December 13, 2022

Is keto good for brain health? | Dr. Mary Newport

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When Dr. Mary Newport's husband was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, she began looking for answers. Her research brought her to ketosis as a possible nutritional protocol and the results were amazing. On episode 568 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss her book, Clearly Keto.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:48.790] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:01:49.720] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:51.420] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Kind of dealing with a stomach bugs. So I've kind of laid low the last few days and done most of my things from here at Lula's in our apartment. As you can see from the video, I'm in my studio, my fitness studio here at Lula's. And so I'm staying here because I don't want to be more than maybe 10ft away from the bathroom. So just trying to stay hydrated, taking some and things like that. Kind of get myself to a point where I can get through this thing with this little bug, but it's the thing.

[00:02:28.010] – Rachel

Well, I hope you feel better soon.

[00:02:29.770] – Allan

Thank you, but everything's great.

[00:02:31.510] – Rachel


[00:02:32.740] – Allan

How are things with you?

[00:02:34.410] – Rachel


[00:02:35.320] – Rachel

I just wanted to update you and our listeners real quick. I've shared that Mike, my husband Mike, has been battling kidney cancer, and our surgery is slated. It should be in another week or so. And they're going to remove his whole kidney and the nearby lymph nodes and adrenal gland and his pre surgery EKG and blood work. He had one more Cat scan which showed the tumor shrunk, which is great. Everything is looking good. And so I hope to have some good reports in about a week or so. But I wanted to share real quick, too, that we were talking to the oncologist and of course, all surgeries are high risk and it's always scary to go under the knife, but our doctor assured Mike that he was a pretty healthy patient. He's of good weight. His blood pressure is controlled. He is in good shape for surgery. And so it was really nice to hear that reassurance from the doctor that all that we do with our running and our dietary choices and everything has made him healthy enough to be able to manage a pretty big surgery like this coming up. So it was just nice to hear that reassurance.

[00:03:47.410] – Rachel

So if the oncologist feels good, then we feel good. So, good news.

[00:03:52.260] – Allan

Good. So, Mike's fit, trim, ready to go?

[00:03:55.770] – Rachel

We are.

[00:03:56.980] – Allan

Big takes scar.

[00:03:57.930] – Rachel

That's right. Yup. So we're very optimistic.

[00:04:02.430] – Allan

That's good to hear. So you're ready to talk to Dr. Newport?

[00:04:06.640] – Rachel



[00:05:08.140] – Allan

Dr. Newport. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:11.040] – Dr. Newport

Oh, hi, Allan. Thank you so much for having me on your program.

[00:05:14.170] – Allan

So the book we're going to talk about today is called Clearly Keto: For Healthy Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention. And the one thing I would say is I think cancer scares everybody to some extent, as it should. But the numbers that we see for Alzheimer's cases, and particularly the forward-looking statistics on what that's going to look like in 40 years, 30 years is terrifying.

[00:05:42.850] – Dr. Newport

It is terrifying. I think everybody knows somebody or has a family member that has been dealing with Alzheimer's.

[00:05:50.810] – Allan

Yes. I come from kind of a long life family. So on my father's side, my grandfather lived into his mid 90s. Not well, but he did live yeah, my grandmother lived into her late 80s. But towards the end, I think she was also starting to suffer from some dementia issues. In fact, the last time I saw her, I don't think she recognized me. I think she thought I was my father because just the way she was carrying on and talking and things like that, I think she had confused me. So this is just one of those topics that I'm like, okay, if I can figure this out, I'm going to feel a lot better about getting old, growing old and together. You might not be together.

[00:06:35.190] – Dr. Newport

Right. You might not be together. That's what happened with me and my husband, right?

[00:06:40.690] – Allan

Yeah. Can we talk a bit about Steve's case and what happened there?

[00:06:44.980] – Dr. Newport

Yeah. So you probably mentioned already with my biography that I'm a physician. I practiced newborn intensive care for 30 years, and Steve was an accountant, and it worked out perfectly for our family because he stayed home with our children. He could work from home. He was the original Mr. Mom, and he was a perfectionist. He was in the kayaking. He read novels. But when he was 51, he started having memory issues, and I thought, maybe it's just a midlife crisis. He would miss appointments. He started shuffling around. His accounting work, like quarterly tax return was fairly simple for our practice. It should have taken him 20 minutes, and it would take him several days, and he would shuffle everything around and procrastinate, and it was becoming worrisome. And then he started forgetting if he'd been to the bank, in the post office, and he would misplace mail. And that was bad because it was, you know, checks that people were sending in for payments that he would misplace. So he saw a neuropsychiatrist who evaluated him and said this could be dementia, but more likely it's depression. And Steve was depressed, but retrospectively, most likely he was depressed because he knew he was not functioning well and that's something was wrong.

[00:08:03.480] – Dr. Newport

He was put on an antidepressant. We continued to get worse over the next few years. Driving, getting terrible, couldn't follow a map, was losing his accounting skills. Slowly but surely. They always say, use it or lose it. He was using it. He still lost it. I mean, that's how Alzheimer's is. And he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, early onset Alzheimer's. At this point, when he first started having symptoms, he was 51. He was diagnosed at age 54 already. So that's early onset. Younger than 65 is considered early onset, and it's maybe 1% to 2% of people with Alzheimer's or early onset. So this was, as you were saying, you hope to live out into old age with your partner. And as I'm researching Alzheimer's at the time, I'm finding out the average lifespan is about seven years after diagnosis. And I thought, well, we're not even going to get to retire together. So that was just put a very big damper on our future. And so constantly looking for clinical trials or anything, we were always told by the Alzheimer's Association that we were within five years of a cure. We heard this over and over every year.

[00:09:20.620] – Dr. Newport

We're within five years of a cure, donate the research. But we were always watching for clinical trials, and they were kind of few and far between in our area. We lived north of Tampa and Florida, but he continued to progress. By age 56, he had lost all of his accounting skills. He had worked on the computer all day, every day, and they play on it when he wasn't working on it. Always had to have the fastest computer, but at age 56, he couldn't even figure out how to turn it on or use, much less use a mouse or do any accounting work. He also had to quit driving that same year. It's hard to think after diagnosis, someone with Alzheimer's still driving, but people do until they can, and, I mean, it's a very slow process. There's an awful lot you can do for a long time. A lot of people socially don't realize that you have a problem, and it changes how people look at you once you tell them. So we were not aggressively telling family and friends that he had this diagnosis right away, but at age 57, so about six years into symptoms, he stopped being able to make meals for himself.

[00:10:39.990] – Dr. Newport

He would just not eat when I was working. So our younger daughter, Joanna, ended up moving back in with us, and she would be with him in the daytime when I was working and make sure that he ate and that type of thing. But in 2008, when he was 58, it just felt like he was spiraling downwards, you know, I was pretty much giving up hope that we were going to come across that cure. And we had already, a couple of years before that, switched to a Mediterranean diet, mediterranean style diet. I had read some research that the people who ate the most Mediterranean like diet that had Alzheimer's lived on average, four years longer than people who ate the least Mediterranean like diet. I said, okay, well, maybe this will buy us some time. And that was the first I had even considered that nutrition might have anything to do with Alzheimer's. So then I was keeping my eyes doing, like, wider searches, thinking of nutrition and other factors that we might be able to address that possibly help him. But so when he was 58, this is May of 2008, two clinical trials became available in our area.

[00:11:51.060] – Dr. Newport

And we're like, oh, my gosh, maybe he'll qualify. Like in previous studies, you would be disqualified if you had a history of depression. If you were an early onset Alzheimer's and you knew it, wouldn't you be depressed? Who wouldn't be depressed? But these two did not disqualify you if you'd had depression. These were the first studies that came along in our area that had those criteria. And so he was scheduled for two days in a row to try out to be tested, to get into these clinical trials. Two different centers, two different cities. And the night before, I thought, I'm going to look up these two drugs and look at the risks and the benefits, because we might get a choice. If he qualifies for both studies, we'd have to choose. So I came upon a press release for a medical food that was going to come out in about a year from then. And they had done a pilot study in which nearly half of the people who had taken it had improved memory and cognition after one dose. And this was something you never hear improved with any drugs for Alzheimer's, that it improves memory or cognition.

[00:13:08.070] – Dr. Newport

It might slow the disease down for six months or so. So it didn't say what it was or what it did, how it worked. So I was able to find a patent application, and I read through that, and I learned a whole lot about Alzheimer's as the type of diabetes of the brain, which I think we'll talk about in a few minutes, and that ketones are an alternative fuel for the brain. And that one of the things that happens in Alzheimer's, is that there's decreased glucose uptake into certain areas of the brain. And glucose is a fuel. It's the basic fuel. If we're eating a typical higher carb American diet, we're running off glucose most of the time, and our brain in particular is running off glucose. But if you have a problem getting glucose into cells, the cell can be surrounded by glucose, but it can be starving, because the glucose just literally cannot get into the cell and provide the fuel that the cell needs to produce energy. This energy molecule called ATP. But it was discovered in the 1960s that when you starve or fast, that you use up the glucose that stored in your body fairly quickly within 36 or 48 hours.

[00:14:22.390] – Dr. Newport

And when that runs out, then you start breaking down fat, and you break down some muscle, too, possibly to make glucose. But since we have fat, we can break down fat. And some of that fat is converted to ketones, which are taken up very well by the brain and can provide fuel to the brain. So this was really a neat idea. This is cool. And where the medical food came in, it turned out it was MCT oil, medium chain triglyceride oil. It was a very specific medium chain fatty acid. And what happens they also found this out in the 1960s. When you consume MCT oil, your liver converts part of it to ketones. So it's kind of a neat trick to bypass that problem of glucose uptake in the brain. And I thought, oh, my God, this is brilliant, brilliant idea. And I remembered this thing about ketones and starvation and MCT oil converted to ketones. That kind of refreshed my memory. From medical school, I had heard about this. So in a patent application, I learned that MCT oil is actually extracted from coconut oil, which is the richest natural source of it. And so I thought, okay, I knew MCT Oil.

[00:15:34.620] – Dr. Newport

I thought it might be available in hospitals. I wasn't sure if I could even get it. But I knew I could get coconut oil because I had seen it in health food stores. So at this point I'm reading about all of this and it's about 01:00 A.m.. And he's set up to screen at 09:00 A.m. That same day. And so I didn't have time to do anything about it. We went to the screening. It was in Tampa, Florida. No, actually, I'm sorry. It was in St. Petersburg, Florida. And he did terrible there was a mini mental status exam. He needed to get 16 out of 30 points correct to qualify. They were looking for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. He scored only 14. So he did not get accepted into the trial. And the doctor asked him to draw a clock. And that's a very specific test for Alzheimer's. And I have it here, and I know you're not going to be showing the video on the book, but what he drew, so you can see it a few little random circles and a few numbers, four numbers. It was very disorganized. And the doctor said he's on the verge of severe Alzheimer's.

[00:16:40.710] – Dr. Newport

And I kind of knew it, but that really hit home. And I thought, what do we have to lose? I'm going to go get some coconut oil. And so we bought that on the way home. And then I kind of refreshed my freshman biochemistry with our medium chain fatty acids. And I found a fatty acid composition of coconut oil. And I learned that it was 60% medium chain triglycerides. And I figured out how much coconut oil I would need to give him to equal what he would get with that medical food that wouldn't be out for a year. And so the next day, he was scheduled again for a testing for a different clinical trial, a different location. And we tried, we went over what is the season, what is the day of the week. He couldn't remember any of that on the way there. The testing was about 3 hours. Well, I put a little over two tablespoons is what it added up to, an oatmeal in the morning. He had that for breakfast. And then about 3 hours later, he was tested. And he actually gained four points from the day before, which was really surprising.

[00:17:46.060] – Dr. Newport

And he qualified for the study. And I thought, okay, well, either we just got really lucky or maybe this actually did something, this coconut oil, and I'm going to just keep it going. And so the next day and every day after that, I would give them a little over two tablespoons of coconut oil. But I thought, why would you only use one dose of in the patent application? The peak level of ketones was about 90 minutes after taking the MCT oil, and it was down at 3 hours. So I thought, well, what does your brain do the other 21 hours? Your brain needs fuel 24/7. Even when you're sleeping, your brain is extremely active and uses a lot of calories, a lot of energy. So I just started cooking with it throughout the day. I got, like, every recipe I could get my hands on, and he was getting it basically at every meal from that point on. And just over the next few days, he had several symptoms that improved pretty dramatically. And, I mean, he himself said that the day he started coconut oil, that it was like a light switch came back on in his brain.

[00:18:53.260] – Dr. Newport

And before the coconut oil, he would be very sluggish in the morning, and his gait had become abnormal. He would pick up a seat kind of higher than normal and walk very slow. He couldn't run anymore, even though he looked physically fit. He had tremors. His jaw would tremor when he tried to talk. His hand would tremor when he tried to eat, had trouble finishing sentences he couldn't figure out. Like, he'd go to the drawer to get a spoon, and he come back with a knife over and over and over. He'd do that six times before he finally got the right utensil. And after the coconut oil, he just had more energy. He was more talkative. He started whistling again. He was a great whistler. He was all these great medleys making jokes, and he could get the utensil. And by about the fourth or fifth day, we're like, you know, something has changed. Something has changed for the better. This might actually be working. And so I was, in the meantime, researching everything I could about ketones. And I called Dr. Richard Veech, who was a world renowned ketone expert. Sadly, he passed away in early 2020 at age 84, still working at the NIH.

[00:20:06.700] – Dr. Newport

But he was considered the world expert on ketones. He had been studying them for decades, and he had been working on a ketone ester that could greatly increase ketone levels much more than coconut oil or MCT oil. He sent me all kinds of hypothesis papers that he and others had written. He had some of his associates who had written papers who were interested in ketone research call me. It was really kind of amazing when I told him what happened with Steve. And, well, at two weeks after that clock, so about two weeks after he started the coconut oil, he drew another clock. And this time it had the full round circle. All the numbers were there. They were in the right order. It was really messy. There were a lot of hands of the clock, but it was so much more organized. And Dr. Veech, I faxed in the first and second clocks, and he said, this is unexpected. He thought it would take much, much higher ketone levels for anybody with alzheimer's to improve. And then Steve just kind of progressed after that. I probably should let you get a word in edgewise.

[00:21:14.590] – Allan

No, the interesting thing here, and this is kind of my takeaway, is sometimes we're faced with tragedy, right? And then we have to make a choice and I just appreciate that your choice was to help anyone else that you can by sharing information about Steve and his story. And then again, some of the stuff that's happened since probably would have never happened if you hadn't done what you did and then reached out. So it's just not just, oh, I found something that works for my husband and we're good, that was, okay, I'm going to share this with the people who are doing these studies, with people who know people that are doing these studies. So there's some proposed studies that are actually going to give us good information because it's so hard to get a food study funded.

[00:22:04.780] – Dr. Newport

It is.

[00:22:05.890] – Allan

And the people that were going to do it, I'm assuming maybe they got their product released at some level, but they did it because they had a product. They did it because they were going to sell something.

[00:22:16.090] – Dr. Newport


[00:22:16.590] – Allan

And you just did this because you saw it was helping Steve and you're helping people yourself now. So I just want to thank you for that and say that we lost Steve at some point here, but I know that you made his life as good as it possibly could have been, particularly in those last years with this treatment. So I want to take a step back because we've talked about a few things and I've said this a few times on the show, because I've read it, that Alzheimer's is sort of like is sort of like diabetes type three, if we wanted to, some people call it that. But it's basically an issue with the brain getting energy. So with us having difficulty getting energy to the cells in the brain, we call a glucose uptake. Can we talk about a little bit more detail of, okay, what's going on in there? Because I know there's the tau strands and there's the amyloid structures and all those things, but those are the outward symbols of what's going on. The inward chemical stuff is where the real magic is because you just got to find a way to fuel those brain cells.

[00:23:23.680] – Allan

Can you talk about a little bit about how that happens? Because you talked a little bit about ATP, but we really didn't get into I've always known of it as the Krebs cycle, but you use the…

[00:23:34.320] – Dr. Newport

Cycle is another word. Cycle is another yeah. So basically well, I think a lot of people know that insulin is very important. Insulin has to do with getting glucose into cells in the brain. It's somewhat more indirect, it's indirectly involved, but it's still involved in some insulin does cross the blood brain barrier. It used to be thought that insulin was not made in the brain. It didn't cross into the brain. It had nothing to do with the brain. But it turns out it has everything to do with the brain. It actually does cross the blood brain barrier. It's just much lower levels than what are present in our blood. But in Alzheimer's, there's a problem that seems to be related to insulin resistance and insulin deficiency. There are some researchers that have found evidence that insulin is made in the brain. They don't know exactly where in the brain yet, but with Alzheimer's, ten to 20 years before you begin to have symptoms, there's already this problem of glucose uptake in the brain being defective. And part of it is glucose actually getting into the brain itself is depressed, and that seems to be related to insulin in some way.

[00:24:55.180] – Dr. Newport

And then glucose getting into cells, there are glucose transporters. So these are molecules that are kind of openings, I guess, in the cell membrane that allows glucose to enter a cell. And the ones that are involved in glucose getting across the blood brain barrier into the brain and into brain cells are deficient. In Alzheimer's. There's another problem. There's a complex called PDH complex, one that is right at the level of mitochondria, which are factories where ATP is made. We have like anywhere from 100 to 1000 or so of these mitochondria in a cell in which energy is produced, but also, like, thousands of proteins are produced in these mitochondria as well. And the PDH complex is required for glucose to actually be it's converted there's like six steps, and then it has to be converted to pyruvate to enter into that TCA cycle, which is located in the mitochondria. And this complex is deficient as well. And there's a thing called mitochondrial dysfunction. That's one area of study that hasn't gotten as much attention as these plaques and tangles that you mentioned. But basically there seems to be a problem with insulin resistance and insulin deficiency that affects glucose getting into the brain, getting into these mitochondria where ATP is made.

[00:26:28.350] – Dr. Newport

And Dr. Steven Cunnane in Canada has done incredible amount of work. He's at Sherwood University and he and his associates have been studying this very intensively, and they have been using ketone and glucose Pet scans. They've studied over 300 adults of all ages, including many healthy adults, healthy older adults, people with mild cognitive impairment, which precedes Alzheimer's and people with Alzheimer's. And they have found that there is what he calls a brain energy gap. So there's a gap between how much energy the brain needs and how much it actually gets. And this is present even in people who test normal in their 70s, cognitively normal, there's a gap of about seven to 9% between how much energy the brain needs and how much it actually gets. And in people with mild cognitive impairment, that widens to ten or 12%. In people with Alzheimer's at the earliest stages, it's 20%, a 20% gap between how much energy the brain needs and how much it gets. And it just continues to get worse as Alzheimer's progresses. So that's a very interesting finding. And then along with that, he has found that ketones are taken up normally in the same areas of the brain that are affected by Alzheimer's.

[00:27:43.860] – Dr. Newport

And it supports this idea that Dr. Veech had back in the 1990s, that ketones could possibly help someone with Alzheimer's. And he has tested MCT Oil, which is the medical food that I read about in that press release. And he has found that MCTL does contribute to increased fuel uptake and energy production from ketones, and it also improves cognitive performance in people with mild cognitive impairment. He did a six monthly study. They received two tablespoons a day of MCT Oil. After the study, he told me that he felt like three tablespoons a day would have been even better, that they might have gotten even better results. But they did all five cognitive domains that they studied. There were improvements in these people, and the level of ketones they produced from the MCT Oil was sustained throughout the six months. It wasn't that their body adjusted, and they weren't making ketones anywhere they were. They actually were making the same amount as at the beginning of the study. So basically, insulin resistance is a big part of the problem. It's something that happens with aging. But many, many people develop prediabetes and diabetes. By age 75, about three quarters of people have either diabetes or prediabetes.

[00:29:07.320] – Dr. Newport

So it's very prevalent. It doesn't always affect all organs in the body. So somebody might not have type one or type two diabetes, but they can still have diabetes of the brain. So the insulin resistance can affect the brain directly. And this seems to be a really big part of the problem. So it's insulin resistance not allowing glucose into cells, and then the brain needing some kind of fuel to fill in the gap from glucose, and ketones can fill that in. So it's kind of a neat idea. Using ketogenic strategies, so to speak, that will increase ketones could help overcome both of those problems, the insulin resistance and filling in the brain energy gap.

[00:29:54.190] – Sponsor

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[00:31:31.330] – Allan

If someone wanted to address this aging, particularly healthy aging of the brain, marrying ketosis with the Mediterranean diet is sort of your prescription. Can you talk a little bit about why those would be so protective?

[00:31:46.240] – Dr. Newport

Yeah. There have been hundreds of studies of the Mediterranean diet and cognition. I think I found over 500 when I did a search on PubMed. And basically the standard American diet has gone in the junk food route. Ultra processed foods, a lot of fructose, which is very harmful, very inflammatory, and cells in many cells of tissues, just not getting the right nutrients, not getting the right forms of vitamins. And with a Mediterranean diet, a whole food diet, basically a whole food Mediterranean diet, you're eating whole grains, legumes. It emphasizes fish, more so than red meat. It doesn't completely eliminate red meat, necessarily, but just suggest limiting that moderate amount of dairy and full fat dairy. This is not a fat free, low fat diet and emphasizes olive oil, healthy fats like olive oil and monounsaturated fats, which are in olive oil, nuts and seeds are very rich in them. Avocados, a lot of foods like that that you can eat. The interesting thing about dairy fat, while human breast milk has medium chain triglycerides in it, the newborn goes into ketosis. Within hours, a newborn that is strictly breastfed goes into ketosis. They break down their fat, which helps get through the first few days while the milk is trying to come in.

[00:33:18.190] – Dr. Newport

And the breast milk does have medium chain triglycerides. So the newborn, it gets quite a lot of its energy from ketones and ketones. Dr. Cunnane, again, he was studying newborns before he switched and started studying Alzheimer's. They found that fatty acids are broken down into ketones. And ketones are the building blocks for lipids in the brain, and the brain is about 60 or 70% lipids, including cholesterol, and ketones are the building blocks for all of that. So very important in the newborn. So back to the diet anyway. Dairy fat, cow milk, goat milk. It also has medium chain triglycerides in it. And I think these days, even there's been this idea around for several decades, I think about 50 years now, american Heart Association. We should eat a low fat diet, avoid saturated fats. And even now, like USDA, what they prescribed for children, the Women the Wick program, women's, Infants, and Children Feeding program for underprivileged people, it emphasizes lowfat dairy, even for little children that are just coming off breast milk. And breast milk is about 50% fat, and more than half of it is saturated fat. And now we're supposed to eat a low fat, fat free diet.

[00:34:41.490] – Dr. Newport

Even the dairy in a tiny growing child whose brain is actively growing and lipids are accumulating very quickly in this brain. So, you know, basically, you know, the Mediterranean diet is a it emphasizes healthy fats. It's not a low fat diet, but you can get most of the vitamins and other nutrients that you need for healthy brain aging by eating a Mediterranean diet. So I like the idea. And there are so many diets that can be adapted to a keto kind of a diet. So basically, when you do a Mediterranean keto diet, you're using the principles of the Mediterranean diet, but eating more fat and less carbohydrate. So basically eating smaller portions. I still remember the food pyramid from 1992, my god, the base of the period was General Mills of the pyramid. Yeah, it was.

[00:35:43.480] – Allan

It was General Mills.

[00:35:45.100] – Dr. Newport

Six to eleven servings of breads, pasta, cereals, all of that a day. And I mean, at the time I was overjoyed because, you know, I was buying into this low fat, hooked line and sinker. But, you know, I developed a really serious weight problem and I was eating skim milk. I was eating these that I thought were healthy cereals with a lot of fiber and this kind of thing. But it was a real struggle to not keep gaining weight, counting every calorie. And yet the low fat diet, it's a nuisance because you crave it's high carb. If you eat low fat, you're going to make up the calories with carbohydrates. And when you eat so much carbohydrate, it spikes your insulin level. And then when the insulin level comes back down, you get hungry again, and you're constantly craving thinking about your next meal and craving those sweets. And that's kind of where I was at for a lot of years until we switched to a Mediterranean diet. And within about three days, I stopped craving, constantly thinking about what my next meal was going to be and craving sweets. It was really kind of amazing.

[00:36:50.210] – Dr. Newport

But basically, you just tweak. What I tell people is when you look at the starchy foods, bread, rice, pasta, cereals, that type of thing, a lot of people don't want to give that up completely. And I think that's I'm an older person now, so I'll say, okay, older people, you get a little bit fixed and what your diet is like, and it's hard to completely give that up, and you might not have to. So I encourage people to reduce the carbohydrates, but kind of start with cutting portions in half of, like, bread, rice, pasta, and when you're used to that, cut it in half again. So basically eating smaller portions, eating more healthy fats. And for me, coconut oil is a healthy fat. I've studied it quite a lot, and there are a lot of myths out there about coconut oil being artery clogging fat and all of that. It just isn't. So it was made up. It was a competitor with Cisco and other shortenings that look very similar and had a long shelf life. So they kind of put out these myths there that have been perpetuated. But olive oil staying away from certain fats like oils that are reheated over and over.

[00:38:08.920] – Dr. Newport

A lot of fast food restaurants, they'll keep the same oil in their fryers for a week.

[00:38:14.910] – Allan

Yeah, I can testify to that. I work fast food when I was in college, and it's one of those things where there's a standard for how often you're supposed to change it, and that's even too long. But most managers will sit there and say, look, we're spending too much money on oil. So one more day, scrape out and filter it. You get all the stuff out of it and take it for one more day, right?

[00:38:41.510] – Dr. Newport

Yeah. And it's heated to a very hot temperature. You think about throwing French fries in there and how quickly they have to be, or whatever you're frying in it, and it creates a lot of toxic lipids that are very harmful for a long time, until very, very recently, they were loaded with hydrogenated fats, trans fats. And this could have played very well into this Alzheimer's epidemic that we were seeing, these trans fats. Every cell membrane is made up of lipids, and it should be very fluid, the cell membrane. But when you add trans fats and they get into the cell membrane, which they do, makes the cell membrane stiff, and the cell doesn't live as long, it affects what's transported in and out of the cell. So a lot of problems, and fortunately, they've almost been banned from the US. They were kind of phased out between 2013 and 2018, and they're still allowed to have up to a half gram of trans fat per serving. So some manufacturers adjusted their serving size downward so that they can still use some trans fat. And now they're exploring these fats where they remove they still make them hydrogenated fats, but they're removing the trans fats.

[00:39:53.670] – Dr. Newport

So it's still not really a normal fat. And some of these foods that they're experimenting with. So just so many reasons to go with a whole food like Mediterranean style diet, just many vitamins, minerals, other things like choline is a good example. Most people may not have ever heard of choline, but they might have heard of DHA, omega three fatty acids. But the omega three DHA attaches to choline, phosphatol choline. And it's a really important part of the cell membrane of the brain. Choline is also part of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that's involved with learning and memory. It's deficient in Alzheimer's disease. So you wanted to get plenty of choline, and that's something you can get with the Mediterranean diet. It's in certain nuts, it's in animal meats, fish, that type of thing. Eggs are really rich.

