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On this episode, we talk about coming back after an illness or injury when you're over 40.
On today's episode, I wanted to talk about coming back from injury or illness over 40. As you may have heard, I was diagnosed with covid a little over a month and a week ago and not a cool thing and not a cool thing at all, but they put me in an ambulance, drove me home and said, sit your butt in this house for two weeks.
They did give me some food and we had some friends that could shop for us. So we were OK. But it did kind of mess with my plans. I had the basic symptoms, fatigue, cold and flu stuff, loss of taste and smell, and this really weird phantom smell thing, which I won't go into, but just recognize that it set me back. And it's fairly common for this to be happening on a regular basis for anyone over the age of 40.
It's inevitable, I guess would be the better word for us to have some form of injury or some illness over the course of our adult lives. And so how we deal with this, particularly when we're over 40, is really, really important. OK, so I'm diagnosed with covid. I can't go anywhere. Definitely can't go to the gym. And while I'm on that topic, it's a regular thing people will be asking typically during the cold and flu season.
So maybe less now this time of year, because we're really more kind of into the allergy season. But during the cold flu season, the question be, should I go to the gym if I'm sick? OK, and I'll just go ahead and put this out there. As a general rule, if you can avoid going to the gym sick, please do. The rest of us don't want to get sick. You know, you have covid. Absolutely do not go to the gym, you know, but other than that, if you have symptoms above the neck, you're more than safe to go out and do some work.
I prefer you do it outside, do it away from people, do it at home. If it's in the chest or low, you know, below the neck, you don't really need to be doing anything. And if there's a fever involved, definitely not a time for you to be exercising. This is the time for you to be focused on recovery. And we'll talk about that in a few minutes. But in a general sense, if you're sick, this might be a good time for you to go ahead and take some time off and recover and get yourself better before you worry about doing anything else.
And obviously, again, with covid entirely different matter, with injuries, maybe even a little bit different, and we'll get into each of those a little bit further as we go along. So the first thing is to recognize that injuries and illnesses are inevitable. You're going to have to face them at some point in your adult life. And so it's not something where you need to push back on yourself and be angry, sad, you know, all those negative emotions that you might have about it.
Those aren't going to serve you. They're not going to help you at all, OK? What you need to do is be able to take a step back objectively and do a couple different things. So the first thing you want to do is, is a basic evaluation. Was there something in your basic behavior that caused this injury? So let's say you were out and about and you weren't paying attention and you tripped and you broke your arm. OK, obviously not watching what you're doing, not paying attention.
You fell. OK? And by falling, you broke yourself. OK, an evaluation would be OK. Probably don't need to have that there. And I probably need to be a little bit more aware of my surroundings when I do particular things. You know, my wife and I own this bed and breakfast and there's the stairs coming down from the top to the bottom. Now we're living upstairs. While we do the renovation, we move downstairs this won't be as big of an issue, but in the morning when I get up in it's dark, but the lights are on downstairs, the slats in the wood, kind of shine this really weird cross angles on the steps as you walk down.
And I see that and I say, OK, that's a trip and fall hazard because I might see the step going a certain way when it goes a different way. So I've had my wife put in some pads so it's more skid resistant and we're putting in some motion sensitive lights. So someone's walking down the stairs, the lights will shine and that will negate that cross light thing. So paying attention to your environment so you avoid injuries, not doing certain things that cause injuries.
Like when I was doing deadlifts and wanted for some reason, do 500 pound dead lift, you know, overdoing it, overstressing over, you know, those are opportunities where your body's telling you through that pain, which is the signal something's not right. Use that time and evaluate that pain, evaluate why it happened and see if your behavior needs to change. Many times that's not the case, but there are times it is so being aware of that's very, very important.
The next thing to understand about all this is that injuries and illness, particularly when you're over 40, is not a stop button. It's a pause button too many times I'll be talking to folks almost every day, actually, and someone will say, yeah, I hurt my back, I hurt my knee, hurt my hip. In many cases, like three, five, 10 years ago, And they're not doing any activity now because it hurts. And that's just tragic. That just I mean, that eats at my soul, because when you stop moving, you stop living.
When you stop moving, you start deteriorating and you have to move to live, so if we're not doing anything to improve our fitness, to improve our health because of an injury, basically that injury beat us and we're letting that injury beat us. So this is not a stop button. We just have to figure this out and it's just a pause button. So pause, figure it out and let's move forward. So the first step, recover, OK?
Too many times people will injure themselves and they won't go to physical therapy. They won't do their physical therapy homework. They won't do what's necessary to get past this. The doctor gave them the pain meds. The pain meds solve the problem or at least the symptom, and they move on with their lives. If they try to lift anything or do something, it hurts and they're back on the pain meds. They don't want to do that. So they stop.
OK, so recover first. Do your physical therapy, get your stuff done. Your quarantine is two weeks that I sat in that bed and breakfast recovering, couldn't go to the gym, couldn't do the things I wanted to do, but I did what I could do and I recovered. I got healthy. That's job number one.
Next is to look for opportunities and buy opportunities. I mean, OK, so let's say you broke your arm, OK? I have a client that happens this to. Actually two one one hurt his wrist, another hurt her elbow. But basically a client gets injured not through their lifting, not through their other stuff. They just have an accident and there's an injury. This is a perfect opportunity for them to work on other modalities, they can work on mobility in their legs and hips, they can work on strength in their legs and hips. They can if the jarring doesn't hurt too much, they can start working on stamina work. They can do core work. There's just so many opportunities, so many other modalities that you would normally neglect.
But now that you have an injury so you can't do your prime thing, this is a great opportunity for you to spend that time doing something else that's going to improve you overall. OK, so use this time as an opportunity. If it's an illness, I used that covid time as an opportunity to really work on mindfulness and meditation. I spent a lot of time thinking, a lot of time in my head that I wouldn't normally have given myself the time to do, but because I was so fatigued that I couldn't really exercise the way I wanted to, I couldn't go anywhere and do anything I wanted to do. It was a great opportunity for me to sit and reflect and do the things I needed to do for better mental health, better clarity. So look for opportunities during this recovery time.
And then when you do come back stronger, have the plan, have the thing ready to go. And so we go into this injury and we're at a certain level. And too many times people will say, OK, well, I'm losing so much ground, I'm losing so much ground. The reality is you're probably not losing as much ground as you think. And if you're working on other modalities and other things, if you're taking those opportunities, you're probably a lot better off than you would have been otherwise.
So take a step back. Yes, you do need to take that step back and then start to retrace your route. So how does this look? OK, from a stamina perspective, let's say you did something to your ankle and or your foot and you're no longer able to run. OK, if you're out for a few weeks, maybe you cut down your distance and speed by. I don't know, 10 percent. If you're out for more than two months, you might have to cut back 50 percent.
So what does that look like? Again, let's say you were running and your long runs were around, you know, five miles, your medium short runs or somewhere around the two to three miles. And so you go back to do your first run. After that, you're in the one to two mile range, your long runs or more in the three, three and a half range. And then you build up from there and it'll come back pretty quickly.
Muscle remembers it can get back to its previous state pretty quickly if you don't let too much time pass. And then promote like a weightlifting perspective, let's say you're working and you have a particular lift and you're doing 50 pounds on this particular lift. When you hurt yourself, when you come back, if you're out for a couple of weeks, a few weeks, maybe you drop it down to 45, so you cut about 10 percent off that and feel how that works for you.
If you're out longer than that, maybe you drop it down to 25 and you do some reps, you get your sets in and you see how things are going. You'll improve pretty quickly. And as I mentioned before, you have that muscle memory. So your body's going to come back a lot quicker than you think it would.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Reel Paper.
A little over two years ago, my wife and I moved to Bocas del Toro, Panama. It has opened our eyes to many things that you don't get exposed to in the United States. One is how much waste we humans create, and another is how impoverished people often live in unsanitary conditions. Reel Paper is a company that's working on both of these issues. Reel Paper sells toilet paper and paper towels made from 100% bamboo, which grows faster, requires less water, creates more oxygen, a.k.a. less greenhouse gases, and doesn't require replanting after harvesting.
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So to wrap all this up, I think that kind of the core concepts of all this is one, recovering from injury and illness over 40 requires you to have a good mindset. You need to wrap your mind around the fact that you have control. You're not out of control. Yes, this happened. It was inevitable that eventually something bad was going to happen. It just does. Get past it.
This was not a stop button. This was a pause. So do your evaluation understand why this happened? See if there's things you need to correct around you, your environment, yourself, the way you approach things. Slow down in some cases if you need to, but understand why the injury occurred or why the illness occurred. And let's do something about it, OK? Next, your why envision probably haven't changed this whole thing. And if you stop, then you're losing it.
You're losing that whole thing that got you going in the first place. So go back to that mindset, get your mind right. Get yourself back thinking about your why envision. And then you're in a good place, then work through your recovery, make you recover your first priority, make recovery your workout, make recovery the most important thing you do for yourself, and then look for those other opportunities that you may have otherwise neglected, like working on mobility, working on balance, working on strength or, you know, working on stamina, things that you may not have paid much attention to when you were focused on other things that you can't do now because of injury or illness.
And then finally take that step back if you need to. Don't go in this full force thinking you're just as strong as you were the day you left. You need to give your body an opportunity to regroup, retrain and get back to where it was. So retrace your route. Don't go back in thinking you're right where you were. You are going to lose a little bit. You're not going to lose that much, but you are going to lose little.
So go into it smart and get yourself back where you deserve to be.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Eric More||– Leigh Tanner|
|– Deb Scarlett||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Debbie Ralston||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Eliza Lamb||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
Many of us miss the opportunity to have more accountability and build a stronger relationship just by working out together. Today we discuss working out with your partner.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Naked Nutrition, what does getting naked mean for supplements? It means no unnecessary additives. It means premium sourced ingredients without fillers. So you don't need to compromise on your diet or your goals. That's what Naked Nutrition offers.
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Post show with Rachel.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Eric More||– Leigh Tanner|
|– Deb Scarlett||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Debbie Ralston||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Eliza Lamb||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
One of the hardest things to get past on our health and fitness journey is realizing that we have to prioritize ourselves so we can be who we need to be for the people we care about. On this episode, we discuss ways to know when your priorities are out of whack and what you can do about it.
Today, I want to get into a mindset. Topic that is actually probably one of the most important obstacles that many people face when they're looking to get healthy and fit, and it's not something that goes away without a little bit of work.
And so the question comes up is, are you prioritizing yourself?
Are you probably prioritizing your health and fitness? And it's it sounds like a simple thing, but it's actually a very deep, deep emotional mental adjustment to to have that kind of mindset where you are prioritizing yourself. So I want to dive into it a little bit. But before we go too far, we can start with something as simple as a little quiz. And so there's only three questions to this quiz.
So don't think we're going to be on here for a long time. It's not but three questions. And I want you to rate yourself from a one, which is this is completely untrue to a six – this describes me perfectly. OK, so again, one is the low end of the scale is completely untrue. Up to six, this is a good description of you. How how you actually feel, how you think.
OK, the first one is: I put others wishes before my own or else I feel guilty.
The second one is: I give more to other people than I get back in return.
And then the final one is: I'm so busy doing for the people whom I care about, that I have little time for myself.
All right, now add up those scores and think to yourself about what that number means, and I'll tell you what it means if that number. Is higher than, say, five or six, you might have a problem. You're not prioritizing yourself and what you're basically doing is self-sacrificing. You're taking others and saying they're so much more important than me that I can't do the things for myself that are necessary for me to be healthy and fit.
And I'm not going to jump into the whole airplane put your mask on thing. But this is a concept that unless you break through this effort of prioritizing yourself, if you are a self-sacrificer or you're really going to struggle to get healthy and fit and stay healthy and fit because it's never going to be the priority you need it to be.
A lot of people love those simple rules of the 80-20, and I try to tell people 80-20 is perfect when you're in maintenance mode. 80 at 20 is great. You can stay healthy and be healthy. The problem is for most of us, we're not already healthy. We're not at the weight we want to be at. We're not as strong as we need to be. And as a result, we need to put in more than 80%. If you don't prioritize yourself, that's just not going to happen.
So the first thing we have to look at when we are having this conversation is to actually think about the inner voice that we have, that voice that that tells you how you feel about something that's happening. So an event happens, maybe your alarm doesn't go off and you're late for work. You're going to be late for work. What does your inner voice tell you about that event? And that inner voice is the story, it's the story of our lives from an internal perspective. It often doesn't actually reflect reality.
And I want to take you through and this week, or at least for the next few days, I want you to think about some of the words that that inner voice is using, some of the things that you probably think. And the best way to kind of break that down for me is this phraseology called “absolute words.” And so I want you to pay attention to that inner voice over the course of the next day or two and maybe a little longer and see how often you use words like have to, need, must, ought to, should.
If you find yourself using those words a lot, those are absolute words. That means that your inner voice is feeding you something and saying this is an absolute necessity. You have to do it this way. And if that's the case, then you're not going to change. You're not. Whatever you think you have to do, you will do whatever you think you should do, you will probably do. Whatever you need to do, whatever someone else needs or you think is needed. And then obviously the word must if you must do something, it's something you've got to do and therefore you do it.
If you're not using those absolute words for your own health and fitness, then you're likely using them for other things. And if you are, that's a clear indication that you're not prioritizing your wellbeing. It's just not happening because these other haves, musts, ought tos, and shoulds are getting in your way.
So what's an easy solution for us with regards to these absolute words?
Well, one, when you catch yourself doing this, using those words and it's not toward you, it's not something that you are doing for you. Like I can say, I have to work out today. Obviously, that's not a bad phrase. It is an absolute. The absolute is about me taking care of myself. But if I say I've got to get the food for the kids, I must take them to the ball practice. I must do this and then I must make sure I get this report done at work. If I have all these other musts in my life, it'll be very hard for me to make sure that I go through it. So if I catch myself using one of these absolute words.
