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October 10, 2023

11 must know gym etiquette tips

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On episode 611 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss gym etiquette so you can feel more confident when you go to the gym.


Let's Say Hello

There is no hello session for this episode as Coach Allan is on vacation.


Hello. Today I'm going to share eleven must know gym etiquette tips. I want to start this though. I want to congratulate you. If you are someone that's just new to the gym, you're just trying to go to the gym and you want to go back to that free weight section, I just want to say congratulations. That's a big step. I know, for a lot of people to go somewhere where you're uncomfortable, to get outside of your comfort zone, but I can tell you that's where all the growth is going to happen. So congratulations for joining the gym. Congratulations for deciding that you want to go back and start working in the free weight section and the machines. You're going to get away from just doing the treadmill and you're actually going to do some things that are really going to help improve yourself, your body, your life, all of it. So congratulations. I'm glad you're there. We're all glad you're there. So I want to share eleven gym etiquette tips that you should know when you decide, okay, you're going to go work out in the gym. Now, these are general tips. They apply to almost every place you're going to go.

You may see some of these that are not as well followed, but I can just tell you if you avoid doing these things or you follow these tips, you're going to be away ahead of the game and people are going to respect and like that you're at the gym a lot more. Okay, so the first one, and this is one that a lot of people don't know about, is about mirror and line of sight. So if someone is sitting on a bench or basically set on a bench, like maybe at an incline and they're doing some work and you see them looking at the mirror between them and the exercise they're doing, they're looking at it while they're exercising. Don't cut in front of them. Don't walk between them and the mirror until they finish their set. And sometimes you need to go in front of them to get the dumbbells that you need. Just be patient, wait a couple of seconds, let them finish their set and then you can excuse yourself and step in front. But let them finish their set. They're using the mirror as a guide for their form. They're trying to concentrate on their lift.

And for you to step in front of their line of sight to the mirror can be a little distracting for some people. And so if you see someone working out and looking into the mirror while they do it, just be patient. Wait, don't cut in front of them. Walk around behind them if you can. The second one is small talk, advice and spotting. So when you go into the gym and you keep going consistently and you go at the same time, you're probably going to start running into the same people. It's just kind of the way gym works. Most of us are going in at 05:00 or the five o'clockers and we're going to see the same people. You're going to see the same people in the gym most of the time you're there. So it's quite common that you're going to strike up conversation with someone. Someone might see you doing something and offer a little bit of advice. They may ask you for a spot. By all means, make this social, but don't make that the sole purpose of the trip. There are people that love to go to gyms and use them as pickup places and do all that kind of stuff.

Don't just go in there. Be respectful of other people and they're trying to get their workout done. You're trying to get your workout done. If someone does offer you advice, just take it for what it's worth. If someone asks you for a spot or you need a spot, by all means. That's part of the reason we're all in there is to help each other. So as you get in there, just understand the culture of the gym and realize that some places are going to be a little bit more social than others. Some are going to have a lot more heavy lifters than others. And so as you get in there, just get comfortable with that situation and just be astute to what kind of the environment is and kind of stick to that. The next one, number three, is to just show up. If you have a workout partner and you started with someone and you said you're going to be there, show up. They are there. They're going to need spots from you. You're motivating them by being there. And so please, if you have a workout partner, you agree to have a workout partner show up.

Now the fourth one relates a little bit to the second one. And this is staring. It seems to kind of be kind of a thing now for women in the gym to photograph themselves or videotape themselves and notice that people are staring at them. Now, many times they are dressed in a way that's not wholly appropriate for what they're doing, but just avoid them. Just don't even look at them. Just go on about your day. They will embarrass you, they will take video of you. If they notice you're staring at them, they will put you in a video and they will share that with the gym management and potentially online. So if you notice that someone is in there kind of doing their thing and they look like they want attention, they don't. They just are doing that to get some attention. But it's not the way you think it's going to be. If they catch you staring, they will videotape you and they will call you out on it. The next one, number five, is about banging and dropping weights. Now occasionally, yes, you're going to drop a weight, that's going to happen. You're going to set a weight down a little harder than you intended, that's going to happen.

The weights are fairly much resilient, but there are certain types of weights, the bumper plates particularly, that are made to be more dropped. And manhandled, you might see that in a CrossFit style gym. In a standard lifting gym, it is not good form to drop your weights. So try to manage your weights. Many times, even though there's a rubber coating on the floor, you can bust the weight, you can bust the concrete underneath. If you drop too much weight and you drop it particularly the wrong way. Plus, it's the opportunity of hurting someone else if you're just slinging and dropping weights around. So unless you're in an environment like a CrossFit gym, where dropping weights and banging and doing all that stuff is appropriate, then don't. And most gyms that you're going to go into, most commercial gyms, are not going to want you dropping their weights. The next one is a similar one, it's grunting. And there are certain gyms out there that basically will kick you out if they catch you grunting. They don't want you grunting. There are other gyms that are more of the weightlifting and you're going to hear some of that.

You're going to hear people yelling, you're going to hear people grunting. So it's kind of like I said, when you get in there, start paying attention to what the norm is. But generally, there's no reason for you to be grunting. If you're lifting within your means and you're doing it with good form, you've got control of the weight, so you're not banging them around and dropping them. And there's very little reason for you to grunt as you're doing the lift. You're pushing yourself, but you're not pushing yourself to a point where you need to be grunting and yelling. The next one is a general rule when you're using a piece of equipment, is to use one at a time. So if you need dumbbells, a set of dumbbells, and maybe you do want the second set of dumbbells here and try to do a superset, generally it's good practice to just grab the one that you need. You'll see video or pictures online where someone has grabbed like a dozen different dumbbell sets and it's all sitting at the floor by their feet. That's not necessary. Grab what you need. If you want to do some super setting, that's awesome.

But go to the gym at a time when you're not going to be interfering with other people getting their workout done. So again, 435 o'clock in the morning, you might be the only one back there in the free weight section. If you want to grab a couple of different dumbbells so you can do a drop set or you can do a superset or some sort of work like that, that's fine. If you're going to be on multiple pieces of equipment, one right after the other, that's fine as well. But just recognize that if you go into the gym when there's other people there, it's bad form for you to put your towel on a piece of equipment while you're using another piece of equipment. So you can complete your superset timely. Just one piece of equipment at a time so the others have an opportunity to use that equipment that you're not using. This leans into the next one, which is let other people work in. So you may sit down on a piece of equipment, a machine or bench or something like that, and you're working and someone comes in. It's usually machines, but someone comes in and says, can I work in with you?

How many sets you have left? If you only have one or two sets left, then usually you can just tell them, I've only got one set left, let me get my set done and I'll be out of your way. But if you have a few sets left, two or three sets left, it's probably worth telling them letting them work in. For the most part their work session is going to be over literally in seconds. So your rest period between lifts of being more than that would give them plenty of time to get in, adjust the weight to what they want and then you can let them work in. Now most people, and again, this would be good form if you do go and ask someone if you can work in, always try to put the weight back at what it was. So if you change the weight on the machine, ask them, would you like me to set it back to what it was? And then do it if they do. Again, that's just good form. It shows that you're a good gym goer and you're there to work and get your stuff done. But at the same time you're respecting that they want to get their work done in time too.

The next one is rerack and return your equipment. I don't know how many times I go into a gym, particularly early in the morning, and I'll find dumbbells laying everywhere. I'm looking for a particular set. They're not on the rack, the racks are not in order. It's hard to find equipment. And if you run around the gym looking for equipment because someone left a set of dumbbells on a bench on the other side of the gym, that's just uncool. So when you finish with your workout, return all the equipment back where you got it from, re rack it, put all the dumbbells where they came from, put all the plates back where you got them. If it's a machine, obviously you don't have to do much after that because someone else can just pull the pin and set it for what they want. But then in gyms where you go in, then basically the leg press has all these plates on it and weaker people are not going to be able to do that. So they have to then take the time to pull all those weights off because that's not the weight they want to train with.

It's just, again, not cool. So rerack and return your equipment. The next one, and this is a big one, so these are getting bigger and bigger as we go. But wipe the sweat off the machines. Anything you use, a bench, a machine, anything like that, clean it up after you're done. Nobody wants to get on a sweaty piece of equipment. Almost every gym has a spray bottle and paper towels or something like that. If you're a sweater, I'm a sweater. I sweat a lot when I work out, so I always bring a towel, bring a workout towel. But then again, just get the spray, spray it down real quick, wipe it down. It takes a couple of seconds and then you're off the machine and it's clean and ready for the person that comes in after you. And one of the main reasons we do that, and this is the final one I'm going to talk about. Number eleven is don't go to the gym when you're sick. Nobody wants to get your cold. And while, if someone asks me, should I work out when I'm sick, the general answer that we give is if it's above your neck, you're fine to train.

If you feel like you're okay, if it's below your neck, don't train. Or you have a fever, don't train. So if you have a head cold, for the most part, you should be fine to do some exercise. If it's in your chest, don't. But all that said, even if it's okay for you to exercise, don't go to the gym and do it. Everybody else, sir, wants to get healthy and fit and they really don't want to catch your cold. And with the things that are going on right now in the world with COVID and everything else. We really don't need to be spreading this stuff around. So if you're just not feeling 100% work out at home, do a body weight workout, do some cardio or something different where you're not exposing other people. Just don't go to the gym. So if you follow these basic eleven rules when you go to a gym, you're going to be seen as a good gym goer. People are going to be glad you're there. You're not going to upset anybody. And so I'm going to go through them real quick just as a summary. So number one, if you notice someone is using the mirror, standing there looking at themselves in the mirror, don't walk in between them and the mirror.

Don't block their line of sight. Wait for them to finish. And then if you need something, you can cross over and grab it. The next one is small talk and advice and spotting is all a little bit different to every place you go. It's always good to make friends at a gym. I mean, as a part of your social circle, it can be part of your motivation. But just play within the rules of how that gym is structured socially and that just takes some awareness. If someone asks you for a spot and you can go ahead and give it to them, please. That's part of being a good gym goer. The next one is to show up if you have a workout partner. If you have somebody you're showing up for a trainer, show up. Don't call out every time, say, well, I'm not going to make it tomorrow. I mean, I get it, things get in the way, but that person is depending on you. That trainer has broken out the time in their day to train you. And so if you do have a workout partner or a trainer show up. The next one is staring.

People don't like it when you're staring at them. People don't like when you're watching them. You probably wouldn't feel comfortable with it. What are they thinking? What are they asking? What do they want? That kind of thing. But beyond that there's kind of this social thing of some girls are going to go to the gym, they're going to take pictures and selfies and videos of themselves to post on their social media. And if you stand there look like you're gawking, they're going to call you out on it and they're probably going to put you in a video just to embarrass you even further or get you kicked out of the gym. So people are going to do weird things at a gym. You just let them go on about your business. You're there to do your thing. Now one of the weird things people do is they bang and drop equipment. This has become very popular with CrossFit and things like that. You don't need to drop your equipment. You don't need to be banging it around you're under control. You're with good form, so don't bang and drop your weights. And this goes to the next one.

Grunting. There's no reason for you to be lifting heavy enough that you need to be grunting while you're doing the work. So loud, obnoxious grunting is probably going to get you kicked out of most gyms or at least the manager is going to come over and have a conversation with you when you're working out and you want to do super sets or things like that. Or maybe drop sets and you think you're going to need multiple pieces of equipment, go at the right time to do that. If you're in there at a busy time and you're trying to use multiple sets of dumbbells at the same time, or multiple pieces of equipment and you got a towel on something and you're sitting somewhere else, very poor form. So one piece of equipment at a time, or go to the gym when no one else is there so you can use the equipment the way you want to. The next one is let others work in and don't be afraid to ask if you can work in. The basic protocol is if you have about two or one sets left, you usually will just tell them, I've got one set left, let me get that done and then it's all yours.

If you have two or more, that's usually probably a good time to say, sure, pop on in and get your set done and then you just work around them. It's not that hard to do and it just shows good form. You're sharing the equipment with the people that are there. Okay, the next is to rerack and return all equipment that you're using. So take the dumbbells back where you got them from. Most dumbbell racks are in a certain structure of lightest to heaviest and so just if you return it back about where you got it from, that's going to help other people find the equipment they want. Take plates off of the equipment that you've been using. Even if it's a machine that had some plates on it, it's worth pulling them off and putting them where they belong so someone coming behind you doesn't have to unrack the equipment and then wipe sweat from machines. So anytime you sit on a bench or you lay on anything, wipe it down afterwards just to make sure that it's clean and sanitary for the next person coming through. Most gyms are going to have that, but it's worth bringing your own workout towel just to make sure you're keeping things tidy and clean for the next person behind you.

And then again, this is my big one. If you're not feeling well, just don't go to the gym. I get it. This kind of conflicts with my show up item number three. But still, if you're sick, we don't need to get that, so just don't go find something else to do. Get your workout done somewhere else besides the gym. That's not the place for you when you're sick. So I hope these help. We are all glad you're in the gym. You're doing something special. It is uncomfortable. You are outside your comfort zone. But if you'll follow these eleven tips, I think you'll feel a lot more welcome at the gym. You'll know a lot more people, you'll become a good gym goer and you're going to enjoy the time in the gym a whole lot more.

Post Show/Recap

[00:19:09.200] – Coach Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:19:10.440] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Alan. I love this. I love your rules. Or must knows about gym etiquette. I think that when I remember my first time stepping into a gym and feeling like, oh my gosh, what do I do? Where do I go? I didn't know half of probably most of this etiquette. I didn't know how to I should be wiping down machines. I didn't ever even touch the free weight, so I didn't have to worry about not reracking. But these are all great reminders, great rules. I think this has been super helpful for anybody who plans on getting a gym membership or just good reminders if.

[00:19:47.610] – Coach Allan

You already have one and you bring that up. But I want to say as someone who first walked into a non school gym when I was 14 years old, so first commercial gym I ever walked into, I was 14 years old. I didn't know these rules because in a gym locker room when you're on a football team or something, you don't wipe the equipment down. You don't bother with most of the stuff that's in here. People are grunting and banging because we're football players. So most of the rules that I talk about here, they don't apply there. And you have your own home gym. It's gorgeous. I have my own studio here. But that said, it's like, I think a lot of people walk in way a commercial gym is typically structured is at the very front are your cardio machines, the treadmill and the elliptical. And then a little bit deeper in, you start getting into the machines. The first bit is probably going to be like a circuit training thing. It's not going to be a big deal. Then the bigger machines and things, the heavier machines, they tend to be further towards the back.

[00:20:50.590] – Coach Allan

Do you get to the leg press where you actually have to put plates on. And some of these other machines, then you get to the free weights. They're usually in that back corner along the wall, almost out of the way, if you will. Other than all the benches and all the stuff that they have, all the bars and things that they've got going on and then the big racks and stuff. But the point being is I want you to feel confident and comfortable that you belong there. You're paying your gym membership and lifting weights is the way you build muscle and retain muscle. It's the way you build bone density. And that's important for men and women, I think, knowing some of these rules. And they're not really rules as such, but they kind of are if you know these etiquette tips. You go into a gym, I think you'll start seeing these things happening without anyone saying a word about it. You'll see someone sitting on a bench doing bicep curls and no one's walking between them and the weights in front of them, and there are people standing around talking and helping each other and so that's happening.

[00:21:56.760] – Coach Allan

But in most gyms, it's not overbearing unless it's kind of gym where that is kind of the dating thing is a thing people want to be seen and talked to, and then there are other places where they absolutely don't. So sitting there and watching someone working out is probably going to get you an earful and maybe even a post on Instagram or something and look at this creep kind of thing. So what this is really all about is you go in the gym and you get your work done and then you leave. It can become a social thing, but these are just the tips of, okay, if you want to just go in there and get your work done, follow these and you're going to fit in just fine.

[00:22:43.770] – Coach Rachel

Oh, for sure. And I just want to speak out for the ladies out there, too. If you're feeling intimidated at the gym, bring a friend with you. Work out like you had talked about. You could share equipment, alternate your sets with each other and get comfortable. And don't be afraid to go by yourself either on the days that your friend maybe can't make it with you. And the other great thing about a gym is that it's so full of equipment that you can't possibly own at home and think of it as your playground because there's so many different things that you could try there and incorporate into your workout routines. It's so much fun to try something new. Use a piece of equipment that you may never have tried before, work a different muscle group you may not normally do. I mean, there's just so much to there for a short time. Alan, I was working at a gym, a franchise facility, and whenever I had a new person come in expressing an interest, I gave them a tour of the gym and I showed them all the equipment and what they could possibly do there.

[00:23:47.050] – Coach Rachel

And I just wanted them to feel comfortable and welcome. And the people that work at the gym want to do the same thing, too. So if you are feeling intimidated, just ask one of the trainers or one of the employees there for some assistance or just some guidance.

[00:24:02.960] – Coach Allan

Yeah, most gyms, what they're going to require their trainers to do, they're going to require their trainers when they're not training someone to circle the floor they want them going on the floor, and they want them finding clients. So they are going to approach you and they're going to offer maybe even a free workout or something like that. Take them up on that. Let them know. Now, one thing I will say is they're probably going to reach in the file cabinet and pull out the same workout that they have everybody else doing. So just take that with a grain of salt. They're going to teach you some exercises, same exercise they would teach a 20 year old. It might not be the best workout for you, but it's a workout. And just let them know, okay, look, I'm 57 years old. My body's not going to respond the same way a 20 year old does. And no, I'm not going to do upright rows. I don't care how many times you ask me to do them, they're not going to be on my workout plan. We got to figure out another way to work the front delts and the traps because I'm not doing upright rows, period.

[00:25:04.320] – Coach Allan

And so just realize that they will teach you some exercises. They will get you back there. But hire a coach that cares about you. Hire a coach that's going to make you feel comfortable. And I know for a lot of people, it's like, okay, well, Alan's an online coach. How is he going to do that? Well, I can't personally, I can't walk you back there and stand next to you and make you feel completely comfortable. I can give you a workout where you can go into any gym and do it, and we can customize it for you and your age and what you need to do. But you got to get back there and do the work. And that means just turn it off. I think I talked on one of our previous episodes not long ago on meditation, that when I'm lifting, I actually have no awareness of anything but the lift. I don't hear sounds. I don't hear anything else. I just do my lift. And most of the time I probably look like I'm zoned out in between lifts because I just sit there thinking about the next lift. I got a minute to sit there and wait.

[00:26:06.170] – Coach Allan

I wrote it in my little notebook, what I just did, and I know the next one I got to do, and I know the energy level I need to bring for that next set. Most people don't lift that way. Most people don't act that way when they lift. They're talking, they're texting, they're this, they're that. And so just realize that the gym environment can be pretty dynamic and a little intimidating, but don't be. This is your home, too. Do what you got to do to be comfortable. And if it means starting on the machines first, by all means, do that first. They're a lot more intuitive, a lot easier to understand, a lot easier. To load and unload by yourself. And then, yes, when you get done, wipe the sweat off the machine.

[00:26:48.980] – Coach Rachel

Yes, please.

[00:26:51.620] – Coach Allan

But that's why I wanted to share this. I know a lot of the people listening may not want to go to the gym or feel like they need to go to the gym, but it is like you said, it's really hard to do what we've done. You've turned an entire garage, so probably where you could be parking two cars. You have a gym. I have a studio in the living room of our apartment at Lula's. And I'm really good at tetris. If you're looking at you guys don't see the video, but the equipment I have behind me is there's a place for every single bit of it and it can't be left out and do anything else. Everything has to be moved sometimes to get certain things done here. But it all fits. And it only fits because I know how this stuff works and I'm able to do that. And it means when I'm training someone, I'm very active because I have to move all that stuff. So that's part of my workouts each day is just when I'm training someone here. But you can buy the equipment and have it at home, just do it in a safe way.

[00:27:56.140] – Coach Allan

And I think you're going to find, even when you do it at home, some of these rules are going to make sense to you there too. You're not going to want your dumbbells and everything strown around where you can't find what you want. You're not going to want to leave your equipment all sweaty and dirty. And while you won't have to worry about someone working in or staring at someone, you got to stay motivated. And sometimes it's just a little easier to stay motivated when there's other people around you that are like minded, working just as hard or harder. And so sometimes that fires people up. And that's why occasionally I like walking back into a commercial gym just to hear the noises and the sound, everything that's going on. And then when I start my workout, that's just me. I don't see anything else other than occasionally I'll see someone doing something silly that can get them hurt. And so I watch. Just because someone drops weight on themselves, someone's going to have to go save their lives. And so I do notice when silly stuff is going on that could get someone hurt.

