March 28, 2022

How to fix your sleep with Diane Macado

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Many of us struggle with sleep and the basic “tried and true” advice doesn't solve the problem. In her book, The Sleep Fix, Diane Macedo helps us get to the root cause and then gives us the tools to solve the problem and sleep better.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:10.690] – Allan

Hello, Ras. How are you?

[00:01:12.830] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:14.820] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Things are starting to get there. We got the mirrors in. That was the thing I was really concerned about. The glass guy was sick. And so as a result, that wasn't happening. And so I had one of my Panamanian folks that kind of intervene and start asking people because she knows everybody. She lived on this island her whole life, I guess, for long enough. So she knows guys that work for him. And I think through her channels, she was able to get some idea of what was going on. So they scheduled that for Saturday and it's Panama. So they say they're going to be there at noon or 01:00. First they said, we're going to be there afternoon, like, okay. So I asked her if they have anything closer, like a gap or something, like, they're going to be there. And she said, yeah, they'll be there at one. I'm like, okay, Panama. So I know walking over there around 01:00, I'll get there. They'll get there whenever. And so about 1:30, I message and say, hey, is everything cool? And then a guy rides over on his bicycle and says, yeah, we're on our way.

[00:02:24.510] – Allan

We got to get the car transportation, like, okay. And then he leaves. And then about 20 minutes later because he said about ten minutes. Yeah, of course, ten minutes. Everything is about 20 minutes later, another guy shows up in the truck and he says to me, is it someone else here? Someone else here? And I'm like, yeah, he's on his bicycle. And he left and said ten minutes. And he was like, oh, they needed transportation. He's like, oh. And so then goes over there. Then three people show up with a truck with the rack that they needed. So there was some coordination snappiers, I guess, on their side. So they all showed up. The mirrors were down in ten minutes.

[00:03:03.570] – Rachel

Oh, wow.

[00:03:05.670] – Allan

Come no time at all to take them down. And then we got over to the other gym. It took him a little longer to put it back up. So something that shortly afternoon they were supposed to be there, 01:00 ended up being they shut up about 2: 30, ended up finishing around five. And then I put all the weights back. So it's one of those remove all the weights, move the rest, move everything out of the way, let them do what they got to do, then put all the weights back. And so my workout for Saturday was moving every single weight in the gym and then moving it.

[00:03:39.730] – Rachel

That's a workout, that's for sure.

[00:03:41.920] – Allan

If you want a good workout, just come join me at the gym on a cleaning day or.. It's a good one.

[00:03:48.280] – Rachel

That's awesome. Well, good. Nice to see that progress.

[00:03:51.370] – Allan

Yeah, we're getting close. We're getting really close. And a few other things can stop happening and other things could start happening. We'll be right there. So it's close enough now people are in they're working out. Now I can kind of pace myself and do a little bit here and a little bit there. There's no immediacy to anything I need to get done. So that feels a lot better. Kind of being past that.

[00:04:15.250] – Rachel

Good. That's good news. Good to hear.

[00:04:17.610] – Allan

How is the spring? Spring springing up there?

[00:04:21.310] – Rachel

I think so hopefully this will be the real spring and not the full spring that we just had. But over the weekend we had 20 degrees more snow and looks like it's all melted already. We should be seeing some 40, 50 deg, maybe even a 60 deg day this week. That's very exciting. So hopefully this will be the one that sticks. Actually, fingers crossed.

[00:04:45.370] – Allan

Why do people do that to themselves?

[00:04:47.770] – Rachel

I don't know. I've been wondering that all winter. And, you know, I am a Michigander born and raised here, although I had a lovely few years of living in Florida. But now only now that I've been back to Michigan, do I understand the whole Snowbird scenario. I think those people know what's going on and now I'm in on it.

[00:05:07.480] – Allan

Yeah. If you could do it, find yourself some place down south. The further south you go, the better for me, the better. I'm not a Snowbird. I'm just a bird.

[00:05:21.470] – Rachel


[00:05:22.060] – Allan

It's going to stay down here.

[00:05:25.490] – Allan

For sure. You got beautiful summer weather all year long.

[00:05:28.810] – Allan

Yeah, it's kind of interesting. It's really warm the last couple of days. It's just been yesterday was a little overcast, which was good because I did a little over 14 miles yesterday night. So just kind of getting my miles up to a point where I can be very comfortable that the stamina is there for what I need to do in August. And so I've hit my numbers. I'm right where I want to be. And then yeah, now it's starting on the really building grip strength and doing some other specialized things like that and some mobility. I really started this last week, started focusing on just adding some mobility work to what I'm doing.

[00:06:12.320] – Rachel


[00:06:13.270] – Allan

Nothing fancy. Just kind of the stuff I do with my clients. It's like, okay, if something's uncomfortable, ask yourself if it should be uncomfortable. And if it shouldn't be uncomfortable, then you need to do more of that.

[00:06:25.770] – Rachel

Sure. That's awesome.

[00:06:28.650] – Allan

That's me with the diagnostic of okay, if that hurts or feels uncomfortable, I should be probably doing more of that if it's not hurting me, injuring me. So that's been my way. And you're getting close to your peak.

[00:06:44.590] – Rachel

Yup, Yup. By the time this podcast airs, I should be very close to race day. So right now, I have just finished my biggest peak week, my busy week, and now I'm in taper mode. So we've taken the miles down a little bit, but not the intensity. A little bit of speed drills I think are in my forecast, but yeah, just winding it down to race day.

[00:07:07.550] – Allan

All right.

[00:07:08.120] – Rachel


[00:07:08.800] – Allan

Well, we've been talking about moving and sleeping and moving and doing this other stuff, but one of the areas that a lot of us struggle with. And so I always want to talk about this because I do think this is a missing element for a lot of people in that sleep. Are you ready to have a conversation about sleep?

[00:07:29.160] – Rachel

Sure. Sounds great.


[00:08:01.440] – Allan

Diane, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:04.150] – Diane

Hi. Thanks for having me.

[00:08:06.470] – Allan

Your book is one of my favorite topics. I love sleep and I'm one of the fortunate people that I actually don't struggle a whole lot with sleep. But obviously, over the course of my life, I have done some things that in periods of time when I didn't sleep so well, I'm going to say I can appreciate it, but I really can't go that far because I know that sleep is so important and the people that struggle with it, you got to fix it.

[00:08:39.880] – Allan

And your book is called The Sleep Fix. Practical, Proven and Surprising Solutions for Insomnia, Snoring, Shift Work and more. I love the word practical. Yeah. So in the book, you really got deep into why this is such an important topic to you because you were doing shift work and because you already had some sleep issues. Do you mind taking just a moment to kind of talk about your story and why sleep became such an important thing for you to I'm not going to say conquer, but to address as you went forward in your career.

[00:09:19.170] – Diane

Yeah. And it's funny because when I was younger, I was not someone who really prioritized sleep very much, and that's sort of putting it mildly. So two old friends of mine who hear that, of all people, I wrote a book about sleep it's kind of hilarious to them, but I didn't really have sleep issues until my work hours changed dramatically, until I started working in early morning news. And because I now know that because I'm a biological night owl, that created a series of problems for me which triggered a circadian rhythm disorder and then ended up turning into insomnia, all because I knew nothing about how to actually deal with these issues, and all of that could have been prevented, which I know now. But of course I didn't know then. And so the kind of quick backstory is that for years I had difficulty sleeping, I had trouble falling asleep, I had trouble staying asleep, and for a while I just sort of dismissed it as well. That's just how I am and that's just how I'm built. And because I historically have been someone who didn't need as much sleep as my contemporaries, I just sort of thought that that was just an extension of how I am.

[00:10:35.890] – Diane

And now this is the reality now. I had trouble sleeping at night too, even when I wanted to. And eventually the problem got so bad that I couldn't ignore it anymore. So I started reading a lot about sleep and articles and things like that and trying every sleep tip I could find. But instead of getting better, I actually was getting worse. And the more I read, the more I read about how doomed I was that I wasn't getting the quote unquote recommended 8 hours, and that just made me more worried, which made me sleep less. And so eventually I went to my doctor and she prescribed Ambien, like so many doctors do, and convinced me to take it despite my hesitations. And for a while, ambien and was like magic to me. I would take this tiny little pill and in half an hour I was out, no matter what was happening. At one point my husband was throwing a Super Bowl party in the next room and I was still able to go to bed at six or 07:00 p.m., whatever it was. And so that for a while worked for me to just take ambien every now and then when I, you know, when I had a string of bad nights.

[00:11:42.010] – Diane

But eventually it wasn't just the occasional string of bad nights. I was relying on Ambien to sleep, particularly when I then switched and started a true overnight shift, which was when I came to ABC and I was working 11:00 p.m. Doing anchoring the overnight show World News Now. And then at the end of my day, I was doing Good Morning America and then I was coming home around nine or 10:00. Of course, now all jazzed up from having done Good Morning America. And now I'm trying to sleep, and it was just a recipe for disaster. So I became more and more reliant on that ambien to get the occasional respite from the horrible insomnia that I was suffering at this point. And with this came, I had terrible acid reflux. I had dry eyes. My mind felt really foggy. It was really hard for me to focus. I felt exhausted, like, drained all the time. But I also felt hyper, agitated, like, my heart was racing. Like, when you ever have too much coffee and then you just feel a bit on edge all day. I felt like that all the time. And I didn't necessarily tie all of that to my sleep, but I now know that it was.

[00:12:49.270] – Diane

And so I just felt terrible, and I wanted to limit the ambien twice a week. And so every, you know, two times a week, I would still look forward to those ambien days so I could get a bit more sleep and I could feel a little bit better. And then one day, I took the ambien, and nothing happened. I stayed awake. And so I waited two weeks because I wanted to make sure it was out of my system. And I tried again and again. Nothing happened. I laid in bed wide awake. And so when I called my doctor, her advice to me was to take more ambien. And I kind of decided right then and there that was not going to be the way forward for me, and I needed to fix this for real. So I got screened for sleep apnea. And once we ruled that out, essentially, I turned into a sleep nerd. And instead of reading the books about sleep that were on the best seller list or there were articles written in popular magazines, I dug a little deeper, and I started reading sleep textbooks and books that were written by sleep clinicians who actually treat patients.

[00:13:50.170] – Diane

And it was there that I found my answers. And I started implementing these things, sometimes with a practical twist, to adjust to my lifestyle. And I was shocked. Within three weeks, I was getting a full night's sleep in the middle of the day. And this was something one of the many things that I told that I was told was impossible. I was essentially told that if I was going to sleep again, I was going to have to give up my favorite foods, give up caffeine, give up alcohol, give up a bunch of other things, make these huge adjustments to my life. Oh, and by the way, quit my job and find a new career, because things like vanishing your phone from the bedroom can't happen when you work in news. And things like sleeping in accordance with your circadian rhythm certainly can't happen if you're an overnight news anchor. And I didn't want to leave my job. So this is a huge moment for me because not only did it mean, wait, there are other ways to do this, and it is possible to do this without upending your life. But I just kind of thought, and why isn't this the stuff that everybody is talking about?

[00:14:51.470] – Diane

Because it was so quick, it was so practical, and it was so different from everything else that I had been reading up until that point. And so I just decided eventually to write the book that I wish had existed when I was struggling. And I was shocked when I went out to the sleep medicine community who I thought were going to send me away and tell me, who do you think you are writing about this stuff? You're not a doctor. It's quite the opposite. They were so enthusiastic to have someone essentially serve as a megaphone for the messages that they have been trying to get out there for years, but somehow can't get it into the spotlight. And the nice thing about the relationship that I've developed with so many in the sleep medicine community now is they have such great information, but sometimes it's imparted in a way that's really confusing to someone who isn't a sleep expert because they are relaying this information to other sleep doctors. And so in a way, I was able to translate a lot of the stuff that they taught me into kind of plain English so everybody out there can understand and translate some of the science that they found into.

[00:15:59.740] – Diane

Okay, well, so how do we implement that for someone who has a busy life, who has kids, who works strange hours, how do we tweak some of these scientific solutions to be practical things that we can do at home? And that's how the book came together. It really was kind of an it takes a village sort of thing where I worked very, very close with many sleep experts who made this book possible. But I think the result is a really practical how to guide that helps people really get to the root of what's keeping them awake so they can find the right solutions for them.

[00:16:31.530] – Allan

I think you just hit on maybe one of the core things that was like the AHA moment for me was when someone says they struggle sleeping, you think, okay, well, yeah, you live in New York City. There's ambulances and police cars and people walking through this and doing that, and all these things are happening. The lights are on New York because it's 24/7 town. And so you say, well, yeah, of course, or of course, if you're working day shift, it's going to be hard to sleep. But in the book, you came back and said, well, no, there are many root causes for why someone would struggle to sleep or get good quality sleep, whether it's 9 hours or 6 hours or whatever they need. And you have to get to that root cause or root causes because you had multiple root causes for what was causing your issues with sleep insomnia and circadian. And you said you got tested for sleep apnea and some other things that go on. Can you kind of go through a few of the diagnoses that you would get if you actually went to a sleep doctor instead of buying a book that says, just make your room cold, get dark, and drink some tea. If you really want to get to the basis of what's going on, what are some of the diagnoses that they're going to see if they're talking to a sleep doctor?

[00:17:47.930] – Diane

Yeah. And I love that you're saying sleep doctor, because that was kind of why I started the book where I did identifying the problem, because many of us, like me, will go to our doctors, will complain about something unrelated to sleep that they won't realize is connected to our sleep. So they won't even ask about our sleep or we will complain about our sleep. But our doctors will very frequently assume, oh, okay, well, then you haven't told me, and I'll just write you a sleeping pill. But there are several problems with that. One, and this is not at all to detract from our doctors because I love my doctor still do. But she made this very common mistake that so many doctors do because they're generally not trained in sleep. The average four year Med school latest survey shows, spends an average of 2 hours in total, all four years covering sleep. And most of that anecdotally has told me that most of that is on sleep apnea, very different from, for example, insomnia or restless syndrome or the many other things you can have. So what often happens is we go to our doctors, we complain that maybe we're not sleeping or if they ask us to finally do and they prescribe us a sleeping pill.

[00:18:55.310] – Diane

But someone who, for example, wakes up a lot throughout the course of the night, they may have insomnia. They might also have sleep apnea, which is a breathing issue. It means you stop breathing throughout the course of your night and you just don't realize that it's the breathing issue that's causing you to wake up. And if you give someone like that a sleeping pill, it's just going to make the breathing issue worse. And sleep apnea is incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons. Your oxygen levels actually drop. It causes heart issues, risk of stroke, circulatory issues, blood pressure, I mean, you name it, it can literally kill you, not to mention the repercussions if you get behind the wheel of a car. People with sleep apnea can sometimes just fall asleep immediately because they don't realize how sleep-deprived they are. So the consequences of not being aware of these things can sometimes be quite dangerous. So I wanted to start the book by giving people just a basic knowledge of here are some of the common sleep disorders, some confusing aspects of them, and some red flags to look out for. And so I already mentioned two, insomnia is the most common, and that is essentially when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for no other explicable reason.

[00:20:10.490] – Diane

And it's often due to an underlying level of arousal, often triggered by things like excitement or anxiety, stress. All of those things kind of jazz us up. They power up our wake drive, make it hard for us to sleep. So that's when you go to bed, you try to sleep. It's the appropriate time to sleep. But somehow you're wide awake, staring at the ceiling, and you have no idea why, that is insomnia. Now, a circadian rhythm disorder, which I also had, can seem to manifest the same way. Where you go to bed, you try to sleep and you can't. But a good distinguishing factor, a way to distinguish between the two is if you go to bed on the weekends when you can sleep late or go to bed late, and you sleep fine on the weekends when you can do it on your time, then that's a good indication that is probably your circadian rhythm. That is the issue, not textbook insomnia, as I like to call it. And that requires a different set of solutions, because your circadian rhythm just means that your body clock wants you to fall asleep and wake up at different times than your sleep schedule is demanding that you do.

[00:21:13.030] – Diane

And so there are lots of tricks you can do to cut to make that adjustment. It's as if you're jet lagged every day if you have a circadian rhythm disorder. And there are lots of practical things you can do to work with that. But they are a completely different set of solutions than if you have insomnia and you can, like me, have both. You can have sleep apnea, which manifests in a very different way where you go to sleep. Most people with sleep apnea don't even know they have because they go to bed. They think they fall asleep fine. The next thing they know, they wake up in the morning and they say, oh, I got however many hours I need, I'm good to go. They don't realize that throughout the night they are stopping breathing. Essentially, often this happens because the throat muscles relax or your tongue muscle relax and the tongue falls back into the throat. Any number of things can cause it, but it closes the airway while you are sleeping and causes you to stop breathing for up to 10 seconds or for at least 10 seconds. And then eventually you'll often hear this in snorers.

[00:22:14.190] – Diane

They'll be snoring, and suddenly they'll kind of gag and choke, start breathing again, and eventually start snoring again. That is an apnea. And while it may seem like that person is staying asleep, that person will think they are staying asleep as well. All of those episodes are actually waking them up, so you're constantly being woken up throughout the course of the night just for such a short period of time, you often don't remember it. At the end of that night, you actually didn't get a solid night's sleep. And if that happens over and over and over again, you can end up severely sleep deprived. And that's on top of the other ramifications of the low oxygen levels that you're getting all night long because of those breathing pauses, which, as I mentioned, can cause all sorts of other health issues. And again, you can have both insomnia and sleep apnea. And that's often how you'll see people who think they have insomnia only insomnia because they're waking up a lot throughout the night. The issue is they have both. They have sleep apnea, which is causing these breathing episodes. And then because they have insomnia, once they have those short wake ups from the apnea, they fully wake up because their arousal levels cause them to go into a full wake up, as opposed to a regular sleep apnea patient who will not remember that brief wake up and go right back to sleep.

[00:23:28.440] – Diane

Restless leg syndrome is another big one, something I suspect that I have, though I never have gotten a formal diagnosis because lucky for me, it does not interfere with my sleep, but it is generally genetic. So often a parent will have it as well. In this case, my mother, it does interfere with her sleep. And the interesting part about RLS in our family and sort of illustrates why I describe it in the book is because my mother, when she read the first draft of my book, that was how she found out she had RLS, she actually called me and said, this thing that you're writing about, about the comfort sensation in your legs, I think I have that. And I asked her and I said, mom, have you ever talked to your doctor about it? And she said, yeah, that she went to her doctor and explained that often at night she will feel a discomfort in her legs that makes her feel like she has to keep moving them. It's like she can't settle down. And sometimes she also feels extreme heat sensation in her legs. And her doctor's response was to send her to get her leg scanned for blood clots.

[00:24:32.220] – Diane

And when they found no blood clots, they sent her home with a diagnosis of your legs are fine. But of course, restless leg syndrome is not going to show up in a blood clot skin. And so my mother has been living for years with restless leg syndrome, even though she did go to her doctor and did all the right things because of a lack of understanding of something like this. Whereas if that doctor did have even a basic knowledge of restless leg syndrome, she would have connected my mother's sleep issues and her complaints about her legs and thought, oh, this sounds like textbook case of restless leg syndrome, let me refer her to a sleep specialist or let me refer her to a neurologist. And so restless leg syndrome kind of feels like it's hard to describe, but it's almost like a mild ice cream headache in your legs or some other limb is the best way that I can describe it. And so it creates this uncomfortable sensation. And it doesn't just happen when you're lying in bed, but it will often get worse as the night goes on. And once you are lying down and then you just have this hard to describe sensation that you have to keep moving your legs in order to make them comfortable.

[00:25:36.240] – Diane

For some people like me, it doesn't interfere with your sleep. You then fall asleep fine, and nothing happens. But for other people, that whole song and dance and moving your legs around that night before you go to bed can actually keep you awake. And restless leg syndrome also has a cousin called periodic limb movement disorder, which is very similar. But those movements happen while you are sleeping. So people with PLMD often have no idea that they have it until a bed partner will tell them, hey, you kick in your sleep or you're punching or you're doing this or you're doing that. That is often how people will find out they have PLMB. And then there are parasomnia, which is things like sleepwalking, sleep talking, chewing in your sleep. This is when there's some issues going on during our REM stage of sleep, when we're dreaming, our bodies normally paralyzed. So parasomnia has often happened because that mechanism that paralyzes us is kind of malfunctioning for whatever reason. And so we're actually getting up, walking around, moving around in our sleep, sometimes acting out our dreams. And finally Narcolepsy, which people might think, well, I thought you were saying common sleep disorders, but Narcolepsy is much more common than people think.

[00:26:44.300] – Diane

And there are tons of people walking around right now with Narcolepsy who have no idea that they have it, because I think we've been programmed to believe that Narcolepsy is like what we see in the movies, where it must be someone falling asleep in their soup or something like that. But Narcolepsy can often manifest in someone dozing off in a waiting room or dozing off while they're watching TV. And we might think of those things as pretty normal. But if they're happening at times when you would normally expect to feel awake, if in the middle of the day you go to turn on TV or you go to sit in a waiting room and you're dozing off, something is wrong. And it could be that you maybe have sleep apnea and something is interfering with your sleep, you could have Narcolepsy, which can cause you to feel suddenly sleepy at different points of the day. You could have something called hypersomnia, which also manifests in a very similar way to Narcolepsy. You could have PLMD point being something is wrong. And so that is just one of the many reasons why you go and you should get tested when those things are the case.

[00:27:44.650] – Diane

And narcolepsy can be kind of especially sad because it's often something that starts in the teenage years. And so you'll have teens who, I interviewed Ginger Zee, for example, in my book, who is our chief meteorologist. And she was an overachiever. She was always about getting good grades. It was one of the really important things to her. And suddenly she was falling asleep in class in high school and started to think of herself as being lazy because of that. And we will often misbrand ourselves when we have sleep issues. And it will affect how we view our own identities, our self esteem, and how other people view us because they don't realize we're not lazy. We just have a sleep issue.

[00:28:23.230] – Sponsor

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[00:30:24.570] – Allan

and that's going to actually feed the next problem, which is the arousal state that you talked about. So within our bodies, we have a sleep drive, and I think most of us will feel it. We get up in the morning, and if we've slept well, we feel fresh, we get up, we go and we have our day. And we know that there are certain hormones that are happening that kind of spark us up in the morning and we're going. So we got a little shot of cortisol and maybe a couple of shots of coffee, and then we get going and we have this. Wait is we're awake. Our days are if someone said go back to sleep at 10:00 in the morning, many of us would maybe struggle to do that, maybe because of our circadian rhythm around 02:00, it's easier to take that nap. But we notice as we get closer to our bedtime, most of us will feel more and more drowsy because we have this sleep drive that we're building up again.

[00:31:18.530] – Allan

It's based on a hormone, I think you said, was it adrenisine adenosine or was the hormone that affects sleep drive? And so we have this, you call it like a seesaw teeter totter that basically, they're working against each other to help you sleep better. Can you kind of talk about how those two interact and why, even though I'm exhausted and need sleep, I find myself sitting lying in my bed, looking up at the ceiling, unable to fall asleep.

[00:31:48.510] – Diane

Yeah. So there are two systems that drive us to wake up and fall asleep. One is your circadian rhythm, which is essentially your body clock. It's just no matter whether you slept or not, your body is programmed to get certain weight signals, hormones at a certain time of day and certain sleep signals at a certain time of day. So in the morning, you'll get cortisol, which is like the slow release form of adrenaline, and a few other things. And at night, you'll get melatonin, which tells the body that it's nighttime and kind of starts the process for sleep. And what times you get those things is what determines whether you're a morning person or whether you're a night owl. And this is what makes us jet lag when we travel, because our body clock is still on old time, where now we're trying to sleep on new time, and now you're getting those signals at all the wrong times. Same thing that happens for shift work or anyone else with a circadian rhythm disorder. The other thing that's happening is you have your homeostatic sleep drive. And this is where I talk about the sleep seesaw a bit, because sleep drive is super straightforward.

[00:32:51.300] – Diane

It's like hunger, just the way the longer you go without eating, the more hungry you'll feel. And the more you eat, the less hungry you will be. Your sleep drive works the same way. The longer you go without sleeping, the more the chemical identity builds up in your brain. And adenosine is what makes us feel sleepy. And as we sleep, adenosine dissipates. So ideally, you want these two systems to work together so that we wake up at the time that our circadian rhythm is sending us those morning wake signals. Because we got a full night's sleep, our adenosine levels are very low. It's not nonexistent. And so we don't feel sleepy from the adenosine and we're getting the wake signals from our circadian rhythm. We go through the day, everyone generally has a dip in the middle of the day in their circadian rhythm. Then you get a little bit more energy towards the end of the day, and then at night, at different points of night, depending on what your chronotype is, whether you're a night all morning person, etc. Your circadian rhythm then takes this really big dive, and that is generally the best time to go to bed.

[00:33:57.880] – Diane

If you've been awake all day, your sleep drive will now also be nice and high, and so your sleep drive will drive you to fall asleep. And then your circadian rhythm, which is now taking this dive, will keep you asleep, even as that adenosine and sleepiness starts to dissipate because you are, in fact, sleep. And then toward the morning, your circadian rhythm starts to rise. And because your adenosine has now dissipated after a full night's sleep, you have no residual sleepiness from the adenosine. Your circadian rhythm starts to rise. It makes you feel nice and awake. You wake up refreshed and ready for the day. That sounds great, and that's how it works if it's working well. But of course, for so many of us, it's not working well. And so that's kind of why I wanted to walk people through the different reasons it might not be working well and some common ways to fix that.

[00:34:49.170] – Allan

Now, one of the things I think, that really messes with this for a lot of folks, and like you said a little earlier, is you start worrying about not sleeping. I've got to get up at 04:00, I've got to get up at 04:00, and here I am looking at the clock at 1:30 and I'm not falling asleep. And that whole process is creating an additional level of arousal. It's creating cortisol. It's actually pushing against your sleep drive and it can be enough that it actually keeps you from falling asleep or staying asleep.

[00:35:26.410] – Diane

Oh, yeah, it can be an incredibly powerful sleep killer, essentially what happens with many of us. And I think this is what common sleep advice sleep listicles even some sleep research misses, is there is this tendency to underestimate the impact that worry has on our sleep. And so if you keep bombarding everyone with, you need to get enough sleep, you need to get enough sleep. It's like, well, for those of us who are actually going to bed and trying to get enough sleep every night, that message is actually making me worse because now I'm just laying in bed worrying about, oh, God, they said I was going to be doomed if I didn't get enough sleep and now I'm really worried about that and that actually makes it harder to sleep. And here's why. When we feel emotions like excitement, stress, anxiety, worry, anything along those lines, the kind of stuff that makes your heart rate when it's up to a level ten, even when it's at a level five, it's still triggering something called arousal. And after a certain level, hyperarousal. And that is basically your fight or flight response. And so if you have those sentiments, it triggers this arousal or hyperarousal.

[00:36:34.910] – Diane

And that powers up your weight drive because it's the part of your body that's telling you to be alert in the face of danger. And that's really helpful if you have a predator coming at you or something else you have to be really excited for or you have to be really alert for not very helpful if you have to go to sleep. And so what many of us fall into the trap of doing is we'll have something any kind of an event can trigger a short term insomnia episode. And that happens to everyone at some point, right? Maybe you're grieving a death, maybe you're awaiting a potential promotion or an actual promotion, and now you're pumped about it. Or maybe you're worried about something that's coming down the pike. Anything can sort of trigger a short episode of insomnia. But we may tend to then make it worse and take a short of insomnia and turn it into chronic insomnia. Because one, we start to worry a lot about our sleep and we try to do all these things to fix it. And often those things to fix it because the root cause of our problems is this arousal.

[00:37:39.140] – Diane

Those things to fix it actually make it worse because they're making us fix it think a lot more about our sleep and start thinking of our sleep as being fragile, as something that requires a lot of things that need to be done and need to be done perfectly. And all that fixation just actually wraps us up even more and makes it harder for us to sleep. And the other thing we will often do is because we keep hearing about how doomed we are from all the sleep we're not getting. We try to make up for that sleep loss by sleeping and napping and going to bed early. And all that does is now it means when you're going to bed at night, your sleep drive is not that high because you haven't spent enough time awake that day. And so now it's even harder for you to sleep. And if you keep doing both of those things, this is where the sleep seesaw comes into play. On one hand, you have your sleep drive. On the other hand, you have your wake drive. If you are anxious about the fact that you're not sleeping or anything else that's going on, then that's going to power up your wake drive.

[00:38:36.940] – Diane

And if you've been trying to get sleep in, dribs and drabs, sleeping in, going to bed early, taking a nap. Now, your sleep drive is also low, and so your sleep seesaw is firmly planted in awake territory. And so to shift it back in the other direction, you need to do two things. You need to figure out how to lower that arousal level so you can lower that wake drive side of the seesaw, and you need to boost your sleep drive. The arousal side is a bit more complicated, right? Because if you've ever told anybody or been told, hey, just calm down. That doesn't really work. So this is where it will get very individual for people. Because what's relaxing to one person can be really stimulating or aggravating, even to somebody else. And I equate the two. If something is going to frustrate you or aggravate you, that is not going to be the right sleep solution. Because if you're frustrated now, you're stressed again and again, your wake drive is powering up. So that's why I hate the advice to just read a boring book, read an instruction manual, because for a lot of us, that's really frustrating.

[00:39:40.450] – Diane

Being bored is really frustrating. And if it's frustrating for you, even if it works in that day, long term, it's just going to give you something else to worry about in bed because you're going to think, God, I have to sleep tonight or I'm going to read that epic phone book again. So we don't want to do that. The technique that I liked for this and that many of the sleep clinicians that I talked to thought was kind of in a League of its own is something called constructive worrier. I like to call it a brain dump or a worry list. And essentially you just take a notebook, you divide the page down the center. Ideally, you do this before bed at some point, a couple of hours before bed, I cheated, and I did it right in bed before I got up to brush my teeth, and so on, sitting up in bed. And that worked for me. So you don't have to do these things perfectly, but you just take a page, divide it down the center. On the left hand side, you write down anything on your mind, just dump it all out on the page.

[00:40:33.070] – Diane

And then on the right hand side, you write down the very next step toward resolving that issue. And you don't even need to know the ultimate resolution. It's just the next step. So it could be calling someone who knows more about that issue than you do or doing research on it or whatnot. And if it's something that's hypothetical or that's out of your control, then you have to accept and move on. So write that down. Accept and move on. And when you run out of things to put on the page, then you're done. When I read about this, I was thinking, while ambien doesn't put me to sleep anymore, but this notebook exercise thing is going to but it actually did. And it works. And it works for a number of reasons. One, by giving your brain the opportunity to process your thoughts and feelings from the day before you get into bed. You alleviate the need to do it in bed because so many of us don't really give our brains that opportunity because we're on our phones any second that we're not actually having some kind of conversation. So we don't have a lot of moments to just kind of process.

