kind of make sure that you're making the right changes to suit yourself as you go forward, because you're going to change.

[00:56:43.580] – Allan

It's going to be different, and you got to have the tools.

[00:56:46.990] – Robby

Allan, I'm so glad you're bringing this up because this is the truth, and it can be scary. Being over medicated is dangerous, especially with insulin. And I don't know if we touched on this earlier in the show, but there is a type of diabetes called insulin dependent type two, and there are a lot of people who have had type two diabetes for a long enough period of time that their beta cells just got tired. It's not an autoimmune condition. There's been no autoimmune activity that has damaged your beta cells. You have just been producing excess, excess insulin for a long period of time, trying to overcome the state of insulin resistance that you get yourself into, that the beta cells just got tired, and they literally can't produce enough anymore. And so you have to produce. You have to inject insulin to compensate for the insulin production that your body just cannot produce anymore. So there's a lot of people. Who come into our coaching program, and they're living with insulin dependent type 2. And what that means is they still have a decent amount of insulin production. Okay? And when you start following this program, that is truly the most powerful method to maximize insulin sensitivity.

[00:58:04.210] – Robby

Your insulin requirements come down fast between 35, and we've seen 60% in a matter of weeks and actually can begin to reduce in a matter of days. And for a lot of people, this is literally doing the exact opposite what they think they should be doing for diabetes, and it blows their mind, and they're just not that confident. Well, I really should take that small of a dose of insulin, and the answer is yes. And like you're saying, Allan, the decision tree is what helps you understand that and helps you communicate with your doctor about what's happening in a very objective way, because you don't want to be, like, guessing, how much do I need? By documenting what you need, you will understand and become very clear and confident. And like you said, Allan, there's also a reduction in oral medications. There are injectable medications now for people living with type two diabetes, and these requirements come down quickly.

[00:58:56.830] – Cyrus

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

[00:59:06.900] – Cyrus

Okay. I love your definition of wellness, by the way, and I would say that my definition of wellness is very similar to that. Number one, find what makes you happy. I think in the world in which we live today, there's a lot of people who are sort of feeling like their daily routine has to be work, and it has to be a job, and it's not fun, and it causes anxiety. But I find that there's the mere act of creating a lifestyle that's actually fun can go a really long way. Number two, move your body on a daily basis. Without question. I find that people who move their body and actually exercise but do it in a way, again, that's fun. They're just happier people. They have better mental health. They have better metabolic health, and it leads to lower chronic disease risk as a whole. And then, number three, I find personally that when I began eating a plant based diet, my mental health changed significantly in a great way. I found that prior to that, when I was living with type one diabetes, and I didn't fully understand what to be eating, I was an anxious guy in general, and it didn't make me feel good because I didn't exactly understand how to take full control of my health.

[01:00:13.880] – Cyrus

When I began eating a plant based diet, all of a sudden, my life started to unfold in ways that I couldn't predict. Not only was my metabolic health center better control, but I did find that I was just a happier guy in general. So that would be my third pro tip for somebody who's actually trying to improve their overall wellness. And it's the gift that keeps on giving. And I find that to be true not only in myself, but also in thousands of people that we've helped over the course of time.

[01:00:39.510] – Allan

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

[01:00:51.500] – Robby

Okay, so I like to go with some super clear, objective facts, all right? Do this and just watch and see what happens. So, number one, I want your listeners here to try following a truly low fat diet for 30 days. Okay? Give it a shot. What that means is, on every 30 consecutive days, do not consume more than 30 grams of total fat per day. And make sure that you're eating whole foods. We have meal plans in our book. Just follow the recipe. So that's number one. Keep your fat intake under 30 grams per day. And then I would say I have to agree with Cyrus on number two here. It's just so critical is movement, all right? So in our book, we're suggesting that you move a minimum of 30 minutes every day. You lose your breath, you sweat. Like, that's real movement, and a lot of people might be just walking. That's great. That's awesome. Keep doing the simple stuff you're doing, but really bump it up for a little bit, all right? Get in that movement and truly start to push yourself. It is absolutely worth it for your physical health, for your mental health.

[01:02:01.760] – Robby

You'll sleep better. It's great all around, right? And then I would say number three would be to find a way to incorporate accountability in your life, okay? Whether that's going to be a program you're going to sign up for, whether that's going to be a family member, a friend, and say, look, I want to achieve X, Y, and Z. Goal. I'm going to do number one. And number two obviously just said here, and I'm going to do it for the next 30 days, will you hold me accountable on a daily basis? And that is going to help you become the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you.

[01:02:39.250] – Allan


[01:02:39.750] – Allan

Thank you. Now, someone wanted to learn more about you guys, learn about what you're doing over there at Mastering Diabetes and the book, Mastering Diabetes. Where would you like for me to send them?

[01:02:50.650] – Robby

Okay, so the best place to go to would be masteringdiabetes.org/book or just go to the website and click book in the navigation bar. But that's the best place to go and learn and see a lot of the information and quotes and endorsements from a lot of really amazing people. You can get the book everywhere books are sold. So Amazon, Barnes and Noble, if you're living internationally, you can get it from book depository and they actually ship you the book for free. We read our own audiobook, so you can find that on Audible, you can find that on Google Play. Wherever you listen to audiobooks, the Kindle version is out there. The Nook version is out there. So the book is everywhere. You should also be able to get at your library for free. It's in your town's bestselling book. It should be at your library, and that's really the best place to start. And if you want to connect with us other places, we have a podcast as well. Just type in Mastering Diabetes into any podcast platform and you will find us Spotify, itunes everywhere you listen to podcast. We are active on social media, on Instagram, on TikTok, on YouTube, on Facebook.

[01:04:00.140] – Robby

We do Facebook Live every Wednesday and Friday at 01:00 p.m. Eastern. Come and ask us questions. We would love to answer them for you. And our website is just full of recipes, articles, and of course, if you're interested in coaching, you just go to masteringdiabetes.org/start and you can schedule a call with an enrollment specialist so we can actually talk to you and make sure that you are a good fit for our program and that we can actually help you.