[00:40:55.310] – Allan

The yolk.

[00:40:55.310] – Dr. Newport

The yolk of the eggs, right? You don't throw away the yolk in the Mediterranean diet. You eat the yolk. It's just so many good nutrients. And it increases HDL cholesterol. Some people still believe it increases your cholesterol. It increases HDL cholesterol primarily. And eating this type of diet will help overcome insulin resistance if you reduce the carbohydrate in the diet.

[00:41:20.350] – Dr. Newport

And I kind of suggest trying to stay under 60 grams a day, a lot of people might still want some carbohydrates. They might want more than that, maybe limiting to 130 grams a day and then including enough healthy fats in the diet. But under 60 grams, there's a good chance that you will be in ketosis most of the time, stay in ketosis. And then adding coconut and MCT oil can help sustain, like, a constant level of mild ketosis. They call it mild nutritional ketosis. And there are supplements out there, too. Ketone, salsa, ketone ester that Dr. Veech was developing in the 1990s that's been out on the market, really marketed to athletes. But a lot of people with neurological diseases are trying it so that out there, ketone salts are out there, there's other ketone, all kinds of ketone products coming along. We didn't have access to any of that, but I knew about it as these things were being developed. And I think of those kind of supplements as like a way to further boost your ketone levels. It usually will sustain for three or 4 hours, and then it's kind of back to baseline again.

[00:42:29.670] – Dr. Newport

When you take a supplement, I think of using MCT and coconut oil as part of the food to help sustain at least a baseline level of ketosis. And then for people that want to supplement, they'll get a temporary boost in between.

[00:42:45.640] – Allan

Now we call ketosis. When you get your blood ketone level to .5, to basically around 5. And most professionals out there, experts on, say you don't really want to spend too much time above 5. But for someone who feels like they're having some cognitive issues and wants to have family history of this happening around them, and so I just want to be careful, where would you say that they should sort of keep their ketone levels for the most part of the day?

[00:43:17.910] – Dr. Newport

I'd say between .5 and 1, maybe 1.5. A lot of people are having really good success, and people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease with mild nutritional ketosis. The higher range seems to be most effective for people that are dealing with epilepsy, drugresistant epilepsy, people with cancer. You mentioned cancer at the beginning of this, and there are quite a few studies going on, several dozen studies of using ketogenic diet as an adjunct to standard of care treatment for various types of cancers. It was researched first for glioblastoma, which is severe brain cancer. Most people don't survive more than six months from diagnosis. And it's really kind of amazing how the ketogenic diet seems to be able to slow down the growth of the cancer and even shrink tumors, obliterate how to get rid of metastases when it spreads to other parts of the body. And I have met some people at conferences who have glioblastoma, and they've been on a ketogenic diet for years now and have managed to survive so far. And they do also get other treatments, most people with cancer, but it kind of supports it. It seems to be effective for certain types of cancer and even possibly taking ketone ester.

[00:44:41.310] – Dr. Newport

There are some animal research suggesting that ketone ester could help before getting radiation, for example. And it can help shrink a tumor, make it smaller, which makes it more amenable to surgical removal. If you can get a smaller tumor, like in the brain or whatever it's being studied for breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, many different types of cancer. There are clinical trials going on now. Couldn't even say that a few years ago. But these things are happening now, and the ketone esther, Dr. Veech even though he worked for the NIH, he was competing with thousands of other researchers for research dollars related to Alzheimer's disease, and he could not get funding for a clinical trial for Alzheimer's with his ketone ester. But now, finally, the National Institute of Aging does have a study that's in progress. It's supposed to finish in 2023. And they're studying 150 people. They're looking at all the different blood, spinal fluid, imaging, biomarkers related to cognitive impairments. And it's people that have metabolic syndrome, which is pre-diabetes. And they're studying older people. I think they're between 50 and 70 years old and following them over time and with the ketone ester, and they're taking pretty hefty doses of it.

[00:46:02.380] – Dr. Newport

My husband Steve was actually the first person with Alzheimer's to use the ketone ester in a clinical trial. It was a pilot study of one person. And Dr. Veech picked Steve. I'm a doctor. I can monitor him. He felt very confident, and he literally sent us the this was in 2010, about two years after he started the coconut oil, and he sent us the raw material. It tasted horrible, just horrible. And he told me, figure out what to do with this. And I tried all kinds of flavorings and everything, and Steve shuddered every time he took it, but he took it willingly, had Alzheimer's. He knew all about the ketones ester. He was at a point where he had had some setback, and it turned him around again very quickly, and he was very stable for another 20 months after that. And thanks to Dr. Veech, I felt like we got nearly four extra better quality years than the year before he started the coconut oil. And what happened with Steve was that I had a lady that stayed with him when I went to work. And he hugged and kissed me goodbye, said he loved me.

[00:47:14.290] – Dr. Newport

Five minutes later, she called me and she said he had fallen straight back, had a seizure. It lasted 20 minutes. He stopped breathing. He turned blue by the time I got home. I got there before emergency services got there, and he was still blue. He wasn't breathing very well. He had another seizure on the way to the hospital. And I guess with his brain already so fragile from Alzheimer's, the head injury and the seizure, lack of oxygen, he became completely dependent after that. And he would have a seizure periodically, even though he was on anti-seizure medication and that kind of thing. And he continued to get the ketone ester in coconut oil. He lived another two and a half years. I really didn't dream he would live that much longer. And I think perhaps the ketogenic, these things we were doing helped sustain him. And he remained very healthy weight. A lot of people with Alzheimer's, they become almost emaciated as time goes on. And he ate very well up until a couple of weeks before he passed away. And then he just went unresponsive just fairly suddenly. And then we lost him a couple of weeks later.

[00:48:29.220] – Dr. Newport

So he actually did die from Alzheimer's disease, and many people die with it, but from something else, a lot of elderly people.

[00:48:38.440] – Allan

So Steve was not in a condition where he could really exercise to enhance his program all that well. But for someone who is able to do some exercise, how does that help this process?

[00:48:51.190] – Dr. Newport

Yeah, so exercise is very interesting. The Alzheimer's Association, now, they have speakers listen to their conference every year, and they say that somewhere between 30 or 40% of Alzheimer's may be preventable by modifiable life, by changing your lifestyle. Top being diet, eating a healthier diet. Exercise is the second is number two. Getting enough sleep is another one. Controlling blood pressure, if you have high blood pressure. But exercise, an interesting thing about it is that it stimulates ketone production. That's just one of the benefits that we know about. And if you, like, walk vigorously or elliptical, something like that, for 30 to 40 minutes, it will stimulate ketone production. This was actually discovered around the 1930s, and it was studied very intensively for about 20 or 30 years. There were quite a few studies, and they called it post exercise ketosis. And basically the ketone level would increase kind of into that mild range as we get with the MCT and coconut oil, and it would be sustained for eight or 9 hours, which is quite interesting. So exercise is another strategy. Some people, as much as they try, they can't tolerate coconut and MCT oil. But exercise is a way to stimulate ketones.

[00:50:16.840] – Dr. Newport

Overnight fasting is another great way to do that. And basically, if you fast overnight, you don't eat any solid food. You can still drink clear liquids without, you know, calories about ten to 12 hours after that you deplete the glucose that's stored in the liver and then you start breaking down fat and you start making some ketones. So you'll go into mild ketosis and the longer you extend the fast, the higher the ketone level will become. And some people kind of, some people call it bulletproof coffee, I guess that's one version of it. But you put coconut oil or MCT oil in your coffee or tea in the morning, it's only fat. And it actually increases further increases your ketones. And it will support you can do that while you're on fast and it will just kind of enhance your ketosis at that point. But there are a lot of people now that are doing a twelve to 16 hours overnight fast. They're basically skipping breakfast, maybe having the coconut or institute on their coffee and then having their first meal around twelve or one in the afternoon. They also call it time restricted eating, where you limit your eating to between a six and ten hour window.

[00:51:33.110] – Dr. Newport

For me, I kind of am around a seven or eight hour window. I've been doing this for quite a long time and I used to wake up hungry, want breakfast right away. And you just get used to it. You get used to it. It's a way to kind of keep your brain healthy by providing ketones to your brain.

[00:51:55.120] – Allan

Yeah, I usually have dinner around 07:00 6:30 7 o'clock, but I'm through eating before seven and then I won't eat until somewhere between twelve and two the next day and it's breakfast. I'm still making eggs and doing my thing, but it's just become kind of my normal structure. I want to first get up, I do other things. I don't necessarily eat straight away. I'm not really hungry. And I think that's the other thing. When you really get to a point where you're using ketosis appropriately, those hunger cues are a lot easier to pick up on. And you don't just eat because it's the habit of, oh well, it's breakfast, I just woke up, I have to eat something.

[00:52:33.190] – Dr. Newport


[00:52:33.810] – Allan

It actually gets a little easier when your body's burning fat for energy because I got plenty, right?

[00:52:40.770] – Dr. Newport

Yeah, you and me both.

[00:52:44.960] – Allan

So you wrap this all up. The book is excellent, by the way, and you wrapped it up with plan called the Clearly Keto Whole Food, Mediterranean Style Diet. Love every word of that.

[00:52:57.660] – Dr. Newport

Thank you.

[00:52:58.240] – Allan

I love every word of that. It's a really good, clear, easy thing to do. You also have recipes in the book, so you've pretty much souped to nuts made it to where someone that wants to work on their brain health using ketosis and the Mediterranean diet, it's there. So the book is called Clearly Keto. If someone wanted to learn more about you, Dr. Newport or the book, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:53:24.560] – Dr. Newport

I have a website. It's coconutketones.com. And that's C-O-C-O-N-U-T-K-E-T-O-N-E-S. There's no Y in ketones.com. And you can see links to my books. There's all kinds of information. I've had this website since late 2008 and I've just been slowly accumulating all kinds of information. I have a page of scientific articles. There are many studies now with MCT oil, but mostly smaller to medium studies. Larger studies are in progress. A lot of information, scientific reports about ketone esters and salts and ketones in general. Dr. Cunnane's research is on there. I've written some articles about how to use things like coconut and MCT oil and ketone salt, ketone esters. But basically there's a whole lot of information that people can find there. And my books are available. My publisher is Turner Publishing. The last I looked, they had a pretty good price, pretty comparable or maybe even a little less than Amazon for ordering my book. But Amazon, all the major book sites are carrying the book to pre order right now. And I do have other books before that, three other books that I've written. This one is kind of more back to Alzheimer's again. And it goes beyond I would say the first half of the book is all about ketogenic strategies, mediterranean diet, keto, but there's a whole lot of other things other things to do and other things to avoid that are not necessarily related to ketones.

[00:55:04.900] – Dr. Newport

A lot of certain foods and not overdoing certain supplements that could be harmful. And then the last chapter took me ten months to write. It was the first chapter I wrote, but I thought if I put this first in the book, nobody will ever get to the rest of the book. It's very science-y. It's all about what goes wrong in the Alzheimer's brain, all the different pathologies. So many of them are connected to insulin. Insulin resistance. I was really kind of astounded myself how much of this is related to insulin and lack thereof. Like those plaques and tangles, insulin resistance seems to promote formation of plaques and tangles, but the plaques and tangles themselves seem to promote more insulin resistance. It's like vicious cycles. And it kind of, to me, explains why Alzheimer's is progressive. You have this constant vicious cycles of related to insulin and insulin resistance, and it's just a downhill path from there. Just gets worse and worse over time. So that's for readers who are really interested in the science as well. I think it was a bonus chapter.

[00:56:17.360] – Allan

I geeked out. So, yeah, I enjoyed it. Yeah, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/568 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Newport, thank you for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:56:30.630] – Dr. Newport

Oh, you are very welcome. And thank you so much for inviting me to be on your program. Again, allan, this has been wonderful. Thank you for this discussion.

[00:56:37.750] – Allan

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:56:48.260] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:56:49.920] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This was a really amazing interview. A couple of things just hit me right off the bat. It's quite tragic that her husband was only 51 when he started to experience some Alzheimer dementia symptoms, which kind of hit me hard cause I'm 51, but it was hard to see him progress. And it's so true, you know, like cancer. I think we all have someone in our lives that might be touched with Alzheimer's or dementia, which we are. I've been watching my aunt decline, and it's a tragic disease to watch it unfold, but there is some things that we can do about it, isn't there?

[00:57:29.370] – Allan

Yeah, well, the base point I want to bring up is that she brought that he had early, what they call early onset. Okay. And that's important. That's an important delineation in this because it used to be that you really didn't see a lot of people with Alzheimer's until they were well into their 70s and 80s. And so it was a very uncommon disease to see when we were younger, like 51. And the same thing happened with type two diabetes, okay? So they used to have type one diabetes, which is where your body kind of your beta cells start to die out and then you don't create insulin. So you have to start taking insulin because your pancreas just can't create enough or actually stops creating it at all. And so that's type one diabetes. Type two diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes, but they stopped calling it that when kids started getting diabetes. Okay? So it is definitely a lifestyle related issue where we're looking at diet and people who are eating excess sugar and excess refined carbs are getting these diseases earlier. Now, I'm not saying that's what Dr. Newport's husband did, but there's definitely a problem with our food and our lifestyles.

[00:58:45.880] – Allan

And a lot of these things are shifting and they're happening earlier and earlier. And it could be just anything. It could have been toxins he was associated with at one point, another outside his control, could have been some things that were within his control. We'll just never really know.

[00:59:02.460] – Rachel


[00:59:02.820] – Allan

But like you said with Mike, if we're doing the things we need to do to take care of ourselves, we're limiting our risk. And that's really all we can do in this whole math of getting older and avoiding disease, is to just do things that lower our risks. And I can tell you a whole food clean diet that's giving you all the nutrients your body needs. Exercising regularly, sleeping well, having great relationships, all the self care stuff, managing stress, all those are really, really important aspects of health. That if you're just doing what you can in each of those areas, you're going to not just feel and perform better. But you're giving your body more resilience to be able to keep these things from happening, or at least happening early. Because that's the other side of it. We don't know. But why is early onset happening? And I haven't really heard any good answers. But obviously, from what you've heard in this episode, by switching to a ketogenic diet, he was able to extend the length and quality of his life, which, again, I'm not going to say this is a scientific study, but there are more studies happening.

[01:00:20.110] – Allan

Because Mary, Dr. Newport shared his story and scientists became very interested in what was going on there. There'd be more studies to say, could this have actually prevented Alzheimer's from ever occurring? So those are some things to think about. It's not that the keto diet is the best diet. Don't get me wrong. Ketosis is a tool.

[01:00:43.140] – Rachel


[01:00:43.720] – Allan

But really, I believe, and we've had some different conversations in the last several months about metabolic flexibility and then again, just avoiding junk.

[01:00:54.330] – Rachel


[01:00:55.140] – Allan

Those two things are really the keys to health care.

[01:00:58.650] – Rachel

Well, like she said, better diet, better exercise, better sleep, it's better. Like, make better choices. Do you have to be perfect 100% of the time? No. I mean, we've got Thanksgiving, Christmas, holidays around the corner. There's time to celebrate, there's time to enjoy your home cooked foods and family traditions, but just make better choices most of the time. And absolutely, there's nothing good with sugar. There's nothing. No nutrients and refined flours. Just do what you can, when you can. It doesn't have to be perfect.

[01:01:33.060] – Allan

I agree.

[01:01:34.080] – Rachel

Yeah. Great interview.

[01:01:35.910] – Allan

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

[01:01:38.980] – Rachel

Take care.

[01:01:39.810] – Allan

Okay, bye.

[01:01:40.770] – Rachel



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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


December 6, 2022

How to improve your running form | chris mcdougall and eric orton

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

With improved running form, you can run faster and safer. In their book, Born to Run 2, Chris McDougall and Eric Orton tell you how. We sat down for an interview, and Chris and Eric dropped a ton of value bombs. Whether you are new to running, or a seasoned runner, this episode has something for you.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:42.410] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:01:43.910] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:46.240] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I'm doing alright.

[00:01:48.574] – Rachel


[00:01:49.240] – Allan

We finally got some rain. We finally got some rain. So, yeah, it's rained a good bit over the course of the last several days, which is important because we were out and we were buying water to put in our tanks because we had to turn off the city because the city was just pumping mud into our tanks. So we haven't turned on the city water. We bought one big tank. We've got basically 400 gallon tanks in the back, and so that's our water, 1600 gallons. And that if we're full up, that lasts a few days. We haven't been full this time of the year, so that's another blessing sort of, that we don't have to worry about running completely out of water and scrambling to get something done. We got pretty low, but we didn't run out. And then we filled one tank. And I told my wife, we just paid $80 to fill up this tank with water, 400 gallons. And I said, it's going to rain tonight. And it did.

[00:02:43.260] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Wow.

[00:02:47.360] – Allan

We have some water catchment. We don't have enough that could keep us going without the city water. So I'm hopeful that we're thinking about potentially investing a little bit to change the way that we do water catchment, because the roof is plenty big enough so we could catch a lot of water if we wanted to. We just don't want to send that to the back of the house because it will flood back there. We send most of that to the front of the house, which is downhill and towards the water, towards the ocean. So right now we've got a lot of that water going to the front. We could probably have a way to switch and put some of that to the back so we can make sure those tanks stay full.

[00:03:22.020] – Rachel

Nice. Good. Sounds like a good plan.

[00:03:24.270] – Allan

Yeah. We'll have to see what that entails, the slanting and then having a way to turn it off is what's really important because once we get full, we don't need more water back there. We would need it to shift to the front. So it'd be a watch it and see and then switch it. I guess we'll figure that out.

[00:03:43.390] – Rachel

That sounds good.

[00:03:44.620] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:03:46.140] – Rachel


[00:03:46.540] – Rachel

Well, you got rain and we got snow. Yeah, we got a record setting snows up here and we got about 2ft or so around our house. And today was one of my first snowy runs of the season. So it's good so far. Stayed up right.

[00:04:03.860] – Allan

So you set yourself up right by going to Pensacola and then the draftic fly home into that.

[00:04:10.710] – Rachel

Yeah, that did work out very well. I'm glad we made it home and we didn't get stuck in a snowstorm somewhere out east or something.

[00:04:18.270] – Allan

or stuck in Pensacola. That'd be true.

[00:04:20.010] – Rachel

I would rather be stuck in Pensacola. Maybe some year I can be a snowbird. We'll see.

[00:04:27.480] – Allan

Yeah. Well, Bocas is still a nice place. All right. Are you ready to talk about running?

[00:04:35.920] – Rachel



Text – https://amzn.to/3fgE2cS

[00:05:24.790] – Allan

Chris, Eric, Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:27.990] – Eric

Hey, Allan.

Note: I told Chris and Eric that I think of a particular (but made up person) when I'm preparing for the podcast. I've named this imaginary person Ellen. They took it from there. So, in each case where they address Ellen, they're talking to you.

[00:05:29.070] – Chris

Hey, Ellen. I just want to greet our friend Ellen because I understand there's someone out there that we have got a lot of wisdom that drop on Ellen's head.

[00:05:38.530] – Allan

Okay. Yeah, great. I guess I'll share this with the audience because I don't usually do that much, but when I'm trying to come up with a topic or I'm looking for books that I want to talk about, I have this imaginary person, Ellen, and I think about what Ellen needs to hear as I'm reading a book. And so it kind of keeps me in the mind of saying, this book isn't necessarily written for me, although I'll tell you guys later, it absolutely was. But it's a book that I think is going to help a lot of people.

[00:06:10.770] – Allan

So the name of the book is called Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide. And the reality of it is, I'm a corrective exercise specialist. I've been working on myself from perspective of being more functional for at least the last 15 years. And, you know, going through that training and then reading your book, I'm like, you just holistically are naturally just stumbled upon my profession from an overall training perspective, and you're applying it to running, which I think for a lot of people, they get the aches and pains when they get out there and run.

[00:06:45.360] – Allan

They're just told you, should just naturally be able to run. We all are born and we just run. And that's not entirely true, or we teach ourselves some bad things as we get into this and we don't ask the right questions. And that was one of the things you guys said in the book, you're asking the wrong questions. And so I want to ask the right questions today. But this is an excellent book. If you struggle to run before, if you love running and you want to keep running, or you're afraid you're going to have to hang up your running shoes at some point, this is a great book for you to run safely, run well and run forever.

[00:07:20.250] – Chris

Allan it's funny because that one word struggle right there is what it's all about. Yesterday, Eric and I were zooming with our friend Billy Barnett, the savage wild man who was on the cover of the original Born to Run, and his wife Alex. And as we're talking to Alex and Billy, they kept taking turns popping up to chase their little eight month old son, Cosmo, who was like the Road Runner, just darting around in the background. And as we're talking to them about fitness and training, I'm realizing, you know what? We should just watch Cosmo, because this kid is running around. No one told him, hey, you better get the right shoes, go to the running shoe store, get your data to analyze, Cosmo. You better warm up, you better stretch. He was just running around, and when it was uncomfortable, he sat and plopped his ass on the ground, and we felt like he popped back up again. That is accessible to everybody at every age. Remove the struggle and embrace the freedom and the joy. It's so easy.

[00:08:23.860] – Allan

Yeah, I had a girl I was dating in college and she had a little nephew, and it was the same thing. He would literally squat down, pick up the ball and throw it, and then he would just run as fast as he could to the ball with perfect form. His squat was perfect. His run was perfect, and he'd pick up the ball. I would sit there and see if you want to play squat ball. And it was like, what are you doing? You can't squat like that. You should be running like that. Ryan and I would play squat ball, and it was one of the funniest games because you really didn't care. You were just running around. And I know we'll talk a little bit about some of the running that you've seen, and particularly the ones with the kids playing with a ball. It just seems to be a common theme if you really pay attention to good form.

[00:09:05.020] – Chris

I think the one thing we have to acknowledge is that, yes, every little Ryan out there, three years old, is playing squat ball. But then Ryan at age six, is going to be brought to a school and plumped down in a seat at 08:00 in the morning and said, don't move till 4. So here you have this healthy, vibrant mammal who has been immobilized for 6 hours a day and then goes home and has homework. And so we take these functional creatures and then immobilize them until they're like 25. And then you go out of college and you're getting a little bit heavy, and you're like, oh, we get back in shape. And this activity you haven't done very much for 20 some years. Now suddenly you've got to jump back into it. And that's a hell of a lot of muscle memory if you can suddenly run around, do squat ball, if you haven't done it in 20 years. I think this is where my eyes were open, because I was the Ellen. I was a guy in my late 30s, early forty s, and tried to run, got injured. Big dude.

[00:10:05.440] – Chris

I was probably 240 lbs at that point. I would see doctors, and doctors would look at me and say, guys your size, you're better off moving slow. Don't run. The impact is bad for the body, especially your body. And so I believe this. And you see it in magazines all the time. If you don't have the right shoes, you'll get hurt. If you don't train right, you'll get hurt. That drumbeat of you'll get hurt is so attached to running. And then I meet Eric Gordon and he's kind of showing like, dude, none of that is true. None of it has to hurt. And that's where my eyes were finally opened up.

[00:10:40.600] – Eric

And I'll add, based on the title of this podcast, that that doesn't have anything to do with age either. We don't need to go down that battle of fighting our age and giving our age an excuse not to do it.

[00:10:53.460] – Sponsor

This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Athletic Greens, the makers of AG1. I started taking AG1 because I realized I wasn't getting a broad enough variety of vegetables in my diet. We get good quality vegetables where I live, but limited types. And even if you get a good variety where you live, current farming practices might degrade the quality. It's hard to get both.

[00:11:18.010] – Sponsor

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[00:12:28.240] – Allan

When you had a concept in the book, you called it Easy Light Smooth and On Fast Days Fast. And as far as I was training for my first marathon, and of course I was buying all the running magazines back then. There wasn't the internet at that point. And so I'm buying all these magazines that I can get, subscribing to a lot of them. And I get them in and they're like, okay, here's the ten best shoes for the season. And then I'm like, okay, crap. I go reading all these things, I get more confused about the shoe that I should have because they're saying, well, if you pronate, if you supinate, if you do this, if you do that, if you're heavy, if you're a heel striker. And I'm like, Holy crap. So I end up going to a running store and the dude brings me out there and he says, okay, I want you to run down to that sign and then run back.

[00:13:12.580] – Allan

And he watches me, he says, okay. He says, you pronate a little bit, so you need some stability with cushion. And then he goes and he measures my foot and he sells me at the time of $70 shoe, which was the most I'd ever spent on a piece of clothing in my life, it didn't make me run any faster. Maybe it did actually protect my feet and my ankles and my knees a little bit. But in the end game, it didn't change me, it didn't change my running, but this easy light smooth and on Fast Days fast. It sounds simple, but how do we actually do that?

[00:13:46.150] – Chris

There's a lot to unpack there, Eric. There's data analysis, there's a shoe. There's the easy like smooth on fast you start off, dude.

[00:13:53.850] – Eric

Yeah, I'll piggyback off your story. When we met, one of Chris' hurdles was he was not able to run slow easily. And what that meant was that every time he went out for a run, it was uncomfortable for him to run easily, which would be maybe considered a nice, easy run that we do most of the time. Therefore, since it was uncomfortable for him, it was more comfortable for him to speed up a little bit, which caused him to fall into all the mistakes he was making with his run form that caused the breakdown in his body. So we had to work on both ends of the extreme. We had to teach him how to run easily well with form and good technique. But then on the other end, we had to also use some very fast running to build his structural system to eliminate the breakdown. So we worked on both ends of this extreme to help him create essentially more efficiency with his running, which is kind of a holy grail.

[00:15:03.900] – Chris

You know, the thing about Allan, too, is that when people address running problems, they're constantly giving you things to do that are not actually running. So if you had aches or pains or injuries, people to tell you, well, buy the other shoes or do yoga or ride a bike or go to the gym or strengthen your quads, no one ever actually looks at the behavior that is causing the problem. And to this day, it, to me, boggles my mind that the running media press always says the same thing. You run the way you run. No two people run the same. You run with your own natural former. Like, what an everloving craft is this? If you dive off a diving board, you belly flop. People go, hey, you know what? You dive the way you dive. If you go out with a basketball court with Steph Curry, he's not just chucking a ball in here, hey, Steph, you just shoot the way you shoot. No way, man. Your form is dialed in. The behavior dictates the outcome. And so, again, if Steph Curry's shot is off, no one goes, hey, you know what, Steph? Maybe you should go to your basketball how fitting store and get yourself fitted for a nice sleeve, because you're supinating on your follow through.

[00:16:13.750] – Chris

No, you work on the form. And this, to me, again, was a major revelation that Eric brought to me, and it corresponded to what I had seen in the Copper Canyon. Our superhero origin story between me and Eric is that I'd gone down to the Copper Canyon. I had spent time with the Taromata. I watched them run, but I didn't know what I was seeing. Eric knew about the Taromata, but he hadn't seen them. So when he and I first met and, like, you know, I've seen these guys, he was like, 75, and he's rocking up a mountain in a pair of sandals, and everybody's kind of running the same way. And so I was able to take my observations to Eric, and he was able to analyze and feed them back to me, saying the reason why they're running 75 is because they're all running the same way.