[00:41:31.380] – Diane

So this gives our brain the opportunity to do that. One of the reasons insomnia is perpetuated is something called conditioned arousal, which is our mental autopilot in our brain starts to learn after we spend enough time awake and frustrated in bed. That bed is where we stay awake and we're frustrated. And it learns to do that when we get into bed. And it learns to make us anxious before we even get in bed, anticipating that, oh, God, I'm going to get in that bed, and I'm going to have to lay awake and have those horrible thoughts all night. And so by doing constructive worry out of consistently, we reprogram that mental autopilot feature to say, oh, this is where we're supposed to be awake and worry. Not when my head hits the pillow. And we often will get repetitive thoughts when we're experiencing this insomnia cycle. And that's just our brain trying to remind us to deal with these issues. And so if you write it down, no need for that reminder anymore. And then finally, the exercise itself gets you kind of focused on solutions rather than just ruminating on problems which so many of us get stuck doing when, again, we're in that insomnia loop.

[00:42:38.660] – Diane

So this technique, for me, after about two weeks, the most interesting part was I didn't even need to do it anymore. It felt like my brain was doing it automatically. And when I talked to clinicians once I started researching the book, they said, yeah, that's actually what we find, too. We generally tell our patients, do this for two to three weeks, and then you probably won't need to do it anymore. And so I now will keep I have my little notebook in my nightstand. And if I have a particularly stressful day, or if, for whatever reason, I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel wrapped up, I'll go in the living room, I'll make my list that usually calms me down, and I go back to sleep. But I don't have to do this every night anymore because it feels like my brain just got the memo. Head on pillow is time to sleep, not time to start cycling through thoughts?

[00:43:24.110] – Allan

Well, I'm on the Internet like everybody else, looking around, seeing what's going on in the world. And I saw this post from this guy, and he was pretty excited that he had given up most of the medication that he was using to sleep. And he listed off, like three or four of them, which I guess he followed the course of, well, you just need more you just need more. But he got to a point. He had started weaning himself off of these things, but he held on to one thing that he wasn't sure he was going to be able to kick. And that was alcohol. And I think for a lot of people, they realize, okay, this calms me down, this distresses me, if you will, and it helps me fall asleep. But then in the end, it's not actually their friend while they fall asleep. Maybe they're not getting the best sleep.

[00:44:10.830] – Allan

Can you talk about alcohol and why it's not necessarily the right answer for getting good quality sleep?

[00:44:18.710] – Diane

It's not at all the right answer for getting good quality sleep. I'm sorry to relay and I say that as someone who does still enjoy a drink, this isn't me saying and everyone should quit alcohol because I would be a hypocrite if I said that. But I used to also be that person who I didn't necessarily use alcohol as a sleep aid per se. I wouldn't come home and have a nightclub just for the sake of being able to fall asleep. But I have been guilty of having that extra drink at happy hour, knowing that it was going to help give me that extra push. And the crazy part is I knew that in a few hours I was going to wake up and feel horrible. And I'll explain all the reasons why that happened in a second. But even though I knew that, I still did it anyway because I welcomed that respite of having easy sleep, that period of being able to go to bed and just fall asleep and not have to think or worry about it and not have to stress over, oh God, these thoughts and I'm still awake and whatnot. Being able to have a break from that when you're going through it on a regular basis, it's hard to underestimate how tempting anything that routed that will be.

[00:45:26.270] – Diane

The problem is, as you alluded to, those effects are short lived. Alcohol does in fact, help us fall asleep. And it does a number of things in the body, like a little checklist that AIDS in that process. The problem is, as the night goes on, the opposite starts to happen. All of those positive changes it made to help you fall asleep, it now undoes. It's like it runs through the moon, like a Bull in a China shop. Your body temperature goes out of whack. A bunch of your circadian rhythm aspects go out of whack. The adenosine levels that it heightened in order to make you fall asleep now it draws them away. And so what will often happen is we'll fall asleep great. But then suddenly we wake up in the middle of the night. For me, it manifests in kind of an extreme way where I will often wake up in the middle of the night. I feel like my heart's racing, I'm sweating, and that's not even counting if you actually drank enough to be hungover, which is a whole you know, we all know most of us probably know what that's like every now and then.

[00:46:25.720] – Diane

Right. But I'm not even just talking about being hungover. I'm talking about the impact on just your sleep itself. Right. You feel dehydrated, and now you can't go back to sleep because you feel all wrapped up. For others, you may actually sleep through the night and wake up in the morning, but your sleep was still disrupted that night because you were probably in really light stages of sleep, which will often happen the second half of the night if you're sleeping under the influence of alcohol. And so for some people, you might not even realize how damaging that alcohol is being to your sleep. But if you were hooked up to a sleep monitor, you would see it black and white. There are a few things you can do to mitigate some of these impacts, and I go through them in the book, just really practical things. But ultimately, the only way to avoid the impact of alcohol on your sleep is time. And so the best thing to do if you're going to have that drink at happy hour, have it a little bit earlier, don't have the wine, maybe have the wine when you get home instead of having it with dinner at dinner is not going to give you enough time to process the alcohol.

[00:47:30.750] – Diane

But you want to give yourself an hour per drink, ideally so you can process that alcohol before you actually go to sleep, so that when you go to bed, you're sober and you can sleep through the night just fine. And so that's kind of what changed for me. It's not so much that I quit drinking, not that I'm a big drinker, but I didn't feel that I had to quit drinking in order to sleep well. But I now instead of using alcohol for its sleep as a sleep aid, I now take steps to try to avoid the impact of alcohol on my sleep, even if I am consuming it.

[00:48:06.590] – Allan

Now, a lot of the folks that follow me and I do too, will do fasting, will do low carb things like that. And what we talk to them about and coach them is okay, if you want to get a good night's sleep, you can load your carbs later in the evening instead of having them in the morning or during your lunch, have them a little bit later in the evening with your evening meal. That will probably help you sleep if you're having difficulty sleeping. So we know that there are certain nutrients and certain things, certain ways we can eat that are going to affect our sleep. And you had an issue with if you ate too close to if you tried to go too long between the time you ate and when you went to bed, you would have some issues. You talked about acid reflux. So there is a tie between our nutrition, when we eat what we eat, and potentially some supplements that help us go through the process of getting good quality sleep. Can you kind of cover that a little bit?

[00:49:00.700] – Diane

Yes. And so the timing of the meals part was a big thing for me because I had really bad acid reflux throughout a lot of my sleep struggles. But no one ever tied it to my sleep. So I didn't know that you were connected. What I did keep hearing was that in order to reduce acid reflux, you have to have more space between your last meal and when you go to bed. And so I tried eating 2 hours before bed. Then I tried eating 3 hours before bed. I slept worse, I felt worse. So I moved the food up even more because I'm thinking this whole time, well, the acid reflux is making me sleep worse, so I need to go longer without eating before I go to bed. And the thought process here makes sense because when your stomach is digesting food, it's using stomach acid to do that. And when we lay down, it makes it that much easier for the acid to travel up the esophagus, which is that feeling of heartburn that we get. And so the idea is you want to go to bed on an empty stomach so that the stomach isn't doing all that work with all the stomach acid, and you are less likely to have stomach acid travel up the esophagus.

[00:50:07.330] – Diane

The problem with these recommendations is some of us have a really hard time sleeping on an empty stomach. And the kicker is that sleep deprivation, lack of sleep can actually cause acid reflux. So here I was spending more and more time going to bed with an increasingly empty stomach to try to lower my acid reflux, to try to improve my sleep. And instead, because I have a hard time sleeping on an empty stomach, the more time I went without eating before bed, the harder it was for me to sleep. And that actually made my acid reflux worse. And so what ended up helping me was actually having a sleep friendly snack about an hour to 2 hours before bed. And as you mentioned, for me, I just tried to focus on what do I know that won't trigger my acid reflux is easy for me to make, so that if I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel hungry, I can snack on it easily. It will feel satisfying to me, but it's generally healthy and not going to trigger my acid reflux for me. I found Oatmeal was a great one, or just simple sort of whole wheat toast with a little bit of butter.

[00:51:20.030] – Diane

And that made a huge difference to me because the ability to have a little something in my stomach made it easier for me to sleep. And those sleep improvements actually helped alleviate my acid reflux. And it was only kind of after I fixed my sleep that I realized, oh, wait, I don't have acid reflux anymore. It's just not a problem. After seven years, I now just don't have it, along with many other things. But it was interesting for me that I had to end up doing the opposite of what I had been told for so long, because the ENTs that were advising me on how to combat my acid reflux were not taking into account that it was being caused by a sleep disorder. And so these things can sometimes be intertwined. And we have to look at the whole picture. And sleep is often a key ingredient in that picture. And in terms of the carbs aspect, there are a few different things going on. We often hear about tryptophan, right when you talk about Thanksgiving and think, oh, the tryptophan from the Turkey made me fall into that food coma. And tryptophan does.

[00:52:20.410] – Diane

Tryptophan turns into serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin makes us feel good. Melatonin makes us feel drowsy. It essentially tells the body that it's night time. But tryptophan can't turn into those things without reaching the brain. And because we have all these other amino acids in our blood, tryptophan has a really hard time reaching the brain. What helps tryptophan reach the brain is carbs. Carbs produce insulin in our body, and insulin parts the red sea of these amino acids so that tryptophan gets a direct route to the brain. And so tryptophan is very helpful to sleep, but it needs carbs in order to work. And so when we go a little bit overboard with cutting carbs, we can have a hard time sleeping. And that's why it's actually advised for people who have trouble sleeping to do the opposite of what many people think of when they're talking about weight loss. People sometimes think, I'll eat carbs in the beginning of the day so I can burn them off and then focus on protein the rest of the day. But if you regularly have trouble sleeping, it might be worth trying the opposite. You eat protein earlier in the day to build up the tryptophan in the body, because body will store that tryptophan.

[00:53:23.450] – Diane

And then at night you have a complex carb, which keeps your body sugar level but will still have this tryptophan releasing effect. And then that tryptophan can turn into serotonin can turn it to melatonin. It helps us relax, turns the temperature down on all that arousal that we're feeling, and helps us go to sleep.

[00:53:41.070] – Allan

Now another big one is magnesium. I actually take a magnesium supplement each evening before I go to bed and have really cool, lucid dreams because I get into a really good, deep sleep when I use magnesium. Can you talk about why magnesium is important for sleep?

[00:54:00.170] – Diane

Yes. Magnesium is actually nicknamed the sleep mineral, and the main function that it's thought that accomplishes what magnesium accomplishes for our sleep has to do with GABA, which is part of our brain, a chemical in our brain that helps to help slow our thinking down and it helps us fall asleep. Magnesium is also thought to help reduce cortisol, which again is what our arousal if you haven't found what arousal is triggered by. And it's kind of like the slow release version of adrenaline. So if we have a lot of cortisol, the stress hormone magnesium is thought to reduce that and so help us lower our stress and anxiety. And so by bringing all that down, you go back to the sleep seesaw, you're helping to lower that wake drive spot on the side of the sleep seesaw, which is going to help us to fall asleep. And interesting aspect of magnesium too is new studies are showing that magnesium is thought to help with restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. So a lot of people who've been struggling with those ailments and have had a hard time finding an answer for some of them, just simply taking magnesium is enough to reduce it to a point where it's not a problem anymore or get rid of it entirely.

[00:55:13.950] – Allan

And within reason, because magnesium also does a few other things to your bowel.

[00:55:19.010] – Diane

Yeah, you can have digestive issues. And I want to preface I'm glad you said that because in the book I reckon I just lay out what kind of foods are rich in a lot of these things. Many people, I'm sure, will just want to go straight to the supplements. But supplements have their own downsides to them. So if you are going to incorporate any kind of supplement or pillow, you want to make sure that you talk to your doctor first. Because not only do you want to make sure you're not overdoing it, but the timing of when you take these things can matter. And also what other medications you're taking can also have an impact on all of this. So yeah, I can't stress that enough. Don't go popping pills because you heard it on a podcast. Please talk to your doctors and ask about how to strategize and take these supplements if you are going to go that route thoughtfully.

[00:56:02.910] – Allan

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

[00:56:10.500] – Diane

oh, I love that definition. One, obviously sleep. For me, it's been a complete game changer. And I didn't realize how bad I felt when I wasn't sleeping until I finally started sleeping and realized how much better I felt. And I thought, wow, this is how I'm supposed to feel all the time. So I'm not just saying that because I wrote a book on sleep, but I can't stress it enough that if you feel like your energy levels are bad or you have trouble falling asleep or you feel like you're sleepy all day long, then please address your sleep issues with a sleep specialist or whatever method you find work for you, but it makes such a huge difference in your health and well being and mental health in every aspect of your life. I think for me, healthy eating has been a big stress, particularly now because I'm guilty of not making a lot of time to work out at the moment, but just sort of telling myself I'm going to eat healthy doesn't work super well for me. So I love making recipe hacks and turning comfort foods that I love into healthy foods by making simple substitutes.

[00:57:17.260] – Diane

So I love to Cook. So that works for me. But I think healthy eating is a big pillar of health and a new one for me is periods of silence. I'm not big on meditating for no other reason than I just feel like I don't have time for it. And I know that's a terrible excuse, but it is what it is. But I do find time to have moments of silence now, something I never appreciated before. And I think it really helps me to just kind of center process the day. It gives me an ability to decompress and go through my thoughts in a way that I don't get you if I don't have those periods of silence. And I think that has helped my mental well being. But I think it's also helped my sleep as well because it's a little part of my evening routine that I didn't even notice until I wrote the book that as I'm making my sleep friendly snack, I do it in silence. And that's kind of when I process my day without even realizing it.

[00:58:16.110] – Allan

Great. So again, this book, if you have issues sleeping, this one really deep dives. It's not the listicle style book where you're just going to get ten things to do to fix your sleep. This is going to take you all the way to the root causes of what's going on. It's going to send you to a doctor, a sleep doctor if you need to. And it's going to explain a lot of the things that you've been experiencing because Diane did a great job researching this book. So, Diane, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Sleep Fix, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:58:50.250] – Diane

So I am very active on social media at DianeRMacedo, and that is on all platforms. And I'm theDianeMacedo on TikTok, which I just started posting on as well. And you can find out more about the book directly sleepfixbook.com.

[00:59:08.120] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/531 and I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Diane, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:59:19.410] – Diane

Thank you for having me, Allan. I appreciate it.

Post Show/Recap

[00:59:29.170] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:59:30.670] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a great interview. This book sounds really helpful. Because we talk a lot about the need to have sleep. And I tell everybody that's an athlete with me the same thing. It's important to have sleep for your body to recover after doing hard things. But we rarely talk about how to accomplish that. And this sounds like a really detailed book.

[00:59:53.490] – Allan

Yeah. It's one of the things that I think a lot of people miss when you see a professional athlete and you're kind of like, oh, well, they just got themselves into really good shape, and that's how they're now able to be these tremendous athletes. But the reality is they train really hard, harder than most of us would ever be capable of doing because they've built up to such a volume of work that they need to do. At the same time, they also know that nutrition and sleep are the key points to making sure that they are able to perform again for their training, the hard training they're going to do the next day. So their lifestyle, in many cases, when they're on their work, when they're getting the work done, because they do take time off, they obviously need to. But when they're on, they're literally it's work and sleep. And it is at the beginning of this, I said, okay, I did 14 miles. Well, the whole expectation of my Sunday when I did that was 14 miles from home. Stop sweating, take a shower, take a nap. And the nap was actually still part of my training for that day.

[01:01:11.040] – Allan

It was all incorporated into a six hour window of time to get this thing done, to get my 14 miles done, to stop sweating, to take a shower and to take a nap.

[01:01:22.030] – Rachel

It's so important.

[01:01:24.070] – Allan

Now, here's the other thing. We do talk about sleep hygiene all the time, and it is really important for a lot of people. It might just be that sleep hygiene is all you need to do to have a better quality sleep. But for a lot of people, it's sort of like knowing that you have a broken car, there's a problem with your car, and you just wash the car. So you have this bright, shiny car sitting in the driveway that won't run because you're not addressing the underlying problem. And that's the diagnosis. That's what is actually really wrong with my sleep. Why am I not sleeping? And so many people skipped that point and they want the simple, oh, I just need a dark room, a cool room, a sound, neutral thing. And so they're focused on that, but they're not really solving the real underlying problem because they haven't gotten the diagnosis from it.

[01:02:19.270] – Rachel

Exactly. Diane said that some people don't even realize that they might have things like sleep apnea or that they're having insomnia problems or she had a circadian rhythm disorder, not to mention restless leg syndromes. I mean, there's so many different things that you could be diagnosed with, and each one of them requires a different treatment, a different idea. So getting to the real root cause of your fatigue or sleepiness or whatever, it's pretty important that you see the right people and maybe not just your general health practitioner.

[01:02:55.230] – Allan

Yeah. I mean, they're doing what they can do. And so you go in and they have a sleep problem. They can prescribe ambien. Yeah, they can and they do. And so if that's the route you go, that's the route you go. But to me, and I don't mean this, I think some people think it wouldn't be as serious. And maybe you can argue that, but if you had some warning indicators that there was a possible cancer, your general practitioner is not going to start treatment. Your general practitioner is going to send you to an oncologist, a specialist in cancer. And that's the expectations. And you know that because you see it happening. But with sleep, most of the time, we're like, okay, GP, I'm not sleeping well. It's like, okay, you're stressed or whatever. It's like, okay, here's something to relieve the stress or, okay, it's just a sleep problem. Here some ambien. So there's a pill. So it's if this, then that. And then if it works, it works. It's a practice, by the way, a medical practice. And so they're going to practice. But you should probably consider sleep as important as anything else, particularly if it's holding you back to sleep is a problem like you're eating well, you're exercising, you're doing what you can to manage your stress, and you're just not sleeping well.

[01:04:15.570] – Allan

That's the missing element. That's the thing that's holding you back. It's important enough to go see a specialist. You can do the sleep study and they can say, oh, yeah, you've got some sleep apnea here. You stop breathing this many times per minute for this amount of time, and they can say, okay, you need a CPAP, because that's going to help you breathe better. Or maybe it's not, maybe it's something else and they can start finding the treatment protocols that are going to help you. So while sleep hygiene is really important and it's one of those areas where I can say, okay, yeah, you need a dark room, you need a cool room. You need noise neutral. You need to make sure you have a wind down sequence. You need to do things to make sure that you're not geared up as you go into bed. So maybe just stay off on Facebook for an hour. Politics or whatever is going on today is going to bother you. The wars, famine, the disease, all those things are going to bother you and keep you awake. Well, cut them off earlier. What I found is I have almost no control over what happens in other parts of the world.

[01:05:25.330] – Allan

So my knowing about it on Facebook is like, okay, I can't fix this and I need to move on. So turning that stuff off finding ways to unwind that work for you. Lavender infused warm bath might be your thing. I don't know. But just finding those things because hygiene can matter. And if it helps you, then great. But in the end, if you need a mechanic, washing the car is not going to fix the problem. You need to get in there and see a sleep specialist, get yourself diagnosed. I mean, Diane had two issues. There wasn't a single issue. So she had tried to self diagnose this. She just said, well, it should work. Of course, I have a problem with my circadian rhythm because I don't get to sleep at night when everybody else does. And so she would have just really focused on that when she also had an insomnia problem. So her HPA axis, whatever's going on, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system was geared up when she got ready to go to bed. And it just wouldn't let her build up the sleep that she needed to the sleep. I forget what she called it.

[01:06:47.100] – Rachel

But basically adenosine hormone.

[01:06:51.920] – Allan

Which is basically like a sleep bank. It's like you're in that teeter totter seesaw thing.

[01:06:58.850] – Allan

it's not building up because you're keeping that adrenaline, keeping that core sale, keeping things going. It's not letting you build up the hormone that you need to be able to sleep. And taking anything might help you fall asleep, but it's not going to give you the restful sleep that you really deserve and need. So, again, go in, get diagnosed. It might be nothing. It might be a restless leg, and maybe a little bit of zinc in your diet makes that go away. Oddly, as that sounds, it could be simple as a vitamin deficiency. But a sleep specialist is going to have that information and be able to diagnose you properly to get you where you need to be. Because I value sleep so much more than just about anything else. And I've talked to doctors. Dr. Vu was one thrive state. If you're not sleeping, you can't reach thrive state. You just won't.

[01:08:03.040] – Rachel


[01:08:05.290] – Allan

As you're looking at your health. For many of us, for me, it was stress, really. I had to get out of the corporate thing to get rid of stress. But even when I was there, it's like I went to bed at 08:00 every night, and I slept until I woke up. Sleep was that important. Sometimes it was four sleep cycles, and sometimes it was six. I didn't set a rule other than, yeah, I know. I got to be at work at 09:00, so can't just have a 7th or 8th sleep cycle getting up. But it was never the same alarm. Get up, groggy. Wish I got more sleep kind of thing. It was okay. I slept really well. Good. And I'm giving myself the best opportunity to have a good day. And if you're not doing that, talk to a sleep doctor.

[01:09:00.410] – Rachel

Yeah, it's absolutely important that you see the right people and not just take the ambien, because that may not be the best answer for you.

[01:09:09.370] – Allan

It might end up being as if doctor says this short term, this would be a bridge to be the thing that you want to do. Great. But what Diane found was that she was becoming tolerant.

[01:09:21.770] – Rachel

Too tolerant. And it was a Band Aid. It was just a bandaid for her situation.

[01:09:28.810] – Allan

She got to stop the bleeding.

[01:09:30.510] – Rachel

Yeah. But she did see an expert and was diagnosed properly and found the right treatment for her. So that's the important part. It's just to see the right people.

[01:09:40.080] – Allan

Yes. And this book is laid out really well. She talked to a lot of sleep specialists about this topic. So she's literally going at it and say, okay, here's how you can know that what's happening is putting you on the right course. And then she does. Yeah. You're going to find all the sleep hygiene things in there, because for many of these, sleep hygiene is a part of it. When you get back from Mechanic, you still want it to be pretty and shiny.

[01:10:06.710] – Rachel


[01:10:07.300] – Allan

So it's not that you're not going to wash it to make it everything it should be. That's not going to solve the underlying problem. So address both.

[01:10:16.960] – Rachel

Sure. Well, the one tool that she mentioned right towards the end was to do a brain dump right before you go to bed and have a notebook and write down all the things that come to your mind. And that seems so practical to me in that moment, because when you're going to bed, sometimes you get fixated on what you need to do the next day, drive the kids to there and pick up the groceries, or you've got all these things to do and errands to run and people to call. And if you write it all down before you go to bed, then it gets out of your head and you're not thinking about it, dwelling at it, trying to fall asleep, worrying about how you're going to get all this done the next day. I just thought that was a really great tool. And I do love the idea of writing. I'm a big writer. I can't do a lot digitally. I got things I need to see it in writing. Sometimes writing.

[01:11:05.670] – Allan

Remember, my to do list is on Trello. Yes, digital. But I'll say, what do I need to do tomorrow? What do I need to do the next day? I literally have, like every day there's a to do list. I mean, for the rest of the year. For a whole year ahead.

[01:11:20.390] – Rachel


[01:11:21.110] – Allan

And so I literally know, okay, these are the things, and this is what I got to get done. So like, this call is the call. We're doing this recording. We do this on Monday afternoon. This is on my Trello board of the thing I got to do on Monday afternoons. And then what I'll do is as soon as I get off the call and I do a few other things I got to get done, I will literally move that to next Monday so we can have another call, and I do that. So everything that I need to do is on my board. And if I think of something while I'm supposed to say I'm sitting there watching some Netflix or I'm finishing up my day, I'll sit down and do that. What's my to do list look like tomorrow? And then what does my calendar look like? Are they actually agreeing with each other and saying, yeah, you can do both, you can do this to do list tomorrow? Or does my schedule basically say, Allan, there's just no way. And then at that point, I say, okay, I'm not going to overburden myself tomorrow.

[01:12:16.580] – Allan

I'll move things that can be moved. And it's amazing when you sit down and say, If I could only do three things, what are the three things? And then you look at those other things. I can do that on Wednesday.

[01:12:30.570] – Rachel


[01:12:30.860] – Allan

There's absolutely no reason I can't do that on Thursday.

[01:12:33.990] – Rachel

Yeah, that takes that level of stress out of that equation. You're not wasting time worrying. Like she said, worrying is such a big waster of time and energy. And the better you're organized with your calendar and the things that you need to get done, the less time you have to waste worrying about it.

[01:12:52.770] – Allan

And I try to do that before I even call it quits for my day. But long before I'm sitting there, I'm not going to sit down and start journaling at bedtime, grocery shopping and making a list that's going to have already been done. As soon as I'm saying I'm finishing up my day at 05:00, 04:00, whatever, I sit down and say, okay, let's look at my to-do list. What did I do today that I was supposed to do? What are the things that I thought I would do and then just didn't happen to? And then what do I need to do tomorrow? And even my workouts? It's funny because, okay, my workouts are on my schedule and in many cases are also on my calendar. So there's like a scheduled meeting with the boss I don't miss. But then sleep is okay. It's 09:00. Yeah, well, sometimes it's 7:30. And my wife says, what are you doing? It's like sleeping.

[01:13:53.710] – Rachel

Well, it's important. It's important to have a schedule. I think that goes into that circadian rhythm that she had. When your body is ready for bed, it's ready for bed.

[01:14:02.240] – Allan

Yeah. And then again, I don't have to worry about in the morning. I've got everything going. I don't schedule things in the morning other than my cardio work when it's cardio day. But there's nothing on my calendar in the morning before 09:00 for sure. So he says they want to do something before 09:00 it's like. Okay, hit or miss Panama time? I'll either be there.

[01:14:28.550] – Rachel

In ten minutes. I'll be there in ten minutes. I love that.

[01:14:33.470] – Allan

All right, well, anything else you want to talk about today?

[01:14:36.450] – Rachel

No, that was really good. That was a great book. I think I might need to read that one.

[01:14:40.800] – Allan

All right, well, let's talk next week, then.

[01:14:42.960] – Rachel

Take care.

[01:14:43.870] – Allan

You too.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to become a fit mess with Jeremy Grater and Zack Tucker

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Getting your mind right is so important toward getting healthy and fit. On episode 530 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we bring on Jeremy Grater and Zach Tucker, the hosts of The Fit Mess Podcast and discuss their weight loss journeys.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:19.630] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things going?

[00:01:21.690] – Rachel

Great, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:24.250] – Allan

As always.

[00:01:26.950] – Rachel


[00:01:27.950] – Allan

Busy. Yeah. And just a lot of things coming together at the same time and this and that and things outside your control. Things in your control. But I do want to say something. I want to apologize. A couple of weeks ago, I put out an episode I didn't realize my new computer. I put all the settings for my recordings exactly the way they were on the old computer. Didn't realize how bad the quality was until I actually had to do the work to put it together because I got behind. So I didn't send that off for audio processing. I did this one myself and realized how terrible it was and I couldn't fix it. And I didn't have time to send it off or do anything else. I needed to get it published. It's the first time I've missed a Monday published date in over six years. I published it on a Tuesday, and I feel bad about that. But at the same time, it kind of opened up my eyes saying, okay, one, I'm not going to work through the weekend to try to solve a problem about a podcast episode. I'm just not going to do it.

[00:02:34.520] – Allan

Two, maybe Tuesdays are better days for releasing podcasts. Now, I'm not going to do it straight away because I do have a sponsor and I told them I'd be doing these episodes on Mondays. So bear with me as I deal with the sponsor and I get that done. But probably like starting in April, I'm going to start releasing episodes on Tuesday mornings. What that will do is that will give me Monday to get the episode finished up and done. So if I've missed something or need to do something, it's a work day. It's a podcast day. It's when we do normally, we do our recording for things. So I'm going to start making Monday put podcast together day. I don't know that I'll get all the interviews done on Mondays, but I'm going to start kind of trying to push things to certain days to try to make my schedule make more sense. And most of the books, the big books that I have authors on, they publish on Tuesdays. That's a standard publication date for books. Also when they release music. By the way, it's Tuesdays, but so I'm going to start releasing my podcast on Tuesdays.

[00:03:46.420] – Allan

That'll align me with what the publicist and the writers authors of the books like, because the episode will go live on the day it goes and therefore goes into their sales for best seller stuff. If it happens before like pre sales actually don't count towards your best seller status, which is kind of odd. But yeah, what sells that first week is what's going to get you into New York Times. So a lot of them want these episodes live the first week that the episodes out. But I also have a longer tail on my podcast. So I think releasing on a Tuesday will make them happier because I can release on the same date for a lot of these folks if I'm ahead. I think they'll like that anyway. So that's going to be my approach going forward. I'm going to start moving these to Tuesday. It's going to be a hit or miss for the next few weeks, like I said. And then boom, there you go, Tuesday release dates. And I'll try to stay consistent on that because consistency is really important as we'll get into in a few minutes. But how are things up there?

[00:04:50.980] – Rachel

Good. Really good. Well, our weather is a little inconsistent these days, warm and cold, but it's worked out over the weekend. We did our first Maple syrup boil. So up here when the weather is above freezing during the day but below freezing at night, we collect the SAP out of our Maples. And this last weekend we did a boil and yielded almost a gallon, just shy of a gallon of syrup. So we'll be collecting again because the weather continues to be inconsistent and we're going to do another collection and another boil pretty soon. But yeah, and hopefully after that, it might be spring.

[00:05:29.750] – Allan

Good for you. Spring is no different than any other season except for one thing. Except for one thing. And I do have to say this, we're recording this now before this happens. But this episode will go live after it happens is that we don't do daylight savings time here. And so we end up flipping. So the way you have to look at it from our perspective is when we're in the fall. So when we fall back, we end up in Eastern time zone, which means things that I do like client calls with a group and things like that, they're happening for me at 08:00. Well, if you guys will follow me for any amount of time at all, you know that I like to be in bed by nine. That doesn't happen when I have a group call at 08:00, which I do from November to March. And now we're going to do the spring forward, which puts me on central time zone until next November. And I'm so happy about that. I wish at least somebody would just stop doing that. We don't do it here and I'm so glad we don't. Plus, our days and our nights are generally about the same the 12 hours because we're closer to the equator.

[00:06:48.930] – Allan

So it's just kind of one of those things. It's like, okay, every day kind of can be the same if you want it to be. But then, yes, that whole flip flop of the United States. So as you're listening to this, we are now into the simple time zone and I'm getting to bed earlier every night, at least as far as the clock says it is. So, yeah, I'm going to be glad to do that because then I tell my wife it's like, oh, no, it's central time zone, 07:00. I got my call, 08:00. I'm in bed, hopefully.

[00:07:24.510] – Rachel

How funny.

