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Category Archives for "happiness and joy"

How to approach getting older as pro-aging – Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank

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SPONSOR

This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Reel Paper. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/tp and use the discount code 40plus to get 25% off. Thank you for supporting the show by checking out this wonderful company.

Let's Say Hello

On this episode, we're introducing a co-host for the 40+ Fitness Podcast. 

Rachel Everett is joining the wellness industry as a newly minted NASM Certified Personal Trainer. So, you'll find a preamble at the beginning of each episode and a wrap up at the end. With 450 episodes done, I felt this would be a great way to freshen things up.

Please join us on the 40+ Fitness Facebook Group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group to welcome her to the podcast.

[00:02:53.360] – Allan
Rachel, how are you doing.

[00:02:56.130] – Rachel
Great! How are you Allan.

[00:02:57.160] – Allan
Doing really good. I'm excited to have you on as a new co-host to the show. So everybody say welcome to Rachel.

[00:03:04.670] – Rachel
Well, Hi and thank you so much. It's an honor. I've been your biggest fan for quite a while, so it's a real treat for me. Thanks for inviting me on.

[00:03:12.740] – Allan
Yeah, Rachel and I have been friends for a good long time. We met through my wife and one of the cool facts about Rachel and her husband Mike is that their birthdays are exactly one day apart. So they're celebrating for a full 48 hours every year. It's pretty cool to be at one of those celebrations, especially when you're there at midnight with them. When it crosses over.

[00:03:36.110] – Allan
I forget you're you're actually one day your birthday is the one day before.

[00:03:41.180] – Rachel
I'm the after.

[00:03:43.190] – Allan
Oh, okay. Oh yeah.

[00:03:44.410] – Rachel
Mike is the old man.

[00:03:45.350] – Allan
Okay, yeah, Mike is the old man, although he's lost a lot of weight and he looks years younger. Well cutting off the beard health too.

[00:03:54.250] – Rachel
Yes it did. Yeah.

[00:03:58.160] – Allan
Well, go ahead.

[00:03:59.590] – Rachel
Oh, he's been working real hard this year. He's been putting in a ton of miles, his running has been epic. And he's and it's led to a ton of weight loss. He's been doing real great.

[00:04:10.160] – Allan
So how's your week been?

[00:04:12.660] – Rachel
Good. Little nutty. The kids are back to college, so I've got one in college and staying at college and my other one is home doing the online classes. So it's just it's been kind of crazy, although they do their own thing, they're getting set up for what you know, in class and online learning. It's just been kind of nutty with all the covid procedures that the school has in place. But they're doing great.

[00:04:38.270] – Allan
Well, good. Well, I've been focused on my miles. You know, I talked about in an earlier episode that I'm doing my famine season. And I started actually June 1st. I think in the episode I may have said May 1st, but I've actually lost twenty-five pounds as we record this since that start June 1st. And it's basically, you know, using ketosis, intermittent fasting and just enjoying good long walks, getting sunshine, looking at the beach, and listening to some audiobooks and podcasts.

[00:05:10.490] – Allan
So, you know, I think I've done twenty-seven miles this week.

[00:05:15.490] – Rachel
Wow.

[00:05:15.860] – Allan
You know, and unfortunately, I RunKeeper fell out on me apparently when I stopped to take a picture or selfie, it decides, oh, he stopped and I just paused this here. And if I don't remember to reset and start it. So you get down the road and you're like, I don't hear my little lady telling me how I'm doing.

[00:05:31.160] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:05:31.610] – Allan
And then I realized I just walked two miles without her telling me anything. So now that's not going to show up. So my winning my championship or my fastest ten-mile walk or whatever is just not going to be on that app. So that's the frustration. So now I started a spreadsheet, so I'll keep up with myself, dammit.

[00:05:50.700] – Rachel
Yeah, technology, it's so awesome, but it can also be just as frustrating.

[00:05:54.710] – Allan
It can be. So let me introduce our guest today.

Interview

Our guest today is one of the most famous and successful cosmetic dermatologists in the world. Often called the beauty guru by his celebrity and international patients, renowned for his minimally invasive techniques and holistic approach to cosmetic rejuvenation and age management. He is regularly featured as a skin and aging expert in local and international media. As a board-certified dermatologist, he has lectured around the world and has authored several articles on both consumer and professional literature. He is a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.

With no further ado, here's Dr Paul Jarrod Frank.

Transcript

[00:06:38.530] – Allan
Dr. Frank, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:41.190] – Dr. Frank
Hey, how are you?

[00:06:42.810] – Allan
So I got your book and I was really glad to have an opportunity to read it, because as I get into my mid 50s, aging has become this this thing that I pay a lot more attention to these days. The book is called The Pro Aging Playbook: Embracing a Lifestyle of Beauty and Wellness Inside and Out. And I have to say that your approach to this is really refreshing because sometimes, you think, okay, this guy makes his living by making people look and feel younger.

That's what this book is going to really be about, is just let's sell some more plastic surgery. But it was absolutely not. And I was really, really glad to see that.

[00:07:26.050] – Dr. Frank
Well, I mean, listen, I've been doing this 20 years now, and I find the greatest way to predict the greatest cosmetic result has to do before you even do the procedure. It's just in the talk and gaining a feel of someone's perspective and feeling about aging and all the other things they do. So to me, what I've learned most in 20 years is not how to use the syringes and the lasers and all the things, but the most impactful thing is to learn how people think about aging and how I could help them think about it and then give them all the wonderful options we have now. It's not a bad thing aging, is it?

[00:08:01.030] – Allan
Well, no, but if you do it right.

[00:08:03.890] – Dr. Frank
If you do it right. I mean, listen, we weren't meant to live probably past the average age of 30 up until the last 50 to 100 years. So I think if we start with the idea that aging is a blessing, I think that's a good way to find ways to become the best version of yourself.

[00:08:25.030] – Allan
And this is you pulling out your psychology degree and using it, because it really does help here. And one of the things that I think is as I've gotten older, I've become much more aware of the words that we use and how that impacts our feelings, our lives, our emotions, our successes and failures. You prefer to use the term pro aging versus anti aging.

[00:08:48.640] – Dr. Frank
Yeah, and you know, anti aging, that's a word that immediately has a negative connotation. And it was created as a marketing tool. Right, this is started back decades, generations ago with selling creams and lotions and potions and things that are anti as if aging is a bad thing. And I think starting out from that that type of perspective is that type of negative thinking that we were just talking about. I think pro aging makes people feel more positive. It makes it look like less of a chore and more of something that you can embrace.

[00:09:27.130] – Dr. Frank
And hopefully I could teach people how to live a lifestyle, a pro aging lifestyle to bring all those things together. And we're lucky now. We live in a world where we have so many options, not just to keep us alive, but to make us look and feel good.

[00:09:39.760] – Allan
And so go a little deeper into when you say pro-aging, exactly what that means.

[00:09:45.640] – Dr. Frank
Well, I think it's a culmination of a lot of different things. Again, people think of the word anti aging. They think of like creams and procedures and all these things. But when I think of pro aging, I'm thinking of a lifestyle that involves a lot of forms of grooming. And to me, grooming can be exercise, the way you choose your meals, the way you choose your friends and the people who are positive and negative in your world, and how you choose lasers to get rid of sun damage if you choose lasers or other surgical procedures or things like that.

[00:10:18.070] – Dr. Frank
Pro aging is really a combination of grooming techniques. And I think one of the things I'm noticing more since when I started in the late 90s, is that because of technology and the access across socioeconomic groups and because of the technology, there's less and less. but basically these things are becoming so much more acceptable. When I was a kid, rich, only rich people had gym memberships, let alone had facial plastic surgery. And now the younger generation looks at joining a gym, having a nutritionist, having a life coach, getting a little Botox.

[00:10:53.090] – Dr. Frank
These are all forms of grooming. They're accepted. And to me, this is all part of the kind of pro aging lifestyle that I think people are now embracing and breaking those anti aging stigmas that they used to have. The ladies at lunch do procedures or vain people do these type of things.

[00:11:13.520] – Allan
Now, you use this title for for the bad things we do to ourselves that involve aging maybe faster or at least looking older than we are. When you use it, I immediately in my head had this concept of this Legion of doom, you know, these these these evil-doers, these these terrible the anti-heroes, you know, the villains. And you called it the extrinsic evildoer of aging, evildoers of aging, and I was like I say, when I when I read that, I was just thinking, you know, these are the bad guys. These are the guys, the villains that we have in our lives. Can you talk about who these extrinsic evildoers of aging are?

[00:11:53.400] – Dr. Frank
Well, listen, smoking, drinking, excessive sun exposure, all these type of things, not moving, not eating right. Fatty foods. These are like the evil do's of aging. We all know that these things are bad for us. But I try and relate to my personal story. I'm 50. I'm in my 50 years old. I wasn't an angel. I was young once. I used to lay in the sun and drink more and do all these different types of things and you change your ways if you want to feel good as you age. Otherwise, if you act like a 20 year old at 50, you're not going to come out too well.

[00:12:27.750] – Dr. Frank
I always say if I want to look and feel my best, I act like an old person. When I want when I try and act too much like a young person, I don't feel or look that good. But these evil doers of aging, let's say drinking and smoking, for example, we know they're bad from us. And I want to teach people how to moderate them. I give my personal story. I think a life of total restriction is a very boring life, not eating good foods, not not having a martini every once in a while.

[00:12:56.400] – Dr. Frank
But I do believe that you could feel good and look good by finding a healthy balance. And as we get older, obviously those limitations may be coming a little restrictive. What society tells you is that there's always a pill, a cream, a shot, a coach or something that's going to be an antidote to all those things. And the fact of the matter is, the best way to treat yourself is just to learn how to moderate those evildoers. To not bake yourself in the sun doesn't mean you have to hide from the sun.

[00:13:24.000] – Dr. Frank
So I think this balance, instead of selling people what they have to buy teaching people how to moderate and minimize these things and teaching them about the science and how it makes aging, I think works in teaching people how to live a better lifestyle.

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[00:15:08.280] – Allan
One of the things that you got into and I thought was was really interesting was, you know, we we want to rule and I think people like simple stuff. And I can give them one rule out of this. No smoking. Just just don't do it.

[00:15:22.160] – Dr. Frank
There is no moderation in that.

[00:15:23.610] – Allan
There's no moderation in that one. But when we start talking about sun exposure, I'm like, a little bit of sun exposure is good for almost all of us and for other people. Even a little more is even OK. How does someone decide for themselves the right way that, OK, this is this is my line. This is where this makes sense for me and this doesn't.

