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


October 3, 2023

Getting fit and feeling good for a lifetime with Robin Long

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 610 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Robin Long and discuss her book, Well to the Core: A Realistic, Guilt-Free Approach to Getting Fit and Feeling Good for a Lifetime.


Let's Say Hello

Since Coach Allan is on vacation, there won't be a Hello Section today. We'll return next week.


[00:03:14.270] – Allan

Robin, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:17.160] – Robin

Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

[00:03:19.570] – Allan

I am, too, because your book is called, Well to the Core: a Realistic Guilt Free Approach to Getting Fit and Feeling Good for a Lifetime. And what I knew about you was that you were basically heavy into Pilates. You teach Pilates, and that's your thing. And then I got into the book, and I'm like, this is not a Pilates book. I was just expecting to see a bunch of pictures of you in different poses all the way through the book. There are a lot of pictures. It's a beautiful book, but with your kids especially, I thought that was just awesome. I love when family stuff, and it's just you showing the joy of what you do and what you live. I really enjoyed that. But this was not so much of a workout book, although there were QR codes to help you find a little free workout that you could go do. 14 15 minutes, boom. And you've done your first Pilates workout, which is pretty awesome. But this was a true core health book. This is a way you get yourself well. And I really appreciated that you shared a lot of yourself and a lot of how you view these things, because this didn't just happen.

[00:04:25.570] – Allan

You didn't just wake up one day at 21 years old and say, boom, I'm a Pilates instructor and I know how to live. These are life lessons that you've personally gone through, and now you've coached thousands of women, and this is things that you've helped them through, and you've pulled all those lessons and put it into the book in a very easy to absorb format. So I really appreciate that.

[00:04:46.090] – Robin

Thank you. And you're right. I think a lot of people were expecting a Pilates book since I've been a Pilates instructor for more than a decade. But I know that you share similar passion and understanding through working with clients of just how the format and the method of exercise is one component of wellness. But there's really so much more than goes into how to actually live well and be well and so similar to you. I knew that that is really where you have to focus and start before you can see any real change.

[00:05:18.060] – Allan

Yeah. And fitness can be an anchor for many people because they start recognizing, well, if I sleep better, I train better, when I train better, I look better. If I eat better, I have more energy, and I train better, and I look better and I feel better, and when I feel better, then therefore everything else in my life just sort of starts falling in line. So for a lot of people, there is kind of that first domino or that thing that they fall in love with and they have passion for. And for a lot of women, pilates is that thing. It can be that thing. Can you tell us a little bit about what Pilates is, the practice itself, and why it's valuable for us?

[00:05:58.690] – Robin

Yes. And it really was that thing for me, actually. So I had been working out for years. I was an athlete growing up. I was a dancer growing up. I always loved physical fitness and activities. However, it was always tied to esthetics, really. As I got older and I got out of sports, it was like, I need to work out because I don't want to gain weight or I want to lose weight. And it was pretty much as narrow as that for me. It wasn't until I found pilates that I recognized a completely different and experienced a completely different relationship with movement and my body. And I like to think it kind of started reprogramming my relationship with exercise. For me, that was pilates. For many people, it might be something else. It might be running or weightlifting or cycling. It could be any number of things. But Pilates is really unique in that it's a mind body form of exercise. So we hear mind body form of exercise. Sometimes it's a buzz word. What does it really mean? It means that it is an exercise form that requires you to be incredibly present in your time on the mat, and you are frequently connecting your mind to your body.

[00:07:14.780] – Robin

So when you're on the mat, you're not zoning out. You're not thinking about your to do list for the next day. You're not just listening to a podcast or headphones. There's a time and a place for that. But Pilates is a place where when I'm guiding you through a workout, you are thinking, what does my lower back feel like right now? Am I engaged in my core? How much can I lengthen my left leg out to feel that extension? Can I lift a little higher in my chest? Can I switch this? Like you are very present with your mind and your body. And for me, and for many people, that can be an incredibly transformative experience, because you connect to your body maybe in a way that you never have before. A lot of people go through life actually being pretty disembodied or not having a very strong connection to their body, and we could talk a little bit about that. Or they have a negative relationship with their body or exercise, and it's a constant kind of overriding your body, or being annoyed with your body or frustrated with your body. And that was me.

[00:08:11.940] – Robin

I was pretty frustrated with my body all the time. I had really poor body image. I was constantly trying to change myself. I just was never happy with how I looked, or my inner critic was really loud, and it really ran the show. And so exercise before Pilates, for me, was like, I need to burn more calories. I've got to get my waist smaller. I've got to burn off what I ate last night. It was just this sort of negative thought loop, which puts a negative connotation with exercise. So when I found Pilates, it allowed me to rebuild a new connection of, like, wow, this feels like I'm recognizing how I feel in my body. I was dealing with really bad back pain and really bad shoulder and neck tension as well as really debilitating anxiety. At the time I found Pilates, I also found that the benefit of taking that time to connect with my body while also building strength, while also stretching and getting my mobility improved. Oh my gosh. My neck pain started going away, my back pain lessened, my energy was up. I didn't have that same feeling of being exhausted after a workout.

[00:09:20.220] – Robin

I actually felt more energized to go into my day. So it was a big shifting point for me. And I think a lot of people have a misconception about Pilates, that it's just stretching or it's a relaxing form of exercise. While it is mindful, it is a great workout and it is a great way to build functional strength. And so I think it's great for everyone to consider how it could fit into their fitness routine.

[00:09:44.750] – Allan

Yeah, well, I could just tell you, when one of my clients is doing the bird dog, they are present. They are 100% present with where they are right there, and they are not thinking this is just an easy stretching routine. This is building core strength where it matters most. A lot of these movements are very challenging. It's something you're going to have to work towards because it's not just something that's inherently natural to people to start with, but anybody can do it.

[00:10:11.010] – Robin

Yeah, absolutely. I used to work in a gym and it was a glass studio, and I used to love when people would walk by and then they would say, that looks relaxing. And I'd say, come join me for my next class. And they would experience a different kind of challenge because it is not strenuous in the sense that it doesn't put as much strain on your joints as some form of exercise. It's a great low impact form of exercise, especially for people who need to make that adjustment in their life due to stressful circumstances or joint concerns and things like that. But it calls your entire body into action and really focuses on the core, but as well as some smaller accessory muscles that you may not target as effectively in other repetitive forms of exercise. Even I think of I work with a lot of runners or cyclists who we tend to build certain muscle groups that support that activity. So Pilates is a great way to make sure you're balancing out the rest of your body so you can go do those other activities without injury or pain.

[00:11:13.830] – Allan

One of the things I like about it is pretty much all you need are comfortable clothes and maybe a mat. You can do a workout right in your living room or bedroom or hotel room or wherever you are. You can get that you don't have to invest in a ton of equipment, although there are pieces of equipment that you can utilize in your practice.

[00:11:33.050] – Robin

Yeah, I think that's a big misconception for some people. So I'm so glad you brought that up. A lot of people think you do have to be in a studio with the reformer or these contraptions that you see, but you don't. You can do mat Pilates, and that is the foundation of the practice. And like you said, I always say you can do it with a mat. You can do it in a hotel room. I used to do my Pilates in my bathroom for years because it was the only place that I could get a little separation from my four little kids and lock the door. And you can do it. So I think that's important for everyone to know.

[00:12:07.530] – Allan

Yeah. And it's a type of workout that's not a no pain, no gain thing. It's something you build up to, and you build the practice. You get stronger, you get more mobile, and you build balance. A lot of it's about balance as well. So it's a good exercise across multiple modalities. It's not going to be cardiovascularly challenging or anything like that, but this is more about balance and strength and all those things that you're building. And again, the fact that you can do it just about anywhere with just a mat or maybe even without a mat, if you're so inclined, if get soft carpet, you could probably do it there. But you don't have to have that big investment, which I think makes it a very good practice to do. And it's not that you even have to do the whole workouts. It's just you find certain things that are serving you, and you can kind of incorporate those movements. I actually can watching some of the workouts that you had, there's just a QR code in the book. You just hit it, and then there it is, the videos right there, which I thought was great.

[00:13:08.010] – Allan

I already used some of those movements with my clients. They're already doing some of those. And I'm like, okay, well, I never would have really just said that was Pilates, but that may actually be where that came from, I don't know. But it is a part of the workout, and you can build that in. So it can be a part of your warm up, it can be a part of your workout. It can be the workout across the board.

[00:13:29.090] – Robin

Yeah, definitely. And historically, actually, pilates hasn't been so accessible. It really has been reserved for if you have a lot of money to go into a studio and take private classes and trainings or a lot of people don't have Pilates studios even in their area, that's convenient for them. So for me, that's a big reason of taking Pilates online. And that's what I do for a living, is I'm the founder of Lindywell, which is a place to find online Pilates workouts. There are also some in the book, included in the book. But the reason for that is I wanted to make it more accessible. It's like this should not be reserved just for the people who have the big budgets and the access to the studios, but everybody should have access to these type of exercises to support them. So I'm really passionate about that.

[00:14:16.340] – Allan

Good. Now, earlier you talked about kind of some of your headspace stuff when you first started this out with Body Image and all the other things that go on. And the way you put this in the book, this was one of your ten components, was and you started with it, which I was like, good, I'm glad you did this. We're not throwing nutrition and fitness and all this stuff in and then later on saying, well, you should. This was the first thing and you called it reframe. And in the book you gave us five reframes. Could you kind of talk through what those are and why they're important?

[00:14:49.530] – Robin

And you nailed it. And I'm sure you can relate to this. What I get asked the most usually as a professional in the fitness industry, and I'm sure you do too, is just what am I supposed to do? Tell me what to eat. Tell me how to exercise. I want the plan. I want the practicality. And that is why it's the first chapter of the book, because you can't even get to movement. You can't even get to the food component. If you haven't, you can. However, I don't recommend, and you will be much less successful if you don't first stop and consider how you're approaching things, the lens in which you're viewing this. And I speak pretty directly to women in the book, but I want to also share that this would apply to many people regardless. But there's some messaging that we've received for years that we may not even notice how that's kind of creeped into what we believe about exercise or what we believe about food or what it means to be healthy. So we talk about changing the way we think. That's the first step. And so in reframing, the first reframe is that wellness doesn't always equal weight loss.

[00:15:53.090] – Robin

And I know even putting that in the front of the book, some people are not going to like that.

[00:15:59.970] – Allan

If I lost 20 pounds, my whole life would be so wonderful.

[00:16:03.880] – Robin

Yeah. And that's why I want to get healthy. Right. I know that's kind of not the best news for some people. However, it can be because what we're looking at is true wellness. Right? And I think we have gotten the two confused at times. I was just talking about before and after photos. Nothing inherently wrong with before and after photos. However, what do they show? They show one aspect of progress and success, which is the physical appearance. Right. And we know that health and true wellness is about so much more than that. The number on the scale or the physical, what you see in a before and after photo. So true wellness in order to pursue it to really be well. And it's called well to the core. So to truly become well in both body and mind, we do have to say, you know what, it's about more than that. And we have to expand our view and recognize that just because something helps you lose weight doesn't always mean it's healthy, right? And so those two things are not the same. So it's first just calling out that truth so that then you can widen your view as you move forward in your health and wellness journey. So that's the first.

[00:17:13.720] – Robin

The second is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. And this is something that I think just creeps in honestly through years of dieting and years of going on programs where you're either on program or off program, right? And then we start to develop this mentality of, okay, I'm on, I'm doing this diet, I'm doing this thing. And then as soon as you have a day where you skip a workout or you go out to dinner with your family and you don't eat what's on your meal plan, what do we all do? We think,

[00:17:48.790] – Allan

I'll blew it and I may as well just stick with what I'm doing and I'll start back on Monday,

[00:17:53.710] – Robin

start back on Monday.

[00:17:55.020] – Allan

It doesn't matter if it's Wednesday. I'll start back on Monday.

[00:17:57.100] – Robin

Start back on Monday. And then like a Monday and it's like, well, maybe next Monday because I have a birthday party this week, right? And we've all been there. So it's not about applying guilt to that or shame. It's actually just about recognizing that the more we stay in that all or nothing mentality, the more we set ourselves up to stay in that pattern of starting and stopping and never actually seeing true progress. So we have to first intentionally reframe. It's not about all or nothing. In fact, we know that this is for our lifetime, that we want to be well. And so focusing on those small changes, those small steps, and recognizing you're going to have ups and downs along the way is a necessary reframe in order to actually build the habit of consistency and stay consistent. The next reframe is success and failure are not defined by outward appearance. So this kind of goes a little bit back towards speaking of those before and after photos and speaking of just how we can get this hyper fixation on if I'm healthy, I will look like this. Or in order to be healthy and be well, I have to hit this goal weight.

[00:19:07.080] – Robin

Or I have to have this ideal physique that I see plastered all over social media or wherever it might be when I actually ran that through my lens, because I used to think this way all the time. That's totally how I thought too. But I started thinking, what is success really for me? Really for me at this stage? In my life and the mother that I want to be to my kids, and the wife I want to be to my husband, and the business owner I want to be. It's success. I say some things in the book. It's actually getting dressed without falling into a spiral of negative thoughts about the way I look. That's actually more success to me than do I look the way I have idealized myself I want to look. It's actually about the process. I want to get dressed, not fall into a negative shame spiral about myself and go live my life with my family and my kids. Success for me is putting on a swimsuit and jumping in the pool with my kids instead of hiding under a cover up because I'm so consumed with insecurity about what others might think about me.

[00:20:11.140] – Robin

Right? And again, that's regardless of the size and shape of my body, so it's not, I have to get the swimsuit body before I do that. That's an approach to life. I want to jump in that pool. I want to build that confidence regardless of what the scale says that day. And success is freeing up my headspace that used to be full of rules and inner critic that is just constantly beating myself up so that I can show up as the best version of myself for my kids. For myself, I can model positive body image and self care and self love. So again, it's just about doing some work. And I get into this in the book. But to really start to redefine what success actually looks like for you, not just inheriting what we've been told success looks like on the health and wellness journey.

[00:20:57.610] – Allan

That's a tough one, but when you get that done, it's a pretty cool place to be.

[00:21:01.960] – Robin

It's a tough one. I think sometimes, too, we're scared to take away the esthetic goals because we think then we might be less motivated. I've noticed that in myself or in my clients. But I found that it's actually when you get to your deeper why, that's when the motivation sticks. That's when you really start to see, and I know you've shared this in your journey of that for you, of what's your deeper why, what is this really about?

[00:21:34.190] – Robin

and then there's another reframe, which is it is possible to replace guilt with grace. And so this is another reframe in order to get through the whole rest of the book and get through how to actually make improvements in your health and well being. We have a saying at Lindy well, that's grace over guilt. We choose grace over guilt. And again, with that all or nothing mentality that so many of us get stuck in that, oh, shoot, I messed up, I'm going to throw in the towel. I'll start again on Monday, or I'll start again when school starts, when the kids are back in school or after the holidays, whatever it might be when we get stuck in that habit, that pattern, we're just piling guilt on ourselves. We may not like, I feel so guilty. I feel like a failure. I feel like I can't ever follow through. And some of this is subconscious, but it builds over time. What we want to do is get to a place where we can say, I can extend self compassion to myself on this journey if I skip a workout today, I'm human. This is a part of the journey.

[00:22:36.910] – Robin

This is life, right? I don't actually have to layer on and define myself as a failure or define myself as someone who can never stick to anything. I can actually say, you know what? I had a really busy day. I had meetings that went over. I didn't feel good, my kids were sick, whatever it might be. And I'm going to extend Grace to myself, and I'm just going to start fresh the next day, and I'm just going to keep starting fresh. And when you have a little mantra like that, that you can hold on to, it gives you that opportunity to keep moving forward instead of going in these starts and stops that really keep you stuck.

[00:23:11.070] – Allan

Yeah. So one of the things that you brought up is this is another one of your components is listening. And this is an interesting one because I've just really started getting into that headspace with how this all works because I focus so much on what are the inputs? What are the inputs, what are the inputs? And so the inputs are well, what food am I putting in my body? What movement am I doing today? What's my self talk like? Because all of those are just general inputs. How toxic is my environment? How toxic are my relationships? All of those I've always known, okay, those are inputs that you're either going to serve me or they're not. But you got into the book and you started talking about the other side of that conversation because conversations are supposed to have two sides, not just the inputs, but the outputs. And your body is giving you outputs all the time. It's telling you you're hungry. It's telling you you're thirsty. It's telling you you're sleepy. It's telling you you're fatigued. It's telling you skip this workout and sleep in. Your body is telling you these things. And we've been trained our whole lives to not.

[00:24:20.930] – Allan

Yeah, you got to go to the bathroom, but the bell isn't going to ring for another ten minutes. So wait, she's not going to give you a hall pass. We're taught wait, we're told not, listen to our body. Don't eat. Because if you eat, you're going to gain weight even though you're hungry or you're having this desire for something that you know is not going to serve you. And now here you are not listening to your body to try to understand what it's actually telling you. Can you talk a little bit about how we can listen to our body and particularly as we get older and then I think the other key one here, which is really important, because this is really where it's hard, is trusting ourselves that what we're hearing is a valid concern. It's something we do need to do because it is important to us. Can you kind of talk through that? Because I think this is a fascinating topic.

[00:25:16.550] – Robin

And it is. And I want to first call out that it's complicated, right? So I talk a lot in the book about how this is a practice that we need to practice and kind of rebuild the skill of because you're exactly right. I mean, we've been told in so many ways for years how to override our body's signals, right? And that comes in so many different ways. So, like you said, from not necessarily being able to go to the bathroom when you need to go to the bathroom, from being told there's all the sayings in the fitness world of no pain, no gain. If it doesn't hurt, it's not worth it. Like this kind of attitude. And I understand that. So I think that's important to acknowledge where you're at in your journey. You might be in one place and it's like, oh, this is the other side of the conversation. I need to grow in a little bit or I'm really good at this part of the conversation and I need to focus a little more here on pushing myself a little harder. Right? So I want to call out the nuance of that. But we do ingrain a lot of messages that are basically ignore your body signals, especially if we've grown up with any kind of guilt around food or dieting.

[00:26:30.750] – Robin

That's a big one right there, right? Like, oh, I shouldn't eat that. I should eat less. My tummy is growling, but I'm not supposed to eat until I've already had my snacks today, right? Like, I can't eat until dinner. And what this does is it's confusing. It's sending really confusing signals to our body and we end up confused as a result. Like, why should it be so hard? Our body is incredible and there is so much we could do. A whole podcast episode around the body's, communication and how it tells us things and even how when we are experiencing different things, how it expresses through the body, different life changes what happens in our body. You cannot deny that the two are connected. And so what I talk about in the book is building the habit, building the muscle to begin to listen to your body again and doing so in really practical ways. So different checkpoints throughout your day, even of I mean, right now, in this moment, we could even just if you're listening to this podcast, you can even just pause if you're not driving, close your eyes for a second or if you're driving, please

[00:27:33.890] – Robin

Keep your eyes open and just even just do a body, like a quick scan, like, what do I need right now? And it's so simple. But we get so busy and we're onto the next thing and we've got a meeting coming up and we've got this and DA DA DA, that we may not even notice that we're hungry or we're thirsty or our back hurts. God, I didn't even notice. Maybe I need to get up and walk around. My hip is starting to ache. But I've just been ignoring it because I got to get this work done. And so finding little ways to build the practice and I think the confidence piece and learning to trust ourselves again is a really important piece of it because I think we are afraid. I've seen this in myself and in other people. We're afraid to trust ourselves. We've lost that trust in ourselves because we're afraid. If I listen to my body, maybe I'll make the bad choice. I say that with air quotes, the bad choice, or I'll make the wrong choice, or I'll go overindulge in this area or I'll binge eat or I'll never work out because I don't want to.