[00:16:58.240] – Allan

So let's talk a little bit about the free seven, because I think that'll help people kind of understand what this whole thing is all about.

[00:17:07.390] – Eric

I'll list it off, and then you go, Chris. So the free seven, we've got food, we've got form, we've got fitness, we've got focus, we've got footwear, we have fun, and we have family. That's the core of born to run, too.

[00:17:22.450] – Chris

Here's what comes down to Allan. The message of born to run is more than just a phrase. The idea is humans are born to run the way birds are born to fly, and fish are born to swim. Running was the first great superpower the human beings had as a species. Running. Our ability to run long distances is what allowed us to survive because we got nothing else. We got no claws, we got no fangs, we got no fire, we got nothing. We are naked lunches out there in the savannah. But we can run long distances better than any other creature in history. However, for you to take advantage of that ability, you have to have multiple sources of energy and fuel. You can't just have one gas tank. And so if we are truly born to run, that should be something that integrates all of our lives and should be fueled by all parts of our lives. So what we have found is if your footwear is dialed in, that's a source of free energy. When you have a nice, thick cushiony sole on your shoe, you have sacrifice energy, because when you land on that cushion, you sink, sink, sink, sink, sink.

[00:18:26.380] – Chris

And then you muscle your way back out again. If you land on your foot on the ground, you spring back off, you pop back off again. Imagine a box or jumping rope. Okay? It's a free source of energy. Another one we look at is food. Most people's relationship to running unfortunately follows their fork. Why did I start running? Well, I was putting on a few pounds. I want to get in shape. I want to be able to eat whatever I wanted. And so your fork becomes your coach. And so what we instruct people is, you know, what easily dial in your eating first, and then your running will be fueled by the food as opposed to your food being dictated by the run. So that's what the free seven is. It's looking at all these aspects of our lives that can easily be modified so they help our running as opposed to detract from it.

[00:19:14.820] – Allan

Yes, and I like that last one. That was fun, because I think a lot of people look at running and they think, particularly if they're coming after the fork, like you just said, then they're thinking, oh, crap, now I got to go do my half hour run so I can eat what I want tomorrow. And they're not looking at it as an opportunity as an opportunity to have friends with them as they're running, to be out in nature, to experience some pretty interesting things and kind of have some challenges in front of themselves because so many people kind of look at it as a drudgery. Oh, I got to go do my run. Or I got to go do my job. If they're running a little slower, but they just don't look at that aspect of what this can be in their lives.

[00:19:55.110] – Chris

Well, unfortunate thing about exercise is that we've all adopted this attitude that if it doesn't hurt, I'm not doing it right. If it's not painful, then I'm just kind of taking it easy. And unfortunately, that is a self destructive cycle because anything that is uncomfortable, at some point, you'll stop doing it. Your body's hardwired that way. So however, we also believe that, hey, if I'm having fun, well, I'm just slacking off. I'm not getting any out of it. But physiologically, fun is a self perpetuating activity. Anything you enjoy, your body will reward you with that flood of endorphins. It'll make you feel good. Your peripheral vision is widened when you're actually having plenty of oxygen flow, when you have those endocannabinoids in your body. And so actually what you really want to do is dial into that fun zone because that is actually going to maximize your workout.

[00:20:47.890] – Eric

And since Ellen's listening, most people who are just starting or wanting to start running do it for maybe weight loss or exercise. Hey, it's good for us, but very rarely will you hear someone say, I want to do it for fun. But that should be the first priority when just starting out is that keep it fun. And that's going to just let everything fall into place when you're first starting.

[00:21:10.690] – Chris

I mean, if we can translate running into the terms of play, of like dance, no one goes, hey, you know what? I'm going to go to the club and dance to get in shape. No, I'm going to go to the club to dance because it's a freaking party. And at the end of the night, you're soaked in sweat. You can barely walk. If you can look at running the same way, I'm not for run because it's fun. And then here's the story that I love because our friend Barefoot Ted, one of the miracles of nature that appeared in the original Born to Run. So Barefoot Ted ran the leisure trail 101 year in a pair of his tone homemade sandals and he rocked it. He came in under 24 hours, which is astonishingly fast, and I paced him over the past last 13 miles. And as we head to the finish line. I'm like, Dude, your training must have been monstrous. Like, how did you get in such shape? He goes, no, no, no. I'm just doing 25 miles a week. I'm like what? Dude, you're doing five a day with two days off, and you were smoking the Ledville Trail 100.

[00:22:13.270] – Chris

And he goes, oh. So I'm not interested in the limits of what's painful. I'm exploring the limits of what's pleasurable that makes these analysis. I'm rolling my eyes and the stick of the finger in my throat, but then I look back on, I'm like, the dude is kind of a half a genius, because exploring the limits of what's pleasurable, and you get that outcome.

[00:22:34.480] – Allan

And my co host on this, we have a segment afterwards, so she's going to love this episode for sure. But she's the runner. She loves this. She loves running. She makes sure everywhere she goes, if they don't have a run club, she starts one. She's always out and doing things, training, making herself better, even hiring coaches to help her run better. At least, training plans, maybe not. She's going to want this book. I'm absolutely certain of it. But there are people who could just identify as runners and then other people who dread it. And I think this book is an opportunity to really bring some people that may have dreaded a little bit, because when you add the functional aspects of what you guys are doing in this book to the running, it makes it less hard, it makes it less painful, it makes it fun. When you start realizing that you can increase your speed without killing yourself and doing things that are uncomfortable, you can literally get out there and say, okay, now that I'm running this way, I'm running faster, and now that I'm running faster, I'm having more fun. For some people, it is about podium.

[00:23:41.100] – Allan

Other people, it's just, okay, I'm in the back of the pack, but I want to run my fastest race. Now, in the book, you had three goals for how we can make our running more functional, and those were your footwear, your cadence, and a friend. Can you talk about each of those? Because I think those are magic. That's the magic there.

[00:24:02.590] – Eric

Hit footwear, Chris. I'll hit cadence.

[00:24:05.160] – Chris

Sure. Let me just say one thing, Allan so I don't want listeners to think that we're leading them down a path of further complications. Like, oh, there's all these things I need to change. One thing that has always bothered me about running is that it has been popularized as a way of maximizing profit. You mentioned going to that running shoe store and being told all these different criteria. Confusion is the engine of capitalism. The more you can confuse people, the more crap you can sell them. Because if you feel there's all this rhetoric and all this terminology, I don't know, and I have to trust the person who's selling me something. And that to me is really what that great beil Grand Wall of Footwear is all about. When you walk into a running shoe store, you're like, I don't know what to get. I got to trust this guy. And he's telling me I need $150 pair of shoes and I better rotate them so I gotta buy two and then I better change them after 300 miles because who wants to get hurt? I don't want to get hurt. So that confusion complication is what leaves people having to pay a bunch of money for a bunch of crap.

[00:25:12.370] – Chris

And what we feel is that you can modify things very easily and simply, and most of all, you can do it in a way where you can feel the difference right off the bat. And so our first starting point rather having people feel anxious about, well, what should my foot strike be? What should my footwear be? What should my cadence be? Maybe I should buy a watch. None of that. So we have this little exercise we'd like to start everybody off on first thing. So if you have your Ellen out there, 53 years old, she hasn't run in a long time. She's afraid of getting hurt. So here's Ellen, here's what we're going to do. You're going to pull up Rock Lobster on your phone. The song Rock Lobster by the B 52s. You're going to take your shoes off, you're going to stand about a foot or a step away from a wall, and then you're just going to run barefoot in place to the song Roth Lobster. And that song is about three minutes and 40 seconds long. At the end of three minutes and 40 seconds, I guarantee Ellen now understands in her bones what good running should feel like.

[00:26:12.370] – Chris

It's not complicated, she didn't have to buy crap. But here's what happens. Rock Lobster is 90 beats per minute, 108 beats per minute. That gives you the quick, easy cadence you want. If you're near the wall, you can't kick back and over your stride. Otherwise you'll hit the wall. And if you're running barefoot, you're not going to land on your heel, you're naturally going to land on your forefoot. And so that's what we tell people is you can get so much out of the simplest of actions which will educate you on how running can feel good.

[00:26:40.600] – Allan

Yeah, I think that's where I had a huge AHA moment is I realized, OK, when I run barefoot, like on the beach or something like that, I run around barefoot. I run different than I do when I have shoes on. And I'm like, why am I changing the way I run? Because I have shoes on. There's something fundamentally there's something fundamentally wrong with that. Once I was like, okay, crap. Even I've been doing it wrong for 53 years, assuming I started wearing shoes around three years old. But it's just kind of interesting how something so simple as just getting out of the shoes, or at least not having all the cushioning, not having all the stability and all the things. And again, like you said, you invested 300, $400 before you leave the Run store because you had to buy the socks, too. Let's talk about cadence, because you talked about that song, and I did actually listen to it. The version I found was like, over six minutes long. So I guess you can find different versions if you don't want if you want to do this a little longer or do it a little short, or you just put it on a loop and keep playing it.

[00:27:54.300] – Allan

It's actually a pretty catchy tune. But you gave me some key, you said, because I was going to ask the question, it's 180, because I was thinking it's well over 130. I wasn't absolutely certain. But let's talk about that cadence and gait and how that can improve our running.

[00:28:09.110] – Eric


[00:28:09.510] – Eric

So with Cadence, there's kind of two things that really affect performance and longevity in running, and that's cadence and leg stiffness. And they go hand in hand, and it's essentially how quickly and how often you strike the ground. And we want to reduce our ground contact or time or the amount of time we're spending on each leg. So all the skills in the book are designed to improve, leg stiffness and leg stiffness is a good thing. It's building a better rubber band with our tendons. It's building a better spring in our muscles to spring us forward. And that is really then goes back to affecting our cadence, or again, how quickly we can go from one leg to the next. And that's why cadence is such a big thing, which also then really helps dial in where we're striking the ground and how we're striking the ground with the foot and how we're using the foot. So there's so much wrapped up in cadence. It's not just a number, but it is essentially how well we use our body to run.

[00:29:21.300] – Allan

Yeah, and you did a really good job in the book of talking through that whole process of that. And what I liked was it was like every little phase of this, as you're going through it, you're adding energy to the system without actually using your energy to do it. Like you said, you're not sinking into foam. You're creating the spring, your legs and your tendons and legumes. If you're running the right way, they're creating more energy. And so effectively, you're running faster and longer using less energy.

[00:29:52.310] – Eric

Well, that goes back to what you first brought up with, that easy, light, smooth, fast. And what that is, is just efficiency. And that's what we're building and making running feel easier, better and more fun and safer.

[00:30:07.910] – Chris

I'm a little bit annoyed right now, Allan, because that phrase you use, adding energy to the system, I really wish I thought of that is actually perfect it's exactly what happens.

[00:30:19.350] – Allan

Yes. So the last bit of the three goals for this was find a friend. Can we talk a little bit about that?

[00:30:29.440] – Chris

Here's the thing about it. So much of what we do is based on squeezing something into an inconvenient part of our day or feeling competitive. And so much of running, and this is one of the two things that need to bother me most about running that really, I feel, have destroyed. Recreational running in the world is footwear and competition. If you open up a running magazine, they're always devoted to two things races and shoes. And there's the quarterly shoe review. The thing about racing is, racing is what you do in a distress state. Racing is what you do when you are at your absolute limits and you're in a state of discomfort. But everything about running is about racing. If you're out in Strava right now, every day you're racing some guy in Italy, you're racing somewhere around the world. And the difficulty with that is that it puts you in a state where running is now in the burn zone. But much of running, traditionally evolutionarily, were two things. Number one, you would never put yourself in distress state unless you had to, because in the wilderness, you don't know what's around the corner.

[00:31:35.790] – Chris

You don't want to be vo2, maxing out and then go around the corner and go, Crap, there's a sabertooth tire. I'm out of gears now. So you'd never put yourself in a distressed state unless you had to. Number two, you would never, ever go out alone. So for millions of years, we as humans evolved to run with two functions stay within our comfort zone and be with the companions. If you ran off in the wilderness by yourself 10,000 years ago, you did not come back. Arthur Litigator, when he began the jogging boom back in Australia, what he said was, with the Auckland Sunday runners, he said, always stay within your conversational limit. And that's a perfect ecosystem for running. If you can breathe and talk comfortably, then you're outside of your distressed zone. So he came up with the perfect mechanism that doesn't require any technology at all. If I can run side by side with Eric and he and I are chatting and talking, then I am below my anaerobic threshold and I'm in a comfortable state. But beyond that, too, since we're such social creatures, there is a psychological reward from that.

[00:32:43.420] – Chris

We are rewarded by a sense of companionship. I believe no one has ever finished a group run and thought, well, that was a bad idea. So I think psychologically and physiologically, we get a tremendous boost out of making our runs more social.

[00:32:57.490] – Allan

Yeah, I had Hillary Topper on the show. She did the book From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete, and she does triathlon, swimming, running, all of it. And she calls herself a back of the packer. It's kind of the thing. And so we were talking about marathons and things like that and it's true. The ones that are trying to win the race, they're running at their max energy output. They're running as hard as they can run and in a lot of pain. The back of the packers, they want to finish, but they are also having more fun. And so I think if you look at running as a competitive thing, well, that's great if that drives you and you enjoy it, but you're probably not running well if you're doing that, like you said, maxing out, which might not be the best thing for you physiologically. Whereas the folks that are in the back of the pack when they finish, they just ran the best race of their lives. It doesn't matter what their time was, they finished and they enjoyed it. They had a lot of great conversations. That's what happens in the back of the pack.

[00:33:55.270] – Allan

And so I think I think you're on to something right there is just if you're having a conversation with someone and you're enjoying that time, it even becomes less painful, less of a chore. It actually becomes a thing. You enjoy it because you're there with somebody. So it's a social thing. And I'm a big fan of taking instead of trying to pull things out of your life that you know aren't serving you is to try to put things in your life that will and they take away that. They suck up the time that you would have spent doing something else. So if you find yourself having two glasses of wine when you get off work, find a friend and start running. You'll spend half an hour, 45 minutes running with that friend. You'll have a great time, you'll relieve your stress, you'll forget all those problems and you didn't have those two glasses of wine.

[00:34:40.990] – Eric

I think too, I'm going to pick on Chris here for a minute. When we first met and started talking about the 50 miles race in the Copper Canyon that ended up being born to run story, he wanted to do that race, but there was something bigger at play here, is that he had a longer term vision for his running and himself. His ultimate long-term goal was to be able to run anywhere, anytime, for as long as he wanted. And 15 plus years later he's accomplished that and some. And I think if people have that long term vision for themselves, everything else falls into place. They can go do races and they can go have fun, but there's this longer term vision that's driving, driving what they're doing for themselves. And Chris towed the line and knew he was going to come in last and he inspired millions of people in doing that.

[00:35:37.800] – Allan

Well, it wasn't a fair race. We'll just say that. So let's pivot into food because you talk about something that I really actually did not expect to find in a running book, but you call it The Maffetone Method. And we talk about that way of eating because it's going to resonate with a lot of people that followed me for a while because it's very similar to the way I actually already eat. Can you talk about what that is to start with?

[00:36:08.460] – Chris

One thing is that one of our goals throughout this book was to make everything measurable by feel. We didn't want people to have to invest in any kind of systems or complicated things, even as far as, like, heart rates. I would say almost every coach out there recommends heart rate monitors for a very good reason. The only problem is I know for a fact that I personally won't wear it. And I can't see to watch too well and it's a pain in the ass, and it looks like a sports bra. I don't like the chest strap, so I know that I personally won't wear a heart rate monitor for very long. So we want to remove all of the things that maybe make technological sense, but don't make practical sense. And eating is one of the first steps, because I think where most people get themselves into trouble with running is using it as an antidote for their eating habits. And so we wanted to accomplish two things. Number one was we wanted to put the food first, get that out of the equation, because if you're no longer running to catch up with what you ate the day before, and something, you can relax and enjoy your run.

[00:37:17.320] – Chris

But secondly, we wanted to make it something that people could process by feel. I know people down there were like calorie counters or measuring how many lipidozoids of fat are in there, like bacon. We wanted it to be something a physiological feeling. Okay, I know I eat well because of how I feel today. So Phil Maffetone came up with a method, which I think is fantastic, because being the old hippie that he is, he doesn't want to have an argument with Joe Rogan about the keto diet. He doesn't want to engage in a battle of words. That's not his deal. What he wants people to do is figure, hey, test this out, and go by the field. If you feel better, then you're on the right path. So the Maffetone method begins with the two week test. And the two week test is very simple. You know, it's a factory reset. You get rid of all the high glycemic foods, all the starches and the sugars, spend two weeks without eating those. See how you feel at the end of those two weeks. Have a little half a bowl of rice, see how you feel.

[00:38:21.870] – Chris

And what happens is, once we clean the system out of all, like, the junk that's circulating around with our metabolism, then we can make a cause and effect between what we just ate and how we now feel.

[00:38:33.960] – Allan

Yeah, like I said, the two weeks was great because I think for a lot of people, they do end up finding out that, okay, when I get rid of all that crap, I end up being relatively low carb just as a natural way, because I'm eating a lot more fiber because it's vegetables. That's about it. Vegetables and meat. And then the other side of it is whole food. It's none of that stuff in the middle of the grocery store. It's all the stuff you see around the outside. And so we talked on the show all the time about nutrition, and it's amazing to me that everything kind of coalesces around just eat real food.

[00:39:08.800] – Chris

And the thing that there's one thing to note in your mind, it's another thing to note in your belly. And what we want to give people an opportunity to do is make it a positive reinforcement. So much of an eating is about punishment, about guilt. You shouldn't eat this. And if I eat it, oh, well, I cheated to cheat day. I'm cheating. I shouldn't. I shouldn't. Screw that. Let's flip it around. You want to feel good, right? If you eat this, you'll feel good. And so without even making the argument, just try it. And then that becomes its own self rewarding situation cycle. I know now something I realized with me about my capacity after the two week test. I remember so distinctly. I finished a two week test, and I timed it because I had to make a trip to California, and I wanted to make sure that I was done the test so that while I was in Los Angeles, I wasn't going to be hobbled by this two week thing of no cars. And the day I finished the test was the day on my flight. And then I stopped by my favorite convenience store in Pennsylvania, wawa.

[00:40:12.690] – Chris

I introduced Eric to wawa.

[00:40:14.670] – Eric


[00:40:15.460] – Chris

You will verify that it makes a goddamn good hoagie.

[00:40:18.210] – Eric

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:40:19.610] – Chris

So I bought myself a Wawa hoagie, the roast beef and cheese, extra peppers, and I go on the plane. I ate the first half of the hoagie. Delicious. Feel great. Ate the second half. I feel like I'm comatose. And I realized, oh, that's my limit. Like, I can eat half a roll. If I eat a whole roll, I just basically go into glycemic shock. And that's what the maffetone did to me. It dialed in where I know what my limit is, and I can eat the whole roll if I want to, but I know what the consequences are.

[00:40:49.160] – Allan

Yes. And I think anyone can say, I can eat anything for two weeks. I could try anything for two weeks. So I like the idea that this is a limited time test. You can fit it in because it's not something you have to think about. How's my September look? How does my January look? How does my fit? You don't have to be thinking about there's a birthday and then we got this trip, two weeks. You can fit it in there, you can do it. And then you just gauge how you feel, which I think is great and probably a reason why you're doing as well as you are with your running, because you have less inflammation, you're eating food that serves you, and you're not trying to do that carb up every night before you run because you don't have to. And that would be really hard if you're running every day, you're carving up every day. And nobody likes that.

[00:41:35.070] – Chris

Yeah, I mean, ultimately what we're trying to do is have our bodies rely on our stored resource of fat, of which we have plenty. And the problem is, if we're on a constant carb cycle, that's all we're doing is we are racing from one sugar high to the next and storing away a ton, as opposed to dipping into this natural power that's right there.

[00:41:57.700] – Allan

And you'd have to carry 3 or 4 lbs of goo with you if you want to do a 50 miles. Right, so let's do an outline because you have a 90 day run free program. Can you just kind of outline how that program works and what someone can expect if they're going to decide they're going to come in and jump into that? 

[00:42:19.000] – Eric

So first off, it's really meant as we kind of use that word reboot, and this is really meant for all types of runners, veteran runners, who have kind of hit a plateau or have maybe been injured, someone looking just to get started, someone to reboot that foundation. It's meant for everybody. I've worked with every type of athlete, from winners to beginners and everywhere in between. And what I've found is that really all runners need the same thing. So this is really kind of a reboot for the body, for the running body to take your running in whatever direction you want to take it after the 90 days. It's going to build a structural system. It's going to allow you that awareness of different types of efforts that Chris talked about before. So you're always kind of working at your own level of ability, but also understanding what is proper intensity and effort for you just like Chris mentioned about being aware of how foods make you feel, we're giving you eight gears or eight intensity zones so you can understand how you feel, and different types of runs so aimed at everybody for that reboot to really take your run into whatever level you want to take it.

[00:43:39.730] – Allan

All right, well, Chris, I'm going to ask you this question and then, Eric, I'll ask the question to you as well. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:43:53.810] – Chris

So I would say number one, Allan is sharing community fellowship. I think that we deprive ourselves so much of fellowship and companionship in our lives that if we look around and think about a 24 hours day, how much of that time was actually spent sharing joy and happiness with somebody else? Astonishingly little. That to me, number one, to better health is that sharing community joyfulness. Number two is motion. Just constant movement, motion. One of the people I met not too long ago was an 85 year old woman. She has set age group records for running. And I asked about her training. She goes, I just go out and shake my ass for an hour a day. That's it. Shake your ass. So take community, add motion and movement to it. So if you're meeting with someone, you're not sitting in a bar, you're going for a walk, you're going for a hike, going for a swim. And I think the final thing is when you're enjoying something, enjoy it. Remove guilt. So be with your friends, move your body. And if you're in the moment and you're enjoying it, suck it down. If I'm having an ice cream cone, enjoy the crap out of the ice cream cone. Don't associate guilt with it.

[00:45:12.210] – Allan

I like those. Thank you. Eric, I'll ask you the same question. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:45:24.790] – Eric

Okay, so here's coming from the coach, I think first and foremost is to what we mentioned earlier is to have a long term vision of what fitness and performance means to you. Not what everybody else thinks, but that long term vision. And again, Chris, for Chris, it was being able to run anytime, anywhere, for as long as he wanted. He accomplished that and he's living it today. It's something that will be throughout your day if you have that long term vision. Secondly, don't see running as exercise. First and foremost, see it as something that you want to do as a lifelong performance practice that will affect your entire day, create the fun in it, and everything else will fall into place in a way that we will kind of be rewarded beyond what we think we can get from running. And then third, I think don't believe the BS about aging is that there's always a way to improve. I have an athlete who's in her 50s and is still improving. And no matter who you are, when you start, how old you are, I believe there's always, always a way for you to improve and seek that out.

[00:46:40.460] – Allan

Okay, thank you. So if someone wanted to learn more about you two guys, learn more about the book, Born to Run 2. Where would you like for me to send them? 

[00:46:50.910] – Eric

So all my platforms are my handle is borntoruncoach, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter. And then we've got Born To Run World on YouTube, Instagram. And Chris?

[00:47:05.580] – Chris

Yes. I think Born to Run World is a great launching spot. Eric, and I are now doing a bunch of interviews with people who appeared in both the Born to Runs and we're putting these videos up on YouTube. But I think the way to access most things is to go right through Born to Run world and you'll find all kinds of treasure chests, treasure chest stuff.

[00:47:25.120] – Allan

Awesome. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/567, and I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Eric, Chris, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:47:36.060] – Eric

Thanks, Allan.

[00:47:37.090] – Chris

Wishing great future running to Ellen out there. And thank you so much, Allan, for chatting with us.

[00:47:42.570] – Allan

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:47:50.440] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:47:52.050] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Now, you know I can talk about running all day long, so you'll have to just keep me under control here. But, yeah, I think that gait and cadence and having good running form is one of the most overlooked things. It's not something that runners generally focus on. There's so many other elements to focus on, but we absolutely should spend more time on form.

[00:48:14.140] – Allan

Yeah, it was interesting because as I got the book and I started reading through it, I was thinking, this makes more sense than shoes. Because the whole thing, if you have, like, a problem with your ankles and you don't have good doors to flexion, it makes it very hard to do a squat. Right. Your whole chain, kinetic chain doesn't work right when you're trying to do squats. And that's why a lot of people will stop short on squats. That's why they talk about where your knees are and how they're aligned and why people are leaning forward. If you find when you do a squat that you tend to lean forward and you can think about this, if you're sitting in your chair and try to just stand up, how far forward do you have to lean to make that happen? And that lean forward means that your calves and maybe your hips are really tight at that point. And so one of the main ones is the calves. And I find this a lot of people that I train in person, some online that will have them do this because I'll just have questions about it.

[00:49:16.360] – Allan

But if you have a foot forward lean, it might be that your calves are too tight. And if your calves are too tight, then you're not dorsiflex in your foot, which is basically bringing your toes up towards your shin. And so we say, go stretch and do this. So you know that if you don't have good form, you can hurt yourself on the squat or not do it. Well, in all the reading I've ever done about running, it's always about pace, it's always about keep your heart rate at a certain level and don't go over, over, embrace the suck. If you're going to run for time, if you're going to try to do an embrace, if you're going to try to do a PR or something like that, you're probably going to be pushing yourself into an area of some pain and struggle. And the people that can do that, the people that can stay there the longest, are the ones that win these races. Or when your race, if you're trying to run a faster time, you'll find yourself sprinting at the end and that kind of thing. So few people have actually sat down and talked about how to run better.

[00:50:23.060] – Allan

And the other reason is, like I said, if you do the squat wrong and you're leaning too far forward, you're putting stress on your lower back and the potential that could be a point of failure. And I've seen people run wrong and I know the reason they're doing it is they're compensating for something else. So if nothing else, just watching yourself get someone to film you running from the side, from the back to the front and look for those kind of points where you feel like, okay, this is not the best form I could be running in, and try to see if you can figure out how you can improve that.

[00:50:57.690] – Rachel

That would be a great place to start. If you're not currently injured or dealing with some sort of a problem aches or pains, then going to a running store and getting a gait analysis would be a great place to start. And if there's a runner out there who's currently in PT for one injury or another, you can have your PT do that for you. Or if you have an in at a PT center, you could have a PT do a gait analysis for you as well. It would be very helpful to do and you see people in the gym, the ladies wear too many high heels or wear the high heels for too long, or we spend a lot of time at our desks and our abs aren't working, our glutes aren't firing. I mean, there's a ton of muscle problems that we see in the running community. And just paying a little attention to how your body feels out there, plus keeping a look at the gait, the cadence and how you land on your foot and all of those things, I mean, those are cues and if you can tidy that up, you'd be better off for it.