[00:29:08.200] – Coach Allan

But beyond that, I'm just doing my thing. And that's how most people are. They're not there to watch you. They're not there to gawk at you or laugh at you. They're there to get their workout done. They may happen to have a whole lot of friends in that gym because they've been there for a while and they and their friends work out at the same time. But it can be as social as you want it to be or it can just be you going in the gym, getting your work done and getting out of there.

[00:29:34.090] – Coach Rachel

Absolutely. Yep. Don't miss out. I love a gym, I love working in the gym, and I love helping people at the gym, so yep, just go. It's fun.

[00:29:42.940] – Coach Allan

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

[00:29:45.020] – Coach Rachel

Take care, Ellen.

[00:29:46.180] – Coach Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:29:47.540] – Coach Rachel

Bye. Bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


September 12, 2023

11 Vital Medical and Lab Tests After 40

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 607 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss 11 medical and lab tests you should consider when you're over 40.


Let's Say Hello

Coach Allan is on vacation. We will return to our hello segments in mid-October.


Today we're going to discuss the eleven vital medical and lab tests that you should do after 40. Or at least have the conversation with your doctor about having, you know, these measurements I'm going to talk about today are really about your health.

This is more than weight. This is going to tell you a lot more. Now, I have to start this out with saying I'm not a doctor. I cannot diagnose or give medical advice. I'm just giving you some basic information to allow you to be ready to go have the conversation with your doctor. All of these are things that will help you identify chronic diseases. And if you know about them early, it's great. Obviously prevention is better, but early detection is very important for most of these issues.

Blood Pressure

Okay, so number one, blood pressure. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a huge health issue in this world. And in this country. There's over a billion people in the world that have high blood pressure. So that's like one in eight. So it's a big deal and it's something that's pretty easy to test. You can buy a monitor at a pharmacy or you can get it on Amazon. I'll put a link in the show notes for the one that I use. Your resting blood pressure should be around 120 over 80. You don't want that dropping too low and you don't want it too high. So knowing that and monitoring it can be very important for you.

Lifestyle is really the best way to manage your high blood pressure. There are medications they can give you and most doctors will prescribe the medication and tell you to do the lifestyle changes. If you've been on medication and you decide you want to make some lifestyle changes, it's worth having the conversation with your doctor and monitoring your blood pressure as you go just to make sure that you're not over medicated as you make these lifestyle changes and your blood pressure returns to more to normal. Typically this is one of those things where they stack medications to get you where you need to be until you get your body where it needs to be.

So blood pressure is a killer. You want to make sure that you're monitoring it. Easy test to do. You can buy the monitor and have it available. They're not that expensive. Again, go to the show notes, and I'll have a link to the one that I use.

Blood Glucose

Number two fasting glucose, or A1C. So fasting glucose is your blood sugar level when you haven't eaten anything for about 12 hours, usually you go in the morning, you get the test. They want you fasted, they're going to do a blood glucose test. This is a pretty standard thing. They'll often also do the A1C. The A1C is basically kind of a snapshot of what the last three months of your blood sugar was. So this gives them an idea if it's stayed elevated, and it's not just a one off, but this is something that's going on. If your blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar is above 100 or your A1C is above, say, six, you're pretty much diabetic at that point. The doctor is going to probably diagnose you as pre diabetic or diabetic at that point and want to start getting you on medications and recommending lifestyle changes. I would definitely go with the lifestyle changes. You want to get that blood sugar down. You want to keep it in a constant range. My blood sugar typically goes anywhere from 85 to 65. I like to keep it below 85. Occasionally, if I eat something that's high in sugar, it will pop up above that, but it doesn't stay there very long. My A1 C is typically below five. And that's, again, because I don't eat a lot of sugar, I don't eat a lot of processed foods. So my blood sugar remains fairly constant throughout the day, and I don't have a lot of problems.

Again, something you don't want to get too low, and it's something you don't want to get too high. And if you have some metabolic issues processing the sugar because you're insulin resistance or insulin resistant or something, it is something you just want to make sure that you're monitoring and taking care of. And this is not as easy as just saying, okay, well, I'm going to shoot myself up with insulin, or I'm going to drink some orange juice if I start feeling a little faint. You really do need to watch this. And if you start seeing it slide as you're younger, you're on a bad path, and you need to resolve that.

Calcium Score

Number three calcium score. There's a documentary called The Widowmaker. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/widowmaker. This documentary is on YouTube. It gives a lot of information about what The Widowmaker is, which is basically calcium deposited in the aorta, and it can cause an instant death by heart attack.

It's not one where you have a mild heart attack and they do a little bit of work and you're out and you're working on it. This one will knock you down, and you're done. And it's killed a lot of people, and it kills them without any warning at all. Otherwise, they think they're healthy people. When they get a calcium score, some people realize that they are not in as good a shape as they thought they were. You want a low number, as close to zero as you can get. If you're in the tens of thousands over around 12,000, they're probably going to send you to the emergency room because you're effectively dying on the table right there. So you want to make sure that you're getting this calcium score. Talk to your doctor about it. It's not expensive. I looked it up. It costs about $200. It doesn't take long. It's not invasive. It's just an X ray. It's a pretty intense X ray. So it's not something you do every year unless you know you have a problem. But it is something that you would want to talk to your doctor about and get your calcium score.

Blood Count

Number four is a complete blood count. So a complete blood count is going to talk to you, tell you some things about your red blood cells and white blood cells. Okay? If either of these are high, that could be a problem.

High red blood cells can create some clotting and other issues. High white blood cells typically mean something else is going on in your body, perhaps cancer. And they'll want to know why your white blood cell count is so elevated. This is your immune system. This is your life. It's there.

And these are two tests that you can have done to get a good idea of some things that might be going on in your body that you. Didn't otherwise know about. Okay?

C-Reactive Protein

Number five on the list is C-reactive protein. Now, this is an interesting one, but. This protein helps show how much inflammation you have in your body. So things like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, most of the time, this can be detected, that there's problems because they're stressed out and their immune system is going haywire.

So C-reactive protein is going to tell you if there's some inflammation in your body, you probably already know it because your joints are probably already hurting, and some other things that are going on in your life around inflammation is a problem. But if you stay inflamed all the time, chronic inflammation, you're headed down a bad path. So knowing your C-reactive protein, managing your lifestyle to help manage that down really, really important.


Number six thyroid. Okay, thyroid is basically how our body manages energy. It is our metabolism. And there's about 200 million people globally who have thyroid issues. Some people will have thyroid that's overactive. Some have thyroid that's underactive. And so if you feel fatigued. If you're not recovering very well, you're. Not sleeping very well, it might be worth having your thyroid test. Now, most of the time when they're going to test, they really only just test one of the elements, but there's multiple elements they can test, which is the thyroid stimulating hormone T3 and T4, and there's a few others. If you know you're having a thyroid issue, you might want to go a little deeper into this. But thyroid is something that you can easily manage with medication, and often lifestyle changes will help. But this is a tough one because if it's impacting your causing you fatigue and it's keeping your metabolism from working the way it's supposed to, it becomes very difficult to lose weight or gain weight, and it makes it very difficult to have the energy to do what's necessary to stay healthy. So if you're noticing some fatigue problems, it might be worth just taking a look at your thyroid.


Number seven is triglycerides. Now, I know a lot of people out there, and your doctor too, will probably say that you should focus on your cholesterol, and I'm not going to go against that. If you want to know your cholesterol numbers, that's important too. But I think triglycerides, in my opinion, again, not a doctor, but this is the one I care about the most. I want my triglycerides to be low, and in fact, if I can get my triglycerides close to what my HDL is, HDL is the good cholesterol, if you will, then you're doing good. Now, most doctors are going to say you should be trying to get your triglycerides should not be more than a ratio of maybe three or four times your HDL.

I like to get mine below two. And often I can have it at one. If I'm eating really clean, doing the right things, I can keep my triglycerides level with or around what my HDL is. And that ratio tells me that I'm doing the right things for my body, I'm eating the right food. So having your triglycerides checked, that's usually a function of the whole lipid panel when they do the cholesterol. But don't just stop with, oh, the HDL is low or the LDL is high, the total is high. Too many times, people get stuck focused there. Triglycerides let you pull back the layer a little bit more and see what's going on.

Kidney Function

Number eight is kidney function tests, and there's a few of them out there, but basically you want to make sure that your kidney functions well, because your kidneys are basically doing a lot of the filtering and the cleaning and removing toxins from your body. And if that isn't working right, you could end up with what they call end stage renal disease. Okay?

And that could mean you're now getting dialysis or you have to have a kidney transplant, both of which are not something you want to do. So there are a few different things they can look for, like crenitine and GFR. A lot of little technical stuff in there that they can look at to get an idea of how well your kidney is functioning. And if you're on certain medications that can impact your kidneys, it's worth occasionally getting that test just to make sure your kidneys are still functioning the way you need them to function.

Liver Function

Number nine on my list is liver function. Now, similar to the kidneys, the kidneys filter blood. Your liver also does a lot of things it filters, but it also manages a lot of different things in our body from how we absorb medications and alcohol and food. Fructose in particular. The liver can help store fat. It's really probably one of the most important organs behind the heart and lungs to keep you alive.

So you want to make sure that your liver is functioning well. Because of our diet and lifestyle, many folks are dealing with fatty liver disease, even when it doesn't relate to alcohol. And hepatitis, which you can get in a lot of different ways, can adversely affect the liver. And when the liver is not working, you're not living. You're not going to be alive long if your liver is not functioning. So it is worth taking a look at how well your liver is functioning, particularly if you've been on different medications. If at any point in your time you took steroids or something like that, you may have damaged your liver, or if you eat a lot of sugar, particularly fructose, or drink a lot of alcohol, you've probably damaged your liver a bit and it's not going to function as well. And these tests will help you see how well your liver is functioning.

Vitamin D and B12

Number ten on my list is vitamin D and B12. A lot of people, like about a billion people in the United States, have vitamin D deficiency, and millions have vitamin B12. Now, vitamin D is really important for nerve health, for bone health, your immune system, all of it. If you live in a northern climate. You don't get sun on your skin regularly, or you wear a lot of sunscreen when you do, your body might not be absorbing and creating vitamin D the way it needs to, and you might be deficient. So you may need to supplement if you're low, but you don't know you're low unless you test.

So I don't recommend just taking a supplement for the sake of taking a supplement. But it is one of those things where so many people are deficient in vitamin D, there's not a ton of downside.

Now, vitamin B12 is important because our body uses it for metabolism, for the formation of red blood cells, nerve function and DNA synthesis. That's where our bodies are able to repair our genetic material. That's kind of important. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you might not be getting enough B12. And so you want to make sure that if you are not eating a lot of animal products, you should probably have your B12 tested occasionally just to see where you stand with that and whether you need to supplement.

So again, vitamin D and vitamin B12 are two of the most important vitamins that you need to be eating regularly or getting regularly through sunshine for vitamin D. And if you're not, you should test yourself occasionally just to see if there might be a deficiency there.


Number eleven is a colonoscopy. Everybody's favorite. Colorectal cancer affects over 1.8 million people worldwide every single year. So you start thinking about that. It's not maybe the most common cancer. It's one that we can find pretty easily with a colonoscopy.

Now, this is not a pleasant experience. You've got to go through a process of cleansing yourself. Hey, you're going to weigh five pounds less after you get done with this because you cleared out your colon and your intestines. But you want to be able to detect colon cancer early, and this is a test that will help you do that.

Honorable Mentions – Mammograms and PSA Test

Now, I do have two honorable mentions on here, and that's if you're a woman, I strongly recommend that you get your mammograms done regularly. You can talk to your doctor about your risk for breast cancer. You can look at your genome if you went and got the test, the DNA test, to see if you have the types of SNPs and whatnot, that make you more susceptible to breast cancer. If you took birth control pills for a long period of time, again, that's a risk factor. And there's some others around age. And so if you know you're in a higher risk group, make sure you're talking to your doctor about getting mammograms on a regular basis when they believe that that's the best cycle for you to do.

And then for men on our side, we can get breast cancer too. So checking yourself is obviously a good idea, but it's worth getting a PSA test every once in a while just to make sure, because PSA is basically going to tell you if there's some issues with prostate. Just because it's an elevated test doesn't mean you have prostate cancer. But it's the first indicator that they usually look for when they suspect that someone might have prostate cancer. Elevated PSA test is going to be like the first thing that they're looking for.

And it's real easy. It's blood test. You just go and get a regular blood test, but ask it's going to be for a PSA, talk to your doctor about it. Similar to the way I just discussed with the mammograms, the frequency that you would do this test really depends on the conversation you have with your doctor based on your risk factors and things. If men in your life have had prostate cancer before, your risk is higher.

Certain race things like black men, African American men are more likely to have prostate cancer than Caucasian men. So just know your risk factors. Have a conversation with your doctor. There's not expensive tests. I think I got one not long ago. It cost like $75. But hey, that included the blood drawn, the whole bit. And that's all I went in for, was that PSA test.

I could have stacked it with some other tests, probably, and it would have even been cheaper. But these tests are readily available, easy to get, and some of them you can even do at home.


So I want to go over these one more time in summary, just these are things to just think about. So you can scratch this down on paper and you got to talk to your doctor or you're thinking about how you're going to manage your health better. These are much better measurements than weight. I can tell you right now, if you got these things in line, your weight is not going to be a problem.

So we've got blood pressure, fasting glucose, or A1C, calcium score, complete blood count, c reactive, protein, thyroid, triglycerides, kidney function, liver function, vitamin D and B12, colonoscopy, and then, of course the honorable mentions of mammograms or PSA tests as appropriate.

So what this is, is if you were to go through this and talk to your doctor about it, understanding your risks, these are the ones that I think will give you kind of really good overall big picture of where you stand from a health perspective as someone over the age of 40.

So think about these tests the next time you go in. Talk to your doctor about what's on the test, what he's looking for, why he's looking for that. This is a good opportunity for you to be very proactive, to be an advocate for yourself, to ask the right questions.

Post Show/Recap

[00:18:33.170] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:18:34.780] – Rachel

Hey, Allan.

[00:18:36.040] – Rachel

This is the best. This is a really good list of lab tests to have done. And the reason why this makes me really happy to talk about this is that there's still a lot of people in my age bracket that don't go and get their annual physical every year. To me, this is just something that I do automatically. It's my time to even though it might not be the longest appointment of the year with my doctor, I get the few minutes to talk about what I'm feeling, my family history. We get to do all this blood work and compare them from years past. I mean, having trending data is so important, but still, people don't go, and this is why they should. These eleven tests are why you should go at least once a year to your doctor.

[00:19:22.440] – Allan

Yeah, your doctor probably won't initially want you to do all of these tests, and that can be okay. That can be okay. But I would say, yeah, if you're over 40, particularly if you're over 50.

[00:19:35.260] – Allan

These tests are going to tell you a lot about yourself and about what your status is. And so if you have family members that have diabetes or high blood sugar or hypertension or they've had cancers, or you just know that you're at higher risk because of who you are, then you should be probably testing this more often than once per year, at least some of them. When I was working with a health doctor, and that was quite literally it, he was not a healthcare doctor where I go in for sick care. He was a doctor that I went into for health. And so we were talking about how I could be as healthy as I can possibly be. We got these tests, all of these tests done every quarter.

[00:20:17.750] – Allan

That's really expensive. So I don't encourage everybody to run that out there, because I think if you got a full scan, if you got a full blood test, they can run you over $1,400. I think mine were running me around 1400 when I was doing them, but it was really cool because the phlebotomist would come to me, they would come to my office, or they'd come to my house and take the blood so I didn't have to worry about it. They just came in, they took the blood, put it in a little box, and shipped it off FedEx to whomever.

[00:20:46.150] – Allan

And I would get all these answers. Except for the calcium score, that one's separate because that's actually done somewhere else. But all these others that are blood tests, I literally got a comprehensive report back so I could see if my kidney numbers, my liver numbers were all in sync, where they're supposed to be, what my vitamins were.

[00:21:05.600] – Allan

And it went a lot deeper than just vitamin D and vitamin B12. But those are two of the most important ones, I think. Again, not a doctor. So beyond the calcium score and the colonoscopy, of course, the mammogram, those are tests you have to actually go in for physical. All the others are basically blood tests. Well, I guess blood pressure isn't, but you can easily test that at home or anywhere. These blood tests here, those are the ones that yeah, you're going to see them.

[00:21:33.230] – Allan

So if you're not feeling well, your doctor might not even think to test. Your thyroid initially, not even be on the list, because that could be a wasted test. But if you tell them you're just feeling out of sorts and fatigued, they might throw the thyroid test in there just to make sure that you're aware of what your status is. And the hard part with fatigue, I just want to put this out there, is fatigue is not something that just sort of happens one day. It's like one day you wake up and your body and you're fatigued. For the most part, it comes in really slow.

[00:22:06.970] – Rachel

It does.

[00:22:07.860] – Allan

And so if you're comparing today to how you feel yesterday or felt yesterday, there might not be a big difference. And you might not even feel it or see it. It's sort of the deal where you don't necessarily see yourself losing weight even though you are. It's just coming off slow and steady, but you're just not seeing it because, okay, I'm losing a pound a week. But there's no visual.

[00:22:29.880] – Allan

What does a pound of fat look like coming off of my body? Kind of thing. This is kind of the same thing. It can kind of come in and then there's just a point where you're just not capable of doing things. You get winded walking up the stairs. Well, that might not be because you're not cardiovascular fit. That could be a symptom of thyroid.

[00:22:51.180] – Rachel

Actually I'm on thyroid medicine now. I just went hypo earlier this year and as a runner, I'm fatigued a lot, Allan. And then there's times in your life where maybe you've got stresses with work or your kids are sick and you're up late at night, and there's a lot of reasons why you could be fatigued. But you're right, it is kind of one of those, again, insidious things that you just don't pick up right away. And doctors don't I don't know why, but they don't always do the thorough panel like you had suggested. They just do the basic thyroid, not necessarily to the T3 and T4, which is unfortunate because that's where the good data is usually.

[00:23:32.770] – Allan

Well, if they see a drop or they see an increase, then they know there's something going on, and then they'll probably ask for a second test to go in and look for those things.

[00:23:41.580] – Allan

But if you think you're feeling fatigued. Bring it up to your doctor before you go to get your panel done. And they may even say, okay, well, I'm going to throw B12 in there in thyroid just to see what your status is. And most of the time there's not going to be a problem. But thyroid does affect a lot of people, and if you don't eat animal products so you're like, your cholesterol is high, so you've cut out all animal products and you're like, okay, I'm losing weight, but my blood pressure is still kind of high and my cholesterol is coming down, but I feel like crap.

[00:24:19.710] – Allan

Yeah, well, maybe your B12 is getting low and you need a supplement. But don't just do something because you think, yes, this is not a great chemistry experiment for you to just say, I'm going to start throwing supplements at this and see what happens. You want to know? Because some vitamins, kind of the oil soluble ones, so this is going to be like A-E-D. They're going to stay in your body when you take them. They're not going to wash out like b and C vitamins do. And so you can actually overdose on those things.

[00:24:52.320] – Rachel

Yeah, definitely be tested first.

[00:24:54.860] – Allan

You don't want to just start taking a bunch of vitamin D. You might make it a cyclical thing where you say, okay, because I know it's getting cooler months and I'm not getting the sunshine. I was I might go ahead and just add a little bit of vitamin D. You might do that, but then cycle back off once the summer rolls around and you're outdoors a lot, doing yard work or fishing or hiking or whatever, getting sun on your skin, say, okay, I probably don't need the vitamin D right now. I live in a climate that's basically summer all year round.

[00:25:26.570] – Allan

So I get out and my skin gets exposed to sun almost every single day. And so I wouldn't even think that I had a vitamin D problem, but if I went and got a panel and it said I was deficient, that would surprise me. But I'd go take some because I got to get it in there. It's important for bone health and nerve health, and it's a pro hormone, so it literally helps with just about everything else in your body. Very important. So I put this list together. As you can imagine, it took a lot of research to put this list together, but this is what as I was thinking through, how would I know I was sick?

[00:26:09.350] – Allan

I want to put together the test and say, how would I know I was sick?