[00:28:39.400] – Robin

And I get that. But that actually is a result of not being in tune with our body in the first place, those things that we're trying to avoid. So it's almost a little counterintuitive to say actually, the more we learn and develop the muscle and the confidence in listening to what our body truly needs, the more likely we actually then are to be able to make the choices that serve and support our body. But it can be a little scary to give up a little bit of that control of following rules or trying to override our body in an effort to quote, unquote, be good.

[00:29:13.410] – Allan

Yeah, the whole be good thing. Yeah, that gets me because you run into people and they'll say, well, I'm going to this place and it's like, I'm going to meet with my friends and I know I'm going to want to have a drink. I'm blowing it, right? I'm being bad. And I'm like, well, are you going to have a good connection with your friends? This is going to be a meaningful event for you, a chance for you to connect and have conversations and fun and to laugh and to have joy. And they're like, yeah. And I said, and have a damn beer. Your grown ass woman or your grown ass man, have a drink, enjoy yourself. Don't go crazy, but choose to do this. So it's in you to be the person you want to be, but you have to own your decisions and you have to know why you're making the decision. So it isn't something that's just automatic, because if it's automatic, it's a bad habit or it's a habit and you can make the decision. But the reality of it is you're either making a choice or you're making a choice to not make a choice.

[00:30:22.910] – Robin

Yeah, Right. And in that moment, too, the more we can connect, right? Think you're going out to drinks with your friends and you're forced with a decision. Right? We have them all day long. But this is one where you're like okay, what do I want to do in this situation? The more in tune you are with your body and how you're feeling and how you want to feel and have built up more of that connection, the easier it is to choose something like that. Because you might say this is in the book, but I went through a long series of just struggling with my health in a few different ways of burnout and hormonal imbalances, and I had all these things that really my energy. Let's just say I was, like, flatlined. So my goal, what I needed to do was listen to my body. I was not resting. I was not taking care of myself in the way I was being hyperproductive and doing really great in that area, but not in the rest, not in the recovery, not in recognizing my body. Was saying, hey, slow down. Like, slow down. And so, for example, when I would go there to have a drink with my friends, I was like, okay,

[00:31:32.720] – Robin

Alcohol for me at the time didn't work very well with me. Like I was very sensitive to it. I didn't sleep well. If I had it So I was making a choice in that moment, though. Okay. How do I feel today? Do I feel rested, well fed, energized. If so, I think this is actually a good time for me to have a drink with my friends. If I'm feeling depleted and I'm tired, I know I haven't been sleeping good, then alcohol is just actually going to have a worse effect on me. And I'm going to feel even worse after just one drink. So this is a time where I should have a soda water with lime. But I wouldn't have made those decisions as consciously if I wasn't as in tune with how I was feeling, what my body was needing in that given season, day or week.

[00:32:16.410] – Allan

Yeah. And I think that's another important thing is as we go through life, things happen. Women go through their child rearing and raising days. Which four? Oh, my goodness. But you chose that because you listened to yourself.

[00:32:30.580] – Robin

Well, I had twins.

[00:32:36.050] – Allan

And you got four. Overachiever. But that was a thing you'd said in the book. You were asking for advice from other people, and you weren't just truly sitting back and saying for who I am and who I want to be and where I am, my seasons. What do I want? What do I need? And then you did. You stopped and said, okay. No, this is my decision. This is my I'm going to listen to me and what's in me. And Then You made the decision to move forward. That takes a lot of trust.

[00:33:11.290] – Robin

Yeah, we have so much information these days. We have information

[00:33:18.350] – Allan

you can go on Quora and ask them any question at all, and someone will answer it.

[00:33:23.250] – Robin

Right. And then the podcasts that we love, but Instagram and the articles and the news and we have so much information and it's great. And we have more access to experts than ever, which is so great. But sometimes as we do lose the ability to say, well, what works for me? Let's look at my life. Let's look at my daily routine. Like, I see this person over here who's saying, wake up at 05:00 a.m. Meditate for 30 minutes, 30 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of weight, fast until noon. Right? I'm just giving an example of maybe what you see someone doing and you're like, yeah, okay, so that's what I should be doing. And then you look at your life and you're like, well, no, okay. I'm up with a sleepless baby all throughout the night, and my hormones are out of balance. And so my decision should be totally different than what I'm getting from out there. So I think that is that making sure you turn in and you say, run this through your filter. What season are you in? What stage of life are you in? And this can look can be stage of life oriented in terms of where you're at in your career.

[00:34:37.100] – Robin

It could be related to your age. It could be related to your health. You may be in a season where, gosh, you've had a shift in your health or you have an injury or you have something going on that requires you to make a change and think differently about what healthy looks like for you in this season. For example, when I was in that season of Burnout, pushing myself hard with high intensity workouts was actually not healthy for me. Right. But for you or for someone else or my husband or someone else during that time, that was a great healthy choice for him. So bringing it back to what season are you in. Listening to your body and recognizing what is it about you, your unique situation of life that you need to consider what is best for you and not other people and what everyone else is just saying.

[00:35:28.500] – Allan

Yeah. Now, one of your other components was choose. And this is another one I like because you've probably heard me use the word choose several times, is that once we own up to being the human we are and being in control of who we are and we start doing some good things for ourselves, we're going to have to make choices. And kind of the big one is who do you want to be when you grow up? So you're going to make these choices. And some of the things that you're going to have to do to make that happen are to make new habits and to invest in change. Because so often people think, well, I'll just do what I've done before and that should work. And then it doesn't. Wait a minute. I used to be able to do this and then it helped. And I would lose the weight or I'd feel the way I wanted to feel. I'd be where I wanted to be, the clothes would fit, things would be right. And now I'm doing the things I used to do and they're not there. And so just recognizing and asking or choosing to ask for help I think are really important aspects.

[00:36:32.230] – Robin

Yeah, I agree. And I'm sure you see that all of the time with your clients and the people you work with. Is it's an intentional choice? And I talk about this in the book. I like that you said, who do you want to be when you grow up? That never stops, right? So I'm looking at still who I want to be when I grew up, and we have to be intentional with that. So I love to say, think of the type of person you want to be. Write it on paper. There's an activity in the book, every chapter has action steps at the end. Just kind of put stuff into practice and I guide you through this vision process in the book. But a short version of it, it's like, write a vision of who you want to be. What does this person do? They're active, they're energetic, they're vibrant, they travel. Very few people are going to write a vision that's like they're immobile and have a lot of

[00:37:30.240] – Allan

I live just like my mother does. No, that's not my path.

[00:37:35.820] – Robin

That's not right. If you actually stop and paint that picture of where you want to go and we don't really do that. We kind of just think. We think where I am now and maybe what my next step is next week. And but if we actually look at who do you want to be? And then we create that vision when we do that, then we actually get to make a choice to say, okay, now I'm going to start acting as that person would act, right? So what would that future version of myself do? And she would probably go for a walk instead of sitting here scrolling her phone for another 30 minutes. She would drink some more water instead of maybe the 6th, 7th cup of coffee. These different things. You start to get a vision for where you want to go. And it's a choice. And every day it's a choice. And here's the good thing with grace over guilt is like, you're going to make choices against that sometimes. But actually, if your vision is someone who lives in balance and someone who has a sustainable lifestyle, you're never too far off from where you're headed.

[00:38:47.200] – Robin

And I also think it's intentional, and I share this in the book, but you also have to choose the way in which you go about it. Because in the book I challenge quite a few of the traditional views of fitness and weight loss and health. And it's a choice for me every day to hold true to that approach. It's really easy to get distracted or to get pulled into conversations that are toxic and not healthy or to want to hop on the latest trend or craze with some friends because everybody's doing it. No, I'm choosing to take this to truly pursue wellness to my core, to truly take this approach. And that, again, is like a daily choice for who I want to be, for myself, for my kids, what I want to model for them. And you have to be willing to invest in it. And I know you talk about that as well, but we're so much better at investing in other people and other things than ourselves. And the reality is that if we don't invest in ourselves, whether that's in time with our finances, with effort and energy, we're never going to see the change that we're hoping to make.

[00:40:00.780] – Robin

And so I want everybody to know, and I talk about this in the book, is it's really about you're worth it? And that takes time. For some people that's like, yeah, that's great. But to really understand that if you are not well, if you are not able to show up, then you're not able to love and care for the people around you in the same way. Right? So we have to first, and I know that we hear this a lot, but we have to really recognize that if we are not well, everything else is going to suffer.

[00:40:32.990] – Allan

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

[00:40:42.930] – Robin

Yeah, I love that because I love that you include happiest in there and I would say kind of goes back to the way in which we're viewing things like we've talked about a lot today. So first thing we'd say would be ensuring that you are not falling victim to the all or nothing mentality. So that even just asking yourself frequently is going to open your eyes to where you're holding on to that, whether it's in your workouts or in your food or some other area of your life where you think you have to be perfect in order to make progress. So busting that lie and bringing yourself back to that regularly. Two, I would say rediscovering the joy in movement. So finding a way to move that you enjoy, that you feel so good afterwards, that you love having as a part of your life. There are so many forms of movement and I think sometimes we think I have to do this or I have to do that. Find what you love. If you love walking, walk more. If you love dancing, sign up for a dance class. If you love Pilates and that gets you on your mat every day, do that.

[00:41:45.490] – Robin

If you love weight training, then go do that. But understand that it's really about movement. Like, if we're really looking long term, the more you move, the healthier you'll be. So find something you love and enjoy. And then the third thing I would say is that choosing grace over guilt for yourself. So recognizing that when you have an off day or you skip a workout or you make a choice you didn't intend to make, you don't have to sit in the guilt and shame in that. You can extend grace and self compassion and kindness to yourself, because you're just human, just like everybody else, and you can start fresh the next day. So holding on to that grace over guilt mantra as you continue on your health and wellness journey.

[00:42:25.720] – Allan

Thank you for sharing those with us. So, Robin, if someone wanted to learn more about you and your book, Well to the Core, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:42:34.400] – Robin

Yeah, so you can go to lindywell.com. That's lindywell.com all one word. You can also find the book anywhere. You will purchase books. So Amazon or bookshop or Barnes and Noble. And I would just love for you to check it out. Like you said, there's recipes in the book. There's QR codes for free Pilates workouts, so you can give it a try. And there's also an offer to get a free month of the Lindy Well app when you purchase the book as well. So I think you'll have a link to that in the show notes as well.

[00:43:04.060] – Allan

Yeah, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/610, and I'll have the links there. Robin, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:43:14.070] – Robin

Thank you so much for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:43:16.430] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:43:17.690] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This is kind of a neat discussion coming from the viewpoint of a Pilates instructor. She has a lot of reframing mindset, kinds of things that she must have learned as she's coached or been an instructor.

[00:43:32.220] – Allan

Yeah, well, a lot of it came from her own experiences. I can't say I know what it's like to be a young girl with body images, but I was a young guy, and I could tell you we have body images, too. We still do. Still a little young guy, I guess. Depends on how you look at it. But we do have to reframe. We have to sit back and realize that change is a mental thing. It is hardly ever physical. Yes, we have to do the work. We have to do the work. That's the thing. But to get there, you have to work through the mental blocks. You have to look at this and say, okay, what do I really want? And as silly as it sounds, and people say, Well, I want to lose weight and I'm like, well, okay, do you really want to lose weight? Then the answer is, well, yeah. And I'm like, so what's going to happen if you lose weight? Well, then I'll be able to fit in that dress. I says, So you want to fit in a smaller dress size? If you weighed 100 pounds more and fit in that dress size, would you be okay with that?

[00:44:43.770] – Allan

Of course. There's a little bit of smell of smoke as the brain starts turning. It's like, what do you mean? It's like, well you could weigh more and be that size if you had more muscle mass. I mean, maybe not 100 pounds more, but you could weigh more than you do now and be in that trust size. So is it really weight that you're worried about? Weight just happens to be the convenient thing you can measure.

[00:45:06.700] – Rachel

Well, that's just it. It's the easiest thing. Everybody's got a scale in their house. But I think that we place so much value on that scale. And just speaking of the mindset part, the number that's on that scale does not define who we are as a person. It doesn't define how kind we are to other people or how smart we are or how good we are at our jobs. There's just so many other facets that are way more important. But just to bring this round back to being health, at the end of the day, we want to be healthy and we want to be happy, and we want to be fit enough to be able to live an appropriate lifestyle or a happy fit lifestyle. And so that number on that scale has almost nothing to do with any of those things versus how we accomplish being healthy or happy or fit or all of the above.

[00:45:59.490] – Allan

I have a client, and he hired me because his blood pressure was high. I can't tell you how happy I was when that was the conversation we were having. Well, he knew he probably needed to lose some weight, so that was also on his mind. But he knew he'd probably end up losing weight to make this happen. And he kind of had a number in his head because we all do. We just know, okay, when I was this weight, that was when I felt my best and DA DA DA DA. So we all kind of have that number, but his number was blood pressure. And the interesting thing was he started eating right, he started moving right, and his blood pressure dropped down below into the normal range like that. I mean, literally, we're in a twelve week program and he's four weeks in. He's like, well, that goal is done. And he lost some weight. He's gained a little back. He's lost a little, he's gained it back. So he's kind of seesawing in this little zone, he knows he could probably be thinner, but he's like, that's not what I want.

[00:47:08.970] – Allan

Esthetics is not the goal. I've got my blood pressure where I want. I feel good. I've got lots of energy. I'm enjoying time with my family and doing the things I enjoy doing, which was really what all of this was about for him.

[00:47:22.060] – Rachel

That's huge.

[00:47:23.060] – Allan

Now he's got some injuries to work through and stuff, so he can do everything he wants to do. But it's just one of those things of saying no, wellness was the goal, right? And some people are going to want to measure weight if I just said, okay, I've got a wellness program. I help you lower your blood pressure if it's high, help you improve other blood markers if they're off, help you get off of some medications that you might need to be on today, but you might not need to be on for the rest of your life. That was another conversation I had with someone, was he had changed his life. This guy's changed his life. He's lost over 40 pounds and his blood pressure and everything was his numbers were, like, coming down and coming down fast. So he told his doctor he wanted to get off the medication. His doctor is like, no, you're going to be on this medication for the rest of your life. Okay? Personally want to choke that doctor out right now, but

[00:48:17.870] – Rachel

time to find another doctor.

[00:48:19.490] – Allan

Well, what he did what he did, and again, I don't condone this, but he just decided he was going to take himself off of his own medications. Now, again, I don't condone that. You should talk to your doctor. Find another doctor. If that doctor doesn't want to do the change, doesn't want to help you taper it down. But he just went off of it, and he came back to his next blood test, and his numbers were perfect. And his doctor says, just keep doing what you're doing. He's like, Doc, I stopped taking all the meds. He's like, oh, okay. Well, then stop taking don't take the meds anymore. Again, that's practice, that's medical practice for you right there. Again, time for an exam with a doctor. I am not a doctor, but I can just tell you that some doctors believe you're not going to be able to change your lifestyle, and you're going to need those medications for the rest of your life. That's what they've seen in almost all of their client, other patients. So they're not thinking in terms of you doing the change because it's hard. It's a mindset thing, like I said.

[00:49:15.390] – Allan

And most people don't do the mindset work at all. They just try a diet, they lose some weight, and then they gain it all back. And what the doctor doesn't want to do is get you off of the medications because you did lose the weight, and now you're going to put it all back on, and a year later, he's going to put you back on all those meds. Again, he doesn't want to do that. He just says, we'll just keep you on the meds because you're going to probably gain all that way back. I know that's why the guy's thinking that way. But again, if you change your lifestyle, you could change your life. And so weight is not the answer. It did happen that the guy lost 40 pounds as a part of changing his behaviors. The way he ate, the way he moved, the way he did things, the weight came off as a side effect.

[00:49:58.430] – Rachel

I love that.

[00:49:59.300] – Rachel

And you've said that before in other podcast episodes, Allan, that the weight can be the side effect of what changes you make in your lifestyle. And I think that really takes a lot of pressure off because especially when you're trying to focus on losing weight, you're focused on you're measuring every little calorie you eat and you're running or exercising at the gym far more than what you really need to, and it's just too much pressure. So when you kind of take that off your plate and focus on having fun at the gym or doing fun activities, then weight is a side effect. And that's awesome. That's way more easy and more fun.

[00:50:37.180] – Allan

It is. One of the things about her book is that she goes through it and she really does that deep dive into mindset throughout the book. And I think that's core you mentioned, the guilt, grace over guilt and that type of thing, we've talked about that before, too. It's a slip to success that I talk about it's like, okay, it happened, forgive yourself. And then can we not do that again? What will we do next time? Look forward. What can we do next time? And then just do it. Go. We have the power to learn and change. So a failure is not a failure unless you quit.

[00:51:19.010] – Rachel


[00:51:19.880] – Allan

And then that's your last statement, I'm out, and then that's your last statement. So, yeah, it was a failure if it made you quit, so don't let it. Learn from it.

[00:51:31.200] – Rachel

And then exactly, yeah, it's a learning experience. And the last thing I want to mention real quick, too, is that she talked at the end about listening to your body, which we talk about that all the time. We need to pay attention to what our body is telling us because it is sending signals. But she was saying how if she wasn't feeling super great, but she wanted to go out for a night with the girls and instead of drinking with them, she drank water because she wasn't feeling great. But if she was feeling good that night, then she could have a drink with the girls. And I think that she was trying to get to is that we are

[00:52:05.270] – Rachel

At different phases in our lives. Some days we're feeling at peak shape and we could extend ourselves some grace and have a few treats every now and then but if we're not feeling great, why add fuel to that fire and then have too many drinks or too much junk food or something and make ourselves feel worse? We need to really pay attention to where we are at each stage in our life. I thought that was really pretty awesome.

[00:52:28.800] – Allan

Yeah. Treat your body like you love it.

[00:52:31.860] – Rachel

Yeah, that's so true. Yeah, we need it.

[00:52:37.350] – Allan

Yes, we need it. It's the only home we got.

[00:52:39.960] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:52:41.570] – Allan

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

[00:52:44.470] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[00:52:45.420] – Allan

You, too. Bye.