[00:07:25.530] – Allan

Yeah. So that's my spring. The thing I look forward to with spring as we get back on a time that I'm much happier because everywhere I've lived, I've lived most of my life in the central time zone. I've lived in 13 different States, I've lived in four different US time zones. I'm just happy to be back into the central time zone as we do this, as you guys do this crazy spring forward thing. And I'm sorry you're losing an hour sleep, but make sure you go to bed an hour earlier so you don't actually lose that. And it might be harder to fall asleep, so kind of play yourself into it over the weekend. But yeah, there you go. All right, you're ready to have this conversation with Jeremy and Zack?

[00:08:09.750] – Rachel

Sounds good.


[00:08:31.410] – Allan

Jeremy, Zack, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:34.690] – Jeremy

Thank you so much for having us.

[00:08:37.050] – Allan

You have the podcast called The Fitness. And I'm assuming again, maybe I shouldn't assume because I've learned my lesson about that in the past. Is that's kind of a build off of the Hotness that we would say, but more related to fitness.

[00:08:51.510] – Jeremy

Your assumption is close but incorrect. It actually was more just a play on how much of a mess it can be trying to figure out how to stay fit mentally, emotionally, physically. And so it was really just more of that trying to share that struggle with our listeners and with our community that we wanted them to know that they're not alone. We're here with them, learning right along with them, maybe a few steps ahead, maybe a few steps behind. But that's what we're there for, to be a resource to people that are going through all this together.

[00:09:18.510] – Allan

Yeah, it definitely gets messy. There's not a lack of information out there. And it seems kind of odd that we have these podcasts where we're putting information out there. But I try to think like, I'm a Sherpa. I've gone up the Hill. And while I can tell you my route won't be necessarily your route, I'm a Sherpa that's willing to go up that route with you again and again and again. And that's why I'm really glad to have the two of you on the show, because each of you have stories about how you change things for yourself. You went from and I'm actually going to call it normal, because being overweight, being obese in the United States is more and more becoming the norm versus the abnormal. And now you've found yourself pushing towards, I guess, no other way to say it, but being the outlier, the one that's in the not obese, not overweight category and actually pushing your fitness up to higher levels. So I do want to get into that. Both of you have really great stories. So, Jeremy, can you kind of start back with your origin story of what you did to fix your fitness, fix your health, fix your mind as you went through this process?

[00:10:37.350] – Jeremy

Yeah, I was definitely one of those guys that sort of needed external factors to make it happen and rock bottom to sort of be thrown at me. It was probably about ten years ago. I was 70lbs heavier than I am now. I was deeply depressed, stuck in an unfulfilling job, and I knew there had to be more, but I didn't know how to get there. And ultimately I ended up doing just like the dumbest knee injury that you've ever heard of. And that led me into a physical therapist office. And that physical therapist said, you should really get on a bike, otherwise your knees are going to just deteriorate and you're going to need to replace them later in life. And that sounded fine and good, but I hadn't ridden the bike since I was eight, so the whole idea of getting on a bike seemed ridiculous. I started talking to my brother about it and he said, look, man, if you want to do this, if you're going to be serious, you just have to decide you're that weird guy that rides your bike to work now, so go buy some cheap bike and start riding.

[00:11:32.500] – Jeremy

And so something about him saying that just about that making a decision totally clicked for me. He's like. And I was like, yeah, I can totally do that. I got on Craigslist within a week I had a bike and I started doing my bike commute and it was amazing how transformative it was because the need to be present in that moment, when you're on a bike, riding through city streets, there's nothing like it to force you to concentrate on the next you're going to die, right? If you don't do this right, you're going to die. And I found this weird peace in that and just, like letting all the stuff, I had no idea how much my mind was just dragging me from thing to thing. And when I was there, that was where I found peace. And I just decided I want more of that in my life. And that led me into my therapist's office. And fortunately, he was a well practiced meditator and he introduced me to meditation and that just kicked open all kinds of doors where I just started finding more and more ways to just be present in the moment, be at peace with who I was.

[00:12:34.020] – Jeremy

And that led to the massive weight loss. I lost 70lbs through a combination of just exercise and keto. And a lot of that came from talking to Zack. Zack was a couple of years ahead of me on the path. And so a lot of the things that I was starting to get curious about, I ended up sitting at a campfire next to him and he was saying, Well, here's what worked for me. Maybe it could work for you too.

[00:12:53.610] – Allan

So, Zach, you are his Sherpa.

[00:12:58.170] – Zack

It is, in many ways.

[00:13:00.930] – Allan

Tell us a little bit about your story.

[00:13:04.170] – Zack

So my story really started the day I was born. I was not set up for success in any way, shape or form. I had a fairly traumatic childhood. I didn't think it was a traumatic childhood. I thought it was normal. But in telling people they're surprised that I'm actually alive or not in jail, just really bad parenting, left to my own devices, no education on how to do anything to the point where when I was 21, 22 years old, I was about 300lbs of my really good friends was a manager at McDonald's. I ate there every single day because it was free. Drink two liters of Mountain Dew every day. Didn't move at all. Just smoked cigarettes. Smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. And one day I got my first real job out of College and my boss looked at me and said, you smoked cigarettes? I would have never hired you if I had known you smoked. And I was like, Whoa, like, mind blown, that's crazy. So I quit smoking. I started running. I started sign up for 5K and that was kind of the start of it. I was like, wow, I can run a 5K.

[00:14:17.050] – Zack

And I started to lose a whole bunch of weight. And then I started running all the time. And like Jeremy was mentioning, when you're running, you're like, in that mode, it's not quite like riding a bike. I know I was a little bit aggressive when I rode my bike in City Street, so I wasn't as worried. But I just started running. The weight started melting off, and then I started working on going, wait a minute. Well, my mind is clear. I like this feeling of being focused. I like this. It's not muddy up there anymore. So I started exploring all the different ways to continue to exercise in a way that would clear up my mind. And then that led me down the path of keto and nootropics and biohacking and all of these things. And fast forward many, many years now, and I'm at a good weight. I'm relatively healthy mentally, emotionally. And like Jeremy was saying, we were at a campfire one day. I was telling him about all this stuff, and that's actually how the show was born. Was we kind of looked at each other and said, guys need to be having this conversation right here. So let's normalize it.

[00:15:28.590] – Allan

Yeah. I mean, things you guys are saying definitely resonates with my story. I consider myself the fat bastard. Hated my job, hated my life, hated everything about it, was overweight, was unfit, and quite literally was just disgusted with myself. And anyone else that would have looked at me would have said, well, this guy has a perfect life. He's got this great salary, he's taking this vacation, he's doing these things. But no, I really didn't like who I'd become. And it was that wake up of, I can't keep going this way unless I'm going to keep going this way. And the end is close. It was almost like, okay, I'm not going to fulfill whatever I was here to be. There's something deeper that needs to go on. And it was being a great dad. It was hopefully eventually being a great grandfather. It was living a life I deserve to live, which I wasn't, despite the income and how good I was doing in my job. And so beyond decision, I had to take even a deeper step. For me, the word I use is commitment, because in a sense, it was not just okay.

[00:16:47.880] – Allan

I decided I'm not going to do something. I mean, you quit smoking, so that's not something you just decide to do. There's a lot more to that.

[00:16:59.570] – Zack

I still look back at that as the of all of the things I've ever had to do in my entire life, that is the number one hardest thing I ever did.

[00:17:09.570] – Allan

And then if your experience was like my experience, once you do that first thing. So the first day, Jeremy, that you rode your bike to work, how far was that?

[00:17:21.020] – Jeremy

The first day I did it. So it was a nine mile ride. The first day I only rode half of it because I just thought, I can't just get on a bike and ride 9 miles. And I was shocked because actually I did really well and after that, I did start doing the full 9 miles, but it was terrifying. It was scary, but exhilarating at the same time, for sure.

[00:17:39.660] – Allan

So you do that first thing, that first hard thing, that first scary thing, and it creates something. 

[00:17:45.470] – Jeremy

And that's what I was going to say is that so many of these things that are constantly in the back of our mind, the things that we're waiting for motivation to do that we're going to start doing that thing on Monday. We're going to think about doing that thing on the New Year or whatever, all that stuff. None of it matters. You really just have to decide and take the action today. You can't put it off because if you put it off, you're really just still sitting with indecision. Even by saying, I'll do this on Monday, you're still sitting in the indecision even if you can. For example, this year I hadn't been to a gym in months. I hadn't done any real physical workout in months. I'd done some running now and then. But at the start of this year, I decided that I was going to go to the gym every day and I couldn't figure out when it was going to work. So I got on my calendar and I put in a time to go every day. The whole first week I didn't go, but I took the first step of putting it on my calendar so that I could see and go.

[00:18:40.490] – Jeremy

I'm neglecting this time like I have the time. I have no excuse. The second week I went and I haven't missed a day since because I know I have the time now that I've gone and I feel good, I'm going in with a plan. I know what I'm doing when I get there and everything's falling into place from there. When I take that action, that action leads to another one. I'm eating better because I don't want the work I'm doing there to be for no reason. That's the way that so many of these things work is it's just such a domino. You have to just kick open that first door and you'll be amazed at how many more doors you'll find on the other side that lead to a better, happier life.

[00:19:15.850] – Sponsor

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[00:20:42.980] – Sponsor

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[00:21:17.170] – Allan

Yeah, I think so many people will sit back and they know the first door they have to kick through, they know the first domino, but there's something holding them back. Can we talk a little bit about how you went through a mind shift change to just really do that? Because quitting smoking or riding a bike in city traffic for most of us, because what we're not talking about is some fit guy who can pedal at the same speed as the cars that can maneuver and do all these things. I mean, you're at this point overweight, not completely comfortable on a new bike you just bought off Craigslist, right? There's something there something has to click in your brain to make that happen. What is that? What was your mindset?

[00:22:15.850] – Jeremy

For me, I know enough about myself to know that I am motivated by external factors. I can sit here and tell myself I need to do this, to be a good dad and I want to live a healthy life and all that. But that stuff is so it's just a figment of my imagination. There's nothing there tangibly that I can hold on to getting on the bike. My mom had just had at least one, if not both of her needs replaced by then. And to hear a physical therapist say, if you want that, keep doing what you're doing. If you don't want that, go buy a bike. And that was scary enough for me. I was shocked into action and I took the action. This year we have our own podcast. We were going to interview Tony Horton, the creator of the P90X workout. I had never done the P90X workout, and I just thought, I have to have some integrity here. I have to have at least done his workout to know what I'm doing. So I went and did his workout for a few days just so that I knew what I was talking about.

[00:23:08.720] – Jeremy

And then it turns out I fell in love with it. I'm like, oh, this is great. I'm going to just do this every day because this guy, I like his speed, I like his tempo. And so that's been pushing me. So for me, I have to look for is there an accountability system? Is there a friend? Can I call Zack and say, hey, Zack, I need you to text me every morning at seven and say, Get your ass to the gym, whatever it is. I know that I'm driven by something external. Something has to be bigger than me. And so I have to find what that is for whatever action is that I want to take.

[00:23:36.680] – Zack

Yeah, I'm kind of the same way. It's the external motivation. But in the last few years, I've been really trying to shift that mindset into external motivation. But for my future self. So my 60 year old self, I'm doing this for him. So I'm going to go to the gym, I'm going to go not eat pizza today, even though I work for a company where I get free pizza. So it's really hard. I'm doing all of this stuff for the future me. And that was a good shift for me because I was always external motivated or needed that external motivation in order to get something done. And just pretending in my head of like, all right, when I'm 65, living my retirement dreams, do I want to be stuck in the easy chair that my dad was stuck in? Or do I want to be out exploring, riding my bike, still doing things? Okay, I'm going to be driven for my future self.

[00:24:34.020] – Jeremy

And I want to jump on that too, because I was doing the same thing. I was following that advice that we picked up along the way. And I kept telling myself, Would the future version of me walk by this basket of laundry and just leave it undone with the future of me not do the dishes, whatever things I would normally let slide? And I was talking to my therapist about that, and my therapist reminded me, he said, that's a cute trick. And if that works for you, go for it. But keep in mind, there is no future you that doesn't exist. All that exists is this you. So if that you can do this, then this you can do this. If you can just own that identity that you are now the person who tidies up, who does the laundry, who does the dishes, who goes to the gym every day, who eats well, just own that identity. Put that on every day. Stop worrying about the future you and just know that that is who you are now. And when I think back, that's what happened on the bike. And so the more that I sort of incorporate that way of thinking into whatever challenges I'm taking on, the easier it becomes to do them, because I just own them as who I am rather than it being this thing I have to do.

[00:25:39.910] – Allan

Yeah. And I think kind of a bounce between what the two of you have said is that there is this concept of extrinsic reward or acknowledgment. So you have someone holding you accountable, and then there's this intrinsic drive. And the intrinsic drive is unique to you very much like what you've said, I like having something in front of me that's a big, scary, hairy deal. I'm doing a Tough Mudder. The difference is, the first time I did a Tough Mudder, I was 47 years old. Now I'm 56. So for me, 60 means I'm doing Tough Mudders. It doesn't mean sitting in a lounge chair, hanging out, although I will sit in a lounge chair probably after I do the Tough Mudder because I'm going to be sore as heck. But that said, I'm training towards something that's that. But the other side of it, what I do is I like to take those events, if you will, those kind of those intrinsic scary things. And I like to line them up in a way that is cohesive with who I want to be when I'm older. So when I have grandchildren, we didn't have Tough Mudders when I was younger.

[00:26:56.410] – Allan

We did the 5Ks and that kind of thing. And then as I got a little older, I got into marathons and ultras and lifting weights to see how much I could do that kind of thing. Those were what we did for fun. Now there's Tough Mudders and there's these other types of events, like the Ragnar and those types of things that I'd love to try and do. I don't know what they're going to be doing in 10, 15, 20 years from now, but I want to be able to at least make an effort of doing it. You know, I'm going to be the 75 year old guy that's out there with his grandkids doing whatever crazy little thing it is. And that kind of excites me from a future perspective. So I can kind of get hard to wrap your mind around it. But it's like I'm looking at it from a perspective of what I enjoy doing today, and it aligns with what I know that I'm likely going to enjoy in the future. You're talking about riding a bike and how immediately once you got on it, it became a part of you, a part of driving your whole existence.

[00:27:59.240] – Allan

You ride your bike every day. You were the weird guy who rode his bike to work every day, and then people probably watched you lose 70 lbs. It's like, I probably should buy a bike.

[00:28:10.210] – Jeremy

That is one of the surprising side effects of this whole thing. When you do start taking care of yourself, it is amazing how people suddenly just start asking questions like, oh, wow, what are you doing? What happened? And it's so funny how I've done this a few times. I've been up and down the scale enough to know how it goes. But it's so funny how almost every time it's just that I ate better and I worked out and they're like, oh, that's it.

[00:28:35.830] – Allan

I wanted an easy, but I didn't want to actually have to work for it.

[00:28:39.320] – Jeremy

You didn't just drink some magical drink in the morning and it just melted away. No, of course not.

[00:28:44.080] – Allan

That's what the commercial said on Sunday, the whole 60 Minutes, and then just didn't call that 800 number, which back in the day, that's how Tony sold those on those infomercials on a Sunday. And yes, I actually had it and did it back when it was the first ones and then actually tried to do insanity when it came out. But I was way too old and out of shape. And that left me.

[00:29:15.350] – Allan

Sean, I love the insanity work out.

[00:29:19.130] – Allan

I get it. I tried to be 20 when I wasn't, and my body reminded me. So I felt like I had basically been beat to death by being beat up with a baseball bat while I was asleep. And the next morning I said to call in sick for work because I couldn't get out of the bed because again. No, this was the Fit test. This was just that little test they do at the very beginning. And I'm like, go as hard as you can. Go as hard as you can. I'm like, I'm going as hard as I can. And then the next morning, it's like I can't get out of bed. So there is that. Don't let yourself get over excited. Let your mind understand where you are and start from there. Like you said, Jeremy, you knew potential. You might not be able to ride the whole 9 miles to and fro to do your ride. And so as a result, you had a plan B. And then you realized, okay, I can actually do this. And then you were on it. And I imagine after that, you're probably looking at your time and say, okay, I can get to work in six minutes. I can get to work in five minutes.

[00:30:28.790] – Jeremy

When I got down to like 33 minutes, I was like, awesome, actually, when it was shorter than riding the bus.

[00:30:37.080] – Allan


[00:30:37.410] – Jeremy

That was when I knew this is it. I'm never riding the bus again.

[00:30:41.050] – Allan

There you go.

[00:30:43.310] – Zack

I do want to just say it really quickly, like on the your future self and my motivation. I have actually an example from yesterday that I do think forward of, like, myself 20 years from now, but I also think forward of myself tomorrow and being ready for things tomorrow. I told Jeremy about this earlier, but yesterday I went to a 6:30 workout at a CrossFit gym, and it was a partner workout. So of course, I worked a little bit harder than I normally do. And then my friend is opening up a new gym. So I went to an 8:30 class there and did that. And then I went home and I did manual labor of like fixing a room for like six more hours. And 20 years ago I would have been dead. Like done. And I woke up this morning, I was a little stiff, but I was fine. That's for me, that's where the benefit comes in, like thinking about your future self. I am doing all this stuff so I can be okay tomorrow and I can go do anything that I want, whenever I want.

[00:31:50.290] – Allan

Yeah, well, we're moving the gym and so that's kind of one of the things is the concept of moving weights around, moving these horse mats away 100 lbs and are awkward and just getting those things in place and knowing I'm probably going to have to move them a dozen times to get them where I want them to be. And that's going to be about five days of my life next week. If I've been 47 when I first started this journey, there's no way in heck, there's no way. And then when I actually bought the gym three years ago, about two and a half years ago, actually, I used to do all the deep cleans by myself. So every piece of equipment at gym I would move out of the way, move all those mats out, wash all those mats myself, put all of them back in, put all the weight back on top of it over the course of a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday. And at that point I was a beast. And then covet happened and I came out of covid and I'm like, I'm not quite at that fitness level. I'm okay with where I am, I just have to realize who I am and where I am.

[00:32:53.640] – Allan

And so part of the vision is, okay, I can get back there and I will. But right now, yeah, I'm going to hire strong, healthy people to help me move some of those horse mats and some of those weights because there's no reason for me to try to kill myself to do those things. So it's a balance and it's having the right mindset of knowing what you're capable of and pushing yourself and pushing those comfort zones. And then the other side of it is not going nuts like I did with insanity. Or now maybe going nuts and thinking I can do the whole gym by myself, not going there. So it is a back and forth with yourself to not give yourself excuses and also know, okay, I can push I'm going to go do this work out because this is my friend, I'm going to go do these things around the house because I have those desires and those obligations. So those are really good drivers. And then like you said, you're fit enough, you've set yourself up to be able to do those things. That's really cool.

[00:33:49.750] – Zack

But I know that today is a rest day. I pushed it yesterday, so I went to yoga this morning, and that's it. That's all I'm doing today.

[00:33:59.850] – Allan

And recording this podcast.

[00:34:02.250] – Zack

Yes. The physical exertion of recording a podcast doesn't quite get to me.

[00:34:06.480] – Allan

yeah, I know. I tend to move my hands. So even though you might not see that on the camera, I'm working out here.

[00:34:14.670] – Allan

So we talk about motivation. And every time I see objections to the keto diet, because every year they do the I think it's US News and Roll Report, they do the best diets and worst diets out there. Keto is consistently at the bottom of the list. But I can tell you that I know more people who have lost weight and maintained that weight loss using keto than I do that have used any other diet, period. Even the Mediterranean diet, which I agree is probably the actual the best diet out there. But the keto diet, if you can do it, is really effective at weight loss, and it's not something you have to do forever. I've had guests on I do what I call seasonal ketosis. So I have off seasons and on seasons, some people are keto all the time. You guys use keto as a tool to lose weight. How did you motivate yourself to stick with what most experts would say is impossible?

[00:35:23.370] – Zack

Well, there was a couple of things. One, so I tried keto before Jeremy, I think. Once I figured out that I was not doing keto necessarily to lose weight, it was an added benefit for me, but I was doing it to try and help with inflammation in my body and brain fog and some of those things which were really important to me because my job required a lot of mental work and I just needed to try that. I also set myself up to so Shaunty was coming to town, and I was going to do a live workout. And I also signed up to do a go rock 50 miler star course. It's just a 50 miles of walking with a weight in your backpack. And probably four or five months before I started keto or before that, I started keto with the intention of being keto through all of these events. And so I set myself up like that to keep myself on track because keto, it can be really tough. And all the products that are on the market today that are marked keto are technically keto if that's the only thing you eat for the entire day.

[00:36:34.810] – Zack

But it is tough if you're going to stay in ketosis. If you have one day where you eat more than what your carbohydrates requirement is, you're out and you need a couple of days to get back in. So it is very binary. It's tough to get all of those things. But honestly, it was like meat and vegetables. And I found some really good dairy hacks with some protein powder that was keto friendly as well. So it's definitely possible. But the motivation for me was to find good food that I really liked and just eat the same thing over and over and over again and set something up for later on. So you have a goal that you're marching towards.

[00:37:16.690] – Jeremy

In my case, you know, it goes back to that campfire sitting with Zack, and he was showing me the chart of how much weight he'd lost on keto and some ridiculously short amount of time. And I was like, whatever that is, I want in. Show me how you did that. And so he told me about it, and I thought, well, that sounds insane. There's no way I can do that. Keep in mind, I'm a vegetarian, so doing keto as a vegetarian is nearly impossible. It's not impossible. It's very hard. But I took to heart what he said, and I just sort of broke it down in a way that made sense for me. And I thought, I'm going to just try. I'm just going to limit my carbs to 100 grams a day. Just start there and see what that does to my life. And I immediately was feeling better because just the food choices that I had to make have to be better. And so I don't even know that I ever really went full keto. I mean, I did the test strips, and I was in ketosis in and out. But for the most part, I really just cut out a lot of carbs and introduced a lot more protein and fat to my diet.

[00:38:12.930] – Jeremy

But again, that's the vegetarian. It was tricky because there aren't a lot of options for that. So I was relying heavily on the processed fake chickens and the fake meats to make sure I was getting the protein that I needed. I would not recommend that somebody do that, because we know that all that process stuff is not good for you to do on a regular basis by any means. But anything that just encourages you to eat fewer ingredients and real whole foods is what your body is craving. In terms of the motivation, the motivation came again from the external reward that Zack was dangling in front of me with the weight loss. But it really was how I felt and how the weight came off. And my entire relationship with food changed. There were days where coworkers would be sitting there eating cheese and crackers, and they would offer me some. And in the past, of course, free food, why would I say no? But when I would look at it, it wasn't even food anymore. It just didn't even register as food to eat a wheat then or whatever it was. So again, the motivation followed the action.

[00:39:18.210] – Jeremy

By taking the action, my body went, I like this, do more of this. And I had really no choice but to keep going because that was what my body was demanding of me.

[00:39:27.080] – Allan

So let's take a little bit deeper in that because I think what you said. There is super important. Your body told you, this is good. Okay, how do we open ourselves up to that conversation?

[00:39:44.350] – Jeremy

That, to me, goes back to the meditation topic. Any time that you can set aside every day to just shut the hell up and get out of your own way for a minute is going to just open your doors again, going back to the door analogy. But I just find that in quiet, I find all of the answers that I sit here racking my brain trying to come up with. So whether it was diet or last year, I moved to Canada, I moved to a new country, and I was Hemming and hawing and didn't know what to do. And, oh, man, how do I make this a tough decision? I got kids. Is this the right thing? And I finally just got quiet and just meditated. And I just kept verbally saying, Show me home. And I literally saw the home that I'm in now, like, it just appeared in my head. So that doesn't happen without my meditation practice. That doesn't happen without just taking time to get quiet and just listen to God, universe, energy, whatever your thing is. I don't subscribe to any of them. But there is something in me that gives me the answers, that gives me a path to follow.

[00:40:48.010] – Jeremy

If I can just get quiet enough to hear it.

[00:40:51.310] – Allan

Shut up and listen.

[00:40:53.770] – Jeremy

That's where all the answers are.

[00:40:57.310] – Allan

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

[00:41:06.610] – Zack

Move your body. That's number one for me. I know if I'm not moving in some way, shape or form, everything else kind of crumbles and falls apart. I go to the gym every single day for something. I'll either go for, like shoulder PT or do a full workout or go to power yoga class or something like that. But that is the number one thing for me. And then second is the mindfulness bit, which is why I go to yoga quite a bit. Unlike Jeremy, I can't actually sit still. I can't stand it. So sitting on a pillow meditating, saying, home is not my jam. I can't do it. So I do a lot of gentle yoga classes where you're not moving physically all that much. The whole point is the breathing. It's the meditation, but it's just enough movement where I'm comfortable with it. And then the third thing for me, and this actually ties into what we were just chatting about, was I read Tim Ferriss's Four Hour Workweek book a long time ago, and there was one piece in there about doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing and you'll find your way.

[00:42:19.000] – Zack

And I did that for nutrition one day, and I decided to just stop eating for a couple of days and fast. And I uncovered all of my emotional eating in that moment. So the number three thing for me is like eating in a way that's nourishing your body, not emotional eating, figuring out what your patterns are, why you eat, what you eat, and to Jeremy's point, right, like listening to your body and understanding that message. So for me, it was fasting unlocked a lot of that stuff. So moving my body, mindfulness and eating the right things to nourish your body.

[00:42:56.050] – Allan

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

[00:43:06.490] – Jeremy

I'm going to Echo Zach said just on the mindfulness thing. As I said, I just feel that any big answer, any big question I'm asking myself, it's in here somewhere and I just have to get out of my own way and listen to it. So meditation, mindfulness, however you can approach it, it's only going to help you. I also think that curiosity is just a huge tool to hang on in your toolbox because when you do find that you are emotionally eating or you're angry about something or you're just frustrated or whatever is going on, if you can again get into that moment and just get curious, why do I feel this way? Why am I opening this bag of Oreos? Why am I doing this thing? So often when I ask myself those questions while I'm doing the thing that I'm upset about or that I know I shouldn't be doing, I find that I no longer want to do that thing or that feeling dissipates because I can just shine this big bright light on it and make it really small and it goes away. So curiosity is huge. And then just kind of in terms of the bio hacking world, I can't get enough of the cold.

[00:44:04.230] – Jeremy

I wear shorts year round. My family teases me because I'll walk my kids to the bus stop in shorts and they're like, why are you wearing shorts? I feel at home in the cold. I always have. Even before I knew that cold exposure was a thing. I live next to a gigantic, beautiful Lake and as much as I can, I go and just sit in it for at least two minutes and just get cold because I just feel like it's this connection with nature, it's a reset. My whole body just reacts to it in a way that, again, makes me very present. When you're trying to stay alive for two minutes in twelve degree water, there's nothing quite like it. So to me, it's just all of that just kind of comes back to finding a way to just be in the moment and really know why you're doing what you're doing so that you can make the right choice to do the next right thing.

[00:44:50.260] – Allan

Okay. Thank you. Yeah, I'm going to go for the heat shock proteins. You can go for the cold.

[00:44:54.740] – Jeremy

All right. I've heard of hot yoga and I don't ever want to be anywhere near it. No, I can't do the heat.

[00:45:02.410] – Zack

I'll flip flop in between them. I love my cryo-chamber, but I also love the sauna.

[00:45:07.450] – Allan

Awesome. So guys, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your podcast, The Fit Mess, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:45:16.990] – Zack

We've got a website, thefitmess.com, all of our shows, all of our information is right there. We're also on social media all over the place as fitmess guys. And we are on every place you could download a podcast from. We're there.

[00:45:34.380] – Allan

Okay. Well, I'm going to put the link in the show notes. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/530. And I'll be sure to have those links there. Jeremy, Zack, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:45:47.950] – Jeremy

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

[00:45:49.580] – Zack

Yeah. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:45:57.650] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:45:59.180] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a fun conversation with Jeremy and Zack. They both have really good stories to share. It was interesting to hear how they got to where they are today.

[00:46:08.160] – Allan

Yeah. There's a lot to unwrap. Someone does something like this and in a few weeks I'm going to be a little while. I have another guest. I'm reading her book now and she lost over 150 lbs. You get these individuals that have this exceptional weight loss and you want to think they're superheroes, they're often famous people or they become famous. And so we like to kind of put this hero moniker on them. And the reality is Zack and Jeremy are just normal guys with normal jobs, but they did something exceptional for themselves. And there was a trigger for each of them that kind of made that happen. And from that, I think one of the key takeaways is that they didn't just decide one day they're going to do something, something happened or they really got serious. But it wasn't just a decision. I made the decision and it was eight years before I really got to doing something, anything important. And that's when I learned that I needed to be committed. I needed something in front of me, I needed a commitment, I needed to be serious about it. And I think if it's not happening for you, you've got to go back and do that check in and you've got to be brutally honest with yourself.

[00:47:36.170] – Allan

Are you really in it? Are you really trying? Because it may seem like you're trying when I tried this diet, did you and I don't mean that in a bad way, but really self exploration, it's like well, yeah, it was good Monday through Friday and then the Saturday and Sunday while I was off plan. Okay. Well, then you weren't on.

[00:48:03.610] – Rachel

Well, I think that people often expect overnight success or if not overnight, then a week of changing your diet and seeing success or a week of exercise and seeing some success. But it's a multifaceted thing, and it requires more than just a week to kind of test the waters with something new or a change that you've tried to implement.

[00:48:27.830] – Allan

And it's this consistency thing, and it's a consistency of being outside your comfort zone. So you can look at Jeremy. Okay, what does Jeremy decide he needs to do? Because he's talking to a physical therapist, and it's like, okay, you need to use your legs or you're going to lose them. It's like, okay, well, I'm going to buy a bike on Craigslist and get on that bike and ride it to work.

[00:48:55.480] – Rachel

Be the weird guy that rides his bike to work.

[00:48:59.420] – Allan

Exactly. Be the weird guy. Okay. I'm the weird guy who goes out and doesn't drink beer or alcohol right now. Okay. If I go out, I'm not drinking. And everybody's starting to accept it. That don't even bother. He's not going to because he has a commitment, he has a goal. He's got something in front of him that he's charging toward, and that's outside your comfort zone. It'd be so easy for me to sit there and say, everybody's having beer. I'll have a beer, too. Everybody's having a drink. I'll have a drink, too. But what I know is that that step off of the path for me is not just a step off. It's not just a little detour that I'd be taking. It would be a complete derailment of what I've accomplished. And it would take me a good, long time to mentally fix myself and get back on that trail. You have to be uncomfortable. There's no comfortable way to change.

[00:50:05.810] – Rachel

Well, committed. Committed is a key word here, too, Jeremy, like you had said, or he had said that he had a knee issue just like his parents. And he was on track to get in that same position and be a little bit worse off in the future. And once he committed to riding his bike to work, other things fell into place as well. And he had a friend that helped describe what a possible diet he could try the keto diet, and he found some success with that. And it kind of snowballs into a good area once you get rolling on it, as long as you stay committed to it.

