Category Archives for "mindset"

How your mind can overcome your weight loss issues – Dr. Ian K Smith

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If you struggle with failed diets and exercise programs, it might be all in your head. In his book, Mind of Weight, Dr. Ian K. Smith shares with us some great tips, tactics, and strategies to ensure we approach our health and fitness with the right mindset.


Let's Say Hello

[00:00:54.050] – Allan
Raz. How are you doing?

[00:00:56.270] – Rachel
Great, Allan. How are you today?

[00:00:58.160] – Allan
I'm doing really well. We record these intros a couple weeks before. So I can say as of February 1st, the gym is open. So I am running the gym now. I've got employees, they're coming in and doing the heavy lifting. I'm here for moral support and just to make sure that we comply with MINSA requirements. MINSA's our health department. So I'm just making sure that we're doing everything the right way.

[00:01:26.510] – Allan
I've got my little video monitors up here on the wall, like I'm sitting here doing my work and I look over. I'm like, OK, they're a little too close. I've got to tell my staff, do not let that happen again. But…

[00:01:36.140] – Rachel
Excellent, very good!

[00:01:37.700] – Allan
Right now everything's good. And a lot of people are excited about the gym opening. I am too. So good times for me.

[00:01:44.840] – Rachel
That's great.

[00:01:45.590] – Allan
How are things up there in the frozen tundra of Michigan?

[00:01:49.010] – Rachel
Still chilly and snowy, but things are good. And similarly, Mike has to start traveling again for his work. So that's that's good for him that he can move around a little bit. I think he was getting a little bit of cabin fever. But the bad news is that means I have to start cooking again. Waa waa waa.

[00:02:09.420] – Allan
Awe. You could do what I did for lunch today. Basically to have food here at the gym because this I wanted to be here the whole shift and I had some things to do during the middle of the shifts. So I boiled a dozen eggs and bought three cans of tuna. And that's that's my meals. So, not flashy, but it gets the job done. And I can do that for here and there. And it's not like I'm really missing out on I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. Just keeping it simple.

[00:02:36.440] – Rachel
That's good. I printed out some new recipes that I would like to try. And so I've got my meals lined up for the week for dinners anyway. It's just going to be me. The kids are back to school.

[00:02:48.800] – Allan
You know, you could tell Mike he needs to spend his Saturday bulk cooking for the family.

[00:02:54.500] – Rachel
Yes! That would be awesome.

[00:02:57.440] – Allan
You put them in single/family serving things. You put them in the freezer. You put them in the fridge. Done.

[00:03:03.620] – Rachel

[00:03:04.280] – Allan
You could.

[00:03:05.870] – Rachel
I could. But in order to to get back at it, I do need to start cooking again, too. I used to cook. I haven't in a long time and I can get back into it and make some healthy meals for myself.

[00:03:19.280] – Allan
OK, well if you need some new recipes, that's kind of one of the things I've been doing for my online clients. They wanted recipes for like if you're going to eat, I want to eat well. And so, yeah, part of what I do now for my clients online for my 12-week program is I literally about three times a week give them a recipe that I really enjoy. So it's a good mix of dinners, lunches, breakfasts, snacks, things like that. So I'm kind of building, for lack of a better word, a recipe pack. They're not my recipes. I'm borrowing them from online, but I'm just sharing links and PDF print out so it goes back to the source. But yeah, there's a lot out there, but I'll share some of my favorites with you.

[00:03:59.900] – Rachel
That would be great. Thank you so much.

[00:04:03.110] – Allan
Cool. Let's go ahead and talk to Dr. Smith.


[00:04:46.950] – Allan
Dr. Smith, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:49.940] – Dr. Smith
Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to be with you.

[00:04:52.320] – Allan
The book is Mind Over Weight: Curb Cravings, Find Motivation, and Hit Your Number in Seven Simple Steps. And what I like about this book is that it actually if it gets in front of this, because most people will start with the action plans, the movement, the what they're eating, they just they start throwing things against the wall and then they get frustrated when, a month down the line they're not where they thought they would be. And usually that comes down to mindset.

[00:05:22.700] – Allan
If you really got down to it, it's the mind that's going to make this happen. We've got to get the right mindset. We got to get a brain set first and then act. So it's sort of the, you know, ready shoot aim is what most of us do. And it doesn't work very well when you're talking about weight loss.

[00:05:37.970] – Dr. Smith
Yeah, it's interesting. People's natural tendency is to want to start with the plan, with the trainer, with the gym membership, with the workouts and really all starts above the neck. I mean, you know, the starting point, the ground zero for weight loss and for many things in life in general is really about getting your mind in the right place. And one of the best things that I think about this book is how small it is.

[00:06:05.450] – Dr. Smith
It's seven small chapters. The size is physically small and the read is very quick. However, the information is very dense. I wrote the book the way I would like to receive information about a specific topic. And this book is all about the mental aspect of weight loss or weight management. I think that a lot of people have been effective and are effective at losing weight and maintaining weight, but they would be a lot more effective if they had sharpened their mental acuity as it relates to weight loss and having a better understanding of what I call the weight loss landscape, because it's not always just about what am I going to eat, what exercise do I need to do and what results do I see on a scale it's about where everything fits in your life and it's about your environment.

[00:07:06.980] – Dr. Smith
And that's why I say, you know, I believe people should take a landscape view rather than just a portrait view. You think about when you print out in landscape versus portrait. So with Mind Over Weight, the idea is that; let's talk about the things that have nothing to do with food and exercise first. And one of those things, of course, is trying to unlock your motivation. All of us have motivation somewhere. The question is, can we access it?

[00:07:40.000] – Dr. Smith
And everyone can't necessarily access their motivation. So I start with chapter one right away, which is basically, you know, let's unlock your motivation and understand what it is, where it comes from and how you have to own it. I think that's very important.

[00:07:55.830] – Allan
And as you said in the book, there was a statistic you shared that said by today, which just goes live as February 15th, 80% of the people who had a New Year's resolution for weight loss have already fallen off and they're not going to accomplish that weight loss goal, at least not based on this set of resolutions that they made. But there are ways that we can stay motivated. And in the book, you talk about several ways for us to do that. Can you go through a few of those and let us know why those are important to stay motivated?

[00:08:28.600] – Dr. Smith
We look at motivators, so you break motivation down into what actually motivates you. And the idea behind motivation basically is something that drives you to want to do something to complete, to begin and complete an action, to pursue a goal, to complete a task. And so when you look at different types of motivation, there's two basic types. There's internal or intrinsic motivation and there's external or extrinsic motivation. So you have internal motivators and you have external motivations.

[00:09:03.280] – Dr. Smith
An internal motivator is you are doing something or you're motivated to do something because you are happy or excited or desirous of whatever it is you're trying to accomplish for internal reasons, for the reason of doing it itself. So, you know, you read about maps and study maps because you love the study of geography and you love understanding the relationships between countries and bodies of water. So you're not doing it to pass a test. You're doing it because you want that information, that knowledge excites you, the process excites you.

[00:09:50.800] – Dr. Smith
Whereas someone who is studying a particular topic simply because they want to do well on a test or an exam, they are externally motivated because they want to get the results on the exam, someone who wants to lose weight because they want to look good in a bikini on an island on vacation. And they want people to acknowledge that they look good and say nice things to them. That is external motivation, whereas an internal motivator, in that case, would be, I want to lose weight because I want to make sure that I feel good, that I don't feel winded walking up steps, that I want to be happy and live a long life without being ravaged by disease. That's more of an internal motivator rather than having an external kind of validation.

[00:10:48.470] – Dr. Smith
So in the book, I go through different types of internal and external motivators. I talk about extrinsic like fame, praise, grades, money, awards, social acceptance. Those things typically tend to be extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic motivators, fun, pleasure, gratifications, gratification, feeling of worthiness, of accomplishment, a sense of purpose. And, so it's not that extrinsic motivators are better than internal or vice versa. It's the combination of the two that's important. Having both of them. They work in a complementary fashion.

[00:11:25.180] – Dr. Smith
For example, I just had a boiler replaced in my house. I have two boilers in my house and the technician was explaining to me how it works. It's a two-stage system. The first boiler, which is stage one, tries to heat the house. And if it's too cold outside and the boiler can't keep the house warm enough because the temperatures outside are so cold, it's not being able to do due to the job by itself, the second boiler will kick in. That's stage two. That's the second stage. And so then the second boiler kicks in and together they're able to keep the house warm against the chill outside. Same thing with motivation. If your internal motivator is not really able to keep the fire lit under you and keep you going, then that external motivator can kick in and together they can keep you motivated and on the path of what you're trying to accomplish. And that is why you need both internal and external motivators.

[00:12:23.080] – Allan
Yeah, I agree with that. If you if you go in this, which is to I'm going to hire, train and go and you don't really have a plan and you just sort of say, Okay, I think this is what I want as far as the end game, but you don't have things that are going to make you feel good while you're doing it. So there's little achievable little milestones as you go to say, OK, you know, being happy when you lose two pounds, even though you want to lose 20, that's that start that's that thing that's going inside you feel good about.

[00:12:53.890] – Allan
But then also having friends that you're working out with or a trainer or something like that, I have to show up because they're at the gym waiting for me or they're at the track waiting for me. Those are the internal and the external versions that are going to keep you motivated because you have both.

[00:13:13.330] – Dr. Smith
Yes, 100 percent. And I want to switch to goal setting because that's also part of proper goal setting. I think that another area where people could improve on. It could be very helpful if they get it right is how to set goals. And people don't talk about proper goal setting and goals are very, very important. And how you set the goals is extremely important. A lot of people, unfortunately, will set unrealistic goals and because the goals are unrealistic and they're unable to reach those goals, they actually think that they are failing when in reality they are succeeding, but they'll throw away whatever plan they're on or they'll totally give up because in their mind, the way they framed their goals, it's a failure. But it's really had the goal been more proper and more appropriate, they would actually realize that they're actually succeeding. And so setting the right goals is extremely important before you begin any weight loss journey.

[00:14:23.530] – Allan
Having come from a business background. We set goals all the time in business. And so I was very familiar with SMART goals and I've even talked about that a couple of times on the podcast. But you have a different twist in the book. You call them VERY SMART goals. So this is a longer acronym. I'll take off the back in the smart and specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and and time bound or time restricted. The VERY, though, is the part of that acronym that I'm not I was not familiar with before I read your book. Could you take a few minutes to go through that?

[00:14:55.570] – Dr. Smith
Sure. You probably aren't familiar with it because I created it.

[00:14:58.520] – Allan
Okay, yeah. Maybe that's why I had never heard of it.

[00:15:01.820] – Dr. Smith
I created it. I didn't. It's not somewhere else because I've never seen it before. But and it's not that it's ingenious or anything.

[00:15:08.080] – Dr. Smith
So VERY, V E R Y of the VERY SMART as far as setting goals V is for varied. What people have to understand is that they have to make sure that your goals when it comes to weight loss, are not just focused on one aspect of it. Just don't focus on the scale, have a goal that talks about physical. How far can you walk in a certain period of time? What size clothes can you fit? Have a goal. I want to get from a size ten to a size eight. So when you make your goals, just don't make them homogenous, make them varied, you know, different aspects of weight loss or there are symbolic of weight loss.

[00:15:53.770] – Dr. Smith
The E is effective. There's no point in setting goals if what you are reaching does not provide some type of purposeful and meaningful change. If some of the weighs 300 pounds says that my ultimate goal is to lose ten pounds, I'll be happy with that. That's it. Well, it's great that you set a goal. It's great when you hit your goal. But a 300 pound person who just loses ten pounds, that is not going to be a meaningful change for that person as far as how they look or what their disease risk profile is. So that's not an effective goal. So that's the E for effective for VERY.

[00:16:39.760] – Dr. Smith
The next one is R and R is being responsible. Make goals that will challenge you, that will make you stretch, but make goals that are responsible goals. Don't have a goal where you want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days and you only weigh one hundred and fifty pounds and your five foot four. And in order to hit that goal, you have to do something very extreme and potentially unsafe to try to hit that goal. That's an irresponsible goal. So make sure that your goals are responsible.

[00:17:17.080] – Dr. Smith
And lastly, the Y is yours. People have to set goals that they own, not what others say you should do, not what others expect you to do. You have to own that goal. You have to believe in the goal. You have to trust in the goal, and you have to want the goal. So the goal must be yours.

[00:17:38.980] – Allan
And I like that. I like that a lot. One of the one of the things I would propose is if if one of the reasons that you're wanting to lose the weight is that you went to your doctor and your blood sugar is too high and he's about to start putting you on medication or worse yet, maybe some insulin. And you really don't want to go down that rabbit hole because a lot of people don't come out the other end the right way, then having a varied goal.

So it's like, yes, I want to lose 40 pounds and I want to lower my blood sugar by three points, you know, take take my A1C from a 10 to an eight, you know, in that same period of time you'll still be diabetic, but you're moving in the right direction. And it's another goal that maybe you didn't lose five pounds this week or maybe you don't lose any weight this week. But because of the efforts you did, your blood sugar is coming down. And that's that's a win. And I think we don't give ourselves those opportunities to have wins. We focus on one number and that makes it quite difficult.

[00:18:44.040] – Allan
Dr. Smith, now one of the areas I think that's really, really difficult for people is that they feel hungry. And for many people, they believe they're hungry all the time. And it's not a true hunger. What they're actually doing is they're craving you know, they want those Doritos. They want the salty. They want that chocolate or they want that doughnut or they're driving by a McDonald's and they smell what they smell and like, oh, I'm getting that drive in line and pick something up. Those are cravings. They're different from hunger. Can you explain the difference and then what a good strategy is for us to beat cravings?

[00:19:21.720] – Dr. Smith
So let me put it to you in two different ways; hunger is your body saying it needs nourishment? It's not specific, it needs food, it needs energy. I'm hungry. A craving is specific. A craving says that I want a double layer chocolate cake. I want a piece of fried dough with powdered sugar on top. That's a craving.

[00:19:55.390] – Dr. Smith
And it's very important to distinguish between the two. Cravings are generated through the reward-pleasure system, the loop in the front brain. And it's all about dopamine. You know, when we enjoy something, our body releases this chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine and dopamine travels forward into the brain and it lets us know this was a satisfying experience and it creates a memory. When I bit into that chocolate cake and released all of that dopamine, it created a memory in my system that I really enjoyed it. And if I do it again, I'm probably going to enjoy it again.

[00:20:44.740] – Dr. Smith
And what happens with a craving is once you've set this pathway up. Whenever you see, or hear about, or smell, however you're triggered by that chocolate cake again, your body releases that dopamine and that dopamine then becomes a seeking behavior. So you now want to seek that particular thing that made you feel really happy and really good and satiated you, you want to seek that. And so it drives you to get it.

[00:21:22.760] – Dr. Smith
It's like drug addiction. It's it's a similar concept of drug addiction. Doing a particular drug gives you a certain feeling of satisfaction. And when you are around that drug again or you think about that drug, then you now have this chemical urge to want to participate in the indulgence or the use of that particular drug. That's what cravings are. Cravings, however, unlike hunger, are short-termed, and they can go away, so if you can outlast your craving and everyone can do it, but one thing to do is to distract yourself while you have a craving because you can outlast it.

[00:22:07.270] – Dr. Smith
And most research shows about 15 to 20 minutes a craving will typically go away. It doesn't mean it won't come back, but it will typically go away. And so if for 15 or 20 minutes you can do something that takes your mind off the craving or remove yourself from the environmental stimulus that's creating the craving, then you may be able to succeed.

[00:22:29.170] – Dr. Smith
Look at it this way. When you get into the car, let's say your oil is low in your car and the light comes on in your car when that oil light comes on. That is your car saying, I need oil. And no matter what you do, no matter how many times you turn that car on or off, that oil light is going to come back on and stay on until you put oil in the car and the car is fed. That's hunger. A craving is when you get into the car and the car says to you, it prompts you on your dashboard and says, do you want to connect your phone to Bluetooth? And if you don't push a yes or no, let's say you do nothing to it. You just let it sit there and you keep driving. Eventually that prompt goes away. It goes away. It no longer stays in the home because you didn't respond in a certain period of time. That's what a craving is.

[00:23:25.870] – Allan
And so one of the one of the things that you want to do is you want to look at what are those triggers for why you're doing the things you're doing. Some of them will be really, really clear. Like if you you're going to the state fair and you know you're going to smell it. You're going to smell that fried dough with with the powdered sugar, you know where that booth is or where all those booths are. Because you smell it every time you go by them, you're going to have that constant trigger. You just are. Now, I'm not saying don't go to the fair, but recognize what that is for what it is. Go get in a line and get on a ride. Go lose your money trying to knock the pins off of the table or whatever you're going to do. But try to do some things to distract yourself because you know those triggers are there.

[00:24:08.560] – Allan
If it's something like a McDonald's, then it's more of a I need to find a different route to work. So I don't drive by that McDonald's every afternoon on my way home because I know if it's a nice day and I've got my windows rolled down, I'm going to smell that when I pull up to that intersection because I always catch that light. I don't want to make that right turn.

[00:24:28.210] – Dr. Smith
And in the book in the book, I give you I give you several other kind of strategies, eating more protein, reducing stress, how to increase your hydration. You know, I won't delve into it. It's in the book. But there are other strategies other than outlasting some. Some people say I can't outlast a craving. I'll give you some other strategies that can actually help you in the book.

[00:24:46.810] – Allan
Yes, you do. Now, the last thing I want to get into is food addiction. You know, I'm I'm not a doctor. You are. So when we get to the point where I have a client that I believe has food addiction, that's beyond the scope of my practice for sure. But how can someone recognize when this is not just a small problem with overeating, but is an actual addiction? How would they know? What are the symptoms? And then if they're going to look for a solution, what are the things they should be looking for in that solution to know that they're not just hiring a quack?

[00:25:20.860] – Dr. Smith
Yeah, it's interesting. You know, food addiction and emotional eating really sometimes overlap. And emotional eating basically is you are eating food not for sustenance, not because you need the nourishment, but you're eating a particular food stuff because you want to address some type of emotional concern or emotional feelings you have. You're angry, you're happy, you're sad, whatever it is. But people who are addicted to food, here are some common ways to tell.

[00:25:53.230] – Dr. Smith
And it's not always black and white, by the way. It can be very complex to be able to ascertain or discern one's addiction. But if you're someone, for example, who simply can't stop yourself from eating when you know that you're already full, I mean, you know that you're full. You you're not really hungry. But there is more food left on the stove and you still have to go eat it. You know, you're satiated, but you still have to go eat it.

[00:26:24.970] – Dr. Smith
Another sign of addiction is when you find yourself constantly wanting to center your activities around food. You want to meet up with a friend, you want to do it at a restaurant, you want to celebrate, you do it with food. When food is such a constant in your life and most of your activities or a large number of your activities are centered around food, then it is likely you may have an addiction to food.

[00:26:58.750] – Dr. Smith
Also, people who are addicted to food. They may have a food, a particular food addiction, like I work with someone on Celebrity Fit Club when we were doing the show and one of the singers had an addiction to pizza and she just couldn't stop once she ate one slice of pizza. She had to have four or five or six. She really just couldn't stop. And just like alcoholism and the addiction to alcohol, you know, an alcoholic, for example, can stay away from alcohol for years. And the minute they have that first drink, they can't stop and cut themselves off at that one drink, they got to have more and similar properties occur with people who are addicted to food.

[00:27:48.270] – Allan
Yeah, again, it's it's it's sad that this is a thing because, you know, like with like you said, with alcohol, it's pretty simple to say I'm not going to I'm not going to go places where there's alcohol and I'm not going to take that first drink. But food, we can't necessarily always avoid food. We still we've got to try to find those triggers. And if you have a food that's making you and you said this in the book, making you feel guilty, you really need to explore that because that's that's a sign that something's going on. If you're hiding your food, if you're guilty about what you're doing, that's that's a big red flag that something's going on.

[00:28:25.860] – Dr. Smith
That's right. That's exactly right.

[00:28:28.530] – Allan
Dr. Smith, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay?

[00:28:37.080] – Dr. Smith
I think the first strategy for me and everyone obviously has three different things, probably. But for me, it's identifying passion. I think it's important for people in life to really identify something that really revs their engine and they're passionate about. And it could be all kinds of things. It could be music, could be art, it could be writing, it could be food preparation, whatever it is, identify what you're passionate about and really work and curate an environment where you can pursue your passion. I think that's extremely important. It gives you a sense of purpose. It gives you a sense of being meaningful.

[00:29:21.780] – Dr. Smith
The second thing is the physicality of life. Human beings are meant to be physical, and when we are not physical, then our engine, our body breaks down. I never forget a mechanic once told me, he said a Porsche and other sports cars are damaged when they sit in the garage and are not driven. And I thought, no, you're preserving it. He said, absolutely not. He said, when you don't drive a sports car the way sports cars are built, then you end up causing the sports car to deteriorate, the gaskets dry out, the seals start to leak. All these different mechanical things start happening because the car is not being driven like it's supposed to be and supposed to be used. So I think being physical and that's a broad array of activities depending on who you are, but being physical and some type of regular consistent manner is extremely important.

[00:30:22.980] – Dr. Smith
The third thing I would say is stress. There is a mountain of research that talks about the impact, both physical and psychological, that stress can play in our lives. It can affect our immune system. It can, in fact, affect our cardiovascular system. And obviously it can affect us from a psychological standpoint. And I think people need to take more time to really absorb life and where they are and to enjoy the moment and to prioritize their life so that they are not allowing themselves to be stressed by things that at the end of the day really aren't that important.

[00:31:07.770] – Dr. Smith
I think that's what the pandemic hopefully has taught a lot of people, that things that you thought were so important before now that you've been forced to do without and to realign, you realize not so bad after all. I actually didn't need that thousand dollar handbag or those three hundred dollar pair of sneakers. I didn't really need that stuff. Like I was Okay without it. And I survived. And I lived and I wasn't even thinking about those things. So I think that people reducing their stress and being able to streamline their lives and increasing the presence of things that they find or that are more valuable to their existence, I think is important to overall wellness.

[00:31:52.290] – Allan
Dr. Smith, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the book Mind Over Weight, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:31:59.400] – Dr. Smith
My Instagram is at Dr. Ian Smith. Spell the doctor out. I announcement my Twitter is Dr. Ian Smith and my website Doctoriansmith.com, spell it all out

[00:32:10.440] – Allan
Perfect. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/473 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Smith, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:21.060] – Dr. Smith
It was very nice talking to you and I hope you have a great 2021.

[00:32:24.540] – Allan
You too.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:31.000] – Allan
Welcome back, Rachel.

[00:32:32.470] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, with another great interview.

[00:32:34.870] – Allan
Yeah, I'm really, really proud of myself to get through that entire interview. And Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith. And not just breaking out, laughing because of Lost in Space, but…

[00:32:43.660] – Rachel
Oh, for sure.

[00:32:45.010] – Allan
He looks nothing like the Dr. Smith that were in the TV show or the movie. But it was just Dr. Smith. OK, well, yeah, but cool.

[00:32:54.970] – Rachel
The interview is great, you know, as a new personal trainer and just somebody who loves fitness in general when it comes to losing weight, I always gravitate to movement. I always think getting up and moving is a great way to burn off some calories. And in talking with you and listening to your podcast, you take more of a stance with food. You know, the kitchen is where weight loss happens. But actually, Dr. Smith gave us one more thing to think about. And that's where our mind is.

[00:33:22.310] – Allan
Yeah. If you haven't fixed your relationship with food, it's very hard to make a different way of eating a lifestyle. If you're saying, OK, now's a good time for me to change the way I'm eating, everything's looking good. It's you know, it's I made it past the football I cared about. And so the season's over. I can go ahead and do what I want, you know, do what I want to do.

[00:33:46.180] – Allan
If I didn't have a good relationship with food, then as soon as something came up, something terrible happened or something great happened, I would end up reverting back to my old ways of eating my old ways of everything. So any change that you want to have in your life, any change, regardless, it's going to take you getting your head there first.

[00:34:07.990] – Allan
And one of the one of the things I like to share with that is this concept of a Be-Do-Have. I'll talk to my clients about this all the time. But when I learned this is like this was this is a great little easy tool to think about. OK, so if you want to have something, don't start with what you want to have. Start with what it's like to be that person. Okay? So if I say I want to be a runner, well, then I have to I mean, I want to have a running. I want to be able to go out and run. Then I want to just be like a runner. What a runners do. They joined a running club, they buy new sneakers, they get out and actually run. And then you do. And that's the point is like now you consider yourself a runner. And so now you do, you run. So the Be-Do-Have is like just acting like you are that person doing the things that they do and then doing it and then you'll have what they have.