[00:52:46.650] – Rachel

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


September 26, 2023

Men’s health with Dr. Neil Baum

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Men have a lot more going on downstairs than it may seem. On episode 609 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we bring back Dr. Neil Baum to discuss issues around men's health including the prostate, osteoperosis, and telehealth from his new book, Men's Health Guide: Expert Answers to the Questions You Don't Always Ask.


Let's Say Hello

Note: Because Coach Allan is on vacation, there is no hello session for this episode.


[00:02:49.430] – Allan

Dr. Baum, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:02:52.950] – Dr. Baum

Allan, it's so good to be back and talk with you about something near and dear to me, and that is my baby for the past two years. It's very interesting. When you write a book, every person who's a good cook, someone says, you ought to open up a restaurant, or every doctor who's approached, oh, that's really a good idea. You need to write a book. Well, let me tell you that you don't open a restaurant or you don't write a book with the idea that it's going to take off and you're going to be on the New York Times bestseller list. It doesn't work that way. And also, it takes longer to write a book than to have a baby. So when I say, this is my baby, you know, I really mean it?

[00:03:44.730] – Allan

Yeah, I do. When I wrote my book, I got it done in a little over nine months. And that was fast. Everybody's like, how did you write a book? Well, I didn't do anything else. I mean, this was all I did was write a book. So when that's all you're doing, it can seem like it's pretty fast. But if you're actually trying to live a life and enjoy yourself and actually get some other things done, it is a lot of work. And the books that you've put out, it's like, okay, I know a lot has happened in science and technology and in the medical field in the last five years, but this was really good. I learned more about my body in this book than I think anything else I've read in a long, long time. And the interesting thing was, well, as a guy, we've got this really interesting organ in our body. It's called a prostate. And what seems like a fairly benign function that we like to use as often as we can, but it can go wonky when we get older and cause us a good bit of grief as we get older.

[00:04:54.280] – Allan

And as a man, and I deal with the same thing every other man does, is we don't want to go to the doctor. We don't want to complain about things. And so sometimes this prostate can get in our way and make our lives really uncomfortable and deadly. At some levels, it's the second largest cancer or most common cancer is prostate cancer. And while it doesn't kill as effectively as, say, lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, it is still a very dangerous thing and something we've got to be very careful about. And I just really like the way you put this book together and some of your other books that I've read in that you're giving us the guidance to ask the right questions because each of us has our own journey as we deal with these issues. We have to have information to make good decisions, and your book gives us great tools to do that. So I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about your books today.

[00:05:49.650] – Dr. Baum

Well, thank know that is really kind of one of the reasons why I wrote the book, because most men all over America have an attitude. If it ain't broke, you don't have to fix it. And that may apply to your car, but it doesn't apply to this wonderful body that we've been given that we have to take care of. And most men tend to shut down when they go into the doctor's office. They just zip it up. They don't ask the right questions. The majority of men over the age of 50 have heard the word prostate. They don't have a clue where it is and what it does. And so that's why I think a book like this is really important and why I'm so delighted to participate in this podcast because we have the opportunity to get the word out, to help educate men, to make them informed so they can make good decisions about their health.

[00:06:58.550] – Allan

Now, the first thing I want to talk about is I want to talk about the kind of almost aging natural thing that's going to happen, and that is that our prostate is likely to enlarge as we get older. The symptoms we most frequently recognize are I have to go to the bathroom a lot more often. And so it's kind of the old man of okay, or you're waking up a few different times during the night to go to the bathroom, and then you're up again to go again more often than you probably should be. So let's talk about why the prostate enlarges and what we can or should do about that.

[00:07:32.200] – Dr. Baum

All right, let me start by describing a little bit the anatomy of the prostate and its function. The prostate, normally up until the age of 50, is a walnut sized organ, and it surrounds the tube going from the bladder to the outside of the body. That tube going through the penis is called the urethra urethra. And that tube is surrounded by the prostate like a doughnut. And the tube goes inside the doughnut. As men get older, for reasons not entirely understood, that prostate gland enlarges. And as it enlarges, it presses down on that tube that goes through the penis. As a result, men, the bladder has difficulty squeezing and getting the urine out. And now the man starts to have the symptoms. They start to dribble. The stream is not as strong as it was when they were younger. So a young man in his 20 or 30s can stand a foot or two away from the toilet or the

[00:08:58.200] – Allan

Don't do that though. Your wife will hate you for it. So just stand close.

[00:09:02.830] – Dr. Baum

Yeah, or for sure, when you lift up the seat, put it down. Yes, both of them. I am constantly reminded that I got to put the seat down. So we have a decrease in the force of the stream and we have to stand closer. We dribble after we're done. And so a man who's wearing khaki pants, and he goes to the bathroom and he thinks he's done, and he walks away and he'll have a little circle on his pants reminding him that he wasn't quite done as he thought he was. So now we have the stream. And because the bladder is squeezing harder, it doesn't empty all of its contents. So imagine a gas tank. And the gas tank is always half full, so therefore you don't have to put much more fluid in before you have to go again. So you go frequently. But the issue that really impacts men with this benign condition, it's not malignant, it's benign. Growth of the prostate is getting up at night to urinate. If a man gets up once or twice a night, no big deal. When he starts getting up four or five times a night he doesn't sleep as well.

[00:10:33.160] – Dr. Baum

His sleep is interrupted when he wakes up in the morning, he doesn't feel like he's got a good night's sleep and it's the getting up at night that really impacts the man's quality of life. And often that's what sends him to the doctor for assistance. Most men over the age of 50 start to develop mild to moderate symptoms and it doesn't impact their quality of life. And as a result they tend to have if it ain't broke, don't fix it and they don't get help. However, the majority of men over the age of 60 and 70 have these symptoms and it does affect their quality of life. And as a result they do turn up to the doctor's office and they often seek treatment. The treatment usually in the beginning is medication. There are drugs that are available that can shrink the prostate. There are drugs that can also open up and relax the muscles. But these drugs have side effects. Side effects which include problems with ejaculation. So instead when a man ejaculates, the bladder muscle squeezes and the fluid from the prostate goes outside the body. When you give those medication that relaxes the muscle.

[00:12:19.990] – Dr. Baum

That relaxes the muscle. Now when the man ejaculates, the fluid goes back into his bladder, doesn't hurt anything and it comes out when he urinates. But most men like the fact that the fluid comes out when they ejaculate. It is important to them. Now when the medications don't work or the side effects are uncomfortable, there are now procedures that can be done usually in the doctor's office, that can use lasers, they can use pins to tap the prostate up and widen the opening and decrease the resistance of the flow of urine. And so almost all men who have this problem can be helped. And the majority of it's very common. And the majority of men over the age of 60, 70 and 80 are going to have these symptoms that can significantly impact their quality of life. And the important thing I'd like to get across to our listeners is that it is treatable. Now let's go to prostate cancer. You mentioned you were correct, it's the second most common cause, second most common cancer in men, particularly over the age of 50 second only to cancer of the lung. Both prostate cancer and lung cancer are lethal.

[00:14:04.610] – Dr. Baum

But prostate cancer is very slow growing. The incidence of prostate cancer is about a one in eleven and it usually is the point I want to make if there's anything I'd like to get across during this interview is that early prostate cancer has no symptoms. There are no symptoms. The urination problem is not indicative of prostate cancer. If the prostate cancer grows and it starts to have bleeding and it spreads to bones and other areas of the body, that's too late. And then it's difficult to be cured. And so I want to point out it's a disease of aging, not very common in men under the age of 40. Really very uncommon, a little more common in 50 and 60 by the time someone is 80. Almost all men over the age of 80, if they were to look at their prostate after when they die from heart disease, diabetes or another cancer, and they look at the prostate, they find cancer in the prostate. So my message is that you don't die necessarily from prostate cancer, but you die with it. Now, the good news is that there are screening tests, a blood test, it's called PSA, prostate specific antigen.

[00:15:53.310] – Dr. Baum

It's a very simple blood test. It can be done as an outpatient. And if it is elevated, then there are additional tests and oftentimes a biopsy is required. Now, the important thing to remember is that this is a screening test. It doesn't mean a man has prostate cancer. There are many situations that can increase the PSA. The PSA can even increase if a man has sexual intimacy and has an orgasm and ejaculates the day before the test because the prostate gland squeezes and that can elevate the PSA. Let me back up a second. I never did mention the role of the prostate. When a man is younger, the prostate creates the fluid that allows the sperm to go. And at the time of sexual intimacy, the sperm is in this nutrient fluid, the prostate fluid, and allows it to inseminate and to start the fertilization process and for the couple to have a child. So that's the purpose of the prostate. As we get older, we're not interested in reproducing anymore. The prostate really has no function. It really is bothersome, particularly from the benign enlargement. But the point that I would like to make is that a man should have a discussion with his doctor about screening.

[00:17:45.770] – Dr. Baum

Would the patient want to know that if he is at risk for prostate cancer and the risks are age, the older you are, the more likely you are to have it. African American men have a higher risk than Caucasian men. And the other risk factor is if you have a close relative, brother, uncle, even cousin, it's less with cousin, brother, uncle or father with prostate cancer. That places you at a higher risk. And you probably should start PSA testing earlier, late 40s or early 50s.

[00:18:31.140] – Allan

Now there's also, if I understand right, in the book you were talking about, there's a particular in our genes that's common for women to know that they're at higher risk for breast cancer. And that same mutation also puts us at higher risk for prostate cancer. Is that true?

[00:18:50.040] – Dr. Baum

Yes. The broca gene. Yeah. And it's particularly useful in women because if they have it, they're at increased risk and they need to get mammograms more frequently. If it is used as part of the screening for men. If they have it, then they are at higher risk for prostate cancer, and they too, need to be screened more frequently. When I say screened frequently, it's once a year.

[00:19:21.680] – Allan

Yeah, I had a doctor that wanted me to do the PSA pretty regular, and then I had an incident, actually was an infection not long ago. And the doctor, of course, that's kind of one of the standard things. They sent me in for the PSA. So I've known about the PSA for quite some time. But one thing I learned in your book was that there's more than just PSA. It's a deeper, deeper thing. There's Free PSA. There's Pro PSA. Can you talk a little bit about those? Because I think there's a lot more screening out there than just this one simple little blood test.

[00:19:53.150] – Dr. Baum

Well, it starts with the PSA test, and if that is elevated, they can measure two types of PSA. There's free and bound PSA or free and total PSA. And the free PSA is circulating with not being bound to protein in the bloodstream, and they can take that ratio. And there's a cut off at 25%. And if it is greater than 25%, therefore, that places you at a higher risk for prostate cancer, and you may need to go to the next level, which is a prostate ultrasound and possibly a biopsy. I also point out that part of the examination that a man should have on a regular basis, and I think we are going to talk about healthy lifestyles, and that is the annual exam, which includes what's called the digital rectal exam.

[00:21:04.390] – Allan

Now, heads up real quick. When they say digital, we're not talking electronic. No, that's a different digit. Yeah.

[00:21:14.890] – Dr. Baum

The digital rectal exam. It's uncomfortable? Yes. Painful? Not really, no. It would be equivalent to a woman having a pelvic exam. Women don't like to have a pelvic exam. But it is not painful. It is uncomfortable. And the same thing. Men just don't have things placed there, and it feels like a foreign object in there, and it's uncomfortable. And it lasts 3 seconds.

[00:21:47.330] – Allan

Yeah, at most.

[00:21:49.650] – Dr. Baum

Suck it up, guys. You can handle the digital frequency, so that's part of it. And I recommend that men over the age of 70 stop getting a PSA test. If you have prostate cancer at age 70 or 75, you don't need any treatment. Treatment is not necessary.

[00:22:14.490] – Allan

That's somewhere I wanted to go because you brought up something I think was really important in the book, was this isn't always. I mean, we think cancer and we think, oh my God, I got to do something. But sometimes just actively monitoring yourself is actually the best thing to do because of the downside risks that some of the surgeries could have on us. Can you talk a little bit about that? When would we know? Okay, this is something we definitely need to deal with now, versus we can comfortably sit back and know, yes, I've got the cancer, but it's not going to harm me in the next 5, 10, maybe even 15 years.

[00:22:50.710] – Dr. Baum

You're talking about the advice of active surveillance. So let's say a man has an elevated PSA and he gets a biopsy, and a biopsy has shades of gray. It's not just black and white. There's shades of gray and there are various scores that the pathologists will give. And so there's very almost normal cells that are cancer called well differentiated cells. And then there are highly malignant cells. And if you have well differentiated cells and PSA is mildly elevated between four and ten, mildly elevated active surveillance is definitely appropriate. But that means coming back to the doctor every four to six months and getting a PSA. And if it jumps up significantly and then you might have to have another biopsy. And if that shows more aggressive cancer, then you might have to proceed to definitive treatment. And we can talk about the side effects of treatment and the treatment. Usually if the disease is confined to the prostate, no spread outside the prostate. The two options, common options are surgical removal of the whole prostate gland or radiation therapy. Both of these have adverse events or side effects. And it's often these side effects that discourage men from having the surgery or the radiation.

[00:24:50.020] – Dr. Baum

With the surgery, it'll affect their erections. Their ability to achieve and maintain an erection is diminished. And they can have a problem of loss of urine, which is terrible situation that it can ruin a man's quality of life, and he has to wear a diaper or he has to have additional surgery because of the loss of urine. It's embarrassing. The man often becomes reclusive. They can become depressed. It's a terrible situation for a man, but he needs to know that if he's going to have the surgery. It doesn't occur with radiation, but they can also have a problem of impotence. So let's just say a man 60 years of age, he's sexually active, he has a very low malignancy PSAs between four and ten. Active surveillance, if he's committed to close follow up, is definitely appropriate. Now, take a man 70 years of age, and if he has comorbid conditions, he's let's say diabetic, heart disease, high blood pressure, and has got other medical problems. He has COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He has shortness of breath. He probably isn't going to live five years with all those core morbid conditions. In that situation, I wouldn't recommend that he have surgery because the quality of life that he will have afterwards could be severely affected.

[00:26:52.750] – Dr. Baum

He's already having problems. He's already short of breath. He's already taking five to seven pills a day. Okay? So that man would not be, in my opinion, would not be a candidate for definitive treatment. On the horizon, Allan, are new treatments called focal therapy. Instead of treating the whole gland with radiation or removing the whole gland. They can just go in and do an equivalent as what's called a lumpectomy in a woman with breast cancer. Instead of removing the whole breast, there are certain situations where you just remove the lump. Well, this is the equivalent called the nickname for it is a male lumpectomy that's on the horizon. And there are studies being conducted now and following these men and it looks very promising that if it's caught early enough, listen, if it occupies the whole gland, well, then you remove it. But if it occupies one little tiny area and they can localize that and they can focus on that particular area and destroy that cancer in the prostate, I think that's going to be the way to go. And that's going to be, I think, go mainstream in a very short period of time. Studies are being conducted now for focal therapy.

[00:28:35.950] – Allan

Well, it definitely makes sense because you're going to have fewer side effects and risks associated because you're not removing as much and you're not touching on some of the sensitive areas as much. So it sounds like a really good breakthrough when they get that out there. But what I wanted to come away with in just this whole conversation about the prostate is that when you go in to work with your doctor, you do need to educate yourself so that you can make the right decision with your doctor's guidance. The doctor is not there to make your health decisions for you, but you got to do your homework. You can do a little bit of work here. The good thing about the prostate is that the cancers aren't typically that aggressive. And you do have time, you have time to think, you have time to sit down. It's not a panic kind of situation. Whereas some of the others, when you catch them, you usually have symptoms. You catch those. Now you got to make some decisions, you got to make them pretty quick and your doctor is going to tell you got to make them pretty quick.

[00:29:30.070] – Allan

They're not trying to rush you because they want to do the surgery. They're rushing you because they know it's necessary before it spreads even further. But with prostate, you do have a little bit more time to think about it and make the right decision for you and your family. I want to pivot a little bit because there were a few things that you got into in the book that albeit rare, I think it's so rare. I mean, it's not as rare as we think it is, but it is rare. But it's something we wouldn't even think would ever happen. And I want to get into all of it because there's a lot of them. But one of the big ones was osteoporosis. Men know that women suffer from osteoporosis when they get older because they start out with less bone mass, bone density. They experience it usually earlier and worse. But men can very much suffer from osteoporosis. Can you talk a little bit about that and what's going on there? Because one of the statistics that you had in the book, which was fascinating and scary as heck, is that men are more likely to get hip fractures and have a bad health outcome as a result, much worse so than even women.

[00:30:34.570] – Dr. Baum

Osteoporosis is, in the past, is a disease that women have. Women have osteoporosis when they go through menopause. The lack of estrogen affects the bone mineral density and weakens the bone. The same thing happens in men. Not estrogen, but testosterone, the male hormone. And as a result, bone is always undergoing breakdown and rebuilding. Breakdown and rebuilding. It's in a constant balance. And as long as any bone cells are no longer useful and are replaced by good bone cells, a man's bones are in good shape. However, about one in eight men will have a situation where the breakdown of bone is greater than the remodeling or new bone, and the bone becomes less dense. And osteoporosis in men is a silent disease. The only time they start to have symptoms is when they get a fracture. And they get the common fracture in men is the hip bone and the vertebral bone, the back, the spine. Those vertebral bodies can become crushed, and that can affect the nerves that go in between the two vertebral bodies. And that causes severe, severe pain and discomfort. And there are various risk factors that men need to know about that can result in osteoporosis.

[00:32:26.130] – Dr. Baum

First of all, it's a disease of aging. The older you are, the less your body is going to make new bone. It also has to do with smoking. Smoking significantly increases the risk of osteoporosis family history. If you had a relative, a male relative that had osteoporosis, you're at an increased risk. And testosterone, as men get older, they lose testosterone about 1% to 2% a year, starting around they start losing it around age 30 or 40. So by the time they reach 60, they may have a 40% reduction in testosterone. And that affects the bone. And as a result, these men are at risk for a bone fracture, a hip fracture and the collapse of the vertebral body. Some of the signs of this are a man loses height. A man, let's say, is five foot ten at age 40. At age 60, he may be 5'9 5'8 and a half because those vertebral bodies get smaller and get shrink and the height of the man decreases. They're also the posture of the man, they're a little more bent over. And in bad cases, you can see it in their back. Their back sticks out. The appropriate diagnosis is made by a scan called the DEXA scan.

[00:34:20.280] – Dr. Baum

This is done in most radiology departments. And they can look at that hip and they can tell you, hey, you are really at increased risk and you need to start taking calcium and vitamin D because those are promoters of bone health. You take 1000 milligrams of calcium per day and 600 units of vitamin D. Also, you can get vitamin D for free by sunshine. You go outside and the skin makes vitamin D if you're exposed to sunlight. But if you're at risk for osteoporosis and your DEXA scan indicates that, I would still recommend that a man take vitamin D. And there's other drugs that are available, but those are the simple things. And it's also the recognition if you're at increased risk, you should get this DEXA scan. It's not uncomfortable. Insurance pays for it for the most part. And you can identify those men who are likely to get this and can start supplementing them with the vitamins, the calcium and various medications that can help control it.