[00:26:13.750] – Allan

These are the tests that I would want. I'm not a doctor, but I would talk to my doctor and I'd say okay, I'm 57 year old man who's spent a good part of his adult life overweight. I can tell you right now, when you see my cholesterol numbers, you're going to freak out because according to some of my doctors, I was dead years ago. But I'm just someone who has very high cholesterol and I could stop eating everything. I could just start eating lettuce or I guess broccoli. How about broccoli?

[00:26:50.370] – Allan

I could just eat broccoli and my cholesterol would still be high. I've taken statins and my cholesterol wouldn't go down. My HDL went down. It went down, but my LDL didn't. It was still exceptionally high. And so I can't get my cholesterol down no matter what I do food or medications. But what I can tell you is my HDL when I'm eating the way my body feels good serving my body, my HDL is off the charts. They want yours around 50. Mine's usually floating somewhere around 90.

[00:27:26.940] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[00:27:27.690] – Allan

And I can get my triglycerides down to about 90. The number they want there is 150. You want you below 150. They want your HDL above 50 and your triglycerides below 150. So that's a three to one ratio. If you're doing that, you're at a three to one ratio. The doctors are going to say you're. Doing golden again as long as your HDL is not.

[00:27:48.330] – Allan

Above 200, your total cholesterol is not above total 200, never going to get there. If my HDL is 90, I'm not going to get my total down below 200. Just mathematically impossible.

[00:28:02.510] – Allan

Because LDL is a calculated number. It's not an actual count. They count the HDL and they count the total. They don't count the LDL. It's a calculated number. If my HDL is over 90, I can't get my LDL. I mean, I can't get my total below 200,

[00:28:19.470] – Rachel

but if it's not impacting you, otherwise, if you don't have any other risk factors, your calcium score and your blood

[00:28:26.200] – Allan

and that's all fine. Yeah, look at my blood pressure, look at my calcium score, things like that. And my ratio almost one to one. Versus the three to one being standard. So I got stuff in there cleaning me up.

[00:28:43.610] – Rachel

That's good.

[00:28:47.110] – Allan

I'm not saying that everybody's going to we're all different. And all these reference numbers that are out there, you may hit some of those reference numbers perfect. There are people out there just perfect. All the reference numbers, they're right in there. Other people are one or two of them is going to be just completely out of whack. And it doesn't mean you're broken.

[00:29:04.890] – Allan

It just means, guess what? You're a little different.

[00:29:08.750] – Rachel

But this is why you go every year to get your physical, at least, because then you have trending data. So when these numbers get all out of whack, they're not trending in the same direction or they're not staying the same, then there's an indication there that something could be maybe reevaluated. But it's good to have that data. And I don't want to end our discussion until I really highlight the cancer screenings. You mentioned colonoscopy. I believe the age for colonoscopy is 45 now. There might be some changes to that, but it's gone down in age because the incidence of colon rectal cancer has increased so greatly lately. And for the ladies, the mammograms, the guys, the prostate checks, super important. And the only test I wanted to mention, Allan, that is the annual visit to your dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. Melanoma rates are increasing, and it's not only because of exposure to the sun. Melanoma is also a genetic trait that people don't usually know that they have. So all of these cancer screenings, as soon as you are of age and or your doctor approves it, because I've been having mammograms since I was 29, it's important to have the screenings done because you don't feel cancer, you don't feel well.

[00:30:24.650] – Allan

By the time you feel cancer,

[00:30:26.610] – Rachel

it could be a problem.

[00:30:28.410] – Allan

it's too late. Most of them, they're not symptomatic until they start spreading. Exactly. Talking to Dr. Baum and I think that episode is going to come up in a week or so, a couple of weeks maybe.

[00:30:41.340] – Allan

But we're talking about prostate cancer and he'S like, you'll never know. You have prostate cancer. What you're going to know is that you have bone cancer, and it's because it'S already spread to the bones. And so by the time it spreads to the bones, now you got a problem. And that's the cancer that kills you. It's not the prostate cancer that kills you, but you started with prostate cancer. And it spread to your bones, and you didn't do anything because you didn't know it. You had no symptoms and then till it was in the bones.

[00:31:08.800] – Allan

And now you got symptoms, but it's way past what they can probably cure. And so that's just the concept of be proactive here. Work with your doctor. He's on your team. We're going to talk about that a good bit with Dr. Baum, how you do that, and some of the cool things that have happened in the last few years with the way medicine works, that it didn't necessarily work that way before. And so this is really good opportunities here for you to have conversations with doctors, get these tests when they're appropriate.

[00:31:41.720] – Allan

Have data, make the right decisions, and understand, okay, if this, then that the information is there, you have to go get it for yourself, because you don't know what your numbers are until you go get your numbers. And the doctor is going to want to know a lot about you to know if it makes sense for you to get a thyroid test or to go out and get some of these other screenings because they're not appropriate for everybody. But there are times when you just get your doctors and say, hey, I want to know this number. Most of them are not just going to flat out say no.

[00:32:18.280] – Allan

If you say you want to basically have your hormones checked, the doctor is not necessarily just going to say no. They may say there's reasons to not test and tell you those reasons, but you're the coach, you're the CEO, you make the final decision. If you get a doctor, it's like, well, we're not going to do anything. Even if your testosterone is low, you might want to talk to a different doctor.

[00:32:43.020] – Rachel

Yeah, time for a new doctor.

[00:32:44.830] – Allan

But again, that's the conversation. He's an advisor. You're paying him. Whether it's your insurance company making the payment or not.

[00:32:52.500] – Allan

You're the customer. You're the one making this happen. So talk to your doctor, find out about these tests and get the ones that make the most sense for you and get them regularly so you do have trending data to know, okay, this is good. And over here, I might need to do some work on lifestyle to fix this. I might need to be on medication for blood pressure for a short period of time until I can get my body weight down and then maybe I can get off of it. I may need to do that to get my blood sugar down, metformin or something like that. Until my diet stabilizes my blood sugar below these reference numbers. And so you got to have the data to know what you don't know.

[00:33:31.680] – Rachel

That's absolutely right. So, yeah, do that physical. Get that scheduled ASAP.

[00:33:36.320] – Allan


[00:33:37.910] – Allan

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

[00:33:39.900] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[00:33:40.990] – Allan

You too.

[00:33:41.960] – Rachel

Bye. Bye.

[00:33:42.810] – Allan


Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


August 29, 2023

9 things to drop from your life today

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

I'm usually a fan of adding good things into your life to crowd out the bad. But I thought I'd go through my top 9 things you should remove as you work on improving your health and fitness. 


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:19.270] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:01:21.390] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:23.420] – Allan

Well, just moving.

[00:01:26.170] – Rachel


[00:01:26.960] – Rachel

Yeah, well, moving. We're going to take a month off.

[00:01:29.420] – Allan

So trying to get a lot done. In fact, we're actually going to do our portion of three different episodes this week, and then we're going to do. Four episodes next week. And so I only have one of those four recorded right now, so it kind of gives you an idea of what it's like to try to get ahead. So we'll have what they call in the can, like seven or eight episodes.

[00:01:51.530] – Allan

Once I leave, I guess seven, and then I'm out. And so the whole month of September, this one is going live on the 29th, so, yeah, I guess it's going live next week. Okay. Yeah, that's how confusing it gets when. You try to get way ahead.

[00:02:08.320] – Allan

But we're still doing the bingo on Facebook. So if you go to the Facebook group, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, or you can just go directly to the bingo sign up page at 40plusfitness.com/bingo, then. You can go and sign up for the bingo. But you are going to need to be in the Facebook group to play bingo because that's where you're going to post your card. And so on your card each day you can do one square, and you want to do a line, an X and a blackout. So get as many of those done in a month as you can at the end of September. Then there's the cut-off, and you have until October 1 to post your card completed card.

[00:02:47.140] – Allan

What you did during September, it is on an honor system, but at the same time, this is an opportunity for you to maybe do some things for your health and fitness that you hadn't considered doing before. So there's some fun tasks and some.

[00:02:59.620] – Allan

That are going to be a little. Bit more challenging around nutrition and fitness but there's 24 squares you got to fill out there's one free in the middle, and so that's 30 days to get 24 squares filled out to get us a blackout. And there are prizes, so if you get a line, there's an opportunity for prizes. If you get an X, there's an opportunity for more prizes. You get a blackout, then you get the best prize pack of all. So there's a reason for you to keep with it and stay consistent. And hopefully this will help you stay a little bit more motivated during the month of September while I'm on vacation.

[00:03:31.890] – Rachel

That sounds awesome. Sounds like a lot of fun.

[00:03:34.240] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:03:35.780] – Rachel

Good. A while back, I mentioned I was tapering for an upcoming race, which was the other weekend, and we had such a fun time. We did a marathon relay. So I had a team of five. I was one of the five. I did my five mile leg, and it was just a super fun weekend. There was a ton of kids out there for cross country teams were doing the relay as well, so it was just a riot, and it was a super fun experience. So I totally recommend if nobody wants to run a full marathon, see if they have a relay, grab a couple of friends, and maybe do some miles together. But it was just a riot.

[00:04:13.810] – Allan

Well, 5 miles for you. That's like a sprint, right?

[00:04:16.160] – Rachel

It is, yeah. It's a good day for me.

[00:04:19.810] – Allan

You get through, and you're like, I should still be running.

[00:04:22.080] – Rachel

Yeah. And it was really for fun. We were not super competitive. Not super competitive about it. But I'm going to just say that my face hurt so much worse than my legs. I was laughing so hard the entire weekend. And although I did race well, I did hit a pretty good time for myself, and my legs were a little sore from racing. My face hurt far worse from laughing so hard. It was just a riot. Fully recommend it.

[00:04:47.310] – Allan

Glad you had a good time.

[00:04:48.410] – Rachel

Yeah. Gosh yeah. Good people. Good times.

[00:04:51.250] – Allan

All right, are you ready to get into today's episode?

[00:04:54.180] – Rachel



Today we're going to discuss nine things that you should drop from your life today. Now, I've never been a huge proponent of trying to eliminate certain things that you do. I'm always a bigger fan of adding things in. I found if you eat real good food and you feel good, you don't want the sugar, you don't want the processed stuff. And so it's kind of one of those things where I'm telling you that these are the things that you want to exclude from your life, but if you can replace them with something healthy.

It's a double win.

So the first one on my list.

And I don't think this should be.

Any surprise to anybody, is smoking and tobacco products. One of the reasons I listed this one first is it is probably the hardest thing for you to stop doing. But beyond that, I've seen firsthand what the cancers associated with smoking and tobacco products do to the human body. I watched my grandfather have bits of his throat and tongue cut out. And I watched my father in law basically drowned in his own blood because he had lung cancer. So this is no joke. Smoking has so many bad things that it does to you. It's something you need to get off of as soon as you possibly can. Try some of the stuff that's out there. The gums, the patches, the I don't know, hypnosis products, anything. Just do what you got to do to get off of that stuff.

The second one on my list is sugar.

And when I'm talking about sugar, I'm not necessarily talking about the sugars that come from natural foods like carrots have.

Some sugar in them. Fruit obviously has sugar in it.

That's typically not the problem. It's the added sugars and they get snuck into just about everything on the shelf. It's really kind of crazy if you start looking at the foods that we eat and you start logging this stuff.

To realize how much sugar is in.

Things just to make them more palatable. So the more you can cut sugar, you're probably going to lose some weight. And if you'll go to fortyplusfitness.com, scroll down a bit, you'll see where I have some challenges. One of those is a sugar challenge. It doesn't cost much, but it's a.

Really good 28 day challenge to help.

You cut down your sugar.

And that's going to have all kinds.

Of health benefits for you.

The next one is related.

It's processed foods.

Most processed foods are engineered to taste.

Good, to make you want more of them, to make you eat more. They're not processed in a way to make them more healthy.

Quite literally, it's the opposite. They want you eating more.

They don't really care about your health.

They may use terms like healthy or whole. All kinds of things, green labels, things like that to make you think that.

A food is healthy for you.

But if it's processed, it's not. And that's just a marketing gimmick. So cut out the processed foods and your health is going to improve considerably.

Sitting for long periods of time is another one.

And most of us are in jobs where we do have to sit for.

Most of the day, but we're still.

Sitting a lot more than we need to. So I'd strongly encourage you to have walk breaks. There's a process of work called the Pomodoro method where you work steady and focused for 25 minutes and then you take a five minute break. My recommendation would be for that five.

Minutes to actually be movement of some sort, get your body moving.

It's going to re energize your brain. It's going to make you more effective. It's going to make things a lot better. You're going to be more productive. But just sitting there for hours and hours and hours is not doing your body any favors. So if you can get up, if you can take a phone call while you're standing, get an adjustable desk. If you can just find ways to be moving a little bit more each day and sitting a little bit less.

The fifth one on my list is negative self taught. Now, I've talked about this topic a.

Good bit over the past five or six months for sure.

And what's happening here is our bodies.

Basically receive food, they receive water and.

Liquids, they receive movement.

What that does for the body and negative thoughts and our environment. And so if you've got negative self.

Talk, you're telling your body you're in.

Trouble, you're telling your body to be unhealthy. It may not seem that way, but negative self talk beats you down and keeps your body from recovering. It keeps your body from doing the things, raises your cortisol, which causes you.

To cut out muscle and to store fat.

And so the negative self talk is something that's very, very damaging to you.

So I'd strongly encourage you to get a journal.

I've said this so many times on the show. Get a journal.

And when you catch yourself doing negative self talk, write about it.

Write about what's going on in your life, why you wrote that statement.

And then as soon as you write.

That statement out, as soon as you think that statement, you write that statement out.

It's your job to refute that.

You're not a bad person. You don't always mess up. You find yourself using those words. You're probably using negative self talk and.

It'S not helping you on your health and fitness journey.

The 6th one is toxic relationships. And I get this is a little.

Touchy, but if you've got people in.

Your life that are making it harder for you to be healthy, they're making.

Your life harder, you don't need that.

That's not helping you. And so if you can end a toxic relationship, it's going to free up space for you to invite somebody else that's much more valuable to you, that's going to be better for you into your life. So try to cut out toxic relationships.

Which leads me to number seven, which is social media.

Social media is the current birthplace of almost all toxic relationships.

Now you get on one of these.

Social media platforms and you write something, someone's going to say something negative, they just are. And then that can escalate into a.

Whole myriad of other things.

So the less time you spend on social media, the better off you're going to be. And the social media that you do consume should be valuable to you. It shouldn't just be out there looking for problems, listening to what other people are having to say about you in your life. Yes, it's cool to share how you're doing, but share it with people that care, you can come to 40 Plusfitnesspodcast.com.

Group and join the 40 plus fitness group. And that's a group of people that.

Are going to treat you right. That's a group of people that care about health and fitness. We're all over 40, so this is not kids running around yelling at each other and causing all kinds of grief. There are no anonymous accounts in the group. I approve each and every one that comes in and I will kick them out if they are abusing what we do there.

So avoid social media where you can.

And if you are going to do it, find good places where you can consume things that are valuable to you.


Number eight is alcohol. And I know we've all read it, oh, well, two drinks is actually probably healthy for you. No, that's a doctor doing a study that already has a predefined idea of what they want the outcome to be because they actually just want to go.

Have a drink and feel good about it.

Alcohol does not serve you. It dehydrates you. It does no value when they show you the studies about resveratrol and all.

That stuff, the amount you would have.

To drink to get the dose necessary to get those improvements, if they even happen for humans, because it's really rat studies, it's enormous. You would never be able to drink that much alcohol. And even taking the supplements probably isn't.

Getting you where you want to be. So again, if you're going to drink.

Obviously in moderation, but it's not helping you. And if you're interested in improving your.

Health and fitness, that is one of the things that you should drop. And then number nine is unnecessary medications. Now, if you listened to the show.

Last week, episode 60 Four with Dr. Levy, she wrote the book on that. She's a doctor of pharmacy, and basically she does audits of people who are on various different medications. And as we get older, how we react to different medications changes. So having an audit done or just a review done of what you're taking and trying to figure out if any of those might be unnecessary would be.

A good way for you to cut those back. Every medication has drawbacks. It has side effects. It just does. There's no safe, 100% safe drug out there. So if you're taking them, you're probably.

Then going to have to take other.

Drugs to deal with the side effects of the drugs that you're taking. So if that's the case, try to find another plan. Try to get off of some of them. If you're improving your health, a lot of the medications you're taking might become unnecessary. So if there are unnecessary medications, talk to your doctor, get a professional, get a doctor or a pharmacist to go through the list and see if there's any redundancies things that could probably cut out. There are some reasons for there to be redundancies at time. But for the most part, if you're taking one drug and it's not working for you, you should stop taking it and consider something else if that's what you need. But you got to talk to your doctor and you got to know what you're taking, and you got to have that conversation.

To recap, my list of nine things to drop from your life today,

  1. smoking or tobacco products.
  2. sugar.
  3. processed foods.
  4. sitting for long periods of time.
  5. negative self-talk.
  6. toxic relationships.
  7. social media.
  8. alcohol.
  9. unnecessary medications.

The more of these things you get out of your life, the better you're going to feel, the healthier you're going to be, and you're going to be much more likely to thrive without these things in your life. So if any of these are in your life today, it's worth putting in the work necessary to get them out so you can live a healthy and long.

Post Show/Recap

[00:14:18.850] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:14:19.900] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, you know, like you, I prefer to add things versus drop things. But as I'm listening to you talk about all these things that we should really eliminate from our life, I'm like, yeah, it's a good thing to cut out things like smoking, sugar, sitting. These are all pretty big things that we could maybe stand to reevaluate in our lives. See where we stand.

[00:14:41.040] – Allan

Yeah. And sometimes it is easier to add something, and that makes it that you're going to do less of these other things. Just something to think about. If these things are in your life, they're holding your health back. They just are.

[00:14:53.550] – Rachel

Well, I want to start with sugar right off the bat, and I just mentioned this because a couple years ago, when I was reevaluating my diet, I went towards the keto style of eating, and I was eliminating sugar, and my mind was blown, Alan. I was just shocked at where sugar is in all the foods. It's just hidden. When you think of sugar, at least when I was thinking of sugar, I'm thinking candy bars, pop. That's the easy ones. But there's a lot of sugar in the yogurt we might eat or the creamer I might put in my coffee, or it's even in ketchup. And some other weird things that you wouldn't think about. So taking the minute to look at the labels was super eye-opening.

[00:15:36.590] – Allan

Yeah, I'm preparing. We're going to do it when we get back in October. There's a chili cook-off. And so I'm preparing the chili for 0ur team this year. And so I've been experimenting with the different spices and how to put it together. And one of our teammates, being helpful, wanted to send me a recipe, sort of like, this is the one that'll win. So, yeah, I'm going to do someone else's recipe for my chili cook-off. No, but they all use the canned stuff. This recipe, it called for brown sugar.

[00:16:07.880] – Rachel

Of course.

[00:16:08.650] – Allan

Just throw half a cup of brown sugar in there and everybody's going to love it. And others are throwing in chocolate bars. It was a couple others that threw in sugar. And everything's coming out of a can. Everything that they're putting in there is coming out of a can. I'm like, soak your beans. Yeah, this is not Texas chili, by the way, but soak your beans and then just do mean it.

Yes, it takes a little bit longer to make your own tomato know, it just does. But when you do it, you know what's in it. I'll be able to tell you there's nothing in this. When I get done and I make this thing, there won't be anything out of a can in my chili.

Everything is going to be the raw spices. Everything's going to be the raw vegetables and the meat. And so there's not going to be a bunch of processed stuff or chemicals or sugar in my chili. It'll be something that even if you're keto, you can get past the beans. You can eat it. But it has to be made with hamburger or should be made with hamburger.

What their intent is to make it all fair, and they need beans to kind of bulk that up a little bit. Because just hamburger meat, chili is just okay, but just a little bit of beans to get some fiber and a little bit of bulk in there. But no, it's like you're right if it's in a box bag, jar or can, you need to read the label.

[00:17:29.570] – Rachel

Oh, gosh, yeah.

[00:17:39.970] – Allan

Probably avoid it anyway, but read the. Label first while you're still standing in the store. And then ask yourself, is this something that if I really cared about myself. That I would feed to someone that I care about?

[00:17:39.970] – Rachel

Or is there a better option?

[00:17:41.590] – Allan

Yeah, or is there a better option? There are a lot more of them now. You walk down the aisle and no sugar added peanut butter. Peanut butter should just be peanuts. It really should grind up some peanuts. That's all peanut butter is, is just ground up peanuts. When they start putting sugar and they start pulling out the actual oil from the peanut and putting vegetable oil in. There, you've got to ask the question why.