[01:04:24.640] – Allan

Well, yeah, I listened to the audiobook version. There's a lot of bonus content in there and updated little snippets here and there. You guys did a great job on that. Thank you. You can go to 40PlusFitnesspodcast.com/560, and I'll have links to all those things that Robby just mentioned. So, Robby, Cyrus, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[01:04:46.710] – Robby

Thank you, Allan.

[01:04:47.930] – Cyrus

Thank you so much for having us be on the show today. I hope that what we described is kind of a simplified approach to finding a path to optimal health. And you're doing such a phenomenal job of trying to get the word out to people to try and significantly improve their health, and for that, I thank you big time. I feel like there's so much confusion in the world of metabolic health today, and you're doing a fantastic job of trying to keep it real simple, real straightforward, and try to get people practical tips.

[01:05:18.450] – Allan

Thank you.

[01:05:19.190] – Robby

Thank you, Allan. It's great to be here. Great to meet you. Keep up the great work.

Post Show/Recap

[01:05:29.150] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:05:30.530] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really neat interview and very educational for me. I thought I knew a lot about diabetes, but clearly I'm behind on a few things, such as the type One and a Half and some other things that you guys talked about that we need to talk about next.

[01:05:46.570] – Rachel

Yeah, they probably, in my mind, probably should have called it Two and a Half. I understand why they went One and a half is because it resembles Type One more like with type One, you lose the capacity to create the insulin, so your pancreas basically is dying. Type one, basically you're losing it for some other reason. For some reason, your body is not able to there's something attacking the pancreas and the beta cells and you're not able to create insulin, enough insulin anyway, so you have to start taking insulin. Type 1.5 is basically just a progression of type two. So type two is basically where you are able to produce insulin. But because the blood sugar is so high all the time, the insulin levels just go pancreas is killing itself. It should be a bit player in keeping you alive. And you guys have basically made it the superstar of the play, and it's not good at it. So he gets tired and wants to quit because it basically just wanted to be a background player. It didn't want to be the main one. Heart and lung sprain, yeah, they should be the top of the food chain of organs.

[01:07:09.010] – Allan

But now you've made the pancreas that workhorse for your show, eventually it just gives up. You can't keep up. And all of the cells are basically saying, okay, look, we can't take anymore. And it just creates a big problem.

[01:07:26.430] – Allan

now you're insulin dependent because if your body can't create it, you have to start taking it. So really, like I said, they probably should have. Just to me, they just call that a type two A and type two B or something, whatever doctors or whoever, they can call it whatever, they want to call it their profession. And then, like I said, I think there's a type three where Alzheimer's, because a lot of the things, the lifestyle things of 1.5 2.0, and then I'll say three and then gestational to a point. I think gestational is a lot is that okay? You've got that craving for Snickers, Dr. Pepper and a hamburger. True story. And someone has to stop at three different stores and a fast food place to get you what you want. Then you're eating all that sugar and there's cravings, there's the mental reason you're doing it. But yeah, that's where that comes from. You put on 70 lbs in eight months, then your body's got to adapt.

[01:08:29.830] – Rachel

It's going to struggle.

[01:08:31.150] – Allan

That's what it struggles with. So all of those are lifestyle related. But the cool thing is maybe 1.1 might be past the point of lifestyle correction entirely. But you can reduce your insulin dependence. You can reduce your metformin and other medications that you might be taking, and you can prevent yourself from losing a foot or a kidney or eyesight, all the other things that are part of this whole mess called diabetes.

[01:09:03.280] – Rachel


[01:09:04.040] – Allan

But one of the other cool things I took out of the episode was this concept of insulin sensitivity.

[01:09:11.510] – Rachel

Yeah, that's amazing.

[01:09:12.830] – Allan

And it is really important because it is something that's not talked about in the Keto community at all. What a lot of people in the Keto community know is, okay, if I stop eating the sugar and simple carbs, my insulin sensitivity should improve. And that's true to a point. But if you don't eat any carbs or you go very low carb, you're basically setting your body up to where the pancreas says, okay, I'm no longer a key player, and I'm hardly a bit player. I'm that guy that comes on the episode about once every five weeks. You know who I am, I'm funny, I do my little thing and I'm out. But they have such a little role that you go out and say. Okay. I'm full keto. And then you have a bad day. Or you go into a restaurant and don't know how much sugar or how many carbs are in something. And suddenly you feel horrible for having eaten it. And you don't have insulin sensitivity. So you're going through the spike problem of what's going on with blood sugar and all that. And if you do that frequently enough, your A1C is going to look like crap.

[01:10:26.580] – Allan

You basically go into prediabetes because you don't have the insulin sensitivity. So even though they promote a vegan lifestyle, which I understand is perfectly fine way to eat if you want to do that, because they believe the vegan lifestyle allows you to improve your insulin sensitivity and keep it improved and viable and able to handle a range of food. If you have some fruit, you can handle fruit if you have less than you settle down. I think they have a good point there. They weren't entirely anti keto, but they did fall into some of the major probes of this is what the 7th Avenue say and this is what Ornish says. And of course there's all this mercury in fish, and then of course, there's cancer risks and heart disease risks for the meat. And so they fell into some of those tropes. But they acknowledged that in the short term, if you're suffering from diabetes, the ketogenic diet will get you out of diabetes, will not cure you, but reverse your diabetes. But they still believe over the long term that's not a good way to eat. And so therefore, they don't advocate for keto as a way of addressing diabetes.

[01:11:53.510] – Allan

They are looking at it from coming at a plant based whole food way of eating, which goes right back around to the conversation we have every week. Eat real food. Real food, real food. It grew in the ground. It ran around in eight other things via other animals or plants or bugs or whatever, but they lived a natural, healthy lifestyle. And yeah, if you're getting farmed cattle and you're getting milk products and you're getting chickens that are shot up with stuff and in bad living conditions and you're eating sick animals, and sick animals make sick people. Our ancestors, if they saw a sick animal, they wouldn't eat it. They put it down and be done with it. They weren't going to eat a sick animal. We eat them every day. We just don't know they're sick. Because all we see is what the grocery stores are.