[00:35:53.330] – Allan

There's another way to control it's also a lot cheaper resistance training. Within the realm of where you are. Obviously, if you have thin bones and you got issues, you're not going to start throwing a bunch of weight on your back because that's exactly how you get one of those fractures. But being active, doing some resistance training with what you can where you are, that additional resistance training is going to train the bone to be a little bit more dense.

[00:36:18.290] – Dr. Baum

We're talking about like using weights or bands.

[00:36:23.700] – Allan

Or bands.

[00:36:24.590] – Dr. Baum

Or bands, yeah, or walking. Getting outside and having a brisk walk or jog can help. And then also you can be very proactive and protective and avoid high impact exercises like jogging. Instead, convert to swimming. I just bought what's called a rebounder. It's a trampoline. It's about 3ft wide and it has a bar and you can run on this trampoline and watch TV or engage in exercise. And you're getting a kind of a good workout and it's joint protective

[00:37:10.810] – Allan

and it's moving lymph through your system. So you're helping keep your body properly detoxified. You don't need a detox, you just need to move your body because your muscles are going to do everything you really need them to do if you move around enough.

[00:37:23.330] – Dr. Baum

Well, we're going to talk a little bit, I think, about health and fitness and longevity. And I would like to throw this out there that we are able to make people live longer. We can increase the lifespan of people, but our real goal is to increase the health span of people. And I'd like people to think about focusing on movement, mobility and marbles. And those are the two things that I think add to good health and increase the health span as we get older. If you're able to ambulate without a walker, a cane or a wheelchair, that's a real plus. If you're able to engage in communication and have your memory is still intact, that's a plus. And I think so much of what we're going to talk about in terms of longevity has to do with mobility and the marbles. Our brain and to preserve the marbles leads to enhanced quality of life. Quality of life is terrible if you're confined to a chair, you're sedentary and you can't remember to take your medicines or what you had for breakfast or who your loved ones are. That's a sad state of affairs. It doesn't have to be that way.

[00:39:16.300] – Allan

I agree. Now, there's a lot of bad things that happened in the last few years since we last talked with COVID and everything there. But kind of one of the, I guess the silver linings that have come out of the whole COVID thing is that there's been a seismic shift. In my opinion, moving from the way things used to be with going to your doctor's office and sitting in a waiting room for however long going to a second waiting room where you wait for the doctor for however long you're going to be there. The guy comes in, reads your chart, says, okay, looks like you've lost a little bit. What about lost some weight? Gained some weight. You need to do this, you need to do that. What's your problem today? Oh, you got a sore throat or you got this or that? Well, here's a script. I'll see you. Goodbye. He might even shake your hand before he takes his gloves off.

[00:40:02.850] – Dr. Baum

But I hope he washes his hands first.

[00:40:06.820] – Allan

Yeah, either way, he's in there for such a short period of time and if you're not prepared, you're not asking the questions that you need to ask. But with the advent of telemedicine, I'm not driving the 45 minutes to get to my doctor's appointment, getting there early so I'm not late, but then still having to wait until it's late. And so I'm losing three or 4 hours of a busy work day to go see my doctor and then he's going to give me the prescription. So now I got to go by the pharmacy and pick that up. Now I'm getting home late. And so it's like, well, let's just stop by the fast food and have dinner because we run out of time to cook dinner. We're all busy and it's really hard to prioritize our health when that's what we know is in front of us with regards to most doctors visits. But we've moved and transitioned over to where telemedicine is approved and utilized a lot more. Can you talk about telemedicine and how we can lever that to make sure we're getting done what we need to be done with all the other busy stuff we've got going on in our lives?

[00:41:09.510] – Dr. Baum

You use the word seismic shift, is.

[00:41:12.170] – Allan

That I think so, yeah. I think it's significant.

[00:41:15.690] – Dr. Baum

I think it's a tsunami. It really has changed the course of medicine in the past, five years ago, before pandemic, the doctor says, I've got to see the patient, I've got to touch the patient, I've got to look at body language. Bunch of crap, really. Bunch of crap. A doctor. I can see you now I can talk to you now I can see you. I can take care of 50% of urologic problems over virtual using virtual medicine. If you have enlarged prostate, I can talk about your symptoms in your medication and I can make adjustments. If you have erectile dysfunction, I can talk about the risk factors and about getting your diabetes under control, and I can write you a prescription and I can follow you. If you have a urinary tract infection, I can send you to the lab to get a urine culture and then I can prescribe an antibiotic. And then a few days, seven to ten days later can contact you again on telemedicine and I can follow up. If you've had prostate surgery and you are having a normal course and you're off of your medications and you need advice about when you can go back to activities, I can give you that advice over using telemedicine and video conferencing.

[00:43:07.830] – Dr. Baum

If you have incontinence, I can manage that oftentimes using virtual medicine. Point I'm trying to make is that there are so many conditions that can be managed this way. And we have now come to the realization that the doctor can practice good medicine. Good medicine without having to touch the patient and without the patient having to go to bricks and mortar offices. The doctor has to recognize, just as you said, trip to the doctor could be four to 6 hours out of your day for just a routine follow up. Four to 6 hours until you leave your office, travel there, find the parking, get in there, fill out the paperwork, wait in the reception area, wait, and then go get the prescription and come home. It can be four to 6 hours, and that's time when you should be productive at work. And the doctor hasn't realized he sees them in ten minutes. Well, that's ten minutes for the doctor. That's 4 hours to the patient. I also want to point out that another boon to telemedicine is the doctor now gets paid for it as if it were an in office visit. So that has become a motivator.

[00:44:50.260] – Dr. Baum

But now I think doctors have learned that they can be good doctors. You're not blowing the patient off. You can have a longer, more comfortable visit. You can have the patient monitor their blood pressure and their weight at home. They can do home testing for glucose. There are so many things that now with fitness trackers and sleep monitors there are so many ways that you can care for the patient. And telemedicine is really a big plus for patients and for doctors. And also I have found that when you do telemedicine, the patient is on time and so is the doctor. In the past, the doctor was late and he was 45 minutes, an hour late. The doctor got away with it. Just say, oh, I was in the emergency room at a sick patient. Now, when you have a telemedicine, I said to you, I'll be available at 02:00. You knew I was going to be on time, and I knew you were going to be on time. And that's the way telemedicine works. And so it's much more efficient. Much, much more efficient. And it's good medicine. Yeah.

[00:46:20.090] – Allan

And a lot of times people won't follow up. And because of that same thing, it's like, okay, well, I don't feel anything bad right now because I got done what I wanted, I got the script, I feel better. And they want to go back to their lives, but the doctor says, okay, we'll set a follow up appointment for two weeks. And you don't do that follow up appointment if you're feeling okay, because the problem,

[00:46:40.910] – Dr. Baum

especially men, especially men, women are much better at follow up. Men are derelict.

[00:46:47.640] – Allan

And so this is a good opportunity with the doctor, particularly if you're going to look at going to a new doctor or specialist, have the conversation with them. Do you do telemedicine? Can I set up appointments and do this over video? It's going to save me a ton of time. It's going to save you a ton of time. And we're going to be able to communicate a lot better because I'll be prepared heard instead of being all flustered. And the other side of it is I can put a blood pressure monitor sitting in my own living room. My blood pressure is going to be a lot lower than having driven across town walking into a doctor's office. It's going to be more natural to how my normal afternoon would be if I don't have to go to that trouble.

[00:47:22.750] – Dr. Baum

My advice to people embarking on a new physician is to interview that new doctor. Ask pay for the interview. Usually they don't charge for it. You pay for the interview. You read my book

[00:47:38.610] – Allan

Yeah, there's questions. You've got a whole script in there. Here's what you say when you walk in the door. Here's what the doctor is probably going to ask you to sign this waiver, basically informed consent form. And so these are the things you're going to expect. And you laid it out in the book very clear. When you go in, ask these questions. If they don't feel comfortable with the answer, go back to your insurance company, find another doctor on the list that you can interview well.

[00:48:04.920] – Dr. Baum

And also, you are correct. You want to ask, would you agree to telemedicine for the first visit? I really don't think should be a telemedicine visit. I think you need to develop rapport with the doctor. It can be done. My art style was to visit the patient for the first time and examine and touch my hands on the patient and examine the patient. But then you are finding, does the doctor do telemedicine? Does the doctor do email? Does the doctor return email and phone calls within 24, 48 hours? You don't want to wait two weeks to get a report. And does the doctor have a portal? The portal is that this records the results of laboratory testing and imaging that becomes transparent between the doctor and the patient that it's put up on the portal. It's encrypted, which means nobody else can look at it. You have to have a username and password.

[00:49:19.590] – Allan

And I think most of us, we've used online banking, so we're very comfortable with logging into a website and seeing things that we don't want other people necessarily see. There's all your transactions laid out. This is similar. Your details are going to be there. So when your doctor tells you, well, okay, yeah, your cholesterol is a little high, your HDL is really good, your LDL is a little elevated, your triglycerides are down. Here's what I feel the course of action should be based on what I see in front of me. And you can see it too, and you can say, well, okay, that makes sense based on what I see and what the doctor says versus, yeah, you got to wait, get a piece of paper. When you walk in the office, you're scanning through it and trying to figure out what the doctor is going to ask you and talk to you out. And there's so much going on because they're weighing you and then they're taking you to a little room, and now you're stuck. Versus if there's a portal. You go in there, you look up your details, you kind of have some questions that you know are on the top of your mind.

[00:50:11.760] – Allan

If the doctor doesn't bring it up, you bring it up. So it's a much fuller and better prepared conversation on both sides.

[00:50:18.220] – Dr. Baum

I would like to mention that the health care for patients is so much better if they prepare for the visit. And that means writing out what questions do you I used to give out a card, a three x five card. It says, what three questions would you like to ask the doctor today? That avoided me thinking that I'm done managing the patient. Put my hand on the doorknob, ready to walk out and say, wait, I got one more question. And that's not a good way to ask the question. You write it out, you think about what you want to accomplish on your visit, and you share that with the doctor, and the doctor appreciates that. If you write it out, give the doctor the papers that I'd like to cover these three things today. These are three questions I would like to ask you. You're a better patient and you're going to have a better health outcome when you are proactive. Women start from a pediatrician, and then they start having reproductive in their 20s and 30s, and they start seeing the obstetrician, and they do get women are much better at breast self examination than men are with testicle self exam.

[00:51:48.370] – Dr. Baum

And the point that I'm making is that women have a relationship with their doctors from the time of their pediatrician till their middle age. A man at the age of 18, when he goes off to college, he's done with the doctor, and he doesn't see a doctor till he's 50.

[00:52:09.050] – Allan

If he's lucky.

[00:52:11.050] – Dr. Baum

If he's lucky, he'll get to see the doctor at age 50. But men really don't have the same health care experience that women have. And as a result, men are in the dark. They become silent. They don't know what to ask. And as a result, I think their health lingers on. Their problems linger on. They don't get diagnosed with hypertension. A guy could be never see a doctor, and hypertension is silent. You don't feel that your blood pressure is up. The men are silent, and they don't seek out health care till they're about 50 when things start to break down. And so, really, this kind of a book, answering these questions and preparing the patient for a visit to the doctor is very helpful. I never resented patients who come in with a briefcase full of articles from the Internet, and I just say, I don't think that's the place to go for your healthcare.

[00:53:30.540] – Dr. Baum

Oftentimes those aren't credible sites. Let me give you a list of credible sites that are available to you and let's go from there. But I never resent a patient wanting more information about their health. I think that's a good thing.

[00:53:49.270] – Allan

I do too. I do, too.

[00:53:51.930] – Dr. Baum

Not to discourage, but to promote.

[00:53:54.890] – Allan

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

[00:54:03.390] – Dr. Baum

Diet and exercise. I got it down to two. We are an unhealthy nation. Obesity is not a problem of willpower. It's a disease, and it needs to be treated, and it needs to be treated early on. And proper nutrition is so very important. And I think if you have a good diet, fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meat, chicken, fish, avoiding trans fat and polyunsaturated oils, having high fiber in the diet is very important. Absence of artificial sweeteners and diet drinks should be avoided. Smoking cessation, moderate alcohol. Alcohol is good. The books say one drink a day. I think for a man, one to two glasses of wine a day is probably medicinal and healthy. And so I don't tell men, you have to be a tea toller. Limiting the caffeine consumption, especially late in the day, because it can affect your ability to sleep. And insomnia is a problem of middle aged and older men. And then exercise. We are a sedentary nation. We sit still far, far too long, and there are so many things that we can do, so many ways that we can exercise. Like that rebounder I talked about. I could have a rebounder right here, and I could be jumping on the rebounder and talking to you and not feel that I'm not giving you my undivided attention.

[00:56:14.150] – Dr. Baum

Walking the stairs. Walking up the stairs, not down. And having 10,000 steps a day, that's 5 miles. And you have to wear a tracker. Did you have a watch? Fitness watch?

[00:56:30.030] – Allan

I have a phone, and I carry the phone in my pocket that tracks my steps. When I'm out, I make sure I have my phone in my pocket.

[00:56:38.920] – Dr. Baum

Okay? So 10,000 steps a day and 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity, and that is some for brisk walking, jogging, tennis, swimming, 150 minutes a week. There are four conditions that are impacting this nation and the American health care budget. American health care budget over $4 trillion a year, 18% of GDP. More than we spend on military, we spend on health care. And yet, in America, we don't have the outcomes that compare to a nation like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, who spend about half that amount on health care per capita on their population. And we don't have the outcomes to support all that spending. And there are four diseases, four conditions that are bloating the healthcare budget, that is, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative disease, alzheimer's disease. All of those are reasonably preventable and with proper diet and exercise and a few other things. Healthy lifestyle. Use the seatbelt every time. Go around the block. Put the seatbelt on. Smoking cessation. Don't engage in foolhardy activities. Don't go bungee jumping at age 60. That's probably not healthy to do. But practice good lifestyle habits. Get 7 hours of sleep a night. Good dental hygiene, which means brushing and flossing your teeth. I see.

[00:59:03.310] – Allan

You can't help it. You can't help it.

[00:59:06.530] – Dr. Baum

Okay. All right. Flossing your teeth. So much of health, poor health, can occur with a bad mouth. If you have periodontitis and you brush your teeth and it gets into your bloodstream, that can make you real sick and cause chronic inflammation. And then screening tests. Screening tests for colon and rectal cancer with a stool test, which we could go into, but you know what I'm talking about. Colonoscopy. Depending on your risk factors, the PSA test, cardiogram, chest X ray, these are preventive health that can take those four conditions and move them off the plate.

[00:59:58.930] – Allan

So, Dr. Someone wanted to learn more about you. Learn more about your books, including the Men's Complete Health Guide expert Answers to Questions You Don't Always Ask. Where would you like for me to send them?

[01:00:11.510] – Dr. Baum

Send them to Amazon.com.

[01:00:14.120] – Allan

Okay. Of the links in the Show notes, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/609. And I'll be sure to have links to the books there.

[01:00:24.060] – Dr. Baum

And one other book that I highly recommend is Outlive by Peter Atia, and I'd like that to be in the Show Notes as well, because this is written for laypeople about trying to make our health span equal to our lifespan. We've done a really good job with lifespan from 100 years ago, we've added 20 years to our lifespan, but now we need to talk about the health span, and this book goes through a lot of practical ideas that we have discussed today that I highly recommend this book as well as my own.

[01:01:14.920] – Allan

Yes. All right, well, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:01:19.370] – Dr. Baum

I look forward to getting together with you again, Allan. Last time it was five years. Let's not make it that long.

[01:01:25.870] – Allan

Let's not.

[01:01:27.000] – Dr. Baum

Okay. Thank you, Allan.

Post Show/Recap

[01:01:29.930] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[01:01:31.470] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. It was nice that you had Dr. Baum back. That's pretty cool to have a repeat author on your show. Must be very prolific with his books.

[01:01:39.590] – Allan

Yeah, I barely remembered the interview I'd had with him back then, other than it was an interesting title, like how's it Hanging? The title of his book. I would say this was a little bit more formalized, and he was doing another doctor. So the Men's Complete Health Guide obviously doesn't have as much swagger as how's it hanging? And five years. A lot's happened in the field of surgery and around prostate cancer and some of the issues there. So I was glad to have that conversation withhim. Dr. Baum's written a lot of books on this topic, and particularly he has one that's on prostate cancer, which is awesome as well. And then How's It Hanging is a very similar book, but maybe a little bit more casual than this one. It's really just to get men aware that we have these health issues, whether we want to admit it or not. And if we wait till we're broken if we wait till we're broken, sometimes that's too late to really fix the core problem. And so that's why I wanted to have him on, to have this conversation. And things like telemedicine is a game changer, because when you can sit down and just call your doctor, it's 15 minutes phone call, and then you're back to work.

[01:02:55.830] – Allan

You literally close your office door or you go somewhere where, like, a conference room, and you sit down and have a 15 minutes conversation with your doctor, and you're back in the work. You didn't have to drive across town. You didn't have to sit in a waiting room. You didn't have to do all that kind of stuff. And the doctor can basically help you meet your health outcome goals right there on the phone. I think that's huge. And, ladies, you can schedule the call and don't tell your husband. Just hand him the phone. He's like, this is for you. Who is this? Your doctor. Have a conversation and then gosh. You have a list of questions. Have a list of questions for him right there. Hand him the paper. Hand him the phone, and then just say, go. And again, it's high time that it happened. I'm glad that it's happening the way it had to happen. With COVID and everything is kind of sad. But the shiny silver lining of this whole thing is that telemedicine is now a commonplace. Before I had a doctor, my health doctor, we were telemedicine because I didn't live where he is, I would go in there about once a year and see him in person.

[01:04:00.540] – Allan

But other than that, no, I was anywhere else in the world. Malaysia, Africa. I even called him one time from Iran, like that's when my call was, and I was like, okay, so it's evening, I'm sitting in my hotel room in Iraq, and I have a phone call with my doctor. We were able to do know, but he was kind of cutting edge. He was doing things that other doctors weren't doing at that point in time, which was why he was my doctor. And I didn't have to be in the hometown with him because I didn't have to go see him every time I wanted to see him or talk to him. I had a doctor that I could call when I needed to call. So I'm really glad that telemedicine is out there. This is a really good book, though. This is just a good book for you to kind of just go through. And it's not even something where you'd have to read it from cover to cover like I did it's where you can sit down and say, okay, I'm curious about this, and you can flip to that section of the book.

[01:04:57.280] – Allan

There are parts that I say, read the whole thing because he has an anatomy lesson on the front. And you may think you know your junk, but there's a lot more down there than you think. And so this is just a good idea. Why is this happening? Why am I experiencing this? Is this normal? Is this bad? What does this mean? And so this is just a really good primer for you to understand the anatomy and understand what's going on there and then just recognize some of these things just don't come to mind. Like osteoporosis.

[01:05:27.090] – Rachel


[01:05:27.940] – Allan

And the fact that, yeah, if you fall and break your hip, you could be in big, big trouble. So making sure you're getting adequate nutrition, resistance, exercise, all those things we talk about every week, they're important, and they're important for women, and they're important for men. And so don't poo poo something you learn about women, because men, we might have some of the similar issues, because guess what? We got bones, too.

[01:05:48.800] – Rachel

Yes, for sure. Yeah, these are all good things. And it's good to have, like you said, this type of primer, because sometimes you don't realize what's happening until it's maybe a little bit too late or hard to bring that back with treatment or whatever. Especially like the PSA screeening, you know, I talk about cancer screenings all the time with you, Alan. And PSA is a simple one. You get your PSA score and you keep an eye on it until it needs further attention. It's a simple screening and could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

[01:06:21.720] – Allan

Right. And so this is something that's changed considerably since the last time I talked to Dr. Baum was before it was you got your PSA and then you got your digital check, which was not digital, very analog, and then you get that check, and then the doctor said, I think there's something we need to do here. Most of the time, the next solution was the biopsy. So now they're doing a biopsy. Now that's okay. But one of the problems with a biopsy is whenever you cut into a cancer, it has the potential to spread faster so it can metastasize because you cut it. And so the biopsy is not necessarily a thing you want to do. You don't have to. So a lot of doctors wanted to push for the MRI before the biopsy, which tells them a lot more about where the lump is, how it's lumped, so they know where also now they can do a better biopsy because they know more. But MRIs were very expensive, particularly five years ago, so most insurances didn't want to pay for that. They wanted the biopsy first, find that there's cancer, prove there's cancer, and then you can do your MRI so that you know what kind of surgery or what kind of interventions you want to do.

[01:07:33.380] – Allan

Things have changed a good bit now. Now there are other additional tests, the PSA plus and all other stuff, and there's some 4K tests and other things that can be done before. So your PSA might be high, but that doesn't mean there's a cancer. And so they can do these other tests that are non invasive before they start worrying about MRIs and biopsies and all that kind of stuff. And then they may find, well, no, your risk is very low. This is not an aggressive form. This is not a problem. We're just going to actively watch this. I don't think you called it actively watch back. Kind of my way of thinking about it was just not doing anything, which kind of sounds weird. Well, there's a cancer growing in me. How do I just not do that? But the reality is you don't want that biopsy if you don't need to, and then if it isn't spreading, you don't necessarily want to mess with the prostate because there's some downsides to the surgery. And putting it off for even a few years might mean that they come up with some technologies that make that surgery a lot safer.

[01:08:38.670] – Allan

So you may not have the side effects, but yes, jumping on it right now and saying, I got to get that out of my body, you're taking a risk, and you're taking a higher risk than you might by waiting and doing it later if you have to.

[01:08:52.200] – Rachel

Yeah, that's really great. It's awesome to see how technology and the study of different cancers like the prostate cancer has advanced over the years. It just makes things a lot easier. And, yeah, he called it active surveillance. There are cancers that could be present, but inert and are fine, just hanging out, not causing problems.

[01:09:12.900] – Allan

And some of us, whether we want to admit it or not, we're older and we're sicker, we got a lot of other things going on in our body that are going to kill us long before a prostate cancer would. And so that's the other side of it, is, do you want to take that risk and maybe mess up the quality of life that you have for the foreseeable future when that's not going to be what takes? You know?

[01:09:36.700] – Rachel

But I love this book by Dr. Baum. I hope that all the men, and maybe even the wives in our men's lives or loved ones share that with our husbands, who we know don't often choose to go to the doctor. It's a good thing just to have.

[01:09:53.220] – Allan

And I know it's a few months before Christmas, but, hey, if you're looking for a gift idea for a man in your life, this might be a pretty good one.

[01:10:02.510] – Rachel

Sounds great, Allan.

[01:10:03.960] – Allan

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

[01:10:05.970] – Rachel

Take care.

[01:10:06.850] – Allan

You, too. Bye.

[01:10:07.960] – 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


September 19, 2023

Meditation made simple with Ariel Garten

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If you've struggled with starting and maintaining a meditation practice, you'll enjoy this discussion with Ariel Garten of Muse.


Let's Say Hello

Due to Coach Allan's vacation, there is no Hello Section on this episode.


[00:03:12.350] – Allan

Ariel, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

[00:03:15.790] – Ariel

Thank you, Allan. It's a joy and pleasure to be here.

[00:03:20.210] – Allan

I've been really looking forward to this conversation for a lot of different reasons, but I would say the biggest one was I am a terrible meditator. I've tried and tried and tried, and it's something that I know benefits me when I do it consistently. But I've really struggled with this until I ran into you guys. And we're going to get to have a conversation about why we should meditate, the benefits of it, the different types, and then like me, why do I have such a hard time with this whole thing called meditation? And then we're going to talk about a tool that has really changed the whole game for me. That's why I'm really excited to have this conversation, because I get to pick the brain of a neuroscientist.

[00:04:14.050] – Ariel

That's awesome, by the way, a neuroscientist who also sucked at meditation when I started. So I hear you and I feel you.

[00:04:22.390] – Allan

Good, because this definitely helps. I know if we would just slow down a little bit and take the time to do this, that everybody's going to benefit from it. And so can we talk about what meditation does to us and what some of those benefits are?

[00:04:42.970] – Ariel

Sure. So meditation has more benefits than we could talk about in an hours long podcast. It's quite remarkable how this one little activity can have so much impact both in your mind and your body and your brain and your relationships and your work productivity and on and on and on. At its basic core, what meditation is teaching you to do is to change your relationship to your mind and your body. So we all spend time with thoughts that are floating around in our head and we assume we're supposed to be thinking those thoughts because that's just what's in our brain. We're thinking about the grocery list and the people who made us grumpy in the fight we had and, and with meditation, what you learn to do is shift that relationship so you're not thinking these thoughts over and over and over again. When the thought about the fight with your partner comes up, you can move your mind elsewhere onto something that's productive. When you desire to check facebook for the 39th time and you know that thought comes up, you have a tool to say, no, I can just move my attention elsewhere, let that go, forget about it and do something else.

[00:05:49.060] – Ariel

So fundamentally, meditation is a tool to help us calm our mind and body, shift our mind out of difficult thoughts that annoy us and that cause physiological distress, and to be able to shift our physiological sense, our anxieties, our stresses, and move those into a happier place. So when you do that, kind of the whole world becomes easier.

[00:06:11.750] – Allan

Particularly when I was working in corporate, I really saw meditation as a great thing. Like I said, I still wasn't very good at it and for a lot of different reasons. But I made a point every afternoon to at least try to meditate and I used different services that would talk me through it. Or I'd find a YouTube video and say, okay, well that's kind of interesting, I'll try that one today. And I could do 5, 10 minutes, but it just seemed like I wasn't getting anywhere, but I felt less stressed. I will say that just even that five minutes of just slowing down and saying, okay, I'm sitting here, I'm breathing I'm listening to the man or the woman guide me through this. But besides that lower stress and probably bringing my blood pressure down a little bit, what other benefits would someone get from meditation?

[00:07:11.530] – Ariel

So as I said, the benefits are too much to list. But if we want to get started, one of the main things that you'll realize is that the conversation in your head is all of a sudden less stressful. So instead of having all these thoughts in your head that are frustrating and annoying, you can gain control over the contents of your own mind and calm them down. And so that then rolls into all sorts of different aspects of our life. So in a workplace setting, you've got emails flying back and forth, you've got colleagues that may have triggered you, you have feelings that you may not be good enough. With a meditation practice, you learn to shift all of those things that would have caused you anxiety, all of those emails, all of those thoughts and feelings, you learn to shift them into a calm and neutral place. And so the workday becomes easier, your relationships with your colleagues improve. The same thing happens in the home front. So one of the things we commonly hear from people in their first few weeks of a meditation practice when you really sit down and do it, is that their relationship to their partner is getting better.

[00:08:16.880] – Ariel

That they're not. Yelling at their kid so much because in the past their kid would do something and the automatic reply would be to yell because you just feel stressed and ramped. And once you do a meditation practice for a few weeks, you've now practiced having thoughts and feelings and not reacting to them, having a thought and feeling and just saying like, okay, I can let that pass, that's okay. And when your kid does something really annoying that they maybe don't mean to or do mean to, the first sensation that comes up is usually one of the anger rising or the frustration rising. And in the past it would just come out of your mouth and you would be yelling at your kid. And with a meditation practice, you might notice that the anger begins and then you can take a moment and say, oh okay, that can fall away now I can stand back, look properly at what's happening, and then have the right response to it. Because we all know when we yell, then our kid just gets upset and yells and we start a whole cycle. And even if something's frustrating to us, if we can stand back and have a better response, oh my God, does life go better in all directions.

[00:09:23.130] – Ariel

So we have improved relationships, whether at work or at home, with your friends, with your partners. We also have improved physical function. So meditation has been shown to decrease anxiety, decrease stress, improve your general physical health, decrease the chances of heart attacks, and cardiovascular disease. The physiological benefits are huge. And then you also have benefits on things like sleep. So when you're not as anxious during the day, when you don't have as many racing thoughts, sleep becomes much easier. And then you have tremendous benefits, actually, in the physical function of your brain. The parts of your brain get bigger and stronger through an active meditation. Just like when you go to the gym, your muscles get bigger and stronger. We can dive more deeply into that one, too.

[00:10:13.730] – Allan

Yeah, let's do that. Because as I was doing research on meditation, for us to have this conversation, most of the benefits I was finding were kind of in that emotional area, so you have less anxiety, less stress, and then, obviously, there were physiological things that are benefits from that. So if you're not as stressed, your blood pressure is probably not as high, and you're not as stressed, you're probably sleeping better. But as we were getting into this conversation, you were mentioning to me before we got on the call, before we got on the recording, was that there's actual physical changes to your brain.

[00:10:51.730] – Ariel

Yes. It's quite astonishing. So, neuroscientists have been studying meditation and its impact not just on your behaviors and your general lifestyle, but actually on the organ of your brain. And what they've discovered is that meditation can actually increase the thickness and the function of parts of your brain. So, bad news, as you age, an area of your brain in the front called the prefrontal cortex begins to thin, just like as you age, all of your cells don't function quite as well as they did when you were younger. Well, it turns out, with the meditation practice, you're able to maintain the thickness of your prefrontal cortex even as you age. So our prefrontal cortex is responsible for our attention, our inhibition, our planning, our higher order processes. And as you really do a meditation practice regularly, you are working out your prefrontal cortex that part of your brain and strengthening your attention, improving your ability to inhibit your ability to not just yell at somebody, but hold yourself back and do the right thing. You're improving your ability to see a situation from multiple angles, and that actually has real impact on your brain itself, improving your brain health and longevity.

[00:12:09.050] – Ariel

Meditation has also been demonstrated to maintain the volume of your hippocampus. So the hippocampus is the part of your brain associated with learning and memory. And unfortunately, as we age, that part of our brain tends to shrink as well. Well, meditation has been demonstrated to maintain the volume of your hippocampus as you age. So it starts to stave off some of the effects of aging on your learning in memory, potentially. Meditation has been also shown to increase the density of your gray matter. So the gray matter is the number of neural connections you have. As an example, Einstein had more gray matter than the average individual. And in a study by Dr. Sarah Lazar at Harvard, she was able to demonstrate that just eight weeks of meditation, so, like not a lifetime, just a few weeks, was able to increase the density of participants' gray matter. So you're getting more neural connections, more information being packed and held in your brain. So meditation really strengthens your brain and helps to stave off the aging of the brain.

[00:13:13.310] – Allan

And then you mentioned earlier when we were talking that it also kind of helps us get rid of that lizard brain a little bit.

[00:13:21.170] – Ariel

Oh, yeah. So the quote unquote lizard brain is associated with the amygdala. So the amygdala is a part of our brain that's responsible for your fight or flight response. So when you're scanning the environment, your amygdala is always looking out for danger and going, oh no. So when we have anxiety, for example, you could have very heightened amygdala function. And the functioning of that amygdala then triggers the feelings in your body of fear, the rushing of your heart, the flush of glucose through your body, that sort of shakiness, that feeling of fear, and it also triggers thoughts about fear, oh no, this thing's going to be awful. Which then gives you the feeling in your body, which gives you more thoughts and the feeling, and it ramps, and it ramps, and then you're in an anxiety attack. Or if you're not somebody with anxiety attacks, you're just in a state of chronic stress. With meditation, you're actually able to calm the activity of the amygdala. And MRI studies show that short term meditators, people who haven't necessarily been doing it for years, but have had a little bit of a meditation practice, tend to have less reactive amygdalas, so you're not as stressed and reactive about things in the world.

[00:14:31.430] – Ariel

And long term meditators have even been shown to have a decreased size in their amygdala. So you're actually really just calming and not activating that part of your body repeatedly and regularly. And over time, not only are you feeling calmer in life, but actually your brain has changed in such a way that allows you to be calmer. It's quite extraordinary.

[00:14:54.510] – Allan

And even beyond all that, a lot of people that have difficulties with impulse control around food and things like that. I had another neuroscientist on not long ago, a neuroscientist who was also a comedian. And in his book he was talking about how his amygdala would almost be autopilot on his car to drive him over to Krispy Kreme. And while his logical brain was saying, no, there's no way we don't need this. There's no way we can eat just one, his control center wanted something, but his amygdala wanted something entirely different and he ended up in the parking lot of that Krispy Kreme. And so this is actually also going to help you if you struggle with certain impulse controls or certain things where you find yourself doing things that you told yourself you weren't going to do. Because I guess the adult in your brain is going to be having the conversation and you're going to be more in control of that and the amygdala that would talk you into doing all kinds of terrible things. It's going to be quieter and you're going to be more in control of that. So it's a win win where if you're trying to make changes in your life and you're trying to be productive and get things done for your health, for your fitness, for your career, for any of it, this can make your brain better at doing those things.

[00:16:17.690] – Ariel

Absolutely. And that's interesting. Meditation helps in two different ways. So meditation is very good for helping you deal with urges or cravings. Because in a meditation practice, what you do is you sit there for five minutes, ten minutes, whatever it is, and you just observe what's going on and you don't act on it. So as you sit there in your meditation practice, you might have the urge to go eat a cookie. And in normal life, you would just follow that urge without thinking about it. In meditation, while your timer says you're still only at three minutes, you have to sit there for two more minutes and you watch your body like, oh my God, I need that cookie. I need it now. And you're carved the time and space to sit there and say, hold on, there's just two more minutes. I can just sit here and watch. And so you're watching this urge, this urge that previously you would have followed, but you're not following it. You just sit there and observe. And what you feel is this urge rising and building and growing. And then at a certain point, if you don't follow that urge, it falls away.

[00:17:16.330] – Ariel

It rises and it falls, and then you can sit there and say, oh my God, I had an urge for a cookie. And instead of following that for the first time, I just sat there. And if I sit there long enough, it just leaves. And then all of a sudden, in that moment, the power of the urge goes away. You realize you don't need to follow your urges. You can just watch them rise and fall and you're still there, everything's fine, and you didn't have a cookie. And so you're experiencing it both sort of cognitively in the moment, you're watching your body and your brain is actually changing. Because in a meditation practice, just as you alluded to the prefrontal cortex, the parent part of your brain is strengthening. And studies show that there can actually be an increased projection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala at the child. So the prefrontal cortex is actually getting better and better at being able to control the amygdala and say, calm down, it's okay, we don't need to follow that urge. We don't need that cookie. The thing's not that scary, we'll be fine in the meeting, whatever it is in that situation.

[00:18:19.630] – Ariel

And so we are shifting ourselves out of the amygdala urge space, the kitty space, into the prefrontal cortex, adult y space. And that's part of the reason why you see people with a meditation practice. And we say things like, oh, that's a wisdom practice. This person is getting wiser, more evolved. They're able to rise above their previous urges and learn how to gracefully move through them and manage them on a moment by moment basis and actually have their brain change so that it becomes easier to manage in the future. It's incredibly cool.

[00:18:53.770] – Allan

Now, there are a lot of different ways to meditate, and I've really only scratched the surface. I had an app that I had on my phone back when I was in corporate trying to take care of myself because I realized, okay, I've got to get my food right, I got to get my movement right. And I did those two things and like, okay, now sleep. And I got that pretty good. And then stress was kind of like my last domino. The thing I'm like, okay, if I can conquer this baby, I'm golden. But that was the hardest one. And I tried to use meditation for that. So I tried various different things. I tried different apps, I tried walking meditation, which was actually, for me, one of the most effective. But there's a lot of different types. Can you kind of talk about the different types and kind of maybe use cases for a few of them?

[00:19:43.130] – Ariel

Sure. So the most basic form of meditation that most people learn first is a focused attention meditation. And you can focus your attention on almost anything. The most common thing is to focus your attention on your breath. So that's called a breath focused meditation. And what you're doing there is you're focusing on your breath. You're feeling it wherever you feel like in your chest, in your nose, you're feeling your breath. And eventually your mind is going to wander off onto a thought. And then when your mind wanders to the thought, you then say, oh, my tension is off my breath. Okay, that's okay, bring my attention back to my breath. And then you put your tension back on your breath. A thought will eventually come. You'll wander away, you'll say, oh, come on back, and you bring it back to your breath. And so it's a very simple practice. But from there, the transformations that we've been discussing start to evolve. So if you don't want to focus on your breath, you can focus on other things. So in a mantra based meditation, you're focusing on a word or a phrase. In a more religious context, it might be phrase like omade padna om.

[00:20:47.690] – Ariel

In a totally secular context, it might be a phrase like I'm happy today, or just a color or just a word. One. One. And so you're focusing on that over and over. And as your mind wanders away from that, you let it go and you come on back. Now, part of why this is so effective is let's go back to the Krispy Kreme example. So if your mind wanders onto Krispy Kreme and you're thinking, donut, donut, donut. Well, in your meditation practice, what you're learning to do is to take your mind off that donut and bring it back onto your breath, which has nothing to do with donuts. And you'll just be focusing on your breath, focusing on your breath. Eventually your mind will go, oh, donuts. And then you'll say, thanks, donut, come on back to my breath. And so instead of following these urges or following these thoughts, you're learning to redirect your mind back to something neutral and productive to you. So we talked about breath focus. You've got mantra meditation. A walking meditation is very similar, but what you're doing is you're putting the attention in the part of your body that's moving, so it's usually your feet.

[00:21:51.550] – Ariel

And so instead of following your breath while you sit here, you'll be walking very slowly, very mindfully, and putting your attention into the sensations of the steps. So you're just feeling the step underneath you. Eventually your mind is going to wander away to the donuts or Facebook or the grocery list or whatever it is, and you're just going to bring your attention back to your step. So in each of these, we're really just bringing our attention back to something neutral in our body and being able to practice shifting our attention away from things that don't necessarily serve us. And so you can do whichever form works for you, whatever way you find to best meditate. And it's all serving the same end.

[00:22:33.410] – Allan

Yeah, most of the ones that I would do if there wasn't a walking meditation, I would do a guided meditation. They're telling you, okay, feel your feet, think about the sensations of your feet on the floor, the temperature, all that. Then you work your way up your legs to your torso, and then your hands and arms, and then up through to your head. And as you kind of go through that, your attention is like 100% on you. Another one that I did, if I recall, was a stress one. And they wanted you to imagine that hot lava was being poured in the top of your head and then starting to fill up your feet all the way up through your body. So you try to imagine that warmth as this ray of sunshine or whatever is basically doing this and filling you up. So there's been quite a few that I've tried, but I think my challenges were always the fact that if I took the time to slow down for even a minute, my brain filled up with those thoughts. And almost every one of those thoughts was a to do item. They were not just random thoughts of oh, I'm hungry, or this or that.

[00:23:45.590] – Allan

It was literally, oh, I forgot to make that phone call this morning. I really need to make sure I make that phone call this afternoon. And then I found myself hitting pause on the meditation if it was guided to literally have a piece of note paper and write down that to do item before I could let it go. Because it terrified me to let a to do item that was important go, particularly if I had already forgotten about it that morning. But there are a lot of challenges. Wandering mind for me was a big one. But there are other challenges that people do have with meditation. Can we talk about a few of those?

[00:24:21.890] – Ariel

Sure. So the greatest challenge that people have with meditation, I find, is that they think meditation is supposed to be about letting your mind go blank. And it's not. So nobody's going to sit there and just magically their mind goes blank and all of a sudden they're meditating and maybe they're levitating. I think actually levitation is about as easy as letting your mind go blank for a few minutes. It's impossible. And so in meditation, what you're really doing is you're having thoughts which are okay, it's normal, our brains have thoughts. And when you have the thought, you're moving your mind away from it and back onto something that's neutral. In your case, when you were paying attention to different parts of your body, like your feet, your legs, your knees, that's called a body scan. So when you had a thought, you would bring your attention back to the next part of your body and just pour all your attention into it. So first problem, people have a misconception that your mind is supposed to go blank. It's not, if your mind doesn't go blank, don't worry about it. If you have a ton of thoughts, totally fine.

[00:25:20.630] – Ariel

The question is what you do when you have those thoughts. Do you follow the thought and think about it? Or do you let the thought go either by just bringing your attention back or writing it down? If you feel like you really need to, if that's your way to let it go, that's okay. Especially at the beginning and then returning to your meditation practice. Another common problem people have is the misconception that you have to be sitting in a particular posture. So there's no magic to sitting on the floor with your knees crossed in an uncomfortable lotus. It doesn't really matter how you sit. The standard meditation posture is meant to be one that creates a sensation of uprightness. So you're sitting with a straight back, you're feeling upright, you're feeling strong and grounded. For most people, that is not sitting in a lotus position on the floor, so forget about that. You can sit in a chair, in a comfy chair, however, makes you feel good so long as you don't fall asleep. Which brings us to the next challenge. Some people fall asleep when they meditate. That's also okay, and that's incredibly normal.

[00:26:25.860] – Ariel

At the beginning, I would fall asleep meditating at the beginning. Now when I do a focused attention meditation, it makes me more alert, because meditation ultimately does make you far more alert and more engaged in the world. But at the beginning, it can make you feel sleepy, and that's okay. It's probably a sign that you're not sleeping well, and that when you've given your body a few minutes rest, it just wants to fall asleep, which is a great sign to actually prioritize getting more sleep at night. And if you find that you're falling asleep in a practice, that's okay. Choose a shorter practice. Choose something guided. Do a walking meditation, for example, so that you're standing and you're moving, or use something that's going to give you a little bit of stimulation during the practice. You stay awake, stand up while you're doing it, take deep breaths. And then another challenge that people have is feeling like, are they doing it right? And so that's possibly the biggest challenge. Exactly. That's possibly the biggest challenge in a meditation practice. And for that one, know that as you're letting your mind go from a thought and coming back to the breath know, that is the act of meditation.

[00:27:39.070] – Ariel

It may feel weird or strange, but just keep doing it. And as you do it, bit by bit, you're going to see improvement.

[00:27:45.980] – Allan

Yeah, I think that was one of the hardest things for me, was there was no real feedback. There was no one there to really tell me, okay, Allan, you did that one well. That wasn't until you guys sent me one of your muse devices. And that was a game changer. One, because you have complete control over the meditation that you do, how long you do it. I mean, literally, you get on the app, and you're like, okay, I want to do five minutes. I want to do ten minutes. And then you sit down and you start and I'm listening to the waves, and they're going and then the feedback that I'm getting okay, I hear the little birds, then I know I'm on track. I hear a little bit more of the tougher waves. I know, okay, I got to get myself really back. I've let myself, my brain wander whether I knew I was doing it or not. The feedback that you're getting from the device that wraps around your head, it's literally reading your brainwaves to say, okay, are you where you're supposed to be with this meditation? And so it catches you leaving before you've even really left, which is really cool because it kind of okay.

[00:28:59.160] – Allan

Yeah, I guess I was sort of zoning out. I wasn't paying attention to my breath. I wasn't paying attention to the sound of the waves. And now here I am, I'm back, and then I get rewarded with little bird sounds. And so it's a really cool device. The Muse device I have I think that it's the S. I think they sent me the S one. Yeah, the muse S and it's great. I mean, it's so user friendly, and the app is just you get on your phone, they sync, and then you start literally sitting down, going through a meditation. And I don't want to say it's gamification, but it kind of feels like, okay, I want to do well, and I want the feedback and the five minutes. I can tell you it goes really quickly when you're really in it. It's not like you feel like because before I know I'd go through a guided meditation, five minutes felt like an hour of real time versus sometimes I'm sitting with amuse and five minutes is poof, it's gone. I'm like, wow, I'm just sitting here, quiet, breathing, listening for the waves and the birds, and I'm in it.

[00:30:17.910] – Allan

I love that. And then you get done, and you get done and you've got a scorecard. It's going to literally tell you what your heart rate was doing, what your brainwaves were doing, and kind of say, okay, I know I'm getting better because I get that feedback.

[00:30:34.570] – Ariel

I'm so glad it's been helpful for you and it's been meaningful. When we started the journey of creating Muse, it was really to solve that problem of, am I doing it right? Because it was so hard to really figure it out. I, as a scientist, knew the impact of meditation on the brain. I would be teaching people to meditate, and I, too, was a sucky meditator. My brain would bounce all over the place, and I'd get frustrated and be like, oh, what am I doing here? Am I doing this right? And of course, as an A type, you want to do things as best as you can. And so it was really in the process of building Muse that I, too, was able to say, right, this is a meditation practice. I'm focused on my breath now. This is when it's working. Oh, my mind has wandered away, and I'd be signaled instantly, and then I'd bring my brain back. And then that's how I established my practice. And it was a game changer.

[00:31:26.560] – Allan

Yeah, I think so, too. It was just what do they say? I think I've read somewhere is if you don't have time to meditate for five minutes, you should meditate for an hour. I haven't made it to an hour yet, but it actually does just make it easier to meditate longer because you feel like you're accomplishing something each and every time you do it. Which, again, I'm kind of like that to a type A, I like to know that I've accomplished something and didn't just spend five minutes. And I'm guessing maybe I did, maybe I didn't. This is definitely a game changer.

[00:32:03.830] – Ariel

We should probably explain exactly what we're talking about. People are like, what is this what they're talking about here?

[00:32:09.930] – Allan

Okay, so what the Muse is, is it's basically like a headband that has little readers on it. It can read your brainwaves, so it knows if it's a delta alpha brainwave. When you're in meditation and you're in the right headspace, your brainwaves are going to be in a certain pattern. I think it's delta dominant. I may be getting that wrong because I'm not the neuroscientist, but

[00:32:39.090] – Ariel

you see an increase in alpha, you see an increase in theta, you see some coherence. There's a whole constellation of things that happen in your brain when you meditate. And so it's a sweet sauce that we've been able to identify.

[00:32:53.110] – Allan

And it's measuring heart rate too, right?

[00:32:55.290] – Ariel


[00:32:57.930] – Allan

Go ahead. Well, no, it's basically collecting data from your body, the physical reactions that are going on in your brain and with your heart, your parasympathetic system. And basically that feedback is going into the app real time.

[00:33:16.510] – Ariel

Yes. And then changing your experience so that you're getting feedback. It's neurofeedback. So basically, Muse is a clinical grade EEG. So they're the same sensors that you'd use in a hospital if you went in to get an EEG. And the Muse is able to track your brain activity and know when you're meditating and when your mind is wandering. And then they're guiding sounds that give you feedback about your meditation. So when you're focused, you heard Allan talk about the waves. When you're focused, the waves are quiet and then little birds start to chirp, saying, Yep, you're doing it right. And then as your mind wanders away onto a thought, you hear the sound of the waves pick up and that becomes your cue, like, oh, that's a thought. Let it go. Come on back to my breath. And then you hear the birds chirping. And so it becomes this very simple way to know if you're meditating, because it's tracking your brain and body while you do it and giving you feedback and telling you where you're at. And then after the fact, you get your data charts and graphs and scores, things that show you moment by moment what your brain was doing so that you can track your progress and improve your practice day after day.

[00:34:23.090] – Allan

And what I liked about it was there were different themes. I guess the best way for me to say it is there are different themes. Like, I happen to like the ocean, so the ocean waves were one that really appealed to me, but there's a lot of other themes in there as well. So you can really kind of ratchet into making this yours. This is the device that fits on your head, and it's the app, the service that you then can go in and find all the different ways that you could do sound sets and all the different skype, I think you call it soundscapes or something. I forget exactly what it was called, but basically you can customize your approach to this. And I sit down with it, and I just say, okay, I want to do five minutes, and I set it for five minutes. And then it gets going. I hear the waves, and I kind of concentrate on that sound on my breath, and I watch them calm. And then I hear the birds, and I'm like, okay, I'm in my space. And then all of a sudden, I'm out of my space for one reason or another.

[00:35:22.330] – Allan

The guy outside my office is yelling for the boat. Anyone wants to go to Amarante? He's yelling, Amarante. Amarante. And I might hear that voice, and that might pull me away, and I'm like, okay, I know why I got it pulled away, but this is where I belong, and I'm back in it, and I'm hearing the birds. The birds are nicer to listen to than the guy yelling, Amarante. You've got a loud voice. But it's really been a cool tool. With the device and the app, you basically have the coach, the meditation coach right there to walk you through this to keep you engaged. And then at the end, you've got the feedback to say, okay, how did this overall meditation session go? What was your resting heart rate throughout this? Because you're sitting there and you see what your heart rate was the entire five minutes. So you can see if this is destressing you, calming you down. You see that happen real time. So it's just a really cool thing.

[00:36:22.410] – Ariel

Thank you. Yeah, it's been amazing. And one of the most amazing things is seeing the way that it's been applied, both in meditators, so people who've never meditated before and people who have expert practices both get value from it and then also in healthcare. So the Mayo Clinic started doing studies with Muse back in 2014. They gave Muse to women awaiting breast cancer surgery, hoping that it would help them in the cancer care process. And they published a paper demonstrating that using Muse decreased the stress and fatigue during their cancer care process and improved their quality of life. So that was like, oh, my God, I can't believe we've had yeah.

[00:37:02.470] – Allan

That's awesome. That's incredible.

[00:37:04.870] – Ariel

Yeah. And Mayo thought so, too. So then the clinicians at the Mayo Clinic started five other studies with Muse using Muse for fibromyalgia for long COVID that study is about to be published. They then gave it to their own doctors who were feeling stressed and having burnout in the emergency room during the pandemic. So doctors in the E.R. Use Muse, and they were able to decrease their burnout by 54%, improve their sleep, and even improve their cognitive function by using Muse every day. And they were able to find a.

[00:37:35.200] – Allan

Good thing for a doctor that's a really good thing for an emergency room doctor. Improved cognitive function. Yeah. There you go.

[00:37:42.500] – Ariel

Very essential. More so than for you and I. Yeah.

[00:37:45.160] – Allan


[00:37:46.210] – Ariel

And so it's been unbelievable. Now they have a new study in menopause that's going to be kicking off. So it's been amazing to see how this is rolled out, both with people moms that bring it home for their kids, and then everybody starts meditating in the family. And our real goal, which is to make a real impact in people's health and happiness and seeing that happen within healthcare systems now, Hope Hospital, about 100 of their doctors have been using Muse, and it's just been expanding. It's unbelievable.

[00:38:15.590] – Allan

That's awesome. So now you can get your own Muse and one year of the service. You guys are so cool to offer a 20% discount for the device and one year of the service if you just go to choosemuse.com/40plus, or as we always do here, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/muse. And that'll take you to that page where you can get that discount code already in there, ready to go. I've loved the muse. I'm going to keep using it. I'm going to enjoy it. It's making me feel better. I get done, and I don't have any doubts that I had a good session. Or maybe I know why it wasn't because Mr. Amarante guy is out there yelling, but at least at that point, I know when I'm on and I know what it feels like, and that makes it that much easier to get there.

[00:39:10.590] – Ariel

Oh, amazing. It's always so incredible to hear people whose lives it's impacted, and it's just an honor and a pleasure to do so. And it's my greatest wish that everybody in the world is able to taste the relief of having meditation practice and get those spaces of just calm and ease throughout the day when the things that used to bother you just don't. If we could all just realize that the voices inside our heads that are shouting at us, the Amarantes in our own mind, that we have the power to turn them off, to turn our attention away from it, to move away, that we would all just live easier, happier lives. And that possibility is there for all of us. You can really learn to turn off those annoying voices in your own head and be able to just focus on what matters to you.

[00:40:02.120] – Allan

Okay, so again, you can go to choosemuse.com/40plus or 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/muse, and that'll take you to the page with the 20% discount and a free year service for it. So give it a shot, try it out. It's really helped me, and I believe it's going to help you, too.

Post Show/Recap

[00:40:26.790] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:40:28.390] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:40:30.630] – Allan

We're doing all right. Again. We're recording all of these, so there's not really a hello section in the episode as we go, uh so there's several of these are all being recorded together. But that said, yeah, I'm just as good as I was last time we talked.

[00:40:48.110] – Rachel

Well, that's good. Getting ready for your trip?

[00:40:51.690] – Allan

Yeah, it's all good. It's all good. This was really interesting because I really tried to work on meditation as a practice on a regular basis. And it was just one of those things where alarm goes off and I get distracted by something else or I'm working on something else and I'm like, okay. Because I was trying to do it in the afternoons because I knew that was my most stressful moments and it just wasn't there. And the problem was when I slowed down, like, just nothing in my head, then everything's in my head, it's like, oh, I forgot to call. Oh, I forgot to call such and such, and I need to send that email, and I got to get that little bit done. And so I end up having to stop in the middle. And so when I'd use the other apps, I'd push pause, and I'd go over there and say, okay, I just pushed pause so I could come over here and write my to do list. But when I was using this thing, it was like, no. All I'm really focused on are the sounds, the ocean sounds. I had the headphones in, so literally didn't hear a whole lot of outside sounds except for Amarante guy yelling because the boats, they're leaving right out from under me.

[00:42:07.270] – Allan

So the guy's out on the street trying to get just a couple more people on the boat for that trip. There were things that would pull me away from it, but it wasn't like my thoughts were doing it. It was just like, okay, I'm aware of something else going on around me. So there wasn't the wandering mind that I had before. And yes, there's an interruption, but then I immediately get the feedback that I'm out. I'm not paying attention or not present. And it tells you that literally, that's neat. The app tells you it's like, you're not here. Come on back. And then the waves calm down, and then the birds start chirping, and it's kind of an interesting little thing.

[00:42:51.100] – Rachel

That sounds really neat. I've never been one just to sit still. I'm kind of a fidgeter myself. But since I've started practicing yoga, which I would imagine is somewhat similar to Pilates, in that you need to focus on where your body is in space and holding moves or gliding into a new move. And when I've been practicing this, I listen to the person who's saying, okay, do this. Breathe three times. And so basically, as I'm doing yoga, I'm only practice or only thinking about breathing and moving. And 20 minutes goes by and I've not thought of, like, you were just saying all the things I need to accomplish on the rest of the day and my to do list, and I feel like Pilates or yoga or something is kind of probably a good transition to be able to sit still and focus on your meditation. And the other thing I just want to share, too, is that when I do things, whether I'm going to the gym or on a run or doing my yoga, I have decided that this 15 or 30 minutes of time, or whatever it is, this time period is mine. And I don't want to think about what else I need to accomplish.

[00:44:03.270] – Rachel

Like, in these 30 minutes, this is what I'm doing, and the rest of my day will wait, and it'll get done when it gets done. And I think having that time helps you process your thoughts a little bit better later on. Like she was talking about, you're not thinking of things repeatedly. You're not thinking the same thing twice. So when you're in a calm space and you can just think about one thing, then you're shifting your thoughts, and your anxiety levels kind of go down. I think all of this is a wonderful practice for people that might be suffering with a little bit of anxiety these days.

[00:44:39.260] – Allan

Yeah. If you're having difficulty sleeping, if your blood pressure is a little high, you know, it's all stress induced. You're trying to do the other things. Because when I started my journey, I started with nutrition and movement. I said, okay, these are two things I can control. I got to a point, and I'm like, okay, now if I'm looking at my health, what's missing? And I'm like, Well, I know I need more sleep, and I know I need to reduce stress. I reduced some of my stress by just getting out of toxic relationships. That was a big part of it. But I still had a very stressful job, and I still had some sleep issues. So I really focused on my sleep. And once I got my sleep down, which was really more of just go to bed at the same time and don't just think, I have to fall asleep right then. If I don't, that's okay. Just lay there. Just lay there and breathe. So in a sense, it was a form of meditation for me. Interestingly enough, that's exactly where I would go in my head. I'd be like, okay, I'm walking down the beach, and I feel the sun, and I'm just thinking about, if I were on the beach, what that would feel like and what that be like.

[00:45:56.080] – Allan

The sand under my feet, the sun, the waves, the smells, the birds, all of that. And so that's why I think I gravitated towards the ocean one on their app, they've got several. So it's not all ocean. There are different ones. But I think that's why I gravitated to it, because that was a way to really kind of bring myself down and fall asleep faster. And so I would go to sleep at the same time every night. That was kind of rule number one. Number two was I would lay there even if I wasn't going to go to sleep straight away. If I lay there for more than an hour I'd get up. But I think most people will find if you just lay in a dark room with your eyes closed for an hour, you're going to fall asleep. I'm sorry. You're tired. You are tired, probably.

[00:46:43.730] – Allan

And so that's what I would do. And then I wouldn't send alarm because the time I set to go to bed, there was, like, almost zero chance I would oversleep in the morning because that would require, like, 12 hours of sleep. I mean, literally, I didn't have to be at work until 09:00, which meant I had to leave by 08:00. So if I went to bed about 8:30, there's high likelihood I'm going to wake up sometime between five and seven. And when I do, because the sun's coming up and it's brighter in my bedroom because I didn't have the blackout, I didn't need the blackout shades there. Then I'd sleep, and then the sun would be coming up, the room would start lightning, and I knew if I woke up and the room was light, I needed to get up because I had slept enough. I got to work, so there was sleep. The stress part was where I was really trying to do the meditation and this and that, and I struggled with it because I got quiet. I'd think about the 100 things I need to get done before the day is over.

[00:47:43.190] – Allan

The only time I ever could just turn my brain off like that was lifting. When I'm focused on a lift, I don't even hear anything. So everybody's like, what's your favorite playlist? I'm like, I don't even try to listen to music anymore, or even books because I would start lifting and maybe four or five chapters later, and I'd like, what did I just listen to? Because I don't remember any of it. And so I was like, yeah, I don't listen to music. I don't listen to books. When I'm lifting, when I'm lifting, all I hear is the lift. All I hear is, okay, Allan, this is the form. I'm coaching myself through the lift. I'm feeling every bit of it, and I'm focused on that, and so I don't hear anything. And so that's a form of meditation for me is that. But with this, this is a very similar experience. When I'm sitting there with the muse on and it's going through it, it's telling me I'm present. It's helping me know that I'm present. And I'm listening to the waves, and that five minutes goes like, snap. Whereas before I try to meditate in five minutes, I'd stop three times, a hit pause to write something on a to do list because I didn't want to forget it.

[00:48:57.880] – Allan

I didn't want to let that thought go. Just let the thought, no, if I let the thought go, I'm not going to send the email. And then, yeah, tomorrow is going to suck. So, no, I've got to send that email. So I write down the email and then I go back in or try to do it again. And I never really get into a meditation that way. But this was different, this was definitely different.

[00:49:18.370] – Rachel

Well, it takes practice to be able to set those thoughts aside for later. It's hard, it's really hard. And that's really what we're trying to do is take that five minutes of the meditation and set all of those other thoughts that could be disruptive, set them aside for later and stay focused on what you're doing. But what was also fascinating to me is that this device is being studied at the Mayo Clinic and you had discussed for breast cancer patients where I would imagine and fibro both have high levels of pain. And so maybe doing this meditation has this really amazing physical adaptation that it changes your brain context, but also brings anxiety down. So maybe it has a lot to do with managing the pain and maybe focusing more on the healing process when people have this chronic type of pain. That's really interesting.

[00:50:12.550] – Allan

And as I went through and did some research before I had the conversation with Ariel because there was no book to read, this like usually I'll read a book and I'm like, okay, I don't want to go into this interview just asking a bunch of questions I don't know the answer to. They're still asked her things I didn't know the answer to, obviously. But as I got into doing my research, that was really a big part of it was if people think about meditation as a way to lower stress or to basically improve your focus, reduce blood pressure as related, sleep better, those types of things. But yes, meditation is a pain management therapy and it can be used that way. And given how many people are in some level of pain every day, taking opioids or other medications, INSEADs and stuff for pain which are not doing you the favors that you think they are, they're giving you a reprieve from the pain. But if you could sit down and meditate for five minutes and that pain dissipate for a few hours, that's a lot better than popping a pill if you can just do it through meditation.

[00:51:24.820] – Allan

So it's at least worth an exploration if you are in pain, to see if a little bit of meditation and it doesn't have to be sitting there closing your eyes, going ohm, and all that kind of stuff. Sure, it can be a walking meditation, just being present in nature and see if that helps because movement does help with pain sometimes. But this Muse device is fabulous and I'm really glad I have it about to take a vacation. And this is all going to be about stress reduction and just relaxation and it will be really nice to be able to get a practice and get consistent and really try to make that a habit of something that I do each day. And I think the Muse device is something that's going to keep me engaged. And I'll have the feedback and I'll have the reports, and I think all of that's just going to be something that's going to motivate me. Because part of my motivation, in addition to being someone who's driven and an Atlas, as I say, who wants a big challenge and meditating every day will be a big challenge. But the other side of it is, I also am somewhat of a tires person, so I need that consistency, I need that traction to feel like I'm making progress.

[00:52:43.310] – Allan

And so the Muse is something that's going to help me do that and help me see it.

[00:52:48.090] – Rachel

That sounds awesome. That sounds like a great thing to practice, for sure.

[00:52:52.070] – Allan

So if you're interested in this, they are given one year service for free and a 20% discount. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/muse or 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/muse, and that'll take you to their sales page that they've given that special discount to us.

[00:53:11.550] – Rachel

So cool.

[00:53:12.100] – Allan

Go check it out. See if it's something you think you'll enjoy. I'm going to be using it regularly, and it's going to be a part of my daily practice, particularly once I make it that habit that I need to work on, because behavior change is not any easier for coaches than it is for clients. It's just something we are always working on. So I'm going to try to do that, and I'm going to use the Muse as a tool to make it happen.

[00:53:36.520] – Rachel

That sounds great, Allan. All the best for that. That's great.

[00:53:39.670] – Allan

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

[00:53:41.660] – Rachel

Take care.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

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

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
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to fix your relationship with food, your body, and yourself with Deanna Schober

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 606 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Deanna Schober of Built Daily and the Fitness and Sushi Podcast and we discuss how to fix your relationship with food, your body, and yourself.


Let's Say Hello

With Coach Allan being off this month, there won't be a hello session for a few weeks. We'll see you after mid-October.


[00:01:47.090] – Allan

Deanna, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:01:50.210] – Deanna

Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited.

[00:01:52.850] – Allan

Yeah, we found each other because you have a podcast, Fitness and Sushi. And so I reached out to be a potential guest I think you probably had listed on one of the sites where you're looking for guests, and that's kind of how I came across you. You and Tony, your husband is your co host on Fitness and Sushi. And then as I started kind of diving into, okay, who are these people and what are they doing out there? I really resonate with your message. I think that so many times people think, well, I just got to find the right diet.

[00:02:24.990] – Allan

I've tried them all, but I just haven't found the right one. And so they're always out there looking for the diet. They're looking for ways to burn more calories than they consume. And so they go into the gym and they find one elliptical. When they get on it, it says, okay, in an hour, they did 500 calories. And then the other elliptical, which is a little different, it says they burned 600. So they now have a favorite elliptical. It's just this whole idea of, okay, I have to do all this stuff.

[00:02:54.540] – Allan

Add all this stuff to my life to lose weight. And your message is quite different than that.

[00:03:01.710] – Deanna

Yeah, what you just described is like, I'm going to math myself to a better body or better health. I'm going to math myself. I always say that we are not math. Of course math is a consideration, but we're all about the whole person, which includes behavior, psychology, emotions and preferences. And also we have these brains that we have to deal with that work a certain way, they're hardwired a certain way, we have to understand them. Because if you're just mathing your way through health and fitness, your brain is not going to like that. It's not going to let you be consistent with that.

[00:03:41.740] – Allan

Yeah, and even beyond that, I mean, yeah, we are hardwired at some level. But our past, our traumas, our history. Everything creates these grooves that's valuable if you were a hunter gatherer and you know, okay, yeah, if I go that way, that's poison ivy and I'm going to be suffering for three days. If I go that way, there's a bear and I'm going to be dead going that way. And so your brain starts hardwiring and soft wiring to kind of remember and know.

[00:04:12.580] – Allan

And as a result, our behavior is not fixed, but it's pretty hard to change. And unfortunately, diet culture doesn't really help us do that.

[00:04:23.730] – Deanna

No, it goes directly against a lot of it. It puts us into famine mode, survival mode. It puts you into a state where you are literally now working against your brain's strongest desire, which is for you to survive. And if you are not eating enough, if you are putting yourself into a state of scarcity, then those are going against your brain's hardwiring desire to survive. And yes, you can overcome it. People do for bursts of time or long periods of time, but they do it and it's extremely uncomfortable. It's not pleasant, it's very difficult. It requires a lot of energy. And it's the hardest way to be consistent when you're working against your primitive. Survival skills or primitive survival mechanisms.

[00:05:16.950] – Allan

Yeah, of course. I'll go on various forums like MyFitness pal and Facebook and things like that. And I think what's so disheartening to me is that there'll be someone and they'll say, I'm eating at a calorie deficit and not losing weight. They're doing the math thing and they're on a diet and they're doing it and they're like, okay, I know everything I'm eating. I know all my movement. I put it all into the formula. I should be losing weight and I'm not losing weight. And they get just so disgusted with that whole thing that when I read it, I just know they're going to quit because no one is reaching out and telling them that they have to do some of this other work first and then the other parts kind of fall in place. So it's not a diet, it's just changing behaviors, changing thoughts.

[00:06:06.460] – Allan

Now, you call that healing. Can you kind of get into how that works and how you guys see that as the basic paradigm of how we can fix ourselves so that we get healthy without having to do all the diet stuff and being frustrated by it?

[00:06:26.360] – Deanna

Yeah, I think the idea is that with healing is actually not that you need to fix yourself. It's that you came into this world intuitively, like having a good relationship with food, having a good relationship with your body and society and all its ideals and the weird things that humans do. Comes in with diet culture and really has kind of destroyed those relationships. So healing is getting us back to that foundational place where we are waking up every day and we're taking care of ourselves. And food isn't like an obsessive thought throughout the day and controlling our bodies is not an obsessive thought throughout the day. And what that does is allow you to return to a state of thriving instead of surviving, which is what dieting puts you in.

[00:07:15.420] – Deanna

And when that is your state of mind, then you're much more consistent with any kind of changes that you make. And yes, there's work to do and habits to form through that process. But if you're dieting, you're forming those habits and also working against your brain. You're also working against the way that you are wired. And so healing is really just getting you back to that place of having a good relationship with food and reminding you that you can trust yourself with food. So many people don't trust themselves with food and because a calorie deficit has frustrated them and they've gotten to this place of binging and restricting and binging and restricting over and over again because of that whole math equation thing and following meal plans and feeling frustrated. And when you follow a lot of diets too, no diet ever tells you. Like, this is an us problem.

[00:08:14.190] – Deanna

They say, this is your problem. You're not trying hard enough. You shouldn't have any excuses. There's something wrong with you. And the reality of that is that if 97% of people can't follow a diet for more than two years, then something's going on there. It's working against human being psychology and human beings behavior to our survival instincts. So we want to try to get them back to that healed place where we take away the damage that diet culture has done to those relationships and then start them fresh from that place.

[00:08:52.430] – Allan

Yeah. One of the things I like that Tony had in his book, which I wrote down, is called The Ideal Body Formula. And you guys have talked about this a few times, I've heard Is where you talk about how weight loss is not the objective. I don't think you said side effect.

[00:09:11.540] – Allan

I don't think Tony said side effect. Was that because I've always said, if you're doing the things that your body needs to be healthy and feel safe, then you're going to lose weight if you need to lose weight. If your body needs to lose weight, it will do the natural thing once you start getting it healthy. And weight loss is just a side effect.

[00:09:34.230] – Deanna

Exactly. I think your example of going on to the reddit Forum or the MyFitness Health forum and someone's trying so hard to lose weight and they're getting so frustrated. And the reality is that what we have seen and what we know is that the harder you try to lose weight, the harder it is to lose weight. And the more you try to force this thing to happen, the more resistance you're coming up against, the more frustration you're coming up against, you're more likely to give up. Your behavior really changes. And so what we propose is that you stop trying to lose weight and you start trying to really just wake up every day and take care of yourself in the best way that you can without all the dieting stuff, all the dieting attitudes and mindset and take care of yourself and kind of relax into that. And what we have seen is that that has been the way that people who couldn't lose weight finally can because they're forgetting about it.

[00:10:32.650] – Deanna

They're just trying to let it go and trust their body, that their body will do the right thing and just make changes because they want to feel good, because they deserve it, because they're finding joy in their new routine. That's a big piece of what we do. And when you are finding joy in these things and you're enjoying what you're eating, you're enjoying your exercise, it does become a natural side effect. You're not trying to do anything. And because of that, it's very sustainable.

[00:11:00.780] – Allan

Yeah, it's funny because I will, I'll be out there and I'll be looking at this and that 1% or 3%, whatever it is, the people who successfully lost the weight, doing the calorie counts and things like that, you can look at them on MyFitness pal and it shows you how many days in a row they logged in. Not that they logged their food, but they logged in and they're usually hundreds or thousands of days. And so this is someone who doesn't trust themselves.

[00:11:29.360] – Allan

And so they are probably logging their food every single day and probably will for the rest of their lives. I'm accountant, so I don't mind doing number crunching data and all that kind of stuff, but that just seems so exhausting.

[00:11:45.010] – Deanna

That's not the life I want for myself. I say that to my clients all the time. I don't want to be like 80, 90 years old and still be having to log everything that I eat and weighing myself every day. My grandmother is 93 years old and every time I see her, she still tells me how much she weighs and that's a major thing on her mind still. And I just think, God, I don't want that for myself. And I mean it's the best thing I've ever done, is letting go of that obsession and just enjoying my fit lifestyle, but enjoying it.

[00:12:17.680] – Allan

Right. And it's one of the things I'll talk to my clients about this. They get weirded out by the fact they're like, okay, what's my meal plan? And I said, I don't know. What's your schedule next Thursday? And let me pull up my calendars. So you see, I couldn't write you a meal plan because I'm not living your life. I don't know the food you like. I don't know how they make you feel. And so I said, well, here's what I want you to do. I want you to go eat, and I want you to write down in your journal how you felt before you ate and then write down in your journal how you feel after. And then the next day and what that will be is over time. You're basically telling yourself you're teaching yourself. Okay, these are the foods that serve me, and these are the foods that don't. Okay, does that mean we're going to not eat the foods that don't serve us? Of course we are.

[00:13:08.910] – Allan

Aunt Martha has a birthday, and we're all going there because she's turning 90, and there's birthday cake. We're going to eat a little bit of cake. That's okay. So many people get so frustrated with. Oh, well, I broke the rule. Yeah, I ate some bread. Oh, my God.

[00:13:26.930] – Deanna

And the irony of that attitude is that it makes you eat more bread and more cake. That's the irony of that. The more you tell yourself, I can't have this and put something on this pedestal of this is bad, or this is forbidden, then every time you eat it, your willpower will break down and you eat it.

[00:13:48.490] – Deanna

But you're telling yourself, this is the last time this is bad, so I won't do this again. And so that intensifies when you eat it and you eat more of it. Yeah, and then that happens all the time.

[00:13:59.230] – Allan

Don't see a purple elephant. Don't think about a purple elephant.

[00:14:02.660] – Deanna

Yes, exactly. Or my favorite one is like, telling my kids going into their room and out and they see a toy that they haven't played with forever, and suddenly it's going away. They're like, that's my favorite toy.

[00:14:18.130] – Deanna

with food, when you threaten to take it away. It's going to suddenly look shiny and exciting, because now it's scarce.

[00:14:27.110] – Allan

You do see this. If you get into the forums where there's a particular way of eating, be it vegan or carnivore or keto or whatever, if there's a certain way of eating, there are purists out there that are going to tell you, they'll even ask. It's so funny. Someone will plug in, and they'll say, well, can I have some tomatoes with my hamburger meat or ketchup? And it's like, well, of course you can. You're a grown person. If you want a little bit of ketchup on your burger, have a little bit of ketchup. You know, the bun probably isn't serving you very well, but the burger, it's fine. If you tolerate meat, then it's fine. But it's just interesting to me that we do get into this thing and then we see the people who are so strict as leadership for almost like a cult and so we go, okay well the diet god just told me, I can't have ketchup on my hamburger meat.

[00:15:29.690] – Deanna

Well and that honestly is really tempting when you are so anxious about your weight and your body you don't want somebody to be like yeah, you can have cake sometimes and you could be.

[00:15:43.600] – Deanna

Lackadaisical about that's not what you want to hear. You want to hear what's going to work fast, what's really exciting, what's really going to fix this because it closes a loop in your brain. It's like I've got this problem and if I here is the answer and it's very extreme and because of that it's going to work and it's going to work fast. And I've got all these proof and before and after pictures without any regard to whether it's sustainable or anything. Sometimes it's a trauma response. I think dieting can be like a trauma response to the anxiety of I'm not good enough, my body's not good enough. I feel bad about myself. I feel this anxiety about who I am and what my body looks like. And so we're much more vulnerable in that position to the diet guru who's going to tell us, like, don't ever eat a hamburger bun again, or whatever extreme thing is that it does feel very exciting to somebody who is desperate. And so that's one of the major things that we work on is to help people to get rid of that body anxiety because the body anxiety will begat the food anxiety and you're more vulnerable to those strict rules and that strict lifestyle that doesn't work, that makes everything worse.

[00:17:00.670] – Allan

Fast is not sustainable and usually strict is not sustainable. You have to feed your body and you have to heal your body as you said.

[00:17:08.480] – Allan

Now another area where because again, as you said, there's anxiety and there's trauma. And there's things that are going on and so as a result our relationship with food is almost like an abusive marriage.

[00:17:23.070] – Deanna


[00:17:23.790] – Allan

And so something goes on in our life and now we have to eat it away because this is our companion. This is our friend until it's not because we're going to feel guilty as crap about doing it later. So there's this concept, it's aptly called emotional eating. How can someone recognize when they're emotionally eating?

[00:17:45.610] – Deanna

Well a lot of people first of all I think, think they're emotionally eating. When they're actually just deprived and restricted. So deprivation meaning they have a scarcity relationship with certain foods and restricted meaning they're not getting enough to eat at their meals. You have a lot of women, especially who are skipping meals because of career pressure, because kids or just they don't have time, they haven't prioritized it. And so they're showing up to the end of the day after a long day with their stress built up.

[00:18:21.820] – Deanna

And they're sitting down and they're eating nonstop and calling it emotional eating because they're stressed and emotional. But in reality, what we've seen is that when we help people to come out of those two states of deprivation and restriction and they're eating enough throughout the day and they're regulating themselves physically and mentally with making sure they're satisfied with their food and what they're eating, that emotional eating is reduced by quite a bit. So we work on that first. Before we ever even get to emotional eating, things need to be eliminated first and then you can start to take a look at emotional resiliency. That is such a big deal.

[00:19:04.910] – Deanna

I think that so many of us are so afraid to feel our feelings. I think that anyone who's 40 plus never had any sort of emotional as a kid or growing up, feelings were not talked about. Like, I was allowed to feel happy, but nothing else, like everything else was very uncomfortable for my boomer parents and very shoved under the rug and they just didn't know what to do with it. And so a lot of what we do is teach people how just teach women how to just feel their feelings, which is to not sit and ruminate in the thoughts that are coming along with the emotions, but to actually sit down, turn off the thoughts that are running, and stop the story and just feel the physical sensations. Because emotions are very physical and the sensory experience of it and tuning into that helps you to process it and get it out. And when you learn how to do that and you also learn adaptive coping skills for those emotions, which is you're feeling the feelings, and then maybe you still need to soothe yourself in some way. There's other things that you can try that are so freaking simple that nobody ever believes that it's going to work. It's just sitting and taking deep breaths, doing tapping, if you've ever heard of tapping, just going for a quick walk. Standing outside and looking at birds.

[00:20:26.330] – Deanna

These things sound so simple, but it really works. It helps you to soothe yourself and to release certain hormones and chemicals in your brain that will calm your nervous system down. And you also need to learn how.

[00:20:40.990] – Deanna

To complete the stress cycle. Because the stress cycle is you go into fight or flight, your body needs some kind of signal that you're safe. What we've been doing is coming home and using food to tell our body that it's safe. Which is like, there's no shame in emotional eating. That's number one. If you emotionally eat, that's nothing to be ashamed of. And it's not even always a problem. We always say it's only a problem if it's a problem.

[00:21:02.370] – Deanna

But completing the stress cycle can look like just shaking your like coming home and just shaking your body, shaking your arms and legs. It's a way that animals do this to shake the stress and move the energy out of their body. We can do the exact same thing. And it's very simple, but it works. It definitely works.

[00:21:20.970] – Allan

Yeah. That's kind of a concept that in my coaching training, they called it breaking the chain. So basically what you're doing is you realize, okay, I shouldn't be hungry, but I want something, and I just need to know if this is emotion or is this actual hunger. And I thought it was funny, you have an email list, and I'm on it. So I'm reading your emails,

[00:21:42.770] – Deanna

I know what you're about to say.

[00:21:43.940] – Allan

You wrote the other day about the statement. I guess the advice was, okay, would you eat broccoli? You kind of tore that one a hole. But even with that, there is a need to somewhat figure out the right way for you to break that chain.

[00:22:02.570] – Deanna


[00:22:03.380] – Allan

Can you talk a little bit why not broccoli versus something else?

[00:22:07.270] – Deanna

Well, first of all, I think that that's just misleading because never in my life when I have been super hungry have I ever craved broccoli. That's just not I don't crave broccoli. I eat broccoli because I know it's good for me, but I don't crave it. I've had clients told me before that they crave it, but I never have, the whole idea is, like, if you're not craving broccoli, then you're not hungry. And so that's not totally true. I've seen clients who, when you get so hungry that your blood sugar is low, you don't crave broccoli.

[00:22:39.480] – Deanna

You don't crave vegetables or anything with any kind of fiber in it because that takes too long to digest. You crave chips and sugar and high calorie foods because your body wants to get energy to your brain really fast. So just because you're having those cravings doesn't mean that you're emotionally eating. You might just be over hungry and let yourself get too hungry. We see that quite a bit.

[00:23:02.480] – Deanna

But also it doesn't solve the problem, which is like just telling yourself, well, I'm not hungry, I'm not hungry. I just want to eat, doesn't give you a solution to that problem. And the solution is to emotional eating tonight way past, or it'll be weeks in the future at this point, but when this comes out but I'm teaching an emotional eating Master class tonight because there's a lot to know about emotional eating. It's a multipronged approach. It's definitely not as simple as am I hungry or am I just bored? Am I hungry or am I emotional? You have to know what to do with the emotions. If you are just emotional, you've got to have proactive things put in place. Like daily I journal my feelings and just get it out onto paper. That helps me process it. So there's the proactive side, and then there's the reactive side. What do you do when you're having the emotions? You don't run from them. You feel them. And then you soothe yourself in a way that works and turns off the stress cycle. I'm sorry about that email. You have to be kind of opinionated. About these things sometimes.

[00:24:10.990] – Allan

No, it was great because it really made me think about, okay, I understand. We have to break the chain or at least have to understand why we're doing what we're doing.

[00:24:18.720] – Deanna


[00:24:19.400] – Allan

Slowing yourself down, whatever that can be. I love the idea of journaling. So sit down, or you eat and just sit down in your journal for about five minutes. And I'll tell my clients this. I'm like, you're a grown ass man or you're a grown ass woman.

[00:24:34.220] – Allan

If you want to go have a slice of pizza and drink some beer with your friends, you do it. You do it. And sometimes you do it not just because it's taking care of you, but sometimes you're taking care of them. A friend calls me up and says, Look, I'm going through something. Can we go have a couple of beers? My neighbor, I think tonight yeah, he's going to be building something across the street, and we watch over his property because he doesn't live on this island.

[00:24:58.640] – Allan

And he just said, hey, let's have a cookout together. It's my birthday. I want to celebrate my birthday. So what am I going to do? I'm going to go over there. I might have a couple of beers. I'm going to have some cooked food that wouldn't be food I'd necessarily eat. I know tomorrow I'll wake up and. I won't feel 100% because I found out what 100% feels like.

[00:25:17.110] – Deanna


[00:25:18.790] – Allan

Okay. And so when you find out what feeling good feels like, then you know when you're not feeling good. So far, we've probably spent most of our lives feeling terrible and thinking that's normal.

[00:25:29.790] – Deanna

Yeah. And I love everything you're saying. That's the whole picture of life. Right. It's like I could get to the end of my life and be like, man, I was perfect with my eating, and I was perfect with my exercise, but I missed out on beers with my friends or I missed out on wine night or margarita night. That's not balance to me. It sounds so cliche and so simple, but it really is all about balance and being able to live this lifestyle that allows you both, and that's going to look different for everyone. So. Yeah, I love that.

[00:26:01.840] – Allan

Right. And that's why I'm going to ask you this next question. But I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. And one of the reasons I asked that question that way is because I think when someone goes down the diet rabbit hole, they're rejecting happiest.

[00:26:21.050] – Deanna


[00:26:21.710] – Allan

When they think they have to burn off calories so they can eat what they want to eat, they're not paying attention to what fitness really is. It's not about how long or how fast you can go on that elliptical. It's about what your body's capable of doing. And sometimes it's not just being an endurance athlete on the elliptical machine. You got to be able to lift stuff, push stuff, move stuff, move your body so there's a lot more to fitness. So when someone's on that diet culture thing, they're often not paying attention to their fitness and they're not paying attention to their happiness. And nine times out of ten, because of the way they're approaching this with this restrictive approach and everything else is going on, they're not actually even taking care of their health

[00:27:03.640] – Allan

So the things that matter most in life, health, fitness and happiness are completely avoided as a topic in their lives. When they're on this diet. And so I'm going to ask you so folks can get off the diet roller coaster.

[00:27:20.690] – Allan

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

[00:27:30.270] – Deanna

Okay, first of all, we have something that we call the ideal body. And the ideal body is not your perfect body. It's not societal's ideal, but it's kind of like what you're saying. It's those kind of three things put together. It's your healthiest body that's in perfect harmony with your healthiest mind. It's your physical health, but not at the expense of your mental and emotional health.

[00:27:54.730] – Deanna

So that is kind of our definition of that. And those relationships are good food, body, exercise, and mind. So what was your question again?

[00:28:04.010] – Deanna

Three tactics?

[00:28:04.960] – Allan

Just three strategies or tactics that we can take away that could help us be healthier, more fit, and have more happiness and joy in our lives.

[00:28:14.750] – Deanna

Okay, well, I would say think in terms of addition, not subtraction when it comes to food. Abundance, not scarcity.

[00:28:23.530] – Deanna

Like I mentioned at the beginning, that we have to work with our brain and not put ourselves into that state of scarcity. Because your brain, when you're in scarcity and it can't have sugar, it can't have cake, can't have pizza, there's a process that happens in our brain automatically that starts scanning its environment for pizza and sugar. And that is just how it works. We cannot get away from that as human beings. So don't think about what you can't have. Even I tell this to my diabetic clients, to clients who really need to eat less sugar and really need to eat less cake. Don't look at what you can't have. Start looking and finding the things that you can and stay focused on addition, not subtraction. You're not trying to get rid of anything. You're just looking for nutrient dense foods and trying to get those in and enjoy those.

[00:29:13.090] – Deanna

So addition, not subtraction.

[00:29:15.270] – Deanna

This is going to be more towards happiness, and that's stop thinking of your body as this prize or an outcome. I think that when it comes to happiness, we think that happiness lies at the other end of that weight loss. And so that's why we're like, we'll do whatever it takes, we'll work really hard and then we'll be happy when we get that body. And I've been there, I did that.

[00:29:42.840] – Deanna

I dieted down to what I thought was going to be I had ABS, I had like a six pack. And the body I thought was my dream body, it did not make me happy. It was really shocking. And some people don't believe me when I tell them that. They're like, I'd like to try. But I was actually more insecure than ever. I felt like I was on display. I felt like everyone was watching everything I did.

[00:30:07.250] – Deanna

And it was like a temporary hit of happiness. And then I had to work harder to keep it.

[00:30:16.020] – Deanna

There was so much pressure on me. So get rid of that idea. Just get rid of the idea of achieving something with your body and start thinking in terms of today. How can I take care of my body? Just stop objectifying your body at all. It's not that you don't like it or like it. It's just that this is your body, period. It's your home, you live in it. It's not an object, it's you. And to just practice self care every single day and start thinking, being more present about that.

[00:30:47.970] – Deanna

Third, I think, let's see, all or nothing thinking, I think is probably one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to get out of that all or nothing state of mind where I'm either all in and doing it perfectly or I don't try at all. And just find the messy middle where you're taking messy action. We call it half ass action sometimes, like, something just take action, get out of your head, stop overthinking everything and really just find something.

[00:31:17.480] – Deanna

Something that you can do is better than nothing at all. Like doing one workout a week is better than doing no workouts all year. And doing eating a few fruits and vegetables throughout the week is better than eating none at all.

[00:31:30.350] – Allan


[00:31:31.180] – Allan

So Deanna, if someone wanted to get in touch with you and Tony, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:31:36.750] – Deanna

Well, I since you're listening to a podcast, I'm assuming you like podcasts. So the Fitness Position podcast is where Tony and I, we banter, we talk about the healing process and we talk about how we've overcome it ourselves and how we've gone through these very things ourselves. We have a long history with this stuff, but the Ideal Body Formula book my husband Tony wrote and he went into depth. It's our strategy. It's how to heal your relationships. There's an assessment in the book that you can take and find even what your relationship with food, body, exercise and mind is like, and that is at idealbodyformula.com.

[00:32:16.250] – Allan

Okay, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/606 and I'll be sure to have links there. Deanna, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:27.150] – Deanna

Thank you so much for having me. I had a blast.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:30.130] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:32:31.240] – Rachel

Hey, Fitness and Sushi sounds like a really fun podcast.

[00:32:35.870] – Allan

Yeah, if you go back, I was on, I think, September. Her August 30 episode. So the episode that came out last Wednesday, I was on her podcast.

[00:32:46.410] – Rachel


[00:32:47.030] – Allan

She's on mine. So we kind of just swapped back and forth because we have similar messages. In the way that we look at food and movement and things like that, is that the things you do should serve your body, and it shouldn't be strategies and tactics or diets and exercise before you actually start working on the mindset stuff. That's where their whole ideal body concept comes in is this, okay, you're not on a diet. You're eating. You're feeding yourself. And you've got to work on your relationship with food. You got to work on the relationship you have with your body, and you got to work on the relationship that you have with yourself.

[00:33:25.250] – Rachel

Well, I love that she had said you need to find joy in both eating and exercise. And she had mentioned, too, you need to consider what foods serve you. Just like you mentioned. I mean, we're not just eating calories. We're eating foods that we want to enjoy tasting and that do good in our bodies. And it's not that always foods are good and bad. You guys talked about craving broccoli. I don't crave broccoli either on a regular basis.

[00:33:55.130] – Allan

Well, I crave Brussels sprouts, but that's only because I can't get them.

[00:33:59.630] – Allan

Yeah, but I think the thing is if you start understanding what food does for you, it's energy, which is the calories, and you need energy. No one sits there and says, I want less energy.

[00:34:12.610] – Allan

I want less energy. And then no one says that because. They want more energy. But energy comes from food. So if you're eating good quality food. And you're eating the right varieties of it, you're giving your body the nutrition it needs and the energy it needs. And your body turns on. And so there's just opportunity there. I mean, we're going to talk about vitamins next week, but vitamin B12, if you're not eating meat or animal products, you may not be getting enough B12. B12 is a key component to your body producing energy. And where is it going to come from? Mostly animal products.

[00:34:54.020] – Allan

Okay, so when people start looking at foods and label them as good or bad based on what they've read or what they've heard, it just creates this syndrome, this cycle that just self inflicts over and over and over. It's like, oh, I ate a bad thing. Well, I guess I'll start back on Monday. Yeah, well, dude, it's Tuesday. You're going to wait till Monday because you had a cookie today. You're going to destroy the cookies for the rest of the week and start back on Monday. That makes no sense whatsoever.

[00:35:24.230] – Allan

So you got to fix that relationship stuff, because if you don't do that, you end up in these cycles where, oh, I screwed up. I did something bad. I'm a terrible person. And you're just beating yourself up over that.

[00:35:37.930] – Rachel

Right. Well, it's important to find foods that agree with you. There are certain foods I eat that just don't agree with me, but also find foods that are palatable besides the ones that are manufactured to be palatable.

[00:35:51.720] – Allan

Yeah, well, I was at a party. And I should have eaten before I went. I didn't. There was vegetable platter, just the basic broccoli, carrots, and forget what the other one was, but little tomatoes, I guess, and it had the ranch dressing. And so I go over there with a plate, and it's like, okay, there's chicken nuggets. There's all kinds of sweet stuff. And I'm like, okay, well, I guess. I'll go grab some broccoli, and I put it on my plate. No one else was anywhere near this vegetable tray. And so I grabbed some of the broccoli, and I grabbed some of the ranch dressing, and I went over. I'm just eating this, and then I'm still kind of hungry. So I go back to the table, and no one else has touched the broccoli or the carrots. But the broccoli looked good, and I liked what I just ate, so I grabbed more of it.

[00:36:39.950] – Allan

By the end of the night, I had eaten all the broccoli, every last bit of it. No one else had any. There were still a lot of carrots there. I don't know that anyone else ate carrots. I don't know anyone ate people were eating some of the tomatoes. But just at that moment, that wasn't what my body wanted or what I wanted. I just ate broccoli, and I enjoyed it.

[00:36:57.930] – Allan

So it's not that you would crave a vegetable over it. The basic principle was this, if you're going to label broccoli as good and you're going to label a cookie as bad, and that's in your head, then you're going to label yourself based on what you just chose to eat

[00:37:18.720] – Rachel

success or failure.

[00:37:20.320] – Allan


[00:37:21.060] – Allan

And who are you? Who are you? Yeah, I wanted to lose weight, but I ate the cookie bad. okay.

[00:37:29.380] – Allan

And that's what they want to try to get away from, because that's what gets toxic, because someone says, hey, I just baked these cookies I brought into work today. You should have a cookie. Are you literally going to look them in the face and say, no, I'm not eating any of your cookies?

[00:37:48.690] – Allan

have some of the cookie. You don't have to eat the whole one. Just say okay, yeah, I'll try it. And you take a little pinch off and you eat it. And there should be no remorse to that. You're basically doing something kind. You're doing something nice. And if you think, well, I'm being bad, this is bad, then you can't come from a genuine place of love and caring and kindness because you've labeled this whole event as bad.

[00:38:14.020] – Rachel


[00:38:16.510] – Allan

And it shouldn't be.

[00:38:18.140] – Allan

A little bit of this or a little bit of that is not going to derail you. It's not going to kill you. And unfortunately for a lot of people, mentally it does. They let it derail them rather than sit there and say, oh, I don't know how many times when I was in ketosis, I would know. I'd almost know as soon as I got home.

[00:38:35.850] – Allan

I'm like, crap, something's not right. And then I'd check my ketones either then or in the morning, and I'd be out of ketosis and I'll be like, dang, something was in the food.

[00:38:50.170] – Allan

 I didn't know was in the food. And now I'm not in ketosis. Now I could have lost my stuff and said, well, since I'm out of ketosis, I may as well go eat everything in the kitchen that I wouldn't eat otherwise. And I didn't approach it that way. It was like, okay, well, that happened, right? I know next time I'm not getting that. I know it's on their menu. It was delicious.

[00:39:09.700] – Allan

But if I want to stay in ketosis, that's not going to serve that purpose. So I'm not going to have that. I'm choosing not to have that when I go back because I know it will take me out of ketosis.

[00:39:23.270] – Rachel


[00:39:24.160] – Rachel

Well, that's just the point, is that it's just this one meal, this one snack, this one thing. We're on a health journey, hopefully for decades, years. Just one day out of that snapshot of time. It's not that big a deal. And we need to learn how to give ourselves a little grace when these things happen. I mean, I always talk about the holidays when my mom breaks out the delicious Greek cooking, particularly the baklava. You can imagine there's a lot of sugar in the baklava. But it's a celebration. It's a time to enjoy the family traditions. And it's just a moment. I will probably pay for it later, personally, but it's worth it you know, and you just move on. The next day can be a better day.

[00:40:14.130] – Allan

Yeah. And that's really what Deanna and Tony are all about, is just this idea of let's work on our relationship. Let's think about why we feel the way we feel. Why do we put value on a dress size?

[00:40:27.910] – Allan

Why do we change clothes five times in the morning? Because we don't like the way this dress or this thing looks on us, so we're going to change into something else. Why do we do that?

[00:40:37.370] – Allan

Why do we put so much worth in size and weight? And that's kind of the whole point of where they're going with this, is let's just work on being healthy and actually being kind to ourselves. And if we'll do that, if we'll fix the relationship we have with ourselves, the relationship we have with our body, the relationship we have with food, the relationship we have with exercise, if we work on those relationships and we truly think of them as relationships, and every relationship takes investment. And so if you invest the time and effort to build that relationship up, to build yourself up, to understand that your body is what it is, but you can help make it better with some basic work, realize, okay, I'm not going to approach food like there's good food and bad food. I'm just going to ask myself, is this something that's going to serve me and give me the nutrition or not?

[00:41:32.980] – Allan

Is this something I want to build my brain out of? Is this something I want to build bones out of? And occasional cookie is not going to matter.

[00:41:43.750] – Allan

But if I'm eating cookies every day.

[00:41:45.890] – Rachel


[00:41:46.660] – Allan

then it does. So that's a different thing. Basically, I'm okay to put in a little of substandard stuff here and there, but I can't make that the staple. I can't make that the norm. And that's really where they're coming at.

[00:42:00.890] – Rachel

I love it. That was really fun. I imagine their podcast is a lot of fun.

[00:42:04.790] – Allan

Yeah. So I'm going to be a guest on there. If you go over to Fitness and Sushi podcast, well, wherever you listen to this podcast, it's there in the show notes for this episode. I'll probably have a link to their podcast. So you can just go on over to their website. But it's everywhere. You listen to podcasts. And so I'm on their August 30 episode, which was last Wednesday.

[00:42:26.330] – Rachel

Sweet. Can't wait to listen.

[00:42:28.460] – Allan

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

[00:42:31.040] – Rachel

Thanks, Allan. Take care.

[00:42:32.820] – 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


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
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

Thank you!

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