March 7, 2023

How to live longer and better with Dr. Rand McClain

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In his book, Cheating Death, Dr. Rand McClain tells us how to live longer and better.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:36.260] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:39.600] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:41.520] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Sort of all right. We have a dog. We have two dogs. You guys probably heard me talk about Buster and Angel before. But Angel took a spill this morning. She's having issues with her hips, and as a result, she loses her balance. And if she gets on uneven pavement, she loses it a little bit. So she ended up falling into a ditch, and it's really slowed down her ability to… She really can't stand up hardly with her back leg. So I pulled out this wheelchair I bought her. She hasn't been in it yet, but I got her all hooked up in it, and she took to it pretty well as far as she knows. She can walk, she'll learn some other things. She's got to be mindful of where the wheels are because she got herself stuck and frustrated with that. But so, yeah, it's a trying day because I feel bad now that I have to put her in the wheelchair for her to be able to be mobile and get out. And it's just going to mean probably something we're going to have to make a decision on in the next few months rather than maybe the next couple of years about her quality of life and where she is.

[00:03:40.530] – Allan

And so that's a tough one. But I've got the wheelchair for her now, and I'm going to start teaching her how to get out and move around and use that and hopefully start going to the bathroom while she's standing up because she won't normally do that. So there's a little bit of that. But I got the wheelchair together. It was actually a puzzle. Oh, wow. It was an interesting little puzzle. Well, one, Tammy had started putting it together and had gotten it halfway put together wrong, but partially together. And so then I had to go in there and try to disassemble and reassemble and figure out how it works and stuff. I think I've got it sized now a little bit better and fit in on her. So I'll probably be trying to get her out again, maybe this evening and just walk around a little in it just to get comfortable now and feel like she's still out there walking and being with us dogs.

[00:04:29.640] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness. I'm glad you had that kit handy and glad you had the forethought to get that.

[00:04:36.140] – Allan

Yeah. Well, she had fallen the other day a couple of weeks ago. And so I was like, okay, she keeps falling like this. And then every time she falls, it hurts her. And then she loses a little bit more of it. And so I knew I needed to have it on hand because I didn't want to have to wait for it to come in after she's doing it. But she's 75 pound dog. So I have to be able to pick up the 75 pound dog and set her in there and then set her out because it's not just a walk in thing or sit down on thing. The dog has to be placed into it. I got to pick her up and do all these things, but I'm able to. And that's part of what we're going to be talking about today is being able to do those things. But how are things up there?

[00:05:15.580] – Rachel

Good. We had a break in our bitter cold winter to collect some sap from our maple trees, and we did our first maple syrup boil over the weekend. So we had about 65 ish gallons of sap, and we produced about one ish, one and a half ish gallons of syrup. So it was a long weekend of love, but it was a lot of fun and we had decent weather. So that's what's helpful. But now we got the cold again. It's going to get bitter cold. So we'll probably do another maple syrup and sap collection in another week or two and maybe do another boil. So it's been fun and tasty.

[00:05:58.960] – Allan

Yeah. Bless you. Not this guy. I'll buy my maple syrup from somebody.

[00:06:09.700] – Rachel

Yeah, it's a labor of love. I'll tell you that. It took probably, I would say, 36ish hours of boiling time, maybe a little more to get it done. It's a lot of time.

[00:06:20.840] – Allan

And that's not something you just set and forget. You got to be in it, don't you?

[00:06:24.200] – Rachel

Yeah, we got to keep feeding the fire. It's outside. It's a lot of wood burning. It's a big process. You got to keep an eye on it because the worst part would be not keep an eye on it and have it burn. Nothing like going through all the time and hassle and then having your maple syrup burn. So got to keep an eye on it.

[00:06:42.910] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to have a conversation with Dr. McClain?

[00:06:47.220] – Rachel


[00:06:47.640] – Allan

All right.


[00:07:35.240] – Allan

Dr. McClain, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:38.720] – Dr. McClain

Thank you. Thanks for having me on board.

[00:07:40.860] – Allan

Now, your book is called Cheating Death: The New Science of Living Longer and Better. And I actually love that. I love how you approach the book, your first view into this topic of we're going to end someday. And we want to do it on our own terms, really. I mean, we all want to live forever, somewhat. But then we also don't because like this was the queen song, who wants to live forever. I forget that. Maybe that's not the title of it. But it was the first time I thought about, well, no, I don't want to live the last 20 years of my life, invalid, dependent, not able to take care of myself and just miserable. And so in the book, you share so many ways that we can make sure that our health span is a better portion of our lifespan. And I really appreciate that about this book.

[00:08:30.060] – Dr. McClain

Well, thank you. Yeah, the idea, and I didn't coin the term, behind health span is the combination of both longevity and good health. And they used to call it squirming the curve, they being the so called antiaging group. The idea that you continue, okay, you might not be hitting your personal best like you did when you were 20, but you're close in your 70s. And I mean that sincerely. I mean, if you look at some of the statistics at this point in time, meaning with the data we've collected, say as of 15 years ago, the difference between your personal best at 20 and your personal best at 70 isn't that big until it's truly after 70, then it hockey sticks the difference. But I think my point is that's old data. I think now we might find that occurs at age 85. But the point is that we want to continue at least being close to what we've always been, if possible. And then one day we just don't wake up. That's the ideal that you're going great until the end comes. And as far as the book, cheating death, believe it or not, the name came up as a suggestion from a group that was helping me put the book together.

[00:09:35.210] – Dr. McClain

And I vetoed it immediately. I was like, come on, that's so kitschy. I can't. But then they convinced me, hey, at least we'll get somebody's attention and you want them to read the book. And I think you find in the book, I say, hey, we're obviously not going to beat it. As you say, we're all going to come to that end. But certainly to improve our time while on the planet, to make it the best we can be is an achievable goal and a worthy one. I've never met anybody, and I used to be a CPA before as a doctor. So I can say, presumably I'm honest conservative, never met anybody who came into my office or otherwise and said, Hey, if you can give me another 20 on the back end, it doesn't matter. I'll sacrifice my health for it. No, it's the other way around.

[00:10:17.060] – Allan

And there's two ways to look at it. You got the younger crowd that wants to go out like the rebel, blazing and going. And then, of course, we get past 40, we start saying, Okay, well, I'm not doing the blazing and going out really quick, but I also don't want to have a long, slow fizzle. I want to do something about this. And so many of us were not in the shape we want to be in. And so we're actually looking at, Okay, how do we actually now not only just live out, but how do we improve our health, improve the quality of our life, and then go forward with that. And a lot of the things we're going to talk about today are going to get into those things, things we can do today to start improving our health and our health span. I literally wish I could just sit down and talk to you for hours because the book was so deep. There was so much in there. It's just a great opportunity. If you want to improve your health overall, it does that, too. And again, the health span. We're going to dive into some of the things we just, on this show, haven't talked about before.

[00:11:11.470] – Allan

One of them is called NAD Plus, which I always screw up the scientific names because I didn't go to medical school and I didn't learn the language. So it's nicotinamide, adidine, and dinucleotide. Did I do okay?

[00:11:27.360] – Dr. McClain

That's the reason why we abbreviated it, right? Just NAD or NADH.

[00:11:32.520] – Allan

So what exactly is that? Why is that important? And if we need to, how do we improve our levels?