[00:50:43.330] – Allan

Yeah, it will. But it doesn't start snowballing the first day, if you can imagine. Okay, we're not talking about just riding your bike down a park path. We're talking about literally he decides he's going to get on a bicycle and he's going to ride on the bike Lane in a city with traffic and everything else going. And he's quite literally maybe just probably was because he said he was terrified, which I would probably be, too. I'm not going to die of a heart attack. I'm going to die of a car hitting me.

[00:51:20.870] – Rachel


[00:51:22.130] – Allan

But he had to put himself uncomfortable. And he put some safety things in there because he knew, okay, riding 9 miles the first day might not be something he could actually accomplish. It turned out it was. But he was not just dumb and saying, okay, I'm going to do 9 miles the first day. He said, okay, I'm going to start and I'm going to figure out if I can ride my bike to work. And I will ride my bike to work. And yes, I'll be weird, I'll be uncomfortable, I'll be outside of the norm. I will do all those things that are outside my comfort zone. And he did that. And he had a friend, Zack, that had done Keto to lose a lot of weight. And so he said, okay, tell me about this. And I tell people about things all the time. Every week you're on here and we're having this conversation or these conversations about health, about taking care of yourself and giving you actionable items every single week. I asked the question at the end of an episode. Tell me your tricks. Tell me your tactics. Tell me your strategies. Can you imagine hundreds of episodes now that I've asked that question?

[00:52:31.080] – Allan

How many tactics and strategies have been mentioned on this podcast? Yours is there. The ones that will work for you are in those podcasts. They're out there. Now, the question then is, are you going to do it? People know I run the gym. I run the gym. Hey, Allan. Gym is open, right? You moved. Yeah. That's awesome. I'll be by there on Monday to join. Okay. Hey, Allan, I hear you're training for this tough Mudder. You've lost some weight. You're looking great. You're really doing this. I'm aghast. So tell me what you do to lose weight. And I tell them. End of conversation. Crickets. Not even crickets. It's quieter than crickets. I think we do have crickets here, I think. But it's quieter than crickets. I'm they're not going to do it. They don't do it. They don't want to do it. It's not the magic pill. It's not the easy button. It seems impossible. How can someone not eat cake?

[00:53:40.650] – Rachel

I've been listening to your podcast since you started, and it was very early on that you introduced the idea of Keto. And I listened to those podcasts for a long time, and I thought, Keto is another fad diet, which it is. And I just didn't see the sense. I didn't see the logic, and I just sat on it for a while. But when I did try it, it agreed with me. I mean, not right away. I certainly had the Keto flu like a lot of people do. But over time, it really does agree with me. That particular way of eating does agree with me. But it did take me a while to come to terms with it and at least the parts of it that I can easily agree with. And then a lot of people would no sugar because I really believe sugar is not good for you. We've talked about that. And no refined grains, no white flour, no white rice, no white pasta and any such thing. There's just no nutrients in it. And over time it works with me and I'm very committed because I feel good when I eat well and healthy foods, whole foods, real foods, and it works for me.

[00:54:55.200] – Rachel

And other people might find similar success with the vegan diet or vegetarian diet or any other diet that has the name that's out there. But the point is that you have to try something and you have to give it a chance. Changing your diet for a week is not going to yield any sort of livable, useful results. You need to try something for a long time to be committed to it for some time.

[00:55:20.190] – Allan

Well, before we got on here, you used a word and I think it's a really important word for us to put out there. And the word is gap. There are gaps, if you will, in this path. It's not a straight line. There's gaps. There's bits that aren't there that you have to fill in those gaps and you have to make it happen. You have to do the work to get there. The very first gap is the start. You've got to get momentum and you get momentum by actually starting. If you've ever tried to push a stalled car when you first start pushing, it's heavy, even if you're going slightly downhill, it's still heavy to get the car going. Once you get going, you get some momentum. Okay, same way with anything, that one thing that you're going to do. Just pick one thing. For Jeremy, it was riding his bike. For me, it was eating whole food. It was literally okay if it didn't walk this Earth or grow in the ground, if it was not alive at some point and I can't recognize it as being something alive and I mean really alive, there was not any of this.

[00:56:33.770] – Allan

Oh, well, these were oats. So I eat oatmeal. No, not even close. If it did not resemble something that was alive, meaning I could not pick it out of the ground and it be what it was, I didn't eat it. Okay. That strenuous. That's the paleo I did. And as a result of eating that way and trying to stay satiated, I went into ketosis. Okay, then there's the gap. When it starts getting hard, when things Plateau that first weekend where you say, okay, I'm not going to drink alcohol. That's going to be one of my main things. And I'm going to eat whole foods. And those are my two those are my two biggies the two rules. And then you get to the weekend and it's like, oh, we'll come over to my house, we've got the ball game coming on and they've got all the food and all the stuff set out and you're kind of like, okay, and they got the beers and all, have yourself a beer. And before you know it, you're digging into the cheese and chips and all that, and you're drinking the beer and it's like, oh, I'm over here making these hamburger and hot dogs.

[00:57:43.930] – Allan

You want one? And yeah, you end up with one of each or both or more. But you see, it's the gaps. There's those things that you've got to get past. And then the snowball starts to happen. It's like, oh, I have more energy, I feel better. I've lost 15 lbs. Now, my knees don't actually hurt when I get out of bed in the morning. So I could actually go for a walk. And you go for that walk and you're like, oh, that felt pretty good to go for that walk before I got ready for work. Kind of woke me up, got me going. I could listen to Allan's podcast, maybe not the whole thing in one walk yet, but you'll get there because we go a little longer now. But the whole point being is going to have these gaps. You can have these things that happen. And that's what for the first eight years of my journey was the problem. Was I had made the decision I wanted to do something and then I would start and I would either not get momentum or I would. And then something would trip me up, something would come in between me and what was going on.

[00:58:54.380] – Allan

There would be a lack of success, there would be an event and that event would completely throw me off. And if you've ever sat down and said, okay, well, so far I've lost 20 lbs and that's awesome. And then you go do something silly over a weekend and you step on the scale and it's 6 lbs more.

[00:59:17.150] – Allan

It's easy to just quit.

[00:59:19.980] – Allan

It's easy to walk away. So you've got to have that commitment. And then above all, you just have to be open and honest with yourself, who you are, what you're doing, and you show up. You don't say, I'm going to get that gym membership on Monday, it's Tuesday. You're listening to this. Maybe on a Tuesday, I'll get the gym membership on Monday. Well, guess what I'm going to tell you right now. You probably won't. I mean, you might do it now to prove me wrong, but no, you had no intention. You had no real intention because you had no commitment. And that's a hard thing to hear and it's actually a hard thing to say to people. But when someone tells me they're going to meet me at the gym on a certain day, unless they've paid me the money to be there and show up, they're not going to be there. 99% of the time someone tells me they're going to do something at the gym on a certain day if they haven't already paid the money to do it, they won't be there.

[01:00:32.990] – Rachel

Yeah. It's about making that decision to make a change and then committing to it.

[01:00:38.340] – Allan

Committing to it and then doing it. Those are gaps. There's a decision gap. It's not like pushing a button and it's instant gratification. There's a gap and it's the doing. So, yes, you can walk in a gym and you can give that gym you can sign a paperwork to sign up for that gym for a year, and you can give them the $10 and you can go in there and they'll show you all the stuff. And then tomorrow maybe you wake up bright and early and you put on your workout gear and you get down there. Where are you three weeks later? Are you still there? Are you still showing up? You're still doing your thing? Because if you do, then you're going to start looking at other things. The riding the bike leads to wanting to eat better. And then wanting to eat better means you're doing the research and you're following the path that we've helped you set forward. And again, as you said, Rachel, it's not just choosing a path I took or that you took or that Zack and Jeremy took. That's our path. It worked very well for us. It may or may not work out for you.

[01:01:47.320] – Allan

But here's the key. Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, carnivore, keto, all of it. One thing in common, low if none processed foods, you cannot. I have yet and you guys can help me. There's a lot of you out there. Find me someone who got fat eating whole food. No, seriously, this shouldn't be that hard, right? If you eat meat, fish and vegetables and fruit and that's all you eat, did you get heavy doing that? The answer is no. I mean, I'm just telling you right now, you're not going to find that person. And the reason all their diets are great is because that's what they're made up of. And the reason they think every other diet is terrible, because they think every other diet, they're eating the terrible foods. So vegan thinks all we keto people eat is bacon. And unfortunately, we sell that because you get to eat bacon, but you don't live on it at all.

[01:03:06.100] – Rachel


[01:03:06.910] – Allan

Bacon can be a part. I don't eat much bacon at all. I don't need it anymore. I eat whole food. I eat non processed food. In fact, the day I went grocery shopping, I bought four chicken thighs, a salad, premade salad and some broccoli. That's my dinner. And so every bit of it was something that I could have picked or killed. It was alive. And I know it was alive because it's in the form it was in when it was not a lot anymore. After it's picked, the processing on the chicken was to cut the thigh off. That was it. The processing for the plants. They washed and cleaned it a little bit and chopped it up for the salad. And the broccoli is a whole big sprout thing of broccoli. So slice it in the bucket, wrap in plastic and give a Talon charging $2.40 because broccoli is expensive here. I paid less for the chicken. But you get the idea is that every one of these diets, they work because they're whole food. That's it. Now to do that is challenging because what do I have to do to walk into a grocery store to get to the places where I needed these things?

[01:04:33.510] – Speaker 1

I had to walk by the chips, I had to walk by the dips. I had to walk by the cookies. I had to walk by the sodas. I had to walk by. You get the idea? All the breaded meats that are in the freezer section, all the processed meats that are in the freezer section. And I shop hungry, which you're not supposed to do, but still hungry. What does hungry mean? Hungry means I bought four instead of two. That's what it means. And I could have bought two chicken because they were all together. I mean, individuals. So I literally could have just said, okay, well, tonight for dinner I'll buy three or buy two. But I was like, no, I'm going to want two of these and I'm going to eat two of these and I'm going to enjoy the heck out of them. Baked chicken thigh. I'll season it with a little something, but basically that. And then I'll have a salad. I'll probably put some beets on it and some cucumber and tomato and then make a vinaigrette and boom, and then I'll Cook the broccoli and I may have a little bit of it, but most of that when I bought it for my wife because when I say 240, literally, that's enough for one and a half meals.

[01:05:39.270] – Allan

One and a half thing of broccoli. So it's not a lot of broccoli. It is quite expensive when you consider that broccoli, but it is where we are. So a little bit getting it here and I didn't buy the cauliflower because it was even more expensive. But that's what I eat. That's leafy Greens, cruciferous, vegetables and meat.

[01:06:01.650] – Rachel

That sounds delicious.

[01:06:02.790] – Allan

Every meal, all my meals, I have some nuts and seeds. I eat occasionally I will eat cream cheese or sour cream occasionally. I may put a little feta on my salad tonight. So a little bit of cheese here and there, but not a lot. But that's it. And that serves me very well. Now, of course, I didn't. I don't always because I have my on season and off season. But if it's not happening, you got to go deep and you got to be honest with yourself. And I'm pretty certain you're going to find the answer is no, you're actually not committed. You're not doing the things that you should be doing and you know it. Don't lie to yourself. Don't lie to anybody else if it's not happening. You're not flawed, physically or otherwise. You just haven't made the commitment yet. You're not emotionally where you need to be to make this happen. And that's okay. Except that you're not there. That's cool. You're learning things. These are tools. Build your tool chest. But don't pretend you're doing the right things and be disappointed with the results. If you're not. 80 20 is not Monday through Friday.

[01:07:23.050] – Allan

That's not the math. So let's be honest with ourselves. Let's make the right decisions. And we've gone long on this, but quite literally, this is going to be something we're showing episode 530. Yeah. It's nothing new in the sun, really. People going to ask, how do you do 530 episodes? It's like just finding one more person to listen that gets it and changes today. This is, you know, you're right. I haven't really gotten uncomfortable yet. I really haven't gotten out of my comfort zone and said, this is important. And it's not that you can't ever have a piece of cake. You can't ever have a piece of candy or whatever it is, whatever your thing is or can't ever have another beer. It's not what we're saying because you can you can manage that back in at some level, either as a sometimes thing or like I do a cycle in and out kind of thing. But you got to figure out what works for you first. But if you don't do the big thing to get where you want to be, then there's no off ramp you never got on. You might not even be driving down the frontage road.

[01:08:42.440] – Rachel

Yeah, well, like Jeremy, he had a scared straight situation. He was told that he's going to have problems in the future if he doesn't make a change. And Zack had a tough childhood. He had a long ways to go with his health as well. And it's when you are made aware of a situation, you need to figure out how you're going to change it and commit to that change and bridging that gap between learning you need to make a change and committing to it and actually doing it. It's hard sometimes, but there's a lot of resources out there. There's a lot of people that can help. And even us on this podcast, reach out to Allan's website and ask a question if you need help or support. That's what we're here for.

[01:09:26.620] – Allan

Yes, absolutely. That's the big thing. Just reach out, get this thing started. Because he had a scared straight moment. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people their first heart attack is not our last heart attack because they're not alive to have another one. People are dying at ages of 40 and 30 with heart attacks. It's their only heart attack. It's the last one. It's the only one, and it's the one that ends their lives. And so the whole point being is not that that's your fate, but just recognize that some people wake up calls are also their good night calls. So don't let that be the case. We know that your health is where it is. If you want to change it you don't have to have that huge health scare. You know it's there. You know it's there. Have it mentally go through it. Get yourself together and make the change.

[01:10:23.340] – Rachel

Yes. Absolutely.

[01:10:25.650] – Allan

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

[01:10:29.140] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[01:10:30.510] – Rachel

You too. Bye.

[01:10:31.550] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye.


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

– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


March 14, 2022

Is there a new villain in the mystery of heart disease with Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

For decades, the effort on solving the heart disease mystery has been focused on one villain, cholesterol. But what if cholesterol is the red herring?

In his book, The Clot Thickens, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick brings forward a new hypothesis and shows us how it might just be the key to solving the mystery of heart disease.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:10.750] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things going?

[00:01:12.800] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:14.860] – Allan

I'm tired.

[00:01:17.350] – Rachel

I bet. You've been busy.

[00:01:19.470] – Allan

I've been busy. Yeah. We're moving the gym. We've talked about this a few times on the show, but yes, this weekend was when the rubber hit the road and got a crew together, loaded up almost all the equipment, put it in there. And I'm kind of particular about certain things in the gym, so I want to make sure this stuff makes sense. And there's not one piece there and then the other piece there. So if someone wants to work legs, it kind of works. If someone wants to work with the dumbbells, it kind of works. So putting it in and a lot of people helping. And it's great to have a lot of people helping, but sometimes it's also not so great to have a lot of people helping. You're like, okay, I got to figure things out, and I don't want a lot of people standing around. So it's like, okay, so everybody got all the equipment in there, and just so there's a stack of shit stuff. Okay, I am sorry. Stacks of stuff everywhere. And I'm like, okay, I'm going through it, putting it where I want it, assembling things that weren't assembled or had to be unassembled to move and got everything kind of where I want it.

[00:02:30.960] – Allan

And then today was just working on taking the camera system down. And it's kind of surprising. I'm generally fit, but I'm apparently not walk up and down a ladder a lot of times and move the ladder and up and down again and walk the ladder. That kind of worked out.

[00:02:55.530] – Allan

I'm fine. Just let me pull stuff around and just pick up dumbbells and go around. I can do that all day long, but that up and down the ladder thing is just man, that's a workout. Yeah. So if you want to work out, just grab a six foot ladder, open it up, set it up, just walk to the top of it, reach up to the wall, grab something, touch them on the wall and then come back down, move the ladder again and go up again. Just do that about 50 times.

[00:03:24.850] – Rachel

Sounds like you have a new piece of equipment you could add to your gym.

[00:03:28.510] – Allan

Yeah, ladders. Well, there is actually a piece of machinery called a Jacob's ladder. And it's basically these rungs that just go and put them on a machine like a treadmill, and you reach up and you grab one of the rungs and it just goes. And so it's like you're consistently climbing up a ladder at about a 45 degree, maybe a little bit steeper than a 45 degree. So there's a little bit of upper body strength because you're not just pulling yourself, but you're sort of also having to support a little bit of your body weight at that angle. And then, of course, most of it, if you're doing it right, is with your legs. So, yeah, there is a Jacob's ladder. That's an exercise piece of equipment or torture equipment, if you will. Yeah, you can do the same, but just go to Home Depot and buy a six foot ladder.

[00:04:15.670] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh, that's a workout.

[00:04:18.830] – Allan

Yeah. So how are things up there?

[00:04:20.640] – Rachel

Good. It's funny you say you're tired. I was going to say the same thing. My trainer calls this month the monster month, which is very appropriate. I did a 16 miler or the other weekend and 18 after that. And this will be a cutback weekend, and after that will be my 20 miler. So that's a monster month. That's a lot of miles. And I'm tired.

[00:04:45.010] – Allan

I never did 20 miles ever training for any of the races, even the ultra that I did, I'd never done a 20.

[00:04:51.750] – Rachel

What was your highest?

[00:04:52.760] – Allan

I think I did an 18 when I was training for the ultra.

[00:04:57.230] – Rachel

That's a very common point to stop at. Some people do 18 or 20. Other people might do 22, but usually 18 is the magic number. So there's really not a whole ton to gain with just two more miles that might be just anywhere from…

[00:05:14.890] – Allan

You are pushing past what would normally be the bonk for most runners. And so, yeah, the 14 to 18 miles. And anyone doing a marathon or planning to do a marathon that 14 to 18 is about the time when your body starts telling you, hey, we've done enough of this. It's probably time to stop. And so the individuals that can mentally push past that point can actually potentially go forever. Not true, but in a general sense, there's a mental aspect of every mile after 14 that's very different. And for every person, it's a little different. But I just know that if you get to a marathon by mile 14, I'd say probably 90% of the people doing that marathon are walking at that point. So they might have started a little faster than you. But if you're still basically even doing a job, you're going to see a lot of walkers after mile 14, and a lot of people bailing out at that point, too. So maybe pushing yourself just a little bit past bonk in a training run is actually good from a mental fortitude. If nothing else.

[00:06:30.930] – Rachel

That's what I was going to say, 20 is my preferred number for me. It just makes me feel a little better, a little more accomplished, feel a little bit more confident. And so for some reason, for no reason, really physically, it's just for me, that's the mental part where okay, I know I got this.

[00:06:49.990] – Allan

How many weeks out are we from the run?

[00:06:52.430] – Rachel

Oh, gosh, I think we are five weeks away. It's early April. Coming up fast.

[00:06:58.220] – Allan

So is this a long taper or are you going to have a monster and then a couple of other really tough days?

[00:07:03.970] – Rachel

I don't know, because I only get two weeks of my schedule at a time. And the reason why we do that is because it could change based on how I'm feeling. I might progress faster or need some more recovery time, but I suspect that I will probably have roughly a two week taper. So to the 20 miler, it will probably be my last hard effort, my long effort, and then it'll just be kind of fine tuning little stuff after that, probably some more Hill and speed work.

[00:07:31.170] – Allan

Speed work.

[00:07:32.650] – Rachel

Always the fun stuff. Fun and fast.

[00:07:36.550] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to have this conversation with Dr. Kendrick?

[00:07:40.720] – Rachel



[00:08:16.810] – Allan

Dr. Kendrick, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:19.990] – Dr. Kendrick

Thanks for inviting me. Thanks for inviting me. Looking forward to it.

[00:08:23.340] – Allan

Yeah, well, I'm 56 years old, male, Caucasian, and so anything that does with heart disease kind of comes top of mind as the number one killer for guys like me and ladies of my age as well. It's become a thing that we all know is actually the biggest killer for most of us. And so your book, The Clot Thickens, the Enduring Mystery of Heart Disease. Well, of course I'm going to want to read that mystery because it's a murder mystery. It's a big one. I'm really happy to have you here today. The one thing I'll start this out with is while I do consider myself somewhat of a health and fitness geek, I'm not anywhere close to the running in the running for Cardiovascular Research Geek of the Year, as you are. So I have to tell you as I was reading the book, one, it's fascinating. I'd love to sit down in a bar and have a beer with you because you just seem like that kind of fun guy that I would enjoy that time with. But beyond that, I think you opened up a whole different layer of the onion and then literally just started chopping it up deeper, deeper, deeper.

[00:09:43.070] – Allan

I thought I knew a lot because I've talked to a lot of people and I've studied this. And like I said, I consider myself a geek. But then you started really going deep into some of these concepts that quite frankly, it's deeper than I could wave and understand all the time. So I'm going to tell you, you left me alone sometimes, but you always seem to come back. And it was just this layering of understanding that when you get to the end of it, you're like, well, okay, that actually makes sense. And that's why they say this and they do that. So I want to get into that in a little bit later. But I want to thank you for this book because I do think for anyone who's concerned about their heart health or anything cardiovascular health related, this is a great book to read.

[00:10:29.810] – Dr. Kendrick

Thank you.

[00:10:31.490] – Allan

Now, of course, most of us were in our 50s, 40s, 50s 60s. We go into the doctor, they take a little bit of blood beforehand, and then they go in there and shock and awe, oh, my God, your cholesterol is so high. How are you still alive? We've got to get you on a statin, and a lot of that comes back to this, I'm going to call it a cholesterol hypothesis. But to be fair, anyone on that side of the argument, they don't believe it's a hypothesis anymore. They believe it's a law, a law of heart, if you will. This cholesterol. Can we talk a little bit about why this became so contentious? Why is there no debate beyond this is what happens. And then a little bit about why there might be a crack in the armor for this cholesterol hypothesis.

[00:11:29.930] – Dr. Kendrick

I think you go through this and you can go through it in different ways. The sort of question of why does it just become the same questions back to the first law of statin dynamics or whatever we call it. It's quite interesting, but I am interested in looking at how ideas take hold and become incredibly widely believed based on very little. In this case, it was more than very little. But the idea itself was in a way, I think it's taking hold because it's so simple, although it keeps changing. So the original thinking was if you eat too much cholesterol or diet high cholesterol, this will raise your blood cholesterol level, and then this excess cholesterol will be deposited in your arteries that will cause thickening and narrowings. And then eventually one of the thickenings will fully block and you'll have a heart attack or stroke. So it's incredibly easy to visualize. And I think there's a story humans love a nice, easy story because HL Menken who said for every complex problem there's a solution that's easy, simple to understand and wrong. In this case, we have a very easy and simple to understand story.

[00:12:44.610] – Dr. Kendrick

Of course, if you go back to the man who pushed it hardest was Angel Keys, who many people have heard of. Some people think he's a hero. He's not one of my heroes, but he was the first one to really push it. And he started off by saying, if you eat cholesterol too much cholesterol, the cholesterol level rise, et cetera, et cetera. He then did experiments on feeding human beings cholesterol and find it made absolutely no difference to the level of cholesterol or at the time, the cholesterol he was measuring. I'm not entirely sure what he was measuring because no one knew was that thing called LDL. It just measured a kind of lipids in your blood. So leaving that to one side, it made no difference. And in fact, if you look at recent experiments, cholesterol in the diet makes almost no difference to cholesterol in your bloodstream. And of course, you don't even have any cholesterol in your bloodstream. So the whole concept starts to fall apart as you dig into it. But then I think it was kind of floundering a bit in about the late 70s and 80s when there had been various cholesterol which are actually LDL loadings, like protein, bad cholesterol, the term for it lowering agents, but they hadn't really made any difference.

[00:13:53.910] – Dr. Kendrick

Then statins came along. They lowered the LDL, they reduced the risk of heart disease, and they were held as the ultimate severes of mankind. And at that point, really any opposition apart from very few people, just faded away. If you have hypothesis high LDL causes heart disease, it would lower the LDL, low density of protein, and the rate of heart disease goes down. Now, that's pretty strong evidence you would imagine. In fact, most people thought it was conclusive. This is it, if you like. So I think that's kind of rushed over millions of bits in the way. But I suppose that's the kind of basic elements to it. And of course, there was a point where to research at Dulstein and Brown found that people who had extremely high levels of LDL in their bloodstream were more likely to die heart disease when they were young. They then identified a thing called the LDL receptor, which takes LDL out of the bloodstream. And people who had fewer LDL receptors or ones that didn't work properly had these extremely high levels of LDL. And then they said that a lot of them died very young. And if you like this conclusive proof, and in fact, people throw the familiar hypochosterolemia, which is a term high

[00:15:16.680] – Dr. Kendrick

It's not cholesterol, it's LDL. So it should really be called familiar high density lipoproteinmia. But if you look at the actual facts around familiar hypocholesterolemia, in fact, that argument doesn't hold up very well, but people just don't even wish to look at it. But in fact, I wrote a paper recently with a few other researchers showing that some people with high LDL at the same time have a high number of clotting factors. The two things are very often related. And in fact, the LDL receptor itself takes clotting factors out of the blood. So if you have less LDL receptors, you have both a high LDL and you have a lot of extra clotting factors. So there's two things going on. And in fact, when you look at familiar FH and you look at, say, brothers who got the gene for LDL being raised, one of them has the LDL problem and the other one doesn't, they both have the same rates of heart disease because the other one has also got the forcing factor out of the heart disease. In fact, it's almost like I sometimes use the example of Twelve Angry Men, a film which you may or may not have seen.

[00:16:30.450] – Dr. Kendrick

But it starts in a courtroom where a young Latino man, this is 1940s, is accused of murdering his father and all the evidence has built up that it looks like it couldn't possibly be anybody else. It's got to be him. He was seen holding an unusual knife. Somebody shouted, they heard him shouting, I'll kill you, et cetera, et cetera. And the film is basically somebody picking every single piece of evidence apart to the point where you end up saying, well, actually, yes, he couldn't stab his father because the person who apparently heard him shout was deaf and it was an alt training going past at the same time. And the person who thought they saw him stabbed him, wore thick glasses and couldn't possibly have seen what was going on, et cetera, et cetera. All those are very simple things. But the central theme of the film was actually that once you've decided someone's guilty, you create all the evidence and you just bring it around and everything is made to fit to this action. Whereas if you sort of come back and say, okay, let's see if anybody else could have committed this murder, let's look at what actually happened.

[00:17:32.350] – Dr. Kendrick

And to an extent, that's kind of where I took it, which is you almost can't talk about heart disease without talking about LDL and cholesterol because that's the playing ground field, if you like. And as I said to many people, I discuss it. I've tried to say, if you play on that playing ground, on the playing field, the referees belong to them, the ball belongs to them, the Stadium belongs to them, they write all the rules and you can't win. So what you have to do is say, well, I'm not going to play that game in that place because I can't win there because you'd end up talking about cholesterol all the time, but I don't want to talk about cholesterol because it doesn't make any sense. So I've tried in this book to sort of say, leave it aside. Let's look at it from another perspective. Is there another way of looking at heart disease with ignoring LDL cholesterol and all that, that actually fits the facts better than the cholesterol hypothesis? And in fact, I believe that almost anything fits the facts better than the cholesterol hypothesis, because beyond the things that I've told you, some of which are not even true, there isn't anything to sustain it.

[00:18:36.730] – Dr. Kendrick

People say, I would use an example sometimes I say, well, smoking a cigarette, what does that do to your LDL level? Nothing. So what's the connection between there was an advert in the UK at one point showing people smoking cigarettes, and as they smoked cigarettes, and a sticky Goo came out at the end of it and they were trying to say, if you smoke a cigarette, the sticky Goo goes into your arteries. Well, there is no sticky Goo in a cigarette. So where does the sticky Goo come from? Within the cigarette? There's nothing there to associate with, say, the LDL. So there's a very important factor. And what makes it has absolutely no connection with cholesterol or LDL. And if you look at, say, diabetes, which probably from a population perspective, and the fact that there are more people with diabetes, there's millions of people on a population basis. Diabetes doesn't raise your cholesterol level, nothing to do with your cholesterol level. So it's obviously operating through a different mechanism. So when you start looking at the things that can cause heart disease and say that we know cause heart disease, there are some things that we say cause heart disease and they don't.

[00:19:44.860] – Dr. Kendrick

But smoking definitely does. Diabetes definitely does. And you look at those two things and say, well, let's try and relate them to the LDL hypothesis. Well, I can't. There's nothing there nothing to grow up all of. So something else is happening in this case. Something else is causing a heart disease with these very highly increased population levels. But if you look at even raised blood pressure, which does increase the risk of heart disease, again, what's that doing to your LDL? Nothing. So when you start looking at all sorts of factors, the most important factors, if you go to your doctor and they say, let's look at your risk of heart disease in the UK, they have a thing called Q risk. It's about 20 factors, of which none of them are LDL. Actually, it doesn't even figure in assessing your risk. So the more you look at it, the more you think it just doesn't work.

[00:20:36.920] – Allan

Basically, the way I look at it is you ask someone, where did you find your keys? And the answer is, the last place I looked. And so if you think you have your answer, you stop looking. And if we did that in other aspects of science, we would still be saying the Earth is flat. We would still be saying the stars and the planets circle us and we're the center of the universe. And I don't mean that in a soft way. I'm just saying someone had to be the heretic. Someone had to step out on a ledge and say, well, there's a few bits and pieces here that just don't seem to make sense. They don't line up the way that you say they do. And here's this other hypothesis that seems to line up more of them. And that's the hypothesis you brought forward in the book, the Thrombogenic, or I'm going to call it from going for blood clot, because that rolls off the tongue a little easier.

[00:21:35.590] – Dr. Kendrick

Thrombo just means blood clotting and generic just means the initiation of where it comes from anyway.

[00:21:44.470] – Allan

Right? Exactly. You get into medical terminology a few times in the book because a lot of times the same words are used for different words are used for the same thing. And sometimes the same words are used for different things where you're talking salts or you're talking this or that. So the reality is it gets very complex sometimes just the terminology that makes it that way.

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[00:24:10.090] – Allan

In The Blood Clot Hypothesis, can you kind of give us a general, high level overview of what that is and how that's different?

[00:24:19.510] – Dr. Kendrick

Yeah. Well, essentially it's very I try to keep it as simple as possible, is that all your blood vessels are now just starting with a point that obviously this atherosclerosis, which is a thickening in your arteries, it only occurs in your arteries, larger arteries in your body, never in your veins, and never very rarely in the blood vessels in your lungs, which are called pulmonary circulation, which is one of the first things you look at and say, well, why there? But anyway, all of the blood vessels in your body are lined by a thing called endothelial cells, a bit like tiles on the wall, although they're obviously a lot more complicated than tiles on your wall. And so you have the flexible tiles on all your blood vessels called endothelial cells, and they have many different functions. I like to think of the endothelium as like an organ of your body. It's just so huge and complicated, so many mechanisms, it does so much. These cells are like, just unbelievably complicated. But anyway, outside of all their functions, one of the clear functions that they have is to stop anything sticking to them. So they are like Teflon.