[01:12:46.580] – Rachel

That's right. Yes. Well, I appreciate that. We also agree that not all carbs are evil and that the refined carbs are the ones that we want to dismiss. And I appreciated, too, how he described your muscles as holding on to the glucose and the fat for energy. But we have too much of it. We have too much of it in our diet. So absolutely. The real foods, real fruits, real vegetables, real meats, and to alternate them throughout the day or throughout the week, you can't be stuck on the same thing every day. And also not too much. You can't have all that sugar laid in fruit, even in breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because then you still have the same problem, too much glucose and your muscles and not enough energy to use.

[01:13:34.370] – Allan

It in the short run. Yes.

[01:13:36.480] – Allan

But I dare say that if you went out and said, okay, all I'm going to eat for the next month is bananas, oh, my gosh. Okay. Now, if you were keto, your life would suck for a week or so. But if you're not Keto and you say, okay, just, I'm going to buy bananas and I can have bananas and plantains for my month, that's it. Okay. You're going to lose weight. Your blood sugar is going to actually regulate. You're going to get used to that. Now, granted, you're not getting the nutrition your body needs. So over in the long run, you're going to have some nutritional deficiencies, but in the short run, it's actually going to work for you. And here's what you're going to find. At the end of if you marked down on a piece of paper how many bananas, how many plantains they eat each day, you're going to notice at the end of the 30 days, you're eating a lot less. Yeah. And then you're still going to notice that you can't eat as much. So at first, you were eating more than you should have eaten because you were getting over full, and then you stopped getting over full, and you started trying to eat.

[01:14:51.440] – Allan

You ended up eating the calories that you needed. And then your body took the rest of what it needed from the amino acids that were already in your body, from the fat that was already in your body. And basically, you would start losing weight, and you'd probably regulate your blood sugar and maybe even see some other biomarkers that improved. Now, that said, I'm not advocating a banana diet, not at all. Don't hate it after me. I don't want to have anything to do with it. But I just want folks to understand that with whole food, your body is going to regulate how much it will eat. You need a variety because you need the nutrition, particularly today. But I would just say if you've ever sat down with 5oz of spinach and didn't put it through a blender to make a smoothie out of it and just sat there with a fork and maybe put some olive oil on it and a little bit of vinaigrette. But sit down and just try to eat 5oz of spinach.

[01:15:52.810] – Rachel

I think my jaw would hurt.

[01:15:57.790] – Allan

Yeah. It's nearly impossible to overeat whole food. Even if you did it with steak or chicken. You eat a pound of steak, you're full as a tick. I mean you're done. That's why they have that competition, bringing out that 72 ounce steak. And if you can eat the whole steak, the potato and whatever else comes with it fixing oh my gosh. They'll give it to you for free.

[01:16:21.870] – Rachel


[01:16:22.700] – Allan

They have the competitions where they're doing the oyster eating and it was so fun staying in a restaurant. This dude comes out there and they serve him 13 trays, 13 dozen oysters.

[01:16:33.960] – Rachel

Oh my God.

[01:16:34.870] – Allan

And he's like he believed in his mind at the time that he had broken the world record. And the person I was sitting with, the girl I was sitting with, I said, he's not even close. And she's like, what do you mean? I said, Someone's lying to him because twelve dozen is not the world record. But that said, he was not feeling well because I don't know, my best guess would be that a dozen oysters, depending on the base size of them, it's probably going to be a little over half a pound of meat for maybe two dozen would be about three quarters of a pound. So he's eating pounds of oysters that are almost totally all protein and minerals.

[01:17:22.350] – Allan

you just can't eat that much of it. So that's the whole point. Whereas you can sit down and kill Girl Scout cookies.

[01:17:30.710] – Rachel

I don't know about that either. But yeah, I get it.

[01:17:35.510] – Allan

You look at the calorie load of box Girl Scout cookies where serving is two and that's 100 calories. You're like, I could kill three 4000 calories of food with these refined carbs. You're not going to do that with whole food. You'll never be able to do that with whole food.

[01:17:57.620] – Rachel

Oh no. And I also appreciate it too that we've got markers that we can look at. We can look at our fasting blood sugar levels and look at our A1Cs and watch how those progress and then make the lifestyle changes so that they don't get out of control.

[01:18:14.690] – Allan

And you can wake up in the morning and ask yourself, how do I feel? You can go look in the mirror and say, how do I look? And then throughout the day, what's my energy level? And those are the best health markers that you can have. They're not going to pick up some things that are going on in your body. But in a general sense if we're in our forties and fifties and older, if we wake up feeling good and we look in the mirror and say, hey, I look pretty good. And you have energy for everything you need to do that day.

[01:18:46.970] – Allan

You're doing it right,

[01:18:48.160] – Rachel

suing something right, that's for sure.

[01:18:51.950] – Allan

It's fun to simple things.

[01:18:53.730] – Rachel

Yeah, it's funny at this age where eating some of those junk foods, like going to a fast food restaurant, that would just make me feel horrible. There's such a fast response for me when I eat such poor foods, especially fast food or anything like that. It's different now at this age than it was 20 years ago.

[01:19:16.010] – Allan

So you might have picked up on the fact that I was having some connectivity issues when I was having that discussion with Rachel and during our hello segment, not a good day for Internet in Bocas del Toro, so we got cut off. We didn't really talk much longer than that anyway, so I hope you enjoyed this episode and if you did, please do give us a rating review again, we got some prizes coming up for that, so please do give us a rating review. It's right there on your app. Click Rating review, leave us one and I'll be picking a winner in about a month's time. Talk to you then.


Before we close out this episode, if you're not making the progress you want because something seems to be blocking you, you need to check out the free quiz, What's Your Health Blocker at 40plusfitness.com/quiz. It's absolutely free. Self-awareness is a key requirement for lasting change. Knowing your health blocker is a big part of that. Learn what your health blocker is at 40plusfitness.com/quiz. You'll be glad you did.


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

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

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


October 11, 2022

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

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

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

What's Your Health Blocker?

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

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


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

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

It's a mindset block.

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

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


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:14.350] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:16.050] – Rachel

Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:02:17.720] – Allan

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

[00:02:35.420] – Rachel

That sounds good.

[00:02:35.970] – Allan

It's been a good week. Yeah.

[00:02:37.240] – Rachel

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

[00:02:52.610] – Allan

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

[00:02:57.850] – Rachel

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

[00:03:04.700] – Allan

All right.