Again, there have to, need, must, ought, and should.
If you find yourself using those words with relation to someone else or something else besides your health and fitness, you need to stop and take a step back. And reevaluate if that is an absolute. In many cases, it's not. The world is not going to end if you don't do something that you had to do, that you should have done, that you ought to do, the world might not end. And so taking a moment to take that half step back and evaluate that statement that you just your inner voice just told you that is getting in the way of you being healthy and fit.
It's time to rephrase that and going through the practice of where your is telling you, you know, you must be home by 6:30pm so you don't have time to work out. Well, do you have to be home by 6:30pm. Just ask yourself that question. What happens if I'm not there? Then dinner's not ready at 7:00pm. Dinner's ready at what, maybe 7:30pm? Maybe your spouse can assist you by making dinner tonight. Maybe you go ahead and you order from a food company that delivers healthy choices and you order food in for the family.
So in many cases, when you catch yourself using an absolute word that is not geared towards you being healthy and fit when you really, truly need and want to prioritize yourself in your health and fitness, you've got to change the script. You've got to stop evaluate whether it's true. And I'll tell you, in most cases it's not true.
You're not going to get fired for being five minutes late for work. You're just not. Now, you might if you're constantly late. But for most people out there, a lot of the absolute words we have in our head are actually not true. They're stories that we're telling ourselves. They're stories that we're living to. And as a result, we're not getting the health and fitness that we deserve.
So I just used the word there, and I'm actually getting to a point in my life where I really kind of love words and those kind of things that they mean and what they bring up and how we relate to them. And so I'm using the word deserve.
And I can say with absolute clarity, you deserve self-care. You deserve to be able to take care of yourself. You deserve to be healthy and fit. So what does self-care actually look like?
Well, first and foremost, it includes self-love. I've asked many of my clients if they love themselves enough to do this for themselves. And it was funny because one of the first clients I ever had, her name was Sandy. She said she wasn't sure. Now, the problem came up and Sandy didn't follow through with everything we were doing, despite seeing good results at first. And I break it down to that point, she did not have the self-love necessary to make a change, to do the hard thing.
And so self-love is that expression where you care about yourself as much as you care about anyone else. It doesn't mean that you don't love other people as much because love is not this finite thing that we have that if I give this to this person, I don't have any left for me. That's not how love works. Love is infinite. And so you should be exploring yourself and understanding that if you don't start from my point of self-love, the commitment's never going to be there and you're not going to see the results. So if you find yourself having these kind of conversations where you're not liking yourself and that inner voice is actually a butthole. You need to work on your self-love. You need to actually sit down and start talking yourself through why you're worthy, why you deserve this, why you would love yourself. And I'm 100 percent sure you're going to come up with a ton of great reasons why you should love yourself and then you should love yourself.
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The next thing that comes in is you need to be frank and honest and you need to be frank and honest with not just other people. You need to be frank and honest with yourself. If the inner voice is, like I said, being a butthole, be honest about it. Understand, I have kind of a crappy self-image right now. What are the things I can do to improve that self-image? What are the things I can do to make that inner voice nicer?
Eliminating some of those absolute words is a good first step for that, but you've got to have this inner honesty. You've got to be honest with yourself and understand what's going on. And then, yes, you have to be frank and honest with the people around you. If you're going to do something for yourself, it often means that there's things that you would have been doing for someone else that you're now not able to do. They're going to live. They're going to be fine. But change in your life often means change in others.
I talked in my book, The Wellness Roadmap, about understanding the baggage that you have when you're traveling and how that can affect your path. Now, what I didn't say in there, but it should have been implied is you still need to have a vehicle. You still need to be moving forward. Your pace might be a little different, but you still have to be frank and honest with the people around you that the changes you're making are important to you and should be important to them, because in 99.9% of the cases out there, your why is them? You want to be healthy and you want to be fit for your kids, you and you and your grandkids. And you want to be there for your spouse and you don't want to be an obligation later in life to them because you want to be able to take care of yourself and you want that opportunity to be the person you're supposed to be.
And they should want that for you, too. So being honest and frank with them as far as what you need to be successful, is going to go a long way towards not having them resenting you for going to the gym every day or resenting you because you're not baking as often as you used to bake. Those types of things. So being frank and honest with yourself and others is a very important step towards self-care.
The next is consistency and frequency. You can't do something once and say, OK, that's my self-care for the month. It just doesn't quite work like that. Yes, going and getting a mani-pedi for some people are getting a massage is a great luxury for many and doing it once a month might be plenty. It would be for me. But to actually do what's necessary for you to be healthy and fit, it needs to become a part of a lifestyle that is frequent enough that it will elicit change. So if you're going to say lift weights, you can't lift weights once and say, well, gee, I don't understand why I'm not muscular. I don't understand why I didn't put on much muscle or because you didn't do it enough. Okay? So there has to be a frequency to it that is enough to stimulate a change in your body, to stimulate change in you.
And then the consistency part just means that doing something over and over and over is where you're going to get your real results. I had that conversation with Dr. Pontzer not long ago, and we talked about how you're not going to be able to lose a ton of weight really, really quickly without your body reacting to it at some level. And, so that reaction, which your body is going to do to change up your metabolism, that's going to happen. It's going to happen for all of us. Our bodies were made to do that so we can survive. But the consistency of doing the little things over and over and over, over time is where you kind of make this.
I was having a conversation with my clients the other day. And one of the things I said to them was the Grand Canyon was not built by something major coming through there and digging it out. It was that slow trickle of a small river over many, many years, millions of years, that made the Grand Canyon what it is today. And so you need that little trickle. You need that consistency to see monumental changes in your health and fitness.
So if you have a long journey to take before you're healthy and fit, you need the patience. But you also need that consistency. You have to keep showing up and you have to do it enough where your body recognizes the stimulus and reacts.
And then the final bit on the self-care, what it looks like. It's about an investment. If you're not willing to invest some time, effort, and money into yourself, you're not likely to see the results that you really want to have. Now, the biggest investment is going to be time and effort. You're going to have to make change and you're going to have to spend some time doing this. It's not just going to happen. As I mentioned before, we have a frequency and we have a consistency that has to happen. For that to happen, you have to invest time and effort towards making these things happen.
And then the money part can be a little bit of money. It can be as little as you're investing in some good quality shoes, or it can be as big as saying I'm going to build a home gym and I'm going to spend thousands of dollars to do that. For most people, the investment is somewhere in the middle of that. A small gym membership isn't all that expensive and it's hiring a trainer. When you look at the results that you get often isn't that expensive. If it's going to get you down the road faster.
My wife is working on building up a bed and breakfast, and the guy that was working it was him and his son. And he said, I've got these two other guys to come in and help. And she's like, sure. And the whole thing was by investing a little bit more each week, she's going to get the job done faster. So now she's got four people working instead of two. So the work's getting done faster. And that's what you have to think about with regards to where money can play a role in helping you with this whole thing.
So to kind of wrap this all up, if you did that quiz, that self-sacrificing quiz and you scored, twelve, if you scored thirteen or if you scored eighteen, then you have a self-sacrificing problem. And if you find that your inner voice is not your best friend, you've got a priority problem. Those are two internal things that you really have to get a grasp on.
And a couple of the ways that you can easily see this happening beyond just doing the quiz I talked about is to look for how often you're using those absolute words. They are using absolute words to define what you're supposed to do for someone else and not for yourself, something that would pull you away from doing something for yourself. Those are those trigger words. Those are the things that will tell you where you need to address your time and effort and you need to go and take that step back and analyze what that actually means. Is it actually true in most cases you're going to find it's not.
And then finally, self-care takes an investment. You have to love yourself. You've got to be open and honest with yourself. You've got to be consistent. You've got to put in a frequency of things happening so you can see change. And that typically takes an investment of time, effort and/or money.
So I hope you took something valuable from this lesson. If you did, I'd love to talk to you about it in more detail on the Facebook group. You can go to https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, and we can have a great conversation there about your inner voice, about whether you are prioritizing yourself so you can get the health and fitness you deserve.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Deb Scarlett||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
|– Eric More||– Leigh Tanner|
It is human nature to like simplicity. It's easy to wrap our heads around and typically quick to get started. But simple can be a disastrous approach to weight loss after 40 because our bodies are anything but simple, especially as we age. On this episode I discuss why you may want to put a little more forethought and research into your weight loss plan if simple hasn't helped you lose weight and keep it off in the recent past.
Today's discussion is going to be about why simple can be a bad long term strategy for weight loss. Let's face it, everybody likes simple rules. We like simple because simple, something we can wrap your mind around. And if it works, if that rule of thumb, if that simple thing is correct, it works. And that's beautiful. You know, the keep it super simple, KISS model, if you will. There's other versions of that, obviously, but I'll just I'll go with that clean one. And for a lot of people, that's actually what we want. We want the simplest solution to solve a problem. So why would I think or say that it's not a good long-term strategy for weight loss?
Well, before I get into that, I want to kind of take you back to 1999 when the movie came out called The Matrix. And this is one of my personal favorite movies I particularly like the first one that of them in the series were really, really good. But in this particular movie, Morpheus offers Neo, who was played by Keanu Reeves, two choices. And so he has his two hands out there. You can take the red pill or you can take the blue pill.
And Neo had to make that choice. But it seems for a lot of people in wanting simple we're doing the same thing with weight loss and the two operate offers are either Calories In Calories Out (CICO) or energy balance or your low carb/keto. And for most of the people that are on one side of the fence or another, they're in this tribe. It's this or that, and they're almost oblivious to the other side of the conversation. And as a result, no one's really having good conversations about what we should be doing for weight loss.
Today, I want to tell you and show you how this, this or that choice is an illusion that's actually part of the problem why so many people suffer and struggle to lose weight.
So the first reason I want to kind of get into is is kind of the most obvious one. Nutrition is not a simple thing. If it were really that simple, we would all just eat Twinkies and take multivitamins and we would be fine and obviously that's not the case because food is information.
What we eat, when we eat, how we eat and how much we eat are all bits and pieces of information that we're giving our body for our body to then do something with. Okay? And the body's this wonderful mechanism that can take us through hard times. It can make us thrive during good times, and the body adapts to everything that we do to it, including our food. So I want you to stop thinking about food as something that you just enjoy eating or something that's providing you with calories or anything like that.
Food is information.
And when you kind of wrap your mind around that, you can understand how food is just like a matrix. And the only way we're going to understand what works for us is to go ahead and peel back the layers of that matrix. And the way I like to visualize this is that there are three layers to this matrix.
Now, the first layer is very, very simple. It's like grade school math. The second layer is a little bit more complicated. So we'll say that's like high school algebra, maybe some geometry mixed in there. And then the final layer is extremely complex. In fact, the math is so difficult that in some cases we as human beings, science and everything have not really solved that puzzle, have not cracked that code. So let's take a moment to talk about these three layers and how they all affect your ability to lose weight.
So the first is the Calories In Calories Out model. This is a very simple model because it assumes what goes in has to come out. And so it's trying to play off of the law of thermodynamics. And in particular, that was Newton's laws, but it was the law of conservation of energy. So the expectation is if you put energy into a system, then the energy will have to come out or be stored, can't be lost anywhere. Now, that all makes sense and it's actually true. But there's just a couple problems with the Calories In Calories Out model being a pure thermodynamics play. And that's because the human body is not a closed system. See, the way they like to measure calories is in a closed system.
So they will literally burn something in a container and there's nothing else in that container but that thing. And that's where they figure out how many calories an item could produce based on burning it. Likewise, when they're looking at human performance, they're measuring the carbon dioxide output of a human being, doing some work. And that's where they're coming up with some estimates on how many calories the individual burned. Now, when you're in a closed system, that's very easy to measure. But unfortunately, we don't live in closed systems. We don't live in closed environments.
So pretty much everything we do related to calories is done on a formula and an estimate. And there are some big, big problems with those estimates, for example. They would assume if there was an Olympic athlete that weighed the same as I do, that we would both burn the same amount of energy, traveling the same distance. And that's just not true. I'm going to be much less efficient at my movement than an Olympic athlete. Therefore, the Olympic athlete is going to burn fewer bits of energy to accomplish the same task.
That's how they become elite performers. They're able to perform better. They're able to use utilize energy more effectively, more efficiently than someone normally would. If I were trying to outswim Michael Phelps, I'm going to flail and my legs and arms are not going to cooperate as well. He's going to glide through the water with almost no effort or at least looks like it's almost no effort. So you can't compare me to Michael Phelps from a calorie burning model.
Yet everything we have out there tells me if you spend an hour running, you're going to burn X number of calories. And again, these are all estimates. So they just don't really know at that point in time how many calories you might be burning. It's an estimate. Same with food. You know, if you're not measuring to the nth degree the volume of each and every ingredient in a recipe and then making sure that you're eating that specifically portion to portion, then you're going to potentially be off.
What does that mean? Well, if you're off just 16 calories on a meal and you're overeating by 16 calories every meal, you could be gaining as much as 10 pounds in a year. And so it's these finite what we think of as perfect formulas that are leading us astray quite often.
The other thing that's not quite right with calories in, calories out is a lot of people start to get hungry and then they get hangry. If you're eating predominantly a higher carb meal, which is what you inevitably end up doing in a Calories In Calories Out, pure model, because they look at fat and they say fat is nine calories per gram and a carb is four calories per gram. So if we substitute fat grams for carbs grams, we're going to reduce our total calorie input. And that is true.