[00:18:05.240] – Allan

And that's to make it cheaper and to make it more palatable so you'll eat more of it and buy more of it. And again, there's no reason for there to be sugar in peanut butter. But they put it in there.

[00:18:16.270] – Rachel


[00:18:18.600] – Allan

There shouldn't be a no sugar peanut butter. There just shouldn't be sugar in your peanut butter. But we got to read the label. Sugar comes in a lot of different names. If it has an -ose ending, it's probably sugar. And so they'll put different ways to put it in there so they can put it further down the label.

[00:18:36.990] – Allan

High fructose corn syrup is one of the big ones that you'll see, but tt's glucose, it's cane sugar, it's agave nectar. It's all these different things. They're all sugar. And what you want to do then you see all these on the label. They're way down in there. But if there's more than one or two of them now you got to go up there and look at the numbers. Sorry if you don't like numbers, but look up at the numbers and see how many grams of sugar is in this thing. And if it's not fiber, it's mostly sugar.

[00:19:09.230] – Allan

Even if it doesn't say the sugar directly, that's added sugar, it could still be a simple carb that's going to act just like sugar in your body. So you take the total carbs and then you look at the fiber, and that different number is net carbs. And so if you're trying to manage your carbs and manage your sugar, that's where you're going to see it. And then you start looking through the ingredients list. Hint, if there's more than five, put it back. But if they're going to have two or three different types of sugar in it. That's exactly what they're trying to do, is to hide the sugar in this product.

[00:19:42.860] – Allan

So you just don't know how much is in there because they're obligated to put it in order of volume. So ketchup? Yeah, the top ingredient might be water. And then tomatoes and then sugar. And you're like, okay, so the third ingredient in this is sugar.

[00:20:06.000] – Allan

Again, some of the things I see online, I just have to turn it off. I literally just have to say, okay, I'm out. And so that's why I put social media on there, because

[00:20:14.930] – Rachel

That's a good point.

[00:20:14.530] – Allan

There was a woman adding sugar to her Pepsi.

[00:20:15.230] – Rachel


[00:20:15.840] – Allan

Yeah. Her question was, how many spoons or tablespoons of sugar do you put in your Pepsi? There's an individual adding sugar to sugar,water, to make, I guess, more sugary. And I was like, I can't. I just can't. But that's out there. And so people are doing these things. They're filming themselves do it and stop. Just please don't. I went past that post.

[00:20:52.450] – Rachel


[00:20:53.170] – Allan

And I shut my laptop. I was done because I couldn't. But I held my tongue, I held my snap back of how completely unsmart that was.

[00:21:05.960] – Rachel


[00:21:07.030] – Allan

Yeah, but it's out there. It's out there. People are so addicted to sugar. They will put sugar on sugar and it's just stop, please.

[00:21:18.300] – Rachel

That's got to be the worst I think that's probably the worst thing. That's why I wanted to chat about it for a second. I think all the different varieties of sugar and all the myriad of products that we eat every day, it's insidious and it adds up so fast and we just don't realize it until we begin to look. So, yeah, it's important to start paying attention to that.

[00:21:40.510] – Allan

I agree. Sure.

[00:21:41.790] – Rachel

And then the other thing you had mentioned was sitting can't sit for too long. I've heard people say sitting is the new smoking. We've heard that for a few years now, too. And in the running community, I don't think sometimes runners may not realize we go out for our three, four, five mile run in the morning, and then we spend the day at work. We come home and we're tired because we got up early to run, and we spend the evening on the couch watching TV. And like, well, you kind of are undoing all the great work that you just did that morning. And so if you pay attention to your lifestyle, if you spend too much time sitting, it might be time to, again, reevaluate what you're doing in the evenings.

[00:22:22.690] – Allan

And it's really about movement, because this is not you should stand up all day long either, because that has health ramifications. Too I remember because there were a lot of women standing in the pharmacy business. I was in the pharmacy business when I was in college, and they would gave problems with their varicose veins and other issues because they were standing in one place for a long period of time.

[00:22:44.930] – Allan

It's really about movement. So the opposite of sitting is not standing. The opposite of sitting is moving. Okay? Your glutes need to be engaged, which. They are not when you're sitting. And so the opposite is moving. So getting up and walking around, getting up and maybe doing a couple of jumping jacks or some body squats or just something, the opposite is not standing. So if you get one of those adjustable desks, adjust it.

[00:23:10.210] – Allan

I would basically set the timer on. My phone for 30 minutes, and every. 30 minutes, I would adjust my desk. Up or adjust my desk down. Sometimes I would sit on one of the balance balls if what I was working on didn't require me to be worried about this. And I had a wobble board and. All these other things, and people walk in my office, it's like, what in the heck are you doing in here? Looks more like a gym than it does an office. And that was by design.

[00:23:36.100] – Allan

I wanted to be able to move. I had a yoga mat. I have a yoga mat in my office.

[00:23:40.790] – Rachel

So if I feel like I need to move around, I've been sitting for a little while. I can get down on the floor on the yoga mat and do some bird dogs, do some crunches, do some hollow holds, just different things to basically get my body moving and engaged and not just sitting still.

[00:24:00.090] – Rachel

Oh, I think that's important, to find different ways to move throughout the day, and then especially in the evening when we're sitting there watching TV. We always talk about this, too, Allan. When the commercial comes on, get up and go do something for me. I'm doing laundry in the evenings, so when the show ends or something. I can go downstairs, maybe walk up, go back downstairs. I kind of do some chores in the evening just to get stuff done and kill two birds with 1 st, basically.

[00:24:27.750] – Allan

Or try like the Starrettes do: just sit on the floor.

[00:24:32.910] – Rachel

Oh, yeah.

[00:24:42.910] – Allan

You're going to squirm you're going to move around. If you try to sit on the floor and watch TV, you're going to squirm around a little bit. You're going to be moving the whole time because it's kind of uncomfortable to sit on the floor for a long period of time without moving around. When we sit in a chair, we're just in this comfortable, supported place that, there's not a lot of reason, especially on a couch, not a lot of reason for us to do much moving except to reach out and grab your beer, I guess.

[00:25:02.190] – Allan

But it's just getting down on the floor that's going to open up your hips. It's going to make you move around a bit, and then yeah.

Then pop up onto the couch for a little while and then get up. Yeah, walk into the bathroom or walk over to grab your laundry. And you can stand there and fold it while you're watching the television program. And then sit back down if you're still watching. But there's lots of things you can.

[00:25:24.790] – Allan

Do to watch your show wind down. And still get some general movement in it. We're not talking about getting on a treadmill and running for a half hour while you're watching TV. This is just casual, gentle movement, and your body's going to appreciate that.

[00:25:39.920] – Rachel

Oh, absolutely. These are all great things to consider or try and figure out how to eliminate them out of your day to day.

[00:25:47.150] – Allan

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

[00:25:49.680] – Rachel

Sounds great, Allan. Take care.

[00:25:51.280] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:25:52.350] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


July 11, 2023

Everything you need to know about calories

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In the battle to lose weight, many people turn to calories in calories out (CICO) as a way of eating less and moving more. The math can get more complicated than that, but understanding calories can be a good first step in your weight loss journey. On episode 598 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss everything about calories.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:13.320] – Coach Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you?

[00:02:15.120] – Coach Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:16.950] – Coach Allan

Good. It looks like you're somewhere fun. I am. Well, you're in a hotel room, which is not fun. Well, it can be fun. I guess it can be fun. I don't want to hear anymore.

[00:02:25.990] – Coach Rachel

Yeah. Mike had to make a trip up to the outskirts of Boston. Actually, we're in Westborough right now where he's got a couple of plants that he needs to take a look at. And so we made a vacation out of it. So we just spent the weekend in downtown Boston, walking all over the city and enjoying the sights of Boston. Now we're here in Westborough for a couple of days, and I'm just going to take it easy talking with you today. I've got books to read and places to go walk, so I'll be a happy camper while he's at work.

[00:02:58.420] – Coach Allan

I lived up that way nearly 20 years ago. You start looking back and say, Well, when was I there? Well, I was at that job for 10 years, at that job for two years. And I'm like, Oh, wow. That was a while ago because I've been here now for a while. So I was like, Okay, yeah. From age 39 to 41, I lived up in Groton, which is a small little village town just outside the loop. And so, yeah, occasionally I'd go into Boston and just have some fun. But yeah, Boston is a really fun town, but it was a really weird town back then. But then things were changing. There's progression as they will. I was like, so they had, I think one of the rules they had just started doing was they had started no smoking in bars and restaurants. And so all the bar owners in downtown area of Boston, that big area, they were really concerned that they would lose all their customers. And I was talking to the bartender. He's like, Yeah, we're thinking we're going to lose all our business. And I'm like, Well, where do you think they're going to go to eat?

[00:04:06.770] – Coach Allan

Where do you think they're going to go to drink? They're still going to come out. They're not going to just stay home because you say they can't smoke there. They'll go outside and smoke. They're resilient. They'll deal with the cold and do it. And some might quit. But it was just interesting that that was happening. And I was sitting in that bar because, again, we were taking a weekend there. And I was like, Okay, I'd like a can of beer. The guy's like, I can't serve you a beer right now. I'm like, What do you mean? He says, Well, it's 1155 and I can't serve you a beer until noon. I'm like, Where in the hell am I?

[00:04:41.730] – Coach Rachel

Oh, my goodness. That's funny.

[00:04:44.900] – Coach Allan

Well, you're as up there, I guess, as you were in Michigan. It's probably straight line across.

[00:04:49.980] – Coach Rachel

Pretty much, yeah. It's hot right now. Hot and humid, but I'll take it. I'll take it. It's just nice to be outside.

[00:04:59.460] – Coach Allan

Get you some chowder and plenty of lobster. You're going to make a drive out to the horn, the Cape?

[00:05:08.580] – Coach Rachel

I'm not sure how much time we'll have for that. Mike's got a couple of long days of work ahead of him, and then we'll just explore the areas close by. But yeah, we.

[00:05:17.570] – Coach Allan

Have no plans. It's like a four hour drive over, but it's beautiful over there. But if you had the time, it's worth the trip. But yeah, you got to spend some time if you're going to make it matter.

[00:05:29.240] – Coach Rachel

Right. Yeah, we'll just explore the areas around where we are.

[00:05:32.810] – Coach Allan

Well, cool. All right. You ready to talk about calories?

[00:05:36.300] – Coach Rachel



Today I want to talk about calories. If you've listened to me for any period of time, you know that I'm just not a huge fan of the calories in calories out model for a number of reasons we'll talk about today. But for a lot of people first starting out, counting calories can be a very beneficial activity because teaches you a little bit about how food works. And so today I want to give you the basics of how calories work in our body, how to do calories in, calories out, and then what to do when it stops working. Because for most people, it does stop working at some point, and that's because there are some limitations. But that said, it's a great way to jump start your journey to learn a lot about what you're eating and how much you're eating and what food is all about. So let's dive into it. Now, before we go too deep in this, calories in, calories out is a pretty simple basic thing. It's what I call just basically the pluses and minuses, the addition and subtract formulas for the way that you can lose weight and have enough energy.

That said, there are more complicated levels underneath this that, if they're not addressed, can cause you some problems. So the next level below that or above that, however you want to look at it, which is more complicated, you can think about the difference between addition and subtraction and when you started learning algebra is when we start talking about macronutrients and micronutrients. If we're not feeding our body what it needs, it's basically going to be a problem. So we can actually be overfed and undernourished. And so that happens a lot with the American diet, particularly with the processed foods and things that are going on today. But all that said, there is a more complex math underneath the calories in calories out model. But from a basic perspective, the calories in, calories out model is not wrong. They're both right. They just overlap. And then there's another level that's a little bit more deeper, a little bit more complicated. You can think of it as the calculus or differential equations. It's the complicated stuff that a lot of us won't be able to do a whole lot about, and that's hormones. Your hormones are going to affect how your body operates.

And so for certain individuals, no matter what they do, their hormones are going to be a progress slower, if you will. It's not going to stop you from necessarily losing weight. But you'll may notice that you don't lose weight as quickly as someone else does. So women have estrogen, men have testosterone. That additional testosterone makes it a little easier for men to lose weight. So if you notice that you and your significant other are basically eating the same foods, but they're losing weight and you're not, or you are losing weight and they're not, it's that hormones. It's not necessarily what you're eating or how much you're eating. It's just you're in a better balance from a hormone perspective to lose weight. So just realize that calories in, calories out is an easy to start model. Over time, it'll probably stop working for you. And that's when you want to start thinking about these other things and either set your expectations or make some adjustments to the quality of the food you're eating to make this continue to work for you. So let's get into the basics of calories in, calories out. A calorie is a measure of energy.

Now, when we use the term calorie, we're actually talking about kilo calories. But just to shorten it, we still call it a calorie. But a kilo calorie is basically the amount of energy necessary to warm one liter of water, one degree Celsius. And so we call it a calorie, but basically it is a measure of energy. And so the principles of what we're trying to do is we're trying to figure out exactly how many calories we're consuming and how many calories we are burning. And then the balance of those two or imbalance of those two is going to basically determine whether we're gaining weight or losing weight. So it's a thermodynamics of looking at energy into a system and energy out. Okay? So when we want to know what our energy burn is, most of the energy burn that we're doing when we're talking about it is a calculation. It's an estimate. So you get on one of those treadmills and it tells you for an hour's time running, you burn 400 calories. It's just an estimate. How they calculate that estimate inside that particular machine is particular to that machine. If you've ever gotten on one elliptical and then got on another elliptical and said, Well, I like the other elliptical more because within an hour I burn 700 calories, where this one says I'm burning 500, you're probably not burning 700 calories.

You may not be burning 500, but it's an estimate. And the only way you'd really know how much you were burning would be if you did some scientific tests where you were in a closed environment and they're measuring your carbon dioxide and they're measuring how much energy you're outputting. That's how they would know. But everything else is an estimate. Okay, now, when you start talking about the foods that we're consuming, for the most part, those are estimates too. What they've done for a lot of these different foods is they've burned them in a container and they've determined how much additional energy is put off when these things are set on fire. And that's assumed that our body would do the same thing, use the same amount of energy. So it's an estimate. And one of the other big issues is because these are both estimates, I prefer to look at these as guidelines and not absolute. But so many people get stuck in the math of, Oh, I'm eating 500 calorie deficit every day and I'm not losing weight. Or you go on to some of these applications and they tell you, You had a great day.

You're 1,000 calories under your requirement. If you eat like this for the next six weeks, you'll lose 30 pounds. And the reality is, one, you're not going to do that. Two, you may not have recorded your food right. And three, the estimates that are in there for your burn and for your consumption may be off. Okay, so what we want to try to do when we're looking at the food that we're eating and the energy that we're expending is just get an idea of balance. And so it gives us some basic information to make some decisions about how much we're eating and how much we're moving and what that means in relationship to each other. So let's dive a little bit deeper into each side of this calculation. So on the expenditure side, how many calories are you burning? Okay, one of the key terms that you'll hear is BMR. Okay, and BMR stands for basic metabolic rate. And what that means is how much do you need to just stay alive, meaning you're laying on your back in bed, completely at rest. How many calories do you need to stay alive? And that's keeping your brain alive, your organs alive, basic metabolic function.

And it's different based on age, gender, and your body composition. So you may have heard, if you have more muscle, burns more calories. And so that's where this all comes in. If you have more lean muscle mass, you're younger. And as I mentioned before, you're male, you're going to have a higher BMR than a woman. And it also has to do with your total size. So if you're 6 foot tall, you're going to burn more energy than someone who's 5 foot tall. So all of these things play into all of this burn. And so what you'll do with most of these things is you'll log in and they'll ask how tall you are, how much you weigh, and then they'll calculate a number. For most of us, the number is going to come somewhere between 1250 and 2,000. Again, that's a pretty wide range. But again, there's a wide range of people, so that range can be pretty wide. So if you're eating less than 1200 calories, it's very likely that you're under eating. You're not even giving your body enough to stay alive. And if you're out there doing exercise on top of that, that's even worse.

So that's where we come up with the term TD EE, or total daily energy expenditure. So if we're moving around, which most of us are, depending on our activity level, you add that to your BMR, and that will give you your total burn for the day. So I put into a calculator and I link to this as the Harris Benedict calculator, 40plusfitness. Com calorie will take you to that calculator. I didn't make that calculator. It's a website that just basically has that calculator, this link will just send you to that. But what it does, if you key in, okay, you're a 5 foot woman and you're basically sedentary, your basic metabolic rate is going to be just over 1200. If you're mildly active or you're sedentary, you're still going to burn more calories because you actually stand up every once in a while. You walk around, you got to go to the bathroom, you got to go to work. So you're moving around a little bit, just a little bit, and that's going to burn about 300 more calories. So for a basic woman to basically survive and deal with her daily expenditure, she's probably going to need, even a 5′ foot woman is going to probably need at least 1,500 calories just to stay in balance.

Now, if you're trying to lose a little bit of weight, you can go a little bit under that, but I would never go below your BMR. That's when you're starting to push yourself beyond. So what we want to do is basically say, okay, if I can up my activity, which we'll talk about and we can talk about, once you start actively increasing your activity, if you can just keep your food the same at roughly your TD EE, you're going to lose weight initially. So a good thing for this calculator is to say, what's the minimum amount I should eat? And that should at least be your BMR. I I would recommend you eat to your TD EE and then move more, just a little more. It doesn't have to be anything crazy, but if you can just add half an hour of activity each day, you're probably going to lose some weight there. Okay? So now let's talk about the consumption side. Okay? And again, this is just what we're trying to do is estimate how much energy is put off by the food that you're eating. And the only way you're really going to know that is to sit down and log it.

And the easiest thing I found to log it is an application called My Fitness Pal. They've got all these other foods out there so basically you can just plug this stuff in. There are other tools that other people have told me they like much more, but find your tool and this will help you in the initial. So what you want to do is you're going to look up what you're eating. So here I am eating a chicken breast and I'm going to have to look at how much that is. So what is that going to require? I need to weigh it. If I'm just estimating that this is a serving of chicken breast, it might be a larger breast or smaller breast. So I can't say both are the same number of calories. They're different. They're different sizes. So if you're going to do this and really get a good basis, you're probably going to need a food scale. You're probably going to need to go in and really pay attention to what goes into the foods that you're eating. Restaurants are notoriously off with their calorie counts. One study showed that they can be off by as much as 20 to 25 % understating your calories of a particular meal.

And so it's really easy to over consume and underestimate how much you've eaten. And so it's worth taking some time to sit down and log your food. But you've got to get the weight right. You've got to get how much you're getting, and you got to look at exactly what you're eating because just different additives, different things they put into it can really change the dynamics of how many calories are in a particular dish. It's a little easier, unfortunately, when you eat processed foods because they're putting it on the label. A serving of pasta has this many calories. A serving of hamburger helper mix has this many calories. So it's a little easier to look that stuff up. But that's not the nutrition your body needs. And so eventually, that's going to create a problem at those other math levels we talked about, the nutrition and the hormones. But that said, they make it a little bit easier for you to know. But if anytime you're eating something and you're not sure, like chicken breast, you can just Google, nutrition facts, chicken breast. If you're eating an apple, nutrition facts, and then the apple and the apple and just the size.

Is it small? Is it medium? Is it large? And that'll give you a basic idea. So now, as I mentioned, these are estimates. So your BMR and your TD EE are estimates of how much your body is burning. You're not actually ever going to really truly know that number, but you're getting an estimate. Unless you're going to take the time to weigh and measure all of your food, you're estimating how much of that you're eating. You're estimating serving sizes based on what's there. Even the numbers that are on the labels are estimates. So estimates of estimates, and you can see how this can run a little haphazard. Also, we sometimes miss things like grazing. So you didn't count on the fact that, or didn't think about, you're standing at your colleague's desk and they happen to have small chocolate there, and you popped two or three of those chocolate and you didn't log it. Well, that could have been 100 or more calories and you didn't log it. So you can see if you're not paying attention, it's easy to eat some things that you don't remember eating or you didn't get logged. So it looks on paper like you're at a deficit and maybe you aren't.