[00:03:05.370] – Allan

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

[00:03:11.470] – Rachel


[00:03:11.840] – Allan

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

[00:03:36.920] – Rachel



[00:04:34.970] – Allan

Joseph. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:37.790] – Joseph

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

[00:04:40.080] – Allan

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

[00:04:53.790] – Joseph

It is.

[00:04:54.400] – Allan

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

[00:05:13.020] – Joseph

Yes. Staggering, isn't it?

[00:05:14.590] – Allan

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

[00:05:27.180] – Joseph

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

[00:05:59.740] – Allan

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

[00:06:26.470] – Joseph


[00:06:26.890] – Allan

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

[00:06:44.670] – Joseph

Absolutely. Yeah. The earlier the better.

[00:06:47.890] – Allan

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

[00:07:04.680] – Joseph

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

[00:08:27.080] – Joseph

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

[00:09:46.450] – Allan

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

[00:10:05.490] – Joseph

Oh, wow.

[00:10:06.020] – Allan

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

[00:11:09.150] – Allan

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

[00:11:23.780] – Joseph

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

[00:12:57.840] – Joseph

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

[00:14:13.400] – Joseph

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

[00:15:21.660] – Allan

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

[00:15:28.120] – Joseph


[00:15:30.830] – Allan

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

[00:15:39.550] – Joseph

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

[00:16:01.860] – Allan

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

[00:16:38.150] – Joseph

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

[00:17:49.320] – Joseph

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

[00:18:19.920] – Allan

All the delicious stuff.

[00:18:20.910] – Joseph

Yeah, all the delicious stuff.

[00:18:23.090] – Allan

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

[00:18:31.430] – Joseph


[00:18:32.000] – Allan

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

[00:18:42.970] – Joseph

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

[00:19:49.860] – Allan

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

[00:20:11.590] – Joseph

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

[00:20:44.790] – Allan

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

[00:20:51.170] – Joseph

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

[00:21:14.280] – Allan

I read the book. I know.

[00:21:15.560] – Joseph

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

[00:22:43.270] – Joseph

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

[00:23:28.570] – Allan

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

[00:23:51.650] – Joseph

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

[00:24:28.430] – Allan

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

[00:24:48.570] – Joseph

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

[00:25:15.210] – Allan

Or 40 plus fitness podcast.

[00:25:17.280] – Joseph

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

[00:26:36.430] – Allan

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

[00:27:16.150] – Joseph

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

[00:28:34.570] – Joseph

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

[00:29:58.550] – Joseph

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

[00:31:16.410] – Joseph

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

[00:31:39.250] – Allan

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

[00:32:09.320] – Joseph

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

[00:33:27.200] – Joseph

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

[00:33:32.590] – Allan

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

[00:33:41.870] – Joseph

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

[00:34:59.950] – Joseph

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

[00:35:09.860] – Allan


[00:35:10.360] – Allan

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

[00:35:18.540] – Joseph

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

[00:35:30.140] – Allan

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

[00:35:38.530] – Joseph

Thanks, Allan. It's been a pleasure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:35:46.770] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:35:47.950] – Rachel

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

[00:36:01.210] – Allan

Well, popularity,

[00:36:03.090] – Rachel

I know. Yes. And the demographics.

[00:36:05.500] – Allan

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

[00:36:08.950] – Rachel


[00:36:09.440] – Allan

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

[00:36:58.830] – Rachel


[00:37:00.330] – Allan

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

[00:37:08.620] – Rachel

It does, doesn't it?

[00:37:09.920] – Allan

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

[00:37:25.660] – Allan

Hey, guys.

[00:37:26.750] – Rachel


[00:37:27.320] – Allan

This is a thing. Yeah.

[00:37:29.500] – Rachel

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

[00:37:44.710] – Allan

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

[00:37:52.450] – Allan

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

[00:37:56.790] – Rachel


[00:37:57.260] – Allan

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

[00:38:16.850] – Rachel

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

[00:39:11.120] – Allan

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

[00:39:24.970] – Allan

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

[00:39:27.440] – Allan

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

[00:39:42.130] – Rachel

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

[00:40:51.020] – Allan

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

[00:40:55.240] – Rachel

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

[00:41:13.520] – Allan

I completely agree with you.

[00:41:16.450] – Rachel

That sounds great.

[00:41:17.850] – Allan

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

[00:41:19.960] – Rachel

Right, Allan, take care.

[00:41:21.290] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:41:22.300] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.


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Another episode you may enjoy


October 4, 2022

How to go from couch potato to endurance athlete with Hilary Topper

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

No matter where you are, you're never too old to get off the couch and get some amazing things done. Hilary Topper shows us how in her book, From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete. Join us as we discuss her book and she shares some wonderful tips and advice.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:14.390] – Coach Allan

 Hello Ras. How are you doing?

[00:02:15.960] – Coach Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:17.960] – Coach Allan

I'm doing all right. A little shaken, not stirred.

[00:02:22.210] – Coach Rachel


[00:02:24.370] – Coach Allan

I'm on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, and so I landed on Monday and got an Uber, which is a little bit of an ordeal because they don't want them at the airport, so you have to leave the airport and go somewhere else. So the Uber picked…

[00:02:37.190] – Coach Rachel


[00:02:37.400] – Coach Allan

That's fine. It's not that far, but Uber picks me up. We're driving back to the hotel, and this dude just runs out in front of the car. Our Uber almost hits him. If it would not be like a neighborhood kind of area with the resorts and all the houses, he would definitely hit this guy because he just ran out in front of us. And then he's yelling frantically, there's an earthquake in Spanish, but he's young. There's an earthquake. I'm like, okay. And so the car literally was bouncing up and down, sideways to sideways.

[00:03:06.670] – Coach Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:03:08.890] – Coach Allan

I did that for about five minutes, and then they're standing out in the road, standing around. So then finally, people start moving out of the road. My driver's like, okay, let's go. He drives me to the hotel, and of course, everybody at the resort, they're all out and on the street.

[00:03:23.330] – Coach Allan

And I walk in, and they're like, you can't go inside right now. It will be a little while. They said 5 minutes, but it ended up being, like, 45 minutes. So we're standing out there, and this woman is just distraught. A lot of people seem more emotionally affected by this. Everybody's got their emotion things and their buttons, so something scares them, and suddenly, again, a lot of things flare up in them, and it's personal.