[00:25:33.190] – Dr. Kendrick

So blood flows through them, it doesn't stick to them and it doesn't form clots on them. And there's all sorts of things that I say in the book that all these endothelial layers are actually covered by a very Teflon layer, not really Teflon. It looks like a lawn under the electron microscope. Little tendrils and tendrils of sugars and proteins that stick out and they contain them. Within this forest are anticoagulant factors and factors that make the blood vessels contract and expanded hugely complicated system going on in there. But essentially there's a very strong do not clot here message going on in all blood vessels. But if you damage this called glycocalyx, which is a term that most doctors have never heard of. But if you damage the glycocalyx and you expose the endothelial cell underneath, you start to lose this anti coagulant layer. If you strip endothelial cells or damage them, then you expose the underlying artery wall. And then that's a very big mistake, because lying in there are like factors that are incredibly potent blood clotting agent or tissue factor, which is basically like the red alarm signal. The moment tissue factor is exposed, the blood hits that point and just goes, bang, I'm going to have a blood clot.

[00:26:51.950] – Dr. Kendrick

Of course, if you take off one endothelial cell, we're talking about something that's 100 in the thickness of a human hair. So this is not a major blood clot we're talking about, but if you do, say a thousand or however many it is and damage them in some way, the blood clot will form at that point. Now, this is probably happening, I hate to say it in your blood vessels. Most of the time, we are continuously having points in our blood vessels that are doing a lot of stress and damage and blood clot forming. Mostly what happens then is the blood clot stops growing, because for every factor that says blood clot start here, there's another 20 factors going, stop, stop. We don't want this going too far. It's a tremendously complicated feedback system all the time. It's just mind bogglingly complicated. But anyway, so clot forms, there stops forming, it shaved away through various mechanisms. And something that people couldn't understand for many hundreds of years was how do you find a plaque which some people have said was a blood clot underneath the endothelium? Because surely if the clock forms, it must form on top of the endothelium, not underneath the endothelium.

[00:28:05.500] – Dr. Kendrick

And in fact, the very first person to propose this hypothesis, called Workout in 1852. So we are going back a long time couldn't explain, he said, when I'm looking at a sporting plates, I'm looking at blood clots, I'm looking at them and they are blood clots in various stages of repair and growth and whatever. And another chap called worker who made people with horror city, but it's underneath the endothelium. So they knew there was a thing called which I'm quite impressed with, and they also knew what they were looking at. And so people who say there was no such thing as heart disease before the year 1900, I've got two guys in Vienna discussing atherosclerosis plots in detail 50 years before this. Anyway, so what they didn't realize was that, yes, you get this blood clot and it falls on this area. And then what happens? What if it just broke off and carried on down the archery? It would eventually block something further down, so that can't happen. So what happens is that there are pre endothelial cells. They're called endothelial progenitor cells. They're floating around in your bloodstream, they're made in your bone marrow and they recognize this area of blood clot and they stick to it and they form a new layer of endothelium on top of it.

[00:29:15.860] – Dr. Kendrick

And then the blood clot that has formed is now within the artery wall. This is how it happens. Endothelial progenitor cells were not discovered till the mid 19th 90s, by the way. So obviously what then happens is that little blood clot that's formed mostly repair systems come along, things called macrophages white blood cells. They tear it away, they chomp at it, they take it into tiny little bits and then get rid of it removed and it's gone. The problem happens is if you have repeated blood clots at that same point, so you kind of get blood clots, it then becomes associated with an area of vulnerability to that point where it's formed. New industry sales are not as robust. There's a bit of flat lying underneath it. It's a bit narrowed at that point. So this becomes a focus if you like a bit like a pothole in a road where a pothole forms and then somebody bumps and then bump, bump, bump, bump, bump. And eventually you get this big pothole, which is a major problem, and you've got to fill it in. I know that sometimes use the analogy, if you don't fill in your potholes fast enough, then your roads will be a disaster.

[00:30:24.410] – Dr. Kendrick

If you make sure you repair your potholes fast enough, then you will have an apparently smooth road. If you look at it closely, you'll probably see there was a pothole here once, but it's okay now. It's been repaired. And then gradually you get blood clot forming after blood clot forming after blood clot forming, the artery narrows at that point, and then it becomes a focus for that final blood clot that is big enough to block the artery fully. And then you have things like heart attacks and strokes. So it's really just the same process. And conventional medical thinking accepts that the final event is a blood clot. We all know that. There's also a pretty wide acceptance that the growth of plaques is due to repeated blood clotting at the same point. You can see this happening and you can see that if you look at some of the facts and our trees, it looks like tree rings one after the other. What they won't accept is that the first step in this process is the same thing. At the moment the idea is, well, it's LDL that gets into the artery wall and causes the initial thickening, and then another process takes over the blood clotting process.

[00:31:32.850] – Dr. Kendrick

All I'm saying all the thermogenic hypothesis of the blood clotting hypothesis is it's the same process from start to finish. The first step is damage to the artery wall, followed by a blood clot. The growth is damaged to the artery wall, followed by blood clot. And the final event is damaged to the Artery wall, followed by a big obstructive blood clot. So essentially it's just the same process all the way through. That's it. It's not a complicated mechanism. If I just want an easy mechanism, I think most people can understand it. It's not beyond that can of anybody to understand. So that really is the process of plaque initiation, growth, and then the final terminal event is all the same thing. So that's it, is that makes sense.

[00:32:23.920] – Allan

Yeah, absolutely. I'm going to jump ahead a little bit on our plan here, because I think this is actually a really good time to talk about lipoprotein A versus the LDL that we've become so accustomed to measuring. You brought up something I think that was really interesting was that I've talked to a lot of doctors and a lot of them say, yeah, there's cholesterol in those blockages. Those blockages have cholesterol in them, which you would expect if the Blood's clotting. It's pulling in a lot of other stuff with it. But in fact, what you've said in the book was that these are more like cholesterol salts, I guess. Cholesterol esters, I'm sorry, I think, is what you said. Cholesterol esters versus actual cholesterol. And that's where the lipoprotein a, which in talking to some people about blood tests, they're saying you want to add that to your lipid panel because that number might actually be important. More important than LDL? And in your book, you seem to indicate that it probably is, although we don't have a statin or something we can really take to reduce it. So there's not a lot of emphasis on studying what we could do about that.

[00:33:33.220] – Dr. Kendrick

No. Well, yeah, I mean, it's part of it almost a twelve angry man approach, is that you say, oh, look, there's cholesterol crystals inside atherosclerotic plaques, then there are cholesterol crystals inside atherosclerotic plaques. And the argument goes, well, cholesterol is carried around in LDL, low density lipoproteins, and therefore the cholesterol we see as these crystals must have come from the LDL. Where else could it have come from? Of course, the answer to that is that cholesterol is carrying around in proteins as our fats, and some of the things that the cholesterol is all carrying around in what's called a cholesterol Ester, which is one cholesterol molecule attached to a fatty acid that's just, Esther is acid plus up. But don't worry, the chemical is relatively straightforward, but one thing you cannot do is turn the cholesterol Ester into phosphorus Crystal, because you need pure cholesterol in order to do this. So the one place it could not have come from a cholesterol Crystal is the LDL. That's not a possible source for it. Then you ask the question, where could it have come from? And the answer is, the only tissue in the body that contains sufficient free cholesterol is the membranes of red blood cells.

[00:34:49.590] – Dr. Kendrick

And neurons have quite a few, but they don't float around in the bloodstream. In fact, cholesterol is essential to the function of red blood cells because it modulates the what they call the lipid layer, if you like, and allows the oxygen to get in and the oxide to get out. Without this intercollation, which is the thing within the blood cell membrane, it couldn't work. So it's very high in cholesterol, and that is the only potential source of enough free cholesterol to form a Crystal. And in fact, there are several papers, if you go and look, and if you decide to look, people have looked at it and said, basically, yes, the cholesterol crystals are found not in all plaques, but in a lot of them, and that this cholesterol cannot have come from cholesterol esters within LDL, therefore, they must have another source. The only possible source is red blood cells. I mean, this is written down in ten papers that I read. These people have just come to this conclusion, but the next conclusion is therefore, well, if it didn't come from LDL and it came from red blood cells, this changes our entire thinking about what's inside plaque, doesn't it?

[00:36:01.480] – Dr. Kendrick

Well, apparently it doesn't, because there is no evidence you can present that interferes with people saying, well, it doesn't matter anyway. The other thing I need touching on it is, of course, you can find the remnants of lipoproteins, low density lipoproteins in plaques. We can find the remnants of anything if you decide to look, I don't know. And then people have said, well, that they must have been LDL. And you go, well, yes, you can find these things. But of course, if you went past 100 primary care physicians or 100 doctors patients and said, what is LPA? Lipoprotein, what is it? They don't know. They have no idea what it is. And when you say to them what LPA is, is an LDL molecule with an extra protein attached to it. And that protein is April Hypocritein. A. That's why it's called LPA. So this extra protein is stuck to the side of an LDL. It's quite a big protein. And you get asked, well, what the hell is it doing there? Why have, say, 20% of your LDL molecules floating around in your blood got this additional protein stuck to the side of it?

[00:37:10.890] – Dr. Kendrick

It can't be there by accident. It has to have a purpose. What is the purpose? Well, the interesting, the fascinating thing is that is that if you look at all blood clots when they form contain a protein called plasminogen. And plasminogen is incorporated into all blood clots. And it doesn't do anything, except if it is activated, it turns into plasma, which is an enzyme which splits apart blood clots. The plasma is a blood clot destroyer. And you turn plasminogen into plasma with a substance called tissue plasminogen activator. Some people may have heard of this because when you have a stroke or heart attack, you can be given this enzyme as an injection. And it finds a blood clot and it strips it apart and gets rid of the clot. So the circulation opens up again. Now, TPA turns plasminogen into plasma. Lpa, the Apollife protein, a protein that is attached to LPA, is almost identical to plasminogen. In fact, it is chemically identical, except it's folded differently at one end. That's important because enzymes, if they come across a protein that's differently folded, can't do anything with them. So TPA comes across LPA and bounces off it.

[00:38:43.830] – Dr. Kendrick

So LPA inhibits the function of TPA. So if you have a blood clot with lots of LPA in it, TPA can't turn plasminogen into plasma. And the clot cannot be got rid of, at least not so easily. And what's interesting is that if you have damage to an artery, almost the first thing that's attracted to it is LPA. It sticks to the surface area, forms bonds there, and you've got like a super glue or whatever you call it, layer, which is absolutely rammed in there. So the more LPA you have in your blood, if you get arterial damage, then you get harder to remove blood clot forming there. It's a tough thing to remove. So the TPA comes along, tries to activate the plasminogen to turn the plasminogen into plasma. Lpa is there. It says no, you ain't touring anything to anything else. And so therefore you have a blood flow. So the LPA doesn't cause the damage to the artery wall. But when there is damage, it accelerates or accentuates the damage considerably. It's more difficult to get rid of this clot. So instead of a blood clot size A, you have a blood clot size two A.

[00:39:56.990] – Dr. Kendrick

So that point of damage with people who have high LPA levels is going to become more of a rapid focus for the development of heart disease. Now of course, the other thing that happens is that the LPA becomes incorporated into the plaque and the LPA, if you look at it and you don't look for the apolypoprotein a protein looks exactly like LDL because it is LDL. So if you just look for LDL, you find LDL. But if you look for LPA, you find it's actually LPA. It's just a complete idiotic guide to grabbing the wrong end of the stick. By the way, this is not controversial. I'm saying these things, putting the whole story together. This way people don't tend to do it, but nothing I am telling you about the structure of plasminogen, TPA, apolypoprotein A, blah, blah, blah. This is all just factual. You can go and look it up and you will find I'm just saying things that are absolute scientific facts. So you're right, LPA is more of a risk factor than Ldl. Ldl isn't that risk factor. It is a risk factor for heart disease. But if you don't have any of the other underlying problems that cause endothelial damage, it doesn't matter.

[00:41:14.980] – Dr. Kendrick

Nothing's going to happen. And the reason why we have LPA in the first place is because humans can't produce vitamin C. And vitamin C, if you don't have enough vitamin C, we can't make it ourselves. We have to eat it. If you have enough vitamin C, one of the first things that happens is your blood vessels start to crack because vitamin C is required to produce collagen and collagen strengthens your arteries. And when your arteries start to weaken, your blood vessels start to weaken. Which is why the first sign of scurvy is bleeding guns and then bleeding everything else. And then you bleed to death. So LPA comes along, finds these cracks and sticks to it. Now that's great if you don't have enough vitamin C. But if you have too much LPA and you've got cracks forming and you don't want to form, then you're at more risk of dying of heart disease. This is just a fact. Again, in fact, everything if you turn it around, if you decide LDL causes heart disease, you look at plaques, you see they've got LDL, then you see they've got cholesterol in them and then you go.

[00:42:12.530] – Dr. Kendrick

If it's all. There you go. Yeah, but cholesterol can't have come from LDL. It could only have come from a blood cell. And the LDL particles you're seeing are actually LPA, which is a completely different thing. It's actually a blood clotting factor. It's got nothing to do with raised lipid levels in your blood. So it's just again, as you said, the planet circle the Earth, circle the planet as a sun. You can almost create and in fact, people did a model where you have the Earth at the center of the solar system and the sun going around and the moon going around, and people did. They had complicated models. 600 BC, the antiquthera mechanism produced by the Greeks, where you cranked it round and round and then the planets moved in order and the sun moved in the moon, and you could work out where you were. It was completely the wrong way around, but it very nearly worked. Ldl hypothesis, it's the wrong way round, but it very nearly worked. So, in other words, that's why it continues, because you can look at an individual thing and say, oh, that's proof. And you go, Actually, that's contradiction, not proof.

[00:43:18.970] – Allan

But like I said. Once you find your keys, you quit looking. So let's talk about that, because the if is a really important thing. If there's damage, if there's significant damage, then we have a problem, particularly if we have these other risk factors. I want to go through a few of these because these are really important because you're probably going to hear the alignment with a lot of things your doctor will tell you. And this is kind of the lynch pin. If you address these things, you lower your risk considerably. So the first one is blood sugar. And before we jump in, I wanted to say one thing real quickly. I really appreciate that you took the time to discuss diabetes and prediabetes and really kind of just came to the whole conclusion. Let's just call them the same thing, because just because you haven't diagnosed it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We're already long down that road before it happens, but the core of it is what's happening with our blood sugar and then the insulin response of our body. Can you get into why blood sugar, high blood sugar, particularly, is a problem for our endothelial. Endothelium.

[00:44:44.050] – Dr. Kendrick


[00:44:45.260] – Allan


[00:44:52.330] – Dr. Kendrick

Well, as I said, the Endothelium has this lining called glycocalics, which is like strands of sugar and protein all stitched together again. We'll call it 1 mm thick. It isn't 1 mm thick, it's about zero or whatever. It is 1 mm thick. And you want it to be checked because it acts as a protective layer. It starts by crossing, blah, blah, blah. So when you look at and it's possible to look at the glycocalics layer under a microscope. Now, there's a glycol check monitoring, where you can stick it under the tongue and you can see the thickness of the glycocalics and you can do certain things to it. You can make people's blood sugar go up and if their blood sugar goes up, you can see the glycocalics' shrinking and people who have high blood sugar levels have got damaged clumpy, not very healthy glycocalics. This is, again, just you can go and look up like a check or something, but you want to go and look at it. It looks like a good glycocalics anyway. So obviously this makes the entire underlying endothelium is now exposed to the blood. Things come along and stick to the endothelium. Things damage, the endothelium. Endothelium gets stripped off.

[00:46:04.220] – Dr. Kendrick

Blood plots form. It's just the same process really going on. Double trouble with diabetes is because not just your blood vessels that have got glycogenics lining them, the small blood vessels, your capillaries, your arterials, these are tiny, tiny sizes, big enough to allow one red blood cell to squeeze through some size. They have, like, glycocalics on them and obviously they don't have room for atherosclerotic plaque to develop inside them. That would be like a small snake, swallowing an elephant. We're talking, whether that's the correct size or not, a blue whale maybe. You can't get atherosclerotic plaques in tiny blood vessels, but what you can do is you can destroy it. So if the glycocalics is damaged and then the capillary is exposed to things going through it and then it's damaged and ripped off, what happens is the capillary just breaks down or bursts and they're no longer there and you can see the damage that you get in diabetes is not just big blood vessel damage. Small blood vessels, the key areas of your body where you need these small blood vessels really is the back of the eyes. Tiny little blood vessels

[00:47:19.500] – Dr. Kendrick

There are nourishing your macula and your retina. And you can see if you look at the back of the eyes with diabetes, you can see little hemorrhages and bursts and white bits where things and exudates have come out. This is because the small blood vessels are being destroyed by the diabetes, which is the shy sugar levels damage any glycocalics and allowing the damage to occur. So diabetic blindness is a real problem. Same thing happens in your kidneys, because in your kidneys, at the very smallest level in your nephrons, you have a really small blood vessels going into these nephrons and capsule, blah, blah, blah. Now, if these small capillaries doing all the work, all the waste products going out and it's really complicated, but if they start to break down and the nephron dies and it stops working, so you get kidney failure as the nephron starts to die due to, again, small blood vessels damage. And then you get very small blood vessels that are supplying around the nerves at the end of your fingers and things like this, these start to block off and break off. So you start to kill your neurons at the end of your fingers so you get peripheral neuropathy, you lose sensation.

[00:48:29.970] – Dr. Kendrick

And of course, the problem with losing sensation is you bash them and then you get ulcers, and of course, then the skin itself, these are where the smallest blood vessels are going. So the blood vessel supplying your legs and your periphery are starting to die off as well. And so if you damage the skin, it doesn't prepare and you get ulcers. And in fact, it's ulcer and gangrene problem and you lose toes and you lose limbs. The commonest reason for amputation, below knee and the other form of amputation nowadays used to be smoking. There's no diabetes because you lose circulation to the skin, to the nerves, to the eye, to the kidneys, blah, blah, blah. And this is what's going on. It's just the same process. So people say a small vessel disease and atherosclerosis are different things. No, they're not. They're just different manifestations of exactly the same process. The problem is, of course, if you start to break down small blood vessels, then the total, what they call the peripheral resistance, the blood is going to go out of big blood vessels. The arteries go through the capillaries, back into the veins and back up.

[00:49:34.020] – Dr. Kendrick

You start to lose capillaries. What they call peripheral resistance starts to increase. So as a peripheral resistance increases, the blood pressure has to go up the first the blood through less filleries that are there. And you see this happening as well in later stage. And then the kidneys start to fail and then you get chronic kidney disease and blah, blah, blah, the whole thing starts to multiply in effect around itself. So is diabetes from a perspective of a population wide problem, high blood sugar levels. As I said, just because no one said you've got diabetes doesn't mean you're not high blood sugar levels. It's just not high enough that anyone says it's diabetes yet, and sometimes it's hiding when you look for it. So it's ridiculous to say we have diabetes and we've got prediabetes and we've got medical, all these stupid terms that we've got. What you've got is there's resistance to the impact of insulin. Your blood sugar levels up, your insulin level goes up and insulin itself is damaging to blood vessels. And to feel yourself when the concentration is too high, fantastic self insulin, but you don't want it up here, which is obviously one of the things that happens currently.

[00:50:42.830] – Dr. Kendrick

The treatments are to force the sugar level down by driving into the level up. It's like, okay, fine. That's why lifting up the edge of the go up and sweeping everything underneath, dump it up and down it and going, well, we've sorted that out.

[00:50:57.510] – Allan

Yes. Now, a related thing is cortisol. It's a hormone. Most of us know of it as a stress hormone. And in our current environment, anyone that says they're not stressed out at some point or another, it's not being Truthful. Stress is a thing it's out there. And I think for a lot of us, it's adversely affected our health because our Cortisol levels are not where they should be. Normal stress of I see a bear, the bear is dangerous. I know this. I run away. I've burned off a lot of energy doing that, and the bear is no longer an emergency and I move on with my life. Whereas if my boss is always yelling at me and I'm always feeling stressed about my work situation or my finance situation or anything else, I'm under a constant state of elevated Cortisol that's also very damaging to our heart, right?

[00:51:52.470] – Dr. Kendrick

Absolutely. I mean, I started my world of looking at other causes for heart disease with stress. I don't like calling it stress. I think of it strain. But anyway, we use the word stress. Everyone uses it because everyone kind of knows what they mean. But yes, if you look at the impact of chronic negative stress and people react very differently to stressors, some people cope with it, some people don't. Is that, yes, it triggers. Whether it's just Cortisol, probably isn't. When you trigger the fight or flight system, which a lot of people have heard of, and you have operating at a chronic level, you cause damage to the whole system. There's a neurohol system, there's nerves throughout your whole body called autonomic nerves that most people have never heard of. They go to your heart, they go to your liver, they go to your blood vessels, they go to your eyes everywhere. Sympathetic parasympathetic system starts in your brain stem. It's really complicated. Operates alongside a whole bunch of hormones, like adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol definitely collect mistakes. Cortisol, blah, blah, blah. So this whole system is all fight up system. Cortisol is easy to measure, and Cortisol has distinct metabolic problems.

[00:53:04.390] – Dr. Kendrick

It's a direct antagonist to insulin, for example, at many sites. So if you're stressed in your insulin, if you're stressing, your Cortisol level goes up in order to fight this, your insulin level goes up, but it sometimes doesn't go up enough. Glucose goes up enough. I'm a firm believer that chronic negative stress is one of the primary triggers for raised blood sugar levels leading to diabetes. In fact, in the book, I mentioned a study in the First World War, people had soldiers who had what they called ShellShot, which we now call PTSD. They call it kind of acute neurosis. They actually you could measure blood sugar, you can measure sugar in the urine. The impact of stress on their system was such that they became the sugar levels were so high that sugar started to escape from the kidneys, which is very late stage in diabetes that we would recognize now. And this was entirely due to psychological stress. And you can see with various serious mental conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, et cetera, that many of these people end up with what's diagnosed as type two diabetes. And this is really what kills if schizophrenia, for example?

[00:54:25.520] – Dr. Kendrick

Yes, a lot of people commit suicide, but the vast majority of the others die Heartisans do, in my opinion, and the opinion of other people, to chronic stress, leading to the chronic activation, stress, fight and flight system, leading to the metabolic disorders that lead to diabetes that lead to heart disease. You can see this pattern again, if you look at PTSD, you can see the same pattern. If you look at people who have I don't know if it States they use fibromyalgia, which is very unspecific term, but it basically means lots of pain and difficulty and blah, blah, blah. People with PTSD and fibromyalgia is a big crossover. And there's like a five or 600% increase in the risk of diabetes and five or 600% increase in the risk of dying of heart disease. So the interrelationship between your brain and your body and how this all works together and creates problems with stress. Now, whether this is all modulated to cortisol, I don't know. But if the cortisol level is upward arranged or is malfunctioning, that's a very good sign that your what they call stress fight or flight, hypertrophinolaxis, give it or whatever term you want is not working properly.

[00:55:36.100] – Dr. Kendrick

And it's really important for people to try and get this as normalized and as healthy as possible.

[00:55:43.570] – Allan

Yeah. Now, one thing and I want to jump ahead because we know I think anyone knows it's like there's some conversations about if you have bad dental health, if you're taking certain drugs, those are obviously going to cause some problems. If you have you smoke or you're subject to air pollution, if you have high blood pressure, all of those are major risk factors because they're doing damage to your system and eventually that is causing the heart attack. But what I wanted to jump forward in because I haven't talked about it here. But it was one thing that my doctor and I started talking about when I was really looking at, well, care versus health care. Health care, because normal health care is, oh, you have a disease, let's fix it or let's cover it. Mostly, let's cover it. But he and I would have these conversations about health markers on how to improve my wellness. And one of the things we would talk about would be my homocysteine level. Can you talk about homocysteine and how that's also a factor here for the damage and the factors and things we're looking at?

[00:56:47.120] – Dr. Kendrick

Well, it was a guy called Kilmer McCully, who is part of a group that I'm also a member, was the first man, I think, to say that homocysteine, which is a protein in your blood, it shouldn't really be there. It's a breakdown product. It's an intermediate breakdown product. And if it's in too high concentrations, it damages the glycocalic and endothelium. This is just a fact. And there are certain drugs like lanzoprazol, which is a direct name. I don't know what they actually call them in the States with regard to their common name. I think it's called Loosec here and something else. Anyway, these drugs which are commonly used for indigestion and whatever, they block part of the pathway that stops homocysteine from being broken down so the hormone cysteine can go up. Also there are other things, diabetes actually in itself. If you have a high blood sugar level and a high insulin level, this interferes with the breakdown of homocysteine in your blood. And some people have a high level and some people are mostly blissfully unaware that they've got such a thing in their bloodstream. And therefore if it is high, one of the other things that you can do with the noncysteine is certain B vitamins can reduce because they help with a process that gets rid of the homocysteine.

[00:58:15.540] – Dr. Kendrick

So certain B vitamins off the top of my head I just forgot which ones they are. But I think it's B. Yeah.

[00:58:22.470] – Allan

It was definitely Folate B6 and I think B12 is what you mean.

[00:58:26.250] – Dr. Kendrick

Yeah. If you have these hormones at a good level, then they assist in cleansing the homocysteine from your system. And there has been research and looking at this with vitamin B, but it's been really weirdly manipulated by, in my opinion, primarily by the pharmaceutical industry. I just don't want this to be seen as a thing that people can do. But there is very interesting research on this and I think the other thing I did touch on in my book is if you have a high homocysteine level, you are more likely to get Alzheimer's disease. And if there has been evidence group in Cambridge who gave people the vitamins. And again I just forgot which ones they are. But they demonstrated almost complete stopping of the neuronal damage as well, which I think is when you're talking about well being hypocrites, people don't want to get Alzheimer's. So get these B vitamins in. If you have a high home assisting level and you will not only reduce the risk of heart disease due to endothelial damage, you also assist yourself in brain shrinkage and neuronal damage. Whether it's the same process going on, I don't know. I don't think anyone really knows Alzheimer's disease.

[00:59:44.460] – Dr. Kendrick

Anybody who claims to do so is probably not telling the truth currently. That's my take on it.

[00:59:51.630] – Allan

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

[01:00:02.410] – Dr. Kendrick

Well, I think going back to the stuff I was talking about about mental health and stress and whatever, there's very good evidence that people who look after their mental well being so they have good social interactions with other people. If you have a rubbish job, a bullying job or a stressful job that you hate, get out of it. The population with the highest rate of heart disease in the world are the Aboriginal Australians and young Aboriginal women have a rate of heart disease, which is 3000% higher than the surrounding population. And this population is really almost identifiable by the very high levels of what you call psychosocial stress. Aboriginal young male Aboriginals have a complete lack of the early morning cortisol rise in their bodies, showing that their neural homeowner system is seriously damaged. So I think looking after your mental health, looking after your mental wellbeing, having friends, having good relationships, these are having a sense of purpose, doing what you do, having interests. This is really important. I think I see health as being three things. It's psychological, social and they're all interconnected. And you can't get proper physical health without having your social health in good state as well.

[01:01:27.170] – Dr. Kendrick

The social health must be in good condition and I think this is hugely important. Certainly for stressed populations is really important. Then, of course, there is the obvious things to do with them. Don't smoke. But I think everybody knows that from a physical perspective. There is exercising. Yes. And if you have got to raise blood sugar level and you have to look at trying to pre whatever condition you want to call it, this is happening to you, then you need to look at in my opinion, the way that you do with this is to reduce carbohydrate intake simply is one thing to do. Absolutely. The trouble is you then end up in this huge battleground of dietary stuff. Another thing is I say to people, don't see food as the enemy, which we've kind of come to see it as people don't enjoy eating any water or you can't eat, that all that's terribly bad for you. It's very nuclear, blah, blah, blah. But in general, normal natural food stuff that you would recognize as food stuffs are usually healthy for you, good for you, and enjoyable and stuff that you have to read the label and it's got 56 ingredients.

[01:02:38.530] – Dr. Kendrick

Probably trying to look at avoiding that, I would think, and getting outside in the Sunshine and exercising all three together. Absolutely critically important. We're not designed to be inside as animals. I don't think we're designed to be outside most of the time. Sunshine is good for us. The exercise when we're outside is good for us. Just being outside in the countryside is good for us. And you can see populations that live longer than any others. This is kind of how they live their lives as well. So it's getting back to kind of looking at how people maybe were designed to live and getting back to as close to that as you can manage, which sounds a bit kind of generic, but it also happens to be true.

[01:03:25.270] – Allan

Dr. Kendrick, thank you so much for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about the book, The Clot Thickens, where would you like for me to send them?

[01:03:35.290] – Dr. Kendrick

Well, there's a large river in Brazil, that sells the book.

[01:03:45.890] – Allan

It doesn't damage the..

[01:03:49.550] – Dr. Kendrick

Speaking as an author, where they take 70% of the straight off the price of that, something like that. I do have a website called drmalcomkendrick.org where you can read my great thoughts on everything. And the book is available there from the publishers apparently just run out of copies. But is getting some more printed.

[01:04:11.090] – Allan

Yeah, that's not a bad news.

[01:04:16.170] – Dr. Kendrick

And obviously, I have written other books and stuff like that as well. But if you go to my blog, you can find that out. The book is available on the Amazonian rainforest. You can make Mr. Bozos even richer if you want. But I suppose just say to people, the people that I admire as well, that you should go and have a look at as well. People like David Diamonds, fantastic researcher. And if you have Musculf and the work of Nina T. Shults and those groups over there looking at them and trying to give you a healthy diet to eat the work of Gary Taubes, these people are working hard. They need all the support. We need, all the support we can get.

[01:04:58.600] – Allan

Thank you, Dr. Kendrick, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:05:03.270] – Dr. Kendrick

My pleasure. Thank you very much.

Post Show/Recap

[01:05:11.890] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:05:13.690] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really interesting conversation you had with Dr. Kendrick, and it's kind of refreshing to see a scientist taking a look at a problem in a new light. And personally, I'm kind of glad to hear a little bit more talk about blood sugar being a problem. More so than the actual cholesterol.

[01:05:32.240] – Allan

Yes. And this is really hard because most doctors are going to go through school, they're going to get very little nutrition education. But they're going to be told one thing about heart attacks, and it's cholesterol causes heart attacks. Your client has high cholesterol. You got to get them on statins. You got to lower that cholesterol. That's the math. And the standard of care is the obligation that the doctor has. And you can try to have that conversation. Most doctors are not going to have that conversation with you. They're just going to tell you you've got to manage your cholesterol, you've got to manage your blood pressure. And if you manage those two things, you're good to go. But I want to put forward this quote that was on my timeline from years and years ago, and I want to make that okay. Mines are like parachutes. They only function when open. And that's Thomas Dawar was the one who said that. So the reality of it is, it's not that science changes. And we've heard that over and over lately with regards to things that we learn that we didn't know before. And the reality is nothing really changed, just our knowledge of it changed.