[00:15:47.910] – Dr. Frank
Well I get it. And I try and talk to a lot of dermatologists, but they are just like no sun, wear sun protective clothing. I can't do that. Dermatology is one of the few fields in medicine where we really have to judge people by the color of their skin and certainly anyone with a family history of skin cancer. I'm going to be more restrictive about. But people who tan easier, what we call type three skin, type six skin are like African American, Type four or five is like Hispanic, you know, type one and two skin are the fairest of people, like the blonde haired, blue eyed type.

[00:16:18.450] – Dr. Frank
And those are the people that have to be more restrictive. But by the way, those people don't ever tan well, and they never look good that way. You know, the darker skin types, the J-Los, you know, they kind of tan well. So, again, sitting people down and giving them a realistic. And by the way, anyone with sunscreen used appropriately can enjoy the outside. There's no reason why they have to hide. I feel that way about martinis and beers, too, by the way. You know what I mean, not all people have the same tolerance level of alcohol.

[00:16:47.250] – Dr. Frank
And by the way, smoking is bad as it is. The studies show people like, oh, I've been smoking my whole life. There's no point to quitting now. By the way, as a person who's been smoking a pack a day for most of their life, if they quit smoking in ten years, the risk of cancer goes down to almost that of a non smoker. So, you know, there's hope that's a positive thing for people to make changes in their lives. And that's kind of what I want to help people do.

[00:17:10.860] – Allan
Yeah, absolutely. Now, you said something in the book that made my heart sing as a personal trainer. He said, the number one thing you can do for pro aging, longevity and beauty is to get moving.

[00:17:24.490] – Dr. Frank
No question.

[00:17:25.380] – Allan
OK, and I love that, obviously. So can you give us some tips so that we can put some more movement into our life?

[00:17:33.030] – Dr. Frank
And my examples for myself and I like to work out four to six times a week. But you know what? It's not that forty five minutes a day that makes all the difference. It's taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you have the opportunity. It's like taking that walk instead of jumping into Uber, which by the way, functions as meditation, which functions as exercise, which functions on catching up on phone calls with friends and communication to your environment. It's just it's choosing sometimes the path that involves movement. And, you know, in a world where everyone is looking for a convenience, quick time, I think the best time you could spend is just moving your body.

[00:18:11.280] – Allan
So in the book, you did share some fairly specific tips as far as you know, as we're going through how we can make this, I guess, a little bit more regular.

[00:18:21.210] – Dr. Frank
Yeah.

[00:18:21.390] – Allan
And I think a couple of them that you shared that I really like and you you actually got into this a good bit in the book is about negative self talk.

[00:18:30.710] – Dr. Frank
Oh, yeah. I mean, listen, when we're younger, we look to make as many friends as we're getting older. We're looking to make as many professional social connections as we build our life and career. We all start off very naive and potentially influenced by people. And that's why our mothers, they want us hanging out with the good friends, not the bad friends. And we have to realize I have two children. I'm constantly trying to screen who they spend time with. Do I know their parents? Do I know the kids? Do I think it's a good kid. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror.

[00:18:59.820] – Dr. Frank
Every day is our lives and we have to learn how to filter people. The content. And that's not just on our social media feed, it's on the people we spend our time with trying to spend our time around positive people because negative thinking breeds negative thinking, so do negative people. And I find myself I started doing transcendental meditation seven years ago with my wife and really taught me how to filter things in my own mind and try and surround myself with things that are going to be, they're going to promote positive things in my life. I think that's the most important tool that we that we can constantly think of.

[00:19:35.490] – Allan
Yeah. With, you know, one of the things you brought up when you were talking about movement was you were being very clear that it doesn't have to be a gym. But, you know, in a lot of cases, I kind of compare and contrast that against what you just said is surrounding yourself around other people that are positive and into it. You know, if you can find a group class of pilates or something like that that you enjoy doing, by all means, do it.

[00:20:00.030] – Allan
And as we're recording this, obviously a lot of gyms are not open. A lot of classes aren't happening. But they will reopen, they will come back and as they do, finding that thing that works for you, be it surfing, be it running, be it lifting, be it going and doing a pilates class, I think that's all very, very important.

[00:20:20.030] – Dr. Frank
There's something out there for everybody. And that's kind of what I tried to say. You know, I try and tell people it's great getting word of mouth like, oh, I just tried this new workout app or I tried soul cycle. I did this. It's nice to get word of mouth to kind of get you to try new things. But people need to realize there's no one thing that works for everybody. And your expectation, sure. We like the communal aspect because it pushes us. I Was always a big soul cycle person, it just works for me. And it's nice to be pushed by your environment, but you have to realize you have to find your own way. And this is all about balance. And this is true in every aspect.

[00:20:58.010] – Allan
And I think just just to go deeper into that, one of the things you said in the book is you really didn't consider yourself an athlete as a child, but as soon as you strapped roller skates because you're parents took you to roller skate rinks, boom, there you were every weekend.

[00:21:14.530] – Dr. Frank
And, you know, and again, that's probably one of the reasons why I like Soul Cycle too, because it involves dancing in a form of exercise. My club days aren't so strong these days. You know, being on the dance floor until two o'clock in the morning is not that much of an option for me. But being around music, being inspired by other people, sweating around other people and feeling that that endorphin rush, that's what we all want.

[00:21:38.030] – Dr. Frank
That's pro aging. What's great about you want to find things that you can age with. Swimming, tennis, walking up and down stairs, taking walks, cycling, you know, not everybody could box until their 70. Some people can. And I think I have yet to find a laser or device that works for aging like exercise does.

[00:22:01.610] – Allan
And that's important. That's important here. So you're 50 and obviously someone that is in this profession. So looking your best, age in your best, that's kind of a part of who you are now. It's ingrained in you 20 years in the career. What is your pro aging regimen was what does your day look like?

[00:22:23.090] – Dr. Frank
Well, my day starts with meditation. Got to reset. You know, I'm a person. I do sleep eight hours a night. And it's mostly because if I get less than six, I'm not fun to be around. Like, you know, I'm not I'm not one of those people who can get by in four hours of sleep like some people claim. I like to sleep well. I meditate. I usually spend a little time with the family because it's the only time I get when my head is clear, is really the morning. And then after that, I exercise every day because again, after a busy day, it's I'm not going to get to do that at night.

[00:22:56.380] – Dr. Frank
And then I hit the pavement and I'm kind of on stage all day. I could see anywhere from 20 to 40 people go through my office every day and I obviously got to be on point for a lot of different people and a lot of different personalities. I try and have as much fun as possible, that's kind of my rule as I've done this 20 years. Is to keep it fun, keep it light. And and usually at the end of the day, I don't got that much left into me if I do have a work dinner or something like that or I go home to the family. But the meditation, the exercise are the prerequisite in terms of food. Again, I don't tell everyone to follow my technique, but I'm kind of not by choice a daytime faster I graze.

[00:23:40.730] – Dr. Frank
I have a little things I maybe have like an avocado or I have some nuts or I take a bite, my sister runs my entire professional life so I could I can dip into her salad or take a few bites of a sandwich if I want to, without offending her. And then I really I have my meal, whatever I want at night. And on the weekends, I love to cook and I love to eat and I like to indulge. And that's really it. And before you know it you're turning 50.

[00:24:07.670] – Allan
Yeah. And then 60 and 70 and then on.

[00:24:11.270] – Dr. Frank
And that's it. I try and you know, my life I fortunately have a very successful career with a lot of challenges and a lot of rapid growth. So I'm constantly trying to remind myself about the people and the things, like keep it positive, keep it simple. Because the world wants to complicate things, wants to sell you more, wants to do more. And a lot of things seem exciting, like growing your business. Right. It's an exciting thing.

[00:24:34.310] – Dr. Frank
But guess what? You constantly have to keep it in check. Is it going to give me more pleasure or is it going to give me more headaches? You know, and it's not easy. You know, I'm not always great at it. Catching covid and having 13 days of 103 fever and having problems breathing and having to be on home oxygen, that kind of put things a little bit more in perspective for me to check myself before I wreck myself. So I was very nervous about the pro aging playbook coming out about of course I started writing this way before covid.

[00:25:04.220] – Dr. Frank
I was nervous about, oh my God, I'm doing a wellness book. But I actually reread it from beginning to end right before the book came out with a covid mind, and I'm excited that it came out now because a lot of it is just about the psychology of life.

[00:25:19.810] – Allan
Well beyond that, I mean, one of the things that we're finding with regards to covid and the risk is just how well you've managed your fitness, your health, your, all of it. And if you're suffering from some health issues, obviously you're not you're not pro aging at this point. You're in decline. And this is a wake up call to all of us that taking care of our health is really the only thing that's in our control. We can't control what goes on at work. We can't control what's going on in the street. We can't control a killer virus that ravages the country. What we can do is control ourselves.

[00:25:59.890] – Dr. Frank
And a lot of people said to me they were so shocked because of my social media. I kind of became this poster person for Covid. Cosmetic dermatologist has become the poster person for information for Covid. They said, I don't understand, you're so young and healthy. I said, well, I'm glad everyone thinks 50 is young that's a great start. But I said, well, I don't think of it like that. Like, oh, my God, I can't believe I got it. I do such things to take care of me.

[00:26:24.220] – Dr. Frank
Maybe if I didn't take such good care of myself, I would have needed hospitalization or intubation or been one of those young people that died, you know what I mean? So I look at it the other way, like, thank God I was in good shape. So again, we've got to keep taking care of yourself. And along the way we might as well look good.

[00:26:42.090] – Allan
Yeah, absolutely. I don't know if you know who Tony Horton is, the guy who did P90X.

[00:26:47.030] – Dr. Frank
Yeah, of course.

[00:26:48.010] – Allan
I had him on the show and he went through shingles at the age of like sixty, sixty one. And it would have for what it does to a lot of people, you know, him being generally fit and healthy. He's weathered it really well. But, you know, it really does kind of speak to me. Again, we don't know what's going to happen and if we're not taking care of our health, then we're setting ourselves up for something worse.

[00:27:15.550] – Dr. Frank
Listen, you can invest money in the stock market, invest money in your own business. You can invest your time and energy and money in a lot of things. But there's one thing that is a guaranteed return on investment, and that is yourself. And that is whether you're exercising, eating right, doing something that makes you feel good about yourself. When you look in the mirror, everyone has a good hair day. I don't care how,

[00:27:39.370] – Allan
You haven't seen a picture of me.

[00:27:41.350] – Dr. Frank
But I do want to make fun of himself over another one. You don't have to be, you know, just having a little sense of vanity doesn't mean you're narcissistic. And I think any investment in yourself, in yourself, not for other people in yourself, is is is a 100% return on that investment.

[00:28:00.040] – Allan
Yeah. Just just for the record, I shaved my head when I started receding. Rather than do anything about it, i just went with it. Yeah. It's the best decision I could have made. It really is.