[00:11:40.660] – Dr. McClain

So it's simply a mechanism by which we can transfer energy, specifically electrons. When we convert food into usable energy, the transfer that we call redox, reaction, reduction and oxidation. I'll avoid going into the weeds like we talked about it. But roughly, for people who remember their high school physiology, what my generation used to call the Krebs cycle is part of that. I think they call it now the Citric acid cycle. But again, the bottom line is it's converting food into usable energy. This is part of the process. Nad is used in the cell, in the cytosol, as well as people may remember it more as part of the mitochondrial transfer of energy, this electron. When NADH is converted to NAD, that transfer occurs. Anyway, enough of the details. But the effect is to do a lot of different things besides transfer energy. One of the most popularized items on the list of things that NAD does is to activate the sirtu in genes, specifically one of them, there are several. But the idea being that when you activate s rt2 in genes, you initiate this process of autophagy. And autophagy is not in the sense that you might be talking to your clients about repairing muscle tissue, but really this is repairing cellular function from everything from making sure the DNA or the recipe, the recipe is plural for all the processes is intact.

[00:13:09.380] – Dr. McClain

You don't have spaghetti sauce. I use the example of the cell being like a kitchen. You're producing these proteins and things that help the cell, the body in general, from a cell therapist's perspective, do what it's supposed to do, including messaging between cells. If the recipe's got tomato sauce spilled on it or whatever, and the dishes aren't clean, well, eventually the process of producing the right food just goes awry. So you need the time to clean up the kitchen, clean up the recipe book itself. Again, in this analogy, fix in the DNA, which can get disrupted, mutated. And again, there's garbage that's produced. Again, going back to your high school chemistry, the lysozomes are what most people recognize as the garbage cans of the cell. But there's some misfolded proteins that have to be addressed, etc. Again, avoid the weeds, but this process of autophagy puts everything back in order so that we operate properly. And another analogy would be if we don't do that, the cell looking at the cell, each individual cell like a car, if we haven't fine tuned the car, not only does the car itself not operate, but it's poisoning all the surrounding cells.

[00:14:12.020] – Dr. McClain

The exhaust isn't what it's supposed to be, and it can poison the surrounding cells. So sorry for some of the bad analogies, but for those who aren't interested in the really detailed aspects, that gets the general idea across, I hope.

[00:14:23.710] – Allan

No, this is basically getting rid of the clunker cells and replacing them with new cells. And so autophagy is basically just getting rid of the almost dead cells that are not functioning the way they need to. So when we give our body what it needs, and we're going to talk a little bit more about sleep in a minute because that's another one. But when we start giving our body what it needs, then it's able to get rid of those clunkers and build new, better cells. And as a result, our health improves.

[00:14:50.960] – Dr. McClain

Yeah. And the process is twofold in the sense that initially we'll try and repair it, clean up the kitchen or fine tuned car, whichever analogy you want to use. And if that's not possible, possible. The term used is the senescent cells, the ones that have gotten too old to function properly, they're too broken, then yeah, they can actually be destroyed as part of this autophagy. And that's a good thing. And we can recycle a lot of the materials from that cell to make new and better cells. Now, you asked me, what is our best way to generate NAD? And you'll love this, I hope. One of the best ways is exercise. I say one of the best, it is the best. Why? Because we're again using food for usable energy. Well, what are you doing in your exercise? You're using some energy and you create a lot of NAD, more so than you would if you were to take supplements. Hands down, I just want to make the point, exercise is your best source of creating NAD. Now, there are other ways of doing it. If you're not an exercise buff, fasting, which is a big issue these days, I don't want to call it a fad because it's been around forever.

[00:15:55.980] – Dr. McClain

But a lot of attention fairly recently has been given to fasting. That's another great way. There isn't any to further the kitchen analogy, there isn't any food to be made to be prepped. Somebody says, Okay, well, we might as well clean up the mess while we're not working here. And so that initiates it topic. And of course, yeah, to address some of the other ways, you can take oral forms of NAD, you can take intravenous forms of NAD. But there's a lot of controversy still about how much of that is used. Particularly with oral forms, you're going to absorb a lot of it. It's going to, I don't want to say stopped, but it's going to hit the liver first and maybe not go much further. Now with IV NAD, you're pretty much overwhelming the system. And I would argue that it's going to get well beyond the liver, and that might be a more effective approach, depending upon what you're using it for. Yeah.

[00:16:45.560] – Allan

So let's dive into sleep because I think everybody knows sleep is generally important for us to feel good. But there's a lot more going on when we're asleep than just resting. Can you talk about why sleep is important for health span?

[00:17:02.300] – Dr. McClain

Sleep is probably, I would argue, second most important to health span of all. And yet I'm sure you would agree, and probably most listeners would say, yeah, I pretty much take that for granted. A lot of us go through life, particularly in our 20s and 30s as we're making our way, so to speak. And of course, in my generation, back in the 70s and 80s, people that were doing that actually boasted about what little sleep they got. Do you remember those days? You're maybe not old enough.

[00:17:35.260] – Allan

No, I actually am because I was also a CPA. And I can tell you, when I was in college and studying for the exam and doing my thing, it was like, okay, I need to study, I don't need to sleep. And I even played… To tell you how crazy I was on this passing CPA exam, I literally had cassette and I would have the cassette playing by my bed when I went to bed. And if I woke up in the middle of the night and the cassette had finished, I'd turn it over. Yeah, it's like four hours of sleep was plenty. I was working, I was going to school, I was getting things done. I was still exercising. I was still doing a lot of things to try to keep that mid 20s body alive and moving. But yeah, you're right. Sleep was not a priority. And the whole concept was I'll sleep when I die mindset. And that actually is closer to the truth than we actually want to admit at this point in our life.

[00:18:25.780] – Dr. McClain

Well, and you could get away with it back then. And not to get off of the topic of sleep, but you hit on the one that I think is, and I'm not alone, the most important would be, we'll call it exercise because that's how you're referred to it. I call that the great equalizer. But movement, which encompasses exercise or however you want to look at it, I'd say is even more important. Of course, this ties into some of the things we were talking about earlier, and I think we'll get to today live here. But yeah, with sleep, there are so many things that occur when you sleep that are actually, even for those of us in the business, so to speak, mind blowing. One of my favorite books is Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker. He's a PhD out of the UK. We stole him. He's over at Berkeley now. If you want to read something that will be mind blowing, in the case of, say, and I call it the great equalizer, someone who's getting less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep and five nights in a row, this is just a fun fact taken from the book, but I think it applies to a lot of maybe your clients, it's possible to reduce your insulin sensitivity, your ability to use as little as possible insulin to get sugar out of your blood and put it where it's supposed to be in the muscles, preferably or anything that needs energy to operate properly.

[00:19:43.080] – Dr. McClain

You can reduce insulin sensitivity by 50 %. That's the difference between fantastic health and being possibly even a big BLOB. When insulin sensitivity goes awry, arguably, this metabolic dysfunction is the lunchpin for top five causes of morbidity, diseases, and death in the United States and other industrialized countries. So that's just one thing out of, I would say, hundreds at a minimum that occurred during sleep. Prevention of that, I guess I would say. But interestingly, again, not to harp on this point, but exercise helps reverse that. And then you get into a conundrum of, like, maybe you were, well, look, it's working. I'm getting four hours a night and I'm getting my exercise in still. And look, my laboratory assays look great. I feel great. But then arguably, what happens is you reach this point in, we'll call it midlife, and you find out the hard way that to use a song quote again, better to burn out than fade away. No, that doesn't work. But we can reverse it. But you're digging into your reserves, essentially your adrenal glands. And they've been picking up the slack. And then I referred to it as when Kong, as in King Kong, jumped on my back one point in my midlife and said, This ain't happening anymore.

[00:20:58.780] – Dr. McClain

You're going to start paying the piper. And that's something if we can avoid, we don't run into it. But certainly understandable at the earlier age that you keep getting away with it, just like any kid would do. You figure, Well, I can. I'll keep doing it. But sleep, there are so many important things that occur during sleep to keep us in the game and keep us healthy. And I just pointed it out and it was long winded about it, I realized, just one aspect of hundreds that occur while we're sleeping, without it, I would argue 100 %, unless you're one with a very rare gene mutation. There's a couple of them actually that allows you to get away with five. And by the way, again, stop me if I'm getting too far into the weeds. All stages of sleep are important, but the most restorative sleep for the body anyway, the organs, whatever, is the deep sleep, the non rim, where you're really operating in slow brain waves, for example, is so important. Without that, you're not going to optimize your health and you will not get the most out of healthspan, hands down.