With labels, again, we're talking about processed foods here, and these things are engineered to make you want to eat more. So if you're sticking to processed foods as a way of doing this to make it a little easier, just realize they're engineering those foods to keep you hungry, to make you come back and eat more. They want you to eat more. That's how they make more money. So they're engineering their foods, and if they can fudge it on the label, they're going to fudge it on the label. So just be cognizant that processed foods are not really your friends, even if they make things a little easier and more convenient. The other thing that happens is in our bodies, as we exercise, as we do things physically, we become more efficient. I had Dr. Herman Pontzer on Episode 478. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/478. And he went out and studied the Hadza tribe, which is in Tansania. It's one of the only remaining hunter gatherer tribes out there. And they had a way of counting the total number of calories expended, utilizing carbon and a process with the urine and water.

And it's complex. But at the same time, they were looking at how many calories these had stuff who were at least nine miles a day traveling to get the foods that they needed. And so you would think, Okay, here's some really lean athletic guys that are moving around a lot. They're not sitting around much at all. And the ladies are digging for tubulars, and their men are climbing trees to get honey, and they're traveling around hunting and gathering. And what they found was that these individuals had gotten so efficient with movement and their bodies that they weren't really burning many more calories than a sedentary office worker sitting at their desk. So it was about 2,500 calories, which is the basic man of the same height and weight, same age, would basically be burning the same number of calories each day just sitting at their desk doing their job. So realize that over time, your body might get more efficient at using the calories as you get more fit. And that's just the way it works. And so as you're thinking about food, there's a whole lot that's not calculated into any of this. And it can just make it really hard that you feel hungry all the time because you're trying to hit a calorie number.

And sometimes the reason is that we're not counting the thermic effect of food. So protein, for example, requires a lot more processing in our body to process, to make it into something we can digest. That digestion is what we call the thermic effect of food. So if you ate 100 calories of chicken, you're not going to get 100 calories of energy out of that chicken. You're going to basically burn some of that to digest that. Whereas it f you had sugar water, it's going to go right into your system and there's not much processing of that at all. So if you're drinking a Coke or a pop, whatever you want to call it, if you're drinking that, that's going right on. There's no thermic effect. It's just calories straight in. Whereas, again, if you're eating something that takes a little bit longer to digest, there's a cost and that cost means you're getting fewer calories from that. So we may undercount calories for some things. The other thing is there are certain foods that are going to make you feel more satiated. They're going to keep you from being hungry or sooner. Fiber and protein are two examples of that where you're just going to feel fuller sooner and longer, and that's going to help you actually eat less.

And then, of course, with a lot of folks that are trying to do the calories in calories out model, they just start eating too little. And what this leads to later is binge eating or private eating and not logging. I don't know how many times I've been looking at a log for someone, and they've got 700 calories logged. And I'm like, You can't go day after day on 700 calories. They're complaining they're not losing weight, but they're obviously not logging everything, or they're eating too little for a few days, and everything's just shutting down. And while you can't really destroy your metabolism, it is what it is. Your body will start to shut down organs and things. It will start shutting things down if it feels like you're in a stressed, starving mode, and it will start shooting cortisol into your system to help hold on to fat while you're losing muscle. So realize you might see some weight loss at that level, but you may very well be losing the wrong weight. You might be losing muscle and not fat. So you're going to want to eat really close to that BMR number, if not to the TD EE, which is what I would personally recommend when you start.

But just make sure you're eating good quality food and that you're doing the right things for your body because this is not just about calories in, calories out. It can work and it does work. So basically just be careful that you don't get yourself into a mindset of that calories in, calories out is the answer because there's a little bit more to it. So I want to summarize a little bit here and just say, okay, as you go through this process, just start with the basics. Get to know what your numbers are as far as your BMR and your TD EE. Get those in your head. Start learning what the calories are in the various foods that you eat each day, making sure, again, you're getting adequate nutrition, log it for a while and log it correctly. Weigh the food, do the right things, get everything in there so that you have a really good idea of the volume of food that you're eating, the amount of energy you're putting in, and then be thinking honestly about how much energy you're putting out each day, and then watch for trends. If things are not moving the way that you want to, we can make some adjustments, but you just got to start with the trend.

I'm eating this way and I'm losing weight. I'm going to keep eating this way. The other thing is pay attention to your satiety levels and the kinds of foods that you're eating. You need nutrition. Food is not just calories, food is not just calories. Food is everything. Our body is made from food. So if we're not getting enough fat, if we're not getting enough minerals and vitamins, and we're getting the macros our body needs, the protein, if we're not getting those things, our body will not function well, and that can be a problem. So make sure, again, you're paying attention to the food you're eating and how you feel eating that food. And then you can just make adjustments. And I would say make micro adjustments, small adjustments. So never this drastic drop another 500 calories off of this thing. Because again, if I'm saying your TDE is 1,500, 500 calories a deficit means you're at one third of what your body needs to function the way it's functioning. So eventually you're going to find yourself fatigued. You're going to have some issues, and that's where that's coming from. You just went too drastic. But if you're eating to your TDEE and then you're moving on top of that, then that's when you're going to start to see the action.

That's when you're going to start to see things move the way you want to. So again, I'm not a huge fan of calories in, calories out as a model for weight loss. I think you just need to eat high quality whole food and your body is probably going to do what it's supposed to do. But if you're interested and you want to give it a go from the start, it's not a bad exercise for a period of time to at least understand what you're eating, how the food is affecting your body weight, and how you feel when you start eating the amount of food that your body really needs.

Post Show/Recap

[00:25:46.960] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:25:48.760] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Allan. I think it's really important to talk about the calories in calories out model on occasion. It's like the best reminder to pay close attention to what we're eating, especially when we have a weight loss goal in mind. There's just so many ways that we can do it wrong. So it's nice to have this refresher.

[00:26:07.360] – Coach Allan

Well, I don't think there's any ways to do it wrong. In fact, seriously, if we go off culture, it's because we're just not paying attention. 99 % of it you realize, okay, well, why am I not losing weight? And then you realize, well, damn it, Sally's got a chocolate on her desk and I'm eating five or six of those every day when I go by there and say good morning. And so you're like, okay, I got to stop doing that. But I don't. I keep doing it. So it's usually just when we stop paying attention. Now, a lot of people will get into Keto and then they're like, okay, well, I'm losing all this weight on Keto. And then they stop losing weight and they get to this point, they're like, I don't understand. I know all the foods that are Keto foods. I'm not eating any carbs, but I'm not losing any weight. Well, you're eating too many calories. I'm like, Well, no, calories don't matter if you're… Yes, they actually don't matter. Yeah, it all matters. And so it's not a bad idea to at least know. And then the other side of it is, I think the other concern I always have is people under eating, really under eating, and that causes other issues.

[00:27:14.530] – Coach Allan

So they'll sit there and say, well, okay, if I can be 500 calories down, I could lose a pound a week. If I can be 1,000 calories a day down, then I could lose two pounds a week. If I'm 1,500 calories down, then I could lose three pounds per week. And I've got 30 pounds to lose. I'd love to lose that in 10 weeks. So let's just do the math.

[00:27:34.960] – Coach Rachel

More is better, right?

[00:27:37.810] – Coach Allan

I got to get on that treadmill for an hour every day and only eat 800 calories. And they're starving all the time. And then they stop really counting all the calories because they're like, Well, I'm just going to have a bowl of cereal. And they eat three bowls of cereal or four. There have been times I probably ate a whole box of cereal in a sitting, just not not knowing and thinking about how many calories were in it. And it wasn't that the cereal was the problem. I just had too many servings of it, and I wasn't paying attention to how much it was. I wasn't paying attention to whether I was full or not. I just was really hungry. I poured a whole bowl of cereal in a big bowl, a whole bunch of milk, and just sat down with a spoon watching morning TV on a Sunday. And that's all the calories I probably should have had for the whole day.

[00:28:27.820] – Coach Rachel

Well, that's where I've gone wrong in the past. I have a cereal bowl at home that maybe it looks like I have a half a cup, the serving size of most cereals, but I know full well that I pour way more in my cereal bowl than half a cup. And I just, I eyeball it, but my eyeballs aren't super accurate. My measuring cups are probably a little bit.

[00:28:49.810] – Coach Allan

More accurate. They would be just a little more accurate. You got to pack it in there. I'm going to get the most out of that half cup.

[00:28:58.300] – Coach Rachel

But then, like you mentioned, too, cereals are usually super satisfying, barely great on the palate. And one bowl becomes two bowls, which becomes three bowls. And you're watching the morning news or something. And did I have one bowl of cereal or four bowls of cereal?

[00:29:15.040] – Coach Allan

You'll lose track pretty easily. I just jumped the chase and got a big bowl and just went at it.

[00:29:20.360] – Coach Rachel


[00:29:21.610] – Coach Allan

I was a growing boy and not growing the right way. But I think if you're struggling and you get to a point where you're stuck, this is a tool to just go back and assess, how much am I really eating? It's not that you have to log all the time and track and weigh everything forever, but it's just getting your head reset about what a portion size looks like and how many calories in it. And then making some basic decisions and realizing, oh, I could have that whole salad over there with chicken breast on it and the dressing that I like, and that's 500 calories, or I can have this little bag of chips.

[00:30:03.390] – Coach Rachel


[00:30:04.370] – Coach Allan

I have the bag of chips and I'm hungry again in 20 minutes. Well, that's important. That salad is going to take me 20 minutes to eat. And so it's just this thing of just saying, okay, food is a building block and it's to provide calories for energy. And if you start thinking of it, yes, you should enjoy your food, have food that you enjoy, but know what's in it, know how much it is and start getting your head around what portion sizes are. E at a little slower. That'll make it easier to eat fewer calories because it's easy to eat a lot of calories if you eat really fast. You'll notice the people that are doing the eating contests on TV, they're not going slow. They're eating faster than their body can even pay attention to just so they can get all that stuff down. And so if you slow down, you'll feel satiated sooner. You'll get an idea when you start looking at it's okay, what's a serving of chicken breast look like? What does a serving of bread? Serving of bread is one slice of bread. Most loaves I've looked at, a serving of bread, who's eating one slice of bread?

[00:31:07.270] – Coach Rachel


[00:31:07.710] – Coach Allan

Already having two servings instead of having a sandwich. And you had two sandwiches, so four servings of bread. You get the idea. It's like, I think I'm eating 100 calories of bread. No, you're eating 250 calories of bread. And does that 150 calories mean a whole lot? Well, if it's 150 more than you needed, yeah, over time, that's going to add up. And so that's going to be extra pounds that you're not losing or you're trying to work off doing these exercises. And it's pretty easy. If I set up a thing of M&Ms in the little cup holder of your treadmill and I said, Okay, here's what I want you to do. Look at how many M&Ms are serving and look at how many M&Ms are now in the pack to get an idea. And say, okay, so if every M&M was like two calories, so walk long enough to burn two calories and then eat an M&M.

[00:31:58.950] – Coach Rachel


[00:31:59.340] – Coach Allan

Think you'll see that bag of M&M is going to wear you out. You'll be on that treadmill for an hour to eat a little bag of it because there's so many calories you got to burn the 300 calories for that little bag of M&Ms. And people don't think that. They think they're burning a lot more calories. So it's a guideline. If you find yourself stuck, it's just an opportunity to sit back. But in addition to looking at the calories, think about the types of foods you've been choosing and which ones are really the better foods for you. I'm not going to say there's good foods and bad foods, but there are better choices.

[00:32:29.900] – Coach Rachel

Well, like you had mentioned, our bodies need nutrients, not food. That's an important thing to look at. Way back when I was using my fitness pal, I was actually pretty shocked to learn that my favorite McDonald's meal was about 1,200 calories in just that one sandwich, aburger and fries meal. And that was my whole day's worth of calories, according to my fitness pal. And there's no nutrients in that meal.

[00:32:58.440] – Coach Allan

But there is some protein. There is some protein, they do put some niacin in the bun to fortify it because they've stripped all the nutrition out of it. If you had pickle, if you had a little bit of ketchup, some lettuce, maybe tomato, there's a little bit. There's not what your body needs, but there's some nutrition there. And so it's just this concept of eat better quality food. It'll be more nutritionally dense than calorie dense. The calorie dense foods, occasionally as a treat, you can work those in. If it fits your load and you're okay with a detour, by all means, you don't have to deprive yourself of things, but you shouldn't think you can have cake every day. No. A cake should be something special. Donut should be something special. They should not be a staple. And unfortunately, too many people get wrapped up into the, every evening I'm going to have ice cream. And then they're having… And it's not a serving of ice cream. It's like, how many servings of ice cream did you put in the bowl? Be honest with yourself. Get a good scoop size. Look at it, understand it, and know how many calories are in that thing, and then make the decision.

[00:34:15.560] – Coach Allan

And if you want to have an extra couple of hundred calories of ice cream in the evening, by all means. But the whole court owns a lot of calories. So just realize that calories do count. You don't have to count them to lose weight, but it is a tool to find yourself stuck.

[00:34:31.860] – Coach Rachel

Yeah. And I think logging a meal periodically or your favorite snack or something, just paying attention to the size of the serving you're taking and what macros are in it as well as the calories. It's just an eye-opening exercise to do. So even if you just logged a dinner meal or your favorite after-work snack or something like that, it's just an eye-opening thing to do periodically.

[00:34:57.610] – Coach Allan

I agree. Yeah. All right. Well, Ras, I'll talk to you. Enjoy Boston and I will talk to you next week.

[00:35:04.190] – Coach Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:35:05.540] – Coach Allan

You too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


July 4, 2023

The five keys to sustainable weight loss over 40

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 597 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the five keys to sustainable weight loss over 40. 


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:06.520] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:03:08.360] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:10.540] – Allan

Just another day in paradise.

[00:03:12.530] – Rachel

Of course it is. You lived own in Panama.

[00:03:15.210] – Allan

third-worldAnd a third world country, yeah. And so we're still having the water problems. We've had about an inch of rain in the past week, but we really almost need a foot or more of rain to get where we need to be with the reservoirs and all of that. And people say, Oh, my God. A foot of rain. Well, it could rain a foot in 24 hours here pretty easy.

[00:03:36.980] – Rachel


[00:03:37.560] – Allan

But we got 24 inches, about 24 inches in 36 hours. So we can get a lot of rain when it's raining. So we just need one of those. We get some rain in, it's this and that. And we got some rain last night and it's early this morning, but it was hardly noticeable when it was all said and done. So yeah, we just need a good solid rain. But I've got full tanks and we don't have a ton of guests, so we're not hurting for water. It's just, you know, I feel bad that a lot of people on the island have been. And when you just don't have a means to get water, it can be very frustrating and difficult. So some of the people that live here are not too happy with the government for not making sure they have water, but hopefully we'll get some rain. So all you folks that are getting too much, just send it this way. Right.

[00:04:26.280] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:04:28.110] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:04:29.450] – Rachel

Good. It's just good. I had mentioned last week that Mike was having some more testing done, and he had the biopsy of his lymph nodes looking for potential cancer, and he's in the clear. So we've dodged that bullet. He's healthy, no evidence of cancer at this point. So we're hoping that immunotherapy just keeps moving and working like it's supposed to and we'll be past this soon enough.

[00:04:51.770] – Allan

Yeah, I hope so too. I really do.

[00:04:53.800] – Rachel

Big relief. Yeah.

[00:04:56.930] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to talk about weight loss?

[00:05:00.670] – Rachel



Five keys to sustainable weight loss.

Now, when it comes to trying to lose weight and keeping it off, we really have to change not just what we eat, how we eat, when we eat. We have to change our whole self. We have to change our brain. And that is very difficult. Our brain resists change. It was in our best interests when we were hunter gatherers for our brain to keep us doing consistent things, seeing normal things, staying on a given path, doing things a certain way because it was less dangerous. And so our brain is wired to look for anomalies. It's wired to look for change because change is deemed dangerous within the framework of the way our brain works. I think you can see where that can be a big problem.

Now, if you find yourself overweight and you're way off the path, a lot of people like to approach this and say, Well, I don't have to really change anything. I can eat what I like to eat, I just have to eat a little less. And so they try diets that help them do that. And it's really just driving slowly in the same direction you've been driving. If you're lost and you're driving in the wrong direction, driving slower isn't necessarily going to get you what you want. You're still going to be off the path. We've got to make some significant changes, and that's going to be difficult. But if you follow these five keys, I think that's going to help you quite a bit.

As we go through the five keys, I'm going to be talking a little bit about how your brain works and a little bit about how this played out with one of my clients. Now, I'm going to change the names of my clients just so you know, but these are real clients. I'm changing the names because I don't really want to out my clients for certain things that they were dealing with when they were trying to go through this. But I just want you to have some examples of how this key, that key that I'm talking about applied in someone's journey.

Embrace Discomfort

The first key to sustainable weight loss is to embrace discomfort. Losing weight is going to be hard. You're going to have to change some things that you do. You're going to have to do some things that you weren't doing. And that difference is going to trigger your stress hormones. It's going to trigger the release of cortisol. And so you're going to feel this fight or flight thing hitting from time to time. It's going to be difficult. You're also likely going to feel hunger. But I'm here to tell you, hunger is not starvation.

Hunger is just your body telling you you should eat something, but it's not dangerous. You're not going to starved to death. But these are discomfort feelings, uncomfortable feelings. And so if you can't embrace the discomfort, you're going to give in to them. And so this first bit where you're trying to use some willpower, develop some strength in that, it's going to be uncomfortable and you have to embrace it.

Now, I had a client, her name was Susan, and she decided she was going to go hard in and she wanted to do low carb, she wanted to get into Keto. And I think if you've tried Keto, you've read about Keto, it can be very difficult, but it can also be very effective at helping people lose weight. Now, there was an unintended consequence with her Keto that a lot of people suffer with. She ended up with constipation. And as you can imagine, that's very uncomfortable.

A lot of people at that point would have said, Oh, I can't eat low carb. And she would have reverted back. But we talked her through it. And so she tweaked some of her food choices and she pressed through. Now, what we did was we added a little bit of fiber to her diet, and we got her to take a supplement of magnesium, and that solved her problem. She found a sustainable way for her to eat low carb, and her preservation paid off. She stuck with it, and she lost over 40 pounds.

So you have to push through and you have to embrace that discomfort. The discomfort is your body telling you something is different and that's not a bad thing. That's your body telling you that it's hungry or wants you to eat. That's not a bad thing. You just have to figure out how to work through that and find the right way that's going to work for you.

Perfection Rather Than Progress

Now, the second key is to focus on progress and not perfection. Now, a lot of people want perfect. They want fast progress. They want straight-line weight loss, and that's just not how it works. If we keep trying to strive for perfection, a part of our brain that's called the anterior singlet Cort is going to be activated. And so this is going to create anxiety, self-doubt.

And so instead of striving for perfection, what you want to do is focus on progress, even little small progresses. And you celebrate those wins, you're going to reward your brain. Your brain is going to say, hey, this is good. This feels good. It's a release of dopamine. Every time you congratulate yourself and you feel good. And so what that does is that it motivates your brain's reward system and you feel good. And so if you can start acknowledging small progress, and that's why a few weeks ago I did episode on journaling, and I think writing down your daily wins is a really good and valuable tool.

I had a client, Maria. Now, Maria wanted to lose weight, but here's the deal. She was working very long hours. It was a busy season for her at her job. She's a tax accountant. And so during tax season, right up until the filing deadline dates, it's insane, 60, 70 hours weeks plus. The food they're bringing in is not necessarily always the healthiest for you either.

There's a lot of stress. And so what she did was she just basically said, “Okay, I'm not going to have time to go to the gym and get workouts in.” So instead, she just focused on making better food choices. Now, what did this mean? That she was not seeing this perfection. Occasionally, she had to make a bad food choice because that's all that was available. But she ate less of it. And so she worked her way through this, and she managed to lose weight during this busy time because she focused on progress and not perfection.

And now the busy season's over, she's in the gym and she's doing great. So just realize that there's going to be times when you can sprint and there'll be times when you just have to go really slow or just hold your ground. And recognizing that pacing is really important and then rewards your progress. Know when you're doing something right and so your body rewards you for doing that.

Be Open To New Ideas

The third key to sustained weight loss is being open to new ideas. Now, our body wants regular things. It wants us to stay familiar. It wants predictability. And that makes it really difficult sometimes for us to acknowledge that things have to change. That's why it's so popular for people to put, eat whatever you want and lose weight. Keep eating the food you love and lose weight. You'll read that time and time again. And sadly, I'm here to tell you that's probably really not going to be the way that you have to go.

If you've eaten a certain way for a certain amount of time, that's where you are. That's what got you where you were. So trying new things, just trying a different strategy, trying new foods so you're getting more whole foods in your diet. The ability to try new things, to put new things in there, often can be the difference and can start crowding out things that weren't working for you that maybe you enjoyed.