[00:28:11.980] – Dr. Frank
Thats good man. Is that that's keeping it simple stupid. That's the rule of kiss right there.

[00:28:16.180] – Allan
Yeah. Yeah. Dr. Frank, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well.

[00:28:25.870] – Dr. Frank
Well. And we talked about we talked about a couple of these. we talked about movement, moving your body for me, also meditation, and then investing in family and friends. Those are the three starts. All the other stuff comes once you have those three things in check.

[00:28:51.480] – Allan
Absolutely so, Dr. Frank, thank you for being on the show. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, The Pro Aging Playbook, where would you like for me to send them.

[00:29:02.090] – Dr. Frank
Well, you could send them to my website at pfrankmd.com or they could check me out social media, Instagram, and Tic-Toc and Facebook, which is at Dr. Paul Jerod Frank.

[00:29:12.840] – Allan
OK, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/451, and I'll be sure to have a link there. Dr. Frank, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:29:23.240] – Dr. Frank
Thank you so much for having me. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:29:29.770] – Allan
All right, I hope you enjoyed that episode as much as I did. Dr. Frank was a really cool conversation, and I know we've been talking about aging a lot, but, you know, with me being approaching my mid 50s, it's a topic I think about a lot. So maybe I've seen too many books about aging. We'll go off on to some different topics in a bit, although I think our next week's episode is also going to be about aging, but it's kind of a different approach.

[00:29:55.780] – Allan
So we'll talk about that later. So, Rachel, Ras, why don't you take just a few minutes to introduce yourself, let folks know who you are and why you're here.

[00:30:05.740] – Rachel
All right. Well, hi, Allen. Nice to talk to you again. My name is Rachel, and most of my friends call me Ras. That's a childhood nickname that I've had. And once you get to know me, it just seems fitting. But most people call me Ras and I'm forty nine, which is why I've always been a big fan of your podcast lately. I'm over 40 and I like to be fit. And I've recently finished my NASM certification. I just got my certificate to be a personal trainer, so I'm pretty excited about that.

[00:30:38.770] – Rachel
Like I said, I'm forty nine. My husband Mike and I have been married for 25 years and we just celebrated our anniversary this last summer, which is great. And we both have we have two kids that are in college just starting off this next semester. One's at home and online learning and the others moved to campus. And so we're just hoping they stay safe in this covid era.

[00:31:02.470] – Allan
Now, one of the reasons I thought that Rachel would be a great guest for the show is she is a huge advocate of running. In fact, anywhere Rachel goes, if there's not already a run club, there will be one.

[00:31:15.730] – Rachel
Yes, yes, yes. Running has been a huge part of my life. I've been running consistently for over twenty years, actually. And it's served a different purpose at different times in my life. But everywhere I have traveled and we have traveled quite a bit, we've been in contact with different run clubs in different areas. And it's really a great way to meet friends especially when you move as often as we have. And I have some amazing friends that we've met down in Florida, including you and Tammy, your wonderful wife.

[00:31:49.000] – Rachel
And it's it's always a great way to get to know the city as well while also staying healthy and fit. So, yeah, I've got a pretty big running background. I've run too many 5 and 10 Ks to count. I'm up to over thirty closing in on forty half marathons. I've done Four fulls, 2 Ultra's and this year I was supposed to be running another Ultra as well as my first 50 miler. But covid shut those races down pretty early. So this year it's just about running miles and enjoying the time outdoors.

[00:32:27.370] – Allan
Yeah, I've been trying to put on some more mileage just but I'm not running right now. No one's chasing me and so I enjoy the walk. Plus, you know, for me it's not a function of time. I set my own schedule pretty much here. So if I want to get out, walk for three, three and a half hours, I'll go do it. And we have some beautiful beaches here. So kind of the cool thing is the further I walk, the more the better beaches I see.

[00:32:53.140] – Allan
So it's like I start out the public beach is not all the all that pretty with the seaweed and everything in the water. It's just not all that pretty. Once I get to two miles, I start seeing prettier beaches and I get the four miles, I start seeing awesome beaches. And so by the sixth and seventh mile, it's just breathtaking, the Bluff Beach and things that are here for me to see. So it really kind of pushes me when you're walking in one direction that far and, you know, OK, well, I've got to walk back.

[00:33:19.510] – Allan
So it's nothing for me to put on ten miles on a day just to get out and do a long walk. Three hours, nothing major, just listening to podcasts or audio books or things like that. And then when the batteries die on my headphones. I just now I get to listen to the surf.

[00:33:36.510] – Rachel
It sounds wonderful.

[00:33:38.340] – Allan
Yeah. So you did go for the NASM certified personal trainer. And I can tell folks, having done it myself, actually took that test twice, not because I failed it, but because I messed up on my recertification. I had to take it again. It's not a joke. It's not this is easy, go study for a week or weekend, and then go take a test. It's like a college-level course with a comprehensive final. So congratulations on that.

[00:34:07.420] – Rachel
Thank you so much. Yeah, it was a little bit more intense than I thought it would be. And even even after twenty years of running and believe me, I do a ton of reading and researching on all things fitness related. I still learned so much from this class. It was it was really in-depth. And I can't wait to put what I've learned to good use.

[00:34:31.610] – Allan
So, as you can see, Ras is the runner is also female and I am neither of those. So, you know, I think we're going to have a good rounded conversation as we go forward. So I invite you to come back, catch Ras and me as we discuss the different things that we're getting into with the podcast with life. So if you have questions, you know, feel free to send them to us. You can send them to Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and Ras and I will take a round of responding to some of those in this final section of each podcast.

[00:35:05.240] – Allan
So Ras, thank you for being here today. Thank you for being a part of the podcast. I'm really excited for the direction we're going and just really excited to be working with you.

[00:35:14.420] – Rachel
Thanks, Allan. Thanks for inviting me. I'm looking forward to this new opportunity. I really appreciate it.



Patreons

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

– Anne Lynch– John Somsky– Melissa Ball
– Barbara Costello– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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How to train your brain for a better life with John Assaraf

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On this episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we're going to have a conversation with John Assaraf author of the book, Innercise: The New Science to Unlock the Brain's Hidden Power, and creator of the free online workshop Brain-a-Thon. We will learn about how you can train your brain for a better life, including positive changes in body composition, fitness, relationships, and career. 

SPONSOR
This episode is sponsored by Usual Wine. There are times you don't want to open a whole bottle of wine. Usual Wine solves this problem with single-serve, “heavy pour” bottles. Use the discount code FITNESS for $8 your first order.

Innercise is also available in audiobook format at Audible.

Brain Experts used to believe that by the time you turned 40, you were hardwired to be who you are, but brain research is showing that when you train your brain you can change it. The term for this is neuroplasticity. John shows us that you can even train your brain for greater success in health and fitness, and any other aspect of your life. And he does it without getting you all buried in all these complex neuroscience concepts. 

Since recording our conversation, I've gone on to attend John's Brain-a-Thon and it was fantastic. I've also signed up for a couple of his other programs and I've gotten so much from them. He's really pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. I'm creating better daily habits, such as doing Innercises every day now to train my brain and the positive changes I've gotten have been awesome. The book and the workshop are fantastic resources.

John Assaraf is one of the leading experts on creating a positive mindset and a calmer brain. He has appeared numerous times on Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

John has built 5 multimillion-dollar companies, written 2 New York Times Bestselling books (Innercise is now his third), and has been featured in 8 movies, including the blockbuster hit “The Secret”. 

Today, he is the founder and CEO of NeuroGym, a company dedicated to using the most advanced technologies and evidence-based brain training methods to help individuals and corporations unlock and ignite their fullest potential. And if you didn't know he was nearly 60, you'd swear he was in his late 40s, early 50s.

You can listen to the podcast on the player above or read the transcript below. If you hear/read something that resonates with you, please share it on social media. Thank you!

Transcript

00:03:07.080] – Allan
John, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:10.780] – John
Thanks, Allan, great to be with you

[00:03:12.700] – Allan
Now I got your book, Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain's Hidden Power, and, you know, I've read a lot of books and I've read a lot of books about the brain and about neuroplasticity. This was probably the most practical book on neuroplasticity that I've ever read.

It was not just the theory of this is how the brain should work or should fire, this was set Innercise, exercise for your brain that actually makes this stuff happen. And, you know, you said in the book, don't do all of them at one sitting because it's too much. But I found myself as I was reading, trying to do them.

Yeah, it was exhausting when you got to the beach one, it's funny because I um, that was just a meditation I started doing for myself to fall asleep if I woke up and I was feeling anxiety and I would just imagine myself walking down a beach. And so it was just it was interesting. You started going through that. And I was watching it and reading and it was like, oh, goodness, I had to go take a nap.

I was like, so relaxing and so awesome. So, again, I really enjoyed the book. And then I went on to even go do the Brain-a-Thon, which again, was awesome. So thank you for that. I appreciate sharing that. I really appreciate you being here today.

[00:04:41.960] – John
Thank you. The book Innercise was all around when I came to the realization that I have and everybody who is with us today has a trillion dollar brain, but we weren't given the user's manual for it. And, you know, everybody knows that I could exercise to build up my cardiovascular system and to build up my lung capacity and to strengthen my muscles if I want to exercise. But what about our brain, the greatest neuro muscle and bio-computer in the whole universe?

[00:05:18.320] – John
What are some techniques that we can use to get our brain to work better and to get us to focus more, to create empowering habits, to let go of stress or anxiety or uncertainty or fears that hold us back? What about that? And for many, many years, I've been practicing the mental and emotional techniques that I laid out in Innercise and actually give people the audio, enjoyed it and have a great dialogue about it.

[00:05:49.160] – Allan
Perfect. So in the book and I think this is where it clicked for me to understand this, is that I work with a lot of clients and they're trying to lose weight and they're trying to get fit and trying to get healthy. And for some of them, it just seems so hard.

[00:06:08.340] – Allan
And, you know, they struggle and they struggle and I'm like, you know, I know you want this. I know you're committed to this, but it's not happening for you and we've got to break that down. And you use this term cohesion and dissident's kind of talk about one of those kind of things that holds us back that we're not even necessarily aware is happening. Can you talk about that?

[00:06:30.130] – John
Sure. So, listen, we all develop our habits, right? We have habits the way we think on a regular basis. We have a habitual way of feeling. We have behaviors that lead to our results. So when we understand our brain just a little bit better and we understand that every one of us is already one hundred percent disciplined to our thoughts, our emotions, our feelings and our behaviors. And so changing is hard if you don't have the right process. So whenever we're looking to change our eating patterns, when ever we're looking to change how much activity we get in the day, whenever we want to change, how much sleep we get when ever we're looking to change our own self image of ourselves, which is something we've had for 20, 30, 40, 50 years, that requires understanding.