[00:51:59.910] – Allan

And one of the areas where I think you have the best opportunity to kind of see this in action, it's one of the things that I do when I'm working with a client online is I'll have them give me a video of them doing a movement. But I ask them to do it on their third set, not their first. So when there's a little bit of fatigue is when form is most likely going to break down. So if you had someone like, let's say you're going to do a 5K and you're coming in towards the end of the 5K and you have someone standing there and they're filming you running toward them and then they're filming you as you go past them and then they're filming you as you run away. You've got some data there to talk about how you're running for them is when you're fatigued because the form is going to break down. That's when you're going to see it most.

[00:52:44.670] – Rachel

Yeah, that would be great if you've got a spouse or a friend that you could bring to a race or a training run with you. That would be great to have some extra video at different points along the run because it's true you're feeling fresh when you get started and as the miles to come by, you do get tired and fatigued. And that's when we slouch. Our shoulders go forward, our back kind of caves in a little, it gets ugly. So it would be good to have some extra video.

[00:53:15.970] – Allan

Yeah. Again, this is if running is something you want to do and keep doing, staying mobile and doing those things, then you're going to want to make sure you're doing the right things to take care of yourself. So I'm not saying I'm not poopooing the good shoes. I'm just saying don't use them as a crutch to maintain bad form. They said I was an over pronator. I would have been better suited to be focused on why I'm pronating my feet as I run and working on my footballs. Because that's what was really going on, was I was overreaching with my stride. And that was my problem for why I was over pronating because I was reaching I was reaching out with my feet versus just running. And that's one of the things when I talked about that exercise of running in place with a wall to your back, you can't do that. You can't stride out when you're doing that. You can't kick back when you're doing that. And so it was one of those things that really kind of hit home to me. It's like, okay, I have to land on my forefoot when I'm running this way I can't roll my feet. I can't land on my heel and roll my feet under the kickback. I have to basically keep my structure. And if it did, it made it a much more efficient run.

[00:54:38.890] – Rachel

Right. That is a good exercise. Just like they had described, standing up against a little couple of inches away from the wall, listening to Rock Lobster, not one of my favorite songs, but okay, it's got a good cadence, but that is a good exercise to try as another way to dial in your gait and form a little bit more. But I do want to mention on the shoes, too, it is so important we get so distracted by the latest and greatest shoes that are out there. But it is important to get fitted at your shoe store to test out the shoes and training and to see. How they feel and like you, Allan, not too long ago, a few years ago, I had an injury with my ankles and I was put in a stability shoe for a short term, just until I can get my ankle rehabbed. But once I was rehabbed, I'm back in my neutral shoes. I'm in a shoe that fits my feet. And so don't get hung up on shoes. They might change depending on your gait and injuries or aches or terrain, of course, and anything else. You don't have to stay in a stability shoe if you don't need it now.

[00:55:50.890] – Allan

And that's why I say I don't have to use stability shoes. I did when I ran marathons because that's what the running store told me I needed. I need a wide toe box. And there was really only one brand of sneaker that would fit me that gave stability, and that happened to be a New Balance shoe. And then that shoe went away.

[00:56:14.960] – Rachel

That was actually my stability shoe, was a New Balance as well. And those are powerful shoes. They are built to last.

[00:56:23.470] – Allan

Was good shoe, but then, like I said, they discontinued the model and I went with the whole thing, okay, if you put 500 miles on a shoe, it's time to change it. And I pretty much would live up to that. But then they didn't have that shoe anymore and I'm like, am I going to have so now I'm buying the magazines and the shoe episode, which I think was always came out in February, and start looking at all these shoes and say, okay, which one is going to work? And then you're looking around shoe stores to see if you can find that particular shoe. Remember, this was pre-Internet. So you couldn't go on the internet and look at reviews and talk about toe boxes and stuff. You just had to buy a magazine and shop around to see if you could find that particular shoe.

[00:57:09.340] – Rachel

Yeah, fun times. Now they're all around us and they're very distracting. There's so many different things that these shoes can do for you, but they're not always what they are meant to be, I guess.

[00:57:20.970] – Allan

And they can't run for you. You still got to know. You still got to pick them up and put them down so

[00:57:26.340] – Rachel

they'll need the muscles to do that. Yes.

[00:57:29.290] – Allan

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

[00:57:32.250] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:57:33.660] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:57:35.680] – Rachel



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

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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


November 29, 2022

How to hack your metabolism with Catherine de Lange

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Metabolism is life. On episode 566 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Catherine de Lange and discuss her article in New Scientist magazine, Hack Your Metabolism.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:09.790] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are you?

[00:01:11.970] – Rachel

Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:01:14.160] – Allan

I'm feeling a lot better. We've been in a drought situation. I think I've talked about this a little bit over the course of the weeks, but we had to travel. It was a busy time at Lula's, and then no water, no rain, and they completely used up the reservoir, pumped our tanks full of mud, which we had to pay someone to go in and clean those things out. And then they kept pumping mud, so we ended up with mud again in the tanks and no rain. And so we had to turn off the city water. We just can't take that. And then it was like, you got to buy water because the local service, everybody wants it, and they just weren't making it over to our street. So we end up having to call some guys and give them some money to come over and pump some water into our tanks. But the good news is it started raining yesterday. It's been raining now for two days, so we're in a lot better shape now for getting this rain. And as far as I'm concerned, it can rain for the whole week, and I would just be ecstatic for sure.

[00:02:12.690] – Allan

I know it's weird. People like you want it to rain. I'm like, yes, we do. That's our water. That's where it comes from for us. And so it's all water catchment at some level or another, even the city's pumping it in general, it had to be caught by them or by us. And so we do have a little bit of water catchment ourselves, but it's got us rethinking how we've structured, how the tanks are structured back there, because we've got four 400 gallon tanks, and generally that would run us for a week here, provided there's not too many checkouts with laundry getting done. But generally, we know four tanks should last us about a whole week. But we got down to where we had less than six inches in two of the tanks. And so literally probably only had 50 gallons.

[00:02:59.460] – Rachel


[00:03:00.120] – Allan

And that was not going to last for even a few showers. Once I got back here, I wasn't taking showers. I took a shower in Panama City and then got on the plane. And then for about a week, I didn't take a shower.

[00:03:12.640] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:03:13.590] – Allan

Again, the water wasn't there. And our guests, they come in, they want to take a shower after they've been out doing their tours. And we couldn't do laundry, so we got down to, like, the end. And so it's like, okay, here we have to watch sheets because we have to make a bed. It was interesting. This is the second one we've had. They say they're going to do some infrastructure stuff to kind of remedy this maybe in the future. But this was a bad one. Relative. We had one four years ago wasn't quite as bad, but it was one of those things where you just really paying attention to the water, make sure you're not using any more than you need to, and doing all that.

[00:03:54.580] – Rachel

That's pretty important.

[00:03:56.010] – Allan

Yeah. Well, we are a Third World country, so it's going to happen.

[00:04:00.160] – Rachel

It happens, sure.

[00:04:01.210] – Allan

Yeah. And so you're not all the way up there. You're almost up there in a beautiful part of the country. My favorite part of the country. So what's going on?

[00:04:13.600] – Rachel

Yeah, Mike and I are enjoying a few days of vacation down in Pensacola. Today we're on the beach. We'll be in town later on, but we've been enjoying a few free days here at the beach. And sun's been great. The weather's been actually really great until just recently it got cold, but it's still perfectly sunny and we have snow at home, so I can handle the cold of Florida much better than I can handle the cold of snow in Michigan right now. So we're just enjoying some time here before we head back home.

[00:04:43.930] – Allan

Good. All right, well, safe travels.

[00:04:46.540] – Rachel

Thank you.

[00:04:47.610] – Allan

All right, are you ready to talk about metabolism?

[00:04:51.030] – Rachel



[00:05:07.260] – Allan

Catherine, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:10.310] – Catherine

Hi, thanks for having me.

[00:05:12.280] – Allan

Your article was called Hack Your Metabolism. And three words, three very important words. I love talking about metabolism. Obviously, a lot of my clients, people will come to me, they want to lose some weight, and so we start talking about metabolism and energy usage and how all this stuff, how we know or think it works today and why certain things work for us and other things don't and all that. So we go back and forth on metabolism, and that's really, in the end, what we're trying to manage around. I've never really liked the word hack, but I get the context that you're using. Here's a lot different than what a lot of people think hacking is. So this is not about taking some cleanse juice or getting on some kind of weird, take this metabolism boosting pill and you're going to hack your metabolism. This is real science.

[00:06:04.090] – Catherine

It is, yeah. So I work for New Scientist magazine, where really a lot of what we do around diet and metabolism is to try and cut through a lot of the pseudoscientists out there and really look at the evidence and base everything that we do on facts. So it's absolutely not about some kind of magic pill or some kind of thing that you're going to eat that's going to do some magic to your metabolism. I don't think that exists. And yeah, it's very much about science and evidence and what we actually know in this actually a field of research that is changing all the time.

[00:06:39.490] – Allan

Now, in the article, you kind of got into this concept of metabolic flexibility, and we've talked about that a few times on the show. But why is metabolic flexibility so important?

[00:06:51.940] – Catherine

Well, this is really something that I didn't know that much about before I started to research this article. And I'm sure your listeners know if you've spoken about it before, but metabolic flexibility is your body's ability to switch between burning different fuel sources, so really between burning fat and burning carbs. And obviously that's kind of interesting to people who are trying to manage their weight. But for me, what was really surprising was how much disability is linked to overall metabolic health and how much it's a predictor of your likelihood of having metabolic syndrome. So this is a kind of trifactor of problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity and being able to switch between these fuel sources. So having a good metabolic flexibility seems to protect you from that and really seems to be a good predictor of your future metabolic health. So it's really important.

[00:07:54.260] – Allan

Yeah, I know a lot of people, they'll try to go from being purely sugar burners and then they'll want to go and get on the keto diet. And so they'll say, okay, I'm cut out all these carbs. And invariably about two or three days later, they have this horrendous crash. Some people call it keto flu, I call it carb withdrawals. And it comes back to this process called metabolic flexibility because we're changing fuel tanks. I mean, literally going from one type of fuel to another. And for a lot of us, we're just not that flexible, so we sputter a good bit until we get there. How would someone build metabolic flexibility from the perspective of being able to switch more easily?

[00:08:35.140] – Catherine

Yeah, so where I was coming out with this article was definitely not about doing some extreme diet, doing the keto diet, although I think it's really interesting when you think about that crash and the kind of I think often with a keto diet people feel like they don't have so much energy, especially high intensity exercise. So can we train our body to be better at that? Can we improve our ability? And the researchers that I spoke to seemed to be saying that in order to improve it, the best thing is exercise. So people who exercise regularly seem to have a better metabolic flexibility. And on the flip side, people who have a poor metabolic health, people who are obese have a worse metabolic flexibility. And actually, one researcher I spoke to did a very extreme experiment where she took a bunch of healthy, fit women and made them take bed rest for two months. So they did absolutely no physical activity for two months, and they became metabolically inflexible. And another long term study looked at people over five years and found that if you are metabolically and flexible, you're more likely to develop obesity and problems with blood glucose.

[00:09:50.610] – Catherine

Doing regular exercise seems to improve their ability. And also, it looks like you can train your metabolic flexibility. So you don't need to go to the extremes of cutting out carbs completely. But if you, say, eat your meals earlier in the evening and have a longer period where you're not eating overnight, perhaps having fewer carbs in the evening as well. So that gives your body the chance to burn through those carbs that you have. It gives it the chance to switch to burning fat while you're asleep, so you don't need to do anything about it. Rather than if you eat a carb heavy meal late at night, snacking before you go to bed, your body has no chance to actually make that switch. So what people were telling me that the scientists that I spoke to was it's about giving your body the chance to regularly switch so that when you're asleep, you can switch to burning fat. Then when you need the carbs, you can eat them. And your body is really good at just using them straight away to fuel whatever it is you're doing, and then give your chance again, your body the chance to switch again.

[00:10:55.300] – Catherine

So regular exercise and regular brakes from carbs, basically, so that you can switch even during the day.

[00:11:02.810] – Allan

Okay, now you utilized the tool called lumen. And in the article, you also talked about continuous glucose monitors. Can you talk about what those tools are and how they would help us track our metabolism?

[00:11:14.670] – Catherine

Yeah, and I think it's interesting to think, for me, this comes back to a big shift, I think, in the way that scientists are thinking about metabolism, because a lot of the things that seem quite straightforward to us. And, you know, I've always been really interested in metabolic health and exercise and diet. And before we thought that we understood which foods were kind of good for us, what they did to the body, how much energy you got. And what we're discovering is that this one size fits all approach to nutrition really isn't working for people and probably isn't scientifically accurate. And more and more research shows that even your eye or even identical twins could eat the same food and have a hugely different reaction in their body. And so the devices like the Lumen device that I tried, and blood glucose monitors, they kind of provide a window into what's really happening in your body. And I think it's just a sign of the times that we're starting to understand that everybody's body is responding very differently to food and exercise. And so the Lumen device that I tried is I actually have it here.

[00:12:26.490] – Catherine

It's like a small kind of inhaler. You take a deep breath in, and then you breathe out into this device, and it's supposed to measure how much oxygen and carbon dioxide you have in your breath. And the claim is that this is a good indicator of whether you're burning fat or carbs in that moment. So you get a real time measurement. So I would do it when I woke up in the morning, and they say even if you just do it once in a day when you wake up in the morning, and then it gives you a reading on a scale of one to five of whether you're burning fat or whether you're burning carbs. And then I also used it when I was trying it out for exercise. So I don't really like to eat before workout, but do I need some extra carbs to fuel it? Or actually, have I got enough carbs that I'm good for my workout, I don't need to eat anything, and I can just go and not have to worry about running out of fuel. So that's the Lumen device with all of these things, they claim that because they have so many users, they can really gain these insights about what different habits do to our health that we wouldn't get usually.

[00:13:44.350] – Catherine

So I think that's interesting. And continuous blood glucose monitors, I don't know about you, but for me, I used to think that kind of monitoring blood glucose levels was really just for if you had diabetes or prediabetes. But again, increasingly we're realizing that many of us are having dangerously high spikes in glucose levels just during a normal day, even if we're very kind of otherwise healthy. And that could be a problem. So by monitoring your glucose levels continuously for a period of time, you can really start to understand how your body responds to different food. And like I said, how you respond to something could be very different to how I respond. And so those insights are really interesting and potentially quite confusing for people as well.

[00:14:31.030] – Allan

Yeah, at the point being and I think I saw this was a study out of Israel where they were monitoring people's blood glucose levels all through the day, and they were logging what they were eating when they were eating, and they were comparing that data. And one person can eat a banana and they're just fine. And another person eats a banana and their blood sugar shoots up. So it kind of throws the whole idea of the gi index and the load kind of throws that out a little bit. Because if we're going to have different reactions to different foods and I haven't seen anybody that studied this, but I would even think it might be different for people over different periods, span of time. 20s probably could do that, but it may have done the banana better than someone who was in their 50s. Same person.

[00:15:16.630] – Catherine

Yeah, absolutely. Even in one day.

[00:15:19.650] – Allan

Yeah. So twins can be different then we can be different because genetically they're supposed to be identical. So you had a strategy in the article that talked about not really so much timing of carbs, but that by eating protein and fiber first, you set yourself up to have a better outcome. Could you talk about how protein and fiber are at one, how important they are to us and why, but how it could be used to help us manage our blood glucose levels?

[00:15:50.340] – Catherine

Yeah, I mean, they're hugely important macronutrients. As I'm sure your listeners are aware, protein is really important for building muscle, principally, and fiber is key to healthy digestion and it's also really important for feeding the microbiome, which we know is increasingly implicated in all sorts of health metrics. But the idea behind the strategy that I wrote about in the article is that say you had a plate of food and you had some meat, some vegetables and some bread, and the order that you eat that food could make a difference to your blood glucose levels. Because if you eat the fiber first, so either the leafy vegetables that you have, that's going to kind of line your digestive system. Fiber, a lot of fiber is not digested, so that will line your system and then you eat the protein next. That's digested much more slowly than carbohydrates, so it slows down your digestion. And if you eat the carbs on top of that, then it means you'll have less of a spike in your blood glucose afterwards. And the same logic means that if you did want to eat some dessert, you should probably eat it straight away as part of your meal rather than having it like a snack later in the day when you've given your digestion that break.

[00:17:16.870] – Catherine

And if you eat it at that point, you're just going to be hitting your system with a massive sugar high.

[00:17:23.770] – Allan

Yeah. The interesting thing is this is they bring bread, in the United States, I know, they bring the bread to the table first. So everybody's passing around eating the bread, waiting for their food to come and we're eating it in the wrong order.

[00:17:37.470] – Catherine

Yeah, it's the same here. It's exactly the same.

[00:17:40.870] – 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?

[00:17:49.110] – Catherine

I mean, it's hard to pick three and I think, well, I've also written a book called Brain Power, which is all about things that we can do to improve our mental health and our brain, the way that our brains function. So I think I'd pick three that are unrelated to the metabolism stuff, because I think the most important thing you can do for your wellbeing is exercise, whatever that means for you. So walking in the park or hitting the gym. But exercise is amazing for our body and our brain. We know that. And I think increasingly I've been writing for New Scientists and elsewhere about the importance of spending time in nature. So connecting with nature seems to be really, really good for our mental health. So I would take that exercise. If you can do it in nature, then you can do to get two in one go. And also the importance of daylight, and especially as you know, in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter, we're spending a lot more time with artificial light. We know that spending time outside in direct sunlight early on in the day is amazing for your energy, for your mood, for your mental health and for sleep later.

[00:19:00.340] – Catherine

So my three would be take exercise in nature, if you can in the morning when you're getting that sunlight, I think that would be the kind of the best thing that you can do for your physical and mental wellbeing.

[00:19:13.270] – Allan

Great. Catherine, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:19:19.950] – Catherine

So all the things that I write about are on the New Scientist website, so newscientist.com, and my book is called Brain Power: Everything You Need to Know for Happy, Healthy Brain. So you can find that in all the usual places.

[00:19:33.480] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/566 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Catherine, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:19:42.940] – Catherine

No, thank you for having me.


This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Athletic Greens, the makers of AG1. I started taking AG1 because I realized I wasn't getting a broad enough variety of vegetables in my diet. We get good quality vegetables where I live, but limited types, and even if you get a good variety where you live, current farming practices might degrade the quality. It's hard to get both.

I chose AG1 because it is sourced from whole food ingredients, and Athletic Greens continues to research and reiterate AG1 based on current science. In twelve years, they've improved it 52 times and they're not stopping there. It's in their DNA to continuously improve.

To get the nutritional insurance I do with AG1, I'd have to take dozens of pills and tablets, some with food, others without. AG1 mixes well with water, and it tastes great. It's lifestyle-friendly keto, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, no chemicals or artificial, anything, simple. And when you start your day with a healthy habit, you prime your subconscious to do more of the same throughout the day. I could go on and on.

To make it easy, Athletic Greens is going to give you one free year supply of immune-supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs. With your first purchase, all you have to do is visit athleticgreens.com/40plus. Again, that's athleticgreens.com/40plus to take ownership over your health and pick the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.

Post Show/Recap

[00:21:27.190] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:21:28.840] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This was a really helpful interview for me for having metabolic flexibility. It's something that I've been trying so hard to achieve lately, and this was really insightful for me.

[00:21:41.230] – Allan

Yes, it is important. We had Cyrus and Robby on episode 560, and they were both type one diabetics. So they were talking about diabetes and managing your blood sugar and having metabolic flexibility, because in their research, that's really kind of the linchpin of health from a metabolic perspective. It's not that you're always keto or you're not eating any sugar. It's not that do something any weirder than just eat. But the way you do it and how you approach it and making sure that your body is able to adjust and use the different fuel systems is a valuable aspect of human life. And so you don't have to be extreme if you're just smart about it and paying attention. And that's part of what the hack part of this article was. She's using tools like the Lumen Breath Analyzer to figure out what's going on. She knew she was burning fat. This is actually started the story. She was in France and she didn't want to eat the Croissant, and so she had the lumen, and she was sitting there and she knew she was burning body fat at that particular moment. And she wanted to keep burning that body fat for energy.

[00:22:58.390] – Allan

She did not want to use the Croissant for energy. And she was able to do that with Lumen. Because when we're losing fat, when we're burning fat, our body does this chemical reaction. It turns it into carbon dioxide and water. And so what we're typically losing is that breathing out of that carbon dioxide. And you've probably heard this if anyone's talking about global warming, the weight, the number of pounds or tons of carbon dioxide that are being emitted. And it seems weird that a gas would have weight, but it does. Not a lot, but it does. And so when it adds up, that is weight. So you're breathing out more carbon dioxide when you're losing weight and using body fat for that than you would otherwise. And that's what this tool knows, is how much carbon dioxide relative to oxygen. And there's a formula, and then once it'll tell you where you stand, burning that fat.

[00:23:56.590] – Rachel

It's a helpful tool. I know that when I started Keto gosh years ago now, I've lost track. I went through that keto flu you talked about, and we had the fatigue as my body learned how to switch over to fat burning. And since then, it's been great. It's helpful for me as a runner to be able to go back and forth between having some carbs and burning fat and not needing all of the extra running nutrition that a lot of us runners need to use. But I just want to clarify that I don't eat bread. That's the one thing I'll probably never go back to. But I'm looking for carbs in my vegetables, not so much in the breads and pastries and whatnot. But it's been helpful. And so the next thing that I'm looking at is my blood glucose. So it's something I want to keep an eye on, even though I have the flexibility right now. I just want to make sure I'm not overworking my pancreas.

[00:24:49.200] – Allan

Yeah, well, we had a podcast sponsor that does that continuous monitoring. I wore one for a few weeks. I was in ketosis. So when I was talking to the dietitian, she was like, I don't see numbers like this. She says, my blood sugar did not move. It was right at about 70 every single day. Every time it measured, it did not go up, it did not go down. And she's like, what are you doing? I said, I'm eating a ketogenic diet and I'm in ketosis. So it's like, if I need any energy, I'm just going to body fat for that. And I'm not eating anything that would surge my blood sugar. And I'm eating protein, and I'm eating fiber. And as a result, my blood sugar stayed constant for the entire three weeks that I was wearing this thing.

[00:25:38.850] – Rachel


[00:25:39.810] – Allan

And I figured I would probably stay in a pretty tight range. I didn't realize it would be that tight. Like one or two points movement the whole time. So that was kind of odd. But it was what ketosis can do. That's a strategy. She's eating low carb when she wants to burn fat, but she will eat carbs. And basically that's the metabolic flexibility that she wants. You're able to eat carbs because you go out and do a very long run, and you've got maybe 2 hours if you're going at a good regular pace, you've got about 2 hours of glycogen in your muscle liver, and then that's where most people to run in a marathon, about mile 14 bonk. And the bonk is where they've used up all that glycogen. And if they didn't refuel, they didn't take in sugar while they were doing this something fast, because you can't be fiber and leafy greens, and it can't be just normal carbs and your body. So if your body is not used to using fat for energy, you bonk. Or if you're not taking the gooze bonk. And so you're, being a ketogenic runner, have the capacity to flip back.

[00:26:50.280] – Allan

So you can do that. You'll start burning fat throughout the whole thing, depending on the pace you go. And so you're not completely, maybe not even completely getting rid of all of your muscle glycogen and liver glycogen, but you're able to complete the run and then you stop after and you have a beer and Insulin comes to the rescue and says, we got all this stuff. We got to get out of here. And the muscles and the liver are the first preference. And so the instant will shuttle that into the muscles in the liver and you're fine. You're probably not even necessarily leaving ketosis. And if you do it's for a very short period of time and then you're right back in.

[00:27:30.340] – Rachel

Yeah, I think that's part of the benefit for renters is that we keep this process moving, we keep using the energy we're putting in. So on a sedentary lifestyle or on a rest day, I still need to keep an eye on food, just make sure I get enough for a regular day, but not so much that I need to go run 2 hours to burn it back off again.

[00:27:58.010] – Allan

I think, again, one of the core of this is to realize that you can track this stuff. The lumen is a great tool. The continuous blood glucose monitor is a great tool. Just getting one of those meters from a local pharmacy with the strips and testing your blood sugar from time to time, testing to see how certain foods are going to affect you, the order with which you eat the foods, that's an important thing. And so just kind of seeing how all this works in your body, we're all bio unique and so how food processes in your body is and maybe even different than it was ten years ago. A lot of us, like, I could eat anything 10 15 years ago and couldn't put on the way, and now I am. So something has changed. Same human, different results. And so you won't know if you're not measuring. So that's just one of the cores of it.

[00:28:52.930] – Rachel

for sure. Yeah, I think that would be a really fun experiment to try, if not a continuous, periodic glucose check just to see. Like you had discussed how different people can maybe have a different reaction to having a banana. And a while back, I was interested in trying sweet potatoes and I was concerned about the reaction I would get with that blood glucose hit. So, yeah, it would be really fun to try that out and experiment with different foods.

[00:29:19.240] – Allan

Yeah, there is a good bit of fiber in sweet potatoes. I could I can't eat sweet potatoes as a part of a low carb diet. The problem is I would go to the restaurant and order it and they would come out and they'd say, okay. I say you got cinnamon, and they're like, well, it's already mixed with the sugar. They literally buy the cinnamon. And I'm like the sweet potato. It's called sweet potato. It's already in the name. You don't have to add sugar to things that are sweet. And so Tammy would get upset with me, but I would bring butter, and I would bring cinnamon to the steakhouse and pull out my butter, and I'd put a pad of butter on the steak just to add a little bit of fat. And then I would have my own cinnamon to sprinkle on my sweet potato, and I would also cut it. I'd buy the steak, and the steak was like three or four servings, so I cut it in half, cut the potato in half, ask them for a container, put that away, and then eat half a meal, which was plenty. Okay. And so it's just kind of those little tweaks when you start understanding what's working and what's not, that you can do certain things.

[00:30:23.650] – Allan

Some people's carb threshold will be a lot higher, particularly if you're active, your carb threshold probably is higher than someone who is not able to exercise or chooses to not exercise. You're choosing to have a low carb threshold, or you're choosing to have a high carb threshold based on some of your actions. So there are ways you can get through and use it. So it's not really hacking as much as just understanding what works for you and making that your thing.

[00:30:54.100] – Rachel

Yes, absolutely. Very individual.

[00:30:56.810] – Allan

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

[00:30:59.470] – Rachel

Sounds great. Take care, Allan.


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander
– Eric More– Leigh Tanner

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


November 22, 2022

How your inner being drives weight loss

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Each action and thought we have provides operating instructions to our body. If we want to be healthy, get fit, and lose weight, we have to send the right messages to the intelligence inside us I call the inner self.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:09.940] – Coach Allan

Hi, Ras.

[00:01:11.110] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you?

[00:01:12.540] – Coach Allan

I'm well.

[00:01:13.590] – Coach Rachel


[00:01:14.050] – Coach Allan

You already knew that because I just told you no more than 5-10 minutes ago, because I will be traveling back from my daughter's wedding on the day that we would need to record this conversation, the hello and then the goodbye, the recap at the end. So we're doing it all together. And so nothing's really changed since the last time I said anything. So just know we wanted to still have this segment in here. So you got a little behind the scenes of sometimes we doubled down because one or both of us won't be available for a certain week that we needed to do some recording. And so, Rachel, I guess are you ready to start talking about inner being?

[00:01:53.580] – Coach Rachel



I'm calling this discussion How Your Inner Being Drives Weight Loss.

This is a concept that I've kind of been coming around to over about the last year, because as I sit down and have interviews with various people and I talk to a lot of experts in weight loss and nutrition and movement and stress management and sleep and all of it. Every single one of them has a benefit that they list for being better at that thing. And it's almost always weight loss. And that's one of the reasons most of my clients come to me. They're looking to lose a little bit of weight, maybe a lot of weight, but they're looking for weight loss.

And they're really frustrated because they're doing things, maybe even things that worked before, and they're just not working, and they don't understand, because all the experts say if you do this, then that it's simple math, right? And we talked a lot of times. It's never really simple math when we're talking about the human body. But I wanted to come up with a concept that really kind of explained the way I wrapped my mind around how the body functions, because, again, I'm not a scientist, I'm not a doctor.

I haven't done all these massive studies. I've read a ton of stuff, and I've seen what works for me and what doesn't, and I've seen what's worked for thousands of clients and what doesn't, and it's always a different story, and it's a different story, but it has the same theme. And so that's what I want to talk about. I want to talk about this theme of weight loss, how this inner being you have is doing something inside of you, and you're telling it what to do without knowing what you're telling it. It's doing the right thing. It's keeping you alive, your intervening, that's its sole purpose is to keep you alive. And it's doing its job. It's doing its job very well.

If you're listening to this, you're alive. And so Interbeing is doing a great job. It's not doing the things you want it to do. And we can fix that. We can definitely fix that. So here's the scenario. You're doing everything right, okay? You're logging every calorie. You're doing everything. It's always worked before. When you were in your 20s, drop that 20 lbs, easy. When you're in your 30s, drop 10 lbs for a wedding, easy.

When you're in your 40s, you try this thing and it's not working quite as well, and it just stops working. And you're like, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do. This is what the experts tell me. I go to the forums, and they say, hey, you're not eating at a calorie deficit. If you were eating a calorie deficit, you'd be losing weight. Oh, you're eating too many carbs. If you were not eating those carbs, you'd lose weight. And so you do those things. You do them and you do them religiously, and it works a little, and then it stops working.

You're like, well, what's wrong? I'll eat less. I'm starving all the time. But it's not working. What's going on? So in the body, there kind of what I call three levels of math, okay? And they all are right? They just need each other to complete the formula. OK? So the simple formula, the very simplest of the formula is the calories in, calories out model. And in this model, if you eat less than you burn, you will lose the weight. True, the law of thermodynamics is Blatantly. True, it exists, okay? But that's simple math.

That's plus and minus. And the reality is, both of those are estimates. So the estimate of what you ate, the estimate of what you burned, all estimates. So when you do math with estimates, you can't necessarily count on the results to be consistent, because you could be off on either one of those estimates. And if you're off on either one of those estimates, the math doesn't work. So we need exact math, but we can't have exact math on calories in or calories out. We just can't. We don't know. So the simple math will help us, but it won't solve the whole problem if it stops working.

Once it stops working. You know, you have a block in the fact that you don't have enough information, you're not doing the right things because you're relying just on the simple math. It's a good rule, it works, but then it doesn't. So we have to come up with the next rule. The next rule is more complex. So the first one, calories in, calories out, was addition and subtraction. Now we're getting into algebra. So this is where we're talking about our macros and we're talking about energy output and then how our body uses the macros to do what it does and the, thermodynamic effect of food and all those types of things.

So this gets a little, maybe a lot more complex, but we start saying, OK, well, I'll just focus on the carbs, I'll cut some carbs back, I'll make sure I eat plenty of protein, so I'm staying satiated. And that's what I'll do. And many times for a lot of people, that will get you there, that will actually get you to your goal weight, because you've set a goal weight that's within a reasonable range of where you are. Yeah, you cut that weight, no problem, and then you go back to eating the way you were and put the weight back on.

And even if you don't, it's like most people who've tried keto, I have a lot of weight to lose, do suddenly plateau. And they plateau not at their ideal weight. They plateau at a weight higher than that. And then they live the rest of their life thinking keto failed, or they live the rest of life saying, I'm going to keep eating keto because I love how I feel, but they don't lose any more weight.


This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Athletic Greens, the makers of AG1.

I started taking AG1 because I realized I wasn't getting a broad enough variety of vegetables in my diet. We get good quality vegetables where I live, but limited types. And even if you get a good variety where you live, current farming practices might degrade the quality. It's hard to get both. I chose AG One because it is sourced from whole food ingredients.

And Athletic Greens continues to research and reiterate AG1 based on current science. In twelve years, they've improved it 52 times and they're not stopping there. It's in their DNA to continuously improve.

To get the nutritional insurance I do with AG1, I'd have to take dozens of pills and tablets, some with food, others without. AG1 mixes well with water and it tastes great. It's lifestyle-friendly keto, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, no chemicals or artificial, anything simple. And when you start your day with a healthy habit, you prime your subconscious to do more of the same throughout the day. I could go on and on.

To make it easy, Athletic Greens is going to give you one free year supply of immune-supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase, all you have to do is visit athleticgreens.com/40 plus. Again, that's athleticgreens.com/40plus to take ownership over your health and pick the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.

So those folks have figured out some of the algebra, but they may be ignoring the simple math, the pluses and minuses. So you see how putting those two things together gives you a more comprehensive model for how your body could work. And I want to be clear on could, because then there's the next level, which is the most complex of the math models, and that's hormones. Hormones drive every single thing in your body. They are the messengers, they're this and that. They make your body do everything that your body does on the inside.

Everything, okay? Them and enzymes and things like that. But generally almost everything you care about on your health and fitness journey is driven by a hormone or several hormones, all working in a symphony to make things happen or not happen. And that's some pretty complex math, okay? This is calculus stuff. This is like, this is the tough stuff. And even calculus would be on calculus, maybe, because there's still so much we don't know about this math, okay?

We're just touch scratching the surface as far as our awareness of how these things impact our body. And then they still even throw in genetics along with all this. And you can kind of see how this gets really complex. We can't necessarily control our genetics, but we can control our epigenome and how it communicates. But it's for the most part, again, it's the hormones and everything else that's making all this stuff happen, okay? And that's something that most of us can't wrap our minds around. And we won't. We just won't, not in our lifetimes. So what does that mean? Does that mean that we're destined to be trying these models and trying this and that and tweaking it and a little bit here, a little bit there. And that's the best we can do. And the short answer is, well, yeah, from what you eat and how you manage your life thing for nutrition, absolutely. That's all we can do. We don't know what we don't know yet. But I want to take a step back and say, well, why are some people successful and other people are struggling when they're doing the same thing?

And, you know, there's bio individuality and all that. That's absolutely true. Why is that? So what's going on? What else is going on? And I think that the answer is information. So what are you telling your body? What are you telling your inner being on a day to day, minute to minute, meal by meal, sleep by sleep day? What's going on in your life? So what I want you to imagine is that you have this inner brain, this inner being, this thing that's looking out for your best interest and it's telling the rest of your body what to do. Okay, so if this, then that. Okay, you see a bear, okay, drop those hormones. We got to get away from the bear. Or you know, something happens at work and you're really frustrated, drop those hormones. And now you've got this stress response. Or you see someone that you really care about and you go over and the two of you hug and you get this hormone drop and now you're in bliss. You're feeling great. OK, you see how those were very different situations that something had to happen inside your body and it happened based on information that went in.

You were either stressed or you were elated. And so those different feelings are having different things are going, they're triggering things inside your body. The inner being is reacting to this information. So the inner being can't see you can't hear it, can't do anything other than do the things that you tell this intervening to do based on your inputs. OK, so there are three levels of input I want to talk about. There's probably a lot more I haven't gotten to yet in my thought process of building all this. But the first one is nutrition, the second one is movement. And the third one is self care. Now, a few episodes back, I talked about the MNS checkpoint. I'm going to start probably calling that the wellness temperature check because that just rolls off the tongue a little bit easier than NMS or MNS. You get my point? Wellness would probably roll off a little bit easier. So I'm probably thinking of that direction to rename that something else. But those are the three core inputs that I want to talk about today. Okay? Nutrition, movement and self care. Nutrition. I want you to think about your inner being as this important thing that wants to keep you alive.

It's thinking about what's going on around you and you're giving it information. Now, if you're eating crap food with no nutrition, something's wrong. Why are you feeding this? Is this all there is something else going on? Is there something I'm missing? Why are we not getting a good mix and balance of foods? Why are we not actually eating things that I would actually recognize as food? Sure, there's calories and yeah, maybe there's some vitamins and minerals, but I'm not getting enough of everything or I'm getting too much of some things. So the way we eat, what we eat, the choices of food that we make, we're communicating to that invoice. So if you take this back to our ancestors, if they weren't eating it's because there wasn't food, food was scarce. If they were eating the same food all the time, food must be scarce except for this food. And so the body has to adapt. What if I'm not getting enough protein? I have to adapt. What if I'm not getting the right nutrients like B twelve and other things. I have to adapt. What if I'm not getting enough carbohydrates? I have to adapt.

So you kind of see how the food choices you're making are communicating to your body about what your food opportunities are. So choosing good high quality nutrition over the standard American diet is going to help your body understand there's plenty of good quality food. I'm safe. Okay, I want you to pay attention. That word, I'm going to say it over and over. I'm safe, I'm in a good place. OK, so let's talk a little bit about movement. So let's say you're very sedentary and you don't move a lot. Well, what are you telling your body? What are you telling that inner self? You're telling inner self, I don't have to do this stuff, there's nothing for me to do, I don't have to go anywhere. I'm doing. There's no food, maybe there's no nothing. And so there's nothing for me to worry about, nothing but nothing to do. And maybe food is scarce, maybe it's not, but I don't know. I'm sitting here on my butt not doing anything. She bodies like, OK, well, let's accumulate body fat only because we don't know if food's going to get really scarce because for some reason this person does not want to go out and forage and hunt for food.

So let's preserve our energy because we might need it. Maybe they're hiding from something, maybe something else is going on. And we'll talk about that in a few minutes. But you kind of get the idea of under movement, not moving under training. That's a problem because you're communicating to your body that there's a reason you're hunkering down, there's a reason you're not doing things. Okay, that's information. Now maybe you're doing too much. So you decide, I'm going to get on the elliptical for an hour every morning, I'm going to bust my butt, I'm going to do all this classes, I'm going to do all this stuff so I can cut this weight again. What are you telling your body? Are you telling it that you have to go because that's how you get food? Are you telling it that there's something wrong? Because movement in and of itself is good as long as it's not bad. And I'll explain that here with you. OK? Movement is a stressor, OK? You're moving your muscles, you're pushing your muscles, you're doing things. And that's a stressor. Now we usually call that a hermetic thing, stressor, because it's intended to cut you back a little bit so you can rebuild stronger.

So the whole point of lifting resistance, lifting weights or doing resistance training is to stress the muscle and then it builds back better. That works out great unless there's a whole lot of other stress going on in your life. So overtraining yourself, pushing yourself to the edge all the time is actually information and it's telling your body something's wrong. Something's wrong. I'm not safe. I'm not safe here. There's a reason they're moving this much. I don't know what it is, but we're not safe. So I have to go into this preservation set to be ready for whatever, okay? And that whatever is stressed. So self care comes in. It covers a lot of the stuff. So I can't go too deep on this, or this will go for a long, long time. But the main one on stress care, that self care that I want to get into, and we'll get into a couple more, but this is a big one, is stress. Now, the stress hormones, when they hit us, they're designed to do one of three things fight, flight, or freeze. When you get hit with stress, that's what your body wants to do.

One of those three things is going to happen, okay? That's what the inner self hears in her being here's, and it says, okay, this thing's happening. What's going on? I'm stressed out. What I do and if it's just a short term stress like, you did a weightlifting training, it's like, oh, they had to lift heavy things. So the information is, I just need to help that muscle rebuild. I got all the protein I need because they're eating a good diet. Mission accomplished. Go do these things. Okay? And that's inside your information. But if that stress keeps coming, it's like, oh, my God, we're going to die. Something terrible is happening. This person is, like, in a state of shock. I mean, they're like, we're all over the place. That's not good. So I'm not safe. I need to preserve. I need to be ready. And you stay in this mode too long, that's bad. Really bad. Information. So the body is stressed out. The body isn't going to do the things. Your inner being is not going to serve you very well if you're dealing with too much stress. Now, a couple of other areas that you'll want to look into is your sleep.

If you're not sleeping well, again, information. Why are we not what's going on? Why am I not getting the rest I need? Now I'm trying to do things without the rest I needed, and I'm not going to be good at it. And so the body starts to close down. Things like, okay, we got to preserve energy. We got to do something different. Again, sleep is information. Quality of sleep information. Stress management, stress information. Your environment. So if you're in a very toxic environment physically, so all these chemicals, all this stuff going on, you're giving your body information. We're in this toxic zone. I got to do something I got to preserve. I got to put those toxins in the fat. We'll deal with those later. If I can't process or do them all right now, it's too much. So let's save us, and then we'll figure it out later. Relationships. You're in a toxic relationship. You're telling your body all the time, the stress reactions, all this. There's just so much going on in your head that the information that's there is telling your body, you're not in a good place, you're not safe. And then the final one I'll talk about.

Like I said, I think there are a whole lot of other ones that I'll probably get into and understand a little bit better later as I'm kind of thinking through this exercise. But the other self-talk, what are you telling yourself with regards to how you feel, your health, your fitness, your weight loss, all of that? What are you telling yourself? So if there's someone in there telling your inner being, you suck at this weight loss thing, you're never going to lose the weight. You become your own worst enemy. It's like, God damn it, why did I eat that brownie? Your inner self would have kind of said, wow, man, these carbohydrates. And it's like the sugar, it's like, I feel great. And then here you are telling it, no, we're in a bad place. We're not safe. That was a terrible thing to do. That was poison. We should not have eaten that.

Do you see how all of this is information that's going into your body that's being processed? And based on what you told your body and how you lived your day, your body has to do something for you. This is preservation.

This is living. This is staying alive. So if you're not putting good information in, you're not going to like the results that you get. Okay? So if we want to make sure that we're getting good results, we've got to start putting the right information in there. Now, to do this right, you have to focus on health and fitness above weight loss, okay?

Focus on health and fitness first. The weight loss will come, I promise, once you've started putting the right information in, and that's a health and fitness focus. It's not a weight loss focus, things will be different. Nutrition, movement, and self-care, that's what your inner being is looking for. And when that's working, it's going to make the right decisions about your metabolism and your energy uses and how you feel and how you live.

It's literally going to change the way your body functions because you're giving it information that says, all is good, you are safe. And guess what? At that point, it says, we don't necessarily have to preserve. We're getting a good mix of nutrition. This person is moving every day. Sometimes they're pushing a little harder. We're going to have to get a little stronger, a little faster, a little better.

And we can do that because we have what we need. There's some stress, sure, but we're managing it. We're in a good place. The stressor happens and then they work on it. They breathe and like oxygen and get that stuff out, and they're doing the right kind of mind things to release all this negative energy. They're not talking to themselves negatively. They're not surrounding themselves with toxins beyond environmental or relationship based. They're literally telling the body, you're safe.

And when the body inner being feels safe, it will feel safe about letting the body weight go because that body fat is a protection. It's a protection from starvation and you're not starving. You're actually overeating many cases. So if we want to lose weight, we've got to give the right information to our inner being. We've got to tell our inner being, you're safe, it's okay, everything is great. And when the inner being starts getting that information, magic is going to happen and you'll lose the weight. But the reality of what you should be after is not the weight loss, it's the health and fitness. And the weight loss is just a side effect.

Post Show/Recap

[00:24:56.210] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:24:57.820] – Coach Rachel

Hey Allan. This is a topic I don't know that I've heard, discussed, or even thought about before, is the concept of your inner being.

[00:25:06.110] – Coach Allan

Well, like I said, it's just kind of a concept that's come to me over the last year or so when I've said, and I know I've said it many times on this show that food is information, right, movement is information. And I've said that before, but I had never really fully fleshed out what that actually means from an internal perspective. But we know sometimes we do the exact same thing with the thing we're supposed to do. I'm doing everything right. I mean, 1200 calories, I'm starving myself, I'm getting on the elliptical and just busting my butt every day and I'm keeping up with everything I'm supposed to keep up with and trying to fit this stuff in. And so I'm super stressed, and because I'm super stressed, I'm not sleeping well, and so it's like and then you throw in a couple things, like you step on the scale every morning, and if the scale doesn't tell you something that affects your entire day, okay, this inner being that you have, you're telling them your life is crap.

[00:26:11.360] – Coach Rachel

Yeah, I can see that.

[00:26:14.510] – Coach Allan

When the inner beings like, oh man, we're in trouble, we're in trouble here. She can't get the right food. She's not moving. She's sedentary, so she knows something's wrong. She doesn't want to go out. It's just hiding in the cave and not doing anything. Something bad's going on. If you get dehydrated, intervening is like, hey, we're dehydrated here, so I need to probably shut some stuff down. We're not moving and we're not getting enough food or the right kind of food, the right nutrition, all that stuff, it's going to start functioning different. And as a result, you're not going to reach the goals that you want to reach or the objectives we said the outcomes you want to reach because you just haven't convinced your body that it's okay.

[00:27:02.440] – Coach Rachel

Yeah, you know, it's interesting. Just start with the food part. Food is information. I have a tendency to be a creature of habit, and I'll eat the same things over and over and over again. Same breakfast or the same snack. You know, just go to the grocery store, buy the same thing. But, you know, if my body is getting bored with that or feels like we're missing out on something, then, yes, I can see how being a creature of habit could be a problem, especially if I'm not, you know, enjoying the seasonal fruits and vegetables or switching it up and getting a different protein source. I can see how the body may not respond as efficiently to that same input day after day. That's an interesting one.

[00:27:45.670] – Coach Allan

And that is if you want to try to get a variety of whole foods, but garbage in, garbage out, and that's all. It's with the food. It's with the movement. It's with the way you think about yourself. You're inner taught all of those things. They're all part of this matrix inside you that's intervening, that is just listening for what you're telling it. So you have the capacity to change the message, change the information, make it better information.

[00:28:13.990] – Coach Rachel

No, I've mentioned the past. I got a pretty fast biofeedback loop. If I eat something with too much sugar or too much refined flour, I'll pay for that later. But another big biofeedback loop that I have noticed in recent years is the way I can use self talk. And if I'm on a run, a tough training run or in the late stages of a long race, and I feel my legs are getting tired and I'm sweaty and my heart's racing and stuff, if I start worrying about how I'm feeling, it just feels tired and sluggish, and things start to slow down. But if I can recognize that thought and say, hey, I'm strong. I got this, the finish line is coming, I really do feel a big difference. I suddenly feel my chest go up. I feel really proud. I can slow my breathing down, which gets my heart rate down. So there's a big difference for me in how I talk to myself. That self talk is really important.

[00:29:16.210] – Coach Allan

Yeah. Because, again, inner being doesn't know. It's like, I don't know what Rachel's up to, but for some reason or another, she won't stop running. And I'm concerned that something bad is happening here. I don't know what we're running from, but she just will not stop running. And so it's just pain signals. All the other stuff is going on. And then when you turn around and tell it, no, we don't have much further to go. The end is near, so just bear with me. You may not understand this, but I find this fun.

[00:29:50.810] – Coach Rachel

Yes, I do.

[00:29:51.970] – Coach Allan

Okay. It is a stressor. I get it. It's a stressor, but it's a stressor that I enjoy. And so get me through this run, and we'll be rewarded for that. And. So it's just one of those things where, yeah, the way you think about these things, the way you put information in all of it, you should be really focused on it. So if you like, we talked about last week with goal setting, when you start thinking about your goals, okay, what are those actions that are going to result in good messaging back to your inner being? Okay, I'm going to get my 10,000 steps in a day. That's good information. The body is like, hey, we're out and about doing stuff. We need the capacity to do these things because this feels good. And then he's like, okay, I'm not going to eat as much sugar, and I'm going to cut out alcohol. Suddenly you're like, okay. Your body's like, oh, wow, we're getting better quality food. We're not getting all that sugar stuff. This is pretty good. I feel like I'm okay. I feel like we're safe. She's eating real food, and it's like, okay, I'll start letting some of this body weight go because I thought I had to hold onto it.

[00:30:54.640] – Coach Allan

So we didn't starve to death, right? Because blueberries run out. It's like I'm used to going into a field three weeks, blueberries, no blueberries. So breeding sugar, it's like, okay, great, there's all this sugar. But when there's nothing else, it's like, well, there must not be anything to hunt or anything else to find. And so we're stuck with blueberries, and blueberries go away. So I'm in trouble. I need to start storing fat because something bad is about to happen. And so it's just that making sure you're reassessing what you're doing, the actions that you're taking, when you find actions that are effective for you, those are your goals. And I'll get back into this soon is I would walk every morning for at least 30 minutes fasted.

[00:31:40.980] – Coach Rachel

Oh, nice.

[00:31:41.970] – Coach Allan

And then after each meal, go for a five to ten minute walk.

[00:31:45.840] – Coach Rachel


[00:31:46.600] – Coach Allan

And those are messaging to your body that you're good. You're priming the body to say, okay, Insulin, instead of storing this as fat, we're using the muscles here, so let's chunk a little bit more of that into the muscles in the liver because we're going to be active now. And so that's a different thing. Rather than sitting there, sitting down on your couch, and then that sugar just gets in your blood, it's like, oh, well, let's go make some fat, right? And then the one in the morning, you're already burning fat, and your body is comfortable with it. It's like, okay, well, we're burning fat because we didn't eat overnight. We're sort of fasted. And it's like, okay, well, we're not moving. It's not moving too fast, so we can easily just keep burning fat to feel this activity. And it it does does. So it's really just about how you communicate with yourself, both mentally and with all the information you take in. All of it toxins your environment, where you hang out with what you say to yourself, your food. So I only mentioned a few of those things. But movement, nutrition and selfcare need to be top of mind.

[00:32:56.050] – Coach Allan

And when you find something that really is kind of fit in the groove for you, make a goal. And if you're consistent about it, over time, that becomes a habit. So getting up every morning and going for that walk will become a habit. And when it becomes a habit, it's good for you. It becomes a part of a healthy lifestyle.

[00:33:14.790] – Coach Rachel

Yes, that's perfect.

[00:33:16.470] – Coach Allan

All right. Anything else?

[00:33:18.180] – Coach Rachel

No, that's great, Alan. Good information.

[00:33:20.790] – Coach Allan

I'll talk to you next week.

[00:33:22.330] – Coach Rachel

Take care.

[00:33:23.160] – Coach Allan

You, too. Bye.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


Why most people fail at their health and fitness goals

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Most people will set a goal and then they do their best to make it happen, only to fail miserably. Goals only work when you do them right. On episode 564 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss goal setting done right.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:07.010] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How you doing?

[00:02:08.880] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today? Oh, no.

[00:02:13.980] – Allan

Well, anyone that's on my email has kind of got a really deep dive update from me. And there's that drama from those emails is not over. It's continuing and it probably will continue for a while, but I'm working past that and looking forward. But we've just had so much weird stuff happen. We're having a drought in Bocas del Toro, which is happens, it's like the second time it's happened while we were there. So it happened about almost three and a half years ago. It's happening again. If we don't get rain, we don't have water. It's just that simple. We're on an island and it'll collect up water, but then when that water runs out, it's out. We've gone too long without rain. And the city was real cool about continuing to run the pumps after the water ran out, so they filled our tanks up with mud and we had to hire some guys to come out and clean the mud out. And then we bought some water. So we have some water that we bought and the city's trying to run around with trucks and fill people's tanks, but of course, everybody needs some water.

[00:03:15.160] – Allan

So it's literally just this thing and then the timing of it. We're headed to the States as we're recording this for my daughter's wedding, so we're not even there and someone's running it for us. And so it's kind of like, just put her in a spot, but we're going to do what we can to help her manage remotely. But it's just kind of one of those things you're like, okay, just keep kicking me, just keep kicking me. I'll get up. I'm going to keep getting up.

[00:03:38.660] – Rachel

Goodness gracious. What chaos.

[00:03:40.950] – Allan

Yeah. How are things up there?

[00:03:43.210] – Rachel

Less crazy than what you've got going on, but yeah, we're good. We're just closing out the year. Fall is going to turn to winter, and our race calendar is open, so just getting ready for the holidays is all we got. And Mike's surgery, of course. Yeah, everything's just fine.

[00:04:00.780] – Allan

Excellent. Excellent. All right, so you're ready to talk about goal setting?

[00:04:05.350] – Rachel



I'm calling this episode why Most People Fail at Their Health and Fitness Goals. Even if you know how to write a goal using the smart formula, which I'll talk about in a moment, it's very hard to write goals that are going to get you where you want to go unless you're very, very good at setting a goal that is going to work for you. So one of the main reasons that people really struggle with their health and fitness goals is they're just not setting the right goals. They're not thinking through the self awareness piece, and they're not really getting to know what actions are going to give them the best results. So there's always going to be that struggle, am I doing the right thing? But for many of us, we do know the right thing. We know exactly what we're supposed to do or what we need to do to meet our health and fitness goals. It could be, I know that carbs are not going to work for me if I want to lose weight, so I need to eat less carbs. We know that. Or I overeat because I have these little binge parties of snacks that I hit when I get home from work and I'm stressed.

I know I need to do less of that, or I know I haven't really been training as hard as I could or as much as I should, and therefore that's what I need to be doing. And so most of the time and I talk to clients all the time, they're like, I know what to do. I know what to do. I'm just not doing it consistently. Okay. So this won't necessarily solve that problem, because when you set a goal, what you do has to be consistent. That's how the goal becomes a habit in the doing of a goal that makes your habits, that makes your lifestyle. So just realize this won't fix the first problem of motivations and other things. But once you're ready to start setting some goals, you do need to set the right kind of goals. And that's where the Smart methodology or Smart acronym came from. So smart stands for specific, measurable attainable, relevant and time bound. But I propose that the reason people still suck at setting goals is they're missing one letter. So you can call these smart goals two A's or you can put an A at the end and call it a smart A goal.

Okay? Whichever way you want to do that acronym SMAART or Smart A, I'll leave that up to you. But there is an A that we need to consider when we're setting goals, and that's where most people go wrong. Okay? So if you're not familiar with the smart goals, I've covered this before, it's been quite a while. So I'm going to do a recap on that of what smart goals really are.

So a smart goal, the S stands for specifics. So with a goal, with a smart goal, you have to be very specific about what the goal is going to do, what you're trying to do. It needs to be a very specific thing. It can't be, I'm going to improve my health. Okay, that's so nebulous. What, are you going to have better blood markers? Are you going to lose weight? You're basically going to be able to breathe better, have a better Vo2 max? Are you going to avoid toxins and eat healthier food? So you know, you're building yourself with really good quality nutrients? Health is a nebulous thing. You can't just say, I'm going to improve my health, or you can't say, I'm going to improve my fitness.

What, are you going to get stronger? Are you going to get faster? Are you going to be able to run further? Again, fitness in itself can't be a goal because it's just not specific enough. You need something like, I'm going to improve my Vo2 max or I'm going to improve my power output or I'm going to improve my squat. And so you see at that point, you've basically found something that is more specific. So people will set those specific goals, I will lose weight.

And then it has to be measurable. Weight seems to be kind of an easy one, right? We're going to lose weight. I can measure strength by looking at my three rep max or one rep max on a lift. I can measure my increase in speed and endurance by finishing the 5k faster than I did before getting a personal record. So measurable is something where, you know, okay, this is how I'll know I succeeded at this goal. So I measure that goal. I'm like, okay, here's my measurement criteria and I'm specific with that of what I'm trying to measure. Okay? Attainable means it just needs to be within your reach, within reason.

If I said I'm going to get into the NFL. I'm 56 years old. Probably not going to happen. I don't know of any 56 year olds that came back to the game after just playing through high school and were suddenly these crazy athletes that were able to get back into the NFL or the NBA or any professional sport for that matter. And so that just isn't reasonable or attainable for me to think I can do those things.

So attainable is usually something that's just outside of what you have now, but you know, with reasonable effort over a period of time, you can get there. Okay? So no, you're not going to name an actor, actress or whatever that you think has really done a good job with the way they look and the way they are. You're not going to get there. But if you're looking to look better next month, next week, next quarter, you can do that and you can set some measurable things that you'll do to get there. But it has to be within the realm of reality. OK? Attainable.

Now relevant is a really important one that a lot of people skip over.

But I think this one is actually maybe of all the ones in the smart part, this one might be the most important. And the reason I say that is relevance is relevant to you. It's relevant to what you care about. And if you've followed me for any amount of time at all, you know that I'm a big proponent of you having a very big why and a vision. So goals should really just be mile markers to your vision. If it's outside of that, then you're going somewhere else and that's not good. So I'll give you a perfect example of this. I was doing CrossFit and I was enjoying it. And they got into a segment where they started really stressing strength. The coach programmer was really pushing on strength. And I love that. I mean, I love strength. It was only when they did the strength and then they were trying to do the dynamic stuff with the metcons that I started having some issues with CrossFit. But we would start doing deadlifts. And deadlifts are kind of like my Christmas, okay? So I walk in, I see that the water of the day, the workout of the day is deadlifts.

Man, I'm like, cool, this is going to be a good day. And so as I started going, I was like, I want to just increase my deadlift strength. I want to see how strong, actual strong I can get in the deadlift. I started doing that and one day I was doing that workout, doing the deadlifts, and I got really heavy and I surprised myself with how well I did on that lift that day. Now that was the first part of the workout. Later in the workout my back went out and I was in a ton of pain. And then it hit me. I let my ego get in front of me and I was focused on the deadlift and I was focused on that as a goal. But that had nothing to do with what I actually wanted out of my vision. Definitely didn't want to be sitting in the gym a mile from my house with my back killing me and I had to figure out a way to get home, walk home a mile with my back out. Not a cool day, not a cool day at all. But I only say that because that deadlift goal that I set for myself of just getting strong, strong on deadlift, it lacked so much of this.

I mean, it was specific. I wanted to get strong on the deadlift. It was measurable because how much did you lift? It was attainable because I was doing it. It wasn't relevant. It wasn't relevant to who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. It didn't jive with my vision. It was something else. So make sure that your goals are relevant to your vision and then they are the mile markers. When you hit that goal, you know you're moving in the right direction.

Okay, so the T and smart goals is called time bound. And basically time bound just means you set a time parameter for this vision. Could be 20 years from now, it could be 50 years from now. Time bound means it's next month or next quarter. It's literally like just that close. So you can say, I'm going to go to the gym at least 15 times this month and that's your goal. Okay. You could say, okay, by a certain date I'm going to reach a certain weight or a certain gene size or something. I'm going to fit in my skinny jeans by say, December 31. Okay, that's your goal.

And if you're doing the Crush the Holidays challenge, a doable goal, but at the same time it's time bound because you're saying by this date I will do this thing and so that time bound kind of puts a little emphasis on this. It's not like I will fit in these skinny jeans by whenever. There's no immediacy to it. There's no, okay, I got to get this done. It's just not there. So it does need to be time bound so that your measurement makes sense so that you're seeing the results in real time and again, if it's attainable within that time bound, perfect. Okay, you're good. So that's it for smart goals. It sounds really, really good. It sounds like it should work, right? You set the goal, you go and you charge and you start doing all this stuff and it doesn't happen. And you're like, what happened? Why did I fail at my health and fitness goal? And I can tell you the reason why most people fail at their health and fitness goals is they're setting their goals on the wrong things. They're setting their goals on the things they cannot control. So you can control what you do.

You can't control what you do, guys. Okay, so hear me out. I could cut out all bread, all carbs, and my goal is to lose 20 lbs during the month of November, cutting all that other stuff out. I'm going to do all this stuff, and I'm going to lose 20 lbs in November. Fine. My goal is to lose 20 lbs. But I can't make my body lose 20 lbs without action. So the goals are written about the outcome, not the actual actions that have to happen. So if I set my goal to lose 20 lbs and maybe it's great, I start doing a few things. I lose a pound the first week. I'm like, okay, that's good, but that's not anywhere close to 20. I mean, I just did 1 lb in a week. How am I going to do this? And maybe the second week, I lose five. I'm like, oh, great. Now I'm at 6 lbs, but I'm almost halfway through the month, so this can get tough. And then maybe I lose another 6 lbs. I'm like, okay, this is great. I'm 13 lbs down. I got seven to go for this last week. I'm going to push through, and I don't make it.

I failed at my goal. Now, I could be very happy that I lost a 17 lbs or 15 lbs or whatever, or maybe that last week I just crashed and I didn't lose any weight or heaven forbid, I put weight on. But the point being is you just can't make certain things happen because there's biological things that you don't have control over.

So the last letter in the smart goals or the smart A goals is action. What are the actions that you intend to do? And then it puts all the pieces in place. So a specific goal, if you want to lose weight and you realize it's the carbohydrates are your worst enemy, then a specific goal would be I'm going to limit my carbohydrates to 25 grams net so I can have plenty of fiber, and that doesn't bother me. So net grams of carbs, 25 grams, that's specific. It's measurable because I can look at the foods I'm eating. I can give an estimation. And so therefore, I know each day this is the number of grams of net carbohydrates I probably ate. It's attainable predominantly because I know I've done it before. It might be hard, but it's attainable.

People are doing it every day. So it's not like I'm doing something crazy. That's not in the realm of possibility. I can't do it if I put my mind to it. Relevant. Okay. I know that the carbs have caused me issues in the past, and so from a relevance perspective, I know they're going to help me lose weight. So if my intention is to lose weight, because my vision is for me to weigh less, to have more energy, all these other things, then I know this is a stepping stone in that direction. This is a mile marker. So this is really relevant to where I want to go. If I'm losing weight doing this, then it is definitely sending me in the direction I want to be, which is to weigh less and be healthier. Okay. It's time bound. I'm like, okay, every day for a month, I'm going to be like this and see what happens. Okay. Because I can control my actions. I can't control the outcome. Okay. But it's time bound. I'm going to try this way of eating for 30 days and see what happens. And again, all these circles around the fact that my goals are actions, actions I can control.

They're not outcomes that I don't control. So I'm rewriting this acronym to be SMAART or SMART A. Okay. And I want you to remember that when you set your goals, they need to be smart goals, but they need to be actions first. Things you can control. Okay. So as a general recap, I think it's pretty clear there are things that are outside your control. There are things that you just can't do. They're not going to happen. But for the things you know you can do and you want to do and you want to make sure you stay on task, set smart goals, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound actions that you know you can do and you'll be successful.

Post Show/Recap

Post show with Rachel.

[00:17:45.710] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:17:47.320] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This is really timely and I'm sure you planned it this way, but this is the time of year to start talking about goals. And I love that you've added action as a new component to determining what your goals are.

[00:18:00.730] – Allan

Yeah as we go into the end of the year, a lot of people are looking at their weight and their health and they're saying, okay, this is the year. 2023 is going to be my year.

[00:18:08.970] – Rachel


[00:18:09.340] – Allan

And then in their head, they immediately go to the things that we always think about. And a lot of times that's just weight loss. And so they'll say, okay, over this next year, I'm going to lose 25 lbs.

[00:18:22.090] – Rachel


[00:18:22.540] – Allan

And the problem with that is that's not really 100% within their control. And we all know that we ate a certain way when we're younger. We did a diet and it worked. And then now we do that same diet and it's not working. I don't understand. The diet worked before and it's not working now. And the reality of it is you can't control your weight. It's not something you can just set and it happened. You've got to do certain actions. And so most people will set what I call objective goals, like what they want, the outcome of the work that they do. They want that outcome. But that's not how this works. Like, if you are in a business, you say, okay, what do we want to do? Well, we want to double our revenue. Okay. You're not buying your own stuff, so who's going to do that? Okay, so it's like, okay, we're going to have to advertise more. We may rise our prices. You see how there's actions that you can take that will help maybe make your revenue go up? Well, this is no different. You can't control your weight, but what you can't control is your actions.

[00:19:21.880] – Allan

So you can say, okay, I'm going to stop drinking as much alcohol. That's an action within your control.

[00:19:28.450] – Rachel

Yeah, perfect.

[00:19:29.260] – Allan

So you set the goal. I'm going to have only two glasses of wine on Friday and Saturday nights. That's four total glasses of wine for the week. And that's your new goal. That's what you're charging for. And I'm going to do this for the whole month of November. You could sit there and say like that, you could say, I'm going to make sure I get my 10,000 steps or I complete my circles on my Apple Watch every single day. It's specific. You're hitting that mark. It's measurable. Because again, you got the number, you got the circle full. It's actionable. I mean, it's attainable because you've probably done that many steps or done that before. And it's relevant because, you know, increasing your activity level is one of the things that you'll be told that you should do if you want to lose weight. So you're doing all the right things, and it's time-bound because you said for this month or by this time. And so you say you're going to do those things. You might say, I'm going to go to the gym at least 15 times next month. Okay. And you just sit there and start ticking them off.

[00:20:33.260] – Allan

Two, three, four, all the way to 15. And you're successful at your goal because it was in your control. So making them action. I said the word action, but really, maybe a better word would be actionable. It's something you can do. It's not the outcome that you want.

[00:20:49.890] – Rachel

Sure, that sounds great.

[00:20:51.690] – Allan

And that's really where all this comes down. And why I want to add that A to it is because people will write the goal, I'm going to lose 25 lbs, and then the weight's not coming off the scale. And it's so demotivating because you just don't feel like you have control. It's like, I know what to do, but it's not working. But the thing is, if you set goals to be consistent in the doing, your chances of it happening just went up astronomically.

[00:21:17.140] – Rachel

Yes, you mentioned my other favorite word, consistency. And you got to keep at it, doing something every day to improve your chances of reaching your goal.

[00:21:26.770] – Allan

And that's the core of it. And if you tune in next week, I'm going to talk about some things that I think will blend right into this conversation where you're like, oh, wow, now I get it. Now I understand why this weight is not in my control, but my actions are, and that's why this is so important. So stay tuned for next week. It's a very interesting conversation, and I know you're going to get a lot out of it. If you like this episode, you definitely want to listen next week. So anything else you want to cover before we go?

[00:21:55.030] – Rachel

No, this is great. Looking forward to next week already.

[00:21:57.700] – Allan

All right, we'll talk to you soon. 

[00:21:59.730] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:22:00.400] – Allan

You too.


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– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


November 8, 2022

Are you asking yourself the right questions? | Dr. Corey Yeager

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Dr. Corey Yeager knows that healing and performance come from getting past ourselves. We do that by asking ourselves the right questions and building our self-awareness. In episode 563 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss his book, How Am I Doing?: Conversations to Have with Yourself.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:07.990] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:10.060] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:12.250] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Just wrapping up things here. This is going live November 8. My daughter, I guess, got married. We're recording a couple of weeks, so I'm assuming the answer is going to be yes. And all the way to the end, of course, an event or something. So at this point, yeah, we married off one of our daughters and we should be arriving back into Bocas today and get back to running the bed and breakfast and opening up my studio and, of course, training my online clients.

[00:02:40.990] – Rachel

Very busy.

[00:02:42.370] – Allan

Yeah. And then we're just a couple of weeks away from launching the holidays challenge.

[00:02:48.480] – Rachel


[00:02:48.930] – Allan

So if you haven't signed up for that, go to crushtheholidays.com. And it's 35 days of coaching with mindset, and we talk about different things, about how we get past the temptations of these holidays, this eating season. And so if that's something you've struggled with putting on a little bit of extra weight during the holidays, I strongly encourage you to come check out that challenge at crushtheholidays.com and enjoy the challenge with us. Like I said, there's a Facebook group, there's prizes for participation and a daily lesson about mindset and, of course, accountability, because you can pick out partners in the group or message me in the group and just be a part of everybody holding themselves accountable to do just a little bit better, which doing just a little bit better is crushing the holidays.

[00:03:39.520] – Rachel

Sounds awesome. Sounds like fun.

[00:03:41.370] – Allan

So what are you up to?

[00:03:43.840] – Rachel

I'm exhausted and also accelerated probably 50 50 over the weekend. Mike and I did the calcresture, which was our 30 hours running event, and it was a low key event by a run club. So, like, no pressure to be running for the entire 30 hours. You could go do the loop, which was about 5 miles, and go have breakfast and come back or take a shower, come back. You had the 30 hours to do as many loops as you want. And we had a lot of family and friends up there join us. And the donations from this event go up to one of the research facilities up here in honor of Mike and in research of kidney cancer, which my husband is fighting right now. So the event raised $4,000 for kidney cancer research.

[00:04:33.730] – Allan

So awesome.

[00:04:34.990] – Rachel

It was fantastic. It was a wonderful weekend. Lots of friends, lots of miles, lots of fun.

[00:04:41.360] – Allan

And your family too. Close by Michael and it's like everybody was there and made a really close knit family affair thing. That's awesome.

[00:04:49.530] – Rachel

It was perfect. It was really wonderful to share all this time together. It was fantastic.

[00:04:54.450] – Allan

Great. Well, are you ready to have a conversation with Dr. Yeager?

[00:04:59.050] – Rachel



[00:06:08.060] – Allan

Dr. Yeager, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:10.960] – Dr. Yeager

Thanks for having me. I'm excited to have this conversation with you today. I look forward to it.

[00:06:16.060] – Allan

I am too, and for a very good reason. Is that your book is called How Am I Doing? 40 conversations to Have With Yourself. And every time I have a client that's trying to lose weight. I can tell you 99 9% of the time, we're in our own way to improving ourselves and making ourselves better. And these conversations that you put into this book, while it seems really simple, it's really a way for you to break away from those things. So the negative self-talk, the limiting beliefs, all those are built into this. And it makes sense because you're a performance improvement person. I mean, that's your primary role right now. You've been doing this your whole life. I know when you were talking to kids in the schools, it was the same conversation that you're having with professional athletes that have been in the league for years. And so I think as we get into how we're going to fix ourselves, we have to start with the head, we have to start with the mindset. These conversations, as I said, I think are critical for us to have as a part of self-awareness.

[00:07:18.340] – Allan

So as a model of getting better, you have to know where you are. You have to know where you're going, which, like an athlete would know. This is the level of performance I have to have to make it to the next level or to be able to win this game against the Lakers or whoever. Yeah, you know, you got to win that game, you know, where you have to be physically for the season. And so you have a direction and then you set some goals for yourself. But then when you get to that self awareness piece, these are the tools. Make sure you get there

[00:07:44.700] – Dr. Yeager

100% and use the term that I think is critically important for the work of this book. But I think in life in general is becoming more aware of self. So self, that introspective space, but also becoming aware of self in the context of others. Critically important. Who am I? Not just who am I individually, but who am I in different contexts, I think becomes really important. And it really is the cornerstone of what the book is all about.

[00:08:16.650] – Allan

Yeah, because I think a lot of times we have this outward projection of what we want people to believe. We have this inner projection of who we believe we are. And both of those can be vastly different from the person that we actually are.

[00:08:31.780] – Dr. Yeager

And Allan, they can be conflictual. Those two worlds and those two people, if you will, can come into conflict within the south who I believe I am and who I think that I am becoming and who others think I am or tell me who they think I am. Those can be conflictual spaces. And the book is about working through that conflict, prioritizing self in the context of others. And all of that starts with knowing myself, becoming more aware of who I am.

[00:09:03.940] – Allan

Now, you do that with a process called narrative therapy. And obviously asking these questions, you can imagine that's where we're going to go with. Can you describe what narrative therapy is and why it's so powerful?

[00:09:15.600] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah, I think there are a multiplicity of ways to approach therapy. The one in which fits best for me and I found fits best for my therapy, my clients, is narrative therapy. And really what narrative therapy is a way to get people's stories. If you just tell me stories about yourself, that becomes content. And my job is to listen to those content laden stories and search for a pattern and regurgitate almost, if you will, a process back to you. So, narrative therapy is really one of the cornerstones of narrative therapy that I utilize a lot is personifying our issues. So, for instance, many times people that are dealing with mental illness issues almost describe themselves as their issue. I am a depressed person, I am whatever fill in the blank as opposed to personifying that problem and putting it outside of you. You can almost say in narrative therapy in ways you personify it. If we were talking about anxiety was an issue you were struggling with, I would almost say let's turn that anxiety into a person. That anxiety comes to visit. And sometimes anxiety can be something that pushes us to be successful, but it can also paralyze us.

[00:10:41.550] – Dr. Yeager

So how do I approach understanding that anxiety in a way that it comes to visit? But I just like a person, I can tell that I don't want you here today. Right? So finding that ability to be in more control. I think the other piece that I would say about narrative therapy is recognizing that each of us is the expert on our lives. No one else is an expert on my life the way I am. So instead of me as a therapist sitting in a position of all knowing we don't know all, I am just learning about you. You are the expert on you. So getting people to understand that they are the expert on their lives and I am a facilitator of the change they are seeking.

[00:11:23.140] – Allan

A lot of times I'm having a conversation with a client and I don't even really have to tell them what to do. They already know. They have to just be somewhat comforted to know that they have the right answer to start with and somebody's there that listening, if someone cares.

[00:11:38.190] – Dr. Yeager

This is that process of you being the expert and me facilitating your change. One thing I would say, Allan, about therapy in general with narrative therapy is that if we recognize that we are the experts on our lives and we hope or seek some level of version of change. One of the things that I start off with people, players, everyone that I work with is asking them what does change mean to you when you say you want to change? What are you seeking to change? And what does that mean for you? For instance, in the therapeutic realm, what we describe as change is. We describe it in two ways first and second order change. First order change and I'm a metaphorical therapist, so I use a lot of metaphors. First order change would be like walking into your home or your apartment and saying, I want to change this. So first order change is saying, I'm going to paint all the walls a different color. I'm going to change all the furniture around and put new pictures up. So if you come into my house and you were there a week ago and I make that change, it will look quite different.

[00:12:43.410] – Dr. Yeager

Second order, deeper, more profound change is saying, I'm going to knock the walls down in this apartment or in this house and forever change the structure of my home. That's a level of second order change, which is a much more profound version of change. So I asked people first, before we endeavor upon this work, what change are you seeking? Are you seeking profound knock the wall down changes? Are you seeking to just change a few small pieces that will look different, but it will be changed nonetheless?

[00:13:17.210] – Allan

Dr. Yeager, who is the most important person in your life and why?

[00:13:21.410] – Dr. Yeager

I am the most important person in my life unquestionably. And that's not being selfish. That is just recognizing that I hold all of the information about who I am and how I came to be where I am and knowing and understanding that in a way that's not selfish, but that I have to prioritize the importance of me. That doesn't mean that there aren't moments that I choose to put others first, but at the core of who I am, I recognize that as being the most important person in my life. My wife is clearly and keenly important. My children are very, very important. But I say oftentimes to my wife, before I can be a good husband, before I can be a good father, a good therapist, I must first be a good Corey for Corey. That's the beginning, the precipice, the genesis of understanding myself as the most important person in this world. And then that allows for me to show up in this world as a better version of myself as a better father, as a better husband, as a better therapist is first, starting with knowing who I am and seeing myself as the most important person.

[00:14:32.790] – Allan

Yeah, I kind of look at it from the perspective of if you don't have your own candle lit, you're not going to be able to light someone else's candle with it. You got to protect your claim. You got to protect yourself.

[00:14:45.560] – Dr. Yeager

Like being on a flight, they go through the whole little spill. When you get on the flight, if the oxygen level in the cabin drops low, you're going to have the mask that drops down. But what do they tell you if you're traveling with a child? Put your mask on first. Well, why? Does seem selfish. No. Because if I am fumbling around trying to put my son or daughter's mask on and I pass out, now, all of a sudden we're both in trouble. If I can get my mask on first, then I can maneuver and manipulate and support them in a more meaningful way. That's putting myself first. That's not being selfish.

[00:15:23.950] – Allan

Yeah. I was in Puerto Vallarta not long ago, and I landed and there was an earthquake and come up to the resort just after the earthquake, and there's a woman, and she's really distraught. And I'm sitting there with her and I'm like, okay, I can tell you're really upset. What's going on? She said, well, when the earthquake happened, we had to leave the building, and my husband could not walk down the stairs, and so she had to leave him and go get help. And she didn't want to leave him, and then they wouldn't let her go back, so they sent two men up. Everything ended up okay, but it was just kind of one of those moments of, if I don't take care of me, I'm not going to be able to take care of her. And in fact, I might actually hurt her.

[00:16:05.070] – Dr. Yeager


[00:16:05.760] – Allan

My wife, that is, in the future, because I put her in that kind of situation. And so I think as you start looking at this process, if you're not taking care of yourself, you're not taking care of anybody.

[00:16:18.040] – Dr. Yeager

That's right. And I think we've been sold a bill of goods as human beings that others should always come first. I think that's kind of what we're taught almost at a level below consciousness. We're almost taught to make sure, don't be selfish, be selfless and make sure that you put everyone else first. I think that's backwards. Right. To your point that taking care of self is really, in essence, taking care of others.

[00:16:45.240] – Allan

Yes. We're told, I think the way it goes, we're coming upon that season anyway, is it's better to give than receive? And that's a part of that messaging. But the whole point being is I could take a dollar and I could give it to you right now, or I could take that dollar and I can build it up to $10 or $100 or $1,000 and give that to you later. And so it's kind of making that investment in yourself is only going to benefit you and everybody else. So you have to make that happen.

[00:17:13.540] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah. Investing in self is critically important and not something that we're necessarily taught to do. So we have to really endeavor upon a process of being curious what the book is about, being more curious with myself, asking and answering questions that will help me push into better and deeper sensibilities around who I am and how I came to be.

[00:17:37.090] – Allan

Now, a lot of these questions will get very uncomfortable.

[00:17:42.640] – Dr. Yeager

That's good.

[00:17:45.340] – Allan

Yeah, it is good. You're going to get outside of your comfort zone. And maybe one of the ones when I read it, I was like, okay, this is hard one, and how much time do you spend looking in the mirror? And that answers changed for me over the years. There have been times when I didn't want to look in the mirror because I didn't like who I was. And there were times I looked in the mirror and I was very proud of who I was. And it's but it's not a solid state. It changes based on who I am, when I am. Can you talk a little bit about why that's such an important process for us? And like I said, maybe the hardest of all the questions that I went through, I was like, this one is really, really hard.

[00:18:26.440] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah. So you talked about that comfort or discomfort. I am a big believer, Allan, that any discomfort, pain, instead of it just being pain or discomfort for the sake of discomfort and sake of pain, we'll lean away from that because we don't want pain. We don't want discomfort. We want to be comfortable. But if you think back and reflect back throughout your life, some of the moments that were most uncomfortable produced the biggest growth that we have in our lives. So how do we reframe our thinking into a way that says, I'm going to welcome in this discomfort because I know that it's going to produce something. My kids, who are all, I'm 6'3, around 300 lbs, depends on the meal and maybe 310 is the good meal. All my boys were big boys. They would come to me when they're 8 9 10, eleven years old, and walk into my room and say, dad, my knees are killing me. So they're having growing pains. So I would say to them, that is an indication that you're growing. You want to be big like dad. So this pain that you're feeling, this discomfort that you're feeling, is solely an indication that you're growing.

[00:19:42.090] – Dr. Yeager

So it makes it easier to deal with that pain and discomfort. So if we think about engaging in this work of the mirror, it's not that you have to stand in the mirror for hour after hour, but finding the ability to be more comfortable with the person that looks back at you. You said it earlier that sometimes you would avoid the mirror because you weren't happy with the person that was looking back at you. Well, why is that? Because that man in the mirror knows all of you, knows every aspect of who you are, how you came to be. So it's uncomfortable to engage with that man in the mirror. But if we can find the ability to stand firm and be curious with that man or woman that's in the mirror, we'll learn a heck of a lot about who we are. And once again, the more I can learn about who I am or how I came to be, then I get to show up in the world a better version of myself. So finding that ability to stay in the moment, engage with self, be curious, and better understanding of us gives us an opportunity to better ourselves in our social networks.

[00:20:52.660] – Allan

Yeah. The times that I didn't want to look at myself was when I truly not being congruent to the man that I wanted to be.

[00:20:59.340] – Dr. Yeager

There you go.

[00:21:01.910] – Allan

It's a clear indicator if I didn't want to look myself in the eye, that I wasn't being me. I was doing things that were contrary to who I should be. And until I stopped doing those things and started doing the things that were building me to be the man I should be, that changed a bit. Now, I still haven't spent as much time looking in the mirror as I probably should because there's still things to fix. I mean, I never finished molding. I'll never finish fixing process. Yeah, it's a process. And so this is a really good tool. Like I said, it'll be uncomfortable. And I agree with you. Everything great takes effort and maybe discomfort, if you think about it.

[00:21:38.310] – Dr. Yeager

And this term that you use, I think, is a very important term, congruency. That's really what we're seeking in life is the ultimate version of finding ourselves as being successful, is moving with a congruent self. That who I think I am, who I seek to be. Is that congruent with my actions on a daily basis? If the answer is no, then I have to start to move in a way that says, I want to build that puzzle so the pieces fit together. Congruently. This is really what we seek in life. And the book, in my hope, is a move towards that congruency.

[00:22:16.120] – Allan

Now, one of the things that I think that's a lot of people apart is that it's how they face challenges. And so you have the question, what are the challenges you face in your life? And then you move that forward in that conversation to talk about lynch pin problems, can you kind of walk us through that thought process and how that would work?

[00:22:33.490] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah. So, for me, after football was done and the realization was that I wasn't going to be a multimillionaire playing football for the next 20 years, I was kind of lost. So I found a really good friend, and that friend was alcohol. So I began to have struggles with alcohol, and it would numb me and it would allow me not to engage with who I was or better understand myself. So it became a great friend to me, and that struggle ensued over the next number of years. But once I stopped drinking and figured out that this was really a big struggle in my life, I got the opportunity to look back and say, man, that was a huge lynch pin issue. That when we find that lynch pin issue, that's that cornerstone struggle that we have many times, there are a lot of issues that come off of that lynch pin. And if we can focus and fix and address that lynch pin, we'll find that many other things will start to fall in place. So when I stopped drinking, my finances were in a better place. When I stopped drinking, my relationship with my wife got much better.

[00:23:42.750] – Dr. Yeager

My ability to be there for my family and my kids improved drastically. So all of those issues improved off of that lynchpin issue. So asking our So what is my biggest challenge and better understanding that challenge may then allow for a number of things to fix themselves in my life if I address that lynchpin. So this is once again a critically important endeavor, but not easy. So the book is really simple, but that doesn't mean it's easy work. If you read the book, it's simple. A twelve year old can read through the book. So very simple. But the work that ensues off of the book and the questions and the conversations are challenging. But that's an important thing. We want to be challenged, I hope. And from that challenge, we better ourselves. Nelson Mandela said a quote that I live by. He said, in life we never lose. We either win or we learn. I think this is extremely important, that if we can reframe our thinking around struggle and say it's not a loss, I didn't lose. I got an opportunity to learn. And guess what? I'll make more mistakes as I move through life.

[00:24:57.700] – Dr. Yeager

But the hope is I won't continuously make that same mistake over and over because I learned from it. So seeing the world reframing some of these challenges, these lynchpin issues, in such a way that we can take a learn from that it betters us as we move forward.

[00:25:14.710] – Allan

Now, another thing that comes up a lot when I'm training is that people believe, or they have a belief about themselves. So I have a client, we sit down with a certain weight for her to do a certain exercise, and she says, this is as high as I can go. And I just get a smile on my face. I said, Give me six weeks.

[00:25:33.040] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah, that's right.

[00:25:35.510] – Allan

And I see it time and time ago. Like a client says, I don't believe a woman over 50 can lose weight. I hear those untruths all the time. And so it's your question is what untruths are you telling yourself about your current existence? Why do we have so much trouble seeing outside of our own lives?

[00:25:54.560] – Dr. Yeager

Well, I think that kind of our upbringing may set us up to struggle to see outside of ourselves, really in a profound and deep way. And one way in which to cope with that is to tell ourselves lies, to tell ourselves untruths. If you tell an untruth enough, you can convince yourself that it's not a truth. So there was a philosopher, an existentialist, that really talked about what is the existence of why am I here? What is life about? His name is Jean Paul Sark. And Sark worked on something that I utilize a lot and talk about a lot that's connected to this untrue. And it was a concept that he coined called bad faith, saying that we can tell ourselves these untrue stories over and over in a way that helps us kind of manage and manipulate life. So, for instance, if you're working at a job that you absolutely hate, you'll tell yourself the story that there's no other option. I've got to keep doing this job. I absolutely hate it, but it's how I pay my bills and my mortgage payment and whatever it is. So we tell ourselves this story that we know deep down is not true, but it allows me to manage and manipulate through the day to day process, but it's not true.

[00:27:13.620] – Dr. Yeager

So can we challenge ourselves and start to uncover and discover? What are these untruths that I'm telling myself? If you sit with yourself enough and say, so what lies am I telling to myself? You'll have answers to that question. Now the process really says, okay, now I'm aware of it. We have a choice. We can keep making those untruth statements and say, it's almost like the Matrix. Which pill do you want? I want to tell myself the lies, and that's what I want. Then I'll stay there. But if I take the other pill, I will uncover all kinds of options that I didn't necessarily think about or didn't really want to uncover. But now they're here. Now the truth is going to be able to battle with the untruths. And guess what? I can make some different choices. Now, that doesn't mean we always will. I may stick with the bad choices, but now it's not from a space of unconscious or subconscious movement. It's now into the consciousness. And what does that mean? It means now I can start to battle with cognitive dissonance. Now I have a battle that ensues about that new information enters, new truths enter my thinking.

[00:28:29.110] – Dr. Yeager

And now I get to say, yeah, I hadn't really thought about that. What am I going to now do about it? Am I going to choose to keep down that same lane or am I going to move in a different way? Now you have some options, and that's what we really hope for in life. The more we want a multiplicity of options, and that's what the book is hoping to point out, that we do have options. It starts with awareness, and then we get to do something about those. No new options.

[00:28:56.620] – Allan

Yeah, I kind of look at it. And you even talked about you being your own best friend a little bit in the book, but it was this concept of if your friend told you she's just not going to be able to lose this weight, you would not tell her. You're absolutely right. You're over 50. You're not going to lose the weight. You're going to turn around and say, yeah, you can. You're going to be the best cheerleader for that person. And so if you find yourself saying something that you wouldn't say to your own best friend, that's probably a part of the cognitive distance that's going on in your brain right now.

[00:29:25.990] – Dr. Yeager

So, Allan, you point out something that's really important. So we have this concept of self talk. We're always having conversations with ourselves. So as I'm talking, Allan, you're talking to yourself right now. What question am I going to ask next? Do I believe what he said on this?

[00:29:43.240] – Allan

I absolutely do.

[00:29:46.840] – Dr. Yeager

The self talk is continuously occurring, but if we tune in and become more deeply aware of the self talk, we may start to say, man, I'm really negative with myself, and I didn't realize I was even doing it. So if we start to think about personifying, this self talk, this negative tape that can be playing over and over in our heads, and if we take those negative thoughts and tell ourselves, if I had my best friend take that tape of Negativity and spew it back to me and say all those negative things back to me, would I remain friends with them? The answer is easily, no. I wouldn't remain friends with you if that's all you were doing was telling me these negative stories over and over. But we're doing that to ourselves over and over, Allan. So if we can better frame this misunderstanding in such a way that says, I don't want that Negativity over and over in my head, the first step of that is being aware that's even occurring. The next step is moving that negative conversation into a more positive space that I'm, okay, I'm going to make it through this.

[00:30:56.440] – Dr. Yeager

Every struggle that I've had in my life, I've made it through to this point because I'm here and I'll make it through whatever this struggle is. Now, I've changed that tape. I took that negative tape out and replaced it with a positive tape. Now I get to move in this world in a more positive fashion every day. And if that positive tape is plain, the chances that my outcomes in life are positive increase exponentially. So that's really what this self talk is about, and how do we frame it and understand it in a way that we can move it, as opposed to just having to be unconscious and playing negative thoughts all the time.

[00:31:36.550] – Allan

Now, I think for a lot of us, well, every one of us, change is scary, change is uncomfortable, and we've talked about a lot about discomfort, but everybody kind of wants to change, and they basically start cataloging. If you could change anything, what would you change about yourself, about your environment, about your job, about your relationships? Every one of us will probably be able to list three or four things about just about every one of those. But you asked the question, what do you most hope to change in your life? Can you talk about the significance of that question?

[00:32:12.190] – Dr. Yeager

Yeah. So again, I think to your point, there's tons of things that we would like to change. I want to change my wardrobe. I mean, there's a ton of things we can fill in the blank and nausea about the things that we want to change. But the work that I'm discussing in the book is saying, all right, so what is the most profound, biggest thing that I hope to change in my life? Because I think too often we get caught up in trying to address everything all in one moment. I just want to get everything better, but does it work? And then we get consumed with and overwhelmed with trying to do too much. So there's an African proverb that says, how do you eat an elephant? Well, the answer is one bite at a time. So this question of what do you hope to change most is taking the bite out of whatever, that struggle that you're having. Not trying to address every struggle and change every aspect of my life, but prioritizing what it is that I see as the struggle of the challenge that is most pressing for me, then I get to go about taking a bite out of that and working to change that, as opposed to trying to be overwhelmed with addressing all of these issues at once.

[00:33:32.920] – Dr. Yeager

And what we'll do when it feels like it's overwhelming, we end up doing nothing. I coach football and I coach offensive line. And one of the things that I tell offensive lineman, you have two guys that are coming at you. What a guy will tend to do is try to block both of them. When you try to block them both, you end up blocking neither. So it's connected to change and what we prioritize. Pick one thing, stick with that, work through that process, and that becomes a win. When I can work through that process, all of a sudden I have one small win. And if I can have one small win, I now convince myself that I can have two wins, and those two wins can turn to four wins. So all of a sudden, I get to change and build upon that one bite sized approach to change. And I think that's really my work, is to help facilitate the change process. I'm not going to change your life, but I'll help you facilitate your own process.

[00:34:34.540] – Allan

You have to be willing, yes, put in the effort to make that change. And questions, like I said, they're just a really deep dive into who you are in helping you build a plan and find the things that you need to change, to be congruent, to be who you're supposed to be. So it's a great, great tool.

[00:34:51.450] – Allan

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

[00:35:01.310] – Dr. Yeager

Three. You're going to make me narrow down to three? I'm going to struggle.

[00:35:06.490] – Allan

Remember what you just said? What's the big thing?

[00:35:09.570] – Dr. Yeager

Yes. There you go. Prioritization. Prioritization.

[00:35:13.770] – Allan


[00:35:14.960] – Dr. Yeager

So I think a couple of the most simple ones are even starting off with your sleeping pattern. How well do you sleep? Getting good sleep matters that if I get a good night's rest, I wake up more refreshed and find the opportunity to face the day in a more positive nature just from the very beginning. So I think getting good sleep is a cornerstone, one that's very simple. I think another one that we must develop is budgeting our energy, that I only have a finite amount of energy, so I can't give it all away all the time. And that's not being selfish, that's just using a budget, a process of budgeting my energy. Where do I choose to give this energy? Why am I choosing to give this energy to this project or this person? But it has to be in a fashion that we budget it because it's not endless. So where am I giving my energy? And why I think is an important piece. Journaling is another thing. Finding the ability, the research tells us if I have a struggle, a couple of ways that I can address that struggle are talking to someone, telling them what my struggles are, and then journaling.

[00:36:29.610] – Dr. Yeager

And both of those processes are ways in which we can get that negativity out. It's all bottled up inside of us. What we hope to do is get it out. So if I come to you, Allan, I'm seeking help and support, you're not going to be able to fix my issues, but if I trust that you'll listen and hear me and allow me to spew this out, I'll walk out of that session of that conversation feeling lighter. You didn't fix it, but I got to talk about it. I got to relieve pressure around that issue. So finding the ability to journal or talk to others, I think is extremely important. We have to give ourselves grace as well, Allan. We do well as human beings giving people around us grace. If you mess up or do something I don't like, I'll say, no, Allan, I don't worry about it, it's okay. But we won't take that same notion with ourselves to tell ourselves, it's okay. I struggled with that, but I'm going to keep moving. In life, we must be rivers, not ponds. A river is ever moving, ever regenerating itself. A pond can become very stagnant.

[00:37:39.570] – Dr. Yeager

So we want to keep moving. Finding the ability to keep moving. Last couple that I hit on, and I know it's more than three, I apologize already. How do we find the ability to stay in this moment? The only true thing that we have in this world is the current moment that we reside in. What happened ten minutes ago is gone forever, never to return. What will happen ten minutes from nowis Allan is yet to be seen. But this moment we know we have. So how do we find the ability to stay in the current moment? Practice gratitude. I'm happy and thankful for all that I have that has got me to where I am in this moment. And lastly, do we have the ability to focus and have an internal locus of control? That control is important, but not nearly as important as knowing that I own and control who I am and how I'm moving this world. So being clear on the control mechanisms and controlling the controllable things that we can, and not being as worried about those things outside of our control, where we tend to dump a lot of energy and we don't impact it, we can't move it, but we dump energy into it and it doesn't change anything.

[00:38:57.600] – Dr. Yeager

So use that energy to control the things that you can control. That's an internal locus of control. So I know I gave you like, seven, and I know you asked for three, but I tried to pick

[00:39:07.780] – Allan

that's all right. You got a whole offensive line coming at me. It's worth it. We do need to journal because we can't beat people up on the football field anymore.

[00:39:17.100] – Dr. Yeager

That's right, we don't have that outlet. Journaling is the new.

[00:39:23.290] – Allan

All right, thank you for that. So, Dr. Yeager, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the things you're doing and your book, How Am I Doing? Where would you like me to send them?

[00:39:32.710] – Dr. Yeager

So you can really if you Google Dr. Corey Yeager or go through any of the social media outlets, instagram, Facebook, Dr. Corey Yeager, Google my name. The book is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, any of the major book outlets, you'll be able to find it at your local bookstore, community-based bookstore. So it'll kind of be everywhere. If you google Dr. Corey Yeager, you'll find me everywhere.

[00:40:00.490] – Allan

Okay, thank you. And thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:40:04.230] – Dr. Yeager

Hey, I appreciate it, man. It was a fun conversation, Allan. Thanks.

[00:40:07.470] – Allan

Me too. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:40:17.510] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:40:19.170] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. You know, I could have listened to you guys talk for probably a couple more hours about different questions to ask. I mean, you guys pick some doozys about self talk and being self aware and all these wonderful things. Very useful.

[00:40:32.670] – Allan

Well, for one, I was able to cherry pick 40 questions, the ones that I thought would actually be the most relevant to the show overall. But that's good. It's that self awareness that is tripping all of us up. And there are different ways to get to self awareness. And, you know, like, I have the quiz. What's your health blocker? Quiz so you can go to 40plusfitness.com/quiz and take that quiz and it's a really simple little tool puts you in one of five categories for what's blocking you the most. And so there's tools. But this book is kind of like I'm just swimming in the top little bit of 2ft of water and he's down into the deep, deep depth. And so this is like the deep dive into who you are all the way down to your soul. And so when he asks the question, you're asking questions like, what are the lies that I tell myself? Or what brings me the most joy in my life? And initially you might just throw out an answer and then you start diving into it a little bit deeper. You're like, okay, I'm not being authentic.

[00:41:38.520] – Allan

I'm not living the life that I should be living based on who I'm supposed to be. Because most of us have this self image and part of the time and it's also a major reason why we struggle with our health and fitness is we're not living up to that.

[00:41:52.360] – Rachel


[00:41:53.510] – Allan

We have this idea of who we're supposed to be and we're not walking the walk. We're not quite there yet. And so this is a great opportunity for you to look deep and figure out what are those things that are really keeping me away from doing the things that I know would bring me joy and would make my life better and would make me a better person. Because it's in there.

[00:42:14.490] – Rachel

It is.

[00:42:15.340] – Allan

It's in there. And you just have to take the time to say, okay, what's there and why is it there and what can I do about it? And when you really get down to figuring out how you are today, that initially sounds like a very easy question. But it's so deep that this is not, like you said, literally every question in this book. You could spend a week thinking about. You can make this like an annual 40 weeks out of the year, spend the time going through the question and then spend that week really, really diving deep into yourself, okay, about what that question means to you. And then the better thing because I'm a very much of an action oriented person. What are you going to do about it?

[00:42:58.900] – Rachel

That's right. Well, you know, one of the questions you talked about was showing up for yourself and you discussed if you had a friend that said, oh, I can't lose this last few pounds or I can't do this. You would never agree with that. You would tell your friends, sure you can. You can do that. You would be the encourager. And so why aren't we doing this for ourselves more often? And similarly kind of in the same book, you know, as a mother, I used to prepare healthy meals for my kids because I wanted my kids to grow up healthy. And sometimes I let that slide for myself. Or maybe I don't cook the healthiest foods for my husband, but he does most of the cooking, I'll just tell you that. But why doesn't that skill set translate to ourselves when we are so giving and caring for other people? Why can't we do those exact same things for ourselves? It's a good question to ponder and to figure out how to fix that.

[00:43:51.810] – Allan

Yeah. And so, yeah, at the realm where I'm talking 30,000ft, looking down, it's just that you're a giver and you want to give to the family, and you want to do what's right for your family. And so you're looking at your co pilots, the people who are in the plane with you, and you're spending more time taking care of them than you are about yourself, forgetting that you're all in the same plane.

[00:44:15.600] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:44:16.530] – Allan

Or car.

[00:44:17.640] – Rachel

And that's important.

[00:44:18.720] – Allan

Yeah, in some cases. Some folks. I know this wasn't the case with you, but the people that are in that car with them aren't supporting them. They're taking and they're taking, and so you've got givers and takers. And so there's sometimes there's really bad stuff going on, and that's where these deep dives can be very, very good because you're just like, Why do I keep doing it? And sometimes you're doing it because that's who you are. And sometimes you're doing it just because you've been pulled into that and held into that. And you need to understand that at a deeper level to ever break through that. Because if the resistance is there internally and you don't deal with that, you're going to revert. If the resistance is external and you don't deal with that, you're going to be fighting that battle all the time. So it's really important to get in there and understand yourself and your situation and come to those answers. Because it's not a simple, oh, I just need to stop doing this. It should, but it can't. It won't.

[00:45:17.890] – Rachel

It's not always that obvious too, Allan we may not recognize the people that are sabotaging what we're trying to accomplish. Like you said, if it's not us sabotaging ourselves, we may not recognize those situations. So having this list of questions like Dr. Yeager put together in his book, it might be really beneficial just to sit down and give some of them a little bit of a thought process.

[00:45:41.860] – Allan

Yeah. If you're not where you want to be in the self awareness area, this is a great book to walk you through it. Basically, if you hired him at probably something that's going to be well into the big hundreds of dollars an hour for him to listen to Utah, these are the questions that he would ask. These are the big questions that you'd go into a session and he might spend several sessions really pulling out of. You the real answer to this question. And he does some of that in the book. So if you're someone who's going to wants to do this, I'd say, yeah, go ahead. And get the book. It's on audible.

[00:46:15.570] – Rachel


[00:46:16.140] – Allan

So it's on audible. You can get the hardbound book and it's just a journey that you'll take with yourself. I know you're a big fan of journaling, as am I, and you're like, buy yourself a journal, listen to audiobook, listen to a chapter, and really think through that question. And don't stop until you've gotten to the end of the question and you have an answer. And here's the interesting thing about the human brain is by the time you get to the end of all the questions, if you were to start back at the beginning, you might even have different answers for those questions after you go through this, and in fact, you probably should have different answers for those questions after you've gone through a process like this.

[00:46:56.220] – Rachel

That sounds fascinating. Yeah, I think I need to get my hands on some of these questions.

[00:47:01.540] – Allan

They're in the book.

[00:47:02.800] – Rachel

All right, on it.

[00:47:05.210] – Allan

Alright, so I'll talk to you next week, then.

[00:47:07.110] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[00:47:08.190] – Allan

You Too.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


November 1, 2022

A fun new look at yoga with Emily Sharratt

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Emily Sharratt is an editor, writer, and qualified yoga instructor. She has been teaching for over seven years, as well as having a regular practice for almost 20. Her teaching method encompasses a wide range of yoga styles, from Vinyasa Flow to Yin. And she considers the final relaxation the most important part of class.

On episode 562 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss her new book, Yoga Animals


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:12.940] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:15.090] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:17.130] – Allan

I'm doing good. Crazy busy, but good.

[00:02:21.340] – Rachel

That's good.

[00:02:22.990] – Allan

Yes, we've got our daughter's wedding coming up. In fact, I think this episode I will actually probably be on an airplane to Mississippi where my daughter is getting married. And yes, it's going to be kind of insane the first part of the end of this month and the beginning of the next one because I'm just putting so much into trying to get the Crush the Holidays Challenge thing done. I'm really excited about the structure of it this year. It's a little different than it was last year. All new videos, everything is all new. So I'm like completely almost recreating it from the ground up and it's going to be a lot better than it was last year. So I'm hopeful we get enough people in there. We get a lot of people in there because it's a really good challenge. If you have struggles during the holidays of eating too much, I call it eating season. If you have trouble with eating season. This is a way for you to not lose ground during the holidays by keeping you focused for most of it and then working on Mindset every day, finding something within ourselves that's going to help us get stronger mentally so we can get stronger physically and healthier and all those other things.

[00:03:35.380] – Allan

So you can go to 40plusfitness.com/crush and sign up for the Crush the Holidays Challenge. And then of course the retreat. That's going to probably be almost be planning that probably every day all the way until it goes live in May. But just trying to put some structure to it, understand it so that when it comes time to put it out there and market it that people know what it is and it's not going to be like your. Look, there's a ton of different types of retreats so it's almost everything under the sun. But it's not a boot camp where I'm going to beat you to death with exercise and stuff for five days. There are exercise sessions that are optional, but I encourage people to come. And then we're going to do some movement, we're going to do some things. A lot of that outside, but the other part of it is that we're going to have Mindset discussions and I'm trying to make it as accessible as possible. So I'm going to try to do a broadcast of the first session. So the first session, well, not really the first 1st session, but the sit down session is a Mindset.

[00:04:40.830] – Allan

So we start working through Mindset. And so about an hour and a half, we'll have a live session and I'll have it available online for free. Or you can upgrade to the recordings if you don't happen to be able to listen live each day when it's going to happen, which I think will probably be something like nine to 10:30 or something like that. But a lot of people can't just be online every day or watching zoom every day during those hours. So if you can't, there will be recordings and that will be really cost effective for you to get those. And each day there'll be a thing you're working on with Mindset. I'm going to do a workbook so the whole course thing will have a workbook for you to work through. The people that are here, we're then going to go into it. So there's implementation that happens after the lesson here. If you're at home, you're doing that on your own, but if you're here, we're walking through it.

[00:05:35.950] – Allan

so that's that. And then they'll probably there will be, be a VIP level for the people that are here. The VIPs will get to stay in Lula's, but we only have six rooms. So that's going to be limited to six people in the VIP unless someone is nice enough and two people that know each other or are okay. So we'll just go in and we'll both go VIP together and maybe work out something on that since they're sharing a room, but it's going to be limited to 6 VIPs and they'll get more so they'll have more access to me with some deep dives. They're going to get some awesome additional workout stuff that we'll do each afternoon. They're good to see parts of the island and things we'll do outside that the others won't get to do. And I'm going to throw in a couple of other little cool things to help them with their wellness over the course of that week. But that's starting to line up. I'm going to structure it and get it all organized, but still pretty new. So if you're interested in the retreat, I need to see an interest list.

[00:06:40.750] – Allan

Or at some point I'll just say, okay, I'm doing this for myself and that's not going to be fun to have six empty rooms here in Lula's and nobody here for me to go say, okay, it's time for the morning walk run. It's just not going to be that cool. So I need to see if there's some interest, and if I see that, then I'll go ahead and really get this thing pushing forward. But you can go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat and that will take you to the retreat interest form. You just put your name and your email and that lets me know that, yeah, there's people that are raising their hands saying, I'm definitely interested in the Bocas portion of this, or even if it's just, okay, I may not be able to do the Bocas thing because of travel and passports and all that. You will need a passport, but those things, maybe that's outside the realm of what you want to do or can do. There will be a broadcast of it and recordings if you need those as well. So a lot of moving parts with the wedding. It's also getting into busy, starting to get into busy season here in Bocas with our national holidays.

[00:07:43.320] – Allan

So it's just bang, bang, bang, bang.

[00:07:45.810] – Rachel

Of course. It sounds very busy, but exciting too.

[00:07:49.020] – Allan

Yeah, a lot of new stuff and getting out of some old stuff, which is still very sad, but everything has its chapter to turn the page and move on. So how are things up there?

[00:08:00.690] – Rachel

Great. Mike and I just spent the weekend in Detroit. He and I ran a 1 mile and a 5K race on Saturday and then I ran the half marathon on Sunday and a bunch of our running friends from our run club here did the full marathon on Sunday and it was just a beautiful weekend in Detroit. So we had a great weekend. I'm exhausted from all the running around, but seeing the city was wonderful. It was nice to get away.

[00:08:27.700] – Allan

Good, I'm glad to do that. All right, so are you ready to talk yoga?

[00:08:33.040] – Rachel



[00:08:57.710] – Allan

Emily, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:09:00.370] – Emily

Thank you.

[00:09:02.890] – Allan

I saw the title Yoga Animals and I was like, this is perfect. This takes everything about yoga that would keep someone away from yoga and literally just kind of makes it happen. I've gone to yoga and I can tell you I'm one of the least mobile human beings on earth because I fancied myself as a bodybuilder when I was younger. So my lifting style and the things I did were not functional. They were to build bigger muscles. So I lost a lot of mobility by not being mobile when I had the opportunity to be mobile. Twenty-five years of a sedentary job did its damage as well. And what I like about the idea of these poses being named after animals is when you really think of it that way, instead of some Esoteric name or Indian name or something, it just opens it up. And I'm like, I could see parents or grandparents in their living room doing these poses and their kids just kind of like saying, wow, this is cool, I can do this peacock pose, or I can, there's a ton of different ones out there, but they just all sound fun. And particularly when you say it's an animal, I'm going to do the cat pose or I'm going to do the downward dog or the upward dog.

[00:10:27.060] – Allan

You know, all those poses just sound fun when they're put that way. And so, like, when I did do yoga, it's like I was in a room with a group of people, they were all much more accomplished than I was. The instructor would actually get up and walk over and, like, push down my hips to try to get my legs in the right position. And so it's just kind of one of those things where I knew I needed it, I needed the mobility, but it was just even for me, as someone who was generally fit, it was intimidating.

[00:10:58.600] – Emily

Yeah, I mean, we have tried to move away from that, pushing people down, things like that. It's a little bit old school, but yeah, to say the animal first thing, I think the storytelling element to yoga is a big part of its appeal. I mean, maybe in some cases it's also a bit off, but in a debate, people might prefer the kind of exercise a bit more straightforward. But for me, the storytelling was definitely what kind of enticed me in. And it's why a lot of the movement might overlap with Pilates. But for me, pilates will never quite have the same appeal because it feels a bit more like I'm sitting down or getting on my mat to do the exercises. To do my physical exercises and doesn't have that element of story which I love so much in yoga. Personally speaking. Anyway. But I think it's true of children as well. Children really engage with yoga in a very immediate way. My own children do as well. It's kind of nice to see.

[00:11:56.160] – Allan

Now, one of the things I liked about the book was that you had illustrations in there just to kind of give us an idea of what the pose or the movement looked like, which was really cool. And there were over 30 poses, 32 poses from the wild. Again, it's just something that just draws me into that to enjoy that. But you had those illustrations and I had written down the name of your illustrator, but those are really good and made it a very beautiful book.

[00:12:23.670] – Emily

Yeah, absolutely. Well, actually, there are two illustrations to the book, so there's one who did this stunning, very kind of very realistic, but also very artistic animal drawing to match along with their name, as we say, that's Jade Mosinski. And then the other Jade, the other illustrator, also Jade. Her name is in here somewhere. I hope it's in here somewhere. Jade Wheaton. And she did the kind of step by step illustrations which were really what we were very careful to get right, because obviously they're quite minimalistic in their style. But when you're thinking of people practicing from home without a teacher there supervising and making sure everything done safely, it felt extra important to make sure. So there's quite a lot of me standing back and saying, could you just slightly tweak this? And then sometimes saying, we can't find any photo references online. Could you please do it for them? Whoops. It is in the midst of yeah, in the midst of a lockdown, sort of being at home and getting people to photograph me. Taking this as step by step, it's not so much the finished poses, which you can always find photo references for, but it's the step by step to get into them all.

[00:13:38.100] – Emily

The kind of little bits to match along with my illustrations. That was my instructions. So, yeah, I hope they are useful for people. We certainly took care to get them right.

[00:13:50.200] – Allan

Yeah. And I think that's what's really good about this is you have full descriptions, so even if you didn't have the illustrations, it would work. The illustrations just kind of enhance for those of us that are not visually impaired. It really does enhance our ability to see what that looks like, which allows us to emulate it a little bit better.

[00:14:09.820] – Emily

Yeah, true.

[00:14:11.660] – Allan

So why is yoga a great movement practice?

[00:14:16.910] – Emily

Well, I'm a firm believer that there is a yoga practice for everyone. And I have spoken to a lot of kind of friends and family and people who are a bit skeptical of that notion. They say no, but like you said, almost, I'm really inflexible. You'd be surprised how many people you get saying I couldn't possibly come to your yoga class, so I'm really inflexible and I think that's exactly why you should come to my yoga class. Yes, but then equally you get people who say, oh, they struggle to kind of sit still with you, maybe to get to the meditation side of things. I really believe that you can customize your own yoga practice to suit yourself. And for me, that's kind of fundamentally what yoga is. It's the practice of checking in with your body, with yourself daily and seeing where you are on that given day, in that given moment, and providing yourself with what you need. So for me, my yoga practice is very different from day to day, but maybe some days I just want to sit and do some breath work, a bit of meditation, some very gentle structures kind of achieved for in my body.

[00:15:23.790] – Emily

Some days I might want something more dynamic or something more playful or silly, especially if I've got one on both of my kids kind of crawling over the map. Then it takes on a different tone and I just really believe that. It's a bit like when people say they don't like reading and I say, oh, you found the right book. I kind of feel the same way about yoga that they need to define the practice that suits them and it can look completely different from anybody else's and that's the beauty of it. And I think what makes it really special and maybe different from most other exercise forms I can think of.

[00:15:54.820] – Allan

Yeah. And what I like about it is not only are we building mobility with that we need, but you can also use yoga to build strength. I've been in a yoga class that was all about stamina, kinda weird, but it was yeah, we moved a lot, we held some poses, but we moved quite a bit. So it was an intense little workout, body weight workout. And that's the other thing that's really cool about it is yeah, you'll need a mat probably, and you might want a yoga block, but that's your investment about it. So it's something anybody can afford to do.

[00:16:35.510] – Emily

Yeah, I agree. And that's helpful to have. But as a push, you could practice your yoga with a towel. It's just something to stop you from slipping, especially if you are doing kind of a bit more of a cardiovascular session. It might get a bit sweaty and depending on what's cushion if you're kind of holding for longer. But really it is a very kind of low requirement and something that you can practice on your own. So you don't need gym membership, you don't need personal trainer, you don't need any, generally speaking, would recommend that people do attend some classes, whether it's in person or online, just so they get a bit of a sense of how to practice safety. They have some kind of guidance when they're starting. But yeah, it is incredibly flexible in that way, practicing any corner that you can find a little bit of floor space for yourself.

[00:17:35.740] – Allan

I think one of the reasons that yoga has taken off, I remember 20 years ago, people talk about yoga and it's like, oh, that's that woo woo stuff. It's left the woo woo, and it's now mainstream for sure. And I live on an island, and I could tell you I can't throw a rock and not hit a yoga instructor. But one of the other things that I find very valuable about yoga is that it was really centered on understanding and feeling your body. There's a meditation aspect to it. And you mentioned breath work. I'd like to talk about breath work and what that looks like and why that's important.

[00:18:20.660] – Emily

So, again, in terms of you go back to yoga's roots, breath work is really fundamental. It's one of them. I won't go into all the details of that. I'm not the expert to do so. But there are various kind of limbs of yoga of which physical yoga is only one. So the yoga that we're talking about here really is the practice of having yoga is only one limb of a full yoga practice, and breath work is one. So it's come back there in the fundamentals, but if you just take it in maybe a more kind of media accessible level for those of us who don't have the background in the spiritual scriptures of yoga, it's something that, again, that I think everybody needs. And there's a breath work practice for everyone and for every scenario. And it's something that you don't need to do as part of full yoga practice, especially once you've got into the habit. So I think people often are like, I don't need to be taught to breathe. I've been doing it for blah blah numbers of years. But you'd be surprised how many of us don't breathe. That for what we think of as that yoga breath, that diplomatic breath, right.

[00:19:27.070] – Emily

Kind of down into the lower abdomen, of course. And then when you say that, when you're teaching new students, I say, I do appreciate that your air is not actually going into your belly, but that kind of effects of inflating your belly as you apply the diaphragm and the time it gets fished out, those deep, full breaths. We do them when we are born. We're kind of born being able to do them, but we unlearn them. And I think we can get into especially we have very stressful lifestyles. You get some shallow upper chest breathing and we need to be taught again just for our general health. But it's amazing what it can do for kind of mood regulation. And like I say, it's something that when you've got into the practice of it, first of all, your general breathing is better, but you also have something you can take with you into other aspects of your Life. So. It's something I've used in childbirth. I've used some parenting. Very regular, calming breath. I try to model as well. If I've got a stress of work situation going on, it's that kind of a hard reset, turning yourself off and on again, that you go, okay, let's go back to the basics.

[00:20:47.800] – Emily

And you notice that you feel calmer. You feel more in control. Your heart rate gets slowed. It's a really incredible practice. And there are loads and loads of different yoga breaths which can be used in different ways. Once you've been doing yoga for a while, some of them will start be sort of dropped in quite casually into a yoga instructor sort of parlance. But as I say, it's not even necessarily you don't need to know the names, but how they make you feel is really quite striking. And they're useful tools for all of your life.

[00:21:25.310] – Allan

Yes. And as you mentioned, with kids and stress and things like that, this is actually an off switch to your nervous system going into this fight or flight. So most of us in what's going on today and everything that's going on in our lives spend a lot of our time in this fight or flight mode. And so taking this time to really check in with your body to breathe in deeply, which, again, we have to relearn because we stopped doing it. Stress breathing is chest breathing. And when you sit down and start breathing into the abdomen and you really get those deep breaths, it just slows everything down inside your body. And as a result, you're stressed less. And so it's a huge tool for you to manage your stress. And the cool thing is you can do it anywhere. My boss would call me on the elevator on the elevator up to my boss's office. Because it was almost always bad news. That's corporate life. But it was almost always bad news. So I would just do box breathing in the elevator, just going up to my bosses so that I didn't go in there in a complete fight or flight mode.

[00:22:37.230] – Allan

So I could go in there as calm as I could get. But it was a tool. And so this is a tool that you'll learn as a part of a yoga practice. And you've got that built into the way that you set up these programs, which is quite dynamic. Now, as you look at these poses, the animal yoga animals, you use a mix of vinyasa, flow and yen. Can you talk about what those are? Because I think we get thrown these foreign words.

[00:23:04.050] – Emily


[00:23:04.630] – Allan

And so it just kind of seems like okay. I don't even know what that means. Can you just talk about what those two things are and the value of each?

[00:23:13.170] – Emily

Yes. So, vinyasa I Think It Literally Needs To Be kind Of Put In A Certain way. But Actually The Way I Use It is that It's a flow rather than yin, which is more static and I'll go into more details about yin a minute. But in a yoga session you're quite often hear the instructor say if you'd like to take a Vinyasa and that's the little they mean. That's a sequence in the middle of a sun salutation where you basically flow through top of a plank, down onto your front, up into a cobra or an upper facing dog and then down facing dog. So that's just kind of wrestling through very quickly and people say you like taking a vinyasa now if you want to rest, you can come straight down with facing dog. Really essentially what we're using vinyasa for is a flow of poses strong together and one of the benefits one of the uses for it is that getting the kind of cardiovascular side of things into your yoga practice. Getting the breath going a bit faster. Getting the heart rate going a bit faster. Growing through more quickly. Getting everything moving around the body more quickly.

[00:24:26.220] – Emily

It has a bit of a dance like feel to it as well. So there's just pleasing to the brain in that way and then yin is not part of the traditional yoga system but it's something that is becoming increasingly popular now. I think part of yin is actually what you were just talking about there with the breath work is about a kind of hard reset of an early system. So what you're doing is you're holding a pose for longer. So you might take a gentler variation of the pose to begin with because our tendency from our modern lifestyle is to kind of muscle into the most extreme version of the pose and then hold but that's exactly the opposite skin. That's not what you're supposed to do, you're supposed to be accommodating yourself, maybe using props. We probably use more props in yin than other forms of yoga. So you can have a bolster or a blanket or cushion for like that. You get yourself supported in a pose and they're really only kind of a handful of pose that we really need to routinely in where it's more appropriate. And then you suddenly you hold and you come to your breath and come to look at yin.

[00:25:36.900] – Emily

It might look like nothing very much is happening at all because somebody is surrounded by all these cushions and they're not gonna talk. But actually it can be really challenging because first of all, once you're holding it for longer you start to notice areas of discomfort in the body but also in the mind. That's where your mind starts to get a bit chatty and so it's a really useful practice for flexibility just on a physical level because it's where you can really access those deep muscles and practice the art of properly letting go. It's very good, I would say, on a psychological and emotional level. Again, to kind of give yourself this break and to send this message to your nervous system. There is no urgency. There's no rush. We're resting here. We are not in any danger. We're just going to go deep inside and soften and see where it takes us. And of course, I would always say, and I'm sure any yoga state, if it gets too much, if you're really in a certain way, you're in pain. We don't want pain. But if you're in extreme discomfort, of course you can always come out.

[00:26:43.840] – Emily

This is not being enforced, but it's really interesting to see what comes up, both physically and emotionally. All sorts of things can come up. You might see people have a little cry in a yoga session, yoga session when they emerge from the pose, because it's just released all sorts of things that we hold in these pockets of tension in our body. So that's the kind of difference. And my personal yoga practice and the yoga that I teach tends to include a mixture of both. I might sometimes teach a session that's much more yin based, for whatever reason, or much more kind of restorative yoga, or I might teach them more than one. But equally, sometimes in classes, I incorporate elements of both. Certainly in this book, I incorporate elements of both because I think the mix is really nice and really kind of beneficial for us. And it's what I find the most effective myself.

[00:27:31.990] – Allan

Now, as I went through the book and I was just looking at some of the different poses, I was like, okay, well, that one looks like I could do it. That would take some practice. And I think that's why we call it a yoga practice, because there's some of these I'm like, there's no way. I think that's what's cool about the way you set up the book is now you also give us a structure for how we can put these together, focusing on the ones that we can do and then trying the ones that maybe are right on the edge of our capacity so that we improve. So this is something that can be progressive over time. As you get into your practice and you get better, you can add some of these other more difficult elements. And I think that's great. Can you walk us through the structure? Because you set up a structure, starts with breath work and ends with your final relaxation. So you start in a very nice, wonderful place, and you end in a nice, wonderful place, and there's a lot that happens in between. Can you walk through that?

[00:28:37.540] – Emily

Absolutely. Talking about the structure of the book with the publishes, I said, this is how I plan this is how I literally plan every class that I do. You start with breath work and you end with relaxation. And actually, I would always start with a convincing meditation as well as time allows. So that was part of my training. But for me, this structure is how you kind of say you kind of hit up the key points because it doesn't have a yoga. But for me, you have the option by following through this structure in the book to see what I can do. The most fully rounded yoga session. And you say you don't have to do everything. I think if you do everything, it would take quite a long time. So great if you've got the time to dedicate. But the way I would kind of plan if I forgot half an hour to an hour to myself and I want to do a yoga session, I would always try and start with just some quiet time, just to kind of check in with myself and my body. Some breath work needs to overlap. So again, I find the breath work really helpful way to just get into my body and kind of out of my mind and set the tone for the rest of the session.

[00:29:53.800] – Emily

And then I would do that on the floor. So I would have always come through from my breath work. I've been through cat cow, which is a really nice way of warming up the back. And again, like you've done before with that piece of sedentary lifestyles and sitting at computers on bones. That's probably the first place that we're like. Yes, you need to kind of warm up through the spine and it takes you from facing dog and up to standing. I would always start off my leg sessions quite early on with some sun salutations because they're like a way of warming up the whole body. You might get the breath, you might do some slow, some that's fine as well, but you're warming up all the muscles that prepares you for any other stretching or strengthening you're going to be doing. Maybe get the heart rate up a bit, maybe get the breath a bit faster. And then from some sun salutations, I would move to a standing sequence because it's kind of a natural progression, I suppose. You're still standing and still on your feet, so you move to a standing sequence which might also, depending on the day, it might also go fast or more slowly.

[00:31:00.750] – Emily

It includes some poses that..But the warrior sequence I've got in here to kind of link from Stanley poses and then again, while you're on your feet, you might do a Stanley balance pose. Balance is a kind of famous part of yoga and people get a bit hung up on it, but it is again, this is a way of checking you with where you are at a given day. It's a good way of improving strength and getting the two sides of the brain working together, which is kind of really important for us at all ends of our lives. Then for me, then, when I come down to the floor, so I might start off with a seated twist. We've got half a little bit of fishes in the book. And then got Deer Pose, which is a nice yin, really gentle pile twist option. And then I would move to my forward fold section of the plan. And so there are a couple of really classic portfolios that aren't included because they don't really fit within the animal theme. But you could have like a Paschimottanasana, which is a seated forward fold the legs together is quite famous for a wide legging one.

[00:32:00.630] – Emily

Here we've got butterfly and cow space. So they're good hip openers. They're kind of getting a stretch opening into the back of the body. A folding inwards. For me, forward folds are my personal challenge, I've got really kind of strings safe. So it was a good moment kind of checking in and seeing how I'm feeling about that today. And then you see some hip openers on the ground. So we've got Swan and a lizard, actually and one legged pigeon, frog actually we've got a good few hip openers so it's a good place to come and see them from when you don't forward folds. And then I would move onto my back bends. So they obviously are kind of reverse of the forward folds. You're opening up the front of the body. It's very important that you kind of carefully engage the core, the lower belly to protect the back. So people can be fooling themselves into the back ben because they look really spectacular and might feel really good at the moment, but you have to see the caution. So we've got Seal, we've got locusts actually is a good kind of gentle opener. Camel is a stronger one.

[00:33:13.180] – Emily

And then I move into some inversions and arm balances. So we've got Dolphin, feathered peacock, pro and crane famous ones. Balances blindfold. We've got a good few of these arm balances and inversions. And then I would always do after these, I would always do fish as a nice counterpost. Much chest safe now. And then we start to move to more restorative ones that's kind of cooling it all down. So we've got Rabbit and crocodile and then again, not animals but corpse pose savasana. We would always wind up a class and like I say, it doesn't really matter to me how long or short the session is. I would always make sure I have that kind of cooling down and that calming time, even if you end up for a minute, I think it's really important. So in the book I kind of talk you through a guided relaxation where you're relaxing to pass the body in turn. There are various different kind of formats you can take. But the kind of key thing is lying in illness, pulling your body down, kind of coming back to that breath. That's kind of how I would structure a class.

[00:34:30.790] – Emily

And that's how you can work with the book as well that you can kind of work through and you can shoot maybe one forward fold rather than all of them. One back bend, one hip hop and one inversion and or arm balance. Or as I say, if you love those, you can try them all. The kind of option there to do a nice router session, several. And you can go back up and do something different each time.

[00:34:54.450] – Allan

Yeah. I think it's pretty easy to see that this is going to run you through a full body thing. You're going to be connected to your body as you do these things. And we're really talking about building strength, building stamina, mobility, pretty much all of it at this point. And then again, just bringing yourself down at the end for that final relaxation. Now, I know from the book that your favorite pose is the one legged king pigeon.

[00:35:26.890] – Emily


[00:35:27.700] – Allan

Okay. Which I would aspire to, but that's a long ways off. I'll just say I can't do it. I'm just saying I can't do it right now.

[00:35:38.490] – Emily

It's a work in progress. Yeah.

[00:35:40.840] – Allan

Now let's talk about we talked about mobility, strength and all, but for a lot of us that are sedentary, I mean, office jobs, we're sitting at our desk now. We've got our smartphones. And so we're down there and it's becoming somewhat what a big problem where people's shoulders are starting to round down, their necks are craning forward, and we're just losing posture that we would have had before if we were doing the things our ancestors did of moving around, foraging, hunting, all the things we would do. We don't do those anymore. Now we're keyboard warriors and we're phone warriors. And so that's what we're doing and it's messing with our posture. If we wanted to put together a few of these poses that we could do on a fairly regular basis to kind of offset some of that posture problem, what are some exercises that we could do and what do they look like?

[00:36:36.340] – Emily

So I'll just say, as a general rule, that whenever you're doing yoga, if you have an instructor there, you'll hear repeatedly drop the shoulders down back, drop the shoulders away from the ears. Because as you say, it's just so common place that the shoulders creeping up and back is rounding. But if you wanted to just practice, if you want to take a couple of minutes and just practice a few of these, I would definitely start on all fours as possible with cat cow. The instructions are all there in the book, but it's really coming from that position of all fours. And you move the spine through its range. It's kind of range of spinal flexion and you get really nice delivery rounding into the shoulders in tap. But then you also get the counter movement in cow and just. You know. As I said before, as soon as you do it, I think 90% of us are going to think. Oh. Yeah. You really noticing where the discomfort is back bend is really good for countering that rounding. But as I mentioned before, it's important to make sure you're engaging the core that you're connecting with

[00:37:36.450] – Emily

Your kind of core muscles, your muscles, you're protecting the back. You're not just really it feels like an itch or to scratch and you might fling yourself into it because it feels initially very good, but you don't want to cause any injuries, especially if it's not a fitted or movement. So when working with any of the backbends, and like I said, Lotus is actually a really nice, gentle one, you can do lotus in a more extreme way, but when you're just used to follow the instructions to do it in the book, it can be really gentle. It's a way of working all the muscles in the back in a gentle way, but it's really good for strengthening. So I think strengthening your back as well as opening countering, the rounding is important, but you want to make sure the back is strong. We want to kind of keep the muscles strong, especially as we get older. So you have to say cat cow and Lotus, seal or maybe in the book you go from Sphinx to seal. Sphinx is a gentle version as well. So it's where you come onto your front and you have your elbows under your shoulders and forearms parallel and then sprawling through the collarbones.

[00:38:46.150] – Emily

Drop the shoulders away from the ears and that can be a really nice gentle one just to kind of hang out in. And then finally I'd say maybe crocodile, which is an alternative way to take your final relaxation, but it's prone rather than on your back, so that can be quite a nice one as well. Opening into the back body in a really gentle way. But even if you're just sitting at your desk and you do a few shoulder rotations each way, shoulder, shoulders, up and down. And I know it's really hard, but keep working on kind of lengthening, lifting up from the crown, sending the tailbone down, just to try to make it that you don't have to think about it, but to begin with, you will have to think about it a lot. I think it's really important because it can, of course, later in life, if we're not kind of really thinking about that posture all the time.

[00:39:34.570] – Allan

Yeah, I think it's pretty easy to see that all these names, they sound fun. Crocodile, dog, cow or cat. These are all fun. And so if you're doing this, and you start doing this as a practice and you've got kids or grandkids around, they're going to come play with you too. And I think that just makes us a really special thing that you can share with them. Because one, it's getting you healthier, it's teaching them and they're seeing a great example of someone who's trying to improve themselves and you're just building a better relationship with the people around you that are enjoying this with you. And again, the book does a really good job of explaining how all these movements and poses work so you can just start working your way through it getting better and better because again, it is a practice. There's probably I'm sure there are lots of people that are in yoga that can do all the poses in there and not have a problem with them. I'll tell you, right, I'm not one of those people. But it does give me something to aspire to as I know that, okay, I have a mobility issue and this is a pose that's going to help me deal with that.

[00:40:45.370] – Allan

Or I have a posture issue and these are some poses that have been put together that I can go through and do in a reasonable amount of time. I mean, the posture poses you talked about, literally, you do a warm up and you sit down. I would encourage breath work and then you get into some of these and really do a lot for your posture and probably less than 15 minutes, including your warm up. So really easy and accessible. And the book makes it clear what you're trying to do and where you're trying to go. So I really appreciate that.

[00:41:19.460] – 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?

[00:41:29.740] – Emily

I would say it's finding a form of movement that gives you pleasure. So whether that's the over, whether it's completely different. For me, I was somebody who never enjoyed PE or gym class or whatever at school and I wish that yoga or something had been an option. I wish there had been more options, basically because it was very much about kind of committed to sport, which is not my personal thing. And it really put me off exercise for a long time. So finding something that gives me pleasure, it's not a chore, I might still have to kind of remind myself to do it, but it's something that I always feel kind of better for and I know through perhaps I always feel better for doing. I would say personally, for me, it's important that it fits within your life. So, I mean, by all means, like I say, it gives you pleasure to kind of go really out of your way and go to a friend who's really into figure skating and she goes very far across London in order to do her figure skating because there aren't that many race, but that's fine. But for me, I do a lot of walking because it fits in.

[00:42:35.250] – Emily

I build it into my life and it means it never gets neglected because it's literally how I get from A to B 9, 10. I walk most of my day. I go to work, I drop my kids to nursery. I walk to the train station. I walk everywhere. I also personally, for my kind of well being, a connection to nature. So that's also a big part of this book and how I kind of access what I wanted to talk about in this book was how I think we can feel in our modern lives very cut off from the natural world. But I do account for a lot of popularity of yoga with being that it is about reconnecting to nature in nature's most immediate representative, which is yourself. So you are not set of nature, you are part of nature. And it's reminding yourself of that and reasserting that. And so maybe it's not a yoga practice for everybody, but maybe it's just stepping outside, taking some deep breaths, going to the park. For me, that's a really important part of it. And do yoga outside. So much better. So, yeah, I'd say those are my three personal strategies.

[00:43:49.780] – Allan

Thank you. Emily, if someone wanted to learn more about you, the things you're doing and your book Yoga Animals, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:43:58.170] – Emily

The best place for that is my Instagram account, which is at EmilyTreeYoga. You can also find out more about the book from the publishers. But yeah, so the Instagram account is a good place to go. And there is a YouTube session online that I did go with the book. So I will apply that link.

[00:44:21.240] – Allan

Okay. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/562. And I'll be sure to have links to the book, to Emily's Instagram and to that YouTube video. Emily, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:44:36.280] – Emily

Thank you. Lovely talking to you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:44:44.140] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:44:45.750] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a neat book. I really would love to get my hands on a copy to see the different animal named poses and what they look like. I personally enjoy yoga, and I have my athletes do yoga on occasion. I wish I did it more often. I need to make it a more regular practice, but I love it. That book sounds wonderful.

[00:45:06.550] – Allan

Yeah, well, I'll name a few more about the cat cow and things like that. Some of these, you'll know, like, you'll know, downward facing dog and upward facing dog. And then there's things like the bee breath and the lion, the camel, the dolphin.

[00:45:23.790] – Rachel


[00:45:24.610] – Allan

The peacock, the rooster, the fish, the rabbit, the frog.

[00:45:29.070] – Rachel

Don't know any of those.

[00:45:30.450] – Allan

Butterfly, I would say. I didn't know half of these either. They resembled other stretches and things that you see out there. I think a lot of us what was weird to me is she didn't do one that I use a lot. And it's the bird dog. Yeah, I use that for core training. Whenever I'm training someone, I like to have that as one of the exercises in the core training because it does so much. I was surprised she didn't have that one in there. But anyway, yeah. And then besides having the exercises in there explaining why you're doing what you're doing. And then how to do it. And having some images of you in that position or moving through that flow. It's just pretty clear and there's a structure to it. Which is what I actually found very exciting about this. Was because you go to a class and then they're just going to say. Okay. Next we're going to do this. And if you don't have a background in yoga, because she's done yoga for over 20 years.

[00:46:30.100] – Rachel


[00:46:30.730] – Allan

And then she's been teaching for seven. So for her, it's second nature to put a workout together and put a yoga workout together, similar to I can sit down and put together a workout, you can tell me what's going on with you and any injuries, and then I can help you put together a workout. That's the skill set that you develop. But she gives you the structure that she uses for you to basically use to start. And so you can say, okay, I need some breath work. I'm going to do something. Sun salutation seems to be something that's non-negotiable in her workouts that's going to be in there. So you kind of go through that process and then it's standing and the different movements and flows and then into the relaxation at the end. But it gives you that structure saying, okay, I can pick and choose. So it's not like a buffet where you just load your plate with everything. You pick a protein, you pick a vegetable, a couple of vegetables, and then pick a starch and then maybe pick a dessert, which we'll just call the relaxation at the end. But you kind of get the idea that makes it very easy for you to go through.

[00:47:35.830] – Allan

And it's a gorgeous book, by the way. I was fortunate enough to be able to get a hard copy while I was traveling through the United States and were able to have it here. So it's something I'm definitely going to incorporate in my mobility work. So in addition to some of the other things that I do, some of these poses are going to be really good for areas where I'm not as mobile as I need to be. And so I'll probably go through that book and I may not follow her structure, but I will definitely incorporate some of those exercises and movements into the mobility work that I am doing already.

[00:48:14.010] – Rachel

That sounds wonderful.

[00:48:15.280] – Rachel

Yeah. I prescribe different yoga videos for my athletes because as runners, we just get so tightened up, especially those of us that don't stretch regular basis as we should. But doing a yoga video, it's very relaxing. And like you discussed, it really does help you to practice your breathing and get deeper breaths in because like you mentioned too, we tend to breathe in a really shallow, inefficient way, especially the more stressed and anxious we get. And taking those deep breaths like you had mentioned is just so relaxing. It just resets the whole system, and that is super helpful for relaxing your muscles after a workout or a run. Like what I do with my athletes.

[00:49:00.510] – Allan

Perfect. All right.

[00:49:02.550] – Rachel

Anything else you want to talk about?

[00:49:03.940] – Rachel

No. Great book. I'd love to get my hands on one.

[00:49:07.110] – Allan

All right. So again, if you're interested in learning more about the retreat and being on the interest list, go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat. And we're doing the Crush the Holidays. It's going to start November 20, so sign up, shuts off November 19. So don't miss your chance to get out there and do that. There's all kinds of prizes and things that happen along the way to include referral, prizes and those types of things. So get in early, get active in the group, get active in what we're doing, and Crush the Holidays.

[00:49:37.680] – Rachel

Sounds great.

[00:49:38.800] – Allan

I'll see you next time.

[00:49:40.180] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:49:40.870] – Allan

You too.


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