[00:21:59.240] – Allan

Well, like we were talking about NAD, this is the big clean up. This is when your brain cleans up. This is when your body says, Okay, we're shut down for the week. In the sense of the shop, the restaurant, it's like, We can do a deep clean. We can pull all this stuff out. We can do all of this extra work and make this place pristine again. So when we reopen, we're that much better off. But if you don't have that full time because you're opening back up tomorrow, you're getting your four or five hours of sleep, then you didn't give your staff time to do the deep clean. And over time, the restaurant starts looking dingy and it's not operating as well.

[00:22:34.600] – Dr. McClain

And speaking of that, and not to necessarily tie it into the food aspect of a restaurant, but we'll go with it anyway. But the GI, for example, I find this with my patients and personally, if you start shorting yourself in sleep. And I don't have any scientific proof, but having worked as a doctor of Chinese medicine for a while, I can say the Chinese several thousand years ago recognized that there's actually a timing that goes on. And so the first part of the night, you might be working on cleaning up the work and we'll use the kitchen example, you're cleaning up the area of the dishes, the cooking, and then you move to the cutting block area. If you skip that last part of sleep, you're missing that part of the kitchen, so to speak. And again, I don't have any scientific proof behind this part. I just go with what I've seen in patients and what I've read and studied through Chinese medicine. Those that suffer from constipation and other digestive upset, it's that last part I find in the whether it's 7 to 9 hours, whether it's an hour or two, the last part if you're shaving that off, that the GI doesn't get swept out, cleaned up.

[00:23:38.860] – Dr. McClain

And that's one of the first signs I find is IBS, we call it, and the typical symptoms are just your GI system is in a state of wreck. You've got gas and sometimes pain and what we call borborygmus, tenesmus, whether it's constipation or diarrhea, or alterating, incomplete evacuation, etc. I find that's one of the first things to start going on you if you don't get your full amount of sleep. But also, again, when it comes to certainly motivating patients who want to have great body composition, stay fit, it's not just a cleaning up situation. A lot of athletes don't realize this, and I'm sure you can attest to that in what you do, you write the prescription for muscle improvement, whether it's gaining muscle, gaining strength, improving body composition, coordination, whatever it is you want to talk about during the workout. And then, of course, eating properly during the day is part of writing the prescription. But you fill that prescription at night. And now we're talking about athletic sense of repair, not the cleanup part, but actually repairing the muscle, we say, building it back up, better for the next workout. And if you skip that, it's not going to happen.

[00:24:46.630] – Dr. McClain

I can't tell you how many times I've seen in practice where somebody will come in, an athlete with his gallon jug of water, he's got over his shoulder his meals for the day. He's got that part nailed. But he's working, where I come from, we say working like a Jamaican, three jobs, working hard and getting four hours of sleep. And by the way, one of those jobs is like a UPS worker. So he's consistently staying active. It's not like he's resting. And when you're wondering why you're not getting anywhere. And I have to have that conversation like we're having now. Hey, you got to get your sleep, otherwise you're wasting your time.

[00:25:22.040] – Allan

So yeah, in that vein, because again, you're right. As a trainer, I see it all the time. And it's a constant conversation I have with my clients. We can look at how you're recovering, and that's going to give us clues to how you're doing overall with all of it. And so the three key pieces, and I guess I could call them four, but two of them line. The first is we got to have the stimulus, and that's the work we do either in the gym or at home or whatever we're training. When we're doing our training, we have the stimulus. And then the nutrition is now we're providing the fuel. So we're refueling the glycogen tanks and we're providing protein for muscle synthesis. And then we get to the recovery part. And like you said, if it's someone who's go, go, go, go, go, they're not hitting a recovery level. And then if they're not sleeping, they're definitely not going to recover. And so they find their workout starts to suffer. They're not putting on muscle. They're probably even putting on fat because the whole go, go, go, go, go is now firing up their adrenals more often than it should.

[00:26:21.200] – Allan

So the workouts are actually now a stress on top of a stress on top of a stress. And so, again, that's why I get to the sleep and the recovery being as important as the stimulus, the work. And when you can align the work, the nutrition, and now, again, the recovery and sleep, particularly the sleep, you set yourself up for that opportunity to take that spiral that may have been going down and turn it up.

[00:26:46.160] – Dr. McClain

Well, since you teed me up with a little bit of additional information there about the adrenals, let me just add to that. Yeah, in reference to chronic cortisol release, one of the signs you'll see with clients and patients is they will lose subdermal fat, subcutaneous fat in the extremities, and yet start to collect it around the abdominal area. And you go, Wait a minute, how could I be losing fat on my arms and my legs, but it just won't go away in my abs? That's because the cortisol that should not be released, you don't need the extra release of energy that cortisol stimulates. It's for fight or flight. And so it's saying, Here's the energy, got to run. Well, we're not running anywhere. And so all you're doing is redistributing the fat. And it's very simple. I mean, if you look at patients that have Cushing's disorder, where they've got an overabundance of cortisol being produced because of a pathology, that's a telltale sign. The fat is being deposited centrally on the back of the neck, but certainly around the midsection. And yet they have nothing on the extremities. And this is what is being self induced by the stress that's incurred by not getting enough rest.

[00:27:57.950] – Dr. McClain

And of course, you wake up in fight or flight mode because you're not what you were the day before because you haven't given yourself the chance to rest and you worked out hard so you put yourself down in that hole even more. And it's a downward spiral from there. So you can imagine. And they're easy to spot, right? You can see them when they come to you. I don't know why.

[00:28:16.960] – Allan

It was me. I'm working, I'm a corporate job, I'm doing well. I'm like, but I still have this pudge. And I'm like, well, I know why I have this pudge. Not because I wasn't sleeping, because I was actually going to sleep early and I was sleeping without an alarm for a number of years. But I was like, I just have this really stressful job. And my cortisol level from the time I get in my truck to drive to work until I get out of my truck the next night. And even then, it didn't end because I had my cell phone with me. My cortisol level was off the charts all the time. And I even had it tested a few times. And yeah, the doctor was like, Your stress is pretty high. Was it? The C reactive protein is high. And I'm like, Yeah. So I quit the corporate life. I know everybody can't do that, but I can tell you that sleep was a game changer for me. Was I optimal? No, but it was tremendously different than before I really got my sleep dialed in.

[00:29:11.650] – Dr. McClain

One way to look at that is, imagine if you hadn't been getting sufficient quantity of sleep. And of course, that brings up the point that there's a difference between quantity and quality, too. Again, not to put too far off field, but you might be getting what appears to be eight hours of sleep during the night. But if you've got sleep apnea, for example, which is far more prevalent than the HMO anyway will recognize, okay? And I'll leave it at that. But it's under diagnosed. Then the quality isn't there, especially if it's severe sleep apnea we're dealing with, you're almost better off not getting eight hours sitting there doing basically your cardio while you're sleeping. And no, it's not the same as getting it during the day. So no, if you're listening and you think, well, I'll just cut out cardio during the day and getting it at night. No, it's not the same thing. Not even close. clothes, but you are stressing your body in certain similar ways and you're making it even worse. So you got to be careful when, for example, you're looking at your oura ring or anything that measures your sleep or you're thinking or just looking at the clock and say, oh, wow, that's great.

[00:30:14.690] – Dr. McClain

I got eight hours. That's half the battle. The other half is, is it quality sleep? Am I waking up thinking about work the next day? Am I lightly sleeping rather than getting my deep sleep and my proper amount of rem sleep? Am I getting up six times a night to urinate because something else might go on. Anyway, my point being quality and quantity are important.