[00:07:32.140] – John
How do I make change easier not easy, but easier. And this is where most people have an issue. It's not in the intention or the goal that's the problem. It's what happens after that that's the problem. And so when we understand that our brains all work identically, every human beings brain works identically and our brain works on a couple of principles. So let me give you a couple of these principles.

[00:08:04.570] – John
Number one is any time that our brain experiences a change, a change in our behavior, a change in our diet, a change in our exercise, our brain goes, hey, what's going on? You're using energy and our brain wants to conserve energy. So anything that is going to use up more energy the way I think or behave, our brain is going to go what's going on here? And it's going to resist. So that resistance is our brain wanting to move back into its comfort zone. Right. Just like a thermostat is meant to keep temperature in a room at a certain temperature that's set in the thermostat. Our brain wants to have you keep the same settings. You're awake, you're eating your exercise energy expenditure. That's one.

[00:08:55.320]
Number two, whenever our brain feels that there might be real or potential pain or discomfort, it says, hold on a second here. I don't want to feel any pain or discomfort. Well, guess what? Changing our diet is considered uncomfortable to our brain, starting to exercise, even though it feels good to do it, it also means we might have muscle soreness. It also means that we might have aches and pains, etc.

[00:09:23.170] – John
So our brain is trying to resist anything that's going to cause us pain or discomfort or having less than what we had before. So understanding that these are natural mechanisms of our brain, we can start saying, OK, are there some techniques that I can use to make this easier versus easy? And the answer is yeah, there's a lot of techniques that we can use to re-commit to reframe things. So first thing that I share with people who want to lose weight, first and foremost, stop thinking of what you need to do is losing weight.

[00:10:05.680] – John
As soon as our brain thinks of losing anything, it resists it. Why? We're always taught to find what we lose, find what you forget. So what if we instead said, OK, what do I really, really want? Is that weight that I want to lose or is it fat that I want to release? Right. So if we think about body weight as extra calories, extra energy, what we want to do is we want to release that energy and use it.

[00:10:34.390] – John
But that's really not what we're looking to do. You know, the reason we want to, I'm going to use a term that I don't like to use is lose weight, is not for the losing the weight. It's for how we're going to feel about ourselves. It's for the love where we're seeking. It's for the self belief about ourself that we want is for the lifestyle that we want its for the energy that we want. And so what if we instead of focused on losing weight, we focused on what's the lifestyle that I want?

[00:11:09.830] – John
What are the benefits of that lifestyle, instead of focusing on what I'm going to have to give up, what am I here to gain by doing this? Instead of focusing on a diet, why not focus on a new way of eating as a new way of being. The very fact that, you know, the word diet, the first three letters are die? OK, dieting is hard, but figuring out a meal plan, a way to eat that sustains me that I could that I could keep doing past one week or three weeks or six weeks, that's a totally different focus.

Instead of focusing on what I'm going to have to give up, what am I here to gain by doing this? Instead of focusing on a diet, why not focus on a new way of eating as a new way of being. @johnassaraf Click To Tweet [00:11:52.970] – John
Now, most people try to lose weight and they say, OK, I'm going to lose 10 pounds with 20 pounds or thirty pounds or fifty pounds or whatever the amount is, and they alter their behavior until the point of reaching their goal, and then they revert back to all of the old behaviors that got them to gain all the weight. So instead of having their brain focusing on the behaviors and the way to be for losing weight, why not say, nope, let me make a lifestyle change that will empower me or make me feel better for the rest of my life instead of for a week or two or three.

[00:12:30.530] – Allan
And so what you're basically doing is you're kind of getting cohesion between what the body wants, which is to be what the subconscious brain wants it wants to be able, wants to have adequate energy. It doesn't want the knees to hurt when you're walking up and down the stairs and losing weight as it will, we would think about that logically. The words we use is doing that. But you're using the term release, which is a very different thing than the losing.

[00:12:56.300] – John
And the other thing that we need to understand is water is weight. Muscle is weight, we don't want to lose weight, you could lose two, three, four, five, six pounds of water and weight in a week. But you're going to get it all back. You can have one dish of pasta or rice and it retains two and a half times its own weight and water and gain it all back. So what we want to do is we want to activate fat release so that we use our fat stores as energy. And that's really what we want to do.

[00:13:33.130] – John
We want to create an environment within us so that the food that we're eating gives us energy and what it is that we're doing for basic survival needs but then through hopefully a little bit of exercise, we are using fat as fuel for the energy requirements that we need. And we create initially a slight imbalance between how much we're consuming and how much we're using.

[00:13:58.340] – John
And in doing it slowly instead of fast and really focusing on fat release and sustainable weight release or weight loss, if that's what we want to call it. Now, we're looking at a totally different game and we're not looking at going on a diet which is is really detrimental to a lot of people's heads and hearts because they suffer these, or they gain these high wins and then they suffer these lows by gaining all the weight, which happens for ninety seven percent of people.

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[00:16:03.350] – Allan
Now, when you're talking about exercises, I mean Innercise excuse me, know, one of the things that you brought up there was there's lots and lots of different ways to Innercise, much like with exercise. So I could I could decide to go ahead and do an aerobics class where I can go lift weights or I can go for a run or I could go skiing or I could go hiking.

[00:16:22.220] – Allan
There's so many different ways that I could exercise to affect different things balance, mobility, strength, endurance. It's much the same way with innercise. But there's about seven key areas that you identified in the book that we can innercise to benefit ourselves. Can you talk about those?

[00:16:38.670] – John
Sure. So let's just take the, you know, the self-image side of our brain. Everybody knows that they have a self-image of themselves. And so if I was to ask you to draw yourself out or to write down what you feel you look like, would that either visual or written description match the way you want to look? And for most people who are maybe overweight, there's a mismatch. What if I said that if you, for example, went to some magazines where they had people with your type of physique that you want to have, those realistic. What if you cut out a picture of a physique that you wanted and you took your own face and you put it on top of that picture.

[00:17:35.730] – John
And what if every day you looked at that picture and you started to see yourself moving towards that over a period of time, whether it's one month, three months, six months or one year? You said this is the body that I'm going to have. This is the body that's giving me energy. This is the body and physique that's going to make me feel the way I want to, look the way I want to. What if you start to just visualize that every day?

[00:18:01.650] – John
What if you started to emotionalize what would it feel like to actually be in that body? What would happen is you would start to develop a new self-image that would override your old self image. It's almost like recoding software on a computer. Your self image is nothing more than cells in your brain of recognition of what you have seen in the mirror ten thousand times and what you have thought about a hundred thousand times.

[00:18:34.000] – John
And so when we start to use, for example, visualization, visualization is a simulation. When we start to simulate in our mind's eye on a new body, the new energy, how we will feel, the complements we might get, the things we might start seeing to ourselves about ourselves, we start to rewrite our own hidden self image and overlay a new self image around that.

[00:18:59.830] – John
And when we start using innercises, whether it's verbal analyses or emotional innercises or mental innercises to activate cells in our brain and then reinforce those cells and patterns in our brain, we know that whatever we do consciously, repetitively over time becomes an unconscious pattern. And so we can use a variety of different innercises to rescript, reshape imprint what it is that we want instead of what is.

[00:19:36.410] – Allan
Yeah, so, you know, the way I kind of look at it and you said something really important that I want to go back to is realistic, you know, don't don't sit there. I can't pull out, you know, you know, say Arnold Schwarzenegger and put my face on his body and say, you know, when he was at his prime and say, that's what I'm going to look like in a year or two, that's not realistic. But if I do find, you know, a body body style, I think that's going to fit me, and I begin to think of myself in those terms that's going to affect my subconscious, which is going to then affect my behavior. And make me start doing the things that are necessary to have that body type.

[00:20:13.650] – John
Absolutely. There's a visual that I like to share with everybody just to show them how this can work. I'm going to ask everybody who's listening right now a question. And the question is this. Can you slowly jog a marathon right now?

[00:20:32.300] – John
And I work out almost every day, and I cannot right now. Like I'm not in shape to jog a marathon 26.2 miles. Now, here's the second question for everybody who's listening, as if we agreed today that a year from now or 18 months from now or even two years from now, we're going to jog slowly and healthy and a healthy way, a marathon, 26.2 miles. And today all we did is we got from a seated position and stood up and then sat back down.

[00:21:07.640] – John
That's all we did today, maybe five times during the day. And then tomorrow we did it five times and the next day we did it five times. And we figured out what would be a really good eating plan for energy. What would be a good little movement plan for flexibility and some balance. Could we maybe in a week, if we were sedentary for the last five years, could we maybe walk in our apartment from the sofa to the kitchen? And the answer is probably yes.

[00:21:35.640] – John
And then once we did that five or 10 times, could we walk outside maybe a tenth of a mile slowly. And then could we walk two tenths of a mile, then can we walk five tenths of a mile, then can we walk one mile, if we did it in a healthy way? The answer for almost every single person is if I started off that slow, yes, I could do it.

[00:21:57.850] – John
Well, let's take it out to three months. Could we get faster, stronger, better in three months and build a foundation? Yes. Well, what about three months later? What if we hired a professional to help us get in better shape? And then we started to slowly once we release the weight, once we felt more comfortable, we started having more energy. Maybe at a certain point we needed to do a slight, very easy job. Could we do it? The answer is, of course we could.

[00:22:29.880] – John
Well, then guess what? If we could do that, could we build up the muscle and the endurance as we got stronger, as we release the weight? Could we possibly in a year or a year and a half or two years slowly jog a marathon? And the answer is yes, and how do we know that we know that because millions and millions and millions of people start off just that way.

[00:22:54.350] – John
So even though we may not see the end outcome right now and even though we don't have the knowledge or the skills or even the resources to do it, could we gain the mental and the emotional and the physical fortitude to be able to do it if we committed to it? And the answer is yes. We have all the knowledge, the skills of how to do it right now.

[00:23:19.460] – Allan
Yeah, you've just described how I trained for a Tough Mudder. I was in no shape to even consider doing a Tough Mudder. I could do a 5K obstacle course, I couldn't do a 13 mile one. And so I was I was watching the videos of the people that were completing it and they were doing it. And I was like, OK, that guy has a grip strength. That's how he's able to do what he's doing, that person stronger.

[00:23:41.990] – Allan
That person isn't carrying as much body fat. And so the visuals I had in my head was a person is doing that. That's not me today but that will be the day that I do that race and I committed by signing up for it. I wrote my check, you know, give my credit card number. I got the ticket for my daughter and I. And so the commitment was there.