I had a client, Mick. Now, Mick, at the very beginning, basically told me, I do not want to cook for myself. I don't enjoy cooking. I don't enjoy preparing meals. I want to go out and eat a dinner at a restaurant or something else. And so he didn't want to cook. So we were going to work with that. We were going to work with not cooking as an approach, even though I think he knew deep down that he needed to be willing to try it. And so what ended up happening was he started losing a little bit of weight, and he noticed that he lost more weight when he was cooking for himself. So he was starting to prepare more meals for himself. But when he was eating family meals, when he was eating what he prepared, his progress was better.

So this rewarded his brain, again, that whole process of saying, Hey, this actually feels good. This is what I need. Seeing that additional progress and recognizing why it was happening, again, not a bad reason to have a journal, he started cooking more. And he started actually enjoying the process of cooking because he knew what was going into his body. He knew it was fueling him, and he could see his weight drop and he could see his energy level increase. And so being open to new ideas is one of the key ones because what got us where we are is probably not going to get us where we want to be.

Believe In Yourself

The fourth key to sustainable weight loss is to believe in yourself. Okay? Yes, you've tried and you failed, and yes, you've failed and you failed and you tried, and maybe you lost weight and then you gained it back. But by believing in yourself and setting that self-efficacy and saying, I can do this, I am doing this, this is happening. When you start to get your brain wrapped around what you can do versus what you think you can't do, you start pushing yourself toward success.

I think it was Ford who said, whether you believe you can or you can't, you're right. And that's this principle is all about. When we go through in our brain and we tell ourselves that this is our new reality, this is what I know I can do. I believe in myself, I know this can happen, you activate your brain and it basically starts affirming you. So as you do these self affirmations, as you do these self reflections, as you say, I know I can't. I know I can lose the weight. I know I can get stronger. I know I can avoid certain situations. I know I can stop doing things that are not serving me. When you start making those choices and you're making those choices from a statement of belief and knowing that you can, it will change a lot.

Annette struggled with self-love and compassion. We talked about this a great deal, and she didn't feel good about herself, and as a result, that was holding her back. What I had her do is I had her do some daily work. She thought it was silly at first. Go in the morning, look at the reflection, and tell yourself how you feel about yourself, how you love yourself, how you believe in yourself, how you know that you deserve to be treated right.

And like I said, she thought it was a little funny. But over time, that started to shift. And what she was able to do after she started getting this belief system in place was she started tapping into her strengths and she started being more consistent and she started losing weight and feeling better. So the accomplishments then of losing weight reinforced the belief that she put in herself at the beginning and that just got stronger and stronger. And so if you find yourself struggling, take some moment to do some self reflection.

But above all, this is not going to happen if you don't have self compassion and self love. So believe in yourself. You can do this. You can lose the weight. You just have to believe in yourself and then do the things you know that are necessary.

Get Help

The fifth key is to get help. Now, a few months ago, maybe a couple of months ago, I shared a model for motivation, and I strongly believe that everybody has motivation backwards. Everybody believes motivation is just something you have, something that just comes on. It's like, oh, now I'm motivated and I wasn't motivated before. But the reality is motivation comes from doing something first. Now, there are multiple different types of motivation. The best kind are the intrinsic ones, but they take a little bit of time to develop. That self belief, that trying new things, all those things are helping you build that. But the easiest and fastest way to get motivated is to hire a coach. A leader coach, extrinsic motivator, which is an external motivator, a coach is going to be there to hold you accountable. They're going to be there to push you. And then you're going to do trial and error.

Things are going to work for you that don't work for others. Things are not going to work for you that did work for others. It's like, I don't understand. They ate this way and they did this thing and it worked for them, but that's not how it might work for you. Now, I went through eight years of just up and down, up and down, and I invested thousands of dollars. Once I figured out that I needed to be my own coach and I figured out that I needed to do some things, I wasn't sure how I could do that. I was traveling so much and my life was just so messed up and there really weren't online trainers like there are today.

So I just said, okay, I will work with a local nutritionist and I will have some conversations with them. I will spend the money, I spent thousands and thousands of dollars to educate myself, to get certifications so that I could know what to do when I was training. And then I took the information that the nutritionist gave me and I started training. And that's how I lost my weight. That's how I lost the weight and it basically kept it off is just from that process.

And I still hire coaches today.

So I started 40+ Fitness because I wanted to be there for people the way I didn't have someone there for me. There was no one online for me to say, okay, I'm over 40, I'm going to be at a different gym every week, I'm going to need programs that I can do in a room, I can need programs I can do in a gym, and I need substitutes if I go into a gym and they don't have a particular piece of equipment. So I trained myself to do that. And you don't have to today because there are online personal trainers available.

Now, I want to talk about someone named Jose. Jose came to me. We were on a call. He was about 60 pounds overweight. And we talked about it. And then it came down time to say, Okay, are you going to hire me, Jose? And his answer was, No, I don't want to spend that money. I think I can do it on my own.

About six months later, I get another email from Jose, and he wants to talk to me. He had gained another 10 pounds in that six months. He reached out to me. And again, when it came time to say, do you want to hire me, Jose? The answer was no. And so we've messaged a little bit since then, a little over a year, he still has that 70 pounds. He's still 70 pounds overweight and he still isn't ready to get help.

He's stuck and I can't be the answer. I can't help him if he won't get help. So the fifth key to sustainable weight loss is to get help.


I think as you can tell, the way our brains are wired is really working against us if we're looking to lose weight. And so if you're going to make a change, if you're going to lose the weight and keep it off, you've got to do a lot to change the way your mind works, your mindset works, and your brain works. And that means you have to embrace discomfort. This is not going to be easy. It's going to be hard. And you have to push through that. You have to focus on progress and not perfection. It's the progress that matters, even little bits of progress, if you can celebrate them, you're teaching your brain to want more and then teaching your brain to be consistent.

And that little progress that you're making over time adds up to a whole lot. You need to be open to new ideas. The way you're eating, the way you're moving, the things you're doing now might not be serving you and changing up some of them, trying things you might not thought you would try can go a long way towards making that change happen and making it sustainable. But you got to be open to it. You got to believe in yourself. If you don't believe you can do this, you're right, you can't. So you've got to work on that. You work on your self compassion, work on your self love, and really instill a mindset that you believe you can do this and you are going to do this.

And then finally, I just say, look, ask for help. It doesn't have to be me. You can be a person in the gym. It can be a nutritionist. I hired a local nutritionist, had some conversations with her about what I should eat and how I should eat. And then I ate that way. But that was a very different situation.

I have my 12 week Shed the Fat program going on right now. I have limited slots in that program. But if you're interested, you can message me, coach@40plusfitness.com. Reach out to me. Let's have a conversation.

These keys to sustainable weight loss are hard. They're not easy. And if you get help, it's going to make it so much easier because you're going to have that accountability. You're going to have done an action, hiring a coach, that's going to be the key to having your initial bout of motivation. That's going to help you see progress. That's going to help you be successful at the start. And that's going to keep you going when things get hard. So again, coach@40plusfitness.com.

Post Show/Recap

[00:22:19.040] – Allan

Welcome back, Ross.

[00:22:23.040] – Rachel

Hey, Allen. I have to tell you, truthfully, when I heard you mention the title being the five keys to sustainable weight loss, the first thing I was thinking of, okay, got to eat better, sleep more, exercise more. And then you gave me these five other keys that had literally no particular direct thing, but all great strategies for making a change with your weight loss journey?

[00:22:48.570] – Allan

Well, I just wanted to comment on that a little bit because it's just this thing that I… I've started really working deep with people on weight loss and having the right conversations. I've got the quiz out there at 40plusfitness. Com quiz. Just seeing the results and what people are coming up with, we all know what to do. Like you said, those five things, just do those five things. The healthy things that make you healthy will make you lose weight. And so I just repeated that. That's not really solving the problem. The real problem is why aren't we doing those things?

[00:23:23.090] – Rachel

That's the question.

[00:23:24.570] – Allan

Of the year. So that's the real key. We know the locks, we know what's there, we know how to do it. It's just getting it done. And so as I was thinking through this, it was like, I wanted to go that layer beneath all of that. How do I make myself do these things or get myself to do these things? And so these were more in the lines of, Okay, what's really in our way? And if someone says, Okay, well, I'm hungry and this is uncomfortable. Well, got to embrace that a little bit. If you want to lose some weight, you're probably going to be a little hungry at time. We talked about that with Brian last week. He had his little shark mode. He's a big man. He's over, I think, 6'5 or something like that. So grumpy guy who's 6'5 and weighs 300 pounds, stay out of his way, shark mode. But we're going to be a little uncomfortable. That's what these were really all about was how do we get ourselves to feel right about this so that we can stay successful?

[00:24:23.380] – Rachel

Right. Well, the one that stuck out the most with me was key number 3, be open to new ideas. And what really hit me with that was when I first started listening to your podcast, how long has it been now, Alan? Six years.

[00:24:37.620] – Allan

Seven years? Yeah. Well, I launched the podcast seven and a half years ago. Gosh.

[00:24:42.460] – Rachel

Well, about that time you started to introduce the information about the Keto diet and low carb eating. And at the time, I just had a lot of doubts with yet another fad diet out there, and I didn't want to cut out all the fruits that I like to eat during the day, the breads I love to have with dinner or pizza or anything like that. And I was very resistant to that idea. But at the time, I was at a crossing point here. I was at the bridge. I had to make a change, but I just couldn't figure out what to do. And so I was like, Okay, I'm going to be open to this. And I literally said, I'm just going to try this and see how it works. And so I dove right into the Keto way of eating, and I lost the weight that I needed to lose at that time. So it was sometimes these ideas are out there, or sometimes we don't want to give up our favorite foods or our favorite habits. But sometimes if you really want to make a change, you just have to do something a little different.

[00:25:45.170] – Allan

That was the whole point of the client I mentioned. I used the name Mick, not his real name, but he had told me the very first day we talked, he's like, I don't like cooking. I don't like being in the kitchen. I don't like doing any of that. I'm like, Okay, well, let's talk about strategies just to get you eating better food. And then we see where it goes. And the interesting thing was he went on a trip to see his family about three weeks. In the middle of a 12 week program, he's on vacation and he's sticking with it because the whole point was that's how his family actually lived. They cook their own meals. So he's having home cooked meals and he's starting to taste the nutrition and really realize, okay, this is serving me a lot better than the big US based portions that I'm getting at all these restaurants. And so he started to learn. It's like, this is what real food tastes like when you prepare it yourself. And so he started doing that and control the portions. He knew everything that was in the food. And then he and his wife just came to realize, Wow, this is actually fun.

[00:26:49.660] – Allan

We're spending time together. We're cooking our own meals. We're feeling better, we're looking better, and this is working for us. And so by the end of the 12 weeks, he actually said, We might eat out once every week or every two weeks. But most of the food that I'm eating, I'm preparing myself, and I actually like it that way. Whereas before, he was so resistant to, I'm not going to cook my own meals. I have to eat out every meal thing. Just start with that idea of, Okay, what if I cooked one extra meal per week for myself? Just one meal. What if I did a little bit of food prep on Sunday? I'm working on it for two or three hours, but then I don't have to do that the rest of the week. I just warm it up. So there's lots of opportunities there if you're willing to try new things.

[00:27:36.060] – Rachel

Yeah. Oh, I love that. And I'm with him. I don't like to cook either. But I also don't like to pay a whole ton of money for a restaurant meal that I don't like or that's not healthy. So you got to choose.

[00:27:47.800] – Allan

Yeah. Well, I think that's one of the things you don't have to choose, choose. But the whole point being is I told him, I said, well, we'll work with what you got, but you got to look at what a portion size is. And so when they bring out that big plate of food, that's three meals. That's three meals on that plate. The standard restaurant has to give you two and a half to three meals just for customers to feel like they got their money's worth. And so you go in there and you look at the calorie counts. Some of these restaurants to print that on their menus now, or you can look it up online and you're like, Okay, so this particular meal is 1,500 calories. Guess what? Rachel, for someone your size, that's almost all the calories.

[00:28:28.670] – Rachel

That's all in.

[00:28:29.470] – Allan

My day. If you're sedentary and you're 5'1?

[00:28:35.230] – Rachel

Two ish, yeah, and a good.

[00:28:36.900] – Allan

Hair day. But you can look that up. You can look that up and say, What's my TDE, which we're going to get into next week, actually, a little bit about calories. But that 1,500 is almost 100 % of the calories you need that day. So you start saying, okay, if I want to lose a little bit of weight, I eat that meal, but I also had breakfast and lunch. Now you start to see why you were gaining weight is we don't understand portion sizes, we don't understand meal sizes. And so is the whole point of when you're preparing it at home and you know what goes into it and you can plate yourself a real meal. Okay, I'm going to have two portions of protein and then some vegetables. And if I'm going to have something like rice or potatoes, I understand what a portion size is, and I'm going to eat maybe half a portion. So I still get to savor and enjoy the carbohydrates that I love. But I'm just not going to eat as much of them. I'm really going to take my time with them so that I enjoy them rather than scarf them down like you would do in a restaurant situation.

[00:29:40.870] – Rachel

Oh, gosh, yeah, for sure.

[00:29:43.370] – Allan

And you don't have people walking by constantly, Can I get you another beer? Can I get you another wine? Do you want another this? Do you want to know that? Do you want some dessert? Oh, look at this tray. You're on your own kitchen. You're not selling yourself that stuff. That's true. So it was just that thing. He opened himself up to a new idea as we were going along. But he still went out to eat occasionally. But now he understood, okay, that's two or three meals. So if I'm going to do it, I'm either going to not eat all the food that's there or I'm going to bring it home. So maybe I carry it to go container with me so that I just know as soon as they bring it out, because I used to do that, I'd order a steak and a sweet potato. I'd bring my own cinnamon because theirs was already mixed with sugar. I'd actually bring my own butter because they wouldn't give me. The stuff they had was the fluffy whipped stuff with honey in it. And so I was like, No, I don't want their butter and I don't want their cinnamon because it's already got the sugar in it.

[00:30:39.650] – Allan

So I'd bring my own cinnamon and I'd bring my own butter. Tammy was a little frustrated with me when I first started doing this, but she liked the results when I started losing the weight. And I would literally bring that container or ask for a container and I'd cut the stake in the other half or I'd cut one third off, depending on how hungry I was at that moment. And the sweet potato, I'd maybe eat a quarter of.

[00:31:00.900] – Rachel

It because it's.

[00:31:01.810] – Allan

Thighs of my head.

[00:31:04.220] – Rachel

Too big.

[00:31:05.910] – Allan

And so I just sit there and cut a piece off and I'd cut the stake and I'd put the rest of it in the container. And I'd know I've got lunch for two days sitting in that container and I'm going to have a nice meal here. So a nice Caesar salad with no croutons, that stake, which is a portion, four ounces, maybe a little bit more some days, and then the sweet potato with cinnamon on it. Cinnamon has the capacity to help blood sugar spikes. So putting regular sugar on a sweet potato works fine. You don't have to have the sugar to sweet potato. So I would adapt what the restaurant was serving me to serve me better. But it was just that that was an exercise. I had to go through at a restaurant, I'm carrying butter into a restaurant. You can't put that in your pocket.

[00:31:55.100] – Rachel


[00:31:56.720] – Allan

Certainly not. Don't put that in your pocket. But it was just one of those adaptations to say, Okay, if I'm going to go out, then I'm going to look for the protein source and look for the vegetables. And if they bring me three meals, I'm going to take two of them home.

[00:32:09.190] – Rachel

That's awesome.

[00:32:10.200] – Allan

So it's just those little things. But it's new and it's a change, and it's outside your comfort zone. So when you start it, it is hard. But when you start to see the results, it's like, okay, if this, then that, and you know how your body works, those new ideas can become the new you. You're now you eat Keto. That's who you are. You've put that into your persona.

[00:32:35.000] – Rachel

How you live.

[00:32:35.790] – Allan

You don't even think about it anymore.

[00:32:37.910] – Rachel

No. I was asked the other day if I missed anything, if there was any particular food or meal or something that I've missed, having been Keto and very specific with what I choose to eat. And I don't crave anything anymore. I can pass up all those sweet pastries. They really mean nothing to me at this stage. So I don't miss any of that. But just one more thing I want to mention is the last key about hiring an expert or to going to hire a coach or a trainer. And I feel like that is so important, especially at this particular age where we are, over 40, I'm over 50, that I don't have time to play all the tricks. I don't have time to mess with different strategies anymore. If I want a result, I want to just go and get the result. And you just mentioned a whole bunch of really great ideas that I don't think the average person might have thought of on their own. When somebody were to hire you, Allen, you'd probably give them these types of strategies and these types of tips and things to look for, to think about.

[00:33:44.020] – Rachel

And I would rather be guided in those ways than to just hit and miss it on my own. There's a lot of benefit to hiring an expert right off the bat.

[00:33:54.550] – Allan

Yeah. The way I look at it is, okay, well, one, you can look at it from the motivation perspective. It's easy and it's immediate. So you have extrinsic motivation, accountability from a coach right there to start. That's huge. It is. For most people, as soon as they know, okay, I invested and I've got a coach and the coaches ask me what I can do and can't do, and then just pushing me just to the edge and just outside of my comfort zone, that's where the magic happens. You can't stay comfortable and change. That's not how it works. It's got to be just outside your comfort zone. You don't want to go too far outside your comfort zone because then it has the opportunity to backlash on you and cause some problems. But just outside your comfort zone is a place. When you start pushing that, your comfort zone gets bigger and then you push it a little bit more. And that's where a coach can really come in handy because we can start pushing. And when something just isn't working, I have clients that I say, Okay, here's your workout. And they come back and say, This particular exercise just doesn't feel good on my knees or my lower back or this.

[00:35:04.420] – Allan

Or they try something and they're like, I just don't like broccoli. Just do not like broccoli. I'm like, Well, broccoli isn't the only vegetable out there that you could try. There's lots of them. But some people equate. If I'm going to lose weight, I got to do chicken and broccoli. It's because that's what they're told or that's what they believe. And so it's just the, Okay, well, let's talk about other vegetables that would fit with what you're trying to do. Leafy greens. Are there any leafy greens that you like? Are there any other basically cruciferous vegetables? Which asparagus does not taste like broccoli. It's entirely different. Ca workflower does not taste like broccoli. And there's things you can do with either one of those to make them not the same texture, same quality. You can make a ca workflower into a mash and put some butter in there. And it's almost, I'm just not going to say it's mash potatoes, but.

[00:35:57.910] – Rachel


[00:35:58.660] – Allan

Fish. You can rice it and it can replace rice in some dishes. And so there's just opportunities there to have the conversations to see, okay, what would work and what can we try? And I always tell my clients, I'm like, let's try this. And if it's serving you, you should keep it. If it's not, toss it. And there's plenty of times we start a strategy and they're like, Okay, this is not working for me. Cool. Or it's a pivot like the client I had that she wanted to do Keto. She knew that she'd seen enough to know that that would be something that would help her lose weight. Me and a friend that referred her to me and all that, she saw, she knows. Okay, so she said, I'm going to try this. Well, she also got really bad constipation. And so we're a few weeks in and she's like, I can't keep doing this because this is not working. She said, I'm losing the weight. But she said, I'm miserable. So I'm like, okay, well, let's get you started taking a little bit of magnesium and let's eat some fiber. And she says, I thought I was supposed to stay away from carbs.

[00:37:03.690] – Allan

I'm like, No, you can have fiber. In fact, I want you to get a lot of fiber. So we just went out, picked some fiber rich foods, factored that into her nutrition plan. So she's like, Okay, you can eat these fibrous foods. You need to eat these fibrous foods. And a week after that, she's running clean. I love it. But the weight is coming off, too. She lost over 40 pounds. She stayed on after I finished the 12 weeks. She lost about half of that during that 12 weeks. And then she was like, wanted to stay after because she had an idea where she wanted to be. So she stayed on for another six months in my legacy program and got herself down. And it was just the consistency and her willingness to believe in herself when at first she didn't. Then just the pushing through and doing uncomfortable things. It was new things, it was uncomfortable things. It was just all of it. That's why I thought these five were really important because I see it over and over and over again, the people that don't do these five things, and as a result, they struggle.

[00:38:10.780] – Allan

And a coach is there. If you got a good coach, they're going to help you ride right on the outside edge of that comfort zone, keep you in the game long enough to start seeing results. And when you start seeing results, then you start to internalize that. And that's how you start building additional motivation that's intrinsic, which is where really the magic happens.

[00:38:33.310] – Rachel

Perfect. That's absolutely perfect. Great tips, Allen. Great keys.

[00:38:38.860] – Allan

Thank you. All right, well, I will see you next week. We're going to talk about calories next week. I know a lot of people think, Well, Allen's not calories in, calories out guy. Well, maybe I am.

[00:38:50.880] – Rachel

Well, I guess we'll see.

[00:38:52.260] – Allan

Yes. Talk to you then.

[00:38:54.390] – Rachel

Take care, Allen.

[00:38:55.480] – Allan

You too.

[00:38:56.290] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


The 7 elements of a great wellness journal

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

You've probably heard that a journal can be a great tool, but if you're like me, most of the structured journals you buy are just too much work. In episode 594 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the core elements to make a great wellness journal.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:15.950] – Allan

Hey, Raz.

[00:03:17.250] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:19.420] – Allan

I'm doing better. I had a cold for a few days, and so I was down, but I'm back and I'm doing well.

[00:03:25.240] – Rachel


[00:03:25.890] – Allan

Just catching up.

[00:03:28.050] – Rachel

Glad you're feeling better.

[00:03:29.780] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:03:31.300] – Rachel

Good. Would you be surprised if I said I found a new run club to join?

[00:03:37.350] – Allan

How many days in a week are there?

[00:03:38.950] – Rachel

How many run clubs are not enough? Pretty much. And actually, it's not my fault. It's Mike's Fault. My husband Mike's Fault. One of the ladies in our local running club in the city that we live down in Middleville, she works at a brewery up near Grand Rapids, and she said she's been looking to start up again. They used to have a run club, and my husband said, wait, you don't have a run club? We should run there. So we took a field trip up there and ran a loop with a bunch of friends, and everybody loved it. And so our local brewery called Railtown Brewery has started up their run club, and we will be there tonight. As a matter of fact, you do.

[00:04:22.550] – Allan

That run club and then drive down and do that run club.

[00:04:26.030] – Rachel

Yeah, we're hitting them all.

[00:04:28.060] – Allan

Like shuttling kids to soccer practice.

[00:04:30.490] – Rachel

Exactly it.

[00:04:34.870] – Allan

I do have a couple of things to talk about. I got a message from a guy and he was looking at the retreat that I had scheduled that was actually supposed to happen a couple of weeks ago that would cancel because there really wasn't any interest. People were telling me it was just the timing was bad or this and that. So I am going to try one more time to have this retreat here in Bocas. And so I'm looking at right now, August 28, and that'll run through September 1. Because it's low season here in Bocas, I will be able to lower the price, particularly for the VIPs that are staying at Lula. And you'll be able to get cheaper airfare, cheaper flights, I mean, cheaper rooms. All of it will cost less this time of year. So I'm pretty excited to be trying to do that and see if that happens. But I'm just going to try it. This episode is supposed to go live kind of in the middle of June, but go ahead and message me or go to the page 40 plusfitness. Comretreat and sign up. If I don't have sign ups by about the first or second week of July, I'm going to pull the plug again because I can't put money into something that's not going to happen.

[00:05:51.330] – Allan

So you can be interested or you can actually sign up, two different things. So don't just tell me you're interested. Go ahead and go to this page 40 plusfitness.com retreat and go ahead and sign up. And if I get some sign ups, then we'll have this thing. I was pretty excited about it before, and then it kind of fizzled out and didn't happen. I hope this one will. So please do go check that out. And I also have a few slots left in my personal training for the twelve week Shed the Fat program. So if you're interested in that, one of the interesting things to think about is that if you do twelve weeks training, you're going to be in a lot better shape when you come to the retreat on August 28. So consider that, consider checking that out and you can go to 40 Plusfitness.com, message me from there and we can talk about getting you on the twelve week program.

[00:06:50.130] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds great.

[00:06:52.020] – Allan

All right. So are you ready to talk about journaling?

[00:06:55.480] – Rachel



You've probably heard me say more than once that you need to journal or journaling is a good tool. A lot of my guests have said journaling is a great tool for wellness, weight loss, fitness, health, all the way across the board. A journal can be a great tool to help you on your journey. The question is what should go into a good or a great wellness journal? So I want to talk about that today. When you think about a wellness journal, it's going to be custom to how you want to approach your journey. Things that matter more to you may matter less to me, and vice versa. So take these. These are just ideas. You could probably add other things you want to do. Some people will do a whole lot of extra logging, others want a very succinct and concise log. So it's really up to you how deep you go into this. But this is really about learning. This is a tool to help you learn, a tool to help keep you on track, a tool to keep you motivated. And so I strongly encourage you to journal as a part of your journey.

So when I talk about a journal, I basically break my journal into two pieces. So I've got my global, or kind of my planning stage of this. It's kind of the first few pages where I'll go through and break down my goals and my vision. And I usually look at these in a short term, medium term, long term kind of cycle. So my short term will be like the next 30 days. So what are some things that I want to accomplish in the next 30 days that lead me toward my vision? And then what are some things that I expect that I'll do in the next six months? Again, focused on my goals and my vision, and then the three to five years, which is usually a little bit more aligned with just what my vision is, what I want to look and feel like, how I want to be moving, what I want to be able to do. So I break that down into those three phases, the short term, medium term, and long term term. And I have all those documented. And so what I know is that my 30 day goals are going to lead toward me being able to hit my six month goals, which are going to lead towards me being able to hit my long term goals, which are usually in the range of somewhere between three to five years.

So you know that question, where do you want to be in five years? It's kind of that mindset of a vision, what am I aiming at? And then making sure everything I'm doing in between is leading towards that long term. And that's a part of my global approach. The Journal. And that's the front of my Journal. And then, like I said, I've set my 30 day goals. So now I work day to day. And so I set a daily set up. And each day I record a gratitude. What am I grateful for today? And it doesn't have to be anything huge. It can just be that we got rain because I live on an island and we need water. It can be that I had a great evening hanging out with my wife, or I enjoy spending some time with our dogs, or I went for a wonderful walk and just saw a sloth. It could be anything. But what is something today that I'm grateful for? And I do that first thing in the morning. That's the very first thing I do. And then I write my daily intention. What is the thing that I need to do today to move the needle forward?

And so when I'm looking at my wellness, that could be get my walk in, that could be get my lifting in, that could be whole food, it could be get myself into ketosis. It could be a number of different things. But what's my intention today? What am I going to do today? And having just one intention, because I've found if you have too many and you try to do too many things at one time, some of them get lost in the mix. So I have one major intention for each day. The next is basic logging. So if I'm doing a workout, I log my workout. If I'm looking at my nutrition, then I go ahead and I log my nutrition. And a lot of times I will do this on a hard copy just to see that I'm sticking to my goals. If I need more detail, like I need my macros or I need my calories, I typically will key that into an app like my fitness pal. But I may also record some of the results in my journal just to see how I ate today, what I ate today. And then what I do is I kind of look at how today went, and so I say, okay, based on my logging, how am I feeling?

What's my energy level? Based on how I ate yesterday, what do I feel today? And I kind of get an idea, like maybe I'm doing a really good job on my lifts. And so I'm lifting more weight. I want to tie that together with, okay, I've been consistent with my lifting for this month, and therefore my strength is going up pretty well on these particular exercises. And so I kind of take my log and I tie that into key findings, like, what are some of the takeaways that I have from what I did that lends into what went well today? So I'm always going to end a day with what do I feel like I did well on? So I can feel that success, I can celebrate that success in my journal. And then the next step, the next one is learnings. Okay, so did I do something poorly? Did I do something or something didn't go well? And I learned something from this. So what did I learn? Today is the next one, and then the final one is just wins. I finish out the day and say, okay, what are my key wins today?

And so when I talk about the seven things that are a part of my wellness journal, it includes the global, which is number one is my goals and vision. Okay? And then the rest of them are daily. I do a daily gratitude. That's number two. I do a daily intention. What am I going to do today that's most important? That's number three. Number four, logging and tying. So I log what I've done, my workouts, my walks, my food, my sleep, anything I feel like I need to be working on, I'm logging that, and then I'm tying that to what is going on in my life. And then number five is the what went well today? So giving myself a what went well? I know my lifts were good, my walk was good. Maybe I bonked on my walk, and that's what I learned. So that's the next one. Six, what are things that didn't go well today? But I don't look at it from the perspective of didn't go well. It's like, what did I learn? And I learned, okay, maybe if I'm going to do a 15 miles walk, I should actually eat something before that walk because I could bonk.

It might be that I'm starting to feel a little bit of stress on one of my joints, and I might want to ratchet down on that particular lift. And so the things I'm learning today, I want to carry forward. And then my wins. It's very important to celebrate each time you do something. If you hit your goals for the day, you're working towards consistency. You're getting the things done. Celebrate those often and celebrate even the small ones. So I take some time to write those things down. Now, something I also do, which you don't necessarily have to do, is I do a weekly recap at the end of the seven days. So I'll do the global, and I'll do the dailies, and then I'll have the seven day recap. My weekly recap and that's where I kind of flip back through my week and I say, okay, what are some of the things that I did this week that were good? What are some of the things that I learned this week? And I just kind of refocus my next week and saying, okay, based on what I've learned, based on what went well, what do I want to press on?

What do I want to be more intentional on this next week? And that kind of wraps up my journal. I don't do a monthly recap, although I do go back at times and look to see that I've reached my 30 day goal. And then again, if I need to reset that goal, I will recap and reset. But generally my 30 days are probably not going to be too different from my next 30 days building towards my six months, I tend to stick with stuff a little bit longer, but you may want to periodize. You may want to do something a little different. So you may change up every 30 days or every six weeks. Whatever makes the most sense for you. I tend to be a little bit more on the consistent side of doing the same thing. As long as it's working. I don't really shake things up too much, but I hope this has been helpful for you. I do value journaling a whole lot. I do it all the time. It's a pretty regular thing for me. I don't do it all the time, but I do it quite a bit. It is a great way to keep yourself on track.

It's a great way to document what you've done and what works and what doesn't work. You can look at your food and how your energy level is. You can look at your movement and maybe some pain and things that are going on, and it can give you some great information, some great data for you to understand how your body responds to the things that you're doing. So I highly recommend that you do a journal. And if you want to do a great wellness journal, I encourage you to use all seven of the elements I talked about today

Post Show/Recap

[00:15:21.190] – Allan

Welcome back, Raz.

[00:15:22.830] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. So, fun story. I love journaling. It's a great idea, and I have all my athletes do it, although I don't really do it myself. But after listening to how you line up your journal, I think I'd like to give it a try. I know it would be beneficial for myself to do it, but I have seen how successful it is for athletes in particular to journal. So sounds like a great thing to do.

[00:15:47.470] – Allan

Yeah. This is not a boil the ocean, spend a lot of time kind of thing. This is a pretty simple thing. Like, yeah, I do spend probably about an hour, half an hour maybe, going through my goals and my vision. And that's really just every month at the end of the month. So as we're recording this, I'm sitting down thinking about what I want to do for June, what I want the last half of this year to look like. And so as I go through that, I'm like, okay, here's what that looks like. Here's what I want to accomplish in 30 days. And that gives me a good idea of what each day needs to look like. And so that kind of helps with the motivation to know, okay, for me to meet this goal, I've got to look at each day, and this is the contribution that day makes to that goal. And then the only two things that I think are non negotiable is the first one is the gratitude. And the reason for that is if you express gratitude, you cut through stress, you cut through all the down talk, all the negative self talk.

[00:16:49.860] – Allan

All that stuff goes away, even if it's just for an instant. When you're in a state of gratitude, you just set yourself up to be in a really good mindset. And it doesn't have to be big. It can be just the morning you woke up, your dog was sitting there and looked up at you, and you got down on the floor and petted him, and you just felt that connection with him all over again. He's excited and happy to be in your life, and you're happy to have him in your life. And so you write that gratitude down, and for that instant, your stress is gone. For that instant, all the negative self talk is gone. And then you use that instant to set an intention for that day. And the intention can be something as simple as knowing, okay, this is going to be extremely busy day. I've got all these client meetings, so it's really going to be hard for me to get a workout in, but I want to get something in. So it could be as simple as saying, I'm going to put in five to ten minutes right before breakfast or right before my first call, I'm going to go for a walk, and then I know I've got to walk to my office is five minutes, and I got to walk back after it's five minutes.

[00:17:54.700] – Allan

So it's 20 minutes of walking. And if that's all I can do. And I know that I'm not going to have time to cook dinner because I've only got a little block of time on Mondays to eat dinner, then it might be good for me to pull something out of the freezer that I already had prepped from Sunday. So my intention is pull that out of the freezer and get in at that 20 minutes, and maybe it's broken the way I just tried to break it up. But I set my intention for that. That's my intention for the day, is to do those things. I say usually one thing. Occasionally, yes, I'll throw in a second one. But it's like, that's my intention and what it does, it keeps me on track. It keeps me from having to call out and order pizza. I'm satisfied with 20 minutes of walking when I know I could do 3 hours of walking, but I have to be satisfied with 20 minutes because that's where I am with what I have. And so I just think those two things can help you set up each day to be successful and then to measure that success with, okay, did I meet my intention today?

[00:18:58.730] – Rachel

Well, I love how you said right off the bat that you don't have to boil the ocean. And I think that's a lot of the problem that some people have with Journaling is that like, well, what do I write down? What do I need to focus on? And people get all anxious about it. And secondly, starting with the gratitude part, what's going right? Something positive. And the reason why I think that's particularly important is that it is really easy to find in our lives all the things that have gone wrong or things that are going sideways or things that are just being a pain in the side. But when you start with something that's positive, that things that are going right, something that you feel gratified for, that can learn how to look for happiness and realize some things that bring you joy that you may not instantly think of. So I think that's a really helpful practice. And then you went on to say that I always like to say, if you can't measure it, you can't monitor it. So if you're actually writing things down, what you ate that day and how you feel the next day, well, that could bring some really great insight, right?

[00:20:04.180] – Allan

Because most of us are here. We're here to make ourselves better. We're here to improve our health and fitness. And so data can drive decisions, and without the data, then you're winging it. And for a lot of people, that works. I just keep doing more, and sometimes that works. But for a lot of people, if you're wanting to improve your performance or you're wanting to lose weight, you're wanting to know that you're improving, you need to see it somewhere. So you talked about you keep data on your runs, but you're not really tying that back to, well, what is a bad performance day? What may have caused that that I can stop doing? And so if you find yourself binge eating or eating at midnight, waking up in the middle of night eating, or you're pulling into a drive through that you didn't intend to pull into, what was going on? What was going on when that happened? I'm reading a book with a guy we'll talk about in probably a couple of weeks, and he has this thing for Krispy Kreme, and he was living in a city that didn't have them, but there was one a few miles south of where he lived on a certain highway.

[00:21:13.850] – Allan

And every time he got on that highway, whether it was the intent was Krispy Kreme or not, his internal brain took him to that store. It was almost like automatic. He didn't want to stop. Even if he told himself he wasn't going to stop. He found himself in that parking lot. And so it was a question of him thinking through, why am I sitting where I'm sitting? Why am I doing what I'm doing? Why am I getting the results I'm getting? And he had to come to that. Self awareness and a journal is a great tool to take you through that process of learning what's going wrong and how you can prevent it, seeing what's going well. So not just thinking, oh, I ruined everything with that one meal. And I can't tell you how many times I see that on social media of someone saying, I've destroyed three weeks worth of work in one day or one meal. But they feel that way. But when you actually sit there and say, well, what did I actually do? And what did I learn from it?

[00:22:17.630] – Rachel

Well, that's an interesting part of the written word, too, is that if you're truthful in your journaling, so you went out and had a wonderful birthday dinner with a loved one and celebrated with a wonderful dinner and delicious dessert. There's a lot to be grateful for and happy about in that moment. And when you write that down in your journal, you can tell yourself that you did not just sabotage everything you've been working for. That was one meal. And then you could write down what you're going to do the next day. You're going to have your normal, healthy breakfast and your normal, healthy lunch and your normal, healthy dinner, and you're back on track. Literally one meal is gone. You could be fine about having done that and move on to the next day. And maybe if you see it down in writing, you'll feel better about it.

[00:23:04.750] – Allan

Yeah. And then again, I always like to close out on a positive note. I like to start on a positive note with the gratitude, and I like to close this out the day out with what were one of my wins. And so if my intention was just to walk the 20 minutes and eat the prepared meal, pull it out of the fridge and have freezer and have it ready for tonight, and I did that, that's a win. Those are both wins. And so I can say I walked my intention and I ate my intention, and I met my intention. That's the day. And so, again, if I can stack more days like that on top of each other across those 30 days and those six months, I'm going to be where I want to be.

[00:23:45.660] – Rachel

That's awesome.

[00:23:46.500] – Allan

Or really darn close, for sure.

[00:23:49.390] – Rachel

Now, when you have clients Allan do you have them do a journal or write anything in a journal?

[00:23:55.060] – Allan

I've talked through it with them. I'm not a prescriptive coach, so I can tell them. It's like I think that there'd be a lot of value to you journaling and I think a lot of them poo poo the idea because it sounds like work, always asking me to do work, but I do hold them accountable. And we do talk about these different tools because what's going to work for me might not work for you, but I strongly encourage most people. It's like if you're trying to figure something out, you want to have a plan, you want to measure to it and you want to learn from it. And so the weight loss and fitness thing is a learning exercise. And we talked about this before we came on air. Was it's important? Because we're not going to stay the same. We might know ourselves today, but tomorrow we might find ourselves in a whole different body, a whole different set of circumstances.

[00:24:55.380] – Rachel

That is right.

[00:24:56.460] – Allan

And if that were to happen, then we would need to relearn some things. We need to reapply and approach things from a different way. And so it's a consistent as we age, growing, changing, evolving, and hopefully evolving, like really getting better. Because we learn these tricks, we learn these tools, we learn what works and then we keep applying and we keep learning and we keep getting better. And a journal is kind of the key tool it is to make that happen. Because your inner dialogue is often going to tell you, oh, you had a horrible day, go eat some chocolate. And there you are eating chocolate at the end of the day, which was actually a really good day, except for one thing, and your whole internal dialogue focused on that one thing. You still got your 20 minutes in. You still did this. Okay, this went off the rails. And so now you're punishing yourself effectively for that. And that's that internal I call the fat bastard doing that thing. And so you just keep pushing gratitude, intention and learn. And that's the value of a journal is it gives us a tool to do that.

[00:26:13.180] – Rachel

I love that. Plus the positivity how you start with a gratitude and end with a win. I think that's so helpful. I think we can be our own worst critics, but when we write something of gratitude and write down one of our wins, we can quickly change our critic into our best cheerleader.

[00:26:31.160] – Allan

Yeah, well, it's been great. I'll talk to you next week.

[00:26:34.910] – Rachel

Rachel take care. Allan you too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


You are not a victim

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Too often, we use a fixed mindset when we approach a challenge and struggle. As long as we have this victimhood frame we won't be successful with change. On episode 589 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss growth and fixed mindset and how you can change the way you think and find success on your health and fitness journey.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:38.130] – Coach Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:02:40.310] – Coach Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:42.480] – Coach Allan

I'm doing okay. We're having a water issue again, so I don't want to get into all that because it's just going to frustrate me again.

[00:02:50.040] – Coach Rachel

Oh, jeez.

[00:02:50.750] – Coach Allan

But we're working on it. But no, I'm happy to announce that I have a few things that I told last week. I started interviewing on different podcasts, and so some of those podcasts have come out now, and I wanted to share a few of them. I was on Paul Hanton's podcast called The Healthy Fit Life. You can find that one at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/paul.

I was on Natural Health Matters with David Sandstrom. You can find that one at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/david.

And then I was on Jillian Lockditch, which we had her on last week. I was on her podcast. Growing Older, living Younger with Jillian Lockditch. And that's at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/gill. And that's Jill spelled G-I-L-L. Like from Jillian, but Gill and you can find that one.

So Paul, David, and Jill, I was on each of their podcasts. And so 40 Plusfitnesspodcast.com and then those names Paul, David or Jill. And you can catch those episodes there.

[00:04:01.180] – Coach Rachel

Awesome. That's exciting. I can't wait to give a listen to those.