[00:35:06.820] – Allan
So if you're excited about going maybe see a family member finish a 5K or a 10K or something longer, maybe even a marathon, you know, like, gee, I wish I could run a marathon. Well, what a marathoners do. I mean, how are they? Well, they tend to be a little bit thinner only because they don't want to carry a whole lot. I was and I was 195 pounds. They called me a Clydesdale. I looked like a linebacker against everybody else that I was running with.

[00:35:34.960] – Allan
You just consider yourself a runner. So I was running stores, buying running shoes and running shorts and then I was out on the weekends doing my long runs or, you know, in the gym, doing my four hour marathon training workouts. And then I had it. I got out there and I ran my first marathon and then another one and then another one because I had become a marathoner. Until I ran the ultra. And I said, okay, I'm done, I'm going home, I'm tired.

[00:36:04.870] – Rachel
What a powerful mindset. What a powerful change and perspective.

[00:36:09.520] – Allan
Yeah. So you got to get your head right first. If you want a lifestyle change to stick, otherwise you're going to fall back on those bad habits because the crutches that are things that carry and we talked about that at Abby Langer, you know, it's really important for you to get your head right. And then the thing we talked about with Dr. Smith that I thought was really important was kind of a new way of thinking about goals.

[00:36:31.450] – Rachel
Yes, of course, he he mentioned the very smart goals and very was a new acronym I had not heard of either.

[00:36:39.070] – Allan
Well, he made it up. So..

[00:36:40.150] – Rachel
That's pretty cool.

[00:36:40.900] – Allan
Yeah, that's what happend. Okay, good. That's why I didn't know this before. Yeah. So do you want to go over very with them again.

[00:36:48.310] – Rachel
Yeah. So V stands for varied as and having different types of metrics to monitor. E is very effective, R is very responsible and Y is for yours. But varied, the V is really what caught my attention.

[00:37:02.680] – Allan
Yeah. And I'll say this, we talked to I mean I guess it was a week or so ago we talked about the, the different health measures. And so that's kind of the thing is if you're looking at your A1C and you're looking at how fast you can walk a mile and you're looking at how many times per week you're able to exercise and what you're keeping your macros are. Your calories that depending on how you want to approach your nutrition, then those are different goals. And so one of them, when things move, moving here and nothing's moving there, if you're tracking those different things, it's a little easier.

But I wanted to circle back around because we didn't really talk about SMART in the podcast. And so some people might not have heard of SMART goals. But a smart goal is basically specific, meaning you want to do a specific thing. So it's something that's tangible. The next is measurable. So you have to be able to measure it or you don't know that you're doing it. It has to be attainable. So if you set a goal saying I want to be an NFL football player, well, I would say if your listeners podcast probably not going to be able to attain that goal, you might want something a little bit more in line of what's possible to you. And then relevant meaning, OK, it applies to you, you know, so something that would be relevant would be, I want to eat better so I can improve my health and lose weight. Okay, so that's relevant. And then timely. So timely would be how often by when those types of things.

[00:38:42.050] – Allan
Now a lot of people will set a goal and they'll say, I want to lose 30 pounds in the next six months. And and it ticks all those general boxes. Is it specific, 30 pounds? Sure. It's measurable because you could step on the scale each day. It's attainable. I think someone who really puts their mind to it could lose 30 pounds in six months. It's relevant to them because if the doctors told them, lower your weight so you can lower your A1C and maybe get off the high blood pressure medicine, all those different things. And then it's timely. So you've set your six month goal. The problem with that is that that's something you also don't have control over.

[00:39:23.750] – Allan
So I'd love to be able to figure out another way to put another A in there, and that would be for action oriented. So instead of saying you want to lose 30 pounds, what are the actions that are necessary for you to be the person that weighs thirty pounds less? And you would think okay, well, a person who weighs thirty pounds less is more active. OK, so define that. OK, I want to exercise five times per week or six times per week. Okay? And you can be a little bit more specific to say I want to lift weights twice a week, I want to do mobility work twice a week and I want to do some cardiovascular work twice a week.

[00:40:05.690] – Allan
And that's that's your goals. Did you do your cardiovascular work twice this week? Yes or no. And it's within a week's time. So there you go. You know that's what you're supposed to have done. You could even take it out to a month and say, OK, I want nine strength training sessions per month. I want nine cardio sessions per month, and I want nine mobility's sessions. Now, don't wait until the last week.

[00:40:30.050] – Rachel
To get it all in a once?

[00:40:30.750] – Allan
And I try to do 18 workouts in seven days. You want to be careful with that and you do want it from a timeliness perspective to be something relatively soon. So not five years from now, I want to be six inches taller, you know, something that you can actually accomplish and something that's action oriented. So I know I need to work out or I know that I need to eat healthier and I'm going to define that in my terms of eating keto, someone else might say I need more vegetables. So I want to make sure that I have at least two to three servings of vegetables every day.

[00:41:08.690] – Allan
And that's initially that's attainable. And then they're like, Okay, that's pretty good. Now maybe I want to cut back on my starches and my pastas and my breads and just to lower my calories. And I'm not going to measure calories, but I'm just going to say I'm only going to have something white potato, starch, pasta or bread. I'm only going to have that twice a week.

[00:41:33.140] – Rachel

[00:41:33.650] – Allan
One serving twice a week. And so that cuts down significantly maybe on what you were eating and now you're eating more vegetables. And if you listen to Abby Langer, you're putting more protein on your plate. And so now your whole macros and calories set is very, very different than the way you were eating before. But it's attainable. You've taken those bridge gaps and you say, okay, this is my goal.

[00:41:57.050] – Allan
Make it something you actually control and you'll be much more effective. I guess maybe that would slide into his effective thing, but an effective goal because you could do all of these things and your hormones are out of whack and you're like, I don't understand it. I'm eating 1200 calories a day. I'm drinking eight glasses of water and I'm walking 10,000 steps every day and the scales not moving. That's not in your control.

[00:42:22.850] – Rachel

[00:42:23.420] – Allan
But the walking was in your control. The water was in your control. And eating more healthy, all those things were in your control. You were doing the right things, so just stick with it. I'm right now, I'm starting my famine season. And so, you know, my first day of this is okay, how do I how do I control this? OK, well, I've got to keep my carbs low. I've got to watch my electrolytes. And so to go to the gym, I basically boiled a dozen eggs. I got my tuna and my Himalayan sea salt.

[00:42:58.390] – Rachel
Oh, there you go.

[00:42:59.950] – Allan
And so, it's just what is what's in my control. Those are those are actions. Have the food I need to set myself up and and then just charge on.

[00:43:09.640] – Rachel
I think that's great. Yeah. Being actionable and having the intention to be actionable is you're right. It's something that should be added to our goal setting for sure. And maybe even working with a trainer, Allan, because you have a lot of information and your podcast and there's a lot of articles out there and some people may not really think about all these little details.

[00:43:31.450] – Allan
Yeah, I would love to say that I was a provider of information outside of the podcast or whatever I do to an extent. A client will ask me a question about a certain thing and I'll give him or her my opinion on it. That happens all the time. But there's not a lack of information out there. The Internet is just chock full of stuff. Now, it could get very confusing because there's there's all this contrast out there. If someone believes that, someone's doing that. I go on you know, I go on to my fitness pal to check in on things and it's still the same conversation. Just just cut your calories. Just cut your calories.

[00:44:10.970] – Allan
And I'm like, okay, but they've done that, you know, they've done that. And it's not working for them. So you can't just say just cut your calories.

[00:44:17.860] – Rachel

[00:44:18.760] – Allan
It's almost a slap in the face for some people that have cut their calories to keep saying that when it's not working for them. So. You know, with with my 12-week program, the things that we're really focused on first and foremost is mindset, you know, and then and then beyond that, it's just those kind of simple, subtle change things that are in your control.

[00:44:41.190] – Allan
We can control this. So where do you want to set your line? Where do you want to start this this journey? And then we put that in place. And so it's all custom to them. And then it's like, okay, how much movement can you do? What equipment do you have in your house? Rachel, here, you've got a great little home set up and I just opened up the gym, so I've got a nice little set up. Not everybody has that.

[00:45:05.220] – Allan
Sometimes they have resistance bands, sometimes they have the human body, sometimes they're traveling, sometimes they're home, sometimes… So we all have our own little circumstances. And so, you know, what I'm there to do is basically just help them first, get the mindset and then get the lifestyle.

[00:45:23.040] – Rachel
Yep, that sounds great. Just move that needle.

[00:45:25.710] – Allan
And you're doing similar stuff with your running. You're saying, OK, if you're a runner and you know, you want to stay healthy and you know, you want to do your virtual 5K, 10K or 50 miler in the upcoming months, you've got to train your running. That's that's for certain. And there's a myriads of information out there about running. So you can find a program and you can follow a program. It's free on the Internet, but you still got to get your mindset right. And you've got to get that balance. So you have a program that helps runners maintain their strength and that's going help them stay healthy. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

[00:46:07.500] – Rachel
On my website strong-soles.com I have a runners' workout that you could download for free. It's bodyweight movements so you don't need any equipment. It goes through all the different planes of motions. It's all the main muscle groups that runners need to keep strong. And it's a great overall body, short activity that you could do a couple of times a week, which is a great place to get started.

[00:46:30.300] – Allan
Yeah. So if you're a runner or you want to be a runner and you want to do it the right way, go check out Rachel site. And someone who wants to lose some some fat, you know, and feel better and get a little bit more fit. You should message me or email me allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and I'll give you some information. I'm going to be closing up the pre-launch on this pretty soon here because I've gotten… I'm getting close to my number of the cap number people. I didn't want to run too many people through the pre-launch because I wanted to make sure I had all of it in place. And the results have been just off the charts.

[00:47:07.560] – Rachel

[00:47:07.580] – Allan
I am so excited! In an average of just a little over two weeks, seven of us so far have lost a cumulative 42 pounds.

[00:47:17.280] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh, that's incredible.

[00:47:20.340] – Allan
Yeah. So I've got some I've got some outliers. I got some guys that are really doing well and I've got some people that are, they're pulling in behind, but everybody's everybody's losing weight. They're feeling good. And, you know, they're just pretty excited about it. They're moving more. They're eating better. And it's just a really good, positive vibe in the group. So I'm really, really excited about what's going on here. And then again, I'll close it and then I'll do the actual kind of the launch thing sometime in March, either the first or the middle of March. But if you're interested in this, don't don't delay. Go ahead. Get on that. Email me and I'll get in.

[00:47:56.520] – Rachel

[00:47:57.240] – Allan
All right. So, Rachel, anything else you want to talk about before we say goodbye?

[00:48:01.380] – Rachel
Nope. That was a great interview, Allan, thanks so much.

[00:48:04.020] – Allan
Thank you. I'll talk to you next week.

[00:48:05.898] – Rachel
Bye now.


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

– Anne Lynch– John Somsky– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How diet culture is keeping you from losing weight – Abby Langer

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In her book, Good Food Bad Diet, Abby Langer, RD explains how diet culture and the way we think about food is keeping us from losing the weight we want.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:16.080] – Allan
Hello, Ras, how you doing?

[00:02:18.570] – Ras
Good, how are you today, Allan?

[00:02:20.310] – Allan
I'm doing I'm doing good. I'm doing really good. We're I think we're we're turning a corner here in Bocas and they're starting to put some things out there that they're willing to do what they call an asynchronous opening to the country.

[00:02:35.560] – Ras
Oh, boy.

[00:02:36.540] – Allan
This means that they're going to have different rules for different parts of the country, which is good and bad. I feel bad for the parts that are going to stay more encumbered and more closed. But it looks like Bocas has done really well with keeping the virus tamed on the islands. So they've said things can open and to my knowledge, I should be able to open the gym. So when this goes live, it's February 1st.

[00:03:00.690] – Allan
Hopefully the health department will let me open. I've expanded the gym, I've brought in new equipment, and I've set up some things that'll spread everything out. I'll have some protocols. I'll have tons of cleaning materials. I'll have a thermometer. I'll have all this stuff. So we should be able to convince them that it's the right time for us to open the gym.

[00:03:22.230] – Ras
Wonderful. That would be so exciting. I'm sure all your clients will be very excited to get back to the gym.

[00:03:28.470] – Allan
I get asked every single day. Tammy gets asked several times a day. So, yes, it's a thing. Yes, people do want the gym open on the island. So I'm working towards that end and it's good. I feel really good about what we've done here at the gym to get ready. A lot of work went into it, a lot of money. Sometimes you know, sometimes when things are tough, you just invest. You invest yourself. You invest in the things that are important to you. It's not necessarily a time to hang back and just let things ride. Sometimes you have to go ahead and take the bull by the horns and barge on in and get this done.

[00:04:06.240] – Ras
Absolutely. That's exciting.

[00:04:08.740] – Allan
How are things up there in the Great White North

[00:04:11.820] – Ras
Snowy. Yeah, we've got some snow. It's beautiful up here. But like you just said, a lot of us up here are runners and we're investing in ourselves, getting ready for some spring runs. Hopefully, races will come back again. If not, I'm sure they'll be virtual. I myself actually am training for a 50 miler. It's in the summer, so it's still kind of hard to tell whether it's going to go or not. So not only am I ramping up my miles, I'm doing all the other things I need to do to be strong and healthy when I get ready for this race.

[00:04:47.430] – Ras
So my runners' workout, which your listeners can find on my website, strong-soles.com is a great bodyweight workout. I do it two or three times a week and I'm already feeling pretty good, pretty strong. So pretty excited for what this year holds.

[00:05:03.780] – Allan
Well, good. You can go to fortyplusfitnesspodcast.com/471 and I'll be sure to have that link there. Links to the book we're going to talk about today. Links to everything. So if we ever talk about a link, you can always go to the show notes and this is episode 471. So good. That's cool. That's great to hear. Rachel, I'm excited, too, because I know for most people are running, they want to run and runner's run and lifter's lift. And that really is a place for us to do a little bit of both so that we're balancing out our training and not overtraining and make ourselves more resilient.

[00:05:42.600] – Ras
Absolutely. It's good to be well balanced, cross-trained, you know, do all the different things that keep your body as a whole in good shape.

[00:05:50.700] – Allan
Yeah, well, we got a review from a listener. We get one every once in a while. So if you want to go give us a rating and review wherever you listen to this podcast, that would just be awesome. But he said we were too touchy-feely. No one's ever said that about me before, but which I think is actually good. That was part of the reason why I brought you on the show is to kind of personalize this a little bit more. And so I think that's a success.

[00:06:19.400] – Ras
Oh, well, that was nice. OK!

[00:06:22.650] – Allan
He didn't like that we were touchy-feely, but that's fine. You know, we are who we are. And like I said, I wanted to get some more balance on the show. So, Rachel, it looks like you've helped me meet that objective. So thank you for that.

[00:06:35.520] – Ras
Good. Well, thanks for letting me chat with you about all the stuff. I love this. This is great.

[00:06:41.490] – Allan
All right. Well, our guest today is a registered nutritionist, so let's go ahead and have a conversation with Abby Langer.


[00:07:19.160] – Allan
Abby, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:22.070] – Abby
Thank you. So good to be here.

[00:07:24.230] – Allan
So today we're going to talk about your book, Good Food, Bad Diet, The Habits You Need to Ditch Diet Culture, Lose Weight and Fix Your Relationship with Food Forever. I really like that title and I really like kind of the tone of the whole book because I think so many of us, we see the stuff that's going on Instagram or Facebook. I'm not even on Instagram. And it's because everyone that does what I do on Instagram is really kind of gloryizing a look, a thinness, a physique that's really probably not attainable by 90 percent of the human beings walking this earth.

[00:08:01.370] – Allan
And many of them started that way. And they've been that way their whole lives. And now they're in their 40s and 50s and look great. And that's good for them. I'm very happy for them. But it creates a culture that I think is really dangerous. And, you know, in the book, you call it diet culture. Can we can we talk a little bit about that and why this is such an insidious problem?

[00:08:21.140] – Abby
You know, it's funny that you are saying that because I was just actually on my Facebook with my daughter, who's 10, and as I was scrolling, there were these ads for yoga clothes two separate companies, actually, and the women in them were so thin. And being thin is not a bad thing, you know, but they only portray they only have thin models on these ads. There's no women in larger bodies or, you know, even average-sized bodies. As I would say.

[00:08:55.130] – Abby
It's just these extreme reed thin women advertising yoga clothes. And I said to my daughter, this is so harmful because it shows little kids that there's only one standard of beauty and certainly diet culture follows along the same way. Diet culture is something that is a philosophy, if you will, in our society that, says thin is best. That is the worst thing that you can be. And you should be thin at any cost. No matter what, because if you were thin, you'll have a great life, your life will be transformed. Which we all know is not true.

[00:09:37.990] – Allan
Well yeah, it's a hard sell. I mean, you know, it's kind of one of those things. I had Rosie Mercado on the show not long ago, and she's a plus-size model. And even within the plus-size modeling department, they have a line, they have a thinness, if you will. And so, you know, she was looking at her career and she was also looking at her health. She had young children and she was just trying to figure things out.

[00:10:05.290] – Allan
But even within that paradigm of the plus-size model, which you would think in a general sense would be, OK, we're going to let women experience and be themselves. And that was supposed to be the messaging behind that movement, if you will. And it just didn't happen that way.

[00:10:25.020] – Abby
No, it still has like you said, it's lies, I mean, plus-size, what passes for plus-size now is… I hate that word plus-size anyway. What does that even mean? But it's like a size 14, 16. It's average now.

[00:10:45.120] – Allan

[00:10:46.320] – Abby
And so it's just so awful. Like why do we have to use these labels? Women and people, in general, come in all shapes and sizes. Why is that bad?

[00:10:56.760] – Allan
You know, I think one of the reasons why we we accept some of that is that we kind of build into ourselves these core beliefs. And you talk about negative core beliefs, because we have we have a lot more negative core beliefs than we do positive, even our most optimistic people. You know, I'm a I'm a fairly optimistic person, but every once in a while, I catch one of these trolls, if you will, coming out and feeding my brain bad food or bad information.

[00:11:25.380] – Allan
In the book, you went through five top negative core beliefs. Can you can you go through that? And then you have a process that in business we would call it a root cause analysis where you just keep asking why, why, why can you walk us through that? Because there's five very important ones that I agree. I see them all the time with my clients, and I think them going through this process would be quite valuable.

[00:11:48.060] – Abby
So let's do the first one, which is thin equals lovable and thin equals attractive. So first of all, actually, before we get started, I want to talk about what a negative core belief is, because I think there might be some listeners who don't know what they are. So we all have core beliefs, whether they're negative or positive. These are beliefs that are most likely established in early childhood, and they basically govern every decision we make, including how we feel about ourselves and what we decide to eat and how many diets we want to go on among other things.

[00:12:27.420] – Abby
But they're basically how we see ourselves in the world. And so my one of the first core beliefs that I talk about is thin equals lovable and and thin equals attractive. In other words, people who have this negative core belief because it is a negative, believe that unless they weigh a certain amount or are at a certain weight, they're ugly or they're not worthy of love. And so I see this all the time. And, you know, a lot of the time it comes from having a parent who cited a lot around you when you're young and because you see your mother or your father getting on the scale or berating themselves in the way they look at.

[00:13:17.610] – Abby
And a child. I mean, I am I'm a mom and, you know, I know children pretty well. They see everything. And even though they might not say anything, they're internalizing those messages, even the subconscious messages they get. So when a child see their parents dieting, they tend to think, well, what if I'm bigger, what if I'm in a bigger body? Am I not going to know who am I? You know, and I worthy of love.

[00:13:48.820] – Abby
So it's just it's pernicious in that way because you grow you you have that negative core belief when you're younger. But unless you bother to find it and and expose it and work with it, you tend to, people to grow up with that belief into adulthood. And I've seen people in their 50s and 60s who still have these negative core beliefs in childhood. And they they don't make that connection like, oh, that actually from when I was really young. So when someone identifies their negative core beliefs, I always ask them to do a couple of things.

[00:14:29.190] – Abby
So the first thing is asking themselves if the core belief is true. Is this really true? Like, you know, where did you learn this from? And whose voice are you hearing? And is this a rational thought? Do you really believe that if you weigh one hundred and twenty five pounds, you're more worthy of love than you are at one hundred and seventy five pounds? Like, where did you learn that from? And I get them to ask themselves questions like the why ask yourself why until you're blue in the face.

[00:15:06.130] – Abby
Why. Like why do I believe this. OK, well why. And then after that happens and they expose that negative core belief for what it is, OK, maybe, you know, I actually acquired this negative core belief, like when I was young and this is my mother's voice I'm hearing in my head every time I think that. OK, lets flip this negative into a positive. So and this is the way you get rid of those negative, core beliefs. Negative core beliefs are trolls they hate the light. I think they hated the water, but they hate the light too.

[00:15:44.790] – Allan
No, you don't get them wet. You don't get them wet. But I think they were they did have an aversion to bright lights. They didn't like bright lights. And you don't get them wet.

[00:15:55.240] – Abby
OK, well, negative core belief hate the light because if it takes their power away, so we spend so much time as adults going on diets and doing everything we can to ignore these negative core beliefs, they are painful to expose. You can like I mean and I say several times in my book, you may need the help of a therapist to do this because its tough. But you can uncover some pretty tough situations or stuff. But it's important to do this work because if you've been covering them up with diets and just negative thoughts for your whole adult life, it impacts a lot and it's unhealthy.

[00:16:42.800] – Abby
So taking the core belief's power away by exposing it, turning it around in your hands and really looking at it where it came from, what it is and how it's affecting you and then switching it to a positive. So, for example, the core belief of I'm not worthy or I'm not attractive enough or thin. You know, you might want to tell yourself or write down that everybody is worthy of affection and love regardless of their weight. And it seems like intellectually we know that. Right. But emotionally, it's such a tough concept to grasp. And it takes a while because you've told yourself something different.

[00:17:27.960] – Allan
Well, yeah, with something like that… To me and again, this is this is easier said than done because we are dealing with emotions. We are dealing with some of our internal wiring. So I'm not going to say this is this easy. But from a conceptual perspective, I have to ask myself. “Would I feel that way about someone else.” As you kind of mentioned, like if I'm thinking, OK, well, I put on a little bit of weight and I'm not attractive to people, nobody's going to love me. The question I ask is, if I were with someone or interested in someone and they put on an extra 20 pounds, would I just decide they weren't worthy of love. And the answer is, that's silly. Of course, I wouldn't.

Of course not.

[00:18:11.590] – Allan
But to reverse that and say, well, that's how I expect other people to feel about me. Realize that that kind of just took all the air out of that. It's like, no, that's not how people are. And if you're with or around someone, that is get that person out of your life. I'm sorry.

[00:18:29.020] – Abby
Well, yeah. And I get people to actually in the process of turning that negative core belief into a positive, I get people to write down the proof that they're negative core belief isn't true. And that is something about, you know, people might say something like what you just said, you know, I would never do that to somebody. You know, it's the same as I talk about negative core beliefs, but I also talk about peoples hate. Because your tape is basically the negative stuff that you play in your head over and over and over again all day.

[00:19:04.270] – Abby
And I always say to people, would you say these things to someone you love? Would you say to your kids? You know, I'm so fat, I'm not worthy. I have no willpower. Which, by the way, is totally BS. Like willpower does not exist in terms of dieting. And I explain all of that in my book. But you would never say that stuff to someone. You never say, oh, yeah, Martha, you're so fat and ugly. I don't want to be your friend anymore. So like would you say to yourself? And you know, like that it's important to realize how you treat yourself and to flip it around.

[00:19:44.230] – Allan
Yeah. So we've got the thinness equals love. Negative core belief. Where are the other four?

[00:19:51.280] – Abby
So the other so the next one is food is love and food is safety. So when someone comes to me and feels like they have to eat at a certain time of day to make themselves feel better or like they tend to binge eat certain comfort food, I always ask them about, well I always ask people about their childhood anyways. But a lot of the time these people grew up in an unsafe situation, whether their parents were fighting or something along that line and those lines.

[00:20:30.400] – Abby
And they were given food as a babysitter or given food to assuage their anxiety. And as adults, they still use food as a coping mechanism because food helps them feel safe. And you know what, and food helps them feel loved. Now, I'm the first one to tell you that you can show love through food. So this is not what I'm saying, because I'm going to have people saying, you know, but food is love. OK, fine.

[00:20:59.860] – Abby
But it should never be your only tool in your coping toolbox. Right? And certainly, food does not replace love and it doesn't make you safe. So you have and it's sort of like you have the power within you to deal with tough situations without using food. But this negative core belief makes you feel as though you don't.

[00:21:26.650] – Allan
Yeah. It's easy enough to say, OK, this is not just exactly like, OK, there's a bad breakup and the girl goes and gets the Häagen-Dazs and sits with a bowl of ice cream or the guy goes to the bar with his buddies and drinks a few beers.

[00:21:42.190] – Abby
This is like chronic overeating, because you don't want to face what is making you feel unsafe inside. And it's horrible. It's sad. But you know I always tell people you know, this is tough work. My book is not like, oh, here's what to eat. And here's a grocery list and it's a meal plans and go see you later. It's like, OK, I truly believe that there is no long-lasting, meaningful change in nutrition, if you don't clean out your closet first. You've got to work out your stuff around food. And so many pretty much all the books on the market don't do that.

[00:22:24.040] – Abby
They're just like, OK, yeah. You know, like your keto diet. But OK, why do you feel this way about your body? What about your relationship with food? Are you going to destroy it? Are you going to be part of the problem or you'll be part of the solution? This is book part of the solution. You're not going to continue to destroy your relationship with food and your body.

[00:22:42.970] – Abby
You're going to fix those things forever by exposing these core beliefs by looking at your tape, by dealing with all of your stuff around food and your body and then in the in the second and third parts of the book, we're going to put all of the nutrition stuff into the works there.So, yeah.

[00:23:05.580] – Allan
OK, so that's two down. We got three more to go.

[00:23:09.600] – Abby
Thin equals a better life. That's the third one. Listen, I see this I review on my website all of the nutrition MLMs, the multilevel marketing like Prexis, Arbon and Isogenics, all of them are on my website at abbylangernutrition.com. And I'm brutal. But the one thing that I notice about all of these companies is that they promise a transformation. That once you follow their program and you lose weight, you're going to be a different person.

[00:23:46.330] – Abby
But guess what? You're not you're not going to be a different person. You're still going to have the same boss who you hate and all of the issues, you're just going to be a thinner person. And it's not realistic to believe that. So that's a negative core belief. And the other part of that core belief, number three, is thin equals worthy. If you're fat, you're not worthy. You have to put yourself last.

[00:24:19.640] – Abby
You're not worthy of health, you're not worthy of happiness. I've seen this with clients. They come to me and they want to make changes to their diet, but they sabotage themselves. They just don't feel like they're worthy of doing it. They're not worth it. They're not worth the effort. Thinis an effort, right? And we work on that because I end up telling them, you know, you're worthy of good things. You deserve good things no matter what your size is.

[00:24:54.170] – Abby
What does your size has to do with anything? But this is a damaged self-worth. And a lot of the time, again, it comes from growing up in a house where you didn't feel valued, unfortunately.

[00:25:10.620] – Allan
You have to start this journey with self-love.

[00:25:13.580] – Abby
You have to learn self-love.

[00:25:18.410] – Allan
You have to get in there. But you have to get to that point, because any time I've found someone that that wasn't truly in love with themselves, at some level they did. They came back and sabotaged, they self-sabotage.

[00:25:31.970] – Allan
All right. So we have two more of the negative core beliefs.

[00:25:36.890] – Abby
Number four is I can't be trusted and neither can my body. This is sort of like the saying that the wellness culture and diet culture feed off of. There is something wrong with you and we're going to fix it for you by putting you on a diet because you can't trust your body to tell you what it needs and you can't trust yourself around certain foods. That is complete and utter nonsense. Absolute nonsense. And people who have been chronic dieters truly believe this. A lot of them do. Not everybody, I guess. It all comes from… Sometimes kids grow up in a family where parents tried, didn't let the kids self regulate.

[00:26:26.390] – Abby
They really tried to regulate everything. So kids, if they were hungry, they weren't allowed to push it or they had to finish everything on their plate even though they weren't hungry. So they didn't grow up trusting their body to tell them what it wants. And this is a negative core belief that leads people to followed the wellness culture and diet culture down the guarded path and tell them what to eat and how to eat and when. It's just not good for them.

[00:27:02.870] – Allan
Yeah. You see this a lot, particularly with some of the bigger programs. I won't mention the names, but, you know, you have a weekly meeting and you weigh in and it works well for a little while and it doesn't. I'm talking to someone and they've been in that program for three years.

[00:27:18.260] – Abby
They have lifers.

[00:27:21.020] – Allan
How is this going and how is this working for you? And they're like, oh, well, I'm about the same as when I started. And I'm like, OK.

[00:27:30.740] – Abby
No, because here's your relationship with food and your body is worse, actually. Get on the scale and front of everybody, although now it's a pandemic.

[00:27:40.430] – Allan
And then the fifth core belief is I am my diet. And I see far too often this is when people say, you know, talk constantly about good food, bad food and clean eating and all of that, which I just it's like the worst, putting morality based on labels, on food, because what ends up happening is people, this is also very traditional. People don't realize it's happening when it's happening, but they end up associating themselves with their diet. And it sounds intellectually like whatever I like, I don't do that. But emotionally, it happens where if you're constantly eating foods that you deem as bad food, then you're going to believe that you're a bad person.

[00:28:32.900] – Allan
Yeah, I had Dr. Alan Buchanan on and we got to talking about tribalism.

[00:28:39.290] – Abby
Oh, no. It's the worst.

[00:28:40.350] – Allan
Yeah, but that's what's that's where a lot of what's happening here is that someone will go on to say, I eat vegetarian or I eat Carnivore, I eat or paleo. And like you said, that get into the bad food, good food. And then once they start doing that, then they're in a tribe. And so, there's a social cost to them. You'll have someone who was a vegan and they'll get caught eating meat.

[00:29:07.010] – Abby
Oh yeah, I like that girl who had the fish and then…

[00:29:08.990] – Allan

[00:29:10.190] – Abby

[00:29:11.750] – Allan
So then when they try to cross culture lines, these, these, these tribal lines, it becomes this huge thing because they've not only identified themselves with that, they've now they've they basically put it out there. They're an evangelist. So they've gone beyond tribal. They're a chief in the tribe. And so if you're following that down and you're not really experiencing life, you're letting food run your direction like the people.

[00:29:42.390] – Abby
You're in an echo chamber.

[00:29:44.450] – Allan

[00:29:45.950] – Abby
I see this all the time, it's the Diet Wars. So you're in an echo chamber of people just repeating the same incorrect facts. Most of the time they're incorrect about certain diet and people wrong. People are so lonely, we're so connected, but we're lonelier than ever. And research shows that and people are looking for community. And so they find it online with these different diets.

[00:30:15.290] – Abby
And it's like against the. I've written about it and been interviewed about it several times, actually. And it's scary. It's really upsetting. It's concerning that people really place all of their value into their diet, it's like your diet. Is you?

[00:30:36.600] – Allan
Yeah, that's scary,

[00:30:39.480] – Abby
It is scary.

[00:30:39.930] – Allan
Yeah. Let's go ahead now, and we've kind of put together the concept of “get to know you.” Start the process of healing, start the process of self-love, get past some of these negative core beliefs, or at least recognize what the tape in your head. And we'll go with tape because I'm of the generation where we used tapes

[00:31:00.930] – Abby
Me too!

[00:31:00.930] – Allan
Not MP3s or whatever's coming down the line. But people still want to know what to eat, how to eat, what not to eat, because everything we've been directed has been said. Don't eat this, eat that, eat that. Don't eat that.

[00:31:19.200] – Abby
It's either don't eat this and eat that or eat whatever you watch and listen to your body. But I. I've been a dietitian for 21 years, and I'm telling you, it's like there's this huge spectrum one end of it is like intuitive eating or be very permissive. And the other end is be very restrictive. And I believe that most people will do far better in the gray area between those two poles.

[00:31:48.780] – Allan

[00:31:49.260] – Abby
And so my book is a gray area.

[00:31:52.710] – Allan

[00:31:53.190] – Abby
I give you some guidelines, but really to try to self manage.

[00:31:58.350] – Allan
And I think that's what's so cool here, is that you're, I think a lot like me in that I'm I call myself diet agnostic, try something and see how it works for you. If it didn't work, it's not you. It's not your fault that it didn't work. It wasn't the right way for you to eat. You weren't feeding your body the right way for your body to respond the right way.

[00:32:21.990] – Allan
The relationship between carbs, protein and fat, obviously we know that. Give us what our body needs for energy building to put our body together with the fats and the proteins being most fat. Can you kind of go through the process of explaining the relationship between carbs and protein and fat and how we should view that as we're looking at building the way that we want to eat?

[00:32:43.120] – Abby
What I recommend to everybody is to build their meal around a protein. So select the protein first and then fill it in with plants and a little bit of carbohydrate. Most of us will do the reverse of that, but we'll fill a plate with carbohydrates like the ton of rice on our plate and then put a little bit of protein and maybe vegetables after that.

[00:33:05.200] – Abby
My theory is that, first of all, we don't eat enough vegetables and so we need to try to put them in at least two meals a day. But also we tend to stuff all of our protein into the evening meal and breakfast we skip if we're doing intermittent fasting. But which is fine if that works for you. But if we don't get skip it or if we don't skip it intentionally, we end up overeating carbs or we also if we don't skip breakfast at all, we tend to eat a heavy breakfast.

[00:33:45.080] – Abby
What happens is protein releases hormones that help us feel fuller for longer and protein also digests lower and it also burns more calories at rest because your body has to work harder, the thermaic effect of food is what it's called, to break those amino acids down. I know it's very popular right now to put protein into everything. And it's because protein is so valuable because it does affect the satiety levels so much. And it also helps me to build and maintain muscle, especially as we age. So protein first, vegetable, and then a little bit of carbs.

[00:34:35.120] – Allan
Right. It's funny, I had a comment on one of the blog posts today, one of the podcast posts. The podcast about seasonal ketosis. And that's where you go into periods of ketosis for weight loss. And then you say, OK, I know Christmas is coming up or Thanksgiving is coming up or New Year's is coming up. And I know I'm going to want some of the pie or some of the cake or some of this.

[00:35:00.530] – Allan
I think the strategy you're you're proposing there is you kind of go through this is you could still think about those meals, you still think about those opportunities and still follow something like this where you're saying, OK, I'm going to focus on the protein and then again, vegetables and then

[00:35:15.920] – Abby
It's basically setting priorities. They prioritize the protein, number one, and then the vegetables. Yeah, but no food is off-limits. I really don't think there's any food I would ever say you shouldn't eat. I mean, there are foods that are not very nourishing physically. But my point in the book is also to nourish yourself physically and emotionally.

[00:35:43.160] – Allan
I'm just going to throw out there, the only thing I disagree with is transfats even said this in the book, to stay away from transfats. Those aren't…

[00:35:50.150] – Abby
We all agree on that.

[00:35:51.770] – Allan
Tranfats are not food.

[00:35:53.420] – Abby
It's really not. We know that, like, one hundred percent know it.

[00:35:59.180] – Allan
Yeah. And you're right. I think that's the point. We know these things and it's not rocket science, it's food and it's not as complex as people want to make it out to be.

[00:36:09.440] – Abby
People micromanage their diet. And it makes me crazy. Yes, of course there's people who eat to live. I do not. I live to eat. I love food. And I really, truly believe that there's no shame in finding pleasure. Which, again, diet culture tells us is not OK. But food is community. Food is pleasure. I like it fine. You should love what you eat. You don't need to punish yourself by force-feeding your self a choking down the stuff like, green juice or whatever that you are just consuming because it's healthy. So that's why you're doing it. Like no!

[00:36:49.550] – Allan
Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up because one of the things that a lot of people will get into because they're like, oh, I want to feel good. I want to get all the energy. I want to get all those carbs in there, get all that good stuff in there. They'll do smoothies or they'll do juices, the green juice, the fruit juice, and 90% of the time, because that's when they have the time to actually do this. They do this for breakfast

[00:37:16.280] – Abby
And then there's no protein in there.

[00:37:17.120] – Allan
Yeah. Let's talk about why that's not a good strategy and how they should be looking at this a little bit differently, because I think you hit on something really key. There's protein. We're not it's not happening. And even if it is it's a scoop of this or a scoop of that.

[00:37:33.020] – Abby
Yeah, I see. A lot of people, thy'll make a smoothie out of fruits and vegetables and almond and it's like, OK, there's no protein in that. You're going to be hungry an hour later, not even. Or they'll use almond milk and then they'll put a scoop of whey powder. Why don't you just use milk? Why are we overcomplicating this? Whey is so engineered. It's fine. It's the gold standard for protein powder if you want to eat a protein powder. But there's really no reason to do that. You want to eat as food as close to their whole state as possible, whenever possible.

[00:38:14.180] – Abby
And of course, like you're going to want to eat Oreos or Doritos every once in a while. That's fine, too. But if it's the bulk of your diet should be whole or minimally processed foods wherever possible, even if it means that you're buying canned vegetables, you're buying frozen fruits. We have to be inclusive of everybody, not necessarily just people can afford these things.

[00:38:39.140] – Allan
Now, I'll have to full, full admission here. At one point in my journey to try to lose weight. I did a fruit juice cleanse. It was a very expensive one. You buy this for the three days. And basically, it's a juice fast. I think, you know, they said it was like 600 calories a day, some of them were lemon juices and some of them were a little bit more simple, one almost cashew milk. So there was a little bit of fat in there, a little bit of protein, but not not much.

[00:39:11.840] – Abby
Not even close.

[00:39:12.860] – Allan
I was ready to chew my arm off by the second day.

[00:39:17.060] – Abby
And that's what happens. When you finish, you just overeat. It's so silly. Like, there's no reason, no physiological reason why you need to do a cleanse at all. Like your body, your kidneys, your liver. They do the work for you. And really it sucks that all this culture at its very finest.

[00:39:40.370] – Allan
It was. And the only thing I can say is, was it successful. Yes, if you only looked at the scale because I did weigh about five pounds less after that weekend was over.

[00:39:49.750] – Abby
How long did it take you to gain it back?

[00:39:51.620] – Allan
Until I ate something.

[00:39:53.000] – Abby

[00:39:53.000] – Allan
Anything. Because all that was was stuff that was in my digestive tract that was no longer there and maybe even a little bit of muscle mass.

[00:40:02.960] – Allan
It was just three days. I didn't do it for very long. But it was just one of those things to say, OK, I'm going to try this and see what it does. It was an interesting experience because it would make someone feel good when they saw that the scale went down after three days of doing this. But I knew I hadn't lost any fat and I knew that it would just basically yes, I was starving all weekend and it was punishment. I literally look back at it and say that was self-punishing. That was diet culture, at its best. Right. And it really didn't do me much good at all. And you're right, I was starving the whole time.

[00:40:39.560] – Abby
These juice companies are just making a bundle on people. It makes me so upset because, they prey on vulnerable people who want a solution. But this isn't the solution.

[00:40:51.620] – Allan
Well, the good thing is because you're listening to this podcast, you're not one of those folks that's going to easily fall for stuff like that. You're educating yourself and trying to understand more about nutrition, more about fitness, more about health in general. And so when those companies tell you, you can lose five pounds in a weekend, true, true statement, you will likely lose that weight. But it's not fat. It's not the weight you want to lose. As soon as you come back after you eat something, as soon as you start eating after the second day, I gained every single ounce of that back.

[00:41:23.150] – Allan
It was it was frustrating to a point, but it was educational because now I know this doesn't work for me. So if you look back at and say, OK, I've done this thing, I've done the diet yo yos over and over and over and over, and I always end up in the same place or worse off. It's not you, it's the diet. The diet is bad, but you learn something. So don't take those bad experiences as failure. Don't think of this as a failure. In a general sense. You learned something.

[00:41:51.530] – Abby
My dad used to say there is no failure, there are no mistakes in life because you learn from everything. And he was right.

[00:41:59.870] – Allan
Yes, absolutely. Now in the book you use this term and I love this term, it's called high-value eating. I love that. I actually do. Now there's ten there's ten tenets to that. Could you go through those ten tenets really quickly?

[00:42:14.630] – Abby
Yes. So the first one is a pencil, not an eraser. And this is like my number one recommendation since forever, because we're so inundated with do not eat this and do not eat that. We shouldn't do that, we shouldn't do that in terms of diet. And I believe that people respond so much better to positive changes rather than negative ones. And because we are taking so much out of our diet unnecessarily, the usual suspects are gluten, wheat and dairy. So many people tolerate those. And like some nutrition guru tells them to take them out so they do and they don't enjoy. You know, people can enjoy their favorite food. I add these things back to diet. And I and I want readers to know that unless there is some compelling reason for them to have these out of their diet, that they can add them back. So add foods back into your diet, then you will feel deprived or punished.

[00:43:19.140] – Abby
The second one is eat whole or minimally processed foods as much as possible, and we did go through that. And keep in mind that this high-value eating is the last part of my book. And this is where people get to put all of the stuff they learn about nutrition into practice. So this is the last part.

[00:43:41.210] – Abby
Number three is understand your lifestyle. How many times have I seen someone building their life around their way of eating instead of the opposite way? Your way of eating, I say diet, but I don't mean diet and restrictive way. I mean it. And, you know, diet is what you eat. Your diet should fit your lifestyle, not the other way around.

[00:44:05.850] – Abby
Number four, make peace with your preferences. Why are you talking down that green juice if you hate it? There are so many things to eat and drink on this world, on this earth that, you know, if you don't like something, don't eat it. And so many people say, well, I have to eat the broccoli, I hate it, but it's healthy. OK, there are so many vegetables. Why are you punishing yourself? So make peace with your preferences.

[00:44:33.570] – Abby
Replace the replaceable. So as you go to the grocery store, do not just shop out of habit. If you are habitually buying sugar-sweetened beverages or three different packs of cookies, take those out of the cart and buy them only when you really, really want them. So in other words, shop mindfully. And if you have a lot of people say, you know, well, I buy them for my kids and my husband loves that. But no everyone in your household's habits should be tweaked like it's not just about you, it's about the support that you get from everyone else as well.

[00:45:19.170] – Abby
Number six is be intentional and quiet that diet voice. So when you reach for something and a little voice inside you says, oh, that's bad. You know, you need to quiet that voice and eat in a consistent way, sustainable way. You want to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. And we do go through hungry and fullness cues in my book and the difference between fullness and satisfaction, because they're two different things.

The seventh tenent is all about balance. So I did mention Oreos and Doritos earlier. Those might not be your vices, but everything is valid. And one word that we like to use, which I can't stand moderation because it's so subjective. But there are going to be days where you eat a lot of other processed food and you need to just move on. It's fine, nothing that's going to happen, I promise

[00:46:20.410] – Abby
Numer eight is be flexible, I'm not a rigid sort of person. I won't give you meal plans or anything. You need to learn how to put things into practice, but be flexible. If you're on vacation are you really going to want to follow some sort of diet? Maybe you won't have vegetables twice a day, but you have to be flexible. Sometimes you go to someone's house and they're serving something that you might think it's so high in fat, I don't want to eat macaroni and cheese. You just eat it like. It's fine. Open your mind and just take a breath.

[00:47:00.970] – Abby
Number nine is for you, not for everybody else. These changes that you're making are for you, these tweaks to your diet are for you, because when you make changes to your diet for somebody else or you eat something because somebody else wants you to, it's not a happy situation and it's not productive. You know?

[00:47:22.630] – Abby
And then number 10 is eating eat according to your hunger, not the clock. So a lot of us will be like, oh, it's noon and I'm not hungry. But, I guess I should eat. I don't think so. Unless you have to because you have a fixed schedule. Many of us don't right now because of the pandemic. You really want to become in tune with your hunger and fullness cues. And one way to do that is to really think whether you're hungry before you eat. It's a basic thing. Because if you're a chronic dater, you may feel like you don't have those cues anymore, but I teach you how to get them back. In my book.

[00:48:09.220] – Allan
Great. Abby, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay and stay well?

[00:48:18.880] – Abby
I think the first is to understand that wellness is not only physical, but it's emotional. And I think too often we shove our emotional wellness to the back burner because we only want to focus on how much weight we can lose or how we look. And so we put that physical wellness first. And but wellness is it's not only what you eat and what you do. It's also how you feel and how you think about food and eating into your body.

[00:48:49.840] – Abby
The other two are, you know, enjoy food. Listen, you're going to grab life by the you know what? Give it a swing because we're here for a very short time. And so don't spend time punishing yourself to be someone you're not. And along the same vein, number three don't send a set unrealistic goals for yourself. I see that far too much. You're chasing a unicorn man. Like be the best you can be for yourself and stop compare yourself to others.

[00:49:22.840] – Allan
Abby, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Good food, Bad Diet where would you like for me to send them

[00:49:32.650] – Abby
You can go to my website at abbylangernutrition.com. My Facebook at Abby Langer Nutrition. And I'm also on Instagram and Twitter at Langer Nutrition.

[00:49:44.920] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/471 and I'll be sure to have the links there.

[00:49:51.040] – Abby
Abby, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:49:54.640] – Abby
You're so welcome, it was a joy to be here.

Post Show/Recap

[00:50:01.670] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.

[00:50:03.150] – Ras
Hey, Allan, another great interview, a lot of stuff to unpack here.

[00:50:08.410] – Allan
Yeah, you know, one of the cool things with my job is that I get to talk to people from all over the world. Abby happens to be from Canada. From a nutrition perspective, their standards are different than the United States. And so some of the things that she's doing and talking about are something you're going to hear. They're not built on. What we have is a U.S. standard. It's a lot less political. There's a lot less lobbying involved. And so in a sense, she has an advantage over dietitians that you might meet from the United States. And so that's why I really like that cross polonization of different places in the world. So you can just hear what's going on with what the opinions are outside of the dogma of the United States.

[00:50:55.480] – Ras
Yeah, that is actually particularly fascinating what other countries think about the common dietary habits for that area. So different from what we do here in the States.

[00:51:06.130] – Allan
And then the other side of it… I was having this conversation recently with someone is that most of the problems that we have when it comes to weight loss and weight gain and all that, it's in our head. It's mental. We've put up these mental barriers, limiting beliefs that are holding us back. And so when you're talking to a dietician and the very first thing that she puts in place is how important mindset is, you have to pay attention to that because that. You have a personal trainer and you have a dietician on the phone saying it's not how much you move. It's not necessarily even the foods you put in your mouth. Most of it's starting in your head.

[00:51:54.370] – Ras
Isn't that something? The attitudes that we have towards food and and they can be so strong without us even knowing it. Really!

[00:52:04.020] – Allan
Yeah. And that's why it's easy to go off-kilter and it's easy to, you know, have addiction problems or just be looking at food as something other than nourishment to an extreme, to a point where it's actually a problem.

[00:52:25.090] – Allan
She is the breakup, I think that's actually probably a good one, because that's one of those emotional things I think most of us have gone through. And yeah. So you're going through a breakup and it's Valentine's. And, you know, Candy went on sale on the 15th and now you're having a Haagen-Dazs and Valentine candy. Weekend. And all that is, is just comfort. You're you're seeking comfort in your food. And that's not a healthy approach.

[00:52:59.020] – Ras

[00:52:59.770] – Allan
It's not to say food shouldn't be a part of it because, a healthy approach would be to call up someone that, you know, loves and cares about you, that you trust their judgment and to have dinner with them, have a reasonable good dinner, dine, talk, get it out. that's a healthy approach to food, being comfortable and being a part of a solution that's healthy. Not a weekend of Haagen-Dazs.

[00:53:30.940] – Ras
Right. You just touched on it. We have an emotional situation like a breakup or maybe we lost our job or something tragic in our lives. And the more often we just turn straight to food, the worse it's going to get. Where in your example, you take your best friend out for dinner and chat through the stress, then you'll deal with that problem a lot more healthier in that one moment. And then it just becomes one night of terrible eating instead of a repeating process. And it becomes a bad habit over time. If you're constantly reaching for food, then you're not dealing with the problems that you're facing.

[00:54:10.090] – Allan
So having some tiramisu with a good friend after dinner is going to be a lot better than an ice cream over a weekend by yourself watching what is it, the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime?

[00:54:24.380] – Ras
Sure, sure.

[00:54:25.880] – Allan
Whatever's on now. I know what was there at one time. But anyway.

[00:54:32.050] – Allan
The other thing I get caught in because of my accounting background or maybe it's just time wired. But when I see numbers, I'm going to bounce on that one right away. Oh a list. I love lists. And so she had the tenets of health, right?

[00:54:52.030] – Ras
Ten tenets of high-value eating.

[00:54:54.160] – Allan
High-value eating, that's what it was. I love the high-value eating. That's a big part of it. So what was one of your favorites?

[00:55:00.880] – Ras
Let's see. I think be flexible is one of them. I think being flexible with what you choose to eat is important because life happens. You know, like she had said, having birthday cake at a birthday celebration is not a terrible situation, but having birthday cake every single day becomes a problem. But, you know, we go on vacations, we have holidays, we have celebrations. Be flexible as best you can and then get back to healthier eating the next meal. The very next meal.

[00:55:34.510] – Allan
The way I like to think about that is, that's a detour. And like I said in the book, you know, The Wellness Roadmap, if you're driving down the road and you see a sign for the world's largest wooden carved beaver and you want to see that, that's great. Plan to pull over and make it the most valuable trip it can be. So there's a gas station you're going to fill up. Everybody going to the bathroom. You're going to go see the Beaver, take the picture and the selfie, and then you're going to get back in the car and get back on the road.

[00:56:04.900] – Ras
That's right.

[00:56:05.360] – Allan
But if you pull off on that detour and then after you get off the exit, you see a sign for the white alligators a mile down the road. And now your detour is a longer, unplanned detour. That's not adding value to your life. It's not high value. I mean, granted, you might really enjoy seeing the albino alligators. Don't get me wrong, they're cool. Look at the little pink guys and yeah, they're cool, but is that detour worth it?

[00:56:37.810] – Allan
The way I like to put that in real terms with us is, OK, let's say you've decided you're going to eat low carb and you've been doing this for a few months and your significant other tells you, hey, we're going on a business trip for this conference and it's in Hawaii and I get to take you and we're going to go to Hawaii for a week. Paid in full.

[00:56:59.470] – Ras
Whoo! Wouldn't that be nice?

[00:57:00.520] – Allan
You're going to eat the pineapple. You're going to drink the mai tais. You just are. You're going to enjoy a luau. You're going to have the Hawaiian bread. You're going to eat the chocolate covered macadamia nuts. You're going to do those things. That's a good detour. That's a part of the happiness mix of make sure you're doing for yourself things that make you happy, not just looking at food as this restrictive, horrible thing you've got to keep yourself on and punishing yourself. So when you find the detours that are worth it, you take the detours.

[00:57:38.570] – Ras
Mm hmm. That sounds great.

[00:57:40.660] – Allan
You know, we had Dr. Lou and Dr. Rob on and in their book, I guess they gave that at the more technical term. I call it detours, they call it tactical indulgences.

[00:57:49.970] – Ras
Oh, right. Yeah, I remember that. I like that term.

[00:57:54.710] – Allan
And so, you know, just if you're going to take a detour, understand why you're doing it, that's the core of it. And then for the rest of the time, and this is the tenet that I liked the most was whole food. We were designed to eat things that were living. They're not living while we eat them, except some things are, I guess, but for the most part we were designed to eat things that were alive and we're taking the essence of that living thing into ourselves for sustenance. I've never seen a Twinkie tree.

[00:58:30.410] – Ras
No, I have not seen one.

[00:58:31.880] – Allan
I've never seen a Twinkie. I've seen an apple tree. So will I occasionally indulge in an apple? Absolutely. It's a living thing, even though maybe I'm not high on the fruit. I'll have a peach. And sometimes, yes, I'll eat the mango or the pineapple, but that's still whole food. And so, you manage your diet the way you want to manage your diet. You eat the things you want to eat, but in the end, you know, recognize that the more you're eating the whole food, the healthier you're going to be.

[00:59:01.810] – Ras
Absolutely. Another one of her tenets was, be the pencil, not the eraser. And she meant instead of focusing on what you can't eat, erasing things out of your diet, focus on what you can eat. So pencil those things in. And I like that a lot because after a while you'll realize that you feel better when you are adding in more vegetables or more fruits or more whole foods, then taking out some of that processed junk and after a while you won't crave the junk foods anymore. I like that one too.

[00:59:38.140] – Allan
Yeah, my wife used to hate brussel sprouts until she had and prepared a certain way and now she craves them like I do, you know. So she likes the Brussels sprouts now. Be willing to try things because your taste buds do change over time. I used to hate mustard. I used to hate cream cheese. I don't anymore. I love those things. Just give something a try, particularly if you know that it's got what you need. If, you know, it's got the vitamin C, if you know it's got the minerals that you need, give it a shot. Try it prepared a different way. Okra, if you let it get all slimy, I hate it. But if you let me if you make it crispy I love it! Especially ocra in a gumbo. But anyway, it's real food. Be willing to try something else. Yeah, that's absolutely right. Pencil it in. I like that.

[01:00:35.890] – Allan
And then the only other thing that I would, I would put out there is that if food is stressing you out, OK, if you're like constantly stressed out not knowing what you should be eating or stressed out, that eating this is going to cause a problem, you're doing it wrong.

[01:00:56.020] – Ras

[01:00:57.400] – Allan
Food should not be stressful. We go back to that mindset thing. If your choices for food are really causing you some grief and concern, if it's a constant conversation point of, are you going to eat that or am I going to eat that? You've got to work on that relationship.

[01:01:19.150] – Ras
Absolutely. She had mentioned that we are not what our diet is. We are not defined by our diet. And if you obsess too much about it, then it's taking away from your life instead of giving to it and nourishing it.

[01:01:36.490] – Allan
Yeah. And that's why I will throw out some things like you should eat Whole Foods. But what happens like you said, you go over to someone, it's their birthday and they have a birthday cake. You have a taste of cake, you know, not a half a pound of cake, but…

[01:01:53.890] – Ras

[01:01:54.700] – Allan
Have a little cake. Enjoy yourself. If someone goes somewhere, like you said, it's a friend, maybe it's your friend that's really stressed out and she wants to order the tiramisu and share it with you. You're going to tell her no because you're on a diet? No, you're not. You're going to have tiramisu with your friend and you're going to comfort her, just as you would hope that later on she's going to do for you.

[01:02:17.380] – Ras
That's right.

[01:02:18.280] – Allan
And so she's not spending the weekend with the buckets of ice cream.

[01:02:23.590] – Ras

[01:02:28.780] – Allan
The whole big takeaway of all this is you've got to build a good relationship with food if you want to maintain a healthy weight. That's what they do. We talked to Dr. Taubes. I mean, he's not a doctor but he should be a doctor. But Gary Taubes a while back. Our body is going to listen to what we feed it. We put food in our body. It's signaling, and then the hormones are signaling. And then our body is doing what it does. And if we're signaling to our body that we should be eating more because we're not getting the nutrition we need and our relationship with food is bad, the cortisol is higher, the cortisol causes the spike in insulin. And so you end up with this whole cascade of problems that didn't start with the food.

[01:03:18.180] – Allan
It started in your head. It started with your hormones. So relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy your food. In the end, that's the difference, the fundamental difference for people that want to lose weight and those that don't have to lose weight is they just have a better relationship with food overall.

[01:03:41.870] – Ras
I think that's a perfect place to start to, to get to know your body a little better and to understand your food choices a little better.

[01:03:50.260] – Allan
Absolutely. All right. Well, Rachel, I guess with that, I'll let you go and we'll see you next week.

[01:03:55.810] – Ras
All right. Take care.

[01:03:57.010] – Allan
You, too.


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

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Another episode you may enjoy


Why you should treat aging like a competitive sport – Sharkie Zartman

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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.

Sharkie Zartman is a former volleyball athlete and champion competitor, UCLA, where her jersey was retired. She was a member of the USA Women's National Volleyball Team, USA all-American, and also competed in the Women's Professional Volleyball Association for five years and is a member of the California Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame. As a coach, she led El Camino College to nine conference championships and two state titles. With her husband Pat she helped the South Bay Spoilers Club team win three national youth titles. She holds degrees in kinesiology and instructional technology. She teaches health and fitness at the community college level and hosts Sharkie's pep talk on Healthy Life radio, where she motivates people to take charge of their health and wellness.


[00:02:53.190] – Allan
Hey Ras how you doing.

[00:02:55.170] – Ras
Great. How are you today Allan.

[00:02:56.790] – Allan
I'm doing pretty good. Feeling really good. You know life has it, things are really, really good and things are opening up here in Panama so it looks like my wife and I are going to get an opportunity to come back to the states for a little while, visit family. We've been storing all of our crap what crap we have left. You know, you say you sold everything, but we didn't sell everything. We ended up with a whole garage full of stuff that's in our daughter's garage feeling kind of bad that it's been there for as long as it's been there because we moved it all in there over a year ago. And so she's like, you know, she's really cool about it, actually cooler than I would be.

[00:03:38.690] – Allan
But it's like I've got to get there and get that. Plus some of the equipment, some of the stuff that's in there. I went for the gym. Now, the gym is not going to open any time soon. Panama looks at gyms and things. We're just like disco tecs and, you know, that kind of thing. So, yeah, they haven't opened the schools. They're not going to open the discotheques and they're not going to let us open the gym. So we take advantage of the time that the gyms closed to go ahead and take a trip to the United States, get that equipment, get it in there. So when people do come back. It's going to be a pretty cool place.

[00:04:07.750] – Ras
Awesome, that sounds great.

[00:04:10.200] – Allan
So let's go ahead introduce today's guest.

[00:04:13.250] – Ras
All right.

[00:05:03.320] – Allan
Sharkie, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:06.110] – Sharkie
Thank you, Allan. Happy to be here.

[00:05:08.220] – Allan
You know, as someone who kind of grew up being an athlete, I just have to say I love the title of your book, When at Aging How to Stay Fit Free and Love Your Retirement. I just like that whole concept of winning this thing is just really, really uplifting.

[00:05:24.000] – Sharkie
Well, thank you. We all want to win. Right. So it's an empowered approach to life and aging.

[00:05:31.890] – Allan
And I think it's just one of those things where not many people approach this from the perspective of as a manageable thing like you're managing a game or you're managing a sport. And there are strategies and there are rules and there are things you can do and you have to play the game right or you age faster than you should.

[00:05:52.270] – Sharkie
Right, exactly. And that's what I'm trying to get out there because I see a lot of people that hit a certain age. I think 50 is probably the age where most people kind of go, oh, my gosh, what's going on? This is crummy. What can I do? And so, yeah, this is meant to help.

[00:06:12.810] – Allan
Good, good. And I think it will because some of the things you share in here, I think are just classic. There are things that we all should be doing. Rather we're fifteen or eighty-five, you know, because we want to live a long, healthy life here. And it's not about longevity, it's about having a quality of life, which is part of what winning is about. We've got to do the right things.

[00:06:36.240] – Sharkie
Exactly. It takes work.

[00:06:39.870] – Allan
Everything worth while does. So in the book, you share what you call some rules of aging, because we're approaching this like a game. And if we want to win, we need to know the rules. Can you go through some of the rules of aging so anyone getting ready to age knows how to play the game?

[00:06:58.910] – Sharkie
Sure. Well, I came up with these, so you probably won't find them any place else. But as I was going through studying the process and comparing it to sports, I thought, well, as an athlete, you need to know the rules of the game. So here are the ones I came up with. And the first thing is every living thing ages. And so it's not something that we can avoid, but we can control it. So that's the good news.

[00:07:27.420] – Sharkie
But we're all going to go through some kind of process with aging. It's not, and you know, the only alternative is actually leaving the planet. So it's something we're all going to do. And if we're lucky. Right. And also, I want to make sure that people know that you can live a healthy, fulfilling life at any age, but it does take work. We can't just do nothing. Like we were younger, don't remember getting away with stuff like partying all night or and feeling great the next day.

[00:08:00.180] – Sharkie
But that's not going to happen as we get older. So we have to realize that it does take work if we want to have a positive, vibrant life as we get older. And here's one that I want people to know. We are responsible for how we handle the aging process. Our doctors can only do so much. And I think a lot of times we just sort of, oh, I don't feel good, my doctor will take care of me.

[00:08:28.770] – Sharkie
Well, that's not the way it is and winning at aging. We have to be responsible for our lifestyle and how we feel as we get older. Because the doctor is just going to bring us back from disease. Right. That's what they do. So but another thing that I think is really cool is the rate of aging is actually related to our lifestyle, our attitude, and genetics. And the cool thing is that we can control two out of those three things.

[00:09:00.360] – Sharkie
Obviously, we can't control genetics, but we can control our lifestyle and our attitudes. And so that's what we need to focus on. And then the physiological and psychological conditions are really more important than our chronological age. So in other words, don't you know people that are 80, that are vibrant and healthy and other people have all sorts of physical and mental problems. So it's not really the age. So it's again, a lot of these things are controllable.

[00:09:34.440] – Sharkie
We don't get older at the same rate and have the same conditions. It's an individualized process. And when it comes to aging, it doesn't matter who you are, it matters what you do. And also we have to respect aging. I call aging in the book a bitch. So respect study and understand the beast or she will take away your quality of life. And again, how we age is up to us. We need to get in the driver's seat. We need to get behind the wheel. We need to stop being a passenger and a back seat driver. So that's the rules of aging and understanding those things. That's how we're going to win.

[00:10:20.100] – Allan
Awesome. Awesome. Now, in the book, when you talk about getting healthy, I guess, or dealing with our aging, you used an acronym and I'm like one of these. I go crazy for acronyms. I love them, but your acronym is RAP. Can you tell us about what the pieces are of RAP and why each is important?

[00:10:40.850] – Sharkie
Right. I call it the power of rap. And it's really getting your mind on board because most people focus on their bodies. But if your mind isn't on board, you're not going to get the results that you want. So the mind and body have to be working together. And the three characteristics as an athlete that I think all top athletes share are: Resiliency. That's R. Accountability and Purpose. So did you want me to go through those three and explain them to you?

[00:11:13.880] – Allan
Yes, please.

[00:11:15.590] – Sharkie
OK, so Resiliency, agings a challenge. And so we have to, if we're going to take this path, which most of us are going to do. We have to toughen up. And as an athlete, when, if you played a sport, you didn't probably moan and groan or quit when you lost a game or something happened. You stepped up, you went back to practice and you did it again and you tried again. And so that's what we have to have resiliency. If we get knocked down, we need to brush it off, get back up, and keep going.

[00:11:53.920] – Sharkie
So winning and aging is tough. It's not for wimps, that's for sure. So we have to quit complaining and just say, OK, this is the way it is and I can do this and I'm going to control what I can control. So the Rocky movies are a great example of how many times did that guy get knocked down and get back up.

[00:12:18.710] – Sharkie
So and the second one is accountability. And I think we have a serious problem with accountability in our society today. It's like nobody wants to take responsibility for their choices.

[00:12:31.030] – Allan

[00:12:31.790] – Sharkie
So, but as we get older, we have to start doing that. We have to take a look at what got us where we are today, and we have to accept the responsibility for that. So we really have to say, hey, you know, I made these choices because of that. Maybe that's why I'm dealing with this and I can change those choices. Too often people blame other people or blame the conditions. And as an athlete, you probably know, that that never got you better at your sport. So that's the accountability factor.

[00:13:10.880] – Sharkie
And I use a fun story in the book about this guy at this conference I went to with all these trainers and they were trying to say the coolest things that are out there in terms of supplements and gimmicks. And this guy came up when it goes, I don't know everything about it goes, but I have something that works just tell your client to stand in front of the mirror with no clothes on and say, I am responsible for this and I am the only person that can fix it. That was a powerful message.

[00:13:40.490] – Allan
There you go.

[00:13:43.040] – Sharkie
And the last one is purpose. And I know that that means a lot of things to a lot of different people. But basically, it's knowing what you want and start being excited about getting it. I think too often early in our lives, we're trying to make ends meet. We're taking care of our family. We're concerned about our careers. But a lot of times after 50, now's the time for us to kind of go, hey, what do I really want?

[00:14:13.940] – Sharkie
We've never really asked ourselves that question before. And once we find out and it's different for everybody and that can be more than one purpose, it gets you excited about life. It gets you excited about getting up in the morning and getting going. And a lot of times when people retire and they lose some self-worth because they're not doing this what they've done for so many years. And but they still have their gifts. They still have their energy. And so they just need to find a way to channel that. And so those are the three things that I think are really, really important. The three characteristics that you need to win at aging.

[00:14:56.120] – Allan
Yeah, I completely agree because things are going to happen. You had a knee replacement, I think you said, that was that required rehab, required some really hard work to work through that you easily could have just quit and said, OK, well, now I'm just going to sit here and start doing something like reading because I can't get back in the gym. I can't go do my exercises. I can't do the things I was doing. But you did the rehab, so now you can.

[00:15:26.530] – Sharkie
Right, and I got to tell you, anybody that's considering a knee replacement, it's not an easy surgery to recover from. I was six hours on this machine every day that took my leg through different ranges of motion. And I had to do that to get back to one 120 degrees in flexion and extension. And it was hard and it was painful. But I went, there's no way I'm going to have gone through that surgery and not come out better. So, yeah, I got to do it.

[00:16:02.740] – Allan
I tore a rotator cuff and, you know, went through and I had the surgery on a Thursday and I was in rehab on Monday. And I was like, I'm not playing around with this. I'm going to get this shoulder back as quickly as I possibly can.

[00:16:17.590] – Sharkie
Good for you.

[00:16:18.580] – Allan
And then and then the other two, I think we can look at the Blue Zones and some of the other books that are out there, and they kind of make it clear if we don't have a purpose, we don't have a fire. And if we don't have a fire, then that's not really the life we want to live anyway.

[00:16:34.240] – Sharkie

[00:16:34.860] – Allan
And then after that, it's like, OK, so here you are and you have this self-awareness. What are you going to do about it? And, you know, we don't have necessarily, unless you hire someone, you don't have a coach out on the field telling you, OK, run this play, do that play, do this thing. You've got to figure some of that out for yourself.

[00:16:52.660] – Allan
But the reality is that information's there. It's not rocket science, even though the body's a really complex organism, we know the things we're supposed to be doing, eating whole food, moving, meditating, sleeping. You know, we all know those things. So I think it's really important for folks to really wrap their head around all three of these in your RAP, because it is each and every one of them is important. You can't get there without all three of them.

[00:17:20.980] – Allan
Yes. Yes.

[00:17:23.230] – Allan
Now, you brought another concept into this thing and again, goes back to your sports and athletic days, the concept of playing offense and defense, because I think most of us are thinking and just thinking in terms of, well, we're going to play this game and play defense. I'm going to try to avoid getting older. I'm going to try to avoid hurting myself. I'm going to, you know, try to avoid some of the things that maybe I did in my 20s and 30s. You know, we're thinking of it from a defensive perspective, but you say we have to do both. If we're going to win this game.

[00:17:54.090] – Sharkie
We really do offense, obviously scoring. So if you're in a team sport, you want to score. And defense is preventing the other team from scoring. And actually, when when you're in sports, I think a lot of times people focus more on offense. Right. So like a coach that wants to run and gun and just in basketball and get down and shoot within eight seconds. And, you know, basically, if if you're successful, you're going to win, right. Because you get more opportunities at shooting.

[00:18:28.900] – Sharkie
But a lot of times sports, they actually don't work enough on defense. And defense, if two teams are similar defense is preventing the other team from scoring. Right. So you need them both. You need them both. And so you need to be proactive in terms of offense. You need to go after a healthy lifestyle. It's on you. It's your responsibility. You need to do this. The doctor is not going to make you do it.

[00:19:03.910] – Sharkie
So but defense, I think, is what I'm looking at defense in terms of what aging is, prevention. And, you know, taking a look at something like COVID, which hopefully will go away soon. You know, we all hear the prevention. Wash your hands, social distancing, masks, don't go to large gatherings, eventually have a vaccine. So COVID doesn't win. And so I think that we need to have both. And there's a lot of overlap between the two. But we can't just focus on one. We can't just focus on defense. We can't just focus on offense.

[00:19:48.170] – Allan
Yeah. And I completely agree with you. There is one thing I'd like to say is, you know, with COVID and again, I agree with you, I hope this is something we get rid of and don't have to deal with again, for a long, long time. But I hate the term social distancing because to me, it's a horrible, horrible choice of words.

[00:20:11.310] – Sharkie
It is!

[00:20:12.270] – Allan
We want physical distancing.

[00:20:14.070] – Sharkie

[00:20:15.150] – Allan
So we need social you know, that's part of purpose. That's part of why I'm doing what I'm doing, you know, so I don't want to socially distance myself from the people that I care about. I want to be, you know, not necessarily physically around them, because that's you know, that's part of the issue. I have to be smart about it. But I think the core of this is that defense isn't all that sexy. You know, it's just washing your hands, doesn't seem like, you know, a big, sexy thing to do, whereas, you know, get on the bike and go for a ride and you know, and you're enjoying the outdoors and you get at the same time, feeling the wind on your face.

[00:20:51.750] – Allan
And, you know, you break a record because you went faster this time than you've gone in a long, long time. So you have a new PR and that's exciting. That's fun. That scoring is fun. Sometimes it's just, you know, brush your teeth, wash your hair. You know.

[00:21:07.200] – Sharkie
I know, prevention is not fun.

[00:21:11.430] – Allan
Yeah. Yeah.

[00:21:14.830] – Sharkie
Offense is fun.

[00:21:14.870] – Allan
But you still have you still have to do both.

[00:21:17.490] – Sharkie

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[00:22:46.740] – Allan
Now, in the book, you went through the components of fitness, and I always like to, if I see someone who's written about this, I really, I like to come back to this, because I think it's, you know, will typically if we start working on fitness, there will be something that we're going to be really, really good at. Like you might be really good at cardio and you can ride your bike forever and you can go, go, go, go, go. But you lack upper body strength or you don't have much mobility or balance. Can you go through the components of fitness and why each one, what we should be doing for each one of those, particularly as we start getting older.

[00:23:22.080] – Sharkie
Right. Right. Well, first of all, we need to know that they are all important and so you can't just be healthy and when at aging, just doing one thing. And so the one that gets the most attention usually is cardiorespiratory endurance because it's systematic, which means that affects all the systems of the body. And the definition of that just scientific is the ability of the heart and lungs to transport oxygen and nutrients to the cells and eliminate waste products so the cells can do their jobs.

[00:23:56.490] – Sharkie
And so that's basically what it is. And as most of us know, that's prolonged, sustained large muscle movements. Like riding your bike, like walking, jogging. And so usually the timeline on this is to do so at least for 30 minutes a day. And yet it used to be that that was the main guideline. But now we know that we can cut it into chunks. It doesn't have to be non-stop for 30 minutes. And so we can cut it into chunks and still get the benefits from it.

[00:24:33.780] – Sharkie
And there are so many things that we can do with cardiorespiratory endurance. And I think especially now people need to get creative, because a lot of the things that they've done in the past, they can't do anymore because of everything shutting down. So, yeah, and getting outside is a great way to get your cardiorespiratory endurance. Writing an exercise bike indoors is very different than riding it outdoors, right?

[00:25:05.160] – Allan

[00:25:06.670] – Sharkie
Yes. And so that's the one that gets the most attention, but one that I think is especially important, especially as we age, is the muscle fitness, which is muscle strength and muscle endurance because as we age, we lose muscle mass if we don't work on keeping it. And as you know, a lot of people, as they get older in their 80s, a lot of times they lose their mobility and nobody wants to lose that. And so we have to keep our muscles strong and active. And there are two components. Again, muscle strength, muscle endurance, we can work on them together or we can work them separately. Most people work them together, and that's just lifting weights or doing resistance training. And the reps would be somewhere between 8 and 12 reps.

[00:26:02.400] – Sharkie
And you can do a whole muscle resistance training workout in 20 minutes and so it doesn't take that much time. And you can do it at home with weight machines, you can get strap's I have a TRX machine at home that really works. So there's a lot of different ways to do that. Resistance training. It's not just on the machines that you have at the gym. And so those two are very important. But flexibility is too, that range of motion present at a joint. I mean, we want to be able to move our bodies so we can get up off the floor. Right.

[00:26:44.470] – Sharkie
And that involves stretching, making sure that we do work the joints through their full range of motion each and every day. And one of the best ways that I like to do it is through yoga. There are so many different yoga practices out there. Some of them are physical. Some bring in other components like meditation. But combining flexibility with your other workouts for cardiorespiratory endurance and muscle strength is very doable. So there's a lot of hybrid workouts out there that do all three.

[00:27:19.770] – Sharkie
And the last one I would like to talk about his body composition because and that's the proportion of body fat to the fat-free mass. And people need to understand body composition is, because otherwise a lot of times people start a resistance training program and then they stand on the scale and they go, oh my God, I've gained weight, especially for women. And a lot of times that's muscle mass. That's. Good. So getting a body composition test is really, really important to know what that mass is.

[00:27:54.990] – Sharkie
Obviously muscle. We want muscle and if we have too much body fat, we'd like to get rid of that. But what happens as we get older, especially when we get to be over 40 with losing that muscle mass, ok, and a lot of times we don't notice it happening. We start to put on body fat, ok, and we're doing the same things. It's kind of like we haven't changed our lifestyle, but we start gaining weight. And I think especially this happens to women and so. So we need to be aware of body composition. So those are the components, muscle strength, muscle endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, and body composition. We need them all to win it aging. Yes.

[00:28:39.770] – Allan
Yes, I agree. That's why I wanted you to go over them because I do think it's really, really important. And the cool thing about all of them is that you mentioned yoga for flexibility and mobility. You mentioned different ways that we can get cardiovascular fitness. You mentioned different ways that we can do resistance training. And even with body composition, we can try different things. So it should never be stale. It should never get old. It should be something where you're excited to do it. You know, and particularly, I think when people want to continue sports into their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, that's an excellent opportunity because it clearly demonstrates that you're keeping yourself fit and capable.

[00:29:30.690] – Sharkie
Yeah, sports are great because they combine all of these components. I mean, you're you have to work on muscle strength, you have to have the endurance in order to go the distance, you have to have the flexibility. So, yeah, you're right. So sports are a great alternative. And people who play sports a lot of times don't realize they're working out because they're having so much fun. Right.

[00:29:56.610] – Allan
Until you're sore the next day and you're like, hey, I did something.

[00:30:03.000] – Sharkie
I earned that soreness.

[00:30:05.030] – Allan

[00:30:05.550] – Sharkie
No, we won.

[00:30:08.670] – Allan
Or we scored!

[00:30:09.300] – Sharkie
We scored

[00:30:10.020] – Allan
Yeah, the offense scored. Now we got to play some defense and get ourselves recovered and ready to go again. But, you know, in the book you talked about meditation and meditation used to be one of those things we would say woo-woo. And occasionally you would do it with yoga, you know, with a little less of a spiritual backing to it. But I think now if you didn't know meditation, I mean, they've been in a rock, if they don't know. But meditation has become a little bit more mainstream. But you mentioned three breakdowns. And I just kind of want to go through them because it's three types of meditation. So just like we talked about with fitness, there are different modalities of how you can do and accomplish that task. And it's no different with meditation. Can you talk about the three sections or approaches to meditation and what he does?

[00:31:03.450] – Sharkie
Sure, sure. The first one, I think, is the most common. It's called exclusive meditation. The reason that works a lot of times because your brain has something to focus on. Your brain likes to have something to do. Otherwise it's going to just, you're going to have the monkey mind. Right. You've got it all different times. And I think probably the one that I like the most and I've taught my yoga students is a primordial sound, exclusive meditation, where they focus on saying to themselves, SO, s o on the inhale. HUM h u m on the exhale.

[00:31:47.850] – Sharkie
And it's real easy. But for some people, it's hard because the mind likes to wander. And I tell my students, just go back when your mind starts to wander, just go back. So on the inhale hum on the exhale. Because what that's doing is it's giving your whole rest of your body a chance to relax, because if the mind is always running amok, it's yourselves are listening to your mind. So if finally, your mind has something to do that's just repetitive with just one thought, one thing, then your whole rest of your body gets to relax.

[00:32:26.340] – Sharkie
And it's an easy exercise, meditative exercise to do. And a lot of my students just really enjoy it. So they feel so much better afterward and you don't have to do it for very long. I learned this at the Show Presenter, Depok Chopra. And when I first went into that meditation room, I couldn't sit still for five minutes. After learning this technique, I could be there for 30 minutes and it felt like two minutes.

[00:32:56.180] – Sharkie
And so it's it's very powerful and it's very easy. The Inclusive one is a little harder. And so this one, you're kind of letting in the thoughts and but you sit quietly and you just let your brain do the thoughts. But the key here is to not attach any judgment or any emotion to the thoughts. So it's like you're watching them from a distance. It's like you're sitting there watching logs go down a stream one at a time. And I've done this also in my class.

[00:33:29.620] – Sharkie
Some of my students really like it because what ends up happening, you're watching yourself think and the thoughts start to slow down and eventually sometimes the thoughts stop. And you're just there totally relaxed in a meditative state. Isn't that cool? So that takes, that's a little harder than the exclusive. The mindfulness we can do every day doing anything. We don't have to sit down or lie down to do mindfulness. It's just being totally aware in the present moment.

[00:34:06.520] – Sharkie
And sometimes I'll use a mindfulness technique in terms of just doing a body awareness exercise with my students. I'll have them start at the top of their body and just send their awareness up to their forehead, or to their mouth. They become very aware of the present moment as to what's going on there. But we can do this at like when we're washing the dishes instead of thinking about everything else going on in the past or future. We're just washing the dishes and just be right in that present moment.

[00:34:42.580] – Sharkie
So the mindfulness, I think, is really cool because we can do that anywhere, any time. And it's very, very relaxing and soothing. Most of us spend our time either in the past thinking about what we did and obsessing over what we did wrong or we're worried about the future. So mindfulness is a technique on how to stay in the present moment.

[00:35:06.910] – Allan
Yeah, and guys washing the dishes counts as washing your hands so use that as some mindfulness time.

[00:35:14.560] – Sharkie
That good. That's good.

[00:35:20.620] – Allan
And I've done all three of these. And you're right, the inclusive one is kind of the hardest one because invariably I would think of something that I needed to do and I was really afraid to let that thought go. And it took me a while to say, OK, it's going to come back around. I'll remember it. I know I will. But yeah, you get something that is big and you're like, oh, I got to get that done. And yeah, now I'm sitting here not doing it. And so it's a little harder to balance. All of these are easier, particularly.

[00:35:49.990] – Allan
I mean, other than the mindfulness, I think all of the other ones are much easier if you have some guidance. So, you know, you might get some apps or go on YouTube and get some videos, you know, to listen to. But when they're guided, it makes it just a little bit easier to get into it. And you start out five minutes and you get comfortable with that. You stretch it out to a little bit longer. And yeah, before you know what you're capable of doing a lot more than you would have thought.

[00:36:15.810] – Sharkie
Right. Have you ever done a guided meditation where they actually the audio takes you to a place and describes the place and you're actually using your mind to be there? Have you ever done that?

[00:36:27.890] – Allan
Yeah. I've done one of those. I was I subscribed to the Headspace app and it had all kinds of stuff in there. And it was, part of that was the stress relief app so I spent a lot of time with that. But yeah, they had the others. I've gone on YouTube as well and listened to a few where they're like, OK, you're going to leave your body and try to imagine yourself floating above you. You see yourself there?

[00:36:51.680] – Sharkie

[00:36:52.450] – Allan
You go up to this place where you don't feel any pain, you don't feel any regret, you don't feel anywhere.

[00:36:57.980] – Sharkie
Right, that's right. Yeah. Very cool.

[00:37:01.690] – Allan
Right. So Sharkie, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay?

[00:37:11.380] – Sharkie
Well, OK, I'm going to take a holistic approach to this, if you don't mind. So, yeah, I'm a health professor and I teach holistic health. So I think we need to and I'm going to talk about three that basically is most of that. But, the fourth one, if we have time, some people will find it harder. The first one people will identify with that, because that is talking about your body, that your body in terms of what you can do to make your body healthier. And that's the wellness.

[00:37:45.550] – Sharkie
So one area that I think a lot of us, the nutrition and all of us want to know what's the best way to eat, and there is an idea called bio-individuality, which actually means we're all different. There's not one diet that is for all of us. So we need to spend some time figuring out the kinds of foods that feel good in our bodies and help us live our lives. And because there are some foods out there that are deemed healthy, but they're not healthy for some people. Some people have food allergies. Right.

[00:38:26.030] – Sharkie
So it takes time and motivation to really explore foods in terms of what we enjoy, what feels good inside of our bodies. And one thing I would say to everyone is to try to stay away from processed foods. You mentioned that eating whole foods because of all the toxins, the toxins put us at risk for autoimmune disease and everything else. And so if we can just stay away from those kinds of foods and add more whole foods, more fruits, and vegetables, fresh, more whole grains, more protein that is clean, we would notice a difference. And so that's the physical part.

[00:39:14.240] – Sharkie
The next one is, I think, even more important, and that's the mental-emotional components of wellness. And like I said, the mind and body are connected. So you can't just work on the body and not have the mind on board. And I think one thing that all of us can do as we age is start having a more positive mindset. You know, the paradigm for aging is it's an eventual period of decline. And that's pretty depressing. I like to say it's a challenge, it's an opportunity and it's a privilege. And so just doing that kind of changes the feeling of what aging is about. And so we need to look for the good instead of always what's wrong. It's hard to do in this day and age, but we can do it if we focus on what's good today.

[00:40:05.830] – Sharkie
We can have a journal. We can basically do this. We can look for the good and focus more on what can I do not what can't I do. What can I do that I want to do? And then I just had a person on my show, his name is Ted Larkins. He wrote the Get to Principle. He goes instead of saying, you have to do this, I get to do this. And so this is all mind-shifting towards positivity, which I think we need to do. We need to stop complaining about everything.

[00:40:40.810] – Sharkie
And the last one is social, social wellness. We need to put together our own change. We probably have a lot of people out there that draw our energy away that are negative. All they do is complain we need to get people in our lives that are positive and have the same goals as us. When I was doing a lecture once this woman raised her hand and because I told I identified those people as social vampires and she goes, What if you're married to one? And I said, well, you need to crowd him out with other people in your lives that are positive. And so and we get to choose our own team. So it's not like we're back in the days where we had tryouts and stuff to be on teams. We get to choose our own teams now, and that includes our doctors and our health providers. And so, yeah, so we need to get our team together.

[00:41:37.310] – Sharkie
And the last component is spirituality. And I tell my students, I give them one phrase, and have them think about it. Imagine that you are spiritual being having a physical experience. And when I tell them that some of them just kind of go, oh, I mean, isn't that a cool thing to think about?

[00:41:59.770] – Allan

[00:42:00.730] – Sharkie
Yeah. And so so those are the approaches, the three strategies that I use with that last one thrown in for fun.

[00:42:08.980] – Allan
Thank you, Sharkie. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, When it Aging, How to Stay Fit, Free, and Love Your Retirement, where would you like for me to send them.

[00:42:20.500] – Sharkie
My website. It's my name SharkieZartman.com. And they can also go to Amazon and the book is up and there'll be some reviews up there and some information. And also my other books can, are up on. Amazon and Barnes Noble and but basically my website has pretty much mostly what I do and my background.

[00:42:53.330] – Allan
Cool. Well, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/452 and I'll be sure to have links there in the show notes. Sharkie, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:43:04.880] – Sharkie
Well, thank you for having me, Allan. It was fun.

[00:43:07.370] – Allan
Well Ras, that was a pretty cool episode, don't you think?

[00:43:15.170] – Ras
Oh, it was. Lots of good information here.

[00:43:18.380] – Allan
Yeah, she was just a spitball of fire. I really enjoyed the conversation with her. And, you know, while we were recording her, I think her husband was in the background, Pat. And it was funny because in the book he and I don't even know that I got into this in the interview so much as I did afterward. Sometimes I have better conversations afterward sometimes than I do during the actual episode. But her husband, Pat, you know, one of the things she said about him was that he wants to live until at least 200. And so I wanted her to know that I'm in Pat's corner there. I hope Pat makes it and leads the way for the rest of us to live longer, healthier lives. So it was a really cool conversation.

[00:43:53.150] – Allan
And I promise, guys, we're past that point of talking about aging. I've had three or four episodes in a row. So we will move on and will talk about some other things next week and I'll let you know what's going on. But so what were some key things that you took away from this episode Ras?

[00:44:07.760] – Ras
Well, she's got the point right on the head here is that we all want to win at aging, don't we? We want to have a really good quality of life as we get older. And sometimes that's hard to get to unless you put in the effort.

[00:44:23.700] – Allan
Yeah, I think so many times people look at the aging curve and they just think, OK, that's my path. That's what I'm going to follow. You know, my grandfather lived till he was in his 60s. My father died in his 60s. So, that's my path. They both had diabetes. Therefore, that's my path. My whole family has obesity problems and the issues that come along with that, that's my path.

[00:44:45.870] – Allan
But the reality of it is if you approach your life with the mindset that it's not your path, you decide your path, then you can change that trajectory. It doesn't have to follow the standard path where you're living the standard life expectancy of, you know, your family or your history. You can rewrite that second part. You can go on a different path and live longer, live better. And I like that she looks at it as a competition, as winning something, because if you go in with a losing mindset, then that's where you are. You know, it's the Ford quote, if you think you can. You're right. If you think you can't, you're also right. You lead a lot of what goes on with your life, with your mindset.

[00:45:34.140] – Ras
Absolutely. I like how she mentions you can't change your genetics, but you can change your attitude and you can change your lifestyle. It's so true.

[00:45:45.480] – Allan
Yeah, and so many things that we're facing today, you know, obesity, some cancers, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, a lot of these things we're learning are lifestyle diseases. We, unfortunately, we're doing it to ourselves and we've got to fix that.

[00:46:04.960] – Ras
That's so true. She mentions about being proactive with the offense, about taking the lead and leading a healthy lifestyle, making the changes to lose weight, gets healthier, get stronger, and do what you can. I mean, you just don't have to sit there and age. You can do what you can to enjoy it and improve the quality of your living as you age.

[00:46:26.590] – Allan
Yeah, I liked that she had that offensive approach along with the defense. You don't win a game without having both. But, you know, most people don't think about the offensive part of this. And one thing that I like when I'm working with clients, and they'll invariably want to use the scale as a measurement of success. And so I'll be working with them and then they'll step on the scale. And they've gained a pound. And it's like a tragedy, you know, they want to they just basically want to quit and if you look at it from the perspective of a football player. And I don't know how much you know about football, but in general, you have four downs to get 10 yards. So you have four plays to get the ten yards that you want to get.

[00:47:10.650] – Allan
And if a team goes out there on their first down and maybe they lose three yards, you know, they ran the wrong, they ran to the left and the guys on the left on their side wanted it more than our guys did. And we lost you know, we lost three yards on that play. We don't punt the ball. We don't stop. We don't quit the game and say, well, I'm just going to stop doing this. What we do is we know we have three more downs. We learn from that play. We say, hey, let's not run that play again, you know, maybe later in the game we'll open things up. But let's not run that play right now because it's not going to work. It's not working for us the way we want it to. We've got to get positive yards.

[00:47:49.070] – Allan
So now we're looking at throwing the ball or we're looking to run to the right, or we're going to do some kind of misdirection to take care of those aggressive players over there. But we do something different because we know we have more downs in us. We know we have more opportunities. So I agree with that. We can win this. We have to think of it as a total game. You know, aging is not a thing that happens to you today and something that's happening every day. So you're in the game every day whether you want to or not. You just have to choose if you're going to continue to lose those three yards, every single play, or if you're going to make some positive yardage here and there where the game lets you. And that being offensive-minded gives you that opportunity to take advantage of things.

[00:48:31.940] – Ras
That's absolutely right. And in the world of running, we, when you're out there running miles, things happen. It always does. You feel a hot spot and a blister comes on. So you stop and tend to it. You're feeling hungry. You stop and have something to eat. The whole point is, is that you're listening to what your body is telling you and you do something about it. Again, you just don't have to wait around and see what happens next. You take control and if you encounter a problem, you learn what it takes to fix it and get after it.

[00:49:03.900] – Allan
Absolutely. All right, so anything special going on for you coming up?

[00:49:12.030] – Ras
No, just running miles. It's a cut back week for me, so I'm just taking the miles a little light this week. But next week I'll be ramping back up again and I'll have some double-digit days

[00:49:23.100] – Allan
Double digits, love it.

[00:49:24.870] – Ras
My favorite!

[00:49:26.900] – Allan
A lot of me time, a lot of me time.

[00:49:29.100] – Ras
You bet ya!

[00:49:29.440] – Allan
Getting those miles, good for you.

[00:49:30.420] – Ras
For sure. Thanks.

[00:49:32.250] – Allan
Now me, the cool thing is things are slightly opening up here in Panama, so it looks like I'm going to get a chance to come back to the States for about a month to see some family take care of a few things that I left undone in Pensacola. So we're looking at taking a trip there in October. So about a month from now, I'll be in Pensacola, where we're flying into Miami, and I'll spend a few days there.

[00:49:58.980] – Allan
Then we're going to drive up to Pensacola and we'll spend about a week there. Then we're going to drive up to Indiana, near Chicago and spend about a week there and then to Asheboro, North Carolina, which if you look at North, can I just point your finger right in the very middle of it? That's where Aspro is. I'll go there for about a week and then we'll come back down and we think we think we might have to get one of those little speed tests, you know, just to know that we're not infected before we get on the plane.

[00:50:25.680] – Allan
Right now, they're charging about two hundred fifty dollars for those COVID tests. So we have about right now the way the rules are. We have to have that within 40, 48 hours of getting on an airplane. So we'll go down into the Miami area, get that test, wait out the results. I think it's supposed to be immediate now, but we'll see. See, we have to get one that we get an answer for relatively quickly.

[00:50:48.420] – Allan
And I think they're like 250 bucks. Maybe the price will come down before then. We'll have yeah, well, we'll have the test. But yeah, we're driving all this other than we are going to fly into Miami. So we've got a couple of flights and then we'll be in Miami and then we're going to drive. So my wife and I will get a lot of car time, a lot podcast's audience.

[00:51:07.480] – Allan
That sounds awesome. Well, it is awesome. You start looking well. OK, that's a four and a half-hour drive. That's a six and a half-hour drive, but an eight-hour drive. That's twelve, which.

[00:51:16.920] – Allan
So lots of time in the car sitting. But if you're anywhere in between all those things, just reach out to me: allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com, I'd love to hook up. We can get a coffee or have a cocktail, depending on what time of day or night it is and how much further I've got to drive. But you know, so you do reach out and you know, again, I'm around. So I do want to meet you if you're there.

[00:51:40.740] – Allan
So so do that. That sounds great. All right. Well, Rachel, you have a great week.

[00:51:47.200] – Ras
Thanks. You too.


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Another episode you may enjoy


How to turn each and every slip-up into success

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Due to recent events, I found myself in a very bad place. COVID-19 had drastically changed my everyday life, pulling out of my seasonal ketosis, decimating my exercise plan, and triggering me into several unhealthy eating habits. In fact, all of my healthy habits seemed to fall by the wayside. It was a major lifestyle change for the worse.

I knew I needed to change something. I went back to the simple things that had turned things around for me years ago. It started with a recommitment and positive self-talk. If I didn't want the fat bastard to come back (he was bearing down on me), I had to do what all successful people do. I had to pull myself up to my feet and do the simple things that were within my control.

I'm going to get a little raw during this discussion. Think of like a support group talk where I'm admitting my weaknesses, sharing my mental process, and showing you the small steps I took in a bit of a case study/success story. I hope to give you some tools to use that will give you a better chance of recovery, should you slip as I did.

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The Slip-to-Success Cheat Sheet


This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is brought to you by Usual Wines, available in convenient single serve bottles. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/wine and use the coupon code fitness for $8 off.


Hello and welcome to Episode 450 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. I'm really glad you're here and I hope that you're someone that's actually gone back and checked out the other 449 episodes we've done, which include over 275 interviews. It's kind of crazy how many people I've talked to over the years about health and fitness. And today I want to talk about something that's really, really important to me because it's a personal experience.

It's something that happened to me recently. And I'm talking to a lot of people and it's happening to them, too. And I want to give you the tools to get past this. And so I'm going to call this episode, “How to Turn Each and Every Slip Up Into Success.” And yes, even the best of us, the best personal trainers, the best fitness people out there. Every once while we make a mistake, every once in a while we slip, it just happens.

We're human and you're human, too. And so a lot's been going on in the world. And I want to kind of talk about my perspective of going through all of this with COVID, with the racial strife in the United States and obviously an upcoming election. Things are really, really crazy in the United States. And it's really hard to be on social media and do those types of things, because, quite frankly, it's just it's scary and it's frightening and it's hurtful and, you know, just all these emotions that are coming out.

I want to talk about this a little bit and give you some of my perspectives. And then after that, I want to give you some tools, some tools to help you the next time you slip. This is a process that I developed to work with my clients because like myself, many of them were struggling. And as I was finding my way out of the dark, I laid some bread crumbs to help them along the way as well. And it's been beneficial to everybody that I've talked to using this method. So I want to share it with you now.

COVID-19 hit the United States in January. I think the first case was registered up in the State of Washington around January 20th. And since then, it grew and grew and grew and obviously has grown into something much bigger, but not quite as big as they projected. So that's the good news. But the reality of it is COVID affected just about every single human being on this earth.

It's changed the way we live. It's changed the way we do almost everything we do and it's changed what we can and can't do. I'm in Panama and I can tell you Panama did not treat COVID like a joke at all. In fact, once they started getting cases in Panama and they were concerned about the medical system being able to keep up, they shut us down. And when I say shut us down, I mean, they shut down all the businesses, every single one of them, except grocery stores and pharmacies.

There was nothing else, just the pharmacy. You could go to the ATM if you needed some money and the pharmacy. And that was it. And they shut us down to a point where I was allotted two hours, two days a week to go do my shopping and that was only for necessities. I wasn't to be out there walking around, getting exercise. I was out there to shop. And so this was my Tuesday morning and Thursday morning from 7:30 – 9:30am were the only times I was allowed outside of my apartment.

Women were allotted 3 days a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday again, all these times were based on your personal ID card. So your passport depending on whether you were a citizen or resident. Since I'm a resident, I went with my passport. So my time was set. If I was caught outside, they would you know, sometimes they're checking your ID if you're outside of those times or you're somewhere where there's obviously not a grocery store or pharmacy they would arrest you, take you in, and they were doing that for a lot of people.

They really locked us down and that went on for nearly six weeks. So they did slowly start kind of opening things up. And as I'm recording this, you know, sort of the last week of September, I mean, August I'm sorry, you know, they still we still are locked down on weekends. And that means from 7:00 pm on Friday afternoon and evening until 5:00 am Monday morning, we're not to be out and about.

So the police are patrolling. If they catch you out, they'll arrest you. We're required to wear masks. So the whole argument that a lot of people are having about masks or not to mask. They'll arrest you. So you wear a mask. So that's been Panama. We're still on a curfew, so I can't go out at night. So from 7pm to 5am, you can't be out. That's every day.

We're still in this general lockdown. We're trying to slow the spread of the disease in the hopes that a vaccine will come. And that's been my life. You know, my gym's closed down. I was locked in my apartment for four months or more, unable to go out more than a couple hours, twice a week. And quite frankly, I melted down. You know, it was a hugely stressful situation, just reading what was going on.

Even though I could focus a little bit on my clients and I could focus a little bit on my business, I wasn't able to really put my all into that because I was just really struggling with this huge trigger event in my life that scared the crap out of me when I first heard about it. And as a result, I did what most people do. I spent all my days reading articles.

And in fact, you know, because I'm a data geek. I'm an information geek. I was reading every single article I could get my hands on in my search criteria. I just basically would say COVID-19 coronavirus, but not anything that mentions President Trump. And so I removed all of that political garble that was going on because it removed all of, you know, the opinion and stuff that was out there. And it gave me the medical information, the studies, the things that were actually going on in the medical community. The discussions they were having, the treatments and the, you know, the discussions of how they were going to do you know, virus, I mean a vaccine.

I was reading up on this every single day. And the reality of that has hit me that it just really, it pushed me further down. It kept me depressed. It kept me just addled. I didn't have a solution in my own head how I was going to handle this and what it was going to mean to me, to my wife, to my family. You know, our parents are up there in ages. They're all in their 70s. And quite frankly, they're not in the condition to handle something like this.

It was just really, really devastating for me to be sitting here in Panama and think about the things I couldn't do. And even if I had gone up to the United States to be around family, I really wouldn't have been any help to them to protect them. It just would have been the same. So we decided to stay in Panama and we're stuck in our houses and our apartment.

As a result of the stress and everything that was going on, I kind of slipped. So my slip and it involved alcohol. It involved almost no movement. I did bring some equipment from the gym over to my apartment and it sat and gathered dust in the corner. The whole time, I didn't really even have any desire to work out, which was really, really strange for me. But the impact of what was going on in the world, the stress that I was feeling and just feeling incapable of doing anything about it really, really bothered me.

So the no movement, the alcohol, the eating crazy stuff, you know, here and there, the cumulative impact was huge and it was weight gain. You know, the COVID 15 is a real thing. I did my part. I gained my fifteen pounds and I felt terrible about it. But it was, you know, it was just a reaction to what was going on in my life. And it was a major slip for me health-wise. It was not something that I wanted. It was not something that I planned. Sometimes I do plan to gain some weight and enjoy myself and go have a couple of weeks of, you know, fun and crazy at an all-inclusive resort or at a football game or just on some vacation. But this was not that social media.

It was just driving me batty and, you know, as I was going through it. And then, of course, the violence and stuff that was starting to happen in the United States particularly, and all of that coming through, it was just huge. Now, with that, I did slowly start to come out of it and think about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

So in a sense, this was very much a wake up call for me. I was sitting around thinking, you know. Why am I so bothered by this and what is really driving my behavior? What's the lesson out of all of this? And the reality of it was a few things. One is, you know, I'm watching videos of kind of crazy violent stuff happening. And I'm you know, I'm watching a woman or a man and they're in their 50s around my age and they're getting beat up and they're not able to defend themselves, are not able to help themselves.

And I'm watching people die, not necessarily watching them die, but hearing about the deaths and realizing that they're dying. Not necessarily because they got COVID because a lot of people were getting COVID and just moving on with their lives, recovering and moving on. But there are people just that couldn't recover and they couldn't recover because they just basically weren't taking care of themselves. So, you know, the first realization that came out of this was that COVID-19 is not the Spanish flu.

You know, that we want to compare it to the last pandemic. But the reality is this is apples and oranges. We know how germs pass now. They didn't know as much back then when Spanish flu was going on. And really the only reason that we're having to deal with COVID as much as we are, because in a real sense, it wouldn't be much worse than a flu if we were all healthy. But that's the point. Our health is crap in the United States.

You know, two-thirds of people are overweight, one third are obese, pre-diabetes, diabetes is just rampant. Heart disease is the number one killer. And, you know, as I'm recording this, I was thinking, you know, people aren't taking care of themselves. And right now and like I said, as I'm recording this, you know, there have been 180,000 deaths in the United States, which is tragic. But what we don't think about is there's 480,000 tobacco-related deaths every year.

So if you count the 7 months that COVID's been around as of this point in the United States, it's killed 180,000 and 280,000 have died of tobacco-related illness. Now, I know there's an overlap there. And so what COVID is actually doing, rather, we want to admit it to ourselves or not, is it's just accelerating our death.

This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Fastic before we had refrigeration, processing and bulk transportation, we just didn't have access to food like we do today because we're opportunistic eaters. Most of us consistently eat more than we should. And our bodies don't know how to signal to us that we've had enough. I practice intermittent fasting regularly, and it's a strategy many of my clients use to get control of food and as a happy side effect, lose weight. Fastic is an app you can download on an Apple or Android smartphone. It's a pretty snazzy app with a lot of tools to help you do intermittent fasting, right. It not only lets you track your fasting, but water consumption, steps and a lot of other things.

You can also connect with a fasting buddy to help keep you even more accountable. If you have an iPhone, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/ifastic. For an android, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/afastic. If you're interested in learning more about intermittent fasting, or just need some help getting started. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/ifastic for an iPhone. For an android, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/afastic.

Now, we talked about aging last week and a little heads up the next couple episodes are also about aging because as I was going through my moments, I was just thinking, you know, we're aging and we need to be healthy. And so how do I teach people how to age better? How do I teach them to be healthy longer? Because we don't want to go out that way. And, you know, so, you know, we have to take responsibility for our own health.

You know, I had to take responsibility for my health and my fitness. So, you know, when I see some 50-year-old guy getting pummeled or some 50-year-old woman getting pummeled, I have to think in terms of if I were in the United States walking around and got into that situation, am I the victim that they're going to be looking to mess with or am I someone who basically looks like I can take care of myself because I'm in good health and I'm reasonably fit.

It's not that you have to look like Mike Tyson to survive in this world, but the reality is they're much less likely to victimize you, to bully you, to attack you if it looks like you might be able to hurt them back. And so I don't want to throw this out there and really upset a lot of people, but, hey, if this is you, get a little upset, you know, that's OK. This was my wake up call.

If I'm going to take care of my loved ones, I've got to be there for them. I've got to be able to do the things that are necessary, you know, and it goes beyond being able to help my wife out of a wheelchair 30 years from now. It goes to the fact that if someone sees me walking with my wife, they just see me as someone to just pass on because they don't want to attack me.

If a COVID virus or something like that, something similar to this comes again, like I am generally now, I want to be healthy. I want my vitamin D to be where it's supposed to be. I want my B vitamins and zinc. I want all those things in my food so that I'm already healthy. In fact, I stepped up my supplementation because I was locked in an apartment. I've got vitamin D, I've got zinc, you know, like it's almost like a medicine cabinet kind of thing, which I normally wouldn't do, but I just didn't want to take chances.

Being locked in an apartment, limited access to the food. I mean, I have access to food, but it's the same food. So just making sure that the varieties there I've started supplementing. And so I was able to kind of turn this around and I turned it around and I started thinking, you know what I'm doing? All I'm doing is the basic thing that successful people do. The way you get success in this world is you learn from your failures and you do that by doing three things, and that's what I want to share with you.

This is my three-step plan for recovery when you slip. So pay particular attention to this one.

OK, so the first thing is to forgive yourself. And this is the most important thing if you don't really forgive yourself and I mean really like self-love deep. I made a mistake. I screwed up. I shouldn't have sat there and drank myself silly and ate myself silly and sat on my couch reading about COVID virus, things that really weren't going to impact my life or improve my life.

And I did those things for six solid weeks. I can't do that again, but I need to recognize that there were triggers, there were things that made me do that that were out of my control, and I didn't take the moment to stop myself and stay in control. So that's on me. But I have to forgive myself. So I accept responsibility and I forgive. And from that forgive. Now you're ready to move to the second step.

The second step is what did you take away from that moment? What was the learning experience of that moment? So for me, it's when I hit a really stressful period of time, I need to move. I need to move one way or another. Rather, they lock me in an apartment where they really lock me in a room or they lock me in a bathroom. I need to move and I'm going to move next time. If something like this happens and they lock us down, I'm still going to move. I'm going to keep moving as long as I possibly can because that's really helped me.

Since I got out of this, I've been walking regularly. I've been lifting regularly when they started letting me out to do other things besides shop. So I've been doing those things. And it's meant a world of difference, having that movement in my life, doing the meditations, doing the things that are going to relieve the stress, that will keep me from the actions that are detrimental to me. So I learned a lot out of this about myself.

You know, your trainer is not perfect. I'm human and I have to accept that and I have to act on that when something bad is happening, I have to recognize the symptoms and I've got to do something about it. So I've I've changed up a few things in my morning rituals. I've gone through some training. I've done some extra work on myself, mentally, physically. And that's helped me a whole lot. Moved way past where I was.

Now the third. And again, I'm not going to say this is the most important because really the forgiving is. But if you don't act on what you're supposed to do, you set that plan. You're like, OK, I'm going to meditate every morning. I'm going to go for long walks. I'm going to commune with nature. I'm going to get as much vitamin D as I can possibly get by supplementing and getting out in the sun. I'm going to do these actions to protect myself, to make myself stronger, to make sure that I'm the person my loved ones deserve. Then that's the action and that's when you have to do it. Now, what I did as a part of my action was, you know, I stepped up and said, you know, I'm going to go ahead and launch and do a round of what I call eight weeks to WOW.

And unfortunately, as you're hearing this, we've closed out on the third round, which might actually be the last time I do this in 2020. But I went through eight weeks to WOW with the first group that went through and we were all seeing great success, which was really up-lifting. And I, basically going through that program, lost 12 pounds. And then I went through my Strong, Lean Over 40 program, which, you know, I sell it as a program which is a strongly energetic program and then basically lifting part, which would be the coaching part.

And I've been doing that now for about three or four weeks. And I'm down below my pre COVID weight. So the fifteen pounds that I gained, I've lost more than that since May 1st. And I did that because I went through that three-step recovery plan. You know, the three-step plan is to forgive, to learn and plan and then act. OK, so you've got to do those three steps before you're going to get past this, because if you don't forgive, you won't recover.

If you don't set a plan, learn something and set a plan, then you won't step in the right direction. And if you don't actually act, then you're not stepping at all. So it takes all three of these in that order for you to be successful at recovering from a slip. So if you want to go from slip to success, you take those three steps. Now, I'm going to offer you a free gift.

If you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/slip. I'm going to have a little cheat sheet. I call it the slip to success cheat sheet and it's going to kind of walk you through those three steps and give you a little bit of insight into each one and how to apply it in your life. So go ahead and go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/slip and you can download the plan, the cheat sheet and it'll be like I said, it will kind of walk you through.

So if you're finding yourself right now sitting there saying I'm a victim of the COVID 15, you're not a victim, stop being a victim, take action, forgive yourself, set a plan and take action. And this little gift, this little cheat sheet is going to help you get on that track. So you are not a victim. We are not victims. We are in control of our future. We write our own next chapter. Our next chapter hasn't happened.

Now, we have an option right now to take out the pen that we've been writing our life with, and we get to write a new story starting today, so if you're ready to do that, to get this cheat sheet and then reach out to me and let me know what I can do to help you be successful in your journey forward. So I appreciate you being on the podcast today.

The next couple of episodes are going to be about aging. They're really good conversations. I was in kind of an aging mindset as I was going through the last month. And this is what came out of it. We ended up with a theme like that. But, you know, the world is not always positive and it's really, really hard for us to keep moving forward when things just seem to be falling.

You know, at some point, Sharknado is probably going to happen in 2020 because, you know, it's been that kind of year. We kind of laugh about, you know, we're going. But there are two hurricanes coming into the Gulf of Mexico as I'm recording this. So, yeah, it's just a really, really strange year with a lot of stressors in front of us. And having a plan is going to help. Now, the core of all of this, and I want you to start this today, is I need you to start using positive self taught and using positive thinking, have a positive outlook.

I know it's hard, but you're currently healthy. You're currently in good shape, at least more in better shape than being on the other side of the grass. You're listening to this. So just recognize that you do have control in rewriting your future and you can start today. So make that conscious decision to start and then recommit.

Go back to your why and your vision. As we talked about in the Wellness GPS, if you have those two things, they're always going to be that rock, that foundation that keeps you solid and on your feet ready to move forward. OK, so when you take that recommit, you get into it, boom, I'm in. And then you go through and you go through that three-step plan. You're going to make this happen for yourself. I have no doubt whatsoever.


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
– Bill Gioftsidis– Leigh Tanner– Wendy Selman
– Debbie Ralston– Margaret Bakalian

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


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. 

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!


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.

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.

This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Vault Health, guys, we need to discuss the elephant in the room. Most of us really struggle to manage certain health issues, especially when it affects things we don't want to talk about, like our libido and vitality. Yes, I'm talking about Low-T. Did you know that 40% of men over 40 suffer from Low-T? Low-T can cause weight gain, loss of muscle mass ED, fatigue and poor sleep, low energy and depression.

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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


How to survive and thrive when bad things happen – Dr. Jim Taylor

With all that's going on in the world, we need to have strategies and tactics to deal with the stress and anxiety. Dr. Jim Taylor gives us those tools in his new book, How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen.


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[00:02:26.160] – Allan
Dr. Taylor, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:02:29.670] – Dr. Taylor
Thanks. Thanks very much for inviting me on. I think it'll be a lot of fun.

[00:02:33.120] – Allan
Yes, well, the topic we're talking about wouldn't necessarily be considered fun, but I think it's a really important topic for us to get in right now, particularly when you consider what stress does to our health. The name of the book you have is called How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen, Nine Steps to Cultivating an Opportunity Mindset in a Crisis. And, you know, going through the book, you really did lay out a lot of tools and really a kind of, in my mind, a good framework for us to think about problems.

[00:03:04.920] – Allan
And, you know, we can talk about him in terms of crisis, which is what this is about. But I think a lot of times just are, some of our day to day issues, things that we just struggle with. In many cases, if we're if we are cultivating this opportunity mindset you talk about in the book, I think we're just gonna be in a better place all together.

[00:03:24.560] – Dr. Taylor
For sure, and one thing I emphasize in the book is that there are crises both small and large, and no doubt that we are experiencing some very large ones at this moment in the U.S. and around the world. But every day we experience as adults and young people, different levels of crises and small ones as well that impact us. And the more we can practice a good approach to the little crises, the better prepared we will be for handling the big crises.

[00:03:54.130] – Allan
Yes. It was. It was funny, I my dog woke me up. She she had to go and had my coffee and was like, look, you know, the rule. Let me have my coffee, cup of coffee, and then I'll be, I'll take you out. Well, she couldn't wait. She's like, no, we're going. So I poured myself a cup and I'm walking out of the door. And as I walk out the apartment, I hear clang. And I know that the gates now closed and I didn't bring my keys and everybody's asleep. You know, my wife's asleep and everyone in the building's asleep.

[00:04:24.160] – Allan
So I sat outside for two hours waiting for someone to come out or for my wife to realize I was gone. But, you know, in the instant it happened, you know, your brain just kind of wants to fire up, you know, all the anger stuff, all the things that are actually going to make you not solve the problem. They just seem to want to bubble up intensely at that first moment.

[00:04:50.250] – Dr. Taylor
Right. Well, it's quite interesting because what I call the crisis mentality is really our primitive reaction to perceived threats. But what we're seeing now in modern times versus on the Serengeti 250,000 years ago when we first evolved into human beings, Homo sapiens, is that what worked then doesn't work now. And so, as an example, our greatest instinct is to survive. And I'm guessing that getting locked out of your building wasn't really a threat to your survival, but you reacted in much the same way. Your fight or flight reaction got triggered and you felt some very strong emotions and maybe you felt this need immediate need to figure it out and resolve the crisis, which was the perceived threat. But it sounds like you were able to work through that.

[00:05:44.310] – Allan
Well, I just decided I was I was relegated to where I was relegated. And I may as well just sit there comfortably and hang out with my dog. Worse things could happen. You know, there's a lot going on in the United States with COVID, with, you know, the kind of racial inequity conversation and the political aspects of what's going on in The United States. There's like three crises, all kind of combined and overlapping and interlaying.It's just really tough time. What are some of your thoughts on what you're seeing as far as your responses and you know just where we basically are with that?

[00:06:28.580] – Dr. Taylor
Sure. Well, there's no doubt that we are experiencing a perfect storm of crises and it's so many levels. And in my book, I talk about many different types of crises that are applied here. We've got personal crises, health crises, safety crises, financial economic crises, governmental crises, societal, environmental, all these things, all these different types of crises are rolled up into these three really substantial crises that are affecting our lives.

[00:06:57.980] – Dr. Taylor
And what that simply does is turn up the volume on our reactions to the crisis. And so I'm starting to see in my practice as well as just in my life. Higher levels of stress, more emotionality, more anger, frustration, sadness, despair. So certainly, especially these days, what I consider to be some poor decision making when it comes to how best to deal with some of these crises, particularly with COVID. And at the same time, I want to be fair that we're also seeing some really wonderful things that people coming together, people supporting each other, and a lot of inspiration. A lot of pride. And so as with any kind of crisis, this perfect storm of crises is bringing out the best in us, the best in humanity, and also some of the worst of humanity.

[00:07:48.420] – Allan
Yeah, and I think that kind of blends in to kind of the core tenet of what your book is about is that, you know, we we don't necessarily want to just go into all of these crises and in every crises and just think in terms of how do I survive. Typically, these crises also open up opportunities for us if we have the right mindset. Can you talk about the survival rival conversation? And then you know how that how that blends into our mentality?

[00:08:18.560] – Dr. Taylor
Absolutely. So S.A., as I mentioned earlier, survival is our most important instinct because if we can't survive, then we're not gonna pass on our genes and property species and keep human beings going, continue to move forward and survive in the world. And this has been wired into us since we climbed out of the primordial muck millions and millions of years ago. And and it is such a powerful drive. So when whenever we perceive a situation as a threat to our survival, it triggers this cascade of reactions.

[00:08:48.650] – Dr. Taylor
And let me Allan, let me give you a very brief neuroanatomy lesson here, that this part of the brain in what's called a primitive brain is the part is called the amygdala. And it's where all information throve in all information flows through. And what it does, it it's responsible for creating emotional reactions and behavioral reactions to a perceived threat to our survival. And so, as I mentioned earlier, our instincts are survival, which when our survival is threatened, it causes this reaction of fight or flight.

[00:09:21.890] – Dr. Taylor
We can either attack a thing to survive or we can run away from it. And whats interesting is on the Serengeti 250,000 years ago, threats, crises were were very immediate and very tangible. So it might be a saber tooth tiger, or a rival tribe with a really big club. And the fact is, is that we didn't have time to deliberate to think about what's the best plan of action here, because if we did, we were already dead or beaten.

[00:09:48.470] – Dr. Taylor
And so we created this instant change in us psychologically, emotionally, physiologically and then behaviorally. And so that served us very well for a very long time and ensured our survival. But there's this other part of us that's almost instinctive as well, and it's being able to thrive and the word thrival. By the way, I didn't think it was a real word at first, but it actually is. I looked it up.

[00:10:12.730] – Allan
My spell doesn't like it for sure.

[00:10:15.340] – Dr. Taylor
Oh, really? OK. Very good. And so there is also this part of us that wants to thrive. And it's what's really created advancement through all of human history. It makes us want to get up in the morning and do marathons or triathlons or learn to play the piano or to develop the Internet or whatever it might be. So there's the other part of us, but it's not quite as primitive or primal or as immediate because you cannot thrive, you'll still survive.

[00:10:45.120] – Dr. Taylor
But as evolved beings, we have this side of us that drives us to do more than just to survive. And so that primitive mindset, the amygdala creates what I call a crisis mentality. And the other side of that was what I call an opportunity mindset. And again, little more neuroanatomy class here. That is a part of the brain. Well, first of all, we have this thing on top of our of our heads, the separate us from animals. And it's called the cerebral cortex.

[00:11:13.860] – Dr. Taylor
It basically involves our ability to think. And a part of that cerebral cortex is the front of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. And you're probably familiar with the phrase executive functioning. It's a big thing with kids in development these days and basically executive functioning. And the prefrontal cortex is associated with making decisions, identifying options and choices, weighing risk rewards, looking at future versus immediate benefit.

[00:11:39.580] – Dr. Taylor
And this is the side this involved with the thrival part of us. And what's really important, understand these days is that crises then back in the day in primitive times are very different than crises now. So, again, the crises in primitive times were very immediate, clear and tangible, and they required immediate action. But, Allan, modern crises are very different, particularly if you think about COVID, racial inequities, political strife. They're often unforeseeable. They're often not predictable. They're not easily understandable because clearly there's a lot we don't know about COVID. Also, they're often distant and indirect.

[00:12:14.130] – Dr. Taylor
So a lot of us haven't been much affected by by COVID. And yet we're required to do a lot of things that are necessary to prevent it from spreading. Also with COVID, as we're learning with the spread of COVID around the country, the crisis is delayed and it's lingering. And the reality is that the health and the economic crisis caused by COVID is going to last for a very long time.

[00:12:38.770] – Dr. Taylor
And then another really challenging part of it, Allan, is that there's not a lot we can do to get rid of COVID. We can't fight COVID and we can't exactly flee COVID. Yes, we can lock ourselves in our houses, but it's still there. So the challenge here is that what worked so well for our survival back in primitive times when faced the crisis no longer works now because we can't fight and we can't flee. And so that then requires a more evolved reaction.And that's where the opportunity mindset comes in that engages the prefrontal cortex and our executive functioning.

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[00:13:59.510] – Allan
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[00:14:37.370] – Allan
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Use code Allan20 and get 20% Off! [00:15:28.370] – Allan
You know, as COVID came about. I was. I'm here in Panama, and I bought a gym last June and I've been working for nine months, almost nine months to get the gym up to my standard. You know, I'm buying new equipment, getting painted, organizing all these different things. And I just made my last purchase of what I felt was necessary to kind of have the gym ready, make it gym ready anyway. And then COVID. And in Panama, they're taking this a lot more serious than they are in most parts of the United States because they just don't have the medical facilities to deal with a massive outbreak. They just don't. It could it could handle it if outbreak the way that it would just naturally do it.

[00:16:12.890] – Allan
So they're shut down here was much more dramatic and draconian than anything in the United States. So not not belittling that, as any kind of law. This is definitely not fun. But, you know, immediately it was it was this frustration that just overtook me. And, you know, I'll admit my reactions for the first two months of this outbreak were they were negative. You know, I went down that as you put the book, the negative emotional chain.Can you talk to us about that reaction? The frustration that we feel, particularly on these drawn out crises and then what we can actually do about it?

[00:16:51.260] – Dr. Taylor
Sure, sure. Well, before we do that, I'd like to sort of complete my thoughts a little bit on the opportunity mindset and how that's different from this sort of urgency and the intensity of the crisis mentality. Is that OK?

[00:17:01.810] – Allan
Sure, sure. Sure. Absolutely.

[00:17:03.210] – Dr. Taylor
Yeah. So an opportunity mindset is obviously much more positive orientation. It's a can do orientation, it's like we're in this crisis. It sucks. But how do we deal with it in a positive way? So that's the first thing versus like, oh my gosh, it's the worst thing in the world. Is it so bad? Which is the crisis mentality. Second of all, with engaging executive functioning in the prefrontal cortex, it's creating a staying calm, not freaking out and being very purposeful and deliberate in how we're going to respond.

[00:17:31.930] – Dr. Taylor
So instead, I make a distinction between reacting, which is sort of this immediate, visceral reaction and a response, which is for me, very, very deliberate, very thoughtful, very purposeful. And in some key components to the opportunity mindset is, first of all, our values. And so basically what happens in a crisis is our world is rocked. The ground on which we stand is no longer stable. And that's especially true in the case of a hurricane, an earthquake and so on.

[00:18:02.700] – Dr. Taylor
So really going back to what do we value and what's important to us that helps that can help disconnect away from them and the amygdala and get the information flowing to the prefrontal cortex. Also, our attitudes are really important. Am I going to be a victim here or am I going to take ownership? And so that's really important as well. So basically an opportunity mindset is about having a clear understanding of what we're dealing with in a crisis and then having a method in the madness, because what a crisis creates is madness.

[00:18:33.220] – Dr. Taylor
And if you can have a method through it, then you're going to deal with it much more effectively. And lastly is being decisive. And there's a lot of uncertainty, Allan, with respect to a crisis, as you well know, when's it going to start? When's it going to end? When can we move on to phase two or phase three? When can we reopen? And it's important to be decisive, as decisive as you can, and taking the actions that you believe will help you get through the crisis. So any follow up before I move on to the frustration and the negative mode?

[00:19:01.670] – Allan
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I you know, the way I kind of put this or thought about this was I locked myself out. You know, what are the ways that I'm going to be able to get back in because I can't I can't go through the gate by myself. It's locked. And there's no other way into my apartment. There's no other key. So I just have to wait for one of three things I kind of already mapped out. OK, either I'm going to hear my wife come out on the patio that overlooks where I'm sitting. So I'm listening for the sliding glass doors to open or someone's going to come out of the building, or three if a friend drives by or rides by on their bike. I can have them Facebook message my wife and let her know that I'm locked out. So I had three solutions that I'm basically working towards. And then also just in my head thinking, you know, petting a dog is stress relieving and, you know, we're going to have some hangout time whether she likes it or not, that's what we're going to do.

[00:19:55.740] – Allan
And I knew, OK, there's some things I've got an appointment, you know, I might be late for or might not make. And I'll just have to apologize because it's outside my control at this point. So for me, it was it was kind of a little bit of acceptance. But then I did have some at least some positive actions that I could take during that period of time while I was I was waiting for the crisis to end. And thankfully, my neighbor Bay, he came out and let me in. He was going to charge me dollar for it. But he did let me in.

[00:20:26.510] – Allan
And so it was over, you know, but had I gone through that whole, like I said, the frustration, the negative emotional shame that I found myself doing with COVID, you know, it wouldn't have been as productive and I wouldn't have I wouldn't be talking about it fondly. I guess that's the best way to say it.

[00:20:44.460] – Dr. Taylor
Right. And I just want to point out a couple of key things that you did very well. Firstly, you accepted that which you couldn't control. That is, you are locked out. That is reality. And to rage against the machine of reality is a very fruitless and frustrating experience. Second of all, you controlled what you could control. You were looking for a friend to ride by on a bike. You pet your dog, you relax. You drank your coffee and you did what you could.

[00:21:10.380] – Dr. Taylor
And so so those are some really positive steps. And what was key about that is that frustration is a strange emotion, because when I asked people if frustration is a good or a bad emotion, they say it's a horrible emotion. It feels bad, but it's actually a really important emotion evolutionarily, because when you're frustrated, if you think about we all know what frustrated means, what it feels like, it's like, oh, my gosh, I'm stuck.

[00:21:35.460] – Dr. Taylor
But few people really understand what frustration, what causes it. So basically with frustration, what causes frustration is when you're heading down a path toward a goal and then a giant gate falls in your path or a boulder or whatever you want to say. So your path is blocked. So that causes frustration. So frustration starts out as a good emotion, Allan, because when you're frustrated, what's your initial motivation? To clear the path toward your goal? The problem is, is that initially when you're frustrated, you typically just do more of the same harder.

[00:22:10.540] – Dr. Taylor
And that violates the law of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. And so if it's not that easy to remove that gate or that boulder, then you're going to get more frustrated. And that leads to the second part of my negative emotional chain, which is anger. Now, again, I ask the question of people, is anger a good or a bad emotion? Well, people say it's a terrible emotion, it feels horrible. But it's actually evolutionarily a good emotional initially, because when you're angry again, it motivates you to clear the path toward your goal.

[00:22:45.570] – Dr. Taylor
The problem, Alan, is that when you're angry, One, is you can't think clearly, and two, you can't focus effectively. So typically what happens when you're angry is this is sort of frenetic attempt to clear the path. And again, that doesn't work very well. The real challenge is the third chip piece or link in the chain, the negative emotional chain, and that's despair.

[00:23:11.900] – Dr. Taylor
And this is not a trick question. This is this is a bad emotion. Because as soon as you despair, you give up. And as soon as you give up, you lose any chance of resolving the crisis. Then you become a total victim. And so the goal is to stop at frustration, easy to get to anger. It's hard to come back from anger. And it's really hard to come back from despair.

[00:23:37.750] – Dr. Taylor
But if you can master the frustration and this is something I do a great deal in with my client, tell us, what do you do when you're faced with a frustrating situation? And so a couple of key steps. First is take a break. As long as you stay in the situation that's causing you the frustration, you're going to stay frustrated. Let's use your example of of being locked out of your apartment building. If you stand there, you probably continue to be frustrated.

[00:24:05.590] – Dr. Taylor
So the best thing to do is take a walk around the block with your dog, get some physical distance, which creates emotional distance, which will reduce the frustration. But that's not enough, because if you then go back, the gate is still gonna be locked. And so the next thing to do is to identify what the cause is, what's the problem? And again, it's pretty clear you're locked out. And this, of course, is very simple. If we do, can we can talk about COVID and apply it there as well with a more complex situation. But then once you identify the problem, I'm locked out, then you can come up with a solution. Well, I can wait it out. I can. I can wait for a friend to come by on a bike. I could yell up to my wife. There are a lot of different options. And if you can find a solution that will work right away, well then the frustration is going to disappear. Because you're going to have a solution to the problem. And so if you go through some of these deliberate steps, the most basic is to take a break. Look what the situation is. Identify the problem, find a solution. Then you can return to the situation. And then if all else fails, because there are some days when like with COVID, the promise not can be solved today.

[00:25:27.450] – Dr. Taylor
In that case, it's best to redirect your attention on something else. So with COVID. Maybe go back to work. You get some exercise. You hang out with your family. You check the news, whatever it might be. But the important thing is when you start to feel that frustration instead of letting your amygdala take over. Which is totally fruitless and frustrating experience is to re-engage the prefrontal cortex and think through this process.

[00:25:57.100] – Allan
It's much like a personal trainer. You ask people about pain and everybody is like, well, pain is bad. And I kind of correct them a little bit. I say, no, I say pain is not a bad thing. It's actually a very good thing because it's a signal. It's telling you something if you're if you're willing to listen. And frustration kind of works that way in a sense. The way I look at it know, the next time I went out the door, I made sure I had my keys.

[00:26:24.070] – Allan
So it's it's pretty settled right now. I'm going to have my keys on me when I leave my house again. So it was an educational opportunity I guess is the best way for me to look at it. It's silly, I locked myself out and all I needed was the keys that I had left sitting on the counter. And so going forward, when I leave the house, there's a little extra reminder there, kind of seeded emotion. Take your keys with you, dummy, so it doesn't happen again. So I did kind of find you know, I did densify the cause, keys on the counter instead of in my pocket. And now going forward, I have a solution.

[00:27:03.320] – Dr. Taylor
Right. And I think your example of pain is a great one, because when people think of pain, they think about survival. And back on the Serengeti, 250,000 years ago, pain usually meant that you were about to die. So it is sort of very important survival purpose. However, moving forward into the thriving. The reason why people exercise, run marathons is it was easy. Everybody would do it, but probably nobody would do it, because that's not the challenge. It's not thriving. The reason why people push themselves physically is because of the satisfaction, the fulfillment that comes from challenging ourselves and overcoming our limitations.

[00:27:41.910] – Dr. Taylor
And so so pain, yes. Can certainly be bad. But it also can be a really wonderful sign, of I'm working hard. I'm pushing myself, I'm getting better. And so, again, it all is about attitude and how you look at it. And that's the lens through which you experience a crisis, pain, frustration, what it would have you.

[00:28:03.010] – Allan
Yeah, you know, Sometimes it's very difficult for us to kind of take that step, particularly when we're talking about something as big as, say, COVID or the political issues or whatever. When we're dealing with something that's for the most part outside our control, it's a little bit harder to do that. And there's certain people that are more wired to be able to do that and less, you know, back and forth. We can we can train ourselves.

[00:28:31.760] – Allan
And I think that's one of the cool things is going through the book. You spoke about three mindset forks in the road. And really, as I went through that part of the book, I was like, you know, if we kind of say bread ourselves, but worked on ourselves to try to, you know, utilize these three things, we're gonna face challenges so much better. Could you take a little bit of time to go through those?

[00:28:58.880] – Dr. Taylor
Yes. So I talk about mindsets in terms of basically how you think about a situation and how you think about it relates to how you approach it, how you act on it. And so one of my fork in the road is optimism versus pessimism. And so there's no doubt that this perfect storm of crises we're experiencing, they're all really uncomfortable. They're not pleasant at all. But we still have to deal with them.

[00:29:24.200] – Dr. Taylor
And so with COVID, you know, in a way, by getting all negative and going to the dark side, if you're a Star Wars fan, is it adds insult to injury. So the injury is of course is the threat of COVID or getting COVID and economic stress thats on us. But if we go to the dark side and we're negative and we're defeated and we're catastrophizing, that just adds to more the pain and the stress and the doubt and the worry. So we can approach it with what I call realistic optimism, because it wouldn't be reasonable to say, oh, this is a great experience, this is so fun.

[00:29:58.640] – Dr. Taylor
But realistic optimism for me is OK. We're in this situation. What can what can I get out of this? How can this benefit me and my family? And in using the opportunity, for example, to whether it's exercising more or spending more time with the family and connecting with them more or helping others or whatever, it might be approaching the situation with something of an optimistic, positive mindset. And again, it's not being unrealistic its not deluding ourselves to thinking that, oh, this is the greatest thing in the world, which it's clearly not.

[00:30:28.670] – Dr. Taylor
But we need to look at in a more positive way, and it's a bit of a cliche, have a positive attitude about things. But it's a cliche because it really helps. So that's one that's one mindset fork in the road. The second is disrupted versus stable. The fact is, these crises have disrupted our lives. They've thrown a wrench into all our routines and our habits and things that make us feel good and make us comfortable.

[00:30:53.660] – Dr. Taylor
And so we want to look for. We need to actively create stability in our thinking, and in our interactions. So even within COVID, how can we create routines that create a degree of stability and consistency? These, again, human beings like stability and like consistency. Because going back to another 250,000 years ago in the Serengeti, if we didn't see consistency, if we didn't have stability, the chances are we were going to die. And so, you know, we can't create stability in the world writ large, but we can in our lives by, you know, keep the house clean, eating well, staying committed to work, staying committed to other activities that we're involved in.

[00:31:35.680] – Dr. Taylor
That's another really important for the road, seeking out stability, creating stability and consistency in our lives. The third is a fork in the road is comfort versus risk. Again, our wiring tells us that in a crisis, we want to circle the wagons. We want to retreat. We want to be as comfortable as possible. And there's certainly some value in that. At the same time, though, it's really important that during times of crisis that we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and take some reasonable risks and do some and I don't mean unreasonable risks like like coughing in somebody's face or going outside and socializing within a foot of a person.

[00:32:12.640] – Dr. Taylor
I mean, doing things that will continue to challenge us. And this is a thrival side of us. Doing things to continue to push ourselves to grow and to prosper. And so I think some basic things we can do is, for example. I wrote a blog post recently about five life hacks we can we can engage in to attempt to make our lives better and to use this as an opportunity to grow from this crisis, because it's one thing to grow in normal situations, but if we can grow as people in tough situations, then it's a lot easier to keep that going when life returns to normal.

[00:32:53.570] – Dr. Taylor
So one of those hacks is just how you going to use your time? You know without commuting? There's another couple. Maybe for many people it is an extra hour or two of time in the day. Being very deliberate and thoughtful about how you're going to use your time. I think family is another life hack. How can you grow closer to your family? How can you build your relationships in these close quarters?

[00:33:13.330] – Dr. Taylor
The third and this is sort of a personal thing as well as professional is declutter. Because it's something I saw in our neighborhood in Northern California, where in the first month or so after COVID in shelter in place came into play. We there were tons of junk out on the sidewalks because just clearing out the stuff in your house you are never going to use again is really positive. But it's also a metaphor for just clearing out the junk in your mind, because during crises, our minds get cluttered.

[00:33:41.750] – Dr. Taylor
I've mentioned that several time number four for my life back is exercise. They're very as you well know, as a personal trainer, there are very few things that is therapeutic is getting out and getting exercise and moving our bodies and releasing endorphins. And it's just so positive for our mental health, our levels of stress and so on. The fifth life hack for me, and this is a this would make things a little more challenging.

[00:34:06.870] – Dr. Taylor
This is the tribal side is look for old habits that you don't like and you want to change. And might it might be poor reading. It might be lack of exercise. It might be spending too much time at work and might be spending too much time in from a screen, whatever it is. Identify a habit that you don't like and make an effort to change it. These in a way, that's a gift that COVID has given us because we now have the time and the space and a disruption in the routine of our lives which can maintain habits, forces us to break out of those limitations, to find things that we can do to become better people.

[00:34:47.290] – Allan
For me, it was was Facebook. I got myself off of Facebook because it was not helping at all. So I took a I started about a little over a week or so ago. I decide, OK, I take a break. I've taken some short breaks before, but this has been the longest break I've had from Facebook personally in a while. And some of the positive benefits of that is and I can count probably on half of my hand.

[00:35:12.460] – Allan
How many times I've had zero inbox in my life. I've gotten to zero inbox. So, yeah, a couple of your hacks there just fell in place for me here as I've been dealing with kind of the slow down is the best way I can put it, because until COVID picks back up, my life is just gonna move a lot slower.

[00:35:37.500] – Allan
Dr. Taylor, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:35:46.750] – Dr. Taylor
Yes. Great questions. So I have three. One is exercise, and this has obviously been an overriding theme. But I'm an athlete and I so believe in the power of exercise to make us physically healthier as well as mentally healthier and happier. So exercise number one. Two find something you have a tremendous passion for. No doubt if you care deeply about something, you're gonna be engaged. You're gonna be focused. You're just to be more alive.

[00:36:12.970] – Dr. Taylor
So it doesn't matter what it is. It can be work. It can be something sports related. It can be cultural. It can be religious. It doesn't matter. It can be political. Whatever it is. Find something your passion about and dive into it. Because one thing that's very clear from the research is that people who are passionate about things are the happiest people because they care deeply about something and it engages them.

[00:36:35.570] – Dr. Taylor
And the third is connect. And this is a real problem I've had during COVID in the language use. I'm a word guy from writing, speaking, consulting, words for me, they're my stock and trade. And so when I heard about social distancing, I thought, who came up with that phrase? Because we don't want social distancing. We want physical distancing. Six feet is not a social issue. It's a physical issue. And during this time of isolation, we need to connect more than ever.

[00:37:04.630] – Dr. Taylor
We need social interactions. Now, safely, of course. But it's so important that another one of the most robust findings related to both happiness and stress is that the happiest people, the people who are the less least stressed, are those who have the strongest social relationships and connections. And so one way very powerfully to mitigate a lot of these challenges that we're feeling related to the crises is to connect with others. And if we can maintain those connections and deepen them while we are going through this crisis, we're going to respond to it in a much more positive and much more healthy way.

[00:37:42.640] – Dr. Taylor
And we're much more likely to thrive rather than just survive. And it might just be that we'll just survive rather than just totally falling apart. So exercise, dive into a passion or something and make a real effort to connect. Those are my recipes. Those are my ingredients for for health, fitness and happiness.

[00:38:02.930] – Allan
Those are great. So, Dr. Taylor, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen, where would you like me to send them?

[00:38:13.410] – Dr. Taylor
Sure, well, two place for the book, everybody, of course, goes to Amazon. Do a search for that or for my name? Dr. Jim Taylor. And it'll come up and also my Web site. DrJimTayor.com I've got so many things. I've got a blog. I've got podcasts around crises and many other issues. You can learn far more than you probably ever want to know about me and my work on my Web site. DrJimTaylor.com.

[00:38:37.830] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/444, and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Taylor, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:38:47.450] – Dr. Taylor
Great pleasure, Allan, and be well.


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Another episode you may enjoy


Perform better in life with Rocky Snyder

Most of us train our strengths and avoid our weaknesses. In Return to Center, Rocky Snyder shows us how we should be training for longevity instead.


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[00:02:34.380] – Allan
Rocky, welcome to 40+ Fitness. 

[00:02:38.300] – Rocky
Great to be on your show. I really appreciate the time. Thank you.

[00:02:41.550] – Allan
I actually lived in the San Jose area during my career as I was there for about a year before they promoted me and forced me to move to Massachusetts. So I took your route backwards. 

[00:02:55.470] – Rocky
Well, that's fantastic! Now San Jose, yeah we're right over the hill in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the coast here, Central Coast in Santa Cruz. But where did you move to in Massachusetts? 

[00:03:06.200] – Allan
Well, we our offices were in Marlborough. And so I rented a house in Groton and, you know, I would do that drive. But, you know, I I loved, loved, loved going down to Santa Cruz.  That Mountain Pass driving was a little scary, especially sometimes coming back when I was driving and depending on who was drinking? Beautiful, beautiful coastline. Beautiful, beautiful place. And like every time I went down there, I had a good time. So I think you're in a really, really sweet spot there.

[00:03:34.320] – Rocky
We are. You know, Chuck Yeager was the test pilot and fighter pilot who is the first to break the sound barrier. So he was going up in these machines not knowing if they were going to stay together or anything. And the story goes that when he was asked what was the scariest ride he ever took and he said the drive over Highway 17 from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz.

[00:03:55.120] – Allan
 I can believe it. 

[00:03:56.990] – Rocky
I don't know if it's true or not but I'm not going to doubt it. 

[00:04:00.220] – Allan
I can, I can attest to that. It's definitely the scariest ride I've ever done. And I did a 763 foot bungee jump, so, you know. But anyway, your book is called, Return to Center: Strength Training to Realign the Body, Recover from Pain, and Achieve Optimal Performance. And I think everyone here will kind of resonate with the word pain when you're over the age of 40. In many cases, that becomes a regular daily occurrence or a daily part of our lives, unfortunately. And then, you know, when we talk about performance, I was trying to say on here, it's not that we're asking you to run a 100-yard dash or pole vault or run a marathon or anything, but performance is just being the best you you can be. And in many cases, the things we've done in our lives structurally have made us unsound.

[00:04:52.710] – Allan
And your book is basically designed to help us somewhat self diagnose that a little bit and do some exercises that are going to return us to center. So its a really cool book and I was telling you earlier before we got on the call, I was reading the book and I was just thinking the other day I was in my gym, it was  empty because there's no one working out. But I was I was looking in the mirror and I looked at myself for a minute. I said, OK, but after reading your book, I was thinking, damn, he's right. I've got some work to do. 

[00:05:24.690] – Rocky
Well, I think that's the case for everyone in our culture and society. We have evolved so far with technology that it's taken away purposeful physical activity of the human form. And if you don't use it, you lose it. And combine that with maybe surgeries or accidents, illnesses, whatnot. It just draws the body into these places subconsciously that we're adapting into to be the most efficient we can be at any given moment with whatever we're dealing with.

[00:05:57.260] – Rocky
But there's no magic reset button when that experience is all over. Like, you sprain an ankle and you learn subconsciously how to limp around to avoid the pain. And before you know it, that gets normalized. And now the way in which you promote movement and support your body weight has shifted. But the exercise in the gym don't necessarily take that into consideration because most of them were built with the understanding that we're perfectly symmetrical when that actually isn't the case.

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[00:08:00.740] – Allan
So like I'll go into the gym and I'll say, okay, let's load up the deadlift bar and I'll get down and I'll, I'll do a good deadlift with good solid form and then, you know, unlike, crossfit athletes, I'll actually set the bar back down, you know, but I don't think of it in terms, and you kind of brought this up and it's something I don't think about is if I were actually trying to use that in any functional way, let's say like, you know, my wife wants to buy a refrigerator and I want to be able to help bring the refrigerator up a flight of stairs to get it into our apartment.

[00:08:34.700] – Allan
I'm not just lifting the refrigerator up and setting it back down. I'm now going to lift it up and actually start taking some steps with that load and if my structure, you know, it's easy for me to keep my structure intact when I'm just standing still, or at least I think it's easy. It's easier for sure but then I do that lift, but because I'm not necessarily properly aligned, because you know, I've had issues that have happened in the past.

[00:09:02.750] – Allan
I'm so much more prone to injury. And it's not through strength and as you said in the book, it's actually not even really, if you think about it, a true functional strength for me to be able to do a deadlift.

[00:09:13.850] – Rocky
No, in fact, you're doing a deadlift with a compromise structure, repeating the pattern of movement you've developed over the course of that time, which is going to favor the body to bring certain muscles into play, but not others. And then what happens over time is not only does a wear pattern occur probably in joints or tissue like ligaments or tendons, but an imbalance in the levels of forced production that the muscles are generating. So now it's not actually self-correcting in bringing you back into a more balanced align place, but further taking you out of alignment, compromising your structure to a greater degree.

[00:09:55.190] – Rocky
But the interesting thing is now you can generate more force and heavier loads, but your structure is more compromised. So it's just piling more and more weight onto a structure that is weakening over time. And you continue to do that and something has got to give. Whether it's the lower back or a knee or a hip or or headaches or migraines or irritable bowel syndrome, it can manifest in a whole bunch of different ways. It doesn't necessarily have to mean joint pain.

[00:10:22.400] – Rocky
You know, we have so many wonderful approaches in our culture these days that have mainstreamed in to our way of health and fitness, such as chiropractic medicine. It's 125 years old today. It's not today, but this year. And its primary focus is to bring the body back into alignment where joints are properly spaced, where muscles have a proper balance, where internal organs are in their proper position and the nervous system flows unimpeded.

[00:10:53.540] – Rocky
The same thing with acupuncture. If people will go to an acupuncturist, they have a different philosophy. But the fundamental approach or the philosophy is the same. But the approach is different. So they're trying to get the energy to flow unimpeded. And then even massage therapy or yoga. These are all approaches that are all about restoring the body back to a central place. Unfortunately, our culture has created a fitness movement that is based upon the aesthetics of bodybuilding, the explosiveness of Olympic style weightlifting, and the brute force of power lifting, all of which do not take into consideration trying to restore the body back into a more balanced form.

[00:11:40.310] – Rocky
So the whole thought behind the book was, well, can't we take these movements that we're familiar with and create a way in which we can use them as tools to guide us back to a more balanced place where joints have their best spacing, where nerves can actually conduct proper messages to the muscles to produce even greater amounts of force. So we have greater amounts of balance with less wear and tear on the body. And these movements can actually benefit us over the long run and create an enhanced longevity rather than diminish us. That's that's the whole goal within the book.

[00:12:17.470] – Allan
Yeah. Now you put something in the book, and when the first time I read it, I said, OK, I know I obviously misread that. I then I read it again. And then I read it again, like. He just said what I thought he said. And then I read it a third time and like, OK, I'm going to have to keep reading, but I'm also going to use this as a question and ask, you said something in the book that was, the joints move and then the muscles react. 

[00:12:49.780] – Rocky
That's right. Joints act, muscles react. It's one of the laws of motion. According to one of my mentors, Gary Ward, who is the author of What the Foot and an incredible education course for physical therapists, movement specialists, chiropractors and medical doctors even have taken this course, called Anatomy and Motion. And essentially, it's this joints move where joints act and muscles react. Imagine this, Allan. You're standing up and you want to sit down in your chair. Are the muscles pulling you into the chair? 

[00:13:23.870] – Allan
Well, no. In that instance, I'm definitely allowing gravity at the moment.

[00:13:29.190] – Rocky
Gravity, Yes. And therefore, the joints must move. And just moments before the muscles kick in, because the joints move into a falling position and then the muscles control the deceleration of your body into that chair. So the joints act followed by a muscular reaction. That's one way in which we move. The other way is that muscles must lengthen before they shorten. And that would be maybe getting out of the chair as you get out of the chair, you need to lean forward and load tissue, muscle tissue into a lengthened position in order for the nerves to understand that they need to actually now start shortening to lift you out of the chair.

[00:14:12.030] – Rocky
So joints act, muscles react. And then muscles lengthen before they contract and using those those governing laws of human motion, now we can start to look or filter through that how exercises are planned out or even just looking at the common exercises in a gym. Most of them don't really abide by that. Such as just a simple bicep curl that everyone loves or bench press. You know, we focus on the shortening of the muscle, but not necessarily lengthening and loading into the tissue all that much.

[00:14:47.610] – Rocky
It will lengthen, as you say, lower the bar down. But it lengthens back to just the neutral point before shortening back up again. So how we move through space is actually we we elongate the muscle tissue, followed by a very short concentric contraction to propel us forward. Most of the time, it's all about controlling the fall of landing on planet Earth with a very short kind of powerful contraction to leave planet Earth. Then in biomechanics, we call that pronation landing on the planet and supination driving off the planet. 

[00:15:21.350] – Rocky
Those are really our two options when we consider movement. And then it's just variations of pronation or supination. If you do it properly, then all the joints move the way they should. All the muscles react the way they should. Whether you're landing or leaving. But so many people don't do that properly. And so we take that that understanding of biomechanics and apply it to strength and conditioning so that we're not only getting a person stronger and building a more aesthetically pleasing frame, that's those are byproducts. It's really can we get the efficiency of movement re-established, balance better created a posture, restoration occurring. And and just overall, the organic function like organ function, actually restoring if we bring the body back in balance. It's more than just, you know, lifting weights and putting them down.

[00:16:11.040] – Allan
Yeah. And you were in one part of the book. You were talking about this hairdresser, hairstylist. And I think that that one was where it kind of all resonated with me because it was like there was there was one kink in the armor. You know, we'll talk about chains and other bodies, a chain, and if you mess up one little bit and we do, that is a part of corrective exercise. We'll talk about. 

[00:16:33.150] – Allan
We have to deal with this imbalance or this problem or that. But taking it to that level of the joint before the muscle, you had the situation with his hairdresser. And it was a big toe. 

[00:16:45.680] – Rocky
Yeah. You know, the hardest thing for me to unlearn doing what I do is to not go to the muscle or soft tissue first because we're trained as trainers to know what muscle does what. But we're not trained in terms so much of what the joints do. And when we talk about joints now, I'll tell you about the hairstyle, the story a second. But when we talk about joints, we've got three hundred and sixty joints in the body and those joints are surrounded by a whole bunch of muscles, not just one muscle or one big muscle, but dozens of muscles around most joints like the big ones, especially like the hip and pelvis, had fifty seven muscles that cross over the pelvis.

[00:17:25.950] – Rocky
Some go down the legs, some go up to the spine, a rib cage or a couple go to the arms. You know, we've got all these muscles that cross a joint and conventionally we've been blaming one particular muscle that being weak or using the word inhibited in trying to get that one muscle to turn on and all the world's problems will be solved because we get the glute medias to fire. But in truth, maybe it's just the way in which the joints are moving that are shutting that muscle off.

[00:17:53.390] – Rocky
Maybe if we got the joints to properly move through three dimensional space that we awaken and restore all the soft tissue so that it's not just the glute that's turning on that we need. What about turning off other tissue? So in the case of the hairstylists, this neighboring salon a person came over from and she could not lift her arm beyond shoulder height and without excruciating pain. And she had worked pretty well with the physical therapist to get her arm, at least up to that point over the course of weeks or months. 

[00:18:27.610] – Rocky
And she just came over and say, is there anything you can do to help me? I had to go home yesterday. I couldn't even cut. I'm in so much pain, I can barely lift my arm. I can't even hold scissors right now. So we just went through a history of what her life had been like. What has she experience? And maybe it was something really recent. Like she had fallen and landed on her shoulder.

[00:18:48.140] – Rocky
That could have been it. But it wasn't she didn't have anything wrong with her shoulder. She didn't hit it or hurt it in any way. It's something that developed over time. We found out she had a hysterectomy. She told me about you shared that information, which could very well the scar could have pulled her out of alignment  and put strain on her frame and made it harder for her to lift her shoulder. She had broken her big toe, and actually had surgery where she had pins in the base of her foot had to be implanted or inserted so that they could create, I guess, a better position for the foot. Whatever the orthopedic thought was the the way of doing it. That's what they did. And there was some other kind of things going on. What we found out, was well, I honestly, I just asked her to lift her big toes off the floor with her feet on the ground just to see what kind of movement those toes might have.

[00:19:41.840] – Rocky
And she couldn't lift her injured foot, the toes of that foot off the ground at all, which to me, knowing how joints have a relationship with one another was something I really wanted to explore. And so we started looking at that. She said, oh, you know what? I had this this fall and when a few years after I had that surgery on the foot and actually the pins dislodged through the surface of my soul and they had to remove them.

[00:20:10.750] – Rocky
I'm like,  Wow. Well, that's pretty significant information. What do you think the likelihood of her brain is thinking about putting weight on a foot where the last time that happened, like pins shot out the base of it? Chances are no one's going to want to put some weight on that area. So we started to get some weight onto her foot and get her to load weight properly over that injured site, which is no longer painful because the injury was so long ago.

[00:20:40.040] – Rocky
But the brain doesn't know that it's still on this feedback loop of doing the same pattern over and over to try and survive that injury and surgery and so on. So once we got weight over that foot, I asked her just to check in with her range of motion on that shoulder and she was able to raise it up over shoulder height, not quite overhead, but without any pain. And she was just kind of like, wow, that's OK, I didn't do anything for your shoulder. 

[00:21:07.460] – Rocky
We didn't do any stretches or rubber band exercises. All we did was put weight on the front of your foot. And now your shoulder moves better. Well, isn't that something worth exploring? So we did a little bit more loading onto that that foot loading into the leg, getting the joints to behave in a way that they should. The knee should go this way. The hips should go that way. The pelvis should tilt this way.

[00:21:29.420] – Rocky
The rib cage should tilt this way and so on, and just get her to feel these movements. And then she checked in with her shoulder again and her arm shot clear up to the ceiling. No pain. She was able to reach back behind her as if she was like sitting in a chair and reaching back for her purse. No pain. She was just dumbstruck. And really, it just shows you that symptom based approach. When somebody, if somebody goes into a doctor or some type of professional and says, I have shoulder pain. The first thing they're gonna do is look at the shoulder. 

[00:21:59.540] – Rocky
If there's inflammation, they're going to tell them, take anti inflammatories and rest it. When the inflammation is just saying, I'm using this maybe too much or I'm using it in a way that it's not meant to use. Maybe there's some other areas that aren't doing their fair share in life. Maybe we should hunt down those. They don't do that. They just look at the symptom. They may give them some type of shoulder action and then send them on their way.

[00:22:23.900] – Rocky
And the problem wasn't there at all. It was just the problem was really the foot and how she managed the mass of her body standing at work and walking through space. And that opposite shoulder was taking its toll because of it. 

[00:22:39.560] – Allan
Yeah. Now, we touched on this before. And I think it's. I think it's. First, a circle back around and actually go through them, but you said your mentor came up with this anatomy of emotion. In the book, you shared five rules. Could you go through those five rules, which we touched on one of them? Could you go through the rest of them?

[00:22:57.200] – Rocky
Certainly. So joints act, muscles react, which is a very hard one for a lot of people to get their head around. Once you do, it opens up a greater understanding of human movement. In essence, muscles lengthen before they shorten. So we have to like a rubber band, we have to cool back before we let it go flying. That's just how muscles will work. We lengthen and load before we explode. Then we're also hardwired for perfection.

[00:23:24.200] – Rocky
So if we think about the brain's primary purpose, it's first primary goal is to survive. And in order for that brain to survive, it must have oxygen. Fuel. Blood flow. And that means that anything that takes away from its primary purpose is going to be not as efficient as it needs to be. So the brain is constantly adjusting on a subconscious autonomic level, the way in which the body is moving and existing in the most efficient way it can.

[00:23:59.120] – Rocky
And that means that say you sprain your ankle. Now, what way are you going to move? Well, the brain is going to say, well, we've got to shift the weight a little bit over more onto this leg. We'll let the person push off their toes. But we're not going to come striking down on the heel because that's going to be painful. So we need to adjust it. No, it's not the most efficient way, but it's the next most efficient way that we can do it.

[00:24:22.460] – Rocky
You don't sprain your ankle and suddenly the brain says, you know what? Let's start by doing handsprings or walking on your hands. That would not make sense. So we are hard wired for perfection. On the flip side of that, if we give the body or the brain an efficient, a more efficient way of moving than what it currently is doing, then the brain is going to say, oh, that's actually a better way. It's reducing the need to expend excess energy.

[00:24:49.910] – Rocky
So that means better survival for me. Let's reinforce that movement pattern more. So if we can put somebody into a place where they are moving more efficiently, the brain is going to reinforce that, especially if that movement is reinforced physically over time, the brain will just continually try and strive for that. And so there's three we orbit around a center, meaning that as you stand still, you're not really standing still. Your breath is bringing the rib cage in and out.

[00:25:23.360] – Rocky
The food that you digested is moving through your body. Blood is coursing throughout your body and your mass is constantly shifting over your feet to try and keep you from falling down. So we're always orbiting around this ideal center. And the further we travel from center, the more compromised our structure and the weaker we typically are. So when the chiropractor adjusts your spine or hips or whatever, and pulls you back into better alignment, you're actually in a much more balanced place.

[00:25:55.790] – Rocky
And you have a center that is closer to the ideal from which you can orbit. And so that's that's a big part of what we look for, as is where is a person's mass and where is their center? Can we restore it into a more efficient manner and halfway between both feet, halfway between forward and back, where ideally, no matter where you go, you're starting from a central place. And then the other one is your your movements are dictated by your perceived center.

[00:26:28.530] – Rocky
So not the the true ideal. But wherever you find yourself shifting your body, that normalizes. And the further away you get from center, the less you are going to move optimally. You will, there are plenty of athletes out there that are not properly aligned and they are some of the best ones to get around their imbalances and their restrictions and still be world class athletes. But just imagine if we were to take that world class athlete and actually bring them back into a much more centrated place. What might their potential be from there? 

[00:27:05.600] – Rocky
So those are the five rules of movement. And so we're for a motion that I will not only abide by, but I use as a governing kind of compass to help direct the programs we design in our studio to be the most effective they can be for all people that come in here. And I've had NFL players, NHL, NBA,  Santa Cruz isn't the hub for those sports, but they wander through here and they'll train with me.

[00:27:37.230] – Rocky
I've got some World-Class surfers, of course, being in Santa Cruz, but then we've also got grandparents and little kids. Everybody can really abide by the philosophy of restoring a person back to a central place for optimal movement and performance compared to the conventional way that it's been going on for four decades now.

[00:28:00.950] – Allan
And the conventional way, which is the way we were brought up, you know, muscle fitness and the whole bit. And we always thought about movement. And, you know, you talked about the pillars of human movement when you got into this strength part of the book, and I thought it was fascinating because I got into there and it was you know, we talked about level changing the push and the pool, which I think any fundamental exercise program is really going to focus on those three things.

[00:28:28.380] – Allan
They just always have and always will. It's the rotation and the locomotion, which are the other two that seem to get ignored in the strength formula. Can you talk a little bit about the pillars of human movement and how we can utilize those to optimize the work that we are doing? Because we're going to do some strength training. We need to know how we can optimize it using those fillers.

[00:28:52.080] – Rocky
Well, the interesting thing about the first three level change, which is examples, the four major examples would be a squat, a deadlift, a lunge and a step up. Two of those, more often than not, are are performed bilaterally, meaning that both legs are doing the exact hopefully the exact same thing. At the same time, when you're doing a squat, both legs should be flexing at the hips and knees and ankles on the lowering down and then reverse directions as you come up.

[00:29:21.180] – Rocky
And the deadlift we're hinging at the hips and we're tilting in the pelvis and so on. But if. The same thing is kind of holding true when we think about push and pull more often, when somebody thinks about pushing exercise, they're going to think of push ups and bench press. When they think of pulling, they're going to think of some type of inverted pull up or a pull up itself or a seated row. All of these are bilateral movements.

[00:29:46.930] – Rocky
And so the interesting thing I find, Allan, is that the majority of programs that that I see sometimes from other trainers, from professional sports teams even, is that they are so heavily biased toward these bilateral movements that all they're concerned with is this forward and backward action. In fact, most every exercise I've just listed, the squat, the deadlift, the bench press, push ups, pull ups, they can all be performed inside a doorway. So there's no real lateral movement and there's no rotational movement.

[00:30:19.990] – Rocky
And yet we're trying to train maybe athletes with these programs, say, a basketball player or a tennis player where a lot of their movement is three dimensional. They are shifting side to side covering the court. They're having to spin or turn to return a ball or to pass it or to pivot around a defender. And yet they're doing the majority of their strength and conditioning is all forward and back. So what happens is if it hampers or or dampens their ability to move in three dimensions.

[00:30:50.650] – Rocky
So when it comes to rotation, there's many ways that we can create rotation. In fact, if you looked at an anatomy chart, you'll find that most muscles attach not in a complete vertical or horizontal manner, but they're diagonal that the striations are attaching in one area in either going up or down in a slanting action before attaching somewhere else to the body. So when those muscles shorten, they actually cause rotation. And when we run, we've got to have one leg swing forward while the other pushes off from behind or the opposite arm is swinging forward while the other one is driving back, creating rotation through the rib cage and the pelvis.

[00:31:28.930] – Rocky
And there's even rotation occurring down into our ankles and our knees, our neck, our elbows. And yet, if we're not incorporating some kind of maybe a reeducation or a renaissance of movement with rotation, then chances are they're not going to be doing it properly and only areas that are really willing to rotate are going to take on the role of that. And unfortunately, one of the most common places that's not really designed for rotation, but take on the rotation when the hips or mid back or locked up is the lower back.

[00:32:03.260] – Rocky
And 80% of the people that we come into contact with sometime in our life are going to have a lower back issue, some greater than others. But the the amount of sitting that we do as a nation and the amount of standing in place without purposefully moving through space are going to lock down the hips and lock down the middle back. And the place in between that. That link in between is going to wreak havoc on our whole existence because the back is only meant to maybe rotate five or six degrees left and right, not as much as, say, it is asked to on a regular basis.

[00:32:36.520] – Rocky
And then when it comes to locomotion. Well, I mean, we've been we've been on our feet for two million years being hominids, you know, on contralateral bipeds, meaning that one arm swings opposite with a leg. And we do that. Hopefully the average American does five thousand steps a day. But ideally, we want to do 10000 steps a day like the average Europeans, I guess. So we wear those little Fitbit to let us know that we're not moving enough.

[00:33:03.310] – Rocky
Right. So even if you did the math, if we were to ideally do 10000 steps a day, that's three million six hundred fifty thousand repetitions over the course of a year. And if you're not doing it well, if you're not actually landing properly, then you're going to do that for almost four million repetitions, almost two million times on each leg improperly.

[00:33:26.320] – Rocky
So if you land not so well on your foot, that's going to have an effect on how the knee has to behave in the hip and the spine. So much so that then people want to go and run. So now you've taken improper gait mechanics, people that are compromised in the way of moving, whether great or small, and now you're going to apply more force and activity to it. It's no wonder that we're going to see a lot of Covid related running injuries already, if not over the next few months, because that's one of the things people can do while they're sheltered in place, is just go outside and go for a jog.

[00:34:02.560] – Rocky
Well, if you've been sedentary for a prolonged period of time, there's no magic reset button you can hit when you walk out the door. It's just going to restore it. So it's probably a good idea to get a sense of where your missing movement, what's moving too much. Can I create a program that helps to address those issues and balance things out? 

[00:34:24.180] – Allan
And you've got some great guidelines and exercises in the book. So someone can actually physically look at themselves in the mirror or have someone else look at them and kind of give them somewhat of a diagnosis of saying, OK, there's an issue here that we want to we want to drill down a little bit more into.

[00:34:40.430] – Rocky
Yeah. Exactly. There's three assessment tools that we put in the book. One is simply an easy way, a quick kind of resources. Where is the weight in your feet? Because by knowing that we can have somewhat of an educated guess what might be going on with the rest of your structure. Just where your mass is migrating toward. If you have more weight on one heel and the opposite forefoot, that's telling us you've got some torsion or rotation in your frame somewhere.

[00:35:08.970] – Rocky
And we can kind of just map it out where it might be and get a sense of. OK, well, these these movements these drills may be good for you to start to explore and see if you benefit from them. Then you can do, like you say, a posture assessment standing in the mirror where my shoulders  relative to my head or where is my pelvis? Is one slightly higher on one side than the other. Do I tilt forward into my hips or do they tuck under.

[00:35:34.650] – Rocky
And so on. And then the third way of assessing is the breakdown of gait mechanics to a very basic degree, like can my hips and pelvis tilt forward and backwards? Can they sway evenly side to side? Can they tilt evenly unrestricted side to side? And can they rotate left or right? And you can do the same thing with the rib cage and the shoulders. And once you understand what's missing in these are where you struggle. It tells you, well these are the movements that you should have at your disposal every time you take a step across the room. 

[00:36:08.200] – Rocky
And if you struggle with these basic movements, then, you know, you're compromising  your whole way of moving and compensating and asking areas to do more than they should. So you can take the gait mechanics and this movement kind of assessment. You can do a static posture assessment or you can do foot pressure. Any of those will lead you down the same trail to get to where maybe you might want to explore in terms of movement, flexibility and what now?

[00:36:34.260] – Allan
A lot of times when we're not moving well and we do that for a number of times, we could be three million, it could be one hundred million, because we've been doing it for decades. We're going to invariably end up with a side effect. And that side effect we typically call pain because we want to groove. And that's not the kind of groove we want to have. So we have to deal with pain. And in the book, you share some guidelines for pain. Could you share those with us? I think this is I think this is really important for us to know, because really, I think this brings forward something that most of us are looking for help with pain. And I think many cases when a recognized movement can actually be part of the solution. 

[00:37:13.140] – Rocky
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. First, I mean, pain pain is a wonderful thing. It may not feel great in the moment, but pain as it is, is  the subconscious brain's way of trying to communicate with a conscious mind and letting you know that whatever you're doing in this moment is not necessarily what we need to do.

[00:37:37.200] – Rocky
It's stressing us and it's creating a threat within those, you know, ultimately the survival of the brain. So the brain is going to send a threat signal to the conscious minds to let it know whatever is going on right now. Can we change that a little bit? It doesn't mean that we have to stop necessarily moving and rest and ice compression elevation. That may be the case for some things, but it could be that your brain is saying, you know, when you do this, let's take the squat for an example. When you do the squat and your knee is creating some pain. It doesn't mean that there's something going on in the knee. It could just mean that the mechanics that you're creating here are not the most ideal and it's putting strain in a place that isn't ready to handle so much. 

[00:38:25.830] – Rocky
So pain can come on many levels. A low level of pain might be simply itching.  And a high level of pain is obviously something so excruciating that your frozen can't move or you've got to find a place where you can get out of it.

[00:38:41.580] – Rocky
So there are some guidelines. Like one thing is don't try and move into pain. And this is the whole, can we smash the no pain, no gain mentality that we've been brought up with generation after generation? In essence, I want to quote Gary Gray with the Gray Institute. He's out in Michigan, a phenomenal physical therapist who has done remarkable work for the entire fitness industry and physical therapy world as far as I'm concerned. He once said, I want the body to sing, not scream.

[00:39:13.230] – Rocky
And I've used that as a guiding light to to know what movements I really want my clients and for that matter myself to try and explore. The body shouldn't be burning, burning, burning. Like, I'm really just trying to get the burn going, because that's not really truly what I need. I want to feel that the body is after a workout that I am almost floating, that I am springing almost weightless, that I'm feeling taller in my body, that I have better alignment, that my movements are not something that I have to premeditate in regards to how am I going to climb these stairs or how am I going to bend over? 

[00:39:56.350] – Rocky
You shouldn't have to think how to move. The body should naturally wanted to. But so many people are hesitant to move because the pain response has been something that has been reinforced over time. So don't move into pain. Recognize pain for what it is in that it's your brain's way of telling you we might need to look at this, maybe modify the movement.

[00:40:21.220] – Rocky
Maybe you're going too far and you need to just shorten it a little bit to a point where you can accommodate the movement and then start to explore the ranges a little bit more. Those those are basically the guidelines that that I encourage people here. And I'm constantly saying, how does that feel after every movement? Go ahead and walk around, use even simple walking as your assessment. Does that feel better? Where do you feel this? There's a whole bunch of ways we can assess after every movement.

[00:40:50.030] – Rocky
But simply put, walking is a great way, especially for me doing gait analysis. I can see an immediate effect following an exercise on anybody that does it more often than not and go, OK that's that's what they need right now. That is actually drawing them back into a more comfortable swing with their arms, their bodies more lined, whatever the case may be.

[00:41:10.930] – Allan
And I think I appreciate you saying that. No pain, no gain, because I just think that mantra is going to take us a long, long time to kill that one. But, you know, one of the key things that I came out of this with as we were talking, you know, the whole strength part was fascinating, was that we don't often think about the value of efficiency. We think about the brute force of big, strong and moving big things, particularly guys, you know, the egos of how much can you bench mindset. 

[00:41:39.100] – Allan
But if you can move more efficiently. Then you're moving more weight without that additional muscle mass or effort. And I think that's a key thing that a lot of people miss, is that,  you'll see them.  We used to call them Grandpa strong or farm boy strong where they're wiry and thin. But somehow they're a lot stronger than you would ever give them credit for. And it's just because they have good movement patterns.

[00:42:07.380] – Allan
They work outdoors, they they do their things and they've just developed good movement. And they're efficient. They're very efficient with the way they're using strength.

[00:42:15.870] – Rocky
And the brain itself, the brain is the governing wire here in terms of the ability to shrink levels or force production. However, you'd like to consider it, if your body is in a compromised position, the brain is going to lower the level of forced production as a protective mechanism so that you don't get injured more often than not. So if you bring yourself back into a more structurally integrated place, that is balance where the joints can communicate and they have this beautiful, connected, integrative relationship with each other, then the brain is going to say, hey, we're good.

[00:42:52.830] – Rocky
Let's let's go for it. Let's let's exert more force. So that brings into question what strength really, what is strength? Is strength just your ability to produce force? If so, I can actually get somebody stronger in just a matter of seconds. Like, for instance, just have them do some particular exercise where they're challenging their strength level and then give them a movement that draws them back into better alignment, whether it be a mobility drill or actually strength exercise or maybe it's honestly just using the foam roll and hitting some target spots that have been drawing them out of alignment and then have them try that same movement again and reassess their strength levels.

[00:43:36.210] – Rocky
And I can easily make it so that their strength levels elevate then compared to the initial time or, you know, opposite in the spectrum, I give them the wrong thing and their strength levels decrease because it's pulled them further out of alignment. We're constantly in flux. And the other thing I'll say is that everyone is has a tendency to do the movements they are good at and not necessarily the movements that they need to improve upon. We focus on our strengths and neglect the areas where our bodies struggle to move into and out of.

[00:44:12.840] – Rocky
So everyone that goes to the gym has a certain program that they follow. And if they change the program around, they're still going to be a couple of exercises they'd like to do. And that's good to some degree, we have certain movement. So and then we reinforce that. So we never ask the question, well, where is it that I'm weak? Where where do I need to actually move my body? Where do I not go? Because  the less we go there, the more likely the brain is just going to negate that movement entirely. So we're not going to know how to experience it. So a key here to get the body to be more efficient is to explore all movements that we can create. And  that takes time. But it's a nice process nonetheless.

[00:45:00.810] – Allan
And that's why I appreciate the self realisation as I thought back of looking at myself in the mirror, because I do think there's there's a lot of improvement that I now see in myself that I think I was a little bit blind to before. If you're hitting your numbers, you know, I've got that deadlift down to about where I want it for this age. I've got that squat and now my bench press is OK, but it could be better, you know, kind of thing. But the bilateral Push-Pull level stuff that was always been out there and I just see a huge opportunity for for me to improve. 

[00:45:33.990] – Rocky
Yeah. Well, I love the fact that your listening audience at the 40 Plus Fitness podcast, obviously you might have some under 40, but that's about the cutoff point for those that have been exercising all their life in the conventional way.

[00:45:48.210] – Rocky
And and repetitive action, shoulder impingement could be considered repetitive stress syndrome for bench pressing repetitively over time. Right. It's not just carpal tunnel, but somewhere along the way, in the forties, we start to realize, oh, OK, this I got to think of my future in longevity and do I want to go through surgery after surgery of replacing this joint or that joint and so on. Now we have to rethink the way in which we exercise. And it's not just about the mating ritual of life in the 20s and trying to find your significant other in a bikini on the beach or whatever it is.

[00:46:24.570] – Rocky
We actually have to think about what true fitness and health is for me as I go into my 50s, 60s and beyond. So  the routines that we've been following, bodybuilding based circuit machines in the gym and those type of things have had their time in the sun, I guess. Now it's time to rethink how it is we want to treat our bodies as we go into the summer of our life in the autumn and so on. 

[00:46:50.390] – Allan
Now, Rocky, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:47:00.860] – Rocky
Wow, that's a great way of defining wellness. You know, I don't give a lot of recommendations on nutrition because that is a science unto itself that would require an entire lifetime to focus on. There are certain things that I have a tendency to lean toward, and that is food not made by man. So those that are found in nature and hopefully those that are grown in that manner are the things we might want to put into our body that we're working with. Staying away from from processed issues.

[00:47:38.720] – Rocky
So the fittest. Well. I guess would have to think about what fit is fit for me is the ability to have the ability physically to pursue whichever activity I so desire. Now, it may need some conditioning. For instance, I enjoy surfing and mountain biking. But if I were to start to change my enjoyment towards, say, oh, maybe running or basketball, well, I'm not in running or basketball shape. I am in surfing and mountain biking shape. So I might have to create a kind of a different approach to that in order to get there.

[00:48:25.100] – Rocky
And happiest. Happiest. All right. Happiest is we're talking a mood that can change at any point in time that actually can shift much more readily and more quick than, say, healthy and fit. But happiest for me is community service, because getting outside the self. Anything that's self-serving. I guess healthy and fit would be more the self. Focused the centric way of of helping to create wellness within.

[00:48:57.460] – Rocky
But then we have to think of the other aspect, the duality of nature and how I find happiness is going outside of myself, doing things for others without being found out and not telling anything to anybody about it. That's that's a huge one for me. OR just offering things out to the community. For instance, since we've been in sheltered in place March 16th, we've just opened up online exercise for the community at large, senior fitness classes, kids, P.E. classes, Spanish speaking classes, webinars for health and wellness  and asking nothing in return, just simply putting it out there for the community free of charge and whatnot, because that's hopefully that's what we do, is we help each other out and and we we grow as a society and help one another. So I think those for me, those are strategies and tactics that I would take. 

[00:49:55.700] – Allan
Thank you, Rocky. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about what you're doing and your book, Return to Center, where would you like me to send them? 

[00:50:05.950] – Rocky
Rockysnyder.com.  You can go to rockysnyder.com. You can also go to YouTube, because the one thing I didn't mention about the book is within the book we have embedded these little QR codes. So as you're reading through the book or the e-book, which will soon be released, probably by the end of July, if not right about now, you'll take that QR code with your phone and just scan over it with your camera.

[00:50:32.470] – Rocky
And instantly, a YouTube video pertaining to that drill or concept or exercise will appear on your phone to give you even more insight and it'll be maybe two to four minute video. So it's hopefully going to be more like a pocket personal trainer, which will give you even more information than the written word would. So they can they can go to the YouTube channel that all the videos are housed on, which you can just search my name, Rocky Snyder, CSCS, which is certified strength conditioning specialist.

[00:51:03.160] – Rocky
And we've got hundreds, literally hundreds. I think I'm up to about 400 videos on there. And some of them are the ones I spoke of earlier about the community service where if you are, say, 60 plus or more and you want some movements for you or your say 40 and you want to learn how you can get a workout just using a backpack only, there's a whole bunch of different things you can check out.

[00:51:28.030] – Allan
Cool. Rocky, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. 

[00:51:32.970] – Rocky
It's been my pleasure. And I just appreciate the opportunity to come on in and share and and I hope that somebody finds some good within the pages of the book. And if you do, I'd love to hear about it. You can email me rocky@rockysfitnesscenter.com. I'd love to get feedback whether you think it was a good book or not. Let me know. I take criticism, I guess. No, I don't take criticism very well. I'd like to say I do, but I'm not that big of a person. 

[00:52:00.730] – Allan
It was a good book.

[00:52:02.080] – Rocky
Thank you.

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