[00:24:02.110] – Allan
And what that meant was each day was, OK, I've got to get my grip strength a little stronger. If it's just hanging from a pole, you know, a pull up bar, that's how I'm going to start getting my grip stronger. And then I was doing pull ups and then I was doing, so it's just a progressive thing over time. And it's those little bitty things like if you put a penny in a jar every day and then and then after two weeks, double it and put two pennies and after two weeks double it and put four pennies. After a while, you realize you basically have your retirement taken care of. It's that kind of building that you get out of all of this.

[00:24:35.320] – John
Yeah, and whenever you're looking to, you know, to change from one habit to another, from a destructive to constructive, from disempowering to empowering, there's something that I teach all my students and that is reduce it to the ridiculous. So reduce whatever it is that you need to do or want to do to the ridiculously small. Right, and so one minute a day, two minutes a day, three minutes a day, five minutes a day for 100 straight days builds the habit.

[00:25:09.270] – John
Once we have the habit, we can build the intensity and the duration. And so instead of trying to do everything in the first week or two weeks, why not focus on I'm going to develop empowering, constructive habits that I'm going to stick to instead of something that's not sustainable. And so when we're thinking about our brain. Let's understand how it works and our brain resists big changes, our brain resists anything that takes a lot of time and energy.

[00:25:44.790] – John
And so when we want to develop a habit of this is what I would like and I'd like to sustain it, let's reduce it to the ridiculously small so that I can develop the habit that I can add layers afterwards.

[00:26:03.750] – Allan
Now, one of the things you went into the book, and I think it's it's really important, is that if you don't set a goal the right way, your likelihood of accomplishing that goal goes way, way down. But you talked about a function of something called brain friendly goals. Could you go into that briefly?

[00:26:20.910] – John
Sure. So it actually piggybacks on. What I just said is there's different parts of our brain. If you think of your brain almost like an orchestra or a band, you know, there's different musicians who play different instruments. Well, there's different parts of our brain that does different things and when we can get our brains, different parts to work together in synchronicity and harmony, it works a lot better. So, for example, there's a part of our brain I called the Einstein part of the brain.

[00:26:52.320] – John
That's really good for imagination. What I would like, what it would feel like and be like and how can I achieve it. All right. There's another part of our brain which I call is the Frankenstein part of the brain that is analyzable. What can go wrong here? What if you start and you don't continue? What if you get hurt? What if you embarrass yourself? Or what if you're ashamed or ridiculed or judged because you give it your best and you fail?

[00:27:18.810] – John
So our brain, in order to make brain friendly goals, works like this. What do you want to achieve? Write that down. Why is it really important for you to achieve it? Write that down. How can you get started? OK. Write that down. When are you going to do it? Put it on your calendar. What are the tools or resources or people that you need in order to help you get that all together? That's a brain friendly goal because now I have the what, the why, the how, the who, and the when, and our brain goes, OK, are you committed to doing this or are you interested?

[00:28:02.400] – John
And this is the question of all questions I have, because when somebody says, here's what I want, I always ask them, well, are you committed to that or are you interested? And many people say to me, what's the difference? I tell them, what if your answer is going to cover stories or reasons or excuses, why you can't or why you won't if you're interested, you know, when it's time to do it, you're going to come up with a story, reason or excuse.

[00:28:26.370] – John
But if you're committed, you will overcome the story, the reason, or the excuse. If you're committed, you'll do whatever it takes. If you're committed, you will override the “I don't feel like it.”

If you're committed, you will overcome the story, the reason, or the excuse. If you're committed, you'll do whatever it takes. If you're committed, you will override the "I don't feel like it." @johnassaraf Click To Tweet [00:28:39.540] – 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?

[00:28:47.220] – John
Well, number one is, what does it mean for you to be well? Right? How are you thinking? How are you feeling? What are you doing? Whose life or whose whose life is impacted other than just yours? And so whenever we think about wellness and well-being, define it for yourself. Define it for yourself. For me. Tell me, how do you define success? For me success is harmony between health, wealth, relationships, career, business, fun experiences, charity, spirituality. For me, it's that harmony. That's success. It doesn't make sense for me to have so much health, but not wealth, so much wealth, but not health. So for me, it's that harmony. So that could feel like my life is in flow.

[00:29:43.520] – Allan
OK, thank you, John. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain's Hidden Power and all the wonderful things you're doing over there with your company, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:29:56.420] – John
Thank you. I think they can hop onto Amazon to take a look at my book Innercise or my other book Having It All, which is also New York Times Bestseller (also available on Audible). They can if they want to go deeper into the brain around making more money and to financial success. They can go to brainathon123.com. I'm on Instagram. I'm on my Facebook fan page. I'm on Twitter. And then obviously our websites JohnAssaraf.com or myneurogym.com, which is my company.

[00:30:31.220] – Allan
Yeah, I did the Brain-a-Thon this weekend. I made it about three quarters through and I just a lot it was wonderful. And then I just joined your Exceptional Life Program, so I decided I'm seeing a lot of you lately, but yeah some really cool stuff. Thank you so much for being a part of Forty Plus Fitness.

[00:30:51.660] – John
Thank you my friend. Thank you so much for doing this.

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Another episode you may enjoy

Less...

I am human

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Thank you!

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

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

~ Francoise de la Rochefoucauld.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talmud

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

Short cuts to happiness with Tal Ben-Shahar

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

Thank you!


Today we're going to interview a very, very cool guy. I know you're going to enjoy this interview quite a bit because we're going to talk about happiness. As you probably know, if you've listened to this podcast for awhile, I've recently moved down to Panama and so I've been kind of going through a kind of a stage to move and we came back to the states a couple of weeks ago and moved out some things out of our house to make it a little easier to facilitate moving in closing, when someone does actually make an offer. But it's also been a pretty stressful few weeks and try and get that done. Get our dog down here to Panama, which was an ordeal in and of itself. And also sign the contract and by Island Fitness here in Bocas del Toro.

So now I am a proud gym owner of Island Fitness in Bocas del Toro. If you find yourself down in Bocas, please do come by and drop in for a workout. I'd love to meet you.

But again, that's been a very, very stressful time. So I'm, I'm really glad to go back and reflect on that with a this renewed look at what we were talking about today. If there's anything I can do to help you though, I do really want to help you reach your health and fitness goals. It goes well beyond what we do here at the podcast. I'm all in for helping you find wellness and I'm offering a free 15 minute consult, a no obligation, just a free phone call. We get on the conference call line and we'll talk about the things that matter most to you and your wellness.

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min and book your free 15 minute consult. That link actually just takes you directly to my calendar so you can just set up the link and nothing else to do. Get on the phone with me and I can try to help you reach your health and fitness goals this Summer.

Tal Ben-Shahar knows the power of happiness. In fact, he teaches courses at Harvard on positive psychology and happiness. On this episode, we discuss his book, Short Cuts to Happiness.

Allan: 02:56 Tal, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 03:00 Thank you. Thank you for having me here.

Allan: 03:02 Your book is called Shortcuts to Happiness: Life Changing Lessons From My Barber. And your barber's name is Avi last time I went to a barber and I didn't have one that was nearly as cool as yours.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 03:28 Yeah. Well, you know, I must say that during those two years I had at much shorter haircut than usual and not just me also my boys. So I took them more often than necessary to the barber.

Allan: 03:40 Yeah. I get it. It sounds like a really cool place that it seems sometimes you just pop in just to hang out. It was, it was really kind of that, that cool of a place.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 03:50 Yeah. You know, in many ways, I saw it as an island of sanity in our crazy busy world, where things are up in the air and everything is virtual. And here was something, a real, authentic, simple, and wise.

Allan: 04:07 Yeah. My wife and I moved to Panama not long ago to try to find exactly what you're talking about. We were, we literally are on an island and yesterday we went to this this farm, it's an organic farm. They do cocoa and coconuts and all of that. So he taught us all about, walked us all over his property it was really cool to just kind of, I guess I would say disconnect, but it really was reconnect because we spend more time online I think then I do offline and that's really kind of a sad statement. But, I do appreciate that you had that opportunity to hang out with Avi and learn even probably more than probably a second book coming I guess is the best way for me to explain.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 04:49 This is a sequel. Yes. I am actually hoping, I must say I'm actually hoping that other people will write sequels. Cause I think maybe the, the most important, one of the most important lessons I learned is that wisdom is a ubiquitous, it's everywhere. For 25 years I've been in academia, you know, still am and most of my primary source for me was the academic research, ancient wisdom. You know, from the great thinkers, from Plato, Aristotle, Confucius and Suddenly I, when once I opened my eyes or ears, I realize that deep wisdom that is there was just a literally in my neighborhood.

Allan: 05:29 And that's what I thought was so cool is you know, one of the things you did in the book, and I'll have to look it up here real quick because I actually, as soon as I read that chapter, I pulled down the book. It's a fiction book is called the Schopenhauer Cure.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 05:44 Yes, by Irvin D. Yalom.

Allan: 05:46 I've downloaded that book that's now on my reading list for the next one because I just thought it was really cool that you were looking and tying these things together from the conversations that having with your barber to a book you may have read somewhere else, even if it was a novel. And just kind of like, I you said it's just this birth of wisdom that you're getting in your, in your local environment.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 06:08 Yes,and what I realized is that the minute I decided to write that book. It happened. When I was having my haircut and I was not having a good day, but I, you know, went for the haircut. 20 minutes later I come out, you know, just looking better, but also feeling better. And that's the moment I said I have to write a book about this guy because I wasn't the only one having these experiences under his scissors and tutelage. And the minute I decided to write this book, suddenly this almost, this whole world opened up. And, uh, every time I went to have a haircut or took my kids to have a haircut, there were more and more pearls of wisdom. It's just about having, you know, opening our eyes, opening our ears to the opportunities.

Allan: 06:55 And that was what again, like I said, really cool because the book opened my eyes to a few things that I guess I, you know, I knew, I think, like you said, a lot of this stuff is there. It's just sometimes it gets buried in us. And one of the first topics that I kind of want to get into because as soon as soon as I read it, I was like, ah, that's it was your chapter on posture and the impact it has on us psychologically if we're not in a good posture.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 07:22 Yeah. You know, the connection between mind and body. And then in the west primarily we don't recognize this connection. And I thought about it when my kid was having a haircut and I saw how Avi essentially straightened his back and suddenly his posture changed. And I could see that psychologically he changed as well. And as soon as he did that, you know, I thought to all the research out there on the importance of posture, showing that, you know, for example, people who walk briskly with their shoulders back and hands swinging are happier. Also if they just fake it. In other words, if you fake walking, cause even if you don't feel, feel that way, you still start walking this way, you actually start to feel better. Or if you put on a on a smile, happy face, even if you initially fake it, you become it over time. So it's the connection between our postures in our psychological state, our external state in our internal state.