[00:04:04.900] – Coach Allan

Yeah, it's interesting to be on the other side of the interview. Sure. Because even if we've discussed kind of what we want to talk about, I don't have a script. I don't go in this like, this is how I say these things. I listen to a question and then I say, okay, this is the best way to answer that. So it's a lot more off the cuff than a lot of the things that I do when I'm interviewing a guest on my podcast. I've read their book and I have specific things I want to discuss here. I go at it not necessarily knowing what they're going to ask me. So it can be kind of interesting. So, yeah, go check those out.

[00:04:46.960] – Coach Rachel

Awesome. That sounds fun.

[00:04:48.730] – Coach Allan

How are things up there?

[00:04:50.180] – Coach Rachel

Good. I just wanted to share with you and our listeners real quick. My doctor just told me some pretty important news the other day. I'm post menopausal. Yay, I made it. I made it. And kind of related to that, my thyroid is finally tanked out, so I'll be starting some thyroid medicine. I'm hypothyroid, which is now the reason why I've been so darn fatigued lately, just because my thyroid has not been functioning quite as well. And it's kind of funny because as an ultra marathoner, fatigue is kind of the name of my game to begin with. But now I really know why I'm actually as tired as I am, so I'll be starting that pretty soon.

[00:05:33.370] – Coach Allan

Man, you're going to be blowing out your PRS like nobody's business.

[00:05:36.350] – Coach Rachel

I'm hoping. I'm hoping to get some of my energy back, but I just wanted to share real quick as I learn more about what this means for me as a woman. And by the way, I'm 51, and I didn't know that 51 is the actual average age that women hit menopause. So yay, I'm textbook.

[00:05:57.890] – Coach Allan

I thought it was closer to 53, but yeah, okay, textbook.

[00:06:02.350] – Coach Rachel

Yeah. So as I figure some of this stuff out, I'd be happy to share my story with our listeners. But just for right now, I've got official notice I'm menopausal, and we'll see what happens.

[00:06:15.350] – Coach Allan

Basically, the way that I understand that they diagnose this is if you go without a period for a year, then they consider you in menopause.

[00:06:25.540] – Coach Rachel

Yeah, well, it gets kind of tricky because I had an Ablation done, so I haven't had a normal period in a couple of years. So that makes it a little difficult to figure that out. And I've had a lot of symptoms. The heat flashes during the day, night sweats at night, a little bit of moodiness. But again, those are kind of normal. And for pretty much any woman that actually either has a period or is going through the perimenopause and apparently now in post menopause. So it's important to know that some of these symptoms can get worse. My thyroid is probably in the mix with all these hormone fluctuations and changes, but it's important to spend time with your doctor as well. I go to my annual physical every year. I see a high risk breast cancer doctor, and now I see a women's health specialist who specializes in menopause and can give me a whole ton of information, but they did the right test at the right time. And now I know for sure what's happening with my hormones. And it's going to be very helpful as I navigate all these symptoms moving forward.

[00:07:38.760] – Coach Allan

We're good. I mean, you know, at least once a year I try to have a woman's health expert on. We're typically going to talk about perimenopause and menopause and that type of thing at least once per year, sometimes more. So I've had several episodes on, so there's lots of material out there. But this is going to be good because I'm going to have a pro on my side next time I do interview. That's right. Yeah. We can approach that one a little bit different, but cool. All right, well, are you ready to get into our episode about victimhood?

[00:08:12.420] – Coach Rachel

Sounds great.


You are not a victim. That's what I'm calling this episode. And it relates to kind of a cultural trend that I've been seeing out there lately where victimhood is being kind of almost touted like a virtue. And I'm here to tell you that if you're trying to improve your health and fitness, if you're trying to lose weight particularly, you're going to really struggle if you have this state of mind, this victimhood state of mind. So I'm going to go through some statements. These are statements that I've heard people say I've heard people or seen people post them on Facebook and or on Twitter. And it's so common that it was easy for me to find several different ways that this shows up. So the first one is I want something I don't have, therefore I'm a victim. So if someone has something you don't have, obviously you're a victim. The next one is, I struggle more than other people, therefore I'm a victim. And so this goes on, the idea that your life is harder than theirs and therefore you're a victim because you have to struggle so much harder to do the basic things that everyone else is doing or that you believe other people are doing to get their success.

Now, this is a very common one, particularly in weight loss areas. I'm addicted to sugar and carbs, therefore I'm a victim. And this one's really, really common. I see it a lot. Now, don't get me wrong, sugar and carb addiction is kind of a thing. But the reality of it is it's not as hard to break as some other addictions might be. And there are steps to take. You are not a victim. You chose to eat sugar and carbs, or at least you ate them when you were given them and you've continued to eat them and buy them. So having sugar and carbs around you is the same thing as maybe sending an alcoholic to a bar. It's just something you wouldn't do if you're trying to beat alcoholism and if you're trying to lose weight, being around sugar and carbs might make that very difficult for you, particularly if you believe you're a victim. I don't have the energy to work out. I love this one, therefore I'm a victim. Okay? I don't have the energy to work out. Now, there's this little known thing in our body that causes us to actually get hormones and endorphins feel good stuff in our brain when we work out, that gives us more energy.

When we build strength and endurance, we have more energy. So the not having energy to work out is really just an excuse to not get started, okay? Other people sabotage me, therefore I'm a victim. Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people out there willing to sabotage you if you let them. But again, you're choosing victimhood. In this case, they're choosing to do what they do. They're choosing to try to take you off track in some cases. Sometimes they're not. Sometimes they actually think they're doing something nice for you. But if you feel like other people are your problem, you are the problem. You are not a victim. But you'll say you're a victim because those other people, well, they're in your way. And then I've tried everything, and nothing works. Therefore, I'm a victim. And again, this is just that concept that you've really given everything the best shot possible. You really worked your way through it, and all these failures have just become an evidence of your limitations. So we're going to talk about that a little bit about what victimhood is. Now, victimhood fits in the mindset frame of being a fixed mindset.

And this is a psychological concept that was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck. And so what she talks about in her writings and in her studies is that you either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. And guess what? Those aren't fixed. You can have the one that you choose to have. And there's a reason why these fixed mindsets are a problem. And one of the main things is that people with a fixed mindset, people who believe they're victims, they avoid challenges. And anytime there's a failure, even a little failure, you're more likely to see that as evidence of your limitations, okay? And so what that does is that creates fear of failure in yourself and you're not willing to take risks. So the signing up for a gym membership or hiring a coach or buying the food service that's going to be delivered to you, you don't want to take that step because if you fail, it's just more evidence that you're limited, that you're a victim, that you have a problem. And then another tendency that fixed mindset people have is to compare themselves to others. Now, in some cases, this is to seek external achievements so they can say, okay, well, at least I'm not as heavy as that person.

But they also end up with the negative and the limiting beliefs that they see someone else and they don't think they'll ever make it to that same spot. So these external comparisons are really holding them back on both sides. One is, well, I'm actually kind of normal. When I look at everybody else, they're all overweight. I'm overweight, therefore this is just the way it is. We're all victims, okay, and you're not. But that's a fixed mindset. Now, in contrast, a growth mindset refers to your belief in your ability and your intelligence that that can be developed, that you can improve yourself over time with hard work, dedication and perseverance. So the question you have to ask yourself is, do I believe that challenges and failures are opportunities for me to learn and grow rather than an indication that I'm going to fail? And if I fail, therefore I'm broke, therefore I have these limitations. So with a growth mindset, you always give yourself the best opportunity because you're willing to take the risk. You're willing to hire that coach, you're willing to join the gym, you're willing to try a diet or a way of eating or exercise program.

Again, even if you know everything else failed, you're going to go at it again. And you're going to go at it with the idea that these things that happen are teaching you something. They're giving you an opportunity to improve. And that's where the importance of this is. If you feel like you're a victim, you don't have control. But when you take on a growth mindset, you're suddenly taking on this idea that I am not limited by the mistakes and problems I've had in the past. Yes, I had problems with these donuts, and yes, I struggled when these things happened and yeah, with the stress of my job or the amount of time I was traveling, all those things, I could use those as excuses or I could try to find ways to improve my life despite those problems. And that's where the difference in these two come from. So to break away as a victim, there's a few things that you need to ask yourself, and these are important. So if you're not driving or running or doing something and you can get a pen out, this is a good time for you to write down these questions and really spend some time thinking about it.

Okay? This is not something you're just going to answer while you're listening to this podcast. So the first one is, are your actions consistent with your values? And here's what I mean by that. Let's say you want to be the best mother or the best father you can be or the best grandparent you can be. Okay. Are you living in a way that allows you to do that? You may say, I want to make sure that I'm there for my spouse, I'm there for my children. I want to be that person. Are you? Are you living in a way that makes that possible? Are you living in a way where you're going to be there for one and that you're going to be capable of doing the things that you want to do? How do you want to live the rest of your life? What are the values that you want to carry on? I've talked about it several times. I want to be there for my wife. I want to be there for my children. I want to be there for my grandchildren. I want to be there to run the bed and breakfast, to do the things.

I want to be able to physically train people for a long, long time. And I want to be independent my whole life. I do not want someone to have to take care of me. Those are my values. So then looking at your actions, ask yourself, are your actions consistent with your values? Because this can help you break through this. This can help you take that next step I'm going to talk about in a minute. Okay, the next question. Are you able to learn from mistakes or do you see them as evidence you're broken or flawed? So you go out for dinner and they bring around the dessert tray and it all looks awesome. And so you tell yourself, well, I'll just get a little bit of chocolate. I did go to the gym this morning, so I'm just going to go ahead and get a little bit of that chocolate death by chocolate thing. And they bring out this 32 ounce chocolate menagerie on your plate and you go digging into it. Now, the next day, how are you going to look back at that? Are you going to say, oh, my God, I failed, I'm a failure?

Well, no, you're not. That's an opportunity for you to learn. So ask yourself, do you really think you're broken when you do those things? And the short answer has to be no. That's an opportunity for you to see where you made a mistake. So you could just tell the waiter after you've gotten your meal, please do not bring that dessert tray by here. And if you're in the United States and you're listening to this, you can be very clear. If you bring that dessert tray by here, you will not get a tip from me, okay? Guess what that waiter or waitress is not going to do when you say something like that. They are not going to bring that dessert tray because they do not want to jeopardize their tip. So you just tell them, if you bring that dessert tray by here, I will not tip you. And guess what? You're going to get past that. So that's the second question. The third question is, are you willing to push outside your comfort zone? And this is a big one because most people want easy. They want the easy button. Tell me the diet.

Tell me what to eat. Tell me what not to eat. Tell me how to move. Tell me how to lose my gut. I just want to lose the belly fat. I don't care about anything else. I just want to lose the belly fat. They want the easy they want the thing that's inside their comfort zone. So they teach us. And when we go to coaching for our business, and they say, tell them that you can do X-Y-Z without them having to do this other thing. So you can tell them lose £20 without exercise or diet. And because people want to stay in their comfort zone, they don't want to exercise. They don't want to change the way they're eating. That sounds very appealing to a victim mindset person, to a fixed mindset person. So if I'm talking to you and you're feeling that way, are you willing to get outside your comfort zone? Because that's where the magic happens. The good things in your life do not happen in your comfort zone. Change does not happen in your comfort zone. You've got to be willing to push outside the comfort zone if you want to grow.

So again, the third question, are you willing to push outside your comfort zone? So those are three really important questions that you should be asking yourself over and over again to make sure that you're keeping a growth mindset, that you're not falling into that victimhood virtue thing, okay? So this can be very scary. Don't get me wrong. I know change is hard, okay? It's easier for you to stay in your comfort zone. That's where most people are today. Most people are very comfortable foods everywhere. Good. I'm never hungry. I'll never be hungry. I'll never try to be hungry. I'll never let myself get to a point where I'm hungry because food is readily available. But getting outside your comfort zone, saying, maybe I'm going to let myself get a little hungry from time to time. How about that? I'm going to feel what this feels like. I'm going to get out of it because I'm not starving. The words we say, I'm starving, but you're not starving. Starving takes days. Starving takes weeks. And so if you're a little hungry, you're not starving. And so, so many people are in that comfort zone that that's where we want to be.

The safety was safety with numbers, okay? And that's not where you need to be. You cannot be in your comfort zone and be successful. The other thing that makes change hard is it's so easy to compare yourself with others. I mean, look, 67% of Americans are overweight. Okay? What does that mean? Well, that means if you're overweight, you're in the majority. You're winning that vote. 40% of Americans are approaching obesity. So when you start looking at this, the vast majority of people out there are overweight and obese. And so you just look at that, well, I'm not as heavy as that person is, and, oh, look, I'm at the grocery store, and I'm actually maybe not the weakest person here. Maybe I'm not the fattest person here. And we justify where we are. So that's, again, that's a push against change, because staying where we are means we're just like everybody else, okay? And then change is really, really hard if you just decide that you want to change. And the reason is decision is really not a strong enough way to approach this. See, if you have a growth mindset, you're going to commit to this.

You're going to take that risk, and you're going to go all in. You're going to get outside your comfort zone, and you're going to make sure this happens. But that takes commitment. That takes that step, that daring, that knowing that, okay, I'm going to do this, but I'm not going to die. I'm going to get better, because I'm just going to keep pushing. I'm just going to be persistent. I'm going to do the hard work. I'm going to be dedicated, and I'm going to make this happen. Okay? That takes commitment.

Now, the one thing I'd like to leave you with on this is, yes, change can be scary, and change can be hard, and change is something that is not natural for a lot of us. But you're not alone. We have a wonderful Facebook community. You go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, and you can join our Facebook community. I do challenges. We're all there. If you want to share something, you need accountability, whatever you think you need. I have a group environment that's very caring, and we're not doing a bunch of that Flex Friday stuff and not trying to make others feel bad because we look good.

This is an environment where you can feel safe, and it's a private Facebook group, so it's not out on the interwebs for everybody to read. This is just for us to share and to support each other. I'm out there all the time, so I'll be answering questions if you have them. So you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group to join us there. And if you're really ready to commit to this, I'd encourage you to get in touch with me. I coach people to lose weight. I coach people to get more fit. I only coach people over the age of 40. And I look to help people develop a growth mindset, so they learn from their mistakes. They get better, they get more comfortable being outside their comfort zone, and they change and they grow and they get better. And I know you can, too. It just takes that scary thing. You got to do that scary thing. And if you need help, I'm here to help you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:23:54.000] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:23:56.540] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Alan. Well, that was a lot that was a lot of good information. And as a fellow coach, I have encountered some people with a fixed mindset and just the absolute I can't run because or I can't work out because, I can't lose weight because fill in the blank. I've heard some of those things. And it's hard as a coach to go back to that person and say, well, wait a second, what can we do? If you've got a problem, what do we need to do to solve it?

[00:24:27.510] – Coach Allan

Well, I've definitely had clients that I would say didn't have a growth mindset to start with, but they had to at some point or else they wouldn't succeed. The reality is, if you have a fixed mindset, you're not going to get outside your comfort zone. If you don't get outside your comfort zone, nothing's going to change for you, and you're going to be right where you are. So it's the Harry Ford quote. If you think you can't or think you can, you're right. You have to have the mindset that you're going to get it done. For some of us, that might just be the commitment. For a lot of other people, it's a health scare. And so something has to shake you out of being a victim. Someone comes screaming, and they slap them in the face. I mean, kind of the whole thing is the people are panicking, and you just slap them in the face to get their attention, and it's like, calm down. You're not accomplishing anything. And so I think people sometimes need that slap in the face to make this happen. But if you're listening to this podcast, then you want something to happen, then you just need to transition that over to a commitment, not just a decision.

[00:25:53.810] – Coach Rachel


[00:25:56.050] – Coach Allan

And I can tell you that if you're not willing to deal with setbacks, which this is where the victims really struggle, is that if you do something, maybe you're doing something and it's working, and, you know, okay, well, I've lost this same £20 over and over again. And then you get to the lose the £20, and then something happens. You have a bad day, and you go do something you didn't want to do. You ate some things you didn't want to eat, and now you're going to blow off your whole weekend because, well, it's kind of screwed up Friday night. And then it becomes this thing, and then you start seeing the scale move back up. So you just stop stepping on the scale. And then yeah, you find yourself six weeks later right back where you were, if not heavier. You start running, and you feel a little bit of a tweak in your ankle or a little bit of tweak in your foot. You're like, oh, no, I can't run anymore. Instead of trying to do the things that are necessary to rehabilitate that, so you can start running again, doing the things you can do.

[00:27:02.380] – Coach Allan

So I can pedal a bike, I can get an elliptical, so I can keep my stamina up. But that takes this idea that you have a choice. This is not put on you. You are not a victim, right? And until you get past that, you're not going to be there. And so most of my clients that come in with this growth mindset, they're fed up, and they're like, hey, this is it. I'm doing it. I'm doing it. I'm doing it now, okay? And once that light clicks on, it's like, this is too easy. This is actually not that hard. It was scary, and it never worked before, but it's different this time. And it's different because now they're looking at this and saying, okay, I don't have to be perfect, right? I don't have to worry about if I make a mistake. I can always course correct that's, right? And it just keeps them on task, and they're like, okay. And then they get a win, and then they get another one. So just even just this last week or so, one of my clients, he had gone to this thing, it was like a government thing, and he was just really talking about how if you guys, if, you know, is wearing a tie, he couldn't button his top button in his shirt, okay?

[00:28:25.220] – Coach Allan

And so he was like, that was part of what his self and that was affecting his self image, and he was unhappy with it. And then he's three weeks into my program, and he's like, I had to wear that suit again, and I could button the collar, the neck. And he's lost £10. And he's feeling great, and he's doing more and more now. He's getting ready for some exciting things, like 100 miles, bike ride. This is the way it works. Another client was a very similar situation. She got called in for an interview. She wasn't really thinking so much about doing work, but she heard about this position. She puts in her name, and they call her, and then it's this panic. How am I going to look in my clothes when I go in for this interview now? Because we have a kind of a weird self image sometimes of ourselves. She didn't recognize that she had lost a good bit of weight and that she was smaller. So she puts on those clothes and they fit perfect, and that boosts her confidence. And she goes in and. Aces that interview and pretty sure she's going to get that job.

[00:29:39.930] – Coach Allan

Okay. That's growth. That's a growth mindset. And sometimes we're not always 100% behind ourselves or we don't see it happening for ourselves, but we just stick with it.

[00:29:52.900] – Coach Rachel


[00:29:53.490] – Coach Allan

And the good things are happening.

[00:29:55.250] – Coach Rachel

It does. And the benefit to having a coach or like the run club groups that I have is that you get to see these types of examples. It is possible. And maybe when you get to see examples like with your clients, that other people are losing weight at a later age or under these difficult circumstances, it's possible for you, too. And if you just pause for a second and reevaluate your situation, you might be able to think through what you need to do next, whether it's hire a coach or not or join a run club or not. But you do have options, and sometimes you just need to think a little bit outside the box to see what might work for you. But that's the great thing about hearing stories, like with your clients. And as I see my runners develop in the run clubs I participate with, it's totally possible. It just shakes what your norms are.

[00:30:48.110] – Coach Allan

Well, if someone had first told you when you first started running that you were going to be doing ultras oh.

[00:30:53.350] – Coach Rachel

My gosh, I would have laughed.

[00:30:55.870] – Coach Allan


[00:30:56.850] – Coach Rachel

Or running 50 miles right before I turned 50, I would have laughed. It's just inconceivable for me.

[00:31:03.350] – Coach Allan

I remember you sitting up on a couch with your foot in a cast, and you were so upset, and you're like, and I'm losing it, and I'm losing it. And that was a very down time for you.

[00:31:15.520] – Coach Rachel

It was.

[00:31:16.250] – Coach Allan

But as soon as the doctor cleared you, you started working your way back up and way past where you were. You just blew that away after you got yourself healed. And so it's just understanding where we are and saying, okay, I can't make that up in a day.

[00:31:36.080] – Coach Rachel


[00:31:37.010] – Coach Allan

But I'm going to grind it out. I'm going to do it and then see what happens. And that growth mindset that you had going back into your training, training smarter. You don't do it again.

[00:31:49.970] – Coach Rachel


[00:31:51.970] – Coach Allan

That's made all the difference.

[00:31:53.620] – Coach Rachel

All the difference, yeah. For sure.

[00:31:57.030] – Coach Allan

All right, well, Rachel, I will talk to you next week.

[00:32:00.950] – Coach Rachel

Awesome. Take care, Alan.

[00:32:02.620] – Coach Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:32:03.710] – Coach Rachel

Thank you. Bye bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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