The problem is we get hungry. Carbs burn through our system faster. They need to go somewhere faster. And as the result, it makes it very difficult for someone to stay at a calorie restriction and not have some hunger issues. And we're going to get into that in a little bit more detail when I talk about the next layer, because that hunger and all the stuff that's going on in our body, how fast we're burning energy, all those things is really dictated by the next two layers.
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So the second layer of this is going to be a little bit more complex because it's not just the simple math of which you studied in grade school. There's a little bit more to it. And that's macros. The macronutrients that your body needs to perform. Now, our brain and our body are made up of protein and fat. Now carbs such as just standard sugar or potato or a carrot or an apple or even some lettuce or broccoli are are all made up of carbs and some protein. But our body really only uses the carbs for energy, the protein and the fat is utilized for building materials.
So one of the things about macros that's really, really important to wrap your mind around is that like body temperature, which stays in a very tight range and blood pH which stays in the very tight range, our blood sugar level stays at a very tight range, or at least it's supposed to if we're living optimally. So when you start looking at blood sugar, just a simple little tip here is that a human body has less than a teaspoon of total sugar in our blood system at any given point in time when we eat something that has carbs in it and maybe even a little bit, if we eat something with protein, we're going to get an input of insulin.
The pancreas will put some insulin in there because it's going to say we don't need this much sugar in the blood. It's dangerous for our kidneys, it's dangerous for our brain. Let's regulate this. Let's keep it in this tight little range that we need to keep our blood sugar in to be healthy. If you're fairly active and maybe you did a good workout today, then the insulin can take that and put it in the muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen. So that it can refresh, basically restore the glycogen that was in the muscles and in the liver that we use during a hard workout.
Now, for most of us, though, we didn't do a hard workout necessarily. And we eat that sugar or we eat that carb and the body has only one other option, and that's to store it as fat. So we start accumulating fat because we have more blood sugar than our body needs and it stores it. If we're active, then those energy burn. And as I said, the first model is not wrong. We are burning those calories.
The problem is we get this little surge and we store a little. So little surge, little store, little surge, little store. And most of the people that preach the Calories In Calories Out model will also tell you you should eat six small meals per day so you're never super hungry. So they recognize that you're digesting that food really quickly. You're putting it to use in your body really quickly and you're going to be hungry, really quickly. And so they encourage you to eat more frequently. Well, again, that's a little surge and a little burn. A little surge, little burn.
You're never really giving your body the opportunity to go back to look at fat storage. Now, if you're slightly below your actual calorie usage, then, yes, there's the potential that you could actually use some of that body fat for energy.
But because you're eating all the time, there's not a lot of opportunity for that. And if you let yourself get hungry, you're very likely over eating those small meals or they're bigger meals than they should be. And now you're not in your calorie deficit.
Over time, what happens is we have this fat cells that are good at storing this energy, but even the fat cells themselves get a little overburdened. Ad a way you can kind of visualize this as imagine that every day that you're putting out garbage by your house and the that the trucks, the garbage trucks are coming by and they're picking up garbage. But that garbage, they don't really have anywhere to put it, sort of putting it in the garbage trucks that are driving around with garbage trucks. The garbage trucks get full and then the garbage trucks don't want to pick up any more garbage because they're full. So what are they doing? They're just they're driving around, but they're not picking up the trash. And so the trash collects. Now, blood sugar is that trash.
And so the pancreas says we need more of we need more of these these trucks. And so it starts trying to make more insulin. It tries to get more moving and force the fat cells to take on more, which they can do. They don't like it, but they do it. And that's when we start really having metabolic problems. And because the pancreas is working so hard to create all this excess insulin six times per day, boop, boop, boop, boop, it can get tired and it can fail.
And so we end up with these situations of insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction because we keep feeding ourselves carbs and we're overeating. And a lot of that overeating actually comes from the fact that when we eat the standard American diet, it tends to not be low fat. And it also tends to not be low carb. It tends to be high carb, high fat and low in protein. And that's just a recipe for disaster, because there's too many calories and there's too many carbs, and our body is going to readily want to and need to store that sugar as fat.
Let's take a little bit of a step back now that we're into this, the second realm, because this is something even though it's a little bit complex, it's something that's fairly easy for us to wrap our minds around, because most of us know what protein, fat and carbs really are. They know where they come from. But the problem is most of us are not eating it from the right sources. We're not eating whole food. We're getting our food from a bag, box, can, or jar.
It has additives. It has added sugar. So it'll taste better and it'll have these like little labels all over them. “Healthy.” “Good for your heart.” All this stuff. Lies, lies, lies. They just are, okay? You need real food. That's what your body needs. That's when we talk about information. If you're putting processed foods in your body, it's getting garbled information and it's going to make poor choices for you.
It's going to store it. Now, one of the things, as I mentioned earlier, with the Calories In Calories Out model was that they they kind of turned on fat and they called fat the corporate culprit of why we're fat, why we have heart attacks and everything else is going on in our bodies. I've even seen people say that they believe diabetes is caused by excess fat in the diet. Again, not true, but I hear it. And so there's all this fat phobia and there has been for decades.
And it's not going to go away any time soon for most people. But I want you to think of it in these terms because everybody's afraid if I start eating more fat and more protein than my cholesterol is going to go up. So I hear the cholesterol conversation. Now, I'm not a doctor, so I'm not going to tell you what you should do relative to managing your cholesterol levels. I'm just going to say it in these simple terms.
Just because there are firemen and firewomen at a fire does not mean they are the cause of the fire. And just because there are more firemen and firewomen at a bigger fire doesn't mean, again, that the firemen are firewomen started that fire. There is no cause and effect. That one exists in a location at a given time. They're not causing you know, the firemen are not causing the fire.
If you follow the cholesterol model, that's what you believe, because my cholesterol is high. That's why I have clogged arteries, when the reality of it is it's that excess sugar, it's the insulin. It's all the stuff that's going on there that's creating the environment where cholesterol now has actually cake and do its thing to protect your blood vessels from leaking and then doing its job. Yes, you are now calcifying those in your in your arteries, and that is what's leading to heart disease and stroke.
And so if you can get past your fat phobia, then you're going to be able to make it into this next level.
And the third and final level is hormones. Now, if you're just a Calories In Calories Out model kind of person, then you may not think hormones have anything to do with fat. And it's not true. We know men can lose weight easier than women because we have testosterone. We know that a woman going through menopause begins to store fat differently because of estrogen and testosterone.
So if your hormones change and that's going to change where you store fat, it only makes reasonable sense that hormones do have a place in the fat storage system. And we've already talked about insulin, so we know that one. Now we're talking about the sex hormones, but thyroid, cortisol, glucagon, leptin and ghrelin, which are your hunger and satiety, all these different hormones are basically in a system of messaging that's happening in our body. And the food that goes in is information is then translated into our hormones.
So how do we manage the hormone system so that we're optimizing our opportunity to lose body fat and lose weight? Well, the first thing is, yes, you can go to your doctor and pretty much for thyroid, testosterone and estrogen, they can supplement. They can give you some. And that would definitely help alleviate if you're low. If your low T, if you've gone through menopause and you want to put some estrogen in there, that may make you feel a lot better. And then the same thing with thyroid. If your thyroid is under producing or converting, then your doctor might prescribe some thyroid again just to help you optimize where you need to be with those hormones.
But for most of the hormones that relate to what we're doing, trying to lose weight, there really isn't. A doctor way, there isn't a pill or a shot or something like that or a patch or something stuck under the skin that we can use to fix that problem, we have we have to manage it through lifestyle. And there are four core areas of lifestyle that are really important for managing your hormone system.
We've talked a bit about food, and if you're eating whole food and you're focused on food quality and you're eating a balanced diet, getting all the minerals and vitamins and things that you need.
And by the way, a lot of our hormones are made out of cholesterol. So, again, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have cholesterol. It's not evil. It's not terrible. But I'll let you manage that.
Anyway. Managing your nutrition, it should be the first step for weight loss. And so if you're eating a good balanced meal, you're getting some good proteins with each meal. There's some fat in there and a minimal amount of carbohydrates predominantly so that you can get your fiber and some vitamins and minerals.
Then you're signaling. The information you're putting in your body is that we have access to good food and we we don't need this extra body fat. It's okay to let go of it. And we're not going to be hungry all the time.
And we're not going to be eating six meals a day because we just don't need that food as a result of not needing that food. We are not eating as many calories. See the magic. So start with your nutrition and get that balanced and get that working for you.
The next is sleep. Most of the hormones in the human body, particularly with weight loss, are somewhat influenced by our circadian rhythm. If we're not getting a good night's sleep and we're not going to sleep early enough and we're setting alarms and we're waking up all frazzled, we're basically with that lack of sleep signaling to our body that we're in a stressful situation, something's bad, and we're not giving our body the opportunity to do the things it needs to do to optimize its own hormones. So after nutrition, the next thing I would focus on is improving quality of your sleep.
And then the next one is stress management. Now, when we're stressed, our body releases cortisol and sometimes it doesn't even have to be like seeing a bear or anything like that. Just in the morning, your cortisol levels are going to rise so that it's telling your body it's time to get up and start moving around. So cortisol has a very important purpose. But in our current day, we're all overstressed. We're all over sensitized. We're on the computer at night. We're watching shows, the news, everything that's going on in the world. So we end up in this kind of fight or flight mode almost all the time.
And if we're not managing that cortisol, cortisol has this really interesting relationship with your other hormones, particularly insulin. And it tells the body, don't burn excess energy, cut back on your energy. We're going to use this adrenaline and other stuff to get stuff done. But you focus on conservation because we need to survive. And if you're constantly in that state, you're going to probably be storing fat and it's really hard to lose fat. And you're also likely going to be breaking down muscle because cortisol is catabolic.
OK, next, I want to get into kind of some of the things that happen when we're not managing our stress. And a lot of times it just comes down to fatigue. We're just constantly dealing with information and we're trying to make the right decisions. And decisions are kind of finite. If we start doing too much, there's a fatigue. And as a result, we might make poor choices. We might decide I've had a tough day at work. I'm going to skip my workout. Or even worse, I had a tough day at work, I think I'm going to drink a bottle or two of wine and maybe someone takes up smoking again to manage their stress. So you see that this whole cycle of not managing your stress can lead you down a very dark path. That is, again, in each of those cases, communicating to your body. All is not good and we need to fight and we need to flight. And all those things are happening inside your body as expressed by your hormones. And then your actions.
And so the final one is movement, and this one, I saved it for last, but I don't want you to think that this is the most important thing, because the reality of it is you have to start with nutrition and then focus on your sleep and then focus on your stress. And movement is something that you blend into your life as you go.
It's great to start. Most people will start a weight loss program and they'll say, I'm going to eat very few calories and I'm going to bust my butt to try to lose this weight. The problem is you can't out exercise a bad diet. So, you know, you started out doing really, really well. You got hungry and then you you chewed into the Girl Scout cookies. And I mean, a whole pack of those is gone. And you you didn't do it and now it's time to exercise. You're not going to burn that box of Girl Scout cookies as fast as you hate them, you just can't. So you can't exercise, you can't out sleep, you can't out stress manage a bad diet. You got to get that right first.
So with the movement, this is something we want to talk about, kind of as a pretext to all the other stuff where we're trying to communicate to our hormones that it's okay to lose the weight. It's okay to use that energy for the right reasons. So as you do the exercises, recognize the type of exercise, how frequently you do it, how intensely you do it are communications to your body. So if you're lifting heavy weights, you're communicating to your body that you need more muscle, you need more strength, you need more bone density.
As such, your body actually starts producing a little bit more testosterone to aid in making those things happen. Again, exercise like just about everything else is lifestyle related, is going to be a communication strategy for your body, for you to tell your body that you want it to get stronger, you want it to go ahead and shed some of that body fat, get that growth hormone going. And that just kind of speeds the whole process up.
And then, don't don't feel like you've got to sit down and start this this massive exercise program straight away. Sometimes the simplest is easiest. And I know I started this by saying simple is not the best weight loss strategy, but sometimes with movement, I can tell you simple is actually the best. Go for a walk, go do something you enjoy, ride a bike, go hiking, do some things outside that you enjoy. And then as you get yourself more comfortable with movement as being a part of your every day, then you can start factoring in resistance, training, balance, mobility, all those different things. So you're building the body you want through the communication that came from the exercise that you did.
To sort of kind of roll this all together: Calories In, Calories Out is not wrong. The low-carb approach is not wrong. But the problem with only thinking you have those two choices is that you don't get the whole picture. They're all right at some level. But you've got to look at all of them and you've got to look at it from the perspective of this is all sitting on that complex model of hormones that even to this day, the best scientists in the world struggle to wrap their mind around how to optimize and make all those things work the way they're supposed to work. Because the human body is not simple. It is one of the most complex pieces of equipment you will ever have the ability to operate.
And we're doing it with these hormones. We're doing it with the information we feed our body and the time and day and how much and what macros they are. All of that matters. All of that's a part of it. I don't want to leave you thinking that this is just something that's outside the realm of your capacity to understand, because it's not. Any incremental improvement that you do is going to be good. Your body is going to respond. If you're not eating much whole food right now, most of your food is coming from a bag, box , jar, or can, start to change that. Go to a Farmer's Market this weekend and pick up some vegetables and meat, go to the butcher and find out ways that you can get meat at a cheaper discount, because sometimes they write off, they write down some of their higher priced, grass fed cow beef and some of their pasture chickens because they didn't sell at all. And you might have an opportunity to pick up on some of that at a discount look for a local co-op where they're selling things that are typically much cheaper because they're trying to make whole foods more accessible.