[01:06:47.620] – Allan

So at one point, people thought the Earth was flat, and then they learned maybe it's not. And then at some point, everybody thought that everything circulated around the Earth. The sun went around the Earth, all the stars and planets went around the Earth and the Earth was the center of the universe. We now know that's probably not true. So it's not that the science changed, it's our awareness of the world around us. And that changes as we learn new things. So having an open mind and basically saying, okay, this is what I thought. And now that there's new information, I have to rethink it. I have to open myself up to the fact that what I've been told my whole life could actually be wrong. There's nothing wrong with that. That's what you were told, but it comes down. And like you said, I think this is the key takeaway. The last part of this book of What Can I Do About It? Because all these books, regardless of what they say, it's What Can I Do About It? And What Can I Do about It is not new. We all know we should keep our sugar lower.

[01:07:59.410] – Allan

I talked in history. At one point we were eating 2 pounds of sugar a year. Now we're eating closer to 150 pounds of sugar per year. Could that be a problem?

[01:08:11.410] – Allan

Yeah, maybe.

[01:08:13.290] – Allan

Okay, smoking is on a decline, as is heart disease. Correlation cause effect? I don't know. But the base point of what he's saying is and this is true, if we're damaging our body, our body has mechanisms to fix itself. But if you just keep damaging your body, at some point, even that repair system doesn't work well. And we see this across the board. Autoimmune disease is a perfect example where something's going on that shouldn't. So maybe we have a gut leaky gut and as a result of leaky gut and our immune system constantly having to do these attacks, it finally just flips out and then it starts attacking other things. Hazimoto's disease, something's gone wrong and your immune system is attacking your thyroid. And so there's these things that happen. And if we keep doing what we're doing that caused what we were doing, then we're going to have those problems. So the fix is the same fix you've heard in every other book. Cut your sugar, cut your processed foods, don't smoke, manage your stress, keep your blood pressure down, exercise, get some sun. There was so much in the book that I wanted to cover, but we already went, I think, an hour on an interview and I could have talked to Dr Kendrick for a year.

[01:09:44.340] – Allan

There was so much in that book. And so it's a book worth reading. If heart disease is something that goes in your family or something that you're generally concerned about, it's worth reading the book to just get the idea. And you don't have to agree with the theory that it's a blood clot. And then the reason that the cholesterol is in there is because of the LPA versus the actual lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein. You don't have to get into all that. You can read all that. It's cool, it's information. But the reality of it, the biochemical, the stuff that's happening underneath, isn't really anything you can control. You can control the inputs, the sugar, the stress, the pollution, those things. And so that's the only thing I like to say is keep your mind open and just realize that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it's cholesterol, it doesn't matter if it's blood clots. No medication is going to save you if you're not doing the right things otherwise.

[01:10:47.500] – Rachel

Yeah, absolutely. Eat better and exercise more. And I'm just really thrilled to see that blood sugar is being looked at for other diseases as not just diabetes and all of those terrible side effects of that disease. But there's something to having and keeping an eye on your blood sugar. And I was happy to hear that.

[01:11:08.900] – Speaker 1

Yeah, well, I'm using this continuous glucose monitor and just check your mind. But I mean, okay, I'm keto, there's no sugar. So, yes, my blood sugar follows a pretty common path throughout the day. I'm fasting or I'm moving. And so the exercise affects it with the foods I eat affect it just kind of looking at it like my blood sugar is pretty darn steady and not a problem. But it's just the function of saying, okay, what you put in your mouth is going to affect your biochemistry. It's going to affect your body. And it's so funny that people will think, oh, well, this pill is going to do these amazing things for me. And then they're not thinking food right would have any impact whatsoever. And so just realize that diabetes and heart disease are interrelated. We've known that. He actually shows why? Because the damage we're doing to the arterial load lining of our arteries, that we're cheering it off, we're causing all kinds of problems. And then it's clotting when it's in a big artery over time, that creates that plaque we're talking about when it happens in smaller arteries, which it will if you're diabetic prediabetic is doing that damage.

[01:12:33.740] – Allan

Now you're losing a toe. Now your kidney stops functioning. Now you can't see all the things we say, well, what's happening with diabetic? They lose their eyesight, their kidneys fail, and they lose feet and toes. Why? Well, those arteries are getting messed up and they're clotting and they're plugging up, and the blood is not getting where it needs to go. And that tissue is dying, and that tissue dies. And then that organ or the skin or the foot, it's no longer and it's gone. So you lose your eyes, you lose your kidney, you lose your feet. It's the same disease. When you really break it down, you think about it in those terms. It's the same disease, the same cause, and the same solution.

[01:13:22.190] – Rachel

Yeah. Something that's really worth taking a look at and monitoring what you're eating If you don't already do that.

[01:13:30.770] – Allan

It's just cut the sugar, the processed foods and the sugars. If you're eating whole foods, just real whole foods and, yes, even fruit. I eat beets almost every night. I'm in ketosis. It's like I, oh, you can't eat beets every night and never go out of ketosis, but I do a lot of work during the day. I move a lot during the day, and then as a result, I have some needs and the muscles and the liver say, “Hey, thank you ror that glucose. I appreciate it. I'm going to split it over here. We might use that tomorrow.

But we don't need the sugar if you haven't used glycogen. You don't need the beet sugar, right? Where most of our sugar comes from is beets. But just realize, give your body the nutrition it needs, and it will protect you, it will heal, it will get healthy, and we just don't give that enough thought. We want the Magic Pill, we want the science to save us. And what's going to save you is your next meal. If you make sure your next meal and the meal after that and the meal after that are mostly whole food, you're going to be 1000 fold better off than if you're throwing down Little Debbie's and doing that stuff.

[01:14:54.850] – Allan

So just realize you have control of this. And if you don't think you do, you have a food addiction or some kind of problem like that, then get help, get help for that. because, yes, that's a problem for a lot of people, but the reality of it is food is nourishment. Food can be delicious. But if you're eating just for the sake of something emotional, something bored, those types of things, you've got to get away from that because that's the killer. That's the one that's coming after you. There's no other plot. There's no other twist. The murder mystery Is solved. We've just got to catch the criminal. And the criminal is the sugar and the processed foods and the stress and the pollution and smoking and those things. We know that. We know who did it. It's time to catch them and stop them.

[01:15:48.470] – Rachel

Yes, time to make some changes.

[01:15:51.390] – Allan

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

[01:15:54.410] – Rachel

Sounds good. Take care.

[01:15:56.050] – Allan

You too.

[01:15:56.860] – Rachel

Thank you.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


March 8, 2022

How to build a fitness program that is right for you

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Many people walk into the gym without an idea what they are there to do other than get a workout in. As a result, they don't see the results they want. On this episode, we discuss how you can build the right fitness program for yourself.


Let's Say Hello


[00:01:11.230] – Allan

Hello, Ras. How are things going?

[00:01:13.440] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:15.530] – Allan

Going well, just kind of busy, actually. Kind of funny. I was supposed to have a call and I completely lost track of days.

[00:01:23.780] – Rachel

Oh, Jeez.

[00:01:26.650] – Allan

I switched up my workouts and I did a weight lifting workout on a Sunday. And as a result, I woke up the next day thinking it was Tuesday and did a weight lifting workout and then woke up today thinking it was a Wednesday, when, in fact, we're recording this on a Tuesday. And so it's like I was completely backwards on my thinking, fell behind, thought I was way behind. And then even though everything being what it was, I should have known different. I didn't. And as a result, kind of miss some appointments and things I was supposed to do. So if I was supposed to be on a call with you on Monday night, I apologize. I thought it was Tuesday night. I just don't even know what was going on last night when I thought, okay, it's Tuesday night, tomorrow's Wednesday. What do I have going on? And okay, well, tomorrow is another weightlifting day, and it wasn't today was a cardio day. And we'll talk a little bit more in detail about that at the end. But it was just kind of one of those things of the weather here is the same every day.

[00:02:35.170] – Allan

There's not a lot of differences. I don't really have weekends the way a lot of people have weekends. Any day could be a weekend. Everybody's here on holidays. So it doesn't feel different one day to the next, for the most part, any day here. So, yeah, just kind of lost track of days.

[00:02:54.420] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness. How crazy is that? Do you keep a calendar? Do you have a paper or a digital calendar?

[00:03:00.430] – Allan

I have a digital calendar, but it's kind of one of those things where I'm trying to condition myself to not look at things unless I need to look at things. So social media maybe not look at it all the time. Log in and check in on my clients once a day or so where I need to and do what I need to do. And then it's the same thing with a calendar. It's typically just, okay, what do I know is going on today and on the Monday, but I knew I needed to record something so we could have this call because I failed to do it on what I thought was Monday. And then again, just like, complete confusion. Didn't do what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it and then didn't know what day of the week it was and did other things, failed to do other things I was supposed to do.

[00:03:56.110] – Allan

So it just kind of put me in. I'm in this kind of weird juxtaposition because my weekend and the first part of next week is going to be intense because we're moving all the gym equipment. We're moving in. So the paint is late, the light fixtures are late. So those are going to be like, I had to go actually buy replacement/alternate light fixtures, not the light fixtures I want to keep. I had to pay for those just to have light fixtures because you need light the building to do what you got to do sometimes. And then the paint is not in because we were put off the paint waiting on the light fixtures because it's coming from the same source. And I'm like, no, I got to have the paint because they're finishing up now and now I don't have paint. So I told the person we were telling them, okay, look, regardless of whether the lights are ready, bring the paint, because I've got a paint because we're moving all the equipment in on Sunday.

[00:04:51.080] – Allan

So I'm hopeful I'll get the paint on Thursday, Friday the latest, and then I'll start painting where I can paint. And then I'll start moving equipment in and continue to try to paint around the equipment. That's going to be harder, but it kind of is what it is. So a lot of moving parts in my life right now, and I just completely lost track of days. But I won't lose track of days those days because those are going to be four or five really hard days.

[00:05:18.510] – Rachel

That sounds like it. My gosh, no wonder you've lost track of days. There's a lot going on. A lot of things you're balancing right now.

[00:05:25.780] – Allan

Yeah. How about yourself?

[00:05:28.690] – Rachel

Good. I'm far less busy than you are, but things are going good. I mentioned I have a trainer and I'm working on my marathon program, and over the weekend I ran 16 miles on my treadmill, and it was hard. It was a challenge.

[00:05:51.190] – Allan

When you're training on the treadmill, do you use the distraction, like watching Netflix or something like that?

[00:05:58.820] – Rachel

I can't watch anything because I feel like I have lost balance and I don't want to accidentally trip. I think I was watching something like, I don't know, the Matrix or something ages ago, and I was trying to bob and weave along with Neo there, and I almost fell off the treadmill. I prefer to listen to podcasts or on certain days, music is actually easier to listen to. So that's about my limits of my distraction. But it was just a long day and I chose that over outside, we had single-digit temperatures and double-digit wind gusts, so I chose the safer route.

[00:06:41.130] – Allan

Yeah. And those are not the conditions that you're going to be running your race in. So there's no value to pushing yourself through something like that, other than just saying, I want to be uncomfortable for what was probably about two and a half hours.

[00:06:55.180] – Rachel

Yeah. It was definitely the right guess. Exactly like that. The snow and the ice is just too sketchy, and it would have impacted my gate so greatly that I probably would have put myself at more risk than I got off the treadmill. So at least on the treadmill, I had a consistent gate, which I think is far more beneficial for that long run.

[00:07:19.910] – Allan

Day treadmills were originally a punishment.

[00:07:24.730] – Rachel

I know, I know. I could tell you. Yeah. So things are good up here.

[00:07:32.220] – Allan

Good. So let's go ahead and get into today's episode where we talk about programming for yourself.

[00:07:38.550] – Rachel



Hello, and thank you for being a part of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. Today, I want to talk about a topic that is actually really important if you're looking to build your fitness and make it really matter. A lot of people approach fitness programs the wrong way. They try something that's generic. They don't get the results they really wanted. As a result, a lot of them give up. So today I want to discuss how to build a fitness program that's right for you. So first, let's define the problem. Now, the initial problem with a fitness program is that most people seem to have a singular view on fitness. So you either think that you need to build cardio or you think you need to build strength or you think you need to do this. And as a result, people get tied into one dimension of fitness. So they become runners or they go in and they start taking the classes. They really enjoy them. And so it's just basically you're doing classes. And then there's also things like people that just go in and do yoga and think that's sufficient for what they need, or people that actually just go in and do weightlifting and say, okay, that's all I need.

The reality is most of the time that's not enough. And when we do this, what happens is we tend to put the workouts first. So you enjoy the class. The class is what you do. You feel like you're getting what you need. And as a result, what we've done is we've effectively put the tactics in without really having a strategy for what we're trying to accomplish. So if you're going to work on your fitness, you need to ensure that the fitness is doing. The work you're doing for fitness is working for you. So why do we do some of these things? Well, the first one is if you enjoy doing something like you really enjoy running or you really enjoy your fitness classes, you tend to want to do it more. Or another thing that I've seen quite often is people are really good at one thing, so you're really good at running or you're really good at lifting. And as a result, that's why you want to do that one thing. But movement for the sake of movement is not necessarily always a good thing. Now I will be the first to tell you I'm not going to poopoo anyone who takes the time to do a workout.

If you're doing a workout, that's a thousand times better than not doing a workout. But there's a reason why the treadmills are at the front of the gym. And the reason the treadmills are at the front of the gym is because 99% of the time that's as far as most people are going to go, they're going to walk into the gym and they're going to get on the treadmill, they're going to do their time, literally, and then they're going to get off the treadmill, and that's their workout. Now, again, movement for the sake of movement, fine. But realize that won't necessarily get you where you want to be. You need to get a little deeper. You need to do a little bit more because you're not only missing modalities, you're missing key one of the ones you're doing. Okay. So it's great you're on the treadmill. It's great that you're lifting, but are you really pushing yourself? Are you really doing the things that are necessary to move the needle for your health and fitness? So how do we make this happen? Because it's so easy to get wrapped up into the I'm really good at lifting, and I really don't want to do these other things or I'm really good at running, and I don't want to do these other things or I really enjoy doing the elliptical or the treadmill.

And I'm really somewhat intimidated by doing anything further. So the first thing you want to do is you want to go all the way back to the beginning. I'm going to do this to you over and over again. You have to go back to the grounding that you did at the front of this whole process. And if you don't know what that means, I'd encourage you to go back and listen to any of the lessons I've talked about with regards to commitment. And so within commitment, we have this vision. Okay. And within the vision, there are multiple segments of fitness that you're going to need to have. I've never seen anyone who has this vision to be able to run 50 miles a day and that's their vision. That's not what people emotionally attached to. The vision is about enjoying your life. It's about being the person you're meant to be. It's about being able to do the things that you need to do, which is fit for task. So if you want to be fit for task, you've got to really pay attention to what that means. What does the future you what are they capable of doing?

Okay, so let's say, for example, you want to be able to travel and there are certain places you want to be able to go, like let's just say Europe and you want to be able to do the Mediterranean, you want to be able to arrive there and enjoy yourself and do the things that you want to do. Well, I can tell you one of the first challenges you're going to get when you get that trip going, because you're most likely going to have to get on an airplane or some kind of mode of transportation that's public and you're going to have to load your bag, you have to carry your bag, you're going to put it up over into the overhead bin. There's things you're going to have to be able to do that will require strength. If you're going to do something and go somewhere and you're going to be doing walking or anything like that, you're going to need some stamina. And if the roads are cobbled like they are in most of Europe, you're maybe going to need some balance and mobility is always a good test thing to have just to keep your body moving in the way that it's supposed to so you don't injure yourself.

So just in that one vision of being able to travel successfully, you're going to need strength, stamina, mobility and balance. Okay, so that's four different training modalities that you don't get if you're only doing one thing. Now, how much of each of these do you need? Again, we go back to the base. The base is your vision. Okay. If your overhead is not going to weigh over £30, then there's very little reason for you to train to be able to press over £30 over your head. Okay. If the most you feel like you're going to ever have to walk or run or do. If you're going to go do a tour or something would be about three or 4 miles, then maybe that's the stamina that you need to have. So if your vision is travel, then you need to be fit for that task. If your vision is to do something else, like be an awesome grandmother and keep up with your grandkid, maybe your stamina needs to be a little higher at certain points in time. You're picking up the child, maybe your strength needs to be a little higher at certain points in time.

And then the other thing is mobility and balance. Obviously if you live in locations where there is a potential for you to fall or slip, you need to have those skills too. So looking at your vision is really an independent topic, independent approach to you doing you to you being the fit that you need fit for task. So what you need to do, the work that you need to do is really should be driven by that vision. And if it is, that breaks down all the motivational problems that you would have. Yes, it can be intimidating to try something that you're not good at. I walk into a yoga class. I am like a bear in a Penguin shop. I don't belong there and I know I don't belong there. But if I need to work on mobility, that's a great place to do it. If I want to get into body weight strength, that's a great place to do it. Even if I'm uncomfortable, it's important for me to push myself through. And if my vision is a part of that, it makes it a lot easier to do. So how do we get started with all of this?

And I'll say the first step is always going to be a self assessment. Now the self assessment goes along with my GPS model, and the S is the self assessment. So how are we going to self assess? Well, the first is to look at our fitness and what our capabilities are. Okay, so what areas of fitness am I really good at? And I'll tell you generally strength. However, I did tear my rotator cuff a few years ago, and as a result, I am not as strong in my upper body from a pushing perspective as I was back then. So there are areas of fitness where I'm good, particularly leg strength and pulls with my back. But there are areas of strength that I'm not so good at. So kind of looking and saying, what are the areas of fitness I'm good at? I know that I'm good at strength. I know that I'm good at long, slow cardio. Where am I not good. I'm not good in balance, I'm not good at mobility. So those are areas that I may need to focus on. Okay, do I want to do more where I'm already strong?

And the short answer to that is it depends. If I need to be stronger, like I'm trying to work on building my pushing strength because I'm weaker, then that's something I need to consider. Okay, so what effort is now necessary for me to maintain or gain the fitness I need? For most of us over 40, that's going to require working each body part at least once per week. But probably just twice per week would be enough for most of us to maintain or gain some fitness at that level. Meaning if I want to get stronger at lifting weights, I'll probably need to do weight training for my whole body or for body parts at least twice a week. So what are some fitness areas that I'm not so good at? And I mentioned earlier, I'm not so good at balance. I'm not so good at mobility. So what effort is necessary for me to gain or maintain those? And that's some balance training that's putting myself in some positions where I might not be as comfortable. So instead of doing a two legged squat, maybe I'm going to do a one legged squat, or maybe I do some form where I'm moving side to side and then doing a squat.

So there's opportunities there for me to work on my balance. As for mobility, that's paying attention to where I'm tighter, where I'm not as mobile and working on stretching, working on some other efforts to make sure that I'm gaining that mobility. And for those types of modalities, for balance and for mobility, those are things that I could practically do every day. So if I'm lifting two times per week as a whole body workout, I now have five days left. I can focus on doing these other things and in some cases, maybe go ahead and double them up and I can do these others more often. So you kind of see how I'm beginning to do from this self assessment to build out the training things that I need to get in to build fitness, to maintain fitness based on where I currently am and based on where I want to go. So the first question is, is a predefined workout for you? Because they're everywhere. You can go on the Internet, you can do a quick search for anything you want to train on. And basically a workout is going to come in. So if you went on YouTube and you type, which is the second largest search engine in the world, and you Typed in mobility workout, you would be inundated by all kinds of videos that you could do as a predefined workout.

Now, I would say that for most of these, yes, for balance and mobility, a typical class or plan will work fine. So you can go in and say, okay, I'm going to do this basic stretching class or I'm going to work on this balance program. Those typically are fine for just about everybody. However, I'm going to say this, not all muscles need to be stretched. If you have good solid mobility in certain movement ranges, say you're almost double jointed in the upper body or in the lower body, you don't need to stretch those muscles. Those muscles are already long. They're already doing what they're supposed to do. Look for other muscles that are a little tighter and focus on those. So while basic plans and classes work, you just need to make sure that where you need to be focused, you are getting that focus. The next is stamina. Now, stamina is kind of one of these things that I think a lot of people struggle with particularly as we get older, and that's because we have physical limitations. Now, as we went through that self assessment, we talked about reasons why we were good or not so good at things.

I mentioned the shoulder problem, so you may have issues with your needs. There's a lot of different examples of where we have physical limitations that would prohibit us from doing certain activities where we're trying to build stamina. So at least knowing those ahead of time is really important. For most of us working on stamina, it's really good to try to get this done outside. Getting outside is going to be better for you. However, there are a lot of machines that can help you do this, particularly when the weather is not so nice. This episode is coming out in March, maybe it's in March, but as this episode comes out, you're going to see that the weather is starting to improve. This is a great opportunity to get outside, but in the event you can't, it's raining, the weather's not good. It just isn't conducive for you to be outside doing these things. Treadmills, elliptical rowers, bikes. There's all kinds of machines that can help you build different forms of stamina. Mixing them up, trying different things always a good thing. Get that variety in there where you can, particularly if you're trying to work around a problem like knees or shoulders or something like that.

All that said, like I said, outside is better. Outside is better. So if you can do these things outside, go ahead and do it. And then if you're going to do a program for stamina, I strongly encourage you to use one that has been proven to be effective. One of my favorites is Jeff Galloway's run walk run method. We interviewed him on episode 248, so you can go back and listen to that episode. I'll have a link in the show notes, but that's a great program about how to build your running stamina without injuring yourself. Other great programs. You can find a couch to five K program. It's going to be sort of a similar walk run kind of thing. So you can build up that stamina in a controlled perspective to try to get you ready for a five K, which is 5 km or basically 3.1 mile. So you're looking to do something specific, either just program or the five day programs. Both are great programs and it can help you start your spam in a process. And as you get a little bit more specialized or start building up to longer distances or longer periods of time, there are other things that you can use that are fixed and then always.

We had a conversation with Rachel not long ago. She has hired a running coach to help her improve her stamina even further so she can run faster and have better times on her run. So if you're looking for that, sometimes having a running coach can go a long way towards helping you build superior stamina. So now we'll talk about my favorite thing. Okay. As I mentioned earlier, it's really important for you to understand your limitations before you start a strength program. Some of those are physical limitations. As I mentioned, my shoulder, my ability to push, my ability to do shoulder exercises very much different than what it was just even five years ago. So I have to be aware of that. I have to address that as I put my training plan together, and then the other is knowledge gap. So one of the reasons that I work on getting my certified personal trainer and the different specializations that I did was just recognizing that I had a knowledge gap in what my body was capable of doing and what I need to do. I was building most of my programming for the first several years off of what I knew when I was in my 20s.

And guess what? It doesn't work and it breaks you time and time again. So I knew I had a knowledge gap. If you have a knowledge gap, you don't know the form of particular exercises. It's really important for you to get this right. Don't do an exercise right and you put load on yourself. Opportunities to hurt yourself is huge, so make sure you've bridged that knowledge gap before you leap into any kind of program. Now, when you're getting started for most lifters, as long as you do know the form and you find the right coach or you find the right website. Strong Lifts Five by Five is one of my favorites. They teach you basic workouts, basic programming, simple lifts, five sets of five reps. It's pretty straightforward and it will help you get stronger. It's a really good entry level basic workout that you can do for quite some time before you need to switch that up. And then most gyms will have a machine circuit. And while machines are not optimal from a form perspective, it's really hard to screw up. If you're sitting in the seat properly and you've got the right posture, a machine workout can be quite good.

You just have to make sure that your settings on the machine are appropriate so that it fits your body. Most machines can adjust seats up and down, back and forward. Just making sure you're in a good position to do that workout is really important. You go to most gyms, they're going to have people available to help you learn how to set up that machine and use that machine appropriately. Take advantage of that or as I mentioned earlier, hire a coach to walk you through it. But strength is probably the only fitness modality that I would say is non negotiable. You have to be training strength, and second behind that is stamina. You have to be training stamina. Mobility and balance are also important, but if you aren't building strength and you're really just focused on stamina, you're going to lose strength, you're going to lose muscle mass. And in the long run, as we age, that's not going to be a good thing. So strength has to be a part of your program. Stamina must be a part of your program. Mobility and balance will very likely need to be a part of your training.

It's just a function of how mobile and how much balance you have now and how much work you need to do to enhance that or at least maintain it, depending on where you stand. So those are the basic training modalities. Now I want to skip into something a little bit deeper about fitness that I think is probably some things that people really struggle with in the long run. First off, a lot of people will start a fitness program and then they'll get bored. And like I said, if you downloaded a program and you started it and it's not something that's progressive, then it can get kind of boring. So if your decision was that you were going to go out and run or walk the same path, and so you're going to walk around the field or you're going to walk through the neighborhood and you've got your horse, if you will, you've measured it out and you know the length and the distance that you're going, and you're maybe keeping up with your time. You know, this takes you a certain amount of time so you can get your workouts done before dinner or before you have to go to work.

So you know how much time it's going to take you to do this. But if you keep doing the same route week in and week out, other than changes of weather and other things that might be going on in that neighborhood or in that field, it could get pretty boring. So that's one thing to be very concerned about is if you get bored and you want to quit, it can be a problem. Likewise with lifting weights, you may go in and do the same basic five exercises. When I mentioned strong lifts and you do them and do them and do them, and then you kind of say, okay, I do these every two times a week, and then eventually kind of getting boring. I mean, okay, squats are great, bench press is great, pulls are great. But in the end, that can get a little boring when you're doing the same workout week in, week out. And yes, maybe you are seeing some progression on that, but it can get kind of just dry. And so don't make sure that what you're doing and the fitness routines that you're doing don't bore you. Some people are able to do the same thing over and over and over again, and they're fine with it.

Others do need some variety. So at least be aware of where you stand with some of those things. Next, some people will see diminishing returns or plateaus. Now, this is completely normal in all phases of training. Initially, you see some pretty good results because your body is not accustomed to what you're doing. Your brain and your muscles are having a conversation. It's a very easy conversation to have once they figure out the wiring, the very difficult conversation when you first get started. So you will see yourself from a strength perspective, potentially from a stamina perspective, from a balanced perspective, and even from a mobility perspective, actually sees some pretty good gains in returns when you first start. And then it kind of slows down and then it kind of Plateau. You've seen this with weight loss. You'll see it with fitness. So a lot of people get disgruntled or upset when they don't see that continued linear progression. And I'm going to tell you, you almost never see a linear progression over and over, because if you did, then the strongest people in the world would never stop getting stronger. So there's a natural limitation on what the brain muscle conversation can do.

And then there's a limited potential for when you're actually building muscle and building strength or building stamina that can continue. At some point, you will Plateau. Now, there are things we can do to break those plateaus, but just realize, don't get dismissive. Don't quit just because you're not seeing the return. And then the other thing is sometimes you're going to see unequal returns. And so maybe your stocks are not exactly what you wanted it to be. Whereas some individuals just really can't put on a lot of muscle mass, they're getting stronger, but they're not seeing their muscles get bigger. They're putting on all the stamina. They're capable of going further. Distances are going and or going faster, but they're not necessarily losing weight because they thought, okay, I'm burning all these calories, I should be losing weight. So just recognize that even though you're pushing yourself in a fitness direction, you won't always see equal gains going forward. And even within body parts, you might not see the same. So like for me, it always was the case. My legs get stronger. They get bigger very easily now. Probably not as easily now as they did before when I was younger.

But that said, I can get really strong with my legs. I'm not capable of getting that much stronger with my upper body the same way. So I see unequal returns. And I also see my legs getting bigger when I lift weights with my legs do leg strength stuff, my upper body doesn't respond quite as well. So recognizing that I'm going to have those biological limitations, I have to keep pushing through, I cannot let that break me mentally. So these are things that are really hard to get through mentally, as if your workout is boring. If you're not seeing the returns that you used to be seeing or you're seeing unequal returns a lot of times that makes it really difficult to stick with, but I want you to go back to what commitment your grounding. There's a reason why you're doing this. There's a vision of what you want to accomplish. If you want it bad enough and you know where you're going, you will still get there. It's never going to be a straight line, so you got to keep pushing through. And that takes a lot of guts, it takes a lot of mental fortitude.

But if you have a good why and you have a good vision, that makes it a lot easier, stick with it and it'll pay off. Okay. So the whole reason we're on this podcast is to learn how to program for yourself. Okay, so first, let's get into the basics of all this. Now, the first thing is you have to know your muscle groups. You have to know what you're doing and why you're doing it. I'm going to talk about this predominantly from a lifting perspective, but a lot of this will fly across the board. Okay. So first, know your muscle groups. When you're doing a certain movement, what muscles are you supposed to be building? What muscles are you supposed to be using? For most exercises, there's going to be a pro mover, there's going to be a primate mover that's causing that exercise to move. Even if it's a compound style movement, there's a prime mover for parts of it and then potentially a different prime mover for other parts of it. So knowing which muscles you're trying to work for each exercise makes it easier for you to know that you're doing the exercise.

Right. So knowing the exercise. Okay, so what muscles am I going to work if I'm doing the deadlift? Well, the deadlift is a very complex work exercise. It is a compound movement, meaning multiple muscles are working. The deadlift happens to work the entire posterior chain. So you're working basically your back, your butt and you're working your hamstrings. So all the way from almost top to bottom, you are working the back of your body, the posterior part of your body. When you do squats, you initially start by using your quadriceps, which are the muscles in the front of your legs. And then as you get deeper into the squat, eventually your glutes are going to kick in and they're the braking mechanism at the bottom, and they're the muscles, the biggest muscle, they're going to start you moving back upwards. So knowing that a squat will require you to use both the front of your legs for a period of time and then the back your butt for the rest of the movement, and then reversing that going back up will help you make sure that you're keeping good form, working the muscles you're supposed to.

So understanding the work that you're doing is really important. That starts with understanding the muscles. Okay. Next is for every exercise you can do has a particular form to it. The form is important to making sure that, one, you avoid injury. But two, understanding that form also affects the angles on the muscles. And so a couple of examples would be whether you're doing something a pull from above your head, like a lap, pull down or pull up, whether you're doing a high row, a low row or a shrub. So what I just talked through were three different angles of rows that are all intended to work a different muscle group across, mostly your back. So the laps when you're pulling down the lats are the main mover, the prime mover. It's going to pull that bar down. If you're pulling the bar, the cable potentially to your upper chest, that's a high row.


So that's working more of the upper back, the rhomboids and the trapezes. And so there you go. There's a whole different set of muscles. When you're doing low rows, you're now working more of the middle back. And when you're doing shrugs, you're working most of the traps and larger traps there. So you can kind of see as you change the angle of something, it's a different exercise. Hand position can also be a very different thing. If your grip is wide. When you're doing something like a bench press or push up, you're really focusing on the chest. If you get your hands closer together now, your triceps are more involved in the movement and maybe less of the chest. And if you get your hands all the way together almost now you're doing well, you're doing a push up, push up. And at that point, now you're working mostly your triceps, the back of your arm. So where you put your hands also affects the movement you're doing. So as you're putting together exercises, again, knowing the muscle you want to do and understanding the form of the exercise, these are critically the next important phase of this, or at least understanding level, is to know your volume.