[00:30:34.310] – Allan

Now, let's dive into exercise and health span a little bit. In the book, you got into aerobic versus anaerobic, and you talked a little bit about flexibility. Why are those important? Where should we be spending our time if health span is really the direction we want to go?

[00:30:52.140] – Dr. McClain

Well, the word movement is included in the very definition of life. So you could argue just from that standpoint, we got to realize up front it's important. But what we're finding now is that there are two types of movement, and we could use all kinds of semantics here. There's exercise, what we would consider formal exercise plans, like what probably you put a lot of or all of your people through, versus just, let's say gardening or going for a walk. And to put it in terms of aerobic and anaerobic might be helpful or maybe in terms of the heart anyway, zones. Zone 1 through zone 5 is probably the most popular breakdown of the various zones, which really reflects more intensity, but also whether we're using oxygen as part of the process of getting energy from food that's usable or not. We often define the two very separately. But in practice, really, it's not digital, it's analog. So you're never like aerobic only and anaerobic only. There's different degrees of which you are one or the other. And it's not necessarily linear either. And that's why we talk about these tipping points and threshold, aerobic or anaerobic thresholds where all of a sudden it gets worse pretty quickly.

[00:32:06.660] – Dr. McClain

If you're, for example, going from aerobic to anaerobic, you hit that point at which you could stay just under that. You could probably do it a lot longer than if you go just a little bit, really, like to use a bicycleing term, you go a few more Watts above what you could normally hold and stay aerobic and all of a sudden, bingo, the lactic acid builds up fairly quickly and you go anaerobic. But anyway, exercise, as I said earlier, is the great equalizer. So many things occur while we're exercising. And then you can extrapolate from there a few, as it were, the most recent research shows that there is a definite correlation between muscle strength as well as muscle mass. I believe that when you parse it out a little bit more precisely, there's more to muscle strength than there is to muscle mass. But of course, they come relatively hand in hand to a certain degree. And then also VO2 max. And the reason I bring this up is because these are considered more or less opposite ends of the spectrum where you're building muscle mass by doing the high intensity stuff, which tended to be anaerobic, and you're building V02 max up by doing the aerobically demanding exercise.

[00:33:19.100] – Dr. McClain

And one more differentiation I want to throw out there, too, is there's a difference between exercise for, let's say, body position goals or running a marathon or something like that. And what we sometimes refer to exercise, and the reason I'm rambling on like this is because we are talking about semantics. I'm just trying to give more definition to the distinctions. Again, I go back to that zone two or under type of exercise, whether you call it gardening or doing some carpentry at home or something like that, which is a different speed, affects the mind as it were differently, obviously, one versus the other. And then lastly, you can overdo it with this, like everything else in life. The concept of Hormesis, if you will, comes into play. I'll never forget, I won't name a name, and forgive me if it's too easy to guess, but I remember meeting someone when I was much younger who was a very accomplished athlete, one of the first to run the Ironman and to be very successful and held many records. And I remember looking at him and going, Oh, my goodness, he's 36, I believe it was. He looks like he's 63.

[00:34:24.200] – Dr. McClain

And I don't mean that in any way, pejoratively, but I just remember thinking, Wow, that's not what I expected because this guy is so accomplished, you would expect, like we all expect, exercise is fantastic for you and you're doing all the right things, presumably, to be able to be that good at it. But no, you can overdo it. And literally, too much oxidation can weather you. And there's a limit as to how much you can do. And there's that sweet spot, I guess, I want to say, that you're looking for.

[00:34:54.220] – Allan

And so Hormesis, if you're not familiar with that, is basically a term we're applying a stress to our body. So the workout itself is a stress. And as we do that workout, that stress, we'll call it a positive stress or use stress, as they say, it's a positive stress on the body. And basically something that is the term, if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger. That's true for some things, but not everything. But the principle is, if we do something that stresses ourselves a little bit, our body has the opportunity through hormones to get stronger. And so we do weight lifting where we're lifting weights that are just right at the threshold of what we can lift, our muscle works. The communication of the body is, hey, we need this muscle to be a little bit stronger next time so that we build more muscle. Again, if we're getting the stimulus, the nutrition and the sleep, that's how this whole model works. And to go into your aerobic and anaerobic understanding, it's more like this. If you can move around and have a conversation like Dr. McClain and I are having right now, we're sitting still, so we're in a lower threshold, probably closer to zero than one.

[00:35:59.800] – Allan

But we're having this conversation and we can have a great conversation in long sentences and just keep going. But if we were getting close to the threshold where we started moving anaerobic, we wouldn't be able to have a conversation. We would start to get to the point where it was difficult to talk because we're not able to bring in enough oxygen, so our body has to switch over to not using oxygen for energy. So if we were both going for a good, fast run and he wants to beat me and I want to beat him and we're running hard, we're not going to be able to have a conversation. We're going to be focused on running. So if you start feeling like you're getting winded when you're doing something, you're approaching your anaerobic threshold.

[00:36:34.780] – Dr. McClain

And maybe one corollary to the idea of hormesis is the poisons in the dose, right? 

[00:36:40.780] – Allan

So let's dive in because I think a lot of people will say, I want to lose some body fat. My doctor keeps telling me to exercise more and eat less. And so I want to lose some of this body fat because my doctor keeps telling me I'm fat, or that I'm overweight, or that I just need to lose a little bit. And I step on the scale every time I go to visit this guy. So yeah, it's going to happen again if I don't do something. So I want to lose some body fat. What is the better way to do this? Aerobic or anaerobic? Because most of us are going to hit the cardio machines and be cardio bunnies to try to lose this weight because it's burning calories, right?

[00:37:17.600] – Dr. McClain

Right. And of course, people will say that in that zone 2 or below exercise where it's aerobic, we find that you are burning fat for fuel, preferentially over muscle glycogen. By definition of, certainly when we go anaerobic, right? You, Hart, done earlier, we're going for muscle glycogen, and this is where the great debate starts. And I would argue, though, it finishes back to high school physiology, right? Aerobically, and I ask the question to people all the time, and you already know the answer, so it's not fair to ask you the question. But you ask people, if you're trying to lose fat, or let's keep it more broad, if you're just simply trying to get rid of energy, do you want to be inefficient or efficient with your calories? And people almost invariably say, Oh, I want to be efficient. And no, it's the reverse. You want to go broke. So you want to pay high prices for your goods and services. You don't want to be efficient. You want to be inefficient. What's the most inefficient way to burn calories? The anaerobic method that your body uses is by far the most inefficient. As we have studied it still today, if you're into the anaerobic cycle, you are getting two to four units of energy, ATP per calorie.

[00:38:37.570] – Dr. McClain

We don't need to go into the weeds of two to four and what's happening, but it has to do with the fact that it's not a pure system and there's different things happening in the cell. But anyway, aerobically, you're getting 36 to 38 ATP units of energy per calorie. Well, obviously, aerobics is way more efficient. You're getting a lot of energy for each calorie. So yeah, you see a lot of guys in the gym and girls, obviously, when I say guys, I'm a Southerner, so I mean guys and girls by just saying guys doing their cardio, the LSD I call it long, slow distance, which yes, while you're on the treadmill in that zone two or below, yes, it's true, you are burning more fat. But over a 24 hours period, you're definitely burning through calories more, which is part of the equation, literally and figuratively, by putting on muscle mass in your workout, you're also literally burning calories more so at sleep or at rest than you would be otherwise. So I use the old parable about the… Or it's not even a parable, but what did they say? If you want to help out a man, you can catch fish for them each day, or you can teach him how to fish.