Allan: 08:29 Yeah. Since we traveled to Panama, I haven't had a chance to move my studio stuff down and I have this adjustable desks and I've been in this apartment that we rented. It's near town. It's perfectly located for us to learn where things are. But I'm literally sitting at a kitchen counter on a, on a chair and I just realized as I was reading the book, because it's on my computer as well as I was all hunched down and I, you know, closed and leaning forward and I was like, let's try this. I got up, I get up and actually walked to the store and when I got back, it's like I had drank a pot of coffee. I felt so much better. I had so much more energy. And so I think just, just kind of taking that moment when we realize, hey, you know, I'm not open I'm closed and I need to open myself up. I think there's a lot of joy, a lot of happiness and positive vibes that are going to come out of just kind of realizing the body is connected to the mind and vice versa. And they both can be used as tools to help the other.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 09:30 Exactly. So the fact that it's a loop between them in a loop, you know, circular relationship, uh, cycle means that we can start anywhere. We can start by changing our mind. We can start by changing our, uh, our posture. Now the interesting thing is that there is another loop, not an internal loop, but an external loop. In other words, if a, you know, you walk to the store and you know, slouch, looking down, you're unlikely to have interactions with others. Whether when you open yourself, up physically then others are much more likely to respond to you in the same way, which of course will lead to a, to an upward spiral.

Allan: 10:12 Yeah, I know my career is as an intern when I was an internal auditor, I tended to have more of a, like you said, a closed posture at work. And that affected my relationship with everybody at work. You know, they saw me as this scary guy and even though we were on the same team, the, you know, working for the same company it did, it did put off that vibe that I was unapproachable and it's sometimes difficult for me offline now, you know, just dealing day to day with just normal people to have the right vibe. And so I do need to keep myself cognizant of how I'm projecting.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 10:46 Yeah. And you know, as, as you were talking, I'm thinking of something else regarding our life in the office. You know, we spend a lot of time in the uh, in our isoffice sitting down and it's very unhealthy to spend all these, uh, all these hours. Even if you are sitting up on a positive, open posture, just being static, being sedentary is unhealthy. There are doctors who actually are talking today about sitting is the new smoking now. I think there are exaggerating but not much. Meaning there's a lot of research showing just how bad sitting for you know, eight hours, 10 hours a day is for us. And the suggestion is that the rule of thumb is, you know, every half hour get up for, even if it's 10 20 seconds, you know, get up and move around and then go back to sit. This will have an impact both in your psychological wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing.

Allan: 11:45 Yeah, there was a, there's a lot of people that follow this thing called Pomodoro. Are you familiar with that? No. Okay. It's basically where you have a work and you know you're gonna be sitting in there doing this work task. You set your clock for 25 minutes and you just focus on that one task for your 25 minutes and when the 25 minutes is up, you now have a five minute break to get up, move around to not think about that project, to stare at blue sky, to do anything that would give you some moment of, of rest, some moment of refreshment, and then you can go back for another 25 minutes. And uh, they've found scientifically that people are a lot more, um, effective, a lot more productive following that method.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 12:27 Yes, I can certainly see why that happens. And again, the impact is both psychological and physiological.

Allan: 12:36 There's another important loop that you talk about in the book that I think a lot of us forget and it reminded me of, you know, when you read books like the blue zones and things like that, about how people are living longer and healthier, happier and healthier lives. It's about being connected is like being part of the whole.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 12:52 Yeah. You know, number one predictor of happiness is relationships. There's a wonderful study at Harvard. It was, it started almost a century ago. It followed the Harvard students as well as people from the community around Cambridge, Massachusetts followed them for over 75 years. And, um, what was fun at the end of the 75 years after collecting quite literally millions of data points. What was fun was that there was one major predictor of both health, physical health and happiness, psychological health, and um, and that was relationships. Now the interesting thing about relationships was that it didn't matter what kind of relationships, meaning some people had romantic relationships that they enjoy for, for decades. Others had very close family ties, others had very close intimate friends. Um, professional relationships, it didn't matter, but people who had close, intimate, real, genuine relationships, were both happier as well as healthier. The best predictor. Now, today, you know, you alluded to this earlier today, we're losing this connection because real relationships are being substituted by virtual relationships. And unfortunately, 1000 friends on social media are no substitute for that one, you know, best friend that one or two intimate relationships.

Allan: 14:21 Yeah, it's a 400 square foot apartment right now. So my wife and I have been spending a lot of intimate time together and you know, at first I thought when we first got here, I'm like, you know, we're going to be, we're going to be fighting all the time and I'll say there's been some, you know, some moments, little flare ups here and there, but really I feel much more connected to her, to the world, just having this opportunity to have this time with her.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 14:44 Yes. Um, I can, I can absolutely see that. The other thing though is also, you know, in the best relationships, whether it's the romantic relationships, whether it's friendships, there are disputes, there are disagreements. And there are no sterile or perfect relationships. In fact, a very important part of a healthy long-term relationship is, um, dealing with the conflict to disputes.

Allan: 15:08 Well, when you're in a one little bedroom place together, there's a few, there's a few here and there, but no, really, it's, it's been pretty, it's been pretty awesome. There's another chapter you had in here. One of the things you said about the book that I think's important is these, these lessons are not something you just read through one time and say, oh, okay, I got it and I'm going to follow this. You'd go back to these, I think these are some great lessons for you just have this book nearby. Uh, and when you feel okay, I'm angry, or I'm not connected or I'm not happy, flip through the just the table of contents. I went through kind of an episode earlier this week and I got angry. I just, you know, and so I found myself just very angry at this event. And I went back actually because I'd read this chapter before I went back and read it again. And so that's on anger management and I have to say it did help me kind of put this all back into perspective. And I'm not going to say I perfectly managed that situation, but it's, it's, it is past me now. And so can you talk a little bit about how we can approach anger?

Tal Ben-Shahar: 16:08 Sure. So, you know, if I can tell the background behind that chapter, which was a real fun chapter to write. So, you know, I was having my haircut and this woman just storms into the barber shop, all angry and upset. And Avi asked her, you know, what's up? And she says, well, you know this. And then she used an expletive, this guy, you know, cuts me off, uh, how dare he, and so on and so on. And Avi says to her, you know, I have a, I have a method of dealing with this kind of behavior on other people's parts. And she says, what. And you know, we both both actually thought, you know, he said, I beat him up because, you know, is a strong guy. But no, he takes another other routes. And what he says is that if he's, let's say waiting for a parking spot and you know, the, the parking spot frees up and is this, you know, he's been waiting and as soon as he tries to go in with a car, an SUV cuts him off.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 17:01 And then he said to us, he said, what I imagined then is that a cow cut me off and you know, both of us, you know, just laugh and say, a cow? and he says, exactly because when you're thinking of a cow, you laugh and a, and then you're not angry. And you know, he was, he was actually basically talking about some very interesting research that has been conducted over the last 50 years on emotions. And the basic idea here is that you cannot experience to emotions. Simulatanously for example, especially if they are opposites. Emotions such as amusement, a cow is cutting me off, an anger and SUV cut me off or empathy and anger and therefore introducing some humor into the mix. Actually shift our mindset as well as the set away from away from anger. And, uh, I must say I've been using this very often, not just when, you know, when people cut me off when on the road, but in other occasions, you know, imagining something funny when I tend to be angry or upset. It's very simple. It's, you know, it's even silly, but it's the silliness of it that makes it so effective.

Allan: 18:10 And that's what I kind of liked about it, was it's something internal that you can control. You know, if you recognize that you're having an emotion and that emotion is not the frame of mind that you want to be, and it's not your ideal state, you have this tool click and you internalize the humor, have a little chuckle and then move on about your day.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 18:31 Yes, exactly. And I think the thing that you're pointing to is the idea of, uh, of choice. I have a choice. I have a choice whether to focus on in a big evil SUV or a, or a funny, cute cow.

Allan: 18:47 Yeah. In my case, it's, a person that revokes a contract that I thought was going to be good for us, and then boom, it's gone. And I'm like, okay. And I'm powerless. So there was a bit of anger and then I'm kinda like, well, you know, um, how would I feel if that was a penguin, you know, that I had to prove on the Godrej no, it does. It is what it is. You know, I'm a monkey pees on you here on the, you know, in the jungle and you just, you just keep going. You know, he's just, you know, you don't get angry at the monkey, you know, the, the choice part of it is also, I think, kind of a critical aspect to this whole management of happiness or trying to find happiness. And I wouldn't say so much. You call it shortcuts. None of these are really shortcuts, but they are, they are the most direct path. And sometimes getting somewhere that you want to get is not about going fast. It's actually about slowing down.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 19:45 Yeah. I think that this is, um, this is such an important tip or shortcut you call it in, especially in our modern life when things are so fast, when that, when there is in constant flux of information and uh, and noise and happenings and you know, you, you moved to Panama, I'm, I'm assuming at least to slow, too slow down this frantic pace significantly. Yeah. And the question is how can we deal with the frantic pace and it's in one way is to just, uh, you know, move away, retire getaway from, from it all. The other approach is to find, again what I said at the beginning to find islands of sanity in this crazy busy world and island of sanity can be a going out with a dear friend to dinner and switching your phone off and not being available and really being there with that person or going for a walk once again without technology or meditating, but it's these small breaks that can make a very big difference.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 20:51 You know, one of the things that I talk about a lot is dealing with stress. And you know, stress is a not of an epidemic in the U S it's a pandemic, right? It's a worldwide phenomenon that even Australians are suffering from excessive stress. And the question is, what do you do with the stress? So what, you know, one way to think about it, you said, okay, I want to eliminate it. I don't want stress in my life. The other way to think about it, which is actually better, healthier way to think about it is the stress in and of itself is not bad. Uh, you know, I go to the gym and I lift weights. What am I doing to my muscles? I stress my muscles, not a bad thing. I actually get stronger as a result unless I don't take recovery. You know, if I just lift weights and more weights and more weights than this stress mounts and I get injured, its the same way in life, it's okay to experience stress as long as they are also periods of recovery. And so we need to punctuate our crazy busy lives with recovery, whether it's recovery, as I said, in terms of that meal with a friend or a good night's sleep or a day off at least once a week.

Allan: 21:56 Yeah, that is so important. And I think we, it is hard in today's society to actually like turn off, to leave your phone off, to take a day off because you kind of feel like something's leaving you. You're losing something. There's this fear you're going to miss out on something. And so it is this, to me, this one might be the, the hardest thing to really kind of wrap your mind around is that if you don't recover, then the stress is not good for you. And it's like you said.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 22:25 That's when burn out happens. That's when an injury happens. It is bad for you. And the thing is that, as you said, it's not easy to disconnect. And the reason why it's so hard is because most people in the in developed countries are addicted, literally addicted to technology. And last week I was giving a lecture somewhere in, in Latin America and um, the audience were, um, partners in that particular firms, very senior people and their spouses. So there were 400, uh, couples there. And I said to them, look, I have a question for you. I don't want you to answer it aloud just in your mind. Just think about the answer. And my question was in the morning when you, when you wake up, first thing you open, your eyes do turn, who do you turn to? And then you know, there are chuckles in the room. And I said, do you attend, do turn to your lovely husband, wife, partner? Or did you turn the other way? And it was a rhetorical question. I mean obviously most people turn to the phone first thing when they opened their eyes in the morning, now I said to them earlier. I said, look, this is an addiction like any other addiction. Now imagine if you're an alcoholic, would you have a bottle of Tequila right next to you in bed as you open your eyes? Of course not. Why do we have our phone right next to us when we go to sleep,

Allan: 23:55 Well, I know one answer I always get when I talk to folks about this because I typically won't have my phone right by the bed. I've been fortunate enough to, to know that that's not what I want. But they use their phone for their alarm. They use their phone for a of other things. And so it again, that's what makes it so hard is that you see this, this is a valuable tool, but it's also a problem.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 24:17 Yes. Yeah. You know, I, I hear you. And about a year ago I actually bought myself an old fashioned watch with an alarm clock specifically for that. But I don't need to put the, uh, the phone next to me.

Allan: 24:30 Perfect. Alright, so Tal. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay? Well,

Tal Ben-Shahar: 24:43 so, you know, the, the first, uh, the first thing is that we need to allow in unhappiness so that we can fulfill our potential for happiness. You know, there's a common misconception that a happy life is a life, which is devoid of a painful emotions. But in fact, there are only two kinds of people who don't experience painful emotions such as sadness or anger or a frustration or anxiety or invy. Two kinds of people who don't experience these painful emotions and they are the psychopaths and dead people. And so experiencing these painful emotions, it's actually a good sign. That means we're not a psychopath and we're alive. The problem in today's world is that, especially given social media where we see others who seem to be happy all the time, uh, we think there was something wrong with us when we experienced painful emotions and we reject them.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 25:36 And when we reject painful emotions, they only intensify. Moreover, when we reject painful emotions were also inadvertently rejecting the pleasurable emotions. So the first step is accepting painful emotions. And by the way, this applies to our mental health as well as to our physical health as suppressing repressing, rejecting emotions is essentially a prescription for not only unhappiness, it's a prescription for illness. So that's one thing. The second thing, physical exercise. So much research on a physical exercise and its importance once again, not just for physical wellbeing, for a psychological wellbeing. More and more psychologists are talking about physical exercises, the wonder drug and so as as little as 30 minutes, three times a week, and punctuate your day to day with the ongoing movement. You know, that's enough. Or I should say that's the minimum we need to sustain mental health and then of course I mentioned relationships is the number one predictor of happiness. Putting time aside. It's also the number one predictor of physical health and finally gratitude. You know, Oprah was right, an attitude of gratitude does contributes to to health and happiness.

Allan: 26:55 I completely agree. Those are, those are really cool. Thank you for sharing. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, Shortcuts To Happiness, where would you like for me to send them?

Tal Ben-Shahar: 27:07 Well, on my website, which is TalBenShahar.com there is access to my books also to my own online programs that are offered to the happiness studies academy. So I'd love people to visit and join.

Allan: 27:23 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/386 and I'll be sure to have the link there. So Tal, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 27:34 Thank you Allan. Thank you very much.

Allan: 27:40 I hope you enjoyed today's episode and if you did, would you please consider becoming a supporter of the podcast? It's pretty easy. You go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and that will take you to a website where you can actually contribute to the show. There's different access levels that you have so you can get some additional goodies on top of just being mentioned in the show notes or something like that, but even a dollar an episode is, you know, it's not asking a lot I don't think, but I really would appreciate your support if you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and become a patron of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

Choosing the sloth life for better health and fitness

Patreons

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

  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston

Thank you!

Tammy and I decided to move to Panama as an opportunity to slow down and reduce stress. On this episode we discuss why we chose the sloth life.

Allan: 00:47 Hello. Today's podcast is going to be a good bit different than anything else that I've done on the show. We are actually recording in our little bitty apartment in Bocus del Toro, Panama. So you're very likely to hear the sounds of chickens, cars, kids, music, all kinds of stuff going on in the background with us, roosters for sure. You know, the thing about it is this is kind of our new lifestyle. We're not going to necessarily live in this town as we go forward, but there's going to just be some differences in the way that we live our lives and the things that we let stress us. So I wanted to actually take you through the story of the move to Bocas del Toro and I couldn't think of a better way to even do this show without also letting you hear from my very special guest today. My wonderful wife, Tammy.

Tammy: 01:37 Hi everyone. I'm glad to be here.

Allan: 01:39 And so as we, as we got into this move and, and the reasons we were doing this move, I thought it would be a great lesson for us to have on the show. And there's been some people that have been fairly curious about this move and each time I talk to a guest and I remind them that they're very likely to hear sounds in the background, that they wouldn't hear any normal recording studio, definitely wouldn't have heard in Pensacola where I was recording the show. There's going to be quite a bit of that now, and I think you'll see as we go forward on the show, even during some of my interviews, you're likely to hear some of the sights and sounds of what's going on here, uh, in Bocas town. So I want to give you just a little bit of the history of how this all came about because you may or may not know me that well, you may not have been a longtime listener, but I was in corporate America for over 25 years. And at the end, you know, I was pretty high up in the rankings as far as executives in a business and the business I was in, uh, well, we were on a pretty healthy downturn. And by healthy, I mean straight down.

As a result, the company was doing layoff after layoff, after layoff. And as you can imagine, being the boss of quite a few people, it fell on me to have those, “You're, you're not needed anymore” conversations, and the goodbyes and all that goes with that. So to say that this was a stressful job, I think would just really be an understatement. It was, the stress was almost debilitating. It was something that when my name finally showed up on the list and we finally went through that and I was sitting at my home in Pensacola and it just occurred to me that I really just didn't want to go back.

This was not a financial decision. This was just a, I know that job is killing me and if I go back and do it, I am effectively sacrificing my health for the job. I decided that I wasn't going to do that anymore. I wasn't going to let making an income be something that was going to detrimentally hurt my health. It wouldn't be fair to me, and one, I think I'd be disingenuous to you if that's how I lived my life. And so I made the decision to not go back to work and to effectively figure out a way to make an income.

That's when I kind of ratchet it up and started doing a little bit more personal training. Uh, and I decided to start working on a book. And there's other things that I had in the works, but because of the current state of healthcare in the United States, one of us had to get a job so we could pay for health care. And uh, Tammy was nice enough to take that on. So she did get a job. Uh, just really just for health insurance. There was no other reason for her to have a job. We didn't need her to work. We just needed the health insurance. It was just far too expensive. I think I got quoted $1,600 a month for health insurance, but I'll, I'll let Tammy tell you a little bit about her taking the job, what that did for her and against her and how she felt about it.

Tammy: 04:46 Well, first of all, I didn't work for like, I dunno, five years before that I took a job here and there doing different things just because I was bored and wanted to do something. And then when it came down to where he decided not to go back to work and we need he insurance, because in America you have to have medical insurance. Getting the job was a little stressful, but at the same time I was kind of excited to go back to work, just to get away from Allan because he's in the house all the time. But, um, I took a job that something I didn't know, but it was interesting job. It was just basically for the insurance.

I also met a lot of nice people and had a good time working there. However, I was not really wanting to work, who wants to work really, you know? But the only reason why I didn't want to work with more because of having to have a boss to deal with or having to watch what I say or do. And you can't really be, I wasn't really comfortable, I guess I got used to being at home for the last five years or whatever it was, taking care of the house, the dogs and Allan and doing what I wanted to do. But going back to work, you know, it helped us for for wha, about almost a year. And it was, the insurance was great and then we decided we were watching TV and decided to take it a step further and I'll let Allan go ahead and start that conversation.

Allan: 06:18 So yes, we were watching Netflix and we came across a show called Death In Paradise and it's an interesting show where they take basically a British detective and they put him on a Caribbean island and he's living in this little bungalow and obviously he is a Londoner through and through wearing his suit every day, obviously uncomfortable in the 90 plus degree, 90 plus percent humidity environment. But he's really good at his job and they decided to keep him. And that's what kinda started the series. And we were watching the series as it went through and I think they had like seven series. They went through three different detectives, each kind of bringing a different feel to the show.

What was consistent about it was the, you know, the location, the beauty. And this guy lived in a non air conditioned open shack, basically a little bungalow on the beach, but it was beautiful. It was beautiful and they made it work and they were comfortable they are. And that got Tammy and I to talking about how we could change our lifestyle, we could reduce our stress, we could reduce our expenses, we can reduce our environmental footprint, uh, if we went somewhere and did something like that. And that got us to searching for different places.

Tammy: 07:38 And I started thinking that I was wanting to go to Belize. So he checked out Belize and all Allan got attacked by mosquitoes and not justattacked but like a swarm of mosquitoes. And then we went during the time that the season wasn't very pretty, the beaches weren't very nice. I guess the seaweed came in and it just wasn't as nice as we thought it was going to be. I mean, it is a beautiful country, beautiful place. Not saying anything bad about it in that way, but we really, you know, we're thinking something along the same line. And then I came home from work one day and Allan told me to keep an open mind and he mentioned Panama and I'm like, well, what's in Panama? And he goes, well, there's no hurricanes. And then there's also the Caribbean island. Cause, I mentioned, I said, well, we want to live on the Caribbean. And he said, well there's, there is a Caribbean side and it's Bocas del Toro. He'd been there before with his daughter 10 years ago?

It's changed a lot since then, apparently. And it's changed a lot since we came here in July. But when we got here in July was only here for a few days. And I knew the beauty of it was there and it was very pretty here. And I'm looking at the beaches and just the possibility of living on the water and off the grid, basically, rain catchment and solar for your energy and power and with lights. And why not go for something different and do something in a different change in life and uh, get out of our comfort zone and make an adventure of it.

So we decided to open this up, this idea up to a Panama and we've been here for almost a month over just over a month and make it, making a lot of new friends, and people here are very nice. The culture is different, just the Indian villages that are around. It's been an amazing month so far and we've learned so much about the people here. Um, and the expat community as well. And then, um, you know, we, we decided that this might be where we want to be. So we've been looking at places here to make a footprint here for ourselves.

Allan: 09:48 Yeah. One of the cool things about Panama is that they, they make it fairly simple. And I say fairly cause it's, it's not actually simple, but it's much simpler to be an ex pat and live here to get your residency here, uh, than it is in a lot of different countries.

Tammy: 10:03 It's still not simple.

Allan: 10:04 Not simple, but, uh, with some help from an attorney and you got through a process. They do want investment here. They do want people here. Uh, so they do value, uh, ex pats and, and they make it, uh, make it a way for you to get here. And as long as you prove that you're not going to be a draw to their society, you're going to help improve their society, they're very much amenable to allowing you to have residency here. So we're currently working through that process.

I am actually looking at buying the gym here. There's a gym on the island and I'm in negotiations with the current owners, to sell me their shares in the company. And, so I will be a gym owner here. And we'll be living what we refer to now as our sloth life. And I know, you know, the term sloth often gets a lot of bad reputations, but if you see a picture of a sloth there, they're pretty damn cute with the exception for the claws.

Tammy: 11:01 Allan is afraid of the claws.

Allan: 11:03 They'll slowly claw your eyes out. But uh, anyway, the sloth life in my opinion is this, this concept of finding the right size for you, finding the place and finding the people and finding that connection, the thing that's going to give you the lower stress level give you the more connectedness to not just the people, but the place.

Tammy: 11:29 Just slowing down a little bit even in life and not having to rush and worry and think about everything that's going around it's just, it's just stressful with regular life like that and living this life life is what we're calling our slough life is being laid back more and relaxed and, and just living at slow walking down the street slow and taking things a little slower. We don't need to rush through life. Life is here us to enjoy.

Allan: 11:55 And so that's, that's kind of this concept of 2019 for me. Uh, and for Tammy is how do we find that place where we have that connectedness where we have this, uh, this more relaxed environment and where we're able to basically just be, be ourselves and not worry about punching a time clock, not worried about the deadlines at work. Uh, be our own boss. Um, so that we can make what we need to make and be who we need to be. You know, if you've read any of the studies on the blue zones and people living the longest in the world, they live in places like this. Uh, they live in places where they walk, they eat locally grown foods.

Tammy: 12:36 There are no fast food restaurants here. Thats a great thing!

Allan: 12:41 And don't bring any please. Uh, yeah, there are no fast food restaurants here. There's some really nice restaurants here with really fresh food, so it's a really cool place to be. It does have water catchment for most of our water, and you know, a lot of the places are completely off the city grid um, so the electricity is generated by solar. So there some feel good about that. And uh, you know, the, the island is looking at recycling programs and a lot of other things. A lot of self sustaining places are building up around here. So it's, it's, it's becoming a really cool, cool thing.

Tammy: 13:14 We should probably back up a little bit Allan about Bocas del Toro. Where is that? What it is? It's an archipelago of nine big islands, I believe with a bunch of little islands all around it. And we're in the main island of Isla Colon in Bocas Town right now and the other islands where we've been trying to explore a few of the other islands around us as well, there's so many islands out there, there's no way to explore them all, but we would like to try and do that. So anyway, Bocas del Toro is just an archipelago of islands out here. For any of you who were curious.

Allan: 13:51 Yeah, it's not the easiest place to get to because you have to connect in Panama City. And you actually have to fly out of a different airport if you were coming in from the international airport. So there's a little bit of a task to getting here, but once you're here, you know, you have access to everything you need for the most part and you find you don't need a lot of the things that you think you need. Uh, but Amazon does deliver here.

Tammy: 14:14 After about two weeks!

Allan: 14:16 But they do deliver if we needed something.

Tammy: 14:18 I have not tried yet, but I might.

Allan: 14:21 And so I talk about in the wellness roadmap that, you know, as you're looking at stress, uh, you know, probably the best thing you can do for something that's chronically stressing you is to just eliminate it. And I think that's what we've been able to accomplish with this move is I don't have to worry about laying anybody off again.

Allan: 14:42 I can come in and I can run the gym and I can have employees and I can make it fun for them. And I'm the boss of the, boss of the boss. And so, you know, I can make the things the way they need to be, uh, to fit where we are. Uh, you know, Panama as a culture is very laid back and I like that, you could be challenged by it if you don't understand that, that's the nature of the people. But you know, they tell, tell you when you come here, don't think you can change Panama. You have to change for Panama if you want to be here. And so that's really the crux of what this, this move was all about. I know some folks have been curious about it. Uh, I'm glad to be able to get my wife on the show for the very first time.

Allan: 15:26 And this is episode 375. I'll try to get her on this show a little bit more often here and there. But I think the key of it is and the takeaway that I want you to get from this is that you really do have a lot more control over your life than you think you do. We let stuff, we let jobs, we let things imprison us because we have this innate belief that we have to have these things.

We have to order that, uh, that shirt from Amazon. We have to order those shoes, we have to, and so our closet gets full, we put weight on and then we can't even wear the clothes we just bought from Amazon, so we go buy more clothes and those sit in our closet and we know we're going to get into those skinny jeans one day. So we hold on to them and, and I'm just here to tell you that you don't have to be locked into that cycle.

You can make changes. Is it a sacrifice? Absolutely. But the trade offs can be quite substantial. I don't have the income I had before, but I have the life that I want and that to me is worth any amount of money that I could have been paid. So I doubt very seriously that you're going to ever see me in a corporate boardroom again. I have no desire whatsoever to go back to corporate life. I'm going to do my own thing and that means I'm going to be giving 100% to my clients and making sure they get the results that they deserve. I'm going to be giving 100% to this podcast and making sure that I'm bringing on the best possible guests to teach you and give you the information you need to find your health and wellness.

I'm going to be doing the things with the gym and others just to help people here be healthier and more fit. So, My life now is, is dedicated towards wellness. Uh, but not just yours, mine as well. But if there's anything that I can do to help you on your wellness journey, please do reach out. If you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min I'll give you a free 15 minute consult. We can talk about your health and fitness goals. We can help set strategies for what will work for you. If stress is something that's really affecting you. We can talk about strategies for stress management and where you can, I'd encourage you to completely eliminate the stress. I know that's not possible for everything, but you know, I think I can help you get through some of these stressful moments or eliminate these stressful moments through just this little console.

So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min and that will take you to my calendar. You can set up a 15 minute consult with me absolutely free, no obligation. I want to help you reach your health and fitness goals. So please do get your free consult. So before we cut out though, I wanted to say bye to Tammy and thank you for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Tammy: 18:21 Thank you for actually having me for the first time. He's never asked me, by the way.

Allan: 18:25 I haven't. I'll be honest. Yeah, I haven't asked her before this, but I felt like it would just, it would not be the complete story of me telling about the move to Bocus without having you on.

Tammy: 18:37 No, it wouldn't be. He needs me.

Allan: 18:39 Okay. So thank you for listening today and I'll talk to you next week.

Speaker 4: 18:44 Bye.

Another episode you may enjoy

Is your inner voice a nice person?

Our inner voice is a very powerful thing.  It drives our mood and feelings, and it can determine whether we will be successful in our health and fitness journey.

I'd like you to take a few minutes to do an inner voice audit.  Answer the following questions (you may want a pen and pad to write down a few notes):

  • Think about your current health or fitness.  What words come to mind?
  • What are your health and fitness expectations in one, three, and ten years?
  • When you slip up, what is your tendancy?  Do you stay focused on that or do you look to move on?

Now take a few minutes to think about this.  Would you use the same words to address someone you love?

The good news: you can change your inner voice.

I'm currently reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PhD. Yes, I actually read more than just health, fitness, and weight loss books. This best-selling book has been out for a while and has gotten a ton of praise in the business and education fields. That said, I think there are some very practical applications for someone on a health and fitness journey. I'll include a link to the book at the end of this post.

In the book, Dr. Dweck explains that mindset typically takes one of two natures:

  1. Fixed Mindset – People with this mindset believe that we are who we are and cannot change.  They believe intelligence is fixed and cannot be improved with effort.  They believe we are who we are and cannot change our behavior, habits and thoughts. When they fail at something, tend to stick with things they're good at and avoid the challenge.
  2. Growth Mindset – People with this mindset believe that we can change and improve.  They believe intelligence can be improved with effort. They believe we can change and become better people. When they fail, the see it as an opportunity to learn and improve and relish the challenge.

Maybe you feel you have a little bit of both. Or maybe you think intelligence can be improved but we can't change who we inherently are deep inside.  That's okay.  Rather you're squarely in one or the other, or have some of both, you can move into a growth mindset, which in the end is the inner voice you need.

How do I change my inner voice?

You can improve your inner voice with a few practices:

  1. Awareness/mindfulness
  2. A proof-based mantra – I know I will be healthier because…
  3. Gratitude
  4. Immediate return to plan

So, is your inner voice a nice person?

If isn't, now you know you can fix that.

The love diet | Dr. Connie Gutterson

Naked in 30 days | Theresa Roemer

 

Don’t Let Your Anxiety Run Your Life | David Klemanski and Joshua Curtis

The timing of this book, Don't Let Your Anxiety Run Your Life by David Klemanski and Joshua Curtis, couldn't have been better for me.  I've been struggling with anxiety lately and needed the tools taught in this book.  I'm certain you've dealt with anxiety from time to time.  We all do.

Almost everything in life has the potential to make us feel anxious, but only if you let it!  In other words, it is entirely possible to skillfully manage your anxiety by examining the relationship you have to your fears and worries and embracing them (rather than avoiding them!) ~ From the Introduction of Don't Let Your Anxiety Run Your Life.

Anxiety goes beyond just being a negative mood state.  It is a future-oriented state, where people worry about some future event.  It can be real or perceived.

There are three diagnosable conditions in the anxiety spectrum:

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder – months of worry, feeling keyed up and on edge.  Excessive worry beyond the normal level of worry.
  2. Panic disorder – Physical conditions that are often related as they felt they were having a heart attack.
  3. Social anxiety disorder – Anxiety about social situations.  Fear of being judged.  They often begin avoiding being in social events.

Self-diagnosis is difficult with these disorders.  It may require professional attention.  The anxiety becomes clinical when it interferes with their normal lives.

It is very common for people to avoid going the gym when anxiety over what others are thinking of them kicks in.  Avoidance sets up a negative cycle.  It is important to be exposed to the gym and not use avoidance behaviors such as not making eye contact or to isolate themselves in an empty area of the gym.  Instead, you should do the opposite and engage and face your fear.

Other tips or practices:

  • Pay attention to your anxiety and your reaction to it.  The more you pay attention to it (rather than avoiding of suppressing it) the better you'll be able to chip away at those emotions.
  • When you're working on using these skills you'll need to be forgiving of yourself.  These skills build over time.

Links:

Online companion website at New Harbinger Publishing

 

Start here | Eric Langshur & Nate Klemp