Now I'm not going to get into that on this episode because we're probably already going long. But on episode 506, we discussed how to increase volume and knowing what your volume is. And volume relates to the amount of weight, the amount of reps, amount of sets, and also how fast or slow you're moving the weight. And so all of those things add to your volume. And so knowing how to adjust those so that you're getting the most benefit out of the work for what your goals are is important. So you might want to go back after you get started here, go back and listen to episode 506 just to make sure you've got a grip on what your volume is as you're getting into work. Now if you're someone who's going to get bored and you start a program, the easiest way to change a program that you already have is to swap exercises. So I'll give you a couple of examples. Let's say you have a program like the five by five. And the back squat is the exercise that was in the book or on the website. You say, okay, I'm going to do this exercise.

And then you get kind of bored with your back squats or you've got toe and you want to try something different. Maybe you try a front squat. It's a very different exercise from the perspective of the angles with which the bar is going down, how your body structured. You're going to move that center of mass a little bit. That's going to change the exercise. So the front squat is a good exercise to go back to. Another one is a lot of people will work on a leg press. Leg press is a great way for you to build overall leg strength.

A lot of leg strength, actually.

You can get really strong in your legs using a leg press. But sometimes people get to a point where they're a little bit tired of the leg press. They've gotten up to a particular weight and they feel like, okay, they've done enough. They really want to change the structure of their work or they want to do something slightly different. Maybe you introduce a hip rust. So you're basically at this point, you're elevating your back maybe on the bench and you've got a weight on your lap and you're trying to do rust. So your feet are flat on the floor, your butt goes down your hips, and then your hips go up to basically try to thrust upwards against the weight. This is a great butt glute word, which again is similar to the leg press. So something you can swap. So basically, anytime you have an exercise, you get a little bored with it or you're not seeing the progress, you can swap out another exercise that works the same muscles or muscle and plug it into the work and use that as your exercise. So not the easiest thing, but every exercise that you do, particularly if one of them is bothering you, can be swapped with another exercise, typically works the same muscle groups and gives you the same effort or at least similar effort and results.

Now, if you're going to make a change, if you're going to do something, I highly recommend that you stick with something for at least six to eight weeks before making a change. You're doing a different workout every day, every time. You're not really going to get the optimal benefit of what you're doing. For one, we talked about that brain muscle, the neuromuscular connection. That's really important. If you don't do an exercise enough, you're not going to get that your brain and your muscles are not going to talk as well as they could without that communication. You're not getting enough work. So you're not going to continue to see gains. If you're swapping exercises every week, you're not going to see those gains the way that you'd like. That will be. So you're going to want to make sure that you stick with something for a while. Six to eight weeks tends to be a really good time before we make a change. Next, you got to increase the load. If you stay with the same weights. And I see this all the time, people will go in and do a circuit. They'll set the machines on exactly the same weight and they go through them time and time again and then they don't really know or see that they're getting any stronger.

The fact that they try to raise it up one weight, they don't really feel like they're able to do it. And that's the struggle. They really haven't pushed themselves, they really haven't made it progressive. So adding a little bit of load when you're using good form creates the stimulus that causes the muscles to react and get stronger and get bigger in most cases. Okay. And then when you're doing this work and sticking with it for a while, you begin to see that strength starting to kick in. So last week you were doing the pulls and you were only pulling £20. This week you're pulling. You're now up to 22 or 25. So now you're seeing the weights get bigger as you learn the exercise, there's communication between the muscles in the brain and then actually, yes, your muscles are changing, they're adapting to the stimulus and they're getting stronger. That's a huge motivation. You start realizing that the work you're doing has a positive effect of actually seeing fitness improvement. That's a great way to know. That's a mile marker to know, hey, I am moving towards my vision. I see it, I see what I'm doing and that's important.

So make sure you stick with it at least long enough. Six to eight weeks to know what you're doing is working before you start trying to mix it up. I know, boredom, boredom, boredom, right, but that's important. So find that balance between switching things up and sticking with it long enough to know that it's working. Okay. So this is how most of us got our start. Most of us, back in the day, it was trial and error. We walked into a gym much like you might, and we had no idea what was going on. There was all this equipment, all these weights. Sometimes there were really big guys back in the back rowing around big dumbbells and big plates and all that. We see that. And I agree it can be a little intimidating for the trial and error part where we just really don't know what we're doing and we're approaching it. I hope today that I've given you some ideas of how you can approach this from a little bit more upscale. You have access to the Internet, you have access to a lot of information, you have access to me. So you won't have to go through trial and error.

Another thing that we did back in the day was we had fitness magazines, so Flex and Muslim Fitness. Those were the main magazines that came out. There were a lot of other bodybuilding magazines in the day. Those have pretty much been replaced by YouTube and different websites. But the concept is the same. There's stuff out there, some of it's good.

Some of it's really bad.

So just kind of knowing that, okay, I have to learn and I can't just try to apply this thing because I can tell you, I read magazine articles where guys were doing 100, which means they're doing 100 reps for a muscle group. A little muscle group at that. I tried it. It hurt. Did it give me additional muscle gain? No, not at all. It was probably a wasted workout because it was too much and it really wasn't set for what I was trying to accomplish at the time. But it looked cool, it sounded cool. And the bodybuilder that was touting it in the magazine was someone that I respected, but again, not necessarily the right thing to do. So take what you see online with a grain of salt, spend some time doing some research, asking questions, and put together a program that's going to get you to your vision. All things considered, being over 40 does add some challenges. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I went to NASM and got certified. And yes, there was a good bit of expense to that. I can't even tell you how much money I have spent on my education, my fitness education over the years.

And so there are ways for you to get around that. Hiring a trainer is a great way to do that. And along the way.

I've done the same.

I've hired coaches to program for me and to push me because when you have someone there, you work harder. So every time I've hired a coach, I've never regretted it. I've never regretted having someone there who wrote a program. I could look at the program and say, this is reasonable, this makes sense. And then I could push myself. And they were there to help. They were there to encourage, they were there to critique. And so my form was better, my work was better, I worked harder, I got more results, and it was well worth the investment. Now, if you want to fast track your fitness and weight loss, I'd encourage you to go to 40 Plusfitness.com. I have an application there had some problems with that website up until I today, but I will have a link to the application there. Go ahead and complete that form. And then we can go ahead and connect and see if 40 Plus Fitness Online training is for you. Programming is not rocket science, but it's also not something you can just pull something off the Internet and do and know that you're optimizing your health and fitness. So if you're still stuck and you need help or you want help or you really want to fast track what you're doing, go to 40 Plusfitness.com and there you'll see a link for an application.

Go to the application. It's not long. It won't take you long. But then we'll get on a call, I'll get on the call and we'll come up with a plan just for you. And it may not be 40 Plus Fitness online training. And that's cool. I really want to help you get where you want to go. And if this training program isn't the right thing, I will help you find the thing that is and get you started and get you moving in the right direction. So thank you so much again for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Post Show/Recap

[00:46:38.750] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:46:40.290] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a really great and timely podcast. I think the tips that you've given about developing your own training program could not be more perfectly timed. I'm seeing a lot of questions on the Internet about why do we do this or how do we do that? And right now it seems to be revolving around strength training. That's an important modality that people just don't know how to fold into their current training programs. But I like what you set up here for the listeners because there's a good way to go about developing your own program.

[00:47:14.800] – Allan

Yeah, well, first it has to align with what you're trying to do. And that can be an event or that can just be a lifestyle you want to have or both and probably should be both. Me, I get highly motivated by having an event in front of me. I think I posted something this week in the group about how even the most elite athletes are not what they would call optimally fit all the time. They have their ebbs and flows, their seasons and off seasons. And so they're going through those things themselves.

[00:47:48.480] – Allan

But that said, they're hiring the professionals. They're doing little things that they're supposed to do. And yes, you can do those things yourself. And when I work with clients, I think the thing that sometimes just it kind of frustrates me a little bit is to have a client that really just wants to work out in front of them. They don't want to think about it. They don't want to learn anything about what they're doing. It's just like make me skinny is sort of the mantra. And I'm like, well, okay, skinny doesn't mean healthy. Lifting weights will get you stronger.

[00:48:24.560] – Allan

If they're asking questions. Well, how strong do I need to be? And I'm like, I don't know, what do you want to do? And so they're not able to answer that question because they haven't really done the initial homework. So to them, it's the workout is. And I hate to say this, as we said earlier, the punishment for being unfit. I'm not healthy and fit. I'm not the weight I'm supposed to be. So I have to effectively punish myself. So I've got to do this running. I've got to get on the treadmill or elliptical and they're not really planning out what they're doing. And then even if they do pick up a program, they don't know why they're doing the exercises they're doing. Other than that's what the program says. So they're following a program.

[00:49:05.880] – Allan

And while I said in my talk, that can be great. But at the same time, it's really hard to stay motivated. When you get to the end of that program, it's like, okay, well, I just do it again. Is there something else? And a lot of people get stuck at that. And so I'll work with someone for a number of months, maybe even a couple of years, and at the end they're like, okay, I'll see you. And I'm like, okay, cool. And then they just keep doing what I gave them until they stopped because they get bored or something gets in the way, and then they just don't know where to start back. They're like, well, I was doing this weight and doing that exercise, and now I don't know, should I lower it this amount do that, or should I just go back in and do what I was doing?

[00:49:51.610] – Allan

And that fear keeps them from starting again. And then they're out. And so I talked to him a couple of months after that, and they're like, how's it going? It's like, well, kind of fell off with the exercise. I still run and they still do the thing they enjoy doing. So they're still doing the cardio stuff, if that's what they enjoyed, or the hiking or whatever, the biking. They're still doing some of that stuff. Not all the time, but some.

[00:50:17.030] – Allan

But their eating completely falls off because again, the exercise kind of drives eating. And I don't mean that you can exercise out of bad diet, but what I found is almost implicitly 100%, someone who works out, puts time in in the gym, pays the trainer, starts eating better, and when they stop paying the trainer and then they stop working out, they go back to their old habits. So just realize that there's more there than just doing a workout.

[00:50:49.390] – Rachel

Well, I think you mentioned the very first place to start is to have your vision, to have your long term goals. And it's not necessarily like for me right now, I'm training for a marathon in April or the ultra, maybe I'll do in the fall, but I've got good role models in my life. My great grandparents didn't leave their farm property until they were in their 90s, their late 90s at that.

[00:51:14.080] – Rachel

So I'm looking that far forward. I want to be active and able to live independently well into my 70s, 80s or 90s if I'm so allowed to do so. So lucky. But that's the thing is that I've got these long-term goals and then in the medium, I've got these short-term goals about running, and I think that's what people might forget about. Sure, you can do a couch to 5K program. That's a great place to start. Absolutely. But what are you going to do after that? What is going to keep you motivated to stay active and to stay healthy and fit for the long-term? And some of these tips, like having a vision is a good place to start.

[00:51:56.800] – Allan

Yeah. When you have that vision, then everything seems to make a little bit more sense. You know, that okay, I could have all the stamina on the world, but if my grandchild comes running up to me and I can't pick them up or I have to sit in a chair because I can't kneel down and tie their shoe, those are things that are going to emotionally affect me in a way that I don't want to experience. I want to be able to get down on the floor and tie their shoe and roll around with them in the grass and not feel like, okay, now someone has to come help me up. I want to be able to do all this stuff. And so, yeah, there's this long-range plan.

[00:52:34.090] – Allan

And then for me, the short run is okay, I'm doing another Tough Mudder. And what I found is these particular obstacle course races are requiring me to be more fit in more direct ways, meaning I have to have more stamina than I think I would ever need with a grandchild.

[00:52:54.290] – Rachel


[00:52:56.810] – Allan

Grandchild is not going to make me do 15K running in addition to 25 obstacles in a given day. Now over the course of a month, maybe. And then the other side of it is just the physical strength and being able to do the things that I'm going to have to be able to do without knowing what some of those things are because they don't broadcast all of their obstacles. You know, some of them, but you don't know all of them unless you've already done a race that season. And then generally maybe you do. But for most of us going into the race, they don't broadcast and tell you what all the obstacles are. So I know I'm going to need strength, I need grip strength, and then I'm just going to need grit.

[00:53:38.570] – Rachel


[00:53:41.730] – Allan

One of the things I can say my training is that my cardio came back really quickly. I've taken a break I've taken a break from training and everything to kind of just say, okay, I'm off. I'm going to take an off-season. Good long off-season. And then I said, okay, now I'm back in and I'm going to work really hard all the way up until the race. But my cardio was right back there. I'm hitting anywhere from ten to twelve and a half miles easy. I'm not doing the run the way you are. I'm literally just doing a good Huff walk. But doing that today, I think I did a little over 7 miles, but the terrain was hilly so some of the grades were up to I would probably say somewhere around 15% in places that I was going so…

[00:54:29.380] – Rachel


[00:54:31.170] – Allan

It was a good walk, particularly considering it was just the 7 miles. And I know I say just the 7 miles. Oh my God, 7 miles. I'm like, I didn't start with 7 miles, I didn't start with 7 miles. It was a progression that I did over time and then your body has some memory to it and you're able to take a break and get back at it at some level and work your way back up. And that's part of fitness. It's the ebbs and flows of working your way through.

[00:55:01.490] – Allan

Now, same way with strength. I'm back in the gym, I'm working with weights that are in my opinion pathetically low. But at the same time I know for other people I'd be like, oh my God, if I could actually do that, I would be really happy. So this is not about evaluating where you are relative to other people, it's about evaluating yourself relative to those vision. What do I need to be successful for this Tough Mudder/ and a couple of things we've talked about is I've got to lose body weight. I talked about that, what is it, two or three weeks ago? Okay, well, I've already shed 12 pounds.

[00:55:40.760] – Rachel

Good for you.

[00:55:41.600] – Allan

Okay, great. And that was again, I got into ketosis and one of the cool things is a good long walk really strikes up your ketosis levels. It's kind of insane. A good long walk for you and I that's two to 3 hours or so. And so I tell you, if you check your ketones before and after doing one of your events, one of the things your trainings, particularly the longer trainings, you'll be surprised at the change in your ketones. Now if you do a weight lifting, it's actually going to increase your blood sugar and you might not see that. So just kind of knowing that and knowing where I'm going and having the experience, which is great, but you don't get the experience without the experience.

[00:56:31.020] – Allan

So if you're going to put something together, know why you're doing what you're doing, have a plan, pay attention, do some research. And above all, if you're going to hire a coach, which I encourage a lot of people to do like you've done like I do, is ask why. Have those conversations learn from it. Because that's your ability in the future be able to do some of those things for yourself.

[00:56:58.750] – Allan

I just wish I had a coach on this island that could be in there for my workouts because I know physically if they were there, I would work a lot harder. Other than the fact that I have my way of eating and my way of doing things, I don't know of another coach for people over 40 that would know how to treat me like I was 20 when I needed to be 20, because there's things I can do that I was doing when I was in my 20s.

[00:57:28.610] – Rachel


[00:57:28.910] – Allan

Some people in their 40s can't. Okay. But also know when to treat me like I'm in my 40s and be cool with the fact that I have a way of eating that is different than what they would encourage people to typically eat. You got to have your carbs before you work out. And I'm like, well, no, if I had carbs, I just go to sleep. I'd be in a coma. So no, I don't need the carbs before and I don't even need them during literally I can take a liter of water and I'm good. That's my 3 hours of go, go, go. A liter of water.

[00:58:07.190] – Rachel

That's awesome.

[00:58:08.630] – Allan

And I do hydrate a lot after, and I've hydrated a bit before. But all I need to have with me as I go is that liter of water and I don't bonk. There's no bonk if there's anything that's going to stop me, it's just the fatigue and the legs.

[00:58:27.630] – Rachel


[00:58:28.510] – Allan

At that point where, OK, you push yourself to the line, which is where you need to be for this training session. Good. But I know that again, from experience, from being a coach and coaching myself. So as you're putting your programs together, I think it's just really important for you to take those lessons. Realize you're also you're bio-unique. So downloading a program off the Internet works for 80% of the people. That Bell curve. But if you're an outlier, you're out of luck. You're going to have to figure something else out. And that takes experience and time and effort and paying attention to your body and doing those things.

[00:59:09.000] – Allan

And so I just encourage people, if you don't know what you're doing, ask for help. It's not that hard. And I am opening up five slots in my training. And for these five slots, I'm particularly looking for people that want to up their fitness game. So in the past, I've really focused on the weight loss. I think I've gotten those clients in that want to really work on weight loss. And if you still want to work on weight loss, you can reach out to me.

[00:59:37.960] – Allan

But right now, for at least the next six months or so because of what I'm doing for myself, my brain has really turned on to the fitness aspects of it. So if you're looking to up your game in fitness, and that can mean starting from zero and wanting to get to level one or that can be being at level five and wanting to be level seven wherever you are, I'm able to meet you there. And we can put together training programs. You can learn why we're doing what we're doing, and we can help you get that fitness together. So if that's what you want, go to 40plusfitness.com, not 40plusfitnesspodcast.com, but 40plusfitness.com and I'll have an application link there. You can fill out the application. We'll get on the phone and we'll figure out what you need. If it's my training program to get you there, it's not a fixed program. It's custom. So like I said, if you're starting from zero and just want to get to one, we can do that. If you want to ratchet it up a little bit more, we can do that too. So do reach out if you're interested in that.

[01:00:42.330] – Rachel

And then of course if it's running that you're interested in really getting good at then Rachel?

[01:00:49.940] – Rachel

I'm here. Just ask me any questions.

[01:00:52.500] – Allan

Where should they go? You've got a website, too.


Strong-souls.com. You can just reach out for me there or even on my socials. I'm on Facebook and Instagram. Just shoot me a message and I'll be happy to help you out.

[01:01:05.730] – Allan

All right. And we'll have the links in the show notes for this one so if you have any questions, please do reach out to us.

[01:01:12.440] – Allan

Also, again, we're trying to put together a Q&A episode. So if some of these questions you would rather just ask and have answered on a podcast then I do want you to reach out Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and just email me there. Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. We'll take those questions. I may reach out and see if you want to record and ask your question vocally and be on the podcast that way. Or I can just read your question from your email on the podcast. But if you have a question you'd like for us to answer on an episode, we do want to try to accumulate some of those so we can get those questions together and have a duo episode with Rachel and I answering your health and fitness questions.

[01:01:58.420] – Rachel

Sweet. That would be fun.

[01:02:00.320] – Allan

Great. Rachel, anything else you want to get into?

[01:02:02.910] – Rachel

No, this is great.

[01:02:04.460] – Allan

All right guys, have a great week and we'll talk to you next week.

[01:02:08.080] – 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


February 28, 2022

What history tells us we’re doing wrong with our health and fitness

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A lot has changed in the past 200 years. And while we're living longer, we're not necessarily living better. On episode 527 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss what some of those changes mean to our health and fitness today. Those lessons can help you see where progress is not as it seems.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:11.770] – Allan

Hi, Ras. How are you doing?

[00:01:13.680] – Rachel

Good. Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:15.680] – Allan

I'm doing well. It's kind of an interesting week. I'm in the process of doing the build out for the new gym. And so we're getting into the new space. And obviously as you start doing construction and things like that, you learn things about the building you just rented. And so there are leaks and there's this and that. Just things to work through.

[00:01:37.430] – Allan

And then my wife, Tammy, we were supposed to spend some time together this week, go out to dinner and all because we're recording this over the Valentine's week, and she got a last minute opportunity to go see a specialist for nose and throat (she's had some sinus issues) in David, which means, okay, she's got to take a boat and then take a bus, and then it's a five-hour trip over. So she goes over and she's over there and I'm like, okay.

[00:02:03.870] – Allan

And then she says, well, yeah, they called me. They did get me in at 05:00pm tomorrow. I'm like, okay, well, you could have done tomorrow. But anyway, so she spends the night and then her appointments can be for us later today. And then she spends the night, comes back tomorrow.

[00:02:18.520] – Allan

And like most times when Tammy leaves and things look reasonably open, like we had three rooms open. So really low volume here for us to kind of just say, OK, there's basically three breakfast to do in the morning. One check out easy stuff. Actually, we had no check. I'm not supposed to have any check out this morning. But then all of a sudden we have two couples booking. I'm like, okay running around because I don't she usually goes picks them up and this and that. So I'm trying to manage all that and run that. So it's a little bit of juggling. But it's good juggling because it's growth and it's opportunity, new people. So, yeah, it's good. It's just kind of busy.

[00:02:59.530] – Allan

And I do have some other news. I have signed an agreement and affiliate agreement with Keto Mojo. And this is my favorite glucose keto blood monitor. And the reason I like these guys so much is that the keto strips are the cheapest you're going to find on the market. They're really expensive if you want to do blood ketones all the time, regularly. But the Keto Mojo makes it much more cost effective to do it if you want to do it every day. And the machine they have does both the glucose and the ketones. And they have their own proprietary little formula for kind of how you're potentially optimizing your glucose ketone levels. Now the new one there's, the GK Plus. It actually syncs with your phone. So you have an app on your phone and you take the readings. You don't have to write anything down or put anything like a spreadsheet. It just literally just goes right to your phone. And you've got charts and diagrams and the whole bit. It's actually really cool. And they just came out with this GK Plus. I had their old monitor. When I saw they had the GK Plus, I immediately bought it. And so I've been using that for about a week. And this thing, it's literally like having someone standing there telling you how to do it because you turn it on and it tells you, okay, put the meter thing in. And you put the meter thing in. It tells you it's in, all right? And then it says, okay, now put the blood and you stick yourself and you put a little bit of blood on there not much actually, probably less than on the last ones.

[00:04:31.950] – Allan

And then boom, it counts it down from nine all the way down. And then it gives you your reading. And like I said, then it can sync with an app on your phone and you've got that data right there. So it's a really cool thing. And the other thing that's cool about it is they're giving anyone that follows my link a 15% discount off the meter. Any of the meter kits, they got like a couple of different kits, like a starter kit, like a Deluxe kit. They can't do that on the strips because the strips are already really well priced. So they can't give you the 15% of the strips, but they will on the meter. So if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/mojo. So 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/mojo, that will take you to the site. If you purchase either one of the two major kits, like the starter and then the Deluxe. If you purchase one of those kits, when you get to the checkout, they'll apply a discount of 15%. So it ends up being a really cost effective meter with really cost effective strips. And like I said, it works like a charm. I love this little thing.

[00:05:39.600] – Allan

I'm using it every day now because again, the strips are inexpensive and it's so easy to use. So I'm keeping up with my ketones because I'm just now kind of cycling back into ketosis after the Superbowl and monitoring where my ketones are, because again, as I'm looking at starting to try to build up my fitness level, I want to understand if I have a bad day in the gym. Was that because my glucose was a little low? Is that because my ketones weren't where they needed to be and that kind of thing? And I also use their urine strips, even though, again, I don't think they're going to be included in the discount. But those are all available. You can go to 40 plusfitnesspodcast.com/Mojo. It's going to give me a slight little kickback on that. Not much, but it's going to give you a 15% discount, which I think is really cool.

[00:06:25.920] – Rachel

That is fantastic. What a great partnership.

[00:06:28.770] – Allan

So, Rachel, what's going on with you?

[00:06:30.940] – Rachel

Good. Things are good. You know, once a year I take a visit to my hospital where I visit the high risk breast cancer clinic. I've mentioned in the past that I've got a high risk, high family predisposition to breast cancer. And so I see this particular doctor every year, and every year, it's like a breath of fresh air to hear that I'm ticking all the right boxes. My doctor mentioned that I get enough exercise. Obviously, I eat well, of course, I eat the foods that they suggest we eat to have a healthy, reducing our risk cancer type diet and don't smoke, don't drink in excess. And I'm living the right lifestyle that should reduce my risk for developing breast cancer. And the other interesting thing is that now that I'm 50, I am eligible for breast MRIs in addition to a traditional mammogram. Although based on my age and my lifestyle, the doctor feels like it's not a really good cost risk benefit. So I probably am going to put that off for a little while longer. But the other benefit to this appointment, again, probably because I'm 50, they connected me to the hospital's cancer genetics Department.

[00:07:53.670] – Rachel

And so I have an appointment a couple of months out because everybody's backlog these days. But I have decided to pursue genetic testing to see if there are any predispositions to breast and other cancers. So I'm pretty excited to take that route. So it was a great visit. I'm glad I went. And I feel pretty good with my health right now.

[00:08:16.280] – Allan

Yeah, well, there definitely are some genetic snips, I think is what they call them that give you that predisposition to that Angelina her mother and had family history. So she went kind of radical, which a lot of people talked about, which is good. You have those conversations. We're not into October right now, but it's just don't wait until October. There's no reason to wait until October to do the right thing for your health. So glad you got that opportunity. And it will be interesting to hear how your foray into the genetics? Because obviously, the science is always getting better around some of these things. So it'll be interesting to hear what your geneticist doctor or whatever, whoever you're dealing with is going to be able to tell you what information and how things look for you on that side of the equation.

[00:09:10.170] – Rachel

Absolutely. Yes. I'll keep you posted for sure.

[00:09:13.010] – Allan

All right. So let's have a little bit of a history lesson. What do you think?

[00:09:17.540] – Rachel

Sounds great.


Today, I wanted to take a moment to give you a little bit of a history lesson about health and fitness, particularly in the United States. Interestingly enough, in the last 200 years, we've managed to extend our lives almost double. In 1860, the average lifespan for someone was 39.4 years. Take that in context to what it generally is today. And we're looking at an average lifespan of about 78.9%. So effectively doubling the life that we have on this Earth. And there's a lot of reasons for that. But lifespan does not equal health span. And I want to talk in more detail about what that means is living longer does not mean living better, and in fact, it actually probably means living worse. And so I want to take a few minutes to kind of talk about those things, how they relate, and some of the things that have changed over the course of the last 200 years that have made these things possible. So let's talk a little bit about lifespan. How have we managed to double our lifespan in just the last, really, 200 years? Less than 200 years, really. The first is babies live. In the past, more babies were lost to early death, infant death, birth death at birth.

Those things were happening on a fairly regular basis. And it was relatively hard to get a family member baby up to the age of about 15 and still be alive. There were a lot of diseases, a lot of things going on, and then just again, just the loss at birth. We fixed a lot of that. We have a lot more technology around medicine that allows us to have the babies live longer and in many cases, live full, productive lives. So that's been one good thing for increasing our lifespan. Probably the biggest overall mover in lifespan. The second would be basically safer conditions. We're aware of a lot more toxins, things that are not safe. We've changed the way we do construction. We've changed the way we build cars. Cars today are much safer than they were when they first came out. And just everything else, as far as a general lifestyle puts us in a safer position to survive longer. And now, again, labels on things typically, you know, there's a story for a reason why you don't eat the Silicon packet. And there has to be a sign on it for you to not eat that Silicon packet because you're not supposed to eat it.

But someone eventually did or obviously did, or they wouldn't have to put the sign there. So again, there's a lot more safety encouraged in the workplace, in the home and consumer products, and all of these different things that have made life longer. We've invented medications and vaccines. So the invention of penicillin, which I'll get into in more detail, the invention of certain vaccines, which I'll also get into in a little bit more detail later, they've actually allowed us to live longer. Fewer people are dying of polio and smallpox and measles and that thing. And then, of course, when someone gets sick, they get an infection. We have medications to keep them alive, and we're able to do that. And people are living longer as a result. And again, just general medicine. We're able to do heart bypass surgeries and things like that and remove tumors and do things like that that we weren't able to do 200 years ago, even 100 years ago. And as a result, people are living longer. And then there's generally food security. In the past, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people have starved due to not having enough food to feed their family.

We have much more food security today, which is allowing us to grow healthier. Babies have healthier lives. Unfortunately, the type of food we now use is actually detrimental to our overall health and our overall lifespan. But no one's starving to death today. In a general sense, very few people on this Earth starved to death today versus 100 years ago and 200 years ago. So a lot of things have happened in the last 200 years to extend our lifespan. And so as a result, in the past, they would have more babies because fewer babies would survive as a percentage. So law of average is if you have ten kids, you can expect a few of them to survive. Now, we know that's not necessary. We don't have that problem. So people aren't having multiple babies. They can have one or two and generally understand that those two have a very high probability of making it to adulthood. So lifespan hasn't been increased incredibly, but that creates some problems for us on the other side. Health span. So when we look at our overall health and particularly the Western economies, some of the things we find is that we're overweight and obese.

The overweight obese category now makes up the majority of people in Western countries, particularly United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. So if you start looking at that, you realize, okay, if almost 70% of people are overweight and obese, we are not helping our health span while we might be living longer. That's leading to some pretty significant problems in what we call now lifestyle diseases heart disease, high blood pressure, autoimmunity cancer. These diseases were not a huge problem 200 years ago for various reasons, but predominantly because of the foods and the types of foods that we eat, the lack of movement, different things that have happened. And I'm going to get into that in a lot more detail coming up. But just realize we now suffer from lifestyle diseases that really were very rare 200 years ago. And so the other side of it is, though, we also by living longer, we subject ourselves to more opportunities. So someone may have died an accident on the farm at the age of 30. Now they're not working. The same individuals are not working on farms. They have much safer jobs. They're living until their 60s. And that's just given them more time for certain lifestyle problems to catch up with them on a Healthspan.

So we've increased our lifespan, but we haven't necessarily done as much to improve our health span over that same period of time. And there's a lot of reasons for it, and I want to dive into those today. So what has changed in the last 100 and 5200 years? Well, probably the biggest is convenience. We do a lot less physical work. Tools, machines, everything else. All of that has made our lives easier. So when you look at it 200 years ago, if you were going to travel to the next town, you would take a horse. Okay, well, riding a horse, if you haven't done it before can pretty much wear you out, depending on how long you ride and what the course is like, that you're riding on the path or the road or whatever. Being on a horse takes a lot more physicality than a lot of people think. If you're not used to riding a horse, you're likely to be sore after you've ridden a horse for a while. Then there were cars, but the first cars were cranked cars and required a little bit of effort to get started. They were a little bit more work to drive.

We didn't have power steering. We didn't have those other things going on. So there's a little bit more even with a car, there was still more work than a current car. A current car, you can literally start it with a push of a button or start it before you even get in the car. You can literally drive away without using almost any effort at all sitting in a seat. And when you're going the speed you want to go, you can literally push a button and it will stay at that speed until you tell it not to. And now with autonomous cars, you don't even have to do that. You tell the car where you want to go and it just takes you there. So less and less effort. And then the other side of it, well, why even get in a car when there's takeout and delivery? So recognizing that we've had conveniences thrust on us, we've taken advantage of those conveniences because it makes our lives easier. But easier does not necessarily improve health span. So the next big thing that's happened and one that's just really circling back around as being a problem is an understanding of the dangers of over consuming sugar.