[00:39:48.300] – Dr. McClain

By developing increased muscle mass, which is what is, I would say, synonymous with your metabolism in many ways. It's the reason why we have to eat so much food. I joke with patients all the time, you don't hear people saying, Oh, geez, Jane Doe, you really blew it last night. We went to the library and we studied Einstein for a couple hours and burned 2,000 calories. No, it's always, Oh, you missed it. We did this activity where we were moving our muscles and we burnt a lot of calories. That said, just as a note of a no, they've done research, believe it or not, I like this research where they showed if you were to sit in the library all day and study hard, you might burn an extra 300 calories doing that. But you're working at it. How about if you put on, let's just make up numbers here, 10 pounds of muscle, then you're burning, if you're the average person, another, let's say, 78 % of calories. Again, not just when you're sleeping at night, which sounds great, but when you're active, it costs more now to do the same things you were doing before because you're carrying that extra muscle to do it.

[00:40:56.850] – Dr. McClain

That's why we don't see marathoners at 250 pounds solid muscle. Line backers are not running the marathons.

[00:41:04.870] – Allan

They're not professional anyway. Yeah.

[00:41:10.060] – Dr. McClain

Exactly, not professional. I know I've danced around different ways of looking at it, but is that fairly clear at this point or is it still mud?

[00:41:19.880] – Allan

Yeah, no, it is because the basis is this. A lot of people will talk about how as we get older, our metabolism goes down, which is not untrue, but it's basically typically true because we've lost muscle mass. So you can look back at the amount of muscle mass you had when you were 30 and you could get away with a lot of stuff. And now you're not 30, you're in your 40s or 50s and you're like, I can't eat what I was eating before. And you also know your activity level isn't as high. So even if you try to bump up your activity level, you still don't have the muscle mass you had back then. So even a little bit of extra muscle mass is that compounding effect of a penny. Would you rather me give you $10,000 right now, or a penny and double it every day for 30 days? And you start doing the math and realize, oh, I want the penny. So you put that little penny in the bank and that compound interest over time of burning just a little extra calories every day. And each time you're able to put an extra penny in that bank, that compound interest is just going to get bigger.

[00:42:20.330] – Allan

So it is harder being over 40 to put on a little bit more muscle mass. But it's doable if, again, as we went back, the stimulus of the training, the nutrition, and then the sleep. There's a math here of how you can make yourself healthier and increase your metabolism effectively or rebuild your metabolism because we didn't really lose anything other than muscle mass and activity level. And so it's not a matter of running yourself out of your body fat. Very few people can do that without increasing their appetite. But the reality of it is, yeah, you need the anaerobic, you need the strength. I actually saw a study that compared grip strength to longevity. The stronger your grip strength, the longer you lift, which you lived, which was effectively just basically saying that if you have grip strength, that's because you're lifting things. No one's just sitting there training their grip to do it. But maybe some are now that they saw that study. But it's a proxy of strength. And so if you're building strength and you're adding a little bit of muscle mass, you're setting yourself up to be healthier.

[00:43:19.950] – Dr. McClain

Agreed. Yeah. And the company of interest is directly 100 % analogous, but it's pretty doggone close in the sense, again, that it's not linear. You're just putting on X amount of muscle mass, which requires X amount of commensurant calories to maintain. Remember, you're going through what we refer to in medicine as the activities daily living, which includes to and from the grocery store as well as planned exercise. And so that is leveraged considerably. Maybe you could even say logarithmicly, maybe that might be a little extreme, but certainly that compounding effect is there because of that. Again, the example being that when you used to burn, let's say you go in the treadmill for an hour and you do your LSD and you burn 500 calories. Well, now that you're 10 pounds heavier, you do that exact same workout for an hour, but now you're burning 650 calories. That's a compounding effect. Agreed?

[00:44:16.180] – Allan

Yeah, it is. And the point being is what I found is if you're doing the right things for your body, you have more energy. As a result, you're moving more just in daily life. So that they call non exercise, thermogenic, neat activity. It's basically just the other stuff you're doing during the day. So you won't have a problem. You won't want to feel like you need to park at the closest parking space to where you're walking. You just park and then you walk. And so you just feel like that's not a problem for you. You get up and get down a lot more often, you're moving more. You're basically the things that aren't exercised, you're basically the things that aren't exercise. You're just doing more of them and as a result, burning more calories.

[00:44:55.260] – Dr. McClain

Well, this is just an example of how it's not as easy as we learned back in high school physiology, the basic equation, calories in versus calories out. And we could probably have, we could speak about this for hours, but just to throw that out there that there are so many other factors involved in the so called basics and you're touching on one of them. The other one I like to mention, too, is with weight lifting, typically or anything high intensity, I shouldn't just limit it to weight lifting, but the hit, we call it. There's a concept called the afterburn. A lot of people refer to it as where not only are you not producing as much cortisol, which we've agreed is on a chronic basis is bad for you. But as you would say when you're doing endurance work, particularly anything zone 3 to zone 5, but you can only stay in zone 5 for so long. So I don't want to make that sound like it might be an endurance work, but you can bounce in and out of zone 5 and do endurance work. I'm just trying to be technically correct. But the last material I thought, what was going to say about that?

[00:45:55.690] – Allan

Well, the cortisol drops after that intense workout.

[00:45:57.880] – Dr. McClain

I was talking about the after burn, though. And that's been proven in that, particularly when you perform your exercise in the morning. You were talking about the thermogenesis that occurs, right? That's part and parcel of your hit during the day as opposed to doing your hour or two on the road on your bicycle, very different. And again, another reason for doing stuff, not exclusively, but definitely including it. And we're going back to that age old thing about, oh, if my doctor wants me to lose some fat, I better do my cardio. No, that's part of it. Don't forget about the other part and the reasons behind it. I'm just adding there are a lot of reasons that aren't necessarily public and pushed, but there's a lot of nuance to it that we don't always talk about.

[00:46:41.110] – Allan

Right. And because I love where I live and I have this walk that I like to take, and the beaches just get prettier and prettier as I walk. So I'll go for long walks. It's just because I enjoy doing it and I want to be able to keep doing it. So yeah, having that long, slow cardio and having that stamina and capacity to do that, that's important to me. Being strong and able to lift the things I need to be able to lift, that's important to me. Being able to get down on the floor and get back up, that's important to me. And so let's talk just a little bit about flexibility before we move on.

[00:47:11.860] – Dr. McClain

Sure. And just to leave that last section behind with one added note, we've been focusing on the body composition aspect and the strength relating to longevity, health span, etc. But the other factor, and I got to give credit, I think I want to say it was Dr. Gupton. He's pretty famous, right?

[00:47:28.860] – Allan


[00:47:29.220] – Dr. McClain

In his most recent book, he makes a good point about, what about mental health, too? It's more than just physical health. We want the mental health. And there are plenty of studies to support that long walk you were just referring to, being good for mental health, not just what we refer to as the mind, but the brain, the physiologic mechanism that we attached to the mind, good brain health, whether it's the production of BD&F or just reducing inflammation in the brain altogether, those walks are essential. He actually, I think, believes, or he states that it's a nonnegotiable part of his day. There's more to it than just calorie burning, these zone two or below efforts in the long walks you were talking about. Anyway, in terms of flexibility, that is one that I've been asked before, and I tell myself often enough, if I had to do it all over again, if I could go back and talk to my 21 year old self or even my 12 year old self would be even better. Rand, focus on flexibility. Do not let that one go. A lot of us are guilty of this, particularly those maybe a little bit more type A and intense and maybe even hypomanic like myself, where I always thought I literally would say it to some of my coaches, are you kidding me?

[00:48:45.200] – Dr. McClain

We've got 15 minutes left of practice. Let's do some more X, whatever the sport was, heavy duty, high intensity stuff. I don't want to waste time stretching. Come on, man. And fortunately, to some degree, when you're younger, the fascia doesn't get as inflamed and scarred up. It's like so many things, time passes and the barnacles, no matter how much the ship is either in port or moving around, it's going to get barnacles, right? And who knew? That's how I look back and I go, gee whiz, if only I had known better. But to your point, there's another doctor who I love listening to, Peter Atia. I don't know if you've ever heard of him, but he has something I think he calls centenarian Olympics, where he's got these different exercises that are linked to longevity or health span that if you can do them great, you should do better than if you can't. And a lot of it has to do with functional movement. And without the flexibility, you are going to be dysfunctional to different degrees. You could be the best Kung fu artist. Really strong legs, hips, and you can throw your leg out at the bag or the person or whatever.

[00:49:53.840] – Dr. McClain

But if you can only raise it as far as the knee, well, you're limited to how well you can throw that kick. So maybe that's a terrible example, but my point, flexibility is absolutely essential. And there's more and more study coming out. I read a study recently about the importance of fascia, which you will be keeping supple and flexible with your exercises of flexibility. And this fascia is very important. Without it, we'd just be this sack of muscle hanging on bone. This fascia keeps everything in place and allows, for example, that covering, allows the lymph system to work more efficiently and the lymph is activated when we do any movement or get a massage if we're lucky enough. So flexibility is one of those things that gets overlooked. Often, I don't want to say it's ever too late, but it's not the sexy thing that we look for when we think of somebody who's doing his Olympic lifts and throwing 200 kilos overhead in a snatch, you go, Well, that was all about power, not flexibility. Well, that's actually a great example, a sport where it looks like it's all about strength, but no, man, is it about flexibility?

[00:50:59.510] – Dr. McClain

Because it's about moving your body properly and efficiently to get the most out of your muscles. Hope I'm not getting too esoteric here, but you really just want to get the most out of it, where flexibility is so important, and yet we don't think of it that way until we really get into the nitty gritty.

[00:51:13.650] – Allan

Right. So you're sitting on the toilet and you drop the toilet paper and it rolls out a few feet from your foot. Can you reach down and grab it? Or are you standing up and trying to bend over to pick up that toilet paper? This is a real life thing.

[00:51:29.120] – Dr. McClain

I love. It. love it. Yeah.

[00:51:30.560] – Allan

So again, it's just one of those things of how well do you move? Because we're going to always need to move. And so mobility and flexibility are allowing you to move through the full range of motion the way your body was intended to move. And unfortunately, I had an office job for decades. And so tight hips, tight calves, those types of things, I need a mobility practice. One of my mobility practices, which is going to come off as weird, but I have two dogs. And so I'll get up in the morning, I'll start my coffee and then I'll go sit down on the floor. It's a tile floor and I don't have to have a plan to get up. So I don't ask that question. I do. I get up, but I can just sit down there and sitting on a tile floor is not the most comfortable thing in the world. So I shift around a good bit. But I'm shifting through and stretching while I'm petting my dogs. They love it because they're getting direct attention at their level. I love it because I'm just able to start my day with a very relaxing, wonderful moment with my dogs.

[00:52:26.700] – Allan

Plus I'm stretching. I'm on the floor just moving around. If you've ever tried to just sit still on a tile floor, it's actually not that comfortable. So you just naturally squirm around. You naturally move. And so I'll do that regularly. Almost every day, I'm sitting down having that time with my dogs while I'm waiting for the coffee, and that's a part of my stretching. So it's not like I took an extra 15 minutes out of my day to go do stretching. This is five minutes while I'm waiting for coffee to brew that I'm just sitting down on the floor, moving around, getting just good movement in my legs. I've been asleep, so just not too fast, not too aggressive, just moving around and letting my legs and my whole hips and everything just get moving. And so it is a function of your life. And the more you can be more mobile, be more flexible, I think that's a big part of all of this.

[00:53:15.160] – Dr. McClain

Would add to that, too, and I can't take credit for it. An ice skater that I met many, many years ago told me about this, and it's actually to a different end. She was talking about how she developed her glute muscles. She and her mom, who's also a skater, would get up during every commercial break when they were watching TV. Let's not get into whether TV watching or not has value. But anyway, the advertisements, I would argue, have zero value. Well, they made use of it. This was back in the day, 40 years ago, when television spots were even longer, I think. At any rate, like you say, instead of sitting there because you do want to watch the football game, let's say, television is worthwhile, I would argue in that example. But get up and stretch and make that time useful and sitting there like a bump on a log. So just another example where you can throw it in there and then it's not wasted by any stretch of the imagination.

[00:54:01.620] – Allan

Absolutely. Let's take just a couple of minutes and talk about stem cell therapy and particularly these muse cells, because I wasn't familiar with those before I read your book. And I think this therapy actually has a huge amount of promise, particularly for people who have injuries or illnesses and they're trying to repair their body. Can you talk a little bit about those?

[00:54:22.880] – Dr. McClain

Sure. New cells are a relatively new discovery. The first person to discover it was a female doctor in Japan, Dr. Dazawa. The story is an interesting one, but in short, it was really by accident that she discovered them. There are people that suggest that no, these are not a different type of cell, that mus cells or really stem cells. I argue it's a matter of semantics, no matter how you slice it. You can say, well, is it tadpola frog? Is it a Caterpillar or a Butterfly? You follow my drift there. Who cares? We know that when stem cells that have been collected are stressed, then we find these mus cells. We believe, most of us, I would argue, believe that mus cells are a separate entity. They're much fewer of them, but they're found surrounding most organs, and they're activated in extreme cases. And again, that's why when these collections, where you're doing, for example, collection of the perivascular fat, you find them because they're present. And if you collect the stem cells, they come with the stem cells. And then in the case of, for example, the American hero at UCLA, Gorgio, I mentioned him in my book, too, he found it by accident as well.

[00:55:39.780] – Dr. McClain

The centrifuge broke at UCLA. He was using it. He said, I'll deal with it tomorrow. Went home, came back the next day and found these new cells were present. But mus cells are different from stem cells in the sense that while they're both regenerative, stem cells, first of all, as far as we know, still to this day, they will not cross the blood brain barrier, which is important if you want to treat the brain, obviously. They don't cross, so they're not viable, although the exosome contents can, presumably a lot of the contents can. But we want to be able to not have to… If we want to, for example, treat Parkinson's, for example, we want to get to the substantial nitro, where that's the area of the brain that's going to control dopamine release. If we wanted to regenerate those cells, the only way we could do it, presumably to date, would be to drill a hole and get there the hard way, so to speak, rather than just infusing it. Well, new cells differently than stem cells can cross the blood brain barrier. And while with stem cell use, there's a very small chance of cancer growth occurring.

[00:56:42.060] – Dr. McClain

Now, if you have extent cancer, and there's an argument both ways that, well, stem cells could activate the immune system to further get rid of the cancer, or the stem cells could actually contribute to the cancer itself. They're both referred to as generally undifferentiated cells. So there's an argument back and forth. But we do know, for example, we tried to treat neurological injuries, spinal cord injuries with stem cells directly. And last time I checked, we were still rowful in their effect, certainly based upon the ratio of how many we have versus what they can do. So the potency seems to be better, but they seem to be more efficient. They seem to be Mother Nature's last effort. And so it's our best effort. And while we really haven't advanced the medicine here, it's simply because I would argue, most of the research, and you can look it up online, at least when I did in writing the book, was written in Japanese. There were probably about 100 articles when I started looking into this. Robert Harding, kudos for… He was the one that told me about this. And then I'd say of those 100 articles, probably 90 % or 90 or more were which doesn't do us much good.

[00:58:25.460] – Dr. McClain

And if you go online today, you won't find much of the way to use cells. But I think they are the future. They're fairly easily obtained. And in the same way stem cells can be used, they don't have to be a toll of it in other words. You don't have to have your own because they essentially don't have, I will call them fingerprints. And therefore, the enterogens, where your body would look at it as something different and attack it, perhaps. Mus cells have no potential there. So we could use Mus cells from one individual for anybody else. And that's a pretty big advantage, too. Yeah.

[00:58:57.210] – Allan

And so I think this is just as you start thinking about upcoming things. This is just a part of science that really, I guess, what they call it the better life through science. This is maybe one of the big opportunities that's setting in front of us. It's hard because there's some ethical considerations, but they are doing some work on it. So it's something to be aware of and know that it's going to probably be coming. There are, as you said, clinical trials that are going on throughout the United States and around the world. So if you're dealing with something, you can do a little bit of research on it, try to find, you call it clinical trials.org or something like that, that was a website people can look up and say, Okay, where are they doing clinical trials for the thing I'm dealing with with regards to stem cells or mus cells, and see if you can get into one of those, if that's something you want to pursue.

[00:59:44.550] – Dr. McClain

Well, and just because you bring up the word ethical, I'm sure you're referring to a very different subset of ethics than what most people think of when they think of stem cells. Initially, we were talking about embryonic stem cells and the collection of said cells from fetuses. That is not the case. This is a sore spot for me and many in this field because there's been a lot lost in translation since then. From whatever groups you want to point to, there was a backlash initially because of the ethics behind harvesting these from aborted fetuses and whatnot. But what we're talking about now, certainly when we refer to stem cells or mus cells for that matter, this is not from another being's aborted life or anything close to that. These are cells that can be obtained, I mentioned earlier, for example, from the fat of a living adult human. The mesotheliis that are sitting there in the parabasculate or the fat. So a very, very different animal. And I just want to make sure that's clear to our audience. I think you're referring to the other ethics of maybe it's affordability to some versus others. And so they get the chance to not have to get a shoulder replacement, or they fix their liver disease or whatever.

[01:00:59.860] – Dr. McClain

I mean, there's all kinds of other ethics to come into play here, but it's not about taking one life for another anymore.

[01:01:04.890] – Allan

Right. But I'm just saying as you go through this process, just recognize you need to go through that and understand what's happening here so that you can make the right decision and understand that, yes, then you're going to get some blowback potentially.

[01:01:17.920] – Allan

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

[01:01:27.120] – Dr. McClain

Well, I would imagine it'd be fairly anti climactic at this point when I tell you what my three most important ones are, what I would argue are the obvious. They're not sexy, but they are the basics, and you can't change that. At least we don't have something Star Trek, and at this point that could do that. It's the basics. It's getting the proper nutrition, getting the proper amount of exercise, and getting the proper amount of sleep. It doesn't get any better than that. Beyond that, we are fine tuning. Without the basics, we are not fine tuning, or I would argue, you're fine tuning 70 to 72% rather than 98 to 100%. If you're not getting the proper amount of sleep, forget about being optimized. Ditto for nutrition and ditto for exercise. And fortunately, we talked about all three of those, so we're not leaving anybody hanging. And I do mean to use the term appropriate amount. And that amount, by the way, not to start up a new conversation, but it's different for everybody. If anybody tells you, for example, there's one way to eat, there's only a certain nutritional program that you should be on, you know this, run away.

[01:02:38.840] – Dr. McClain

I mean, come on. Everybody's different starting from the way they chose their parents to the way they lived their life, their age, where they live in the United States, etc. That's where a lot of work is involved. You can start with any one of these diets. And if I had to pick one, not to be contradictory, but I think there are some good starts for most people. But that would be the Mediterranean diet. But to further my point, I use the example, most people, if you gave them amphetamine speed, they would be up. If you gave them a big enough dose, they might be up for a couple of nights in a row, rearranging the garage and then doing that again. But there are some people with ADHD, for example, that are normally high strong. You give them enough of amphetamine, and they actually fall asleep. So my point being to apply that to diet, there are still good ways to start it out. But I would argue that the furthest thing from a Mediterranean diet might be a Ketogenic diet. And yet there are people that are eating only fat, the Ketogenic diet, or mainly fat, and they're staying in Ketosis, where they are way better off than if they were doing a Mediterranean diet.

[01:03:45.880] – Dr. McClain

And of course, one thing I didn't mention is, aside from the way you chose your parents, where you live, how old you are, what are your goals? Some people want to run 5 and 10Ks every weekend. Some people want to be very strong. Some people just want to be able to get in the garden every day. So just one other aspect of deciding what's the best is for you. Now, sleep, it's a little bit more concrete, cut and dry, as we said earlier. Matthew Walker points this out, but it's not his opinion. He's called the research, 7 to 9 hours, unless you're one of these very rare individuals, is where your sweet spot is. It might be 7.5 for you. It might be 8.5 for me. And that might change depending upon the season and how much we train, etc. But that's our window. That one's pretty easy. And of course, we emphasize quality early in the discussion. And then exercise, we got into this in detail, too. Not only is it about your goals, but it's not just about physical goals, it's about mental goals. But that's one that is very different, I would argue, also, much like diet, depending upon your age, where you are in life, etc.

[01:04:53.900] – Dr. McClain

Again, the fun part of all this is, well, I would say it is simple, but it's complicated. You're not going to get bored trying to figure this out. But also, once you do, because it took you a year to do it, well, you're a year older and you might have to change it just because you've been on the planet longer. So I would look at it as fun as you can make it as one additional side note to all this. We have things like the Oura ring I'm wearing here, my iWatch, or whatever they call it. We have a lot of tools that can collect data. There's a lot of apps that can help you with nutrition, for example. And while that is not an exact science, it's not precise enough to be accurate. Arguably, the calibrometer only gives you close to what we're looking for data. But it helps make it more fun for a lot of us. I would argue you and I as CPAs would love my fitness pad because it gets in the nitty gritty of every little thing that passes your mouth and you can have a plan. And while it may not be as accurate as we'd like, it's precise enough to head us in the right direction.

[01:05:59.340] – Dr. McClain

And I would argue that's what makes it that much easier because it is that much more fun and viable that way.

[01:06:06.420] – Allan

Yes. Dr. McClain, if someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, Cheating Death, where would you like for me to send them?

[01:06:14.420] – Dr. McClain

Well, Cheating Death is available, they call it pre sales, I guess, on Amazon right now. The book is officially released March 7th.

[01:06:22.040] – Allan

Yeah, that's today.

[01:06:24.770] – Dr. McClain

Please, and I would appreciate anyone's feedback, good or bad, about the book. Anyone who's ever written a book will tell you the same thing. It was a lot of work. A lot of what I put in the book was chopped out. They call it killing your babies, what an horrible term. But it was also what I would say, I don't want to say dumbed down because that's not fair, but I had a lot of intricate processes that I illuminated in the book and had fun doing. And they said, Nope, nobody wants to… Or I would say nobody. Most people don't want to hear that rant. And then I got excluded and I spent a lot of time with it. But I hope it's informative for both the so called late person as well as the professional. We'll see the feedback like I said.

[01:07:05.930] – Allan

It is. Absolutely.

[01:07:08.720] – Dr. McClain

Psr, Papa Sierra Romeo Med. Com is our website, and hopefully that's got some good info on there. And then, of course, I've come into the 21st century and I have an Instagram account and a LinkedIn and a Facebook that we try and provide updates on and make fun too, little tips that might be helpful.

[01:07:27.800] – Allan

Great. Well, Dr. McClain, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:07:32.780] – Dr. McClain

Thank you. It was a pleasure joining you and talking with you. Thanks.

Post Show/Recap

[01:07:46.540] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:07:48.200] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. There's a lot of really interesting information in your conversation with Dr. McClain. Cheating Death is a great title for a book, but it really does get me thinking, how old do you think you will live to, plan to, or would want to live to? What age do you expect to live to?