Start a process of looking for ways to improve your nutrition. And that's going to be the key to managing the hormones, looking at your macros, then looking at your calories, and then you've taken all of that math and all those layers and you've put together a formula that works for you. So, no, simple is not always the best alternative for long term weight loss, but once you know your rules, very likely those will be your rules for a long, long time.
And so learning how to eat, learning how to sleep better, learning how to reduce stress and manage stress and learning how to move should all be things that you look at each day to improve your health and fitness.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– John Somsky||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Deb Scarlett||– Judy Murphy||– Melissa Ball|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Leigh Tanner||– Tim Alexander|
|– John Dachauer|
On this episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the top approaches to lose weight after 40.
As a personal trainer, the number one question I get from clients and potential clients is why is weight loss so hard and weight gain so easy now that I'm over 40? Most people believe it has to do with their metabolic rate. And while most of us will put on extra pounds as we get into midlife, this isn't a natural decline related to aging. Muscle mass is going down, which all of the things being even should mean that we're losing weight after 40.
However, we're obviously putting on body fat faster than we're losing that muscle mass, and that's why our weight is going up. Weight loss after 40 is complicated by several factors. In this episode, I'm going to talk about all of them and some of the things that you can do to address each one so you can shed those unwanted pounds. I call them the five pillars of weight loss after 40.
But before we get into the how to of weight loss, I want to cover a few reasons why losing those excess pounds is important. Why you want to lose weight after 40? Excess body fat is bad for your liver and heart health. If you carry those extra pounds as abdominal fat, you have what we call visceral fat. This increases your risk of health issues such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, type two diabetes and insulin resistance. Excess body weight is also bad for your joints, too often people stop exercising because their joints hurt, which causes even more weight gain. It's a vicious cycle.
It's hard to increase your activity level when you're in pain and actually maybe even causing more damage to that joint. So losing those excess pounds is going to be important to make sure that you're not damaging joints that would otherwise be very useful to you in the future.
Being overweight causes other issues like sleep apnea, increased estrogen levels, and increase in stress hormones. All of these make weight loss that much harder. So it's time to turn the script and get back on track.
How to lose weight after 40 to reach and maintain a healthy weight for you. First, we have to understand the five pillars to healthy weight loss, they are hormones, nutrition, sleep, stress management and movement and each of them is important in their own way to helping you lose weight after 40.
Hormones, there are over twenty-seven key hormones that affect your ability to lose weight, but for the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to stick to seven that I'll group into three buckets. There are the sex hormones. And we're going to primarily talk about estrogen and testosterone. There are hunger hormones which include leptin and ghrelin, and there are energy management, fat storage hormones which include insulin, glucagon and cortisol.
Your estrogen and testosterone levels affect your body composition and how fat is distributed on your body. Because men have more testosterone, it's easier for them to lose weight and maintain muscle mass. I know it's not fair, but it is what it is. And we have to work with what we have. So women, it is going to be a little bit more difficult for you to lose weight. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. It just means we have to work a little bit smarter.
Men are going to have an easier way of it. So if you're trying to lose weight and your husband's trying to lose weight, then your husband's going to have an easier time of it. And so if you're the guy and your wife is trying to lose weight, realize you're going to be able to lose weight faster than her. It's the testosterone that's predominantly responsible for making that happen.
Leptin and ghrelin are these signaling hormones that tell your body when you're hungry and when you're full, unfortunately, the way the standard American diet is set up and the way we tend to eat, you know, always busy at our desk, in our car on the run, really interrupts this communication.
Leptin and ghrelin need time to communicate with the body to let it know what's going on. And many times we're not giving it the time to do so. Insulin has been called the queen of weight loss hormones and for good reason with glucagon, it helps maintain your blood sugar level.
If you're pounding your body with unhealthy snacks and meals. Like fried foods, chips, ice cream, you get the picture and you're not clearing out your glycogen stores in your muscles and liver, more on that later. With aerobic exercise and resistance training, insulin has no choice but to store the excess sugar as body fat.
Cortisol is a stress hormone when you're stressed out, cortisol rises, having elevated cortisol levels causes you to have a slower metabolism and store fat in your abdominal area, visceral fat. Both of these are really, really bad. So we can see how the hormones affect our ability to either lose weight or gain weight. What do we do about it? The best thing we can do for our sex hormones is to monitor our hormone levels, eat healthy and get regular exercise.
We can deal with our hunger signaling if we improve the quality of our food, if we take smaller bites and we eat slower. This gives your brain time to process those hunger cues. It's important to get comfortable with being a little bit hungry from time to time. If you really want to lose weight, you need to be able to manage that, that ability to just say, OK, I can be a little hungry. Maybe drink a little bit of water, take a little bit of time between those meals, you don't have to be eating all the time.
The whole old mantra of “eat every three hours” is what's part of the problem. You shouldn't have to eat every three hours. If you get good at managing your energy levels and eating good high-quality foods, your body will be just fine without that extra fuel.
And we can manage our energy management fat storage hormones through some simple lifestyle changes that are within the other four pillars of health. So we're going to talk about those and how you can use the other four pillars, which you have a lot of control over going forward.
Whenever people ask me who I listen to to keep up with what it takes to get and stay fit as we age, to learn new techniques and to keep motivated. On top of my list is Brock Armstrong, fitness coach and host of the Get Fit Guy Podcast. It's part of the Quick and Dirty Tips Network. So in quick, smart episodes, Brock uses step by step explanations and scientific evidence to help you move through the world with ease and enjoyment.
He covers practical topics like how to train for a 5K, how to walk your way to fitness, and how to make the most of your recovery days. And he'll share tips for applying mindfulness to your workouts, using exercise to sleep better and creating a top notch home gym. Rather you want to begin an exercise routine and don't know where to start, or you're looking to shake things up. Brock's tips will help you reach your fitness goals and create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Listen to new episodes of the Get Fit Guy every Tuesday. Just search for get fit guy wherever you listen to podcasts.
So the next one is nutrition, why do we eat? First and foremost, we eat to stay alive. Food provides energy and building blocks that our body needs. But if that's all it was, we could take those nutrition pills that they had in the science fiction books and shows. You know, just take a pill, we got the vitamins, we got the nutrition and we're good, right? No, we also eat for enjoyment and for social connections.
So as we do these things and we eat for the social connection enjoyment, we build a relationship with food. Now, having a relationship with food is not the bad thing, but it can be. If you're emotionally eating because you're stressed, because you're upset, because you're lonely. That emotional eating is really one of the main reasons why people overeat.
Regardless of how you choose to eat, and I mean that rather you go with the high fat, the low carb, the high carb, the low fat vegan paleo Mediterranean. You can lose weight after 40 with a few simple tactics.
The first step. And the one almost every single person skips is to track what you eat in a food diary. I know it's difficult, I know it's cumbersome, I know it's not fun, but it's something that you need to do. Now, one way you can do this and make it very, very simple. With an app or notebook, put down what you ate and how many servings you had. That's it. It's pretty simple. You're not counting calories, not doing anything.
Is this how many servings did you have of what? This teaches you a key lesson on portion size and control. And now, again, I didn't say track your calories, track the grams of protein, fat, carbs. That's because those aren't what make healthy diet healthy. In general, healthy foods are what we know they are.
OK, olive oil is better for us than margarine, we know fruit is better than refined carbs. We know that alcoholic calorie drinks, I mean, drinks are just calories without much nutritional benefit. So rather than worry about the the you know, the calories and the grams of this or that, just start trying to make better food choices.
And if you're logging these things, you're going to see I had two bags of chips yesterday. I had ice cream every night last week. Those will be easy things to start knocking off, particularly if you're understanding why you're eating what you're eating, which is what you can do with a food journal. So now once you know how much you're eating, and in some cases, like I said, the why, you begin to make better choices. Now, once you start doing that over time, that now becomes who you are.
That becomes more of a lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle. Because in the end, if you don't make what you're doing sustainable, you'll stay on that weight gain yo yo dieting and you're going to basically experience what you have so far. So the core of the nutrition piece is do a food diary, track portions, track what you ate, and then you can go back and assess why you ate, what you ate, and make better choices. That's going to go a long way.
Now as you get down the road on this, maybe you do need to look at some of those other factors like calories and grams and carbs and things like that when you plateau. But initially, all you need to do is make healthier choices and know what you're putting in your mouth every day so you can make the best decisions going forward.
The second pillar is sleep, lack of sleep is kind of like this badge of honor, just stop it, OK? It's not doing any good. You're not winning anybody's hearts and minds by not sleeping. You need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Everybody is a little different, but all of us need between seven and nine hours of sleep.
Yes, you can get by with less. Yes, some people will sleep more, but in general, everybody needs seven to nine hours. A night of good restful sleep comes from letting your body go through all of the natural sleep patterns. That's deep sleep, very deep sleep, REM sleep and light sleep. Now you hear some people talk about a fifth, another deep, a very, very deep sleep. But generally I just break it into the four. That's a little old school, but deep sleep, very deep sleep, rem sleep and light sleep.
Now, when you're dealing with sleep now, obviously for a lot of people, there are things that are outside of their control like, you know, hot flashes and night sweats or sleep apnea. But many of the things that mess up our sleep are self-inflicted. And I see this all the time. Avoid blue light. We know that. We know that watching TV, watching on a computer, being on our phone late at night is not helping our sleep. Cut out alcohol consumption prior to bedtime so that, you know, in the general sense, those are the two things that really disrupt our sleep the most and they're easy to fix.
OK, now, I'm not going to dive deep into the sleep discussion. I will link in this show notes for this episode. You can a 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/465 and I'll have links to other episodes that I've done on sleep. Obviously with 465 episodes and sleep being such an important component of health. We've covered this a few times.
Additional Podcast Episodes on Sleep
The next pillar of healthy weight loss over 40 is stress management and this was a big one for me. Excess stress and my inability to manage it was one of the major contributors to my weight management issues. Not only did stress cause me to make for poor food choices, it put me in a chronic high cortisol mode, which meant my fat distribution made me look horrible and put me at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. So I would I would use breathing exercises, meditation and weight training. You know, there's nothing like throwing around some heavy weights to help manage stress.
But even this wasn't enough. And I made a pretty big, drastic choice and I opted out of the rat race. I dropped out of corporate when I got laid off and I just didn't go back. Now, I know that's not possible for most people, you know, but for us, our kids were on their own. You know, they're out of, past college. Tammy was on board with this. So I made a self-love based decision to choose myself over money. And security.
Now, three years later, I'm more sure than ever that I made the right decision, so stress management is a key thing and there are things you can do to manage stress in the moment. But the best tactic I have found by far is to just jettison it. So if you've got bad relationships, as hard as it is jettison it. If you've got a bad job, change jobs if it can help but jettison it.
That's the easiest and best solution, not maybe the easiest. I take that back, but you get the idea. Now again stress management is kind of a deep topic. We've talked about this a few times on the podcast, so I'm going to link to some stress management episodes in the show. Notes you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/465. And I'll have some stress management links there. We've done quite a few shows on that as I was going through my stressful years.
The next pillar, a final pillar of weight loss after 40 is movement. Now you might have thought, OK, I'm his personal trainer. Why is movement last? And no, I didn't save the best for last. Only a small percentage of people listen to the end of this podcast. So if you're still with me, I do want to thank you. You have a very special place in my heart. So one, you know, most people are going to get the big thing, which is the understanding hormones and the nutrition. Beyond that, then sleep and stress management and then finally this this movement thing.
Now, I'm going to tell you straight out that there are four absolutes when it comes to exercise, training or movement, whatever you want to call it. I know a lot of people get put off by the term exercise or training or movement. You know, it is what it is. We have to train. We have to do something for our bodies. Now that the must, the very you must…You must strength train. You must do strength training to ensure you avoid that muscle loss we talked about earlier.
And osteoporosis strengthening the loss you're going to loss of bone density. Strength and bone density are critical for maintaining independence as we age. Strength training is a non-negotiable. You must be strength training period. You should do some form of aerobic activity for your cardiovascular health and endurance and stamina. In order to keep up and keep doing the things you love to do, you have to maintain the stamina required to do it.
If you want to keep up with your grandkids at the zoo or keep running or keep swimming or playing tennis or all the other things that you like to enjoy doing. You have to start training yourself a little bit harder, you have to push a little bit harder than just doing the thing to maintain that stamina to be able to do it on a regular basis. OK, so have some training in mind that pushes you cardiovascular so that you have the stamina, endurance to do the things you love. And then movement is life. If you're not moving your body, then you're slowly letting your body go.
OK, so walk, dance, play, make movement a part of who you are. It's not just about burning calories. It will burn calories. It will improve your sleep, it will help you manage stress and it will also help improve your hormone balance. So it does a lot for us, but it's really about how our body was designed. It was designed to move OK.
And then I guess the fourth absolute in this whole list thing is you have to enjoy what you're doing, but you don't always have to do just what you enjoy. And I know that's kind of sounds backwards, but, you know, if you start strength training and you start seeing yourself get stronger, you're going to start enjoying strength training.
I know that sounds weird, but you will if you don't enjoy running initially or walking at a pace and getting yourself winded, eventually you will. I promise that those are just natural things. Our bodies love to move. And so initially you may have to push yourself to do some things you don't enjoy.
For example, if I want to be in the aerobic capacity, the stamina to be able to play sand volleyball, I'm going to have to work on my cardiovascular. I'm going to have to do some things to keep my legs strong and keep them with the stamina they need to keep up with what I would want to do.
I'm going to have to do some training, which might not be exactly the thing I love doing, like running sprints in the sand. But I'm doing that so that I can enjoy more volleyball. I can play longer, I can have more fun. So make make movement, not just your life, make it fun, but do the things that allow you to keep making it fun.
If you allow yourself to go down, it's much harder to climb back up. And if you get yourself up, it's much easier to stay there. So do some training every day. It doesn't have to be hard training, but have a program so you can define fitness on your own terms now.
Everybody wants to blame our sedentary lifestyles for this obesity crisis we're going through right now, unfortunately, move more and eat less doesn't work. So I want you to look back at these five pillars of weight loss after 40, that's hormones, nutrition, sleep, stress management and movement. The cool thing of this is we have control over all five of them. We just have to apply patience, persistence and progression.
Now, I'm here for you, if you need any help with this, you want to learn a little bit more, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can book a discovery call at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/discovery.
It's a no sale call, it's a 15-minute call. We get on, we start talking about what your goals are and we address each of these five pillars of health and how you can modify your lifestyle to make sure that you're losing weight after 40.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– John Somsky||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Deb Scarlett||– Judy Murphy||– Melissa Ball|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Leigh Tanner||– Tim Alexander|
On this episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how to get strong after 40.
Hello and welcome to another solo episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast. Today, we're talking about a topic that is actually my favorite topic, How to Get Strong After 40. Now, I wrote a blog post about this a few days ago and I asked some questions on Facebook. So I may use a lot of that material here just as kind of a based as we have this conversation.
I really did want to take the time to dive in a little bit deeper into some of the topics that I just didn't feel like I got deep enough on on the blog post. So go check out that blog post on the website.
But, you know, most people who come to want wanting to get healthy and fit are typically starting with weight loss as a goal. And, you know, the basic number out there is lose the weight, then gain the muscle.
It sounds good. And in fact, it actually works a little bit because when you focus on one thing, it's obviously easier. But if you're over 40, that's not a good strategy at all. You know, people don't want to lift weights because they're afraid that they're going to get big. They're afraid they're going to stop their weight loss. And the reality of it is the exact opposite. The size of muscle relative to fat is is just tremendous.
If you've ever seen a picture, a meme on Facebook, you know, the fat is seven, eight times bigger pound for pound than muscle. So you're not going to get really, really big, you know, and the other side of it is, you know, people look at bodybuilders and think that's what strength training does. And the reality of it is entirely different. Bodybuilders don't train for strength. They train for muscle mass. So they train very differently.
They eat very differently and they're trained a lot more. Strength training doesn't have to be a profession. You can get a lot done in a little bit of time. And the other thing when you're looking at a bodybuilder is to recognize that many of them, even if they're generally natural, are still using some performance enhancing drugs to get to the size that they're at. They're training a lot harder and to be able to do that. Many of them are using steroids, peptides and SARMs to get those gains.
And so you can't look at a bodybuilder and think that's what you're going to get out of strength training. The other side is most of those folks are putting on that muscle in their 20s and through their 30s.
If you're over 40, you're not going to have the capacity to put on that much muscle, but you can get stronger. And another thing, you know, as we're getting into thinking about weight loss, because, you know, if you're coming at this, still wanting to lose weight, but you're believing you need to do some strength training, which is great is yes, your scale might change a little bit when you first get started, because a damaged muscle, which is part of what we're doing when we're doing the work, we're straining and stressing the muscle.
That effort on the muscle causes metabolic waste and that metabolic waste has to be flushed out. So whenever you do injure part of your body or you lift weights, yes, sometimes muscle will go in, water will go into the muscle. But recognize that weight is water weight and not not in any way your actual weight. And then once you're training regularly, you know, you won't even notice that, it's going to be kind of built into the formula.
So don't let weight loss be the reason that you're not doing strength training. It is really hard to get strong after 40. And you're going to have to do some work and you need to do that. The reason strength training is so critical, particularly after 40, is this thing called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is an aspect of muscle that over the course of each year we lose about one percent of our muscle. And after the age of 65, that loss accelerates.
If you're not strength training, you are definitely losing muscle and you're definitely losing strength. And in fact, in many cases, you're probably also losing bone density due to osteopenia. So strength training is going to help you maintain and maybe even gain some muscle.
But this is really about strength training. So to get strong after 40, you're going to do some training. If you don't do the training, you're going to get weak and weak and weak. And what that leads to is the potential loss of independence.
If you've ever tried to open a jar and struggled to open it, that's a loss of independence. You either had to do without what was in that jar or ask somebody else for help. Now, that's going to reverberate through your entire life as you don't have the strength to accomplish things like getting up from a toilet. You're definitely losing your independence on that one. So strength training is important and it's so important as we get older because we want to be able to continue to do the things we're doing and so few people do and they lose their independence and they don't want that to happen to you.
If you want to get strong after 40, you got to follow a few protocols. Your body's not going to be as forgiving as it was when you were in your 20s and 30s. You're going to have to be a little bit more careful and you're going to have to be a little bit smarter. So the very first thing to consider when you're getting ready to do any kind of lifting is to make sure that you warm up first.
I remember having a an instructor when I was in college that was, you know, the physiology and exercise class. And he he just really didn't believe warm ups were important and prove it to us. One day he was you know, he's in his 60s. He just started jumping up and down on his chair from the ground to the chair and back and forth. And then he was breathing heavy after a couple of minutes of that. And he said, see, I'm warm.
I didn't have to warm up before I did that. But I advise you to warm up. A cold muscle has much more likelihood of getting pulled or broken. And then the other problem is that your ligaments and tendons don't necessarily get good blood flow. So a good warm up is going to go a long way towards helping you prevent injury and just have better performance when you're lifting.
You'll want to make sure when you're lifting that your body is in a good position to move and do the right things. And that means that you have to have good mobility for those of us that have had office jobs for much of our lives with a lot of sitting, or if you're driving, you're sitting. If you don't spend a lot of time moving around, you've probably lost some of the mobility. Now, there are a few different ways that you can improve your mobility to include stretching and other things. I want to go briefly through a few things with regard to that.
Dynamic stretching is the most advisable kind of stretching when you're going to be doing strength training. Dynamic stretching is where you basically move through a range of motion. You start very slow and then as the muscle warms up, you're able to move a little bit faster, a little bit faster, and you kind of build up some some opportunity to work the full range of motion and get that muscle warmed up and going. OK, that gets good blood flow to the muscle, to the ligaments, to the tendons, and everything's good to go.
If you have a movement problem, you know, perfect example. Most people have very tight calves. You probably need to do some static stretching for those muscles. Static stretching is basically where you put the muscle into a stretched position. So it's at one range of the full range of motion. And you basically put a little bit of pressure on it such that that muscle is forced to lengthen.
That lengthening is important because if a muscle can't properly lengthen, it's going to affect the kinetic chain. For every muscle that you move contracts to move the weight, you have other muscles that are basically required to lengthen to allow you to move through that range of motion. And if some of those muscles are tight, they're going to keep you from completing the movement in a good form. And we're going to talk about that in a minute too. So make sure that you have a good pattern of movement.
If anything's inhibiting you from doing that, you want to stretch that muscle now, you don't stretch all the muscles because of a muscle is already loose. It doesn't need stretching. Dynamic stretching will be enough because you'll get blood flow to it and it'll be ready to go. You only want to statically stretch the muscles that are inhibiting your movement or keeping you from having a good range of motion because static stretching will reduce your strength.
If you do static stretching on a muscle that you intend to work, you're going to lose performance. And then, of course, if you're not doing as much weight on an exercise, you're not building as much strength, so if you want to get strong after 40. Don't statically stretch the muscles that you want to work.
There are a couple different ways, other ways that you can improve your overall mobility if static stretching and dynamic stretching don't quite get you there. One of those is Self Myofascial Release or SMR. You may have heard this called rolling or smashing.
I don't like the term rolling because I think people do it wrong. You know, the object of self myofascial release is not to roll something over the muscle that stimulates the muscle. What you want to do is find those spots on the muscle that are tight and pressed into them. So smashing is probably a better depiction of what you want to do is press into that for about 30 to 60 seconds and then you'll feel the muscle release. This is a natural protective mechanism of a muscle.
If it were to get too tight, it doesn't want to break. So it has an automatic release and you want to kind of make that happen. And self myofascial release is a way to do that. If you've ever had a joint injury or something that's preventing you from moving, flossing is a way that you might be able to go about releasing that. And so, like, you know, if you sit a lot, you may have some hip issues where you're not getting your your upper leg, where it fits into the socket on your pelvis.
You might not be getting a full range of motion there and I mean a full mobility there. And if that's what's holding you up, flossing could be something. But self myofascial release and flossing are not for everybody. And if you're going to get into it, I would work with a professional coach to make sure that you get good advice and good guidance on how to do that properly because you can enjoy yourself if you're not flossing regularly, not flossing properly.
I've said it before, but I'm reiterate this, and this is very important. One of the most important rules here, and that's always use good form. If you don't know what good form is, find out. Don't just put weight on yourself. If you're not able to do the exercise properly, good form is going to be full range of motion. There's very few exercises when you're training for strength that you're going to do in a partial range.
You want to make sure you're doing a full range of motion and you also want to make sure that you have control of the weight. There's a lot of people like to throw a lot of weight around and they're not actually building strength. They're building something else, building power. So I want to switch this a little bit, when we're talking about lifting, we have three actual movement patterns that a muscle will do while while we're lifting.
The first is isometric. And that's basically where the force that we're applying to the weight is equal to the weight so the weight doesn't move. OK, so you can think of something in terms of like doing a plank where once you're holding a position, you're holding your core in a position and it's the gravity fighting against you, but you're holding it there. So you're applying just as much force as the gravity is in that instance to hold that pose. OK, that's an isometric movement.
A concentric movement is when you're moving a weight against the gravity. So you're moving a resistance against itself. So an example of that would be when I am curling my arm up. So if I'm bringing my fist up towards my shoulder. I'm curling. I'm having a concentric contraction in my bicep muscle. If you were doing a push up, when you're pushing your body away from the floor, your chest and triceps are doing a concentric movement to move you against that gravity.
An eccentric movement is when your body is still generally resisting gravity, but you're letting gravity kind of have its way of lowering. So if you in the top position of a push up and you slowly lowered yourself to the ground, or if you're in a top position of a bicep curl and you slowly let the weight go back down to the ground, that concentric movement is usually a power movement.
That's not exactly where you're building the most strength. It's the eccentric portion of the movement where you're building the most strength. So having control of the weight and not just dropping it after you get it moved up is really, really important. If you want to get strong after 40, that's where you're really building the strength is in that control of the eccentric portion of the movement.
OK, the final bit is that you should be trying to make sure that you maintain core endurance throughout the lift. Many of the lifts that you'll do will require you to have your core braced. And only way you can really properly do that is if you do have good core muscle endurance.
You build muscle endurance by holding positions for a period of time. And you want to think of your core, not just as your rectus dominates the muscles in the front, but the whole part of your body, the core of your body, so that's the back, the sides and the front. You want to think of it like a can.
If you thought a can of soda and you want to add a cinderblock and put it on top of that can, if the cans full, it can pretty much hold that cinder block, even if the cinder block is a little off whack. If you empty the can of fluid and you put it there, now it's a little bit more cumbersome. You could still set that cinder block on top. You have to be a little bit more careful.
And if it's a little bit off, it could crush the can. And if the can has a dividend in it anywhere and you try to put a cinder block on there, it's going to crush the can. So if you think of your core in that way, you want to have a good solid core and that requires some training of your core. So core work should be a regular part. And it's not just doing a function of hyper extensions and sit ups and things like that. You want to focus more on maintaining endurance.
So the endurance comes from those isometric moves we talked about. So, you know, doing bird dogs and doing planks and, you know, some other types of exercises that you hold a position that's helping you build that core endurance. And many of the exercises that you're doing, as I said, require that core endurance. So you're building you're building some of that there, too. So but core training should be a part of your strength training to help you maintain good form.
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Next, I want to shift to talking about nutrition. The first thing that you want to make sure, because everything, every function in our body requires water and electrolytes to function properly. You want to make sure you're properly hydrated. So drinking plenty of water, you know, all day, not just during your workout or not just before your workout, but making sure you stay good and hydrated is going to help your muscles perform better. And when you talk about hydration, again, it's not always just about the water.
If you have issues with electrolytes, if you're sweating a lot and or if you're breathing a lot and even, you know, some dry, cold days can cause you to dehydrate a little bit. So making sure you stay hydrated requires you to make sure you're getting your potassium, magnesium, sodium and zinc. And it also requires you to make sure that you're getting plenty of POW plain old water. Don't overfeed.
If you came at this to lose weight and now you want to get strong, a lot of people have the tendency to think they need to overeat. You know, they'll tell you you need a calorie surplus to build muscle. And that's not actually completely true. Yes, if you have a calorie surplus, you'll put on more muscle faster for sure. But we're not worried if we're trying to get strong about actually putting on a whole lot more muscle.
What we just do is we want to build muscle to make it stronger. So you don't necessarily want to overfeed and you can still be at a slight calorie deficit and gain some muscle strength and gain some muscle mass. Even to do that, though, you've got to make sure that you are feeding the muscle. So you will if you're if you're lifting and particularly lifting heavy and you're lifting often, you're going to make sure that you're getting enough protein.
And as a general guideline, I typically try to target about a half a gram of protein per pound of body weight. So me sitting at about 200 pounds. That means I'm going to want about 100 grams of protein every day to make sure that I'm giving my muscles what they need to to build. On days that I train heavier, I'll probably add a little bit more protein on the days that I'm not training, I may eat a little bit less, but in general, I'm trying to average about 100 grams per day, half a gram per pound.
Next, I want to talk about rest and recovery. In between each lift you need to take a short break. Short break. These rest breaks in between each set is when your body basically is rebuilding the energy store inside the muscle. It's called APT. And the body can regenerate some APT in a very short period of time so that you're able to do a heavier lift the next time. So let's say you're doing three sets.
First starting out. You might find that a minute is a long enough rest period for you to be able to go back and do the same weight almost as many times as you did the first time, and then maybe the third time a little bit less than you did the first and second. But you generally want to make sure that you're still lifting in your desired rep range and staging your rest to allow that to happen is really, really important. So one minute works for most people.
If you're lifting heavier or you're going a little bit more intense with stuff, you might want to go to two and a half minutes, but you seldom need to go more than three. And I say that because you don't want to cool down. And if you're just sitting on your phone for five minutes, you probably want to do a little bit of warm up again before you get back into it. So, you know, a good one to two and a half minute break in between each lift.
Try to be consistent with it so you can at least monitor how the rest is working for you. And then you can, you know, ratchet up, ratchet it down as you go. But you want to give yourself at least a minute to allow your body to rebuild its energy stores. And then we're going to talk about recovery. OK, so recovery is the time between workouts. I don't know how many times I've been in the gym and seen, you know, the same person come into the gym, do the same workout every single day.
The thing is, they're not building any strength. They haven't allowed their body to recover. They haven't allowed the muscles to rebuild. The way muscles, muscle and strength works is you do the stimulus, which is the lifting. After you do the stimulus, you make sure you've got the food. So we're getting plenty of protein and we're staying hydrated.
And then we give our body 48 to 72 hours to rebuild that muscle. The stimulus tells the muscle that it needs to be able to do something. And so its response is going to be to make itself stronger. And that's how this whole thing works. And it works whether you're in your 20s all the way up to your 80s and past. If you want to get strong after 40, you need to lift and you need to rest. And that recovery time is really, really important.
A lot of folks, when they first start out, can do a full body. If you think about it in those terms, that just means if you work out on a Monday, you come back in on Thursday, you come back in on Sunday, you come back in on Wednesday. So you're getting two to two and a half workouts per week, and that's plenty of stimulus, particularly in the beginning, to give your muscles what it needs to know, that it needs to grow.
If you find that you want to do more volume because you're getting conditioned, you can do more volume, but you're probably going to have to break up your workouts in what we call splits. And we'll talk a little bit more about exercise selection and things like that and later on. But just kind of give you an idea of how a structure would work.
You need to make sure you're giving your body at least 48 hours to recover and pay attention to it, because some people do recover a little faster. Some some muscles recover a little slower. My upper body recovers much faster than my lower body so it can take on more volume than my lower than my lower body can. But sometimes I need the whole 72 hours for my lower body.And I take that into account based on how hard I'm training.
OK, the next thing I want to talk about is consistency. You can't lift once a month and get strong after 40. It just, that just doesn't work that way. Consistency takes three things. It takes patience. You know, as you go to the gym each day, you're going to have days that are great and you're going to have days that are actually not so great. This can be because of a myriad of things.
It might be your immune system might be dealing with a virus. You might just be a little bit lower energy that day for one reason or another, because your thyroid, because you didn't sleep well, a lot of different things could be going on. You may not have fully recovered, but and so your workouts aren't quite as good. So you're going to have this this thing happening where it's not necessarily a linear thing.
If you have the persistence, which is the second “P” here, you keep showing up and you keep doing it. And what happens over time is you do see a trend to get stronger. And at first it's actually pretty cool because your brain is learning the exercises. It's learning how to fire more and more muscles to muscle fibers to make that movement happen.
A lot of people early on see really good strength improvement and then that kind of seems to plateau. So you have to have the patience and then the persistence to keep pushing on. And that's where the other one comes in, the other “P”, progression.
Progression is about getting stronger. It's about putting more on. You want to do that in a smart way. I call it gentle nudges. So you shouldn't ever increase the weight from one workout to the other more than, say, 10% or so. And sometimes that's hard. I know if you're dealing with dumbbells and it's a 15 dumbbell and now you're ready to move to the next weight and the next weight is a 20, I get it.
That's, that's a lot more than 10%. And so sometimes you're going to be stuck with what you have, but in a general sense to get a really good progression and a strength workout, you want to just try to move up no more than 10%. So a couple of pounds on an exercise is a progression. And when you can get those the full sets in and the reps in and use good form, that's when you want to progress.
I've talked about people coming into the gym. They do the same workout every time they set the weights on the same thing, every time they're not getting stronger because, one they're not stimulating their muscles, because they're not progressing, they're not adding weight to that workout. And then, of course, they're not recovering. But they didn't do the work to need to recover. So they just they're coming in and they're doing a workout, which is great.
I'm glad you're there. I'm glad you're moving. Movement is important, but you're not getting stronger and you're not building strength. So that's what we want to do. We don't want to just stay where we are. We want to get a little bit stronger. We want to add a little bit more muscle mass, because if Sarcopenia kicks in, it's going to start reducing that muscle mass. And as it does, the more muscle you have and start with, the better you're going to be when you start going against that even heavier. So patience, persistence and progression lead to consistency and consistency leads to results.
Now, the next thing I want to talk about in this lineup is exercise selection, and this is really, really important because so many people love to come in and do work that makes them feel good. And that's awesome, but again, it's not going to help you really get stronger. If you see a lot of people coming to the gym and they just blast their arms with these isolation movements. And that's fine. Isolation exercises where you're really just working one muscle and that's fine. If you want to have bigger biceps, you have bigger triceps. That's great to work those muscles, but it's not really helping you get a lot stronger because they're not muscles that you're going to be doing.
What was the heaviest thing that you lift up to your mouth from a low point. And then reality is you're going to find that you're just not using your biceps that much to lift a lot of weight. Now you are using your back and you are using your chest and you are using your legs. So focusing on compound movements now, compound movements are movements that move multiple muscles.
A push up is requiring you to move your chest and your triceps. So it's working multiple muscles. A squat is requiring you to use your quadriceps and your glutes. And deadlift is causing you to use your your glutes and your back and your hamstrings.
So compound movements are going to be your bread and butter for strength exercises. And so as you're doing this exercise selection, a good starting point for most beginners. If you look at most beginner workouts, they're going to involve a squat. There probably can involve a lunge or a deadlift. They're going to involve a push up or a bench press, and they're going to involve a pulling movement like a row or pull up. And then finally, they're going to involve some form of overhead press.
That's a basic five exercise compound movement workout. Three sets of ten start very low in weight. And, you know, as you get good form and you feel good about it, you can begin to do that progression. But all of those are compound movements. Now, if you find that you know your triceps are what's keeping you from being stronger when you do your base workout, maybe you want to add some tricep work in there just to strengthen them a little bit more, because you don't want anyone body part being the laggard that's keeping you from optimizing the strength in other muscles.
So you may do some of that. You may split this up and start doing more of that. And then the final point I want to talk about as far as exercise selection is a term called periodization. When you do the same thing over time, initially, yes, your brain connects with the muscles. It learns how to use more muscle fibers to affect the movement. And your strength gains are pretty good. After that now we're really into the muscle building.
Now we're into the, you know, really focusing on the muscle becoming stronger, not just the neuromuscular connection being firmer. We're actually now strengthening the muscle at many points in time that can stall. That can feel like it's just not going anywhere, and you might feel like you've plateaued. That's where periodization can help. You can set up periodization in any kind of schedule you want. I'm a big fan of either four weeks or eight weeks.
I found that, you know, after about four weeks strength training, you know, that's where they start to see kind of that flattening out by eight weeks. Most people are flattened out. And so if you change up the exercises, in many cases, you're going to spurring more connections for your brain to your muscle fibers and you're building additional strength in those muscles.
So about once every eight weeks, you're probably going to want to change up your program to incorporate different exercises that basically accomplish some of the same tasks. So an example would be, let's say you started out with a back squat where the bars on your back and you're doing that for eight weeks. You may want to switch up and for the next eight weeks do a front squat.
This changes the dynamic of the movement. You're at a slightly different angle. And what I found is for a lot of people, once they learn the front squat, get really good at the front, squat, their back squat naturally gets stronger because they have better core positioning and they feel better under the bar. But understanding these progressions and understanding periodization is really, really important. If you want to continue to see progress and get stronger after 40. The final thing I want to talk about is about getting help.
Weightlifting is it may feel like a very solo sport because it's just you against the weight, but in reality, it should not be a solo sport. The first thing I want to preach here is safety. You do not want to be under a weight that you can't control or that you can't lift if that way it's going to come down on you. So exercise is like the squat and the bench press and in some cases, maybe even the overhead press are things that you just want to be very, very careful with.
Having someone there, or at the very least having a safety rack is really important. I'm going to put a link in the show notes of this podcast where you can go in and see video that I've done about safety rack and how you can use a safety rack for safety. I used one, I basically did three exercises as part what we talked about the squat, the bench press and the overhead press.
On each of those exercises, I use the safety rack to provide safety so that if I couldn't complete the lift, I could get out from under the bar without it, you know, being on top of me. So having someone there to spot you is is really, really important if you don't have access to a safety rack.
In most gyms, when you're working out, if you need a spot, ask for a spot. And people will love to come over and help you as long as it's not something that's, you know, too long, too much. But just, you know, tap a guy and say, hey, do you mind spotting me?
And most people in gyms are going to be more than happy to come over there and help you get that lift done safely. Or you can hire a personal trainer. Now, I want to take just a moment to step away from, you know, working with a personal trainer to say there are personal trainers and there are coaches. And it's kind of important to understand who you're hiring if you're going to hire one or the other.
A personal trainer is really good about meeting you in the gym at a certain time, giving you a workout, making sure that you're getting good periodization, good exercise selection, again, which was very, very important, that they're timing your rest, they're counting your reps and they're there to spot you on your lifts. And, you know, in some cases, yes, that's even nice that they're there to help you load and unload machines or weights. But personal trainers, really that I mean, they're in the gym giving you, and most personal trainers are not going to be attentive to you or really care too much about what you're doing outside of the hour, two hour, three hours per week that you spend with them.
A coach, on the other hand, is someone who is going to want to spend more time with you. They're going to want to know what you're doing for the rest of the week. They're going to talk to you about nutrition. They're going to talk to you about rests. They're going to talk to you about sleep. They're going to talk to you about a lot of things to make sure that you're doing things outside the gym that will benefit what you're doing in the gym.
And then again, the coach, if they're there with you, is counting reps. They're looking at your form. They're giving you cues. So a coach is more than a personal trainer. It's truly a coach that's there to help you win. And so, you know, if you're looking for a coach, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/programs-guides-challenges. I have a few different ways that you can work with me.
And I'm a coach. I'm not a personal trainer anymore. We focus on a lot more than just here's your workout, here's your thing. Most of what I do is custom for you. So if you come in to work out, there will be some space workouts. But in a general sense, we're going to talk. And if we decide you need to make some changes in your nutrition, your sleep, your rest, your stress or your lifting or the things you're doing outside of lifting, then, you know, we make those changes.
Now, I did get a few questions on Facebook. One of them related to training as a runner and runners are really interesting because a lot of runners don't really want to weight train. And I get it, because if having the best time is what's really important to you, you have to think about your strength versus mass, OK, or power versus mass.
So if you actually are lifting and gaining weight, gaining pounds of muscle, which can happen, what you might find is that that actually slows your time. So you don't necessarily want to get bigger and put on muscle mass if you're a runner. But lifting can be a good adjunct to your running and areas where I see that most runners can benefit from strength training is in the core work and the lateral work.
So exercises that are not just going and then most runners need to do more upper body training. They don't you know, they don't get any work on their arms while they're running. And as a result, they don't see, they basically don't have enough muscle mass up there to have the things we're talking about to build strength. But you can work and build strength and be a runner, too. It just takes training again, a little bit smarter. If you're doing long runs, obviously, you don't want to do a leg day before a long run, so you have to time your rest and recovery better.
Those are some basic aspects there, you know, as far as someone just getting started out. I'd really encourage you to to consider hiring a personal trainer or coach, because if they can show you how to do the exercise properly, you're going to use good form. You're not going to injure yourself. And by all means, if you do ever find yourself that you have an injury, don't don't try to power through it all pain, no gain is actually doesn't work that way.
If you hurt yourself, you're out of the game and you're not going to get stronger. So if you're over 40, I strongly encourage you and you haven't lifted before. I strongly encourage you to get a coach. Someone will teach you how to do the exercises properly. Someone will pay attention to your movement patterns and make sure that you're doing the right things in the gym and away from the gym to get strong after 40 and optimize your results in time.
You know, if you spent hours in a gym each week, you want to make sure you're getting a benefit for that time. If you're eating extra protein and you're, you know, working on your sleep and your health, all those different things, you want to make sure you're getting your results.
And so you don't want to be injured. You want to make sure you're doing it right, and you want to make sure there's someone there to kind of push you and hold you accountable. So hiring a good coach is really, really important if you want to get the optimal results.
Post show with Rachel.
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Over the past eight years, I've followed a ketogenic diet (low carb diet) for much of the year in a way of eating I call, Seasonal Ketosis. It is a part of my ancestral-based lifestyle to promote health, fitness, longevity, and joy. Seasonal Ketosis is a form of cyclic ketogenic diet based on seasons, where I'll have a season of feasting and a season of famine each year.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Let's Get Checked. Let's Get Checked makes it easy for anyone to get professional testing and consultation from the comfort of their home. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/LGC and use the code Allan20 to get 20% off.
So, you know, it's under control here. But we, you know, living under more stringent rules. So they didn't open our curfew and they didn't give us the Saturday back. So,[00:03:38.880] – Ras
Hello and thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness Podcast, I'm really glad to have you here today. Today's show is going to be a little different. I have talked about seasonal ketosis as the way that I eat a few times on this show and on some other podcasts, but I've never really broken down how it works and why it works and what it is, specifically for me and how it fits within my overall ancestral based lifestyle.
Now, when I started this effort to go from a fat bastard to healthy and fit. I was introduced to Paleo by a dietitian and she brought up the paleo diet, explained what it was, what I could eat, what I couldn't eat, and I loved it. So I stepped away from my high carb diet and started just eating meat, fish and vegetables. I'd never heard of the ketogenic diet or the keto diet, as it's often called, but because I was on such a low carb version of the paleo diet, it actually put me into ketosis.
So I had to figure out what ketosis was because something different was happening to me and, you know, my breath and other things you hear about. But the weight loss was dramatic. So I enjoyed a lot of benefits out of the ketogenic diet. My blood sugar got steady, I had higher energy, I had less brain fog and it felt great.
Now, over the past eight years, I've continued to follow the ketogenic diet for most of the year, and I call that seasonal ketosis. Now, most people that adopt the ketogenic diet, they do it full time and they start eating low carb and they stay low carb and they try to keep their body in ketosis all the time and they see the benefits.
They would ask, why would I ever go off the keto diet if I enjoy how I feel when I'm on it? And to answer that question, for me, it's really about balance. I enjoy beer, I enjoy wine, I enjoy fruit, I enjoy yeast rolls. And occasionally I want to have a hamburger with a bun. So I pick a specific part of the year where I would allow myself to go off of ketosis. Now, I mentioned a few shows back that I had not started my famine season on time and really kind of blew it for a while. But I am back into my famine season and I've lost 25 pounds plus and still going.
But that's, that's not all this is really about. So I use seasonal ketosis as a way to stay generally healthy, to keep my health in good check, to keep my weight in a healthy body composition range. It improves my fitness, longevity, and the joy I have in my life. So I've developed an ancestral based lifestyle. And I'm not going to get into the argument about what our ancestors would or would not have eaten. I'm not going to get into the argument of, you know, how long they lived and all that. I'll talk a little bit about that. But that science doesn't interest me. I know that there were no fruits available to my ancestors in the northern part of Europe. I know that they would not have been able to transport food all around the world, so I would not have been eating nutrients from different continents all at one time.
I would not always have access to vegetables and fruits and all this other gobbledygook. I just wouldn't there'd be periods of time when I wouldn't. So but before I really get into seasonal ketosis, I do want to talk about a few key things just so we're all on the same base. When I'm talking about ancestral living, there's a few just core tenets that I'm going to throw out there. One is understanding what ketosis is now. Ketosis is when your body is burning fat.
So that can either be the fat that you're eating or it can be body fat. And in doing so, you create ketone bodies. Now, these ketone bodies are something that your brain and your body can use as fuel. Most of the time people are running on glucose. OK, there's glucose in your blood, there's glucose, you know, in the form of glycogen, in your muscles and liver. And we use that for energy most of the time.
At least that's how it's been for at least the last probably six to seven years here in the United States now. And we've also got a lot fatter. Ketones, on the other hand, can do all of that fueling. And in many cases it's more efficient and it's cleaner. It doesn't cause as many problems for us. So our bodies actually perform better, operate better and are in better health when we're in ketosis. So that's just ketosis. Now, the ketogenic diet is also called keto or the keto Diet.
It is a low carb, high fat diet that forces your body to go into nutritional ketosis. Now you can induce ketosis with exogenous ketone bodies or MCT oil, which is a medium-chain triglyceride. But that's not what I'm after here. We want healthy food. We want a healthy diet of real food that puts us into ketosis naturally. And it's not that hard to do. You just got to get the macros right and push through. Now with me, seasonal ketosis is a cyclical ketogenic diet. Now, instead of doing just a week, I do my cycles running over months, OK.
And in fact, seasons. So I'll have a season where I'll go into famine and then I'm in a strict ketogenic diet at that point. I stay in ketosis almost the whole time and then I'll have some feasting seasons when, you know, I'll go ahead and allow myself to eat what I want. I don't have any no, no's. Now I do tend to continue to eat a little bit high fat, low carb at that time, but the rules are gone. I just eat what I feel compelled to eat and enjoy the food that I have.
Now, my approach to health, a healthy ancestral lifestyle really is about health and longevity, even though we may never actually answer that question how long our ancestors would have lived. What we do know is that child mortality was much higher. We know that they didn't have the medical Know-How of modern times and they had less access to food. And we didn't have access to what, you know, most of the experts would call healthy Whole Foods. I mean, we had what was there that was all that was there. So what we didn't how we did. That's all we had.
There were no McDonald's. There was none of that stuff. And we did a lot more physical activity every day. So whatever the evidence says, you know, if people weren't living as long, it was probably for different reasons. OK, now, during those times, there would be periods, particularly in the north, where we would have feast and famine. When we would spend part of the year eating a ketogenic diet and even some periods of fasting. We didn't have food preservation. So we would have to wake up in the morning and maybe not have any food around. So we would have to go get it. We could be traveling and walking for hours and not find that.
But what we would do is if you think about it from a seasonal perspective, we would have access to more food in the spring, through the fall. So there would be fruits, there'd be vegetables, there'd be things like that. And so we would probably put on some weight between spring and fall. We'd just be a normal thing. And it was good because body fat helps protect us from the cold, keep us warmer, and it also gives us food. I mean, when we don't have food, it provides us the energy we need.
Okay, now as we go into the winter, weight loss would be the norm as we started using that fat on our bodies to keep us alive. So if we didn't have access to food, our bodies adapted to stay alive, our bodies adapted to be able to continue to do what we needed to do. I also believe that we were opportunistic eaters and we didn't have a McDonald's or a Tim Hortons or whatever it is that you have on every corner.
We didn't drink sweetened beverages. We just had water. We ate whole foods. When we killed an animal, we ate it hoof to nose. As hunter gatherers, we ate well as we could and we fasted when we had to. So we were on the land. And I think that's one of the core tenets of this is that we knew what we should eat, what we shouldn't eat, and we got that through the tribal knowledge. So, you know, I think it's really important to understand that the things that we call food today are not food. You know, groceries, as they are today, are not as nutritious as what we had been. And we've got to fix that as a people. That's got to be a priority somewhere along the lines.
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Now, another big tenant I want to talk about is fitness. Now, we were not sedentary. You cannot survive as a hunter gatherer if you're going to sit and not do anything, you just don't. So we would have to be fit. We wouldn't be able to go to a gym for cardio and strength training, but we would have regular exposure to three primary movement modalities that were really, really important for us. We would do low intensity, steady-state or LISS, as I like to call it where we had to migrate.
So, you know, food's not always where we want it to be. And the animals were moving with migration patterns. We would have to move with them if we want to be successful hunters. So this would require sometimes days of us to walk and travel, hiking, basically, and we'd have to carry our stuff with us. So if we had shelter and coats and in different clothing and blankets and all the different things, we needed tools and weapons, we would be carrying those with us. So we would go on these long, low intensity, steady state movements.
Now occasionally we would have high-intensity interval training. And you could think of that in terms of if we were hunting or we were fending off other tribes, it would require us to have some power and some skill. So working with weapons, moving for short periods of time, quickly resting, moving again, that would be normal regular activity for us. So, yes, more movement. And then finally a strength in mobility when we killed a large animal or we stumbled across a berry patch, we would feast.
Now, that would also require, in some cases, for us to lift parts of the animal and carry it back to camp, or we'd have to squat down to pick the berries that we were going to be eating. So, again, more movement. And so you can see through this, just the lifestyle of a hunter gatherer is filled with tons and tons of movement. Now, we also would have work life balance. We would be putting in long commutes. We wouldn't be doing a lot of the things we do now.
But while we're working to survive, we would also understand that we needed to rest. We would understand that, you know, we would need flow. And what I mean by flow is, you know, flow is kind of fitting in with what's there. You know, we would know that there's ways to hunt. There's ways to to move. There's there's times that we need to go. And so we would start following a natural pattern of days, months, seasons.
You watch some of the shows where they depict people and they live by the moon, the moon and the seasons give them the information they need to survive. Now, if they faced a threat and then they had a stressor, which, you know, basically what a threat would do is the stress response. It would be acute, immediate, it'd be life or death. So they would have that cortisol hit. They'd have, you know, that adrenal hit and then it would be gone. It wouldn't be this long, drawn out months and months and months of things that we do to ourselves now.
So we would have a very low stress life in a general sense, as long as we were able to successfully hunt and move and do the things we needed to do. Our stress levels were much lower. We also did risk management. And that sounds kind of weird talking about our ancestors.
But the way you stay alive, the way longevity happens, is understanding the risks associated with your life is a primal living being. We weren't worried about calories, blood sugar, vitamin C, processed meat, dietary fiber, or if we had a healthy microbiome, those concepts weren't even in our head. But what we did was we followed a path that was set by our ancestors.
My ancestors would go and they'd say, we know we go this direction. This is the way we have to go this month at the moon. And then we would go, but we would have to also understand what we're facing. If another tribe moved in to the area, we might have to change the plan, but we would do it. We had risk management. We were paying attention. So the biggest risks to us at that time was infant mortality and tribal warfare.
And the only biohacking that we would have done was just making sure that we were aware of the risks and then figuring out ways to avoid them or deal with them. And then relationship would be very important to us. We worked and moved as a tribe. And in a tribe, it works to our benefit because it helps everyone's survival. We hunted in packs and were hard coded in our DNA to be socially engaged. So that relationship, that closeness is really, really important to the nature of ancestral living.
And then finally within ancestral living. I want to talk about curiosity. You know, we did tend to follow the same basic patterns, seasonal patterns, year in and year out. But we were constantly engaged with what was going on. In the world around us, because our survival depended on it. You know, we couldn't go in and ask Google or Facebook what the weather was going to be like or if we were going to have an early summer or a late winter or whatever.
There was no groundhog to do it for us either. We looked to our elders to advise us and then the tribe had to learn and adapt, and that's how we would survive hard times. Now, I recently started a blog to dive into these issues in more detail. But full disclosure, I'm a terrible blogger. I can brag about this being episode 455 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. But you know, I've done several blogs over the years and I don't think I've ever gotten more than maybe 15 blog posts in any one blog I've ever started.
So they blog fade pretty quickly. You know, I hope that doesn't happen with this blog. But what I plan to do with that blog is explore a lot of these topics that I've talked about so far. So if you're interested in any of those, you might want to check out the blog. I'll do the best I can, but. What's probably gonna end up happening is I'll probably end up bringing some of those topics here to the podcast, so check out the blog as I get going on it. Probably not anything else on there now. But check it out. And that's where a lot of these topics are going to be discussed in more detail. And if you have any questions, feel free to join us on the Facebook group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/Group. And just ask I'm there. I mean, I'm there to participate and help you in any way I can. So if you're interested in this topic, I would like to carry on that conversation.
So for today's discussion and then I'll be gone already for quite a while. But I really want to dive into seasonal ketosis and share why I do it and the reasons that it may or may not be right for you. The first question I kind of have in my mind when I'm thinking about this is seasonal ketosis. The same thing is cyclical keto diet? You know, and technically it is it's you know, you're cycling in and out of keto. So it is a cyclical keto diet. However, when you talk to most people about this cyclical keto diet, it's a six days on, one day off, and they call that a refeed day. And I'm metabolically capable of doing that kind of keto diet, but I'm not a really good moderation type person.[00:22:02.340] – Allan
I like seeing two to five pounds come off in a week. What I wouldn't be a fan of is seeing like four pounds down, then two pounds up. And I'm pretty sure that's how the cyclical keto diet would work for me. And I don't really like that. It's progress, don't get me wrong, it's progress. But that's just not me. I'm happy knowing that I can have a few more carbs on my high activity days without going out of ketosis.
So if I'm going to have more carbs, I'm just going to work out a hell of a lot harder that week to make sure that I can keep myself in ketosis and have the carbs too. So if I want some fruit, I got to earn it from a from a carb, blood sugar, muscle and liver glycogen model. Now, there are some positives to the cyclical keto over full time keto. In many cases, athletic performance can be better and muscle growth is better.
I'm not a bodybuilder and I perform fine without the refits. I can I can do as much as I want to do. I need to do so again, cyclical keto is just not for me. But if you're someone who's looking for a way to do keto and then have that kind of that refeed that break, you might want to check that out. Now, why does seasonal ketosis make sense to me from an ancestral perspective?
And I've gone into some of this already. You know, I when I started this and I was learning about the paleo diet, I came across Mark Sissons primal blueprint. And now Mark laid out a very reasoned case for how our ancestors lived and ate. I used to character I think he named Duroc. So rather, you believe in human evolution, creationism or intelligent design, I don't think you can argue that we we're not doing things right now.
We've got to change something. The standard American diet is killing us. You know, back then we didn't eat refined grains and we didn't have junk food. You know, we were hunters and gatherers. We were, like I said, opportunistic eaters. And we ate the nutrition that our body required, essential amino acids and essential fats. They came from animals, primarily red meat and fish. That's where we got our food. Most of our food was going to come in that form.
And then based on the seasons, you know, we had short periods of the year where it was either cold or dry. We were in ketosis because there just might not be any vegetables or fruits available to us during periods of time. And then, of course, because, you know, food availability and everything, we would spend a good bit of time fasting or intermittent fasting or maybe some extended fasting, depending on the nature of what's going on in the world.
You know, if if we got a good, cold, hard freeze and all the animals are moving and there's no, you know, no vegetation at all, we got to go with the animals. We got to catch up to them. And then we got to do the hunting. So just recognize that our diet would have been very keto for much of the year. OK, now I started doing this for weight loss. That was my my core reason. And I was very much drawn to the primal paleo diet because it made intuitive sense.
Mark did a really good job, because it was maybe the first article I read, that you can't eat what you don't have access to. So you wouldn't eat processed foods at all, ever. OK, everything we would have eaten. Would have been whole food. It would have been locally and sustainably sourced and the human body was designed to be a hunter. I mean, there's no doubt whatsoever when you look at our features, look at what we can do. We were designed to be hunters, but when there are fruits and vegetables available, we're probably going to eat those. But we would not have eaten a high carbohydrate diet year-round. It's just impossible for any of our ancestors short of just some very small areas, you know, in the tropical zones where people would have eaten primarily carbohydrate diets that just wouldn't have anyone from northern Europe, anyone pretty much if you're from Northern Europe or Europe at all, your ancestors probably didn't eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
That's just that's just part of it. Now, you can look at the current chronic diseases, obesity, heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. And the health problems are associated with our food. There's something seriously wrong. In our modern world, most people have insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. And it's it's so epidemic that it's just weird to me that this has become politicized. That, you know, we have the food companies telling our government what to tell us what to eat is kind of crazy. It's not animal products and saturated fat that are making us sick as much as those food companies want the government to tell us that it is. It's just not true. It's the fast food. It's the processed foods.
It's high, refined carbs and sugar. We're eating too much sugar. We're eating too many refined carbs. We're not eating whole food. So if the government was in our favor doing the things that it was supposed to do, they'd be focused on food quality. They would not be telling us to eat cereal and grains and refined carbs. They would be telling us to eat meat, fruits and vegetables, Whole Foods.
Now, I've interviewed experts across all spectrums of nutrition. I've had vegans on I've had carnivores on paleo, keto, everywhere in between. The interesting thing is, is every single one of them will tell you that their way of eating is the best because it is based on high quality whole food. And they'll be able to pull out the studies that show people eating their diet. Whole Foods are crushing it. They're doing great. But what's hard is that they ignore Whole Food studies that say the exact same thing about a different type of diet, because it doesn't fit their world view, it doesn't fit their paradigm.
They have a cognitive bias. So, I just really struggle when someone tells me that the quality of your vegetable matters, but the quality of your meat doesn't. It's just all meat is bad. Or and people say the same thing you know, the other way. Is the quality of the meat matters, but all vegetables are bad. You know, that doesn't make sense to me. Our bodies were designed to eat both. Quality is what matters.
That's why the paleo diet makes sense to me. I think everybody should be trying to eat more whole food. You know, the debates out about whether we would have eaten potatoes or, you know, and I don't think we would have eaten much dairy, to be honest with you, because we didn't have cows. You know, we didn't have goats.
We hunted them or something similar to them. But we didn't we didn't have any animal product like that. We weren't domesticating the animals, so we weren't doing dairy. Beans, you know, those are a little weird because yeah, there are some issues there where we have to be careful with them. But, you know, I like the primal experience of having a big, juicy steak. I just do. I love having a cup of blueberries or blackberries and the sweetness and the tartness and just, I love that.
I'm not going to give up either one of them, I'm just not. My diet is comprised of meat, fish, vegetables and some fruit. I did try the Carnivore diet for a few weeks and I started missing vegetables. I tried the vegetarian diet and then I adapted it into the pescaterian and diet to try to get my protein. And I couldn't do it. I gained weight because I was eating too many fruits and vegetables and grains, so I just started putting on weight. So there's not something that I enjoy. And, you know, when I when I do these did these little experiments, you know, I was typically doing them during my my feasting season. So, you know, was not a period of time when I had to worry about being in ketosis. I just did what I did.
I think it's important for you to understand that whole food is the answer. However, you choose to put that in a way of eating is really about you. But I will say this. If you're going to try seasonal ketosis, you do need to think about a few things. OK, one, I don't. Have any insulin resistance or diabetes or, you know, I don't have any of the the diseases or any of the issues that that people would would be suffering from, that they might be using this as a protocol. So if you have insulin resistance or diabetes, you know, or you're using the ketogenic diet for cancer, Alzheimer's disease, PCOS, or an autoimmune auto immune issue, I wouldn't necessarily cycle off of the ketogenic diet.
Those protocols are specific about staying in keto the whole time. And so that's not something where you would want to cycle out because you're just setting yourself up. If you're way above a healthy body composition and you want to use keto to lose weight, seasonal ketosis is also probably not something for you because your weight is going to fluctuate. I fluctuate 10 to 15 pounds each year as I go through these cycles. So that is, and then, of course, if you're prone to eating disorders, you know, you need to find a way of eating that you're comfortable with.
If it's sustainable for you, the cycling in and out is probably not in your best interest, you know, except for this slip up. I had recently did a covid-19 I've been able to manage my seasons stably for the last eight years. You know, going into my feasting season in late August, early September, and then coming out of it right after the Super Bowl or my birthday at the first week of February. That's my feasting season.
And then my fasting season or famine season, as I call it, will run the rest of the year. And as I said I might put on 10 to 15 pounds during the feasting season, but I ditch that weight pretty quickly and spend my famine season at my lower, lower range of my set point. Now, I love the metabolic flexibility that I have to be able to spend part of the time in ketosis and part of the time having a little bit more carbs.
When I say more carbs, I'm talking about beer and some simple carbs. You know, it's like I'll have a hotdog, I'll have a hamburger. Someone offers me a piece of pie at a tailgate, I'll eat it. So that's kind of that thing. You know, to me, the weight loss is relatively easy. Once I'm in ketosis, my body just naturally says, OK, you don't you don't need this. And some of what I'm flushing out from a weight perspective is water.
But a lot of it is body fat and it goes pretty quickly. And I'm pretty happy with that. Now, if you're interested in diving deeper into this topic, there's two ways that you can do this. I talked about the group earlier, you know, 40+ Fitness Podcast, dotcom focus group, or you can go to the Web site – 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/455. And there's a comment section under this post.
I put a post with the transcripts each week and that's why I tell you the full show notes are there. If you go there, there's a comment section, you can leave a comment there. I'm pretty passionate about the benefits that I get and the flexibility I get and the freedom I get with seasonal ketosis and my style of ancestral living. So I love talking about it. If you want to go into more detail with this, I encourage you to go check out one of those two places and let's continue the conversation there.[00:34:12.300] Allan
And I'm right about there right now. I think I'm going to push it down a little lower because my muscle mass is a little lower than it was five years ago. So I'm probably going to push my weight down below two hundred before I kind of level things out again. So I do see some fluctuations with my weight and I know that can be challenging for a lot of people.[00:36:11.350] Ras
I before we move down here to Panama, I found a pair of cargo shorts that I liked. So I bought like four or five different pair and different colors of the same cargo shorts. And so they all fit me the same way. And so I can just pretty much tell when I put those cargo shorts on how I'm doing and where I am. And as I mentioned, I eat relatively low carb during my feasting season. So I'm not crazy on carbs.
It's just I don't really worry about it. If, you know, if I'm out with folks, we want to have some beers. I don't think about it. You know, if someone offers me something that I wouldn't normally eat like a hamburger with a bun, I'm going to eat it. I'm not going to worry too much about it, but I do pay attention to my size. You know, if I didn't start noticing that I'm getting bigger, then I'll I'll tap it down a little bit.
I won't I won't go as crazy. Well, except during COVID. But…[00:37:54.320] Ras
You have to recognize that about about five or seven of that is water weight. And I flush that the first week I go back into ketosis. Right. You know, so I'll literally sit there and say, OK, I'm going to go in ketosis, you know, drop five to seven pounds in a week or two. And then it then it tapers down and I'll lose a few pounds a week and then one pound a week and then my body will get to that homeostasis, its happy weight and I just go by how I feel.
Now I've mentioned this before on another episode I was talking about this a little bit. I don't feel as good during the feasting season, you know, because the foods I'm eating or not is healthy. You know, the beer is not a health food.[00:39:11.260] Ras
But I also want to preface it. You know, I notice I do feel better in ketosis. It's just a better state for me to be in. But I'm not all that tight end up being that way all the time. You know, I'm okay to have a couple bad, you know, days where my energy level is not as high or, you know, I feel a little frumpy. I'm cool with that. It's the price I pay for the detour I took, and I just accept that.
If you're someone who's doing it as a protocol for cancer, for diabetes, insulin resistance, any other metabolic issue, then it's something you're probably going to want to stay on. It's not something that I want to cycle through.[00:40:31.030] Ras
And so I would struggle with that kind of cycle. Whereas if I'm off, I'm off. If I'm on, I'm on. And that's another thing about my personality, you know, and I talk about in the wellness chips, you've got to know yourself. You got to be self-aware. And it's one of the things I know is I don't have a dimmer switch, the light switch, maybe I'm on or I'm off.
And so it's just easier for me to say, okay, flip the switch and I just do it.[00:41:24.010] Ras
And if you're eating refined carbs specifically and sugar, you're going to have inflammation and that inflammation is going to cause problems in your joints. And so from a health perspective, I would I would be the one that would air on the side of using ketones for for energy.
If I were doing endurance athletics, an occasional carb up here and there before a race might help your performance. But, you know, I'm not sure how much additional glycogen your body is going to be able to carry for that particular event. And you're always going to want to practice what you're going to race. So you would be eating carbs as a regular probably thing each week to carb up for your long runs if you're following the standard training protocol. So you would still be eating a good bit of carbs as a part of that.
So I'm not saying one is better than the other from a performance perspective. I'm just thinking in terms of wear and tear on your body inflammation and you just weigh a little bit less, you know, in carrying less water. So, you know, yeah. All of that's going to probably, in the end, help your performance. But I don't they don't have enough evidence right now where I would say there's one superior fueling way.[00:43:55.510] Ras
The one or two times that I've actually ate something non kaido. It impacted me greatly. I was very sick so I can't really do too much cheating. I know I've got a limit. I probably can eat something that's bread or sugar, but not very much more than a bite of cake or something small because it will impact me. But as far as the endurance part of it, it has helped a lot in my running.
I'm not winning races or anything. I've never been fast either in the first place. But yeah, keto has been a real big help for me in the endurance field. But like we like you mentioned earlier and just a little while ago is that you really need to find what works for you as an individual and there's just a wide range of eating, I could give you a couple of names of some impressive vegan ultra runners. Scott Drake is probably one of the most famous vegan ultra runners.
And then to the exact opposite, Michael McKnight, just this summer or spring, actually ran a hundred miles and no calories, nothing, no food. One hundred miles. I want to say, he did it in 18 hours, if I remember right. But so he's he's definitely keto. But like you were mentioning, he is also carving up a little bit in the week leading up. So his body was fueled with carbs, but then he goes straight kitto so that his body is prepared with fat as well.
And I think that's probably how he survived it. But he's also a pretty famous keto ultra athlete.[00:46:05.330] Allan
So, you know, the what's that they say in the ad is the results you see might not be your results right into it. So I'm not going to say everybody would have as easy of a time going back and forth. I don't have any insulin resistance. I don't have any blood sugar issues. You know, my awarenesses always been fine. So for me to switch back and forth seems relatively easy, you know, but like I said, most of the year, I'm eating this way anyway.
The difference is just not paying attention to my carbs, are not being worried about the carbs. And so that's why it works. And the other side of it is I don't stress about rather on that point five or point to five as far as what my ketone levels are, as long as I'm in ketosis, I'm cool. But a lot of people are like, no, I want to see that. No, I want to be one point five or better.
And I bought a Keto Mojo not long ago to replace my other ketone meter that I lost. I guess I can't find it after I moved. I'll probably find it when I go get the rest of my stuff. But anyway, so I bought it and they introduced this new where they measure your glucose and you measure your ketones at the same time. And we do that. It gives you a different measure relative so ketones relative to glucose. And so it's an index that they've created.
And so again, it's just one of those. But again, it's that competitiveness of seeing a higher number that it seems to be pushing toward. And I'm not a big fan of that. You're either in ketosis or you're not. You're not. You know, you can say you're more in ketosis. I mean, there's just more ketones circulating in your blood. So I don't think you're in more ketosis. You just can't be more perfect.
You can't be more pregnant as you are. There are the days you might feel more pregnant than you did the day before. But you know that you're not in you know, you're not in more ketosis. You're in ketosis, you're not. And so it's for me, it's a good protocol. But I'm a little bit different in that I don't have a health issue. I do it to thin out, to lean out a bit, because if I did the feasting all year round, if I ate that way out of control, I would blow up, you know, so I know I can't do that and I have to be very cognizant of it.
I wasn't this year. I went and I stayed with it and just kind of proved my point of once I broke that that that barrier that I had my set point for my body, it said, oh, good, we'll just throw in a lot more weight. We don't have a problem with that. You gave us the fat cells years ago. We know how to use them. Just keep feeding us. And it did. So, you know, you got to turn that around.
And for me, it's when I said no dimmer switch just flipped the switch and let's go.[00:49:25.580] Ras
Now, people do that all the time and go right back into ketosis and never even know they were out of ketosis. So it's not this magical state. Where you're going to have to go through keto flu every time you go in and out, because people are going in and in some levels, most people are in a mild state of ketosis almost every morning they wake up because you've gone, you know, eight or 12 hours without eating. So your body is starting to produce ketones.
Now, is it using them efficiently as a fuel? No, because you're immediately going to put some more glucose in the system. You know, if you're very active, like you do your endurance sport and you're burning down some glycogen in your muscles and your liver. So when you do have additional carbs, some additional carbs, your body's going to use this insulin to restore that. So if you need it in the liver, if you need it in the muscles, then insulin is going to do its thing to do that.
If you didn't do any work and you're already topped up with glycogen, then it's only got one other choice and it's going to start making fat. So if that's something you're trying to avoid, you want a better body composition. I can't think of a better way to do it than keto.[00:51:09.910] Ras
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