[00:03:47.910] – Coach Allan

But this was not that her husband was stuck in the building because he was not capable of walking down the stairs.

[00:03:58.850] – Coach Rachel

Oh, no.

[00:03:59.500] – Coach Allan

And she was. So she walked down the stairs and told the staff that he was up there. They sent two guys up. So she had already at this point, when I got there, she had already been standing out there for over five minutes. Another 15-20 minutes goes past without him coming down.

[00:04:21.290] – Coach Allan

So she's just beside herself. I kind of took from her mannerisms and the conversation that she saw me as someone who was physically capable, and she wanted me to go in there and bring her husband down.

[00:04:35.390] – Coach Allan

So I walk up to the guy. I walk up, and the guy's like, we're not letting anyone in the building. And I'm like, okay. And then I said, is there anything going on there? Because a guy and I said, yeah, we got two guys going up there. Okay. So I go back to her, and I say, okay, look, the two guys are okay. They're just not down yet. But it was just kind of that moment when you sit there and you say, one, I would never want to do that to my spouse, and two, I would not want to be the spouse that couldn't help my significant other get where they needed to be.

[00:05:09.290] – Coach Allan

Okay, so when we start talking about fitness and we start talking about all this stuff, the reality of it is you've got to be fit to be the person that you want to be, and you got to start working on that now.

[00:05:23.090] – Coach Rachel


[00:05:24.830] – Coach Allan

These folks were probably not even in their 70s.

[00:05:29.570] – Coach Rachel


[00:05:34.770] – Coach Allan

I saw him yesterday at the pool. He's fine, but he could walk along the edge of the pool supporting himself by the side of the pool. So even in pool water that was up to almost his chest, he still needed to support himself with the side of the pool, and she had to help him get out of the pool.

[00:05:53.490] – Coach Rachel


[00:05:54.750] – Coach Allan

So one rail, and then her to get out of the pool. And I'm just like, dude, I know you're old. I know this is a struggle, but you got to get stronger. You got to get stronger. You can't put your wife through that again. I didn't say that out loud. That was one of those internal thoughts that you kind of have as you're sitting there.

[00:06:10.740] – Coach Allan

Just don't do that. I don't want to do that. So if you're thinking about reasons why you need to do this, that. You might have to take care of someone else or you definitely don't want them to have to take care of you.

[00:06:27.190] – Coach Allan

On that same kind of note, I'm on the summit that's about optimal health and longevity, it's going to be coming out in about a week from now and this episode goes live. If you'll go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/optimum, that's going to take you to a sign-up page to view that. It's like 21 health and fitness experts talking about ways to improve your health, to improve your longevity. And I'm on it, so it's got to be awesome.

[00:07:01.330] – Coach Rachel

Sounds great.

[00:07:02.440] – Coach Allan

So 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/optimum. And it's going to kick off in about six days from now. I think this goes out the 4th, so it's going to come out on the 10th. I don't know what day my episode is. As soon as I know that I'll let you know. But it's free and it's some great content. If you're looking at improving your health and longevity, go check it out.

[00:07:27.510] – Coach Rachel

That sounds great. Congratulations Allan. Sounds like a fun summit to be involved with.

[00:07:31.920] – Coach Allan

Yeah, the interview was great. The host, Yoli, she's cool and it was a really good conversation and I shared some tidbits. I actually even shared that story. So you'll have probably a little bit more information than they even had. But it is that kind of that concept of let's not get old-old, let's get young-old. Okay?

[00:07:55.770] – Coach Rachel


[00:07:56.720] – Coach Allan

So how are things up there?

[00:07:58.540] – Coach Rachel

Well, we've done a lot in the last week, Allan, since I spoke with you last, my life turned upside down and since righted itself again. But we had COVID again enter our home actually for the first time. My son and husband were away on the weekend traveling and they brought home COVID. I caught it and it was really kind of interesting.

[00:08:22.680] – Coach Rachel

My son felt like a cold, fluid kind of feeling. He didn't have it too bad and the doctors didn't think he needed any additional treatments or anything. I got it even more mild. I only had a sore throat, so I'm grateful to have such mild symptoms for this weird disease.

[00:08:41.230] – Coach Rachel

But my husband got hit hard. It hit him hard. And it's because as I've mentioned to the listeners in the past, he's right in the middle of taking chemotherapy and immunotherapy for kidney cancer. So his body was already pretty frail because of the chemo to begin with. And so when he got COVID, it just knocked him right off his feet. So his oncologist gave him the Paxlevid that a lot of people are taking and it worked really fast. It's a five-day regimen and within a couple of days he felt back to his normal chemo self.

[00:09:17.950] – Coach Allan

Yeah, he went from a .5 to a 1.

[00:09:21.150] – Coach Rachel

Yeah, exactly. Chemo is no joke either. He's had good days and bad days, but fighting cancer and COVID at the same time, it was a huge nightmare. He was just in a really bad space, and it was really scary for the both of us. But since we've made it through, all three of us are feeling healthy again, pretty much back to normal. And we had a visit with our oncologist. He's doing fine. He's back on his chemo regimen as usual, so that's what we're doing. So it was crazy, but now back to normal, and it's good to be through it all. Thank goodness it's over.

[00:09:59.490] – Coach Allan

Yeah. And let Mike know I've got him in my thoughts.

[00:10:02.990] – Coach Rachel

Thank you. I appreciate it.

[00:10:04.900] – Coach Allan

All right, well, are you ready to talk to Hilary?

[00:10:08.120] – Coach Rachel



[00:11:11.830] – Coach Allan

Hillary. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:11:14.600] – Hilary

Thank you so much, Alan, for having me.

[00:11:17.260] – Coach Allan

Now, today we're going to talk about your book, From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete. And I think many of us can kind of relate to that couch potato life and how difficult it is to basically get out of that get out of that couch and make some things happen. So I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you today about this book because it talks about your story of how you did this.

[00:11:42.680] – Coach Allan

This is not something you did when you were 20 or 30. You were over 40 years old. So you're speaking our love language, doing this, when you're not the young buck out there doing these things. And you didn't just play around. You're a triathlete. So this is some pretty cool stuff.

[00:12:03.370] – Hilary

Yeah. So I started running at 48, which, I mean, for me, my motivation was I was working all the time. I had my own business, small business. I was putting in those 60, 70, 80 hours a week. I was going to cocktail party after cocktail party, and I needed to change my life. I wasn't happy, even though the business was doing really well. I wasn't happy.

[00:12:32.790] – Hilary

So I needed to make a change. And I joined New York Sports Club and I hired a personal trainer. And my first entree into this sport was to step onto a treadmill. And I looked at this thing and I was like, wow, I don't know what to do, could somebody help me? So I asked a couple of people and they turned it on for me and I started walking and that was my first step into it. And then from there I started to run a little bit and gradually it took several months but I ran a mile. And then I took it outside and I just took it little by little. It's like one step in front of the other, basically.

[00:13:19.990] – Coach Allan

Yeah. There's a runner's mantra that's just put one foot in front of the other until the race is over. Now, there was one thing in your book that I have to ask because people put Easter eggs in their books all the time and I love finding these things. You're going to have to tell me this story about you crashing Woody Allen's New Year's Eve party.

[00:13:43.510] – Hilary

So I was 17 years old and my friends and I, there were two of us and so there were three altogether. We saw an article in the New York Post and the New York Post, it said that Woody Allen was having this New Year's Eve party, was the year 1979, and he was having it at the Harkness House in New York City.

[00:14:09.150] – Hilary

We did some research and we found out that Donald Bruce White was the caterer. And I called up the Harkness House and I said, can I tour around the facility? I want to make a surprise party for my parents 25th anniversary. And they said sure. So they took the three of us and we toured around and we got back on the train back to Long Island and we started drawing out a schematic of the whole entire place. Like where the kitchen was, where the party would take place, where the shower room was.

[00:14:45.710] – Hilary

And that December 31, the three of us, we dressed up as caterers with our clothes under tinfoil trays and we walked into the Harkness House and said we were with the cater. They let us in and as soon as the coast was clear, we jetted down to the basement and we hid there for 8 hours.

[00:15:07.860] – Hilary

Now if this happened today, it wouldn't have happened, right? But back then it was a little bit less secure and we stayed there for 8 hours. And then as soon as we heard the party start, we changed our clothes, went upstairs to the party and we met and mingled with all the famous people of the day like Mick Jagger, Robin Williams, Mia Farrow, Diane Keaton, I mean, you name it, everybody was there. And it was so exciting for us.

[00:15:41.040] – Hilary

And what happened was at midnight, we're having champagne and caviar with all these celebrities. I don't know why they didn't say, like, who are you? Nobody ever asked us who we were. But at the end of it, we went downstairs. I kissed Woody Allen's cheek and said, thank you, Mr. Allen, for inviting us. He looked at me like, who is this woman and who are these kids and what are they doing here?

[00:16:10.340] – Hilary

And we left our clothes downstairs in the shower room. We left. We were screaming down 5th Avenue. I mean, it was just insane. And we got to my friend's apartment on McDougall Street and we went up there. He was in college. The two of us were in high school at the time.

[00:16:31.360] – Hilary

We went up there and I called the New York Post right away, and they said, well, how do we know that this is true? And I said, well, clothes are down in the shower room. So they checked it out, and the next thing we know, we had a cover story on the New York Post saying, “Teens Crash Woody's Bash.”

[00:16:50.980] – Hilary

And we were also in Newsday and a local paper. And there was a famous we still love this one station. It was an alternative station called WLIR Radio. So we were on there too, and that was our story. And that's basically how I became a publicist. Because I figured if I could do it for me, I could do it for other people.

[00:17:13.240] – Coach Allan

That's pretty cool.

[00:17:15.070] – Coach Allan

Now, you had a concept in the book that I think was really critical for a lot of people because they see something in front of them. Like maybe they want to do a 5K or maybe they want to do a bike thing, bike race. There's a concept you had in the book called The Back of the Packer, and I think this is really important. Can you explain what that is and kind of the mindset that it gives you when you kind of accept that reality?

[00:17:41.250] – Hilary

Yeah. I mean, there are so many of us who are Back of the Packers. I mean, these are people who will never, may never podium unless they're the only ones in their age group. They have the possibility of being swept off the course. There's always that possibility. If you can't make it within a certain amount of time, you get swept.

[00:18:04.850] – Hilary

And the thing about being a Back of the packer is that I think also in my book, one of the people I quoted said Back to the Packers, have more fun. And in a way, we do, because we take this as a competition against ourselves and not so much other people. I mean, yes, in the beginning, you get intimidated. You feel like… One of the things that I write about in the book, I talk about Becky, a friend of mine, and she was a marathon runner. I was intimidated by her because she was a marathon runner. I thought she'd be better than me, she'd be faster than me, she had more endurance than me. And when we ended up running together, we were the same pace. I think that we need to kind of get that out of our heads that it's a bad thing to be a Back of the Packer because it's not a bad thing.

[00:19:11.330] – Hilary

We have fun doing what we do and we love it just as much as the elite or Middle of the Packers. And again, we just really compete against ourselves.

[00:19:24.650] – Coach Allan

Yeah. There is a lot more talking going on in the back of the pack than there is in the front, I can tell you.

[00:19:32.130] – Hilary


[00:19:33.160] – Coach Allan

Now, you practiced a method. I've had Jeff Galloway on the show before, and I actually use his method a lot with my clients and coaching. Can you talk about his Run Walk Run Method that you use?

[00:19:47.010] – Hilary

Yeah, Jeff, actually he was my coach for the 2016 marathon. I was first introduced to it a couple of years before, but I really didn't get it right until he started coaching me. And when he coached me, he taught me that the shorter I run, the faster I will run. So if I'm running 5 seconds or if I'm running 10 seconds and I'm walking 30 seconds, I'm going to run those 5 seconds of those 10 seconds much faster than I would normally do if I'm not doing the run-walk.

[00:20:28.220] – Hilary

So maybe I'll do it at a minute mile and then I'll walk at a steady, easy pace. And since then, I did the marathon using his method. I did 15-second run, 30-second walk the entire way. And that's exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to stay around 14 minutes miles.

[00:20:57.190] – Hilary

And after that, I guess it was back in 2017, I started working for Jeff as one of his program directors and I started teaching the method because I wanted to give back to people here on Long Island. And we also started as a beginner group. We started at 5 seconds, and then we went to ten, and then we went to 15.

[00:21:22.730] – Hilary

And even today with a lot of my, I have runners who are elite runners, I have beginner runners, I have Middle of the Packer of runners, and we're all doing the same exact thing. We're all going at it easy, 15-second run, 30-second walk for our long runs, and we run together. And the thing about it is, as you said before, with the Back of the Packers, you get to really talk to people and you get to really know who they are and all about them. And these people that are part of my WeRendurance group are some of the closest friends that I have. I mean, I just absolutely love these people. And they've been my groupies on my book tours. They've been coming to every one of them. It's really very nice.

[00:22:16.120] – Coach Allan

Cool. Another key aspect of Jeff Galloway's run, walk, run is that for that 15 seconds, even though you're running faster, you're not redlining. You're pushing yourself right up to a point. You're not letting yourself get winded. So that 30 seconds off is just a really good break to let everything kind of slow down the heart rate go down a little bit, and then you're in a good position to go again for those 15, again, just right up to the line, and then you're off. And that's why choosing 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds each, just finding your interval is really important because you'll just know, okay, if I run about this fast, I'm not going to redline, and then I can ease back.

[00:22:55.730] – Hilary

Once you do the magic mile and you determine what and the magic mile is basically running around the track four times and then determining what your speed is, and you could either take walk breaks or not take walk breaks, you could just run it out. You take that time and you put it into a formula, and you could actually determine what your race pace is, what your long training runs are, and that type of thing. And that's really helpful. I've got these people who some of them are, like, running seven minute miles using this method. It's incredible. So it's not just for slow people. It's for anybody who wants to put that recovery break into their runs.

[00:23:50.230] – Coach Allan

Yeah. Now, another core aspect of this is that you didn't play around. You've had coaches, you've had teams. You've kind of always had this support network. Can you talk about what that means to you and how you went about that?

[00:24:04.460] – Hilary

Yeah. When I first hired a coach, I didn't want to hire a coach. My friend Becky said, we have to hire coaches. We don't know what we're doing. We have to hire coaches. And so I called up a friend of mine who I knew was an iron man, and I was so impressed with her, and I asked her if she would coach me, and she said, I'm really not qualified for that, but you could call my coach. And I did. And I hired this guy, Coach Ritchie, for the first year, and he really taught me everything about triathlons.

[00:24:42.310] – Hilary

And then the following year after that, I ended up switching coaches, and I went with somebody who was a little bit more supportive, coach Danielle. Coach Danielle, I have been with her since 2015. I still hire her every month to coach me, even though I'm a qualified I'm also a USA Triathlon Coach. I still have my own coach. That's important to me to have a coach. And I've been working with her, and I definitely have seen significant improvements. She was a pro triathlete, and she's just a wonderful person. So she just really makes me feel good about what I'm doing.

[00:25:31.970] – Hilary

And that's what I think a good coach is that balance between feeling really good about what you're doing and structuring your workouts.

[00:25:42.260] – Coach Allan

It's kind of hard to call your coach up or to visit your coach. And when they start asking about how this particular workout went and you don't really have an answer because you didn't do that workout, you don't want to say that. So it holds you accountable and kind of keeps you moving forward.

[00:26:00.730] – Coach Allan

Now, there was another concept, and you didn't really write about it so much as you demonstrated it in most of the stories about a race or something you were going to do. Like, you talk, there's chances of you being swept because you were going to time out. There are times when things are just not working out well for you because of the conditions, but you always seem to have this internal drive to stick it out.

[00:26:30.130] – Hilary

Yeah, it's interesting. I've been doing a lot of book tours, and people have been asking me about that. The other day I was asked, you had a horrible year this year. How did you keep going? What's your drive? How do you get yourself to do this? And I guess for me, when I was a child, I always felt like I was being put down, even by my parents, by my teachers. I never felt like anybody was encouraging me.

[00:27:04.080] – Hilary

So I had to reach within myself to get that encouragement. And for me, when somebody says to me, you can't, or if I feel like I can't do something, I make it my business that I can do it. It's almost like a crazy motivator. But that motivates me to keep going, even though the obstacles are against me.

[00:27:29.320] – Hilary

I was swimming a 5.5 mile swim. It was supposed to be 5.5 miles from Fire Island to Bay Shore. It's a pretty long swim in open water, and the water, the currents were, like, ridiculously choppy and big wakes. I couldn't even see. And I asked my son to be my kayaker, but I didn't really understand the race, and I didn't realize that I really should have had an experienced kayaker with me. He had only gone on, like, a little pond that didn't have any kind of current, so he didn't really know how to deal with it.

[00:28:13.700] – Hilary

We ended up getting drifted. We drifted way, way off. We were about a mile, a mile and a half off course, and the volunteers had to come get us and direct us back to where we were supposed to swim. And the swim time cut off was 4 hours. And the crazy thing was that my garmin stopped working for like, an hour, an hour and a half. So I'm thinking that I have all this time to get in reality, I was so close to the end. I was the last one. The boats were following me in, but I did it. And even though my arm, it stopped working. I couldn't even get my arm over my shoulder at one point. I was exhausted. I mean, I crossed that finished line, I can't even do this, but I did it, and it felt so good.

[00:29:19.630] – Hilary

I think that's the driving thing is when you finish these races, you feel so good. You feel so high, you feel like you've got this, you've got the whole world on your shoulder. It's just wonderful.

[00:29:35.460] – Coach Allan

Yeah, it sounds like what you're doing is you're kind of tapping into this inner rebel that you have. You're finding your inner strength, and for you, that's as a rebel, and you just say, well, no, if I think I can't do this, well, I'm going to prove myself wrong. If someone else tells me I can't do this, I'm going to prove them wrong.

[00:29:55.490] – Coach Allan

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

[00:30:04.220] – Hilary

Well, I would say for me, it's be consistent. Just be consistent. Just get out there, do what you need to do, right? You have a schedule, stick to it. And that's one thing a lot of people don't do. And for me, I find that it's become almost an addiction for me. So at 04:00 in the morning, I'm up, I'm ready to go, and I'll either swim, bike, or run right? So one would be consistent.

[00:30:39.420] – Hilary

Two would be to eat right and to drink water and to really try to get those macronutrients in. You don't feel like don't stray from that. Like, once you start eating junk food, you really feel it when you're training. Not good.

[00:30:58.860] – Hilary

And then the third thing I've been trying to do and this may sound a little strange, but I've been trying to meditate, really just relax my mind. Even though I feel like when I'm working out and when I'm training for triathlon, it's my time, it's me time. I still feel like I need to just take that stuff out of my head and just relax and meditate. And I take ten minutes or whatever a day just to calm everything down and feel good.

[00:31:35.070] – Hilary

And that helps. It really does.

[00:31:38.450] – Coach Allan

Thank you for sharing that. Hilary, if someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:31:47.600] – Hilary

Sure. If you would like to get a copy of the book, you can buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any of the Barnes and Noble retail stores out there. You can just ask for it.

[00:32:01.010] – Hilary

To get in touch with me. I have two blogs and also a podcast. My blog is hilarytopper.com. It's Hilary with one L, and my other blog is atriathletdiary.com. And that was how the book actually formed, was from that blog. And you can get in touch with me from either one of those blogs. Even if you just type in my name on Google, Hilary Topper. I come right up and you can get in touch with me. And my email, I think, is up there, too. So it's Hilary@hjmt.com.

[00:32:38.730] – Coach Allan

Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:41.410] – Hilary

Well, thank you so much, Allan. I so appreciate you having me on the show.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:54.030] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:32:55.660] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a fun interview. And right up my alley to couch potato to endurance athlete. I absolutely love it. Hilary sounds like a neat lady.

[00:33:05.510] – Coach Allan

Yeah. And one of the kind of cool things about her story is that if you think you can't, then you can't. And if you think you can, then you can. And it's the Ford quote. And the whole point being is your brain, your mindset, is going to take you where you go. And so when she decided she was going to start doing things, she just started doing things, and then she realized, okay, I'm not great at this, but I enjoy the process and I enjoy doing. And so she kept pushing herself a little bit and pushing herself a little bit. And I couldn't fathom swimming over 5 miles.

[00:33:44.740] – Coach Rachel

I know. That is crazy.

[00:33:47.430] – Coach Allan

And she didn't just swim the 5 miles because she got off course. She literally swam probably seven or 8 miles when she was only planning on swimming that. Now a story she didn't tell was, I guess apparently you wear a wetsuit and you're swimming that long, there's a whole lot of chafing going on. And we know that as runners going, well, it's a wetsuit. I couldn't even imagine. She changed everything. And she was not a spring chicken when she did it.

[00:34:19.520] – Coach Rachel

Well, no, and that's what I absolutely love. There's actually a lot of endurance athletes don't really get started until our 40s and 50s. And she mentioned that she started running at the age of 48. So just sit for a second. 48. You're right, that's not a spring chicken. And not that 48 is old. I'm 51 and I certainly don't feel old, but it is absolutely later in life. And you don't have to be a collegiate athlete or you don't have to have run track in high school or something to enjoy different activities, different sports in these later years.

[00:34:56.300] – Coach Rachel

And the fact that she's done so well, especially in the triathlon as well as the swimming, is incredible. I mean, there's a lot of older athletes out there. There's something to be said for getting started a little later in life.

[00:35:10.850] – Coach Allan

I wouldn't call this an instructional manual. She puts in some little tidbits in there that would definitely help you as you're going through this process. She gives some really good tips, but the book is really a motivational tome. I mean, it's really built around, okay, here's what I did, here's what my struggles were, here's how I overcame them, and here's what I accomplished. And here's what I learned.

[00:35:37.970] – Coach Allan

If you're sitting on the couch and you're thinking, I really need to do something, this is probably a great book to get you thinking, wait, this woman just did that. And she's not that far removed from a similar couch,

[00:35:55.010] – Coach Rachel

For sure.

[00:35:55.740] – Coach Allan

And she had all this stuff happening, too. She had a career, she had a family. She had all the things that you think might be holding you back. She's making the time, and she's getting it done.

[00:36:08.820] – Coach Rachel

I think that's wonderful. I think a lot of people look at, like, the Olympic athletes. They're all young people. They're in their teens and 20s

[00:36:17.720] – Coach Allan

There are a lot now that are hanging around. Tom Brady is still playing football at 43.

[00:36:24.330] – Coach Rachel

I know. Yeah.

[00:36:25.880] – Coach Allan

Things are changing, and they are building a capacity, and they're keeping that capacity longer. And so those should be your inspirations to say, an 80 year old man is climbing Everest. I got no excuse.

[00:36:40.750] – Coach Rachel

For sure. But the second misconception, too, is that we're all Boston qualifying or Triathlon Kona attending athletes. And you guys spent some time discussing being in the back of the pack, and you can find so much strength as well as enjoyment in these sports without having to stand on a podium. It's not that we're out there to win. We're out there to accomplish something. And even if it's competing against ourselves, getting a PR, or just doing something we've never done before, there's so much excitement to that. And no, you do not have to be super fast, super strong, super anything. You just need to get out there and do it.

[00:37:26.140] – Coach Allan

Yeah. In a lot of those races, like the New York Marathon, the Boston Marathon, they have lotteries. They allow a certain number of runners that don't qualify, wouldn't qualify, Back of the Packers, if you will. So if you have aspirations to say, well, I'd love to go to Boston and run the Boston Marathon, you can put your name in. Just put your name in. You never know.

[00:37:47.580] – Coach Allan

And as they get slots and they grant you a slot, then book your airline and go. Or just book your airline in the hopes that happens, and then just enjoy Boston during that time of the year.

[00:38:01.730] – Coach Allan

I think that's the core of it is just she has the right mindset to know where she is in the world and know that, okay, she's getting the joy out of just knowing that she's pushing herself to do something, and when she completes it, no one can take that away from her.

[00:38:20.030] – Coach Rachel

Absolutely. This is a great motivational book. It sounds like a good read.

[00:38:24.090] – Coach Allan

It is good. All right, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week then.

[00:38:28.140] – Coach Rachel

Sounds great. Take care.


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