[01:08:08.480] – Allan

Well, most of us that are already in our 50s, like you and I are, in all probability, we're going to live till we're 100 unless something silly happens, which it does. This stuff happens. But the vast majority of people have the capacity to live well past 100. Everything I've ever read about the human body says that it is built to endure at least 120 years before it should really be wearing out. And obviously, if you do repetitive motions or did certain things that were foolish when you were younger, you might have injuries and things that would cause that to be a little different. But the science and what they're doing is getting better and better. Stem cells, mus cells.

[01:08:50.670] – Allan

Hip replacements, knee replacements, shoulder replacements, they can basically rebuild you and make you stronger and do all those things. But we're all making these decisions today, how you're going to be at 105, how you're going to maybe be at 120. You're making the decision today.

[01:09:09.930] – Rachel

Yeah. Well, that's a great point. I have longevity. I've mentioned in the past, I've got a couple of great grandparents who had lived to 103, 104. So I've had role models. I've had people in my life who I've seen surpass the age of 100, and they lived on their own in their own home until they were in their 90s. Again, this is a living example in my life. Now that I've hit 50, I'll be 52 this year, I'm looking, so what do I need to do in the next 50 years to position myself to live a high quality of life? I want to be able to walk and move and do things like my great grandparents did. So what do I need to do to get to that point?

[01:09:53.260] – Allan

Well, the independence part is going to come from your training, from your resting and that type of thing. So resistance training, maintaining grip strength, working on balance, because strength is a big part of that as well. Just the basic stamina, a little bit of speed, those basic things. So that the joke goes, I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. And a lot of people don't think that far ahead. They're thinking health today. They're thinking fitness today. It's like, okay, I want to lose a gene size or a dress size, or I want to be able to run a little bit faster in my 5K tomorrow. And that's great. But also be thinking about what does this do for your overall fitness later?

[01:10:39.960] – Allan

And that should also be something that's in there. And it doesn't have to be what you're completely focused on now, but just realizing that your overall programming and things you're doing for yourself today are going to impact who you are 10, 15, 20, 60 years from now. And so you're making those decisions every day.

[01:11:04.380] – Rachel

Yeah. Well, you and I talk a lot about making fitness a part of our lifestyle, taking the time to go on the walks, runs, hit the gym, and do all these things. And even you and Dr. McClain talked about doing hit activities and other cardio things, but also gardening and being outside and being active. And over the weekend feeding a fire for my maple syrup oil. I was on my feet all weekend long, so was Mike. I don't know, I like movement so much. It's very easy for me to incorporate that into my daily activity and how important that is. But that's not the only thing. You guys also talked about having good nutrition and sleep. You spent quite a bit of time talking about the importance of sleep.

[01:11:45.780] – Allan

Yeah, it's come up a few times when I've talked to different people, Joey and then also Dave, we talked about that, sleep is a big part of how they also see maintaining your health and fitness. And if you're not getting adequate recovery, the work doesn't really matter is the premise. And in fact, if you're not getting the recovery, I'd go as far as to say the work could actually be detrimental because you're adding the stress on top of a stressed system. And so that's why it's so important is balancing the hormones, getting your body primed to do all the things you needed to do, cleaning the brain, cleaning your muscles, getting everything ready for you to be awesome the next day. It's important. And if we're not doing that, then we're setting ourselves up for problems. And some statistics that have come out of podcasts not too long ago. In 30 years, people who are 85 years old, half of them are going to have Alzheimer's.

[01:12:50.770] – Rachel

Gosh, that's a huge %.

[01:12:52.560] – Allan

And so if you're over 50, I'm 57, is if you start looking at it and think, Okay, well, that's not that long from now. Basically 30 years and I'll be 87, there's a 50% chance that I'd have Alzheimer's, and that's going to be my nutrition. That's going to be me making sure that I'm managing my brain health through sleep predominantly. And if you're not doing that, then you're basically just saying, I want to age faster than I have to. And by doing that, then you start to fall behind on the aging curve, and it controls how fast you descend. And you could spend a long, long time in a bad place and just not die. And so to me, the book title is great because it gets your attention, cheating death. But I would go even further and say, the way you cheat death is you stay healthy, you stay fit. And so I would say embrace life, not sickness, because you could spend a long time sick and unhealthy and not doing the things you enjoy and not able to wipe your own butt. And those things I know in my heart of hearts that the first time I have to ask somebody to open a jar of pickles,

[01:14:22.260] – Allan

I'm doing something different because I'm like, that won't happen again. I'm going to be able to open my own pickles. I'm going to be able to wipe my own butt. And like your grandparents did, I want to be completely and wholly independent and not just at 97. If I'm still alive at 107, then I want to do that. If I'm 117, whatever the number, wherever it is, you don't know, you guess you can have some say in it. But in a general sense, it happens when it happens. And if you live a good, healthy life today, you're setting yourself up to be having a good, healthy life then. There's an interplay there. The faster you go down the curve now, the further down the curve you'll be then, and the worse that's going to be. Or the better you are to yourself today, the better you're going to be then, and the better your life is going to be then. And so it's just a function of making choices and you don't have to be perfect. That's what's so cool about all this is when saying you have to live this perfect life and do all these things just all the time.

[01:15:25.040] – Allan

But the more consistent you are and the better you treat yourself, it's no different than a car or any other piece of equipment or anything. If you rat it out, you rat it out. It starts making noises that you didn't want it to make and starts creaking when you don't want it to creak. And then warning lights come on all over the place when you don't want them to come on. But you take good care of your car, it will last you for a long, long time. You just got to take care of it and do the maintenance, get the stuff done, put good fuel in it, change the oil when it needs it. And just pay attention to what it's doing. It's no different with our bodies. It's really almost the same thing. If you take care of yourself, you're going to live longer and better.

[01:16:12.060] – Rachel

That's perfect right there. Just taking care of yourself. And you can expect a higher quality of life. Don't we all just want to have a better quality of life as we age?

[01:16:21.600] – Allan

I would hope so, but I don't know. I don't know. I see it every day and I'm like, for the love of God, why are people still doing that?

[01:16:36.060] – Rachel

I have a lot of great role models in my life. Mike's dad, my father in law, he ran a half marathon in his year of turning 70. He was 70 and he ran a half marathon. I love that. I love running, but I would love the opportunity to be able to run a half marathon when I'm 70 or 80. I don't know, about 90. Maybe I'll hang up my.

[01:16:57.680] – Allan

And then not just kill over. But that's what I'm saying.

[01:17:02.840] – Allan

The breadth of what you see is you can sit there and look at two 70 year olds, and one of them is vibrant and alive and doing things they love and taking on new challenges. And the other is not. It's a challenge to get out of bed. It's a challenge to change your clothes. It's a challenge to go to the bathroom. And as a result, you don't leave your house and you don't live a life. And so it was great when we were teenagers to skip out on school and sit home all day and watch the price is right. But when you're 70 and that's all you get to do, price is right and jeopardy, and that's your day, the two shows you're looking forward to and that's all you get.

[01:17:51.690] – Allan

Yeah. It's not.

[01:17:53.820] – Rachel

not what I want either. And it's good. We all need to think about where we want to be at age 70 or 80 or 90 or 100. Where do we expect to be and take the action to get to that point?

[01:18:06.180] – Allan

I'm just to the mindset, act like you're still going to be alive, and then what would you do? What would you want that person, who you are then to think about now and say, Okay, well, I'm so glad I turned things around. I'm so glad that I did all those extra little things to get stronger and stay stronger. And I'm so glad that I got sunshine and I reduced stress and I slept as good as I could and all those different things, and they all add up. And so it's not that you have to sit there and be perfect today, but all those little investments, all those little things pay off. They're like putting money in the 401k every paycheck, every day, just a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more. And all that little trickle, trickle, trickle just puts you in so much better place 10, 15, 20, 50 years from now.

[01:19:02.630] – Rachel


[01:19:03.560] – Allan

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

[01:19:06.840] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[01:19:08.100] – Allan

You too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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