In 1800, the average American consumed £22.5 of sugar per year. Now, that may seem like a lot when you look at what a five pound bag is, but let's compare and contrast that with what's going on today and realize most of the 1800 food was not processed at all. It was literally coming from fruits and vegetables. Today, that's not the case. So by 1919, we're going to see some changes in the way food is done. By that time, we were eating £99 over four times as much 100 years later. And even today at 2000, we got up to over £150 per year. That is a ton of sugar. That's a whole person worth of sugar. Now, it's trailed down in the last few years, and mainly because of an outreach of people to understand how bad sugar is. So people are cutting back a little bit on their consumption, but we're still well over £140 per year. So in contrast, we're looking at almost a seven fold increase in the amount of sugar we're eating relative to what our ancestors ate as late as the 1800. Now, one of the reasons that we eat more sugar is processed food, just a few little tidbits.

Oatmeal was invented in 1854. Now, the interesting thing about oatmeal is up until that time, it was horse food. So all this joking about taking horse meds, the real joke back then was who's eating horse food? But once it was accepted that people were willing to eat horses, the cereal market was born. So in 1877, they started making cereals. And in fact, most of the major brands you recognize today started in around that time, shortly after that time, or in the early 1900, those large companies, they started making cereals, then perfecting recipes, competing with each other, combining and forming these global companies that sell tons and tons of this stuff, a lot of it with a lot of extra sugar. And it's all high calorie, low nutrition. I mean, they add nutrition or they try to make it nutritious, but in a general sense, they have to go after taste. And so food science today is about taste and texture. It's not about your health. And so recognize that these food companies are making products they know you'll eat more of. They want you to eat more of them. And they've even done some things that really are uncool to make sure that you continue to consume a lot of these products.

But processed foods are not your friend if you're looking at health and fitness because they're not designed to help make you healthy. They're not designed to be like real food. They're designed to make you buy more, to make it taste good, to make it appealing so you buy more. Another thing that's happened in the last 200 years is we've moved to a format of industrial farming. So large farms of animals, be it cows or chickens or whatever, are raised together in very, very tight spaces, being that close to all these other animals illnesses get passed around relatively quickly. So antibiotics are introduced on a fairly regular basis. And then, of course, they want the largest possible animal they can get for the meat or basically to make sure that they're getting volume. So they're injecting these animals with hormones to make them grow faster. So the effect of all of this, the lack of space, the antibiotics, the hormones and everything else that they do these animals makes them very sick animals. Eating a sick animal does not make you healthy. So even though you think you're getting a better cut of the animal or you're farming at a better pace, the reality of is most of these animals are very, very sick and they're not healthy for you.

So let's talk about plants, because then everybody says, well, let's move to plantbased nutrition. And that would be better, right? Well, not necessarily. So fertilizer was originally invented in slightly before then, and then it was adopted as a normal thing. So we're talking about there were fertilizers probably back as far as we know, people were growing things, but we're talking about chemicals. We're talking about synthetic fertilizers, these kind of these inventions of if we add this to the soil, the plant grows faster. And that was adopted early 1861. And all the way through World War II became kind of this growing trend of using more and more of these chemical synthetic fertilizers so that the crops had a larger yield. Those fertilizers are causing some problems I'll get into in just a moment. Next, they had to develop these plants to be able to be transported. So if I'm going to try to get this avocado to you that is grown in Mexico, it has to last a little while. If I'm going to take apples that were gotten in, say, Washington state, and I need to deliver them to Florida, I have to make sure that they're transportable so they've bred the plants, the fruits and vegetables, to be more durable, not necessarily for better health, but just durability.

How is this thing going to look when it arrives at its location? And then another thing that they do to make sure that these plants are just right when they get to your grocery store is they pick them early, so they will pick them before they ripen. And then they use this technology to keep them from ripening until they get to the location. They call it delayed ripening technology. And they use this ethylene gas that they'll spray on these plants to ripen them up quickly right there at the store or right at the warehouse for that particular vendor. So they're not in the ground nearly as long as they would be if they were normal plants. If you just planted a heirloom tomato in your backyard that hasn't been farmed lately. Those plants will grow slow. They will grow a little. And when they're done and they're ready and they're ripe, they've drawn as much benefit out of the ground the minerals and the vitamins that you need that they possibly can. Whereas when you pick them early and they're ripening at the store, they didn't have nearly as much time to pick up that stuff that you need.

And then again, with the fertilizers and all the other things that are going on, they're growing very quickly and not necessarily for the right reasons, and you're not necessarily getting all the nutrition. So plants that we have today, fruits and vegetables we eat today are not as nutrient rich as plants were when our great grandparents and our great great grandparents were farming. So just realized that we're not getting as much value for the calorie as we would have in the past. And then, of course, with plants, there's the weed killers, like roundup glyphosate. Okay, this was introduced in the 19s 70s. And even though that more and more they know that this is a cancer causing element and it's in our foods. And when we eat the foods that are made with these things, if they're not cleaned properly, and even then, maybe not, then we're getting these getting this glyphosate in our body. This chemical is in our body as a function of these things. Next, I want to jump into light pollution. Now, it seems like a mild thing, but most folks don't realize that actual household lights are not something that's been around forever.

Incandescent lights were invented by a guy named Humphrey Davy, but it was Edison that kind of made these things more popular in the 1880s. And so most houses didn't have electricity for a long, long time after that. So most houses were lit by gas lighter, candles all the way past well into the 1019 hundreds. In fact, almost half the houses didn't have electric power. So you're looking at lights not being a part of the indoor or at least unnatural lights not being a part of our normal environment, really in less than 100 years. So for our bodies to adapt to night time light, that can be a problem. The next area I want to jump into as toxins. Tens of thousands of toxic chemicals are released into our environment and homes every single day. And over 800 of those are known as endocrine disruptors. Now, an endocrine disruptor basically means it messes with your hormones, in particular your sex hormones. So if you're feeling kind of blah, you're a little bit maybe feeling a little bloated, it might be that you're being subjected to too many endocrine disruptors. And your estrogen is messed up, your testosterone is messed up, and it's causing you some problems.

So where are we getting these toxins? All these toxins are out there. This is not necessarily plants pumping a lot of it in the air, although they are. It's also in your home. So if you have furniture that has flame retardants in it, the pesticides you're using in your yard, the Pharmaceuticals that we flush down our toilets that end up in our water. And on and on and on. We are subjected to tens of thousands of toxic chemicals every single day, and those are adversely affecting our endocrine system, our health, the function of our liver on and on and on. So the subjection of these toxins, which were not available, not out there 200 years ago, is another problem that's affecting our health span. And then the last one I want to talk about is stress. We live in this new 24/7 news cycle. The news is always there. This was not the case 100 years ago. Even when the TV was on, there was one news or two news casts per day. When I was growing up as a young adult, I know they had the morning news, and then they would turn off and talk about other stuff.

You'd come home, there might be a 04:00, 05:00, and 06:00 and then 11:00 news, but they'd give you one news cycle each day. It might change a little bit from the morning to the evening. But most people sat they read the newspaper in the morning, and then they watched the news that night, and that was about it. Now news hits us every single day, all day, all the time. We have notifications on our phone, notifications on our computer, and then add social media, the toxic relationships, the things that are going on there. And then just the fact that the news media is on the social media feeding you the stuff, the headlines all day and all night, it's there constant, constant, constant. And then, of course, we have to add tribalism. And this takes all of that, the 24 hours news cycle, the social media. And this literally takes up a factor of ten. The tribalism that's going on in the world today, particularly in the United States. And now we're seeing in other places like Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere. This tribalism is exploding our stress levels, and that's really adversely affecting our health.

And so I put these in an order. As far as we're talking about our food, our food is messed up. It's not what it used to be. We're not training or working out as much as we used to or at least doing things physically as we used to. We don't have good quality food. And then there's light pollution. Cell phones did not exist, and now they do, and they're in our hands 24/7. We've got watches that buzz and beep and moan, so we're not sleeping as well. We've got all these toxins that our liver and our body is having to deal with, and we're not functioning very well with these toxins. And then, of course, the introduction of stress your job, whether you're going to keep your job, lose your job. People used to live knowing that they're going to work. They have a job for the next 35, 50 years, and nothing is going to take that away from them. That's not the case today. Too much is changing too fast, and it's really struggle for most of us to keep up with that. So with all this bad stuff that's going on, what do we do?

How do we take the fact that our bodies were not designed for the lifestyle that we live today? How do we take that step back and solve this problem? The first step in solving any problem is knowing you have a problem. So the first thing I want you to do, listening to this podcast is come to the realization that these things are affecting you, even though you might not believe that they are. They are. And so it's important for you to recognize that first and then take some actions. Now, in my kind of mindset, my opinion, the first place to start is food. It's the easiest for you to change, and it's the one that's probably going to move the needle the most for most of us. And the answer for food is get the highest quality, real food you can afford. So when I say high quality, I'm not just talking about organic, which, yes, is more expensive in the grocery store. I'm talking about food that didn't have to be transported across the world, meaning it was locally grown, it was fresh. You didn't have to go anywhere. So, you know, stayed in the ground until it was ripe, and then it was picked and then it was sold to you.

You can do this at farmers markets. You can do this at coops you can look for in your grocery store locally grown product that's typically going to be better for you than what you find in most standard grocery store aisles. The other is frozen foods. Surprisingly, a lot of frozen foods, organic frozen foods were grown all the way to ripeness and then flash frozen, so they were then able to be distributed. That's a better model than the distribution and then ethanol, Ethylene, gas. So look for foods that are going to give you the highest quality that you can still afford. And farmers markets, local farms, buying half a cow with your friends, whatever you need to do, find ways to get the highest quality real food that you can possibly afford. And that's going to move the needle the most for most of us. The second is movement. You have to make movement a priority. And the easiest way to do that is to stop leaning on basic conveniences. If you live within a mile of your grocery store, in all likelihood, you could walk to that grocery store to do your shopping most days and walk back.

You don't have to buy 15 bags of groceries. You can go to the store by a couple of bags. So you get some fresh vegetables, some fresh meat, everything fresh. Go home, Cook up meals, and then two days later, go back. Yes, it takes time, but that investment of time is going to improve your health significantly. So make movement a priority. It doesn't have to be exercise, but just make movement a regular part of most of your days and try to pull some of those conveniences back. I don't own a car here. I live on an island. Quite literally, the furthest thing for me right now is 15 km. I could walk there if I had to. So as you look at the way you're living and the things you're doing, look for those conveniences that are not serving you unless they need to serve you. So yes, of course, if you need to get somewhere quickly, an automobile is the best way to do it. If you don't, can you walk there? Can you walk there? Can you take a taxi back or a bus back? Can you walk there and walk back? Take those opportunities to add more movement to your day stress.

Now, stress was the biggest one for me and it took a long time, but finally I started saying I have to prioritize this and it was the last thing I addressed. I wish I had addressed it earlier. Choose When You Let News and Social Media In So if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is check news and social media, you're already setting yourself up for kind of a frustrating day. Something bad is going to hit you in the face every single time you do that. Now there might be some nice things. You might see a little cat video and this and that make you laugh. That's great. But just recognize that you control your consumption of social media. And so choose when you're going to let that end and do it in bite sized pieces. It does not need to be a 24 hours cycle. And if you find yourself at 200 in the morning checking social media, you already have an issue. Okay? And then the final thing is on stress is check yourself and see if you feel like you're getting wrapped up in this tribalism stuff.

It's really easy because the headline is built to set you off. It's built to set you off as a yes, that's good. Or it's built to say, oh my God, they're doing that again. Every single one of those headlines is built to do that. It is a tribal, one sided message focused on an ideology that's intended to upset the other ideology and get both ideologies reading that copy. So check yourself. If you find yourself getting drawn into this stuff on social media or just when you're reading different things, recognize when it's happening, take the step back and turn it off. You don't need this. Do some meditation do some things that help you relax and get over this, particularly if it's in the evening, if you know that it's going to affect your sleep, which is the next one. Sleep is huge, very important. I'm not going to put it over food, but I'm going to put it way up there. But I'm just going to say this is probably one of the hardest things for most people to address because you either feel like you sleep well or you don't. But I'm going to say you need to have a natural nightly ritual, something that's going to relax you, something that's going to let you unwind, something that's going to communicate to your body.

It's time to go to sleep. And that means getting away from unnatural light, like screens and light bulbs and other things, TVs and literally just saying, I need some time to unwind. And this can be a warm bath. This can be listening to music and can be reading fiction in a paper book. It can be just meditating, it can be a lot of things brushing your teeth can be a part of and it should be a part of your nightly ritual. So just set yourself up with a nightly ritual that communicates to your body. It's time to let go. Move away from the unnatural blue light, move back to the more Amber, flame based lights like candles, and let yourself relax before sleep so your body can get a good restful sleep. I know this is harder said than done, but it's really important. And then the final one is toxins. And again, toxins are all around you. So consistently take a moment and audit your lifestyle. The Environmental working group has resources@ewg.org. They've got this really cool app that you can put on your phone and it literally lets you look up consumer goods.

Just scan the barcode. So you go to EWG.org and go on your phone. You can look up EWG or Environmental working Group pull down their app. It literally lets you look this stuff up so you can see what's in the products that you're using. So your cleaners or your shampoo or your body wash or your makeup or any of that. It may be introducing toxins into your system, including some of those 800 or so endocrine disruptors we talked about earlier. So to recap this, the first step in fixing your health and aligning your health span with your lifespan is to understand that there is a disconnect, there is a problem. The first step is getting good, high quality real food, the highest and best quality you can afford. And that preferably means organic, fewer pesticides, fewer hormones and locally grown. So there's not the artificial things that they tend to do with the food and where possible, heirloom and some of those and a proper rotation of crops where they're getting all the nutrients your body needs. Again, highest quality, real food you can afford. Movement. Movement has to be a priority. Walk if you can, ride a bike when you can, don't lean on the conveniences of having a car for something as simple as taking a little jaunt over to the convenience store, the grocery store to buy something you need.

If you can take the time, walk there, walk back, ride a bike there, ride a bike back. Those things are going to help you feel a lot better. Be healthier, more fit, and align your health span with your lifespan. Anything you can do to manage stress, which means not letting some of it in in the first place. Tribalism, the 24 hours news cycle and social media are all within your control. You control those inputs into your brain. You control those stressors. So if you let them in, they're going to mess with you. Don't let them in. Choose the times, particularly in the evening. There's no reason there's nothing on the Internet, there's nothing on the television that's going to adversely affect you before you wake up in the morning. 99 point 99% of the time. So let it go. Let all that go. Find a distressed way to spend the evening. So that the final thing here. Sleep. You're getting great sleep. Have a good nightly ritual that pulls you away from those things and get your body ready for a good restful sleep. And then finally, toxins. So do an audit of your lifestyle.

What are some things that you're doing that are adding toxins to your life? I talked about the website or the app from Environmental Working Group, but also just other things like if you smoke or if you drink alcohol, those are toxins and so they're adding to your toxic load. So think about the toxins in your life. Do that lifestyle audit and do what you can to reduce those toxins. So if you do these things, you will make sure that your health span is more in line with your lifespan and you'll spend less of your life unhealthy. And in the end, none of us really wants to live longer if we can't live better. So focus on aligning your health span with your lifespan and you'll be happy, healthy and fit. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:41:28.850] – Allan

Welcome back Ras!

[00:41:30.590] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. You know, way back when I was taking the NASM certified personal trainer course and test, they had said that at that time, 66% of Americans older than 20 are overweight, 34% are obese. And it was such a high percent to me that it was just really it just stuck with me. And then they went on to say that, of course, the World Health Organization thinks that lack of physical activity is probably a culprit of that, which I kind of agree with as well. But based on your history lesson, that is certainly not the only reason that our country is overweight or obese.

[00:42:12.650] – Allan

Yeah. A couple of things come to mind. One is it's worse now that textbook was not that old. But every year the number gets bigger on both sides, the obesity and overweight. So the number is getting bigger. And we're not being given necessarily all the data we need to resolve that, because you're absolutely right. The movement aspects of it are a park, but it's like part of a car. You're not going to get anywhere with the chassis. You need the wheels and everything else you can look at and say, okay, this is part of the problem, but you could take and fix part of the problem and not really fix the whole problem. It's all of it. It's nutrition, it's movement, it's stress management, it's sleep. Yeah, it's all of those things. And the frustrating thing for me is that I could pull 100 people off the street and say, if you needed to lose weight, what would you do? What would you do? What are the things you need to do? And so it's like if you put them out there, like the squares where you can fill in more than one, okay, everybody's going to know it's diet.

[00:43:32.290] – Allan

And the term they would probably use in the survey would be exercise, better sleep, stress management, take a pill. And a small percentage would click, take a pill, of course. But they all know you change what you eat, you move more, you try to get better sleep, you try to manage your stress. Those things are going to help you lose weight. Now, they may say exercise is the most important and we can go back and forth. I've had doctors tell me sleep is actually maybe the most important. And I personally believe the food is the most important, but we can go back and forth on that. But I think everybody generally knows those are the things you have to do.

[00:44:12.260] – Rachel


[00:44:12.680] – Allan

The problem is this is the guidelines and things that come forward. And we've seen that in history, is that it gets skewed. It gets skewed by politics and people being involved. And so the nutrition rules that we've been given, the things we think we're supposed to do, they're politicized. And as a result, they're not right. They're wrong. And in many cases, they're so horrifically wrong that we now have an overweight and obesity, 70+ percent of Americans are overweight or obese. It's like 39% of Americans are obese. That's insane.

[00:44:56.180] – Allan

And it's based on data that was skewed. And even if new data comes out, the guidelines barely budged. And if they do budge, like they recently decided to drop saturated fat or cholesterol from being the bad food, the bad guy, but they didn't announce it and say, oh, well, guess what? You should actually probably eat eggs and bacon for breakfast. No, they didn't. They just quietly shoved it to the side. No harm, no foul. And there is harm, and there is a foul, but it's this quiet back away that occurred two or three generations later, and we're suffering the consequences of that.

[00:45:40.330] – Allan

Now, what does that mean for the go forward? And unfortunately, we are repeating history again, and we will continue to do so until we learn from history. So with Covid and this frustrates me more than anything. So if I get a little rowdy, I apologize and I have to bleep some of my language out, which kind of happens. I apologize.

[00:46:03.170] – Allan

But you do not hear the leaders anywhere explaining to you the best thing you can do for this disease is to be healthy in the first place. And so anything you do to improve your health and fitness makes you a better combatant against this virus. This virus kills the weak. I'm sorry, but that's what happens. It's people over 85. It's people with comorbidities. That's who it's killing. It's not killing generally healthy people. Now, if you see someone who thought was healthy and they died, you probably can look around. And if they did some workouts, they might find some other things that just weren't visible on the outside. We know people who have type II diabetes, but they look completely healthy. We know people who have heart problems, but they look completely healthy. We know people who have lung issues, but they look completely healthy.

[00:47:07.070] – Allan

And so it happens. And yes, it can be hit or miss if you're already healthy to know those things. So a good check up and making sure you're dotting your I's and like you said, checking off the boxes you're supposed to check off. We have this within our power if we do the bare minimum, which okay, so per the World Health Organization, you keep your sugar down here. Per the government guidelines, US guidelines, if you move intensely for 75 minutes per week, that's enough. Okay. But that's low bar thinking.

[00:47:44.660] – Rachel

It is.

[00:47:45.450] – Allan

Yeah, I'm just going to get by.

[00:47:49.310] – Rachel

I agree.

[00:47:50.750] – Allan

It's the same thing as like if you sat there and said, oh, well, here's this chart. And as long as my BMI is 29 and not 30, as long as my waist is 39 and not 40, I'm okay. And that's low bar thinking.

[00:48:06.820] – Rachel

That's a good point. I think that's absolutely right. I think the information or the guidelines that are out there are just that just guidelines and not necessarily the right things. And I think my main takeaway would be to consult with your doctor and get some more information or…

[00:48:30.170] – Rachel

The Standard American Diet is an old diet. It's been around and it's hardly changed over the years. But maybe it's time to experiment. Maybe it's time to try a plant Forward diet or a low carb/keto-type diet or the Mediterranean diet. I think it's worth changing or switching things up to see if that benefits you in any way.

[00:48:52.570] – Allan

Well, the standard American diet has drastically changed since the 1950s. As we talked about the introduction of cereals, we talked about the introduction of carbs, and as a result, people started eating more of those things. They were cost effective. More sugar was available, it was cheap, it was easy, and it was delicious. So more of that was being eaten. And then there's more processed food. So it's calorie dense, nutritionally weak.

[00:49:23.010] – Allan

And we kept doing that and kept doing that. And then they're like, well, why the heck are we having heart attacks? And they asked the wrong guy. They literally asked the wrong guy. And everybody got in line. And the corporations that were benefiting from it, they paid off scientists. They did the things they had to do to make sure they were on the bottom of that pyramid to make sure that they were the ones that got the most juice out of the whole thing and noone will back away completely from it. You can look at the Canadian guidelines, relative, the US guidelines, and kind of see the divergence. Canada is going in the right direction with nutrition. The United States is not going fast enough.

[00:50:06.830] – Allan

And as a result, we are suffering this crisis. And we have to learn from this. We have to learn that the guidelines and things that are put forward to you while rudimentary and right can be great. So Covid, wash your hands.

[00:50:22.620] – Rachel


[00:50:23.570] – Allan

Try to avoid touching your face and stay away from sick people.

[00:50:29.360] – Rachel


[00:50:30.100] – Allan

Those are excellent. But then as soon as the vaccine was introduced, they stopped talking about that. Up until that point, that's all they talked about those three things. It was like over and over. I actually walked around and took pictures of different sinks I was washing my hands in. It kind of became a thing. And that was it. Just remind people, wash your hands more often. And then beyond that, all they had to say was, we noticed the data says the people who are older and have comorbidities are the ones that are dying the most. You can look at a chart, it's easy as you see it, and it's like, okay, so if you have a comorbidity, that is a lifestyle disease, like diabetes, like heart disease, like being overweight those things, you can do something about it. If you're listening to this podcast, then you know you can because I've said you can. But beyond that, you wouldn't be listening to this podcast if you didn't know there was an answer.

[00:51:27.400] – Rachel


[00:51:28.420] – Allan

You're wanting to change something. So to change something, you got to do something. And all I'm saying is from this whole prospect is learn from history. You are your advocate, you are the right person to take care of you. And you know in your heart exactly what you need to do. You need to change the way you eat. You need to change your movement, improve it, do more.

[00:51:49.120] – Allan

You need to look at this all holistically and say, what do I need to do to make myself healthier? And that is going to make you more resilient. And that's going to help you beat this. Yes. You can go get vaccinated. And I encourage you, particularly if you're in a high risk group, go do that. Yes. Stay away from sick people if you need to. If you can. Do what you have to do to protect yourself, for sure. But the most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to just be healthier. Get your vitamin D, get outside, move around, find joy in your life, sleep well, eat well, do the things you know that are going to make you healthier and happier. And that's going to help you get past this.

[00:52:33.900] – Rachel

Absolutely. Like I mentioned in the beginning, I work really hard to maintain as healthy of a lifestyle that I can because I want to suppress as much as I possibly have under my control, the chances of me getting breast cancer. That is my biggest health fear, because that's what I've been dealt for genetics. And so I work really hard at that. But that translates to everything. I'm also working hard to reduce my risk for diabetes and heart disease and survive illnesses, whether I get shingles or the chicken pox or even Covid. So I feel like the healthier my body is, the healthier I'll be able to respond. And I think that's the key takeaway that everybody should take home today.

[00:53:19.070] – Allan

Yeah. Because when I went into the hospital here and got tested, because Tammy tested positive first for the next day, because you have to go in the morning. It's like a two hour window for testing. So I went in the next morning, and I got tested, and I'm sitting out there, and the doctor calls me over, and he said. “positivo”. I'm like, “okay.”

[00:53:39.780] – Allan

And he's like, no. I'm like, okay, I got it. I'm going to go home. I'm going to stay home for a couple of weeks, and then I'm going to get over it. But he's looking at me. He's like, no, I know what he's thinking. You're 56 years old and you have Covid. You're going to die, right? And he's like, no, Positivo. This is solemn Positivo. And I'm like, okay, I know this is not good news, but okay. And then I just said to him, I just go home. And he's like, no. He says, you have a ride? And I'm like, no, I was going to walk home, and I think that hospital is something like about maybe a mile and a quarter.

[00:54:23.680] – Rachel


[00:54:24.390] – Allan

No, maybe 2 miles. Maybe close to 2 miles from my home, from Lulu. I'm just going to walk home, and then I'll be there, and he's like, no, you have to go in the ambulance.

[00:54:34.990] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[00:54:38.570] – Allan

Right. Well, I had Covid, so in their minds, I was done. My blood oxygen never went below 95.

[00:54:47.160] – Rachel

That's good.

[00:54:48.420] – Allan

Most of the time I was sitting right around 97, 98. I was never in any danger. I was never anything. I was fatigued and lost taste and smell and I still don't have my smell back. But that makes me capable to do a lot of jobs around Lulu's that most people wouldn't want to do.

[00:55:07.490] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[00:55:09.350] – Allan

But all that said, and I don't mean to joke about it because I know it's a very serious thing, but I ate well, I slept well, I managed stress. And while during that period of time because of Covid, because everything else I couldn't do the things I always did, I had put on some weight and so I was at a higher weight than I would normally like to be within the normal ranges that I bounced around. I was maybe about 5 or 8 pounds over what my normal roof was for a feasting period of the year. But that makes sense because I stretched a normal feasting of like 4 months into 16, of course. But that said, even when I feast, I tend to eat really good food, I go for the higher quality stuff, I eat a lot of vegetables, I eat meat, I don't eat a lot of processed stuff, I don't eat a lot of bread and other stuff.

[00:56:08.050] – Allan

When I'm on my feastt, I tend to eat a little more of it. But now I'm back in a famine and I don't. It's just meat and vegetables, that's it. But that's the point. If you want to learn from history, history tells you that the guidelines that are out there are not what you necessarily need to be following and in many cases they just don't go far enough.

[00:56:31.010] – Allan

So find your lines. Yes. If you're not getting the 75 minutes of intense exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise, set that as your next goal. A lot of people sit there and say due to that 10,000 steps you're looking at, I'm only doing two. Now that seems like a huge well then just make a five. Just start with something.

[00:56:50.540] – Rachel


[00:56:50.960] – Allan

Set it at 5000, start with something. And then when you get to five, look at ten, you get to ten and say, Well, I wonder what 15 would feel like.

[00:56:58.780] – Rachel


[00:56:59.520] – Allan

And that's how you get there. But if you just sit there and say, oh, well, I'm at ten, I'm just going to stay at ten, and then that's not enough to help you get to your goals, you'll give up on it. So just realize that those guidelines are fine. The rules of thumbs are simple because we love simple. But life is more complex than that. Our biology is much more complex than that. So take the time, but be your own advocate and don't just settle for what the government or what the standards say you should do. Do what you know you need to do for yourself.

[00:57:35.220] – Rachel

Yes, I think that's great. Great takeaway, Allan.

[00:57:38.370] – Allan

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

[00:57:41.250] – Rachel

Sounds great. Take care.

[00:57:42.620] – Allan

You too.

[00:57:43.500] – Rachel



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

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

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


February 21, 2022

How to be a younger you with Dr. Kara Fitzgerald

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

We grow up celebrating birthdays, marks of our chronological age, but that can differ drastically from our biological age. In her book, Younger You, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald shows us how we can slow and even reverse our biological aging.


Let's Say Hello


[00:01:13.450] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:01:14.590] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:16.190] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Good and bad. Like I said, the last time we talked, there were some things going on with me here with the gym in particular. My landlord decided that it was time for them to Mark up my rent. What they felt was full market on the space. And in the past, the agreement had kind of been that they wanted a gym next door, that it was good for them to have a gym next door. And so they agreed to a moderate reduction in what would be considered market rent. But now they just full out want market rent. And we've been open over a month, over a year since covid. We just had a year when they decided to do this. And so it was just bump. There's a 45% increase in rent. And I can tell you, the gym business is not a high margin business. In general, you have members, they pay. There's no contracts here. So this is not like I've got people locked into a year and they pay and they don't show up here. If they don't pay, they don't show up. They don't show up, they don't pay.

[00:02:20.310] – Allan

And so it's just that I can't. There's no way you tell your members, okay, rent went up 45%. I need you to pay me 45% more. I would lose all my members. So I decided it was a good time for me to go check out this thing called the market. And he was absolutely right. They wanted to mark it up to a market price and all that. I'm like, well, that's great. But I knew if I paid market, I could probably get something better, something that was more suitable. They've been having issues with their hostels. What they are hotel hostel. And so some of their members are right on the other side of the wall of our gym. And so people are in their lifting weights or the music's playing maybe just a little louder than you need it. And so they get complaints, and it happens about once every four or five months. Someone will send me an email saying, you guys got to cut the music off and move away from the wall. And I'm like, no, I'm done. Anyway, and also the gym doesn't have a bathroom, so now I've found a space.

[00:03:24.940] – Allan

We're going to have a bathroom. It's going to be a fair amount of space. It's not as big as what we have, but it's something we can make work and it's still right in town. So I think it'll be a good move for us from the perspective of having something solid locked in and then be able to run the gym, at least with some expectations that our landlords not going to come after us. Rent increases.

[00:03:50.350] – Rachel


[00:03:51.050] – Allan

Yeah. So how are things up there?

[00:03:53.300] – Rachel

Good. I just got back from a race, and my training that I've been doing with the trainer has been paying off. I had a great race day. And I'm excited for what's up ahead. My marathon will be in a few more weeks.

[00:04:08.090] – Allan

Oh, good.

[00:04:09.100] – Rachel

Fingers crossed.

[00:04:10.990] – Allan

no, not fingers crossed. You've got this. Put the work in.

[00:04:14.970] – Rachel


[00:04:15.420] – Allan

You put the work in.

[00:04:16.190] – Rachel

Yes. Doing the work. Making progress. That's right.

[00:04:19.650] – Allan

It's not luck. This is dedication and investment.

[00:04:25.630] – Rachel

Absolutely. My trainer has been really great, so it's definitely paying off.

[00:04:30.850] – Allan

Good. All right, well, you want to have this conversation with Kara?

[00:04:34.670] – Rachel



[00:05:17.080] – Allan

Dr. Fitzgerald, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:20.050] – Dr. Fitzgerald

It's great to be with you today.

[00:05:23.050] – Allan

I'm going to admit I'm a health geek. That's why I do what I do. And your book Younger You: Reduce Your Bio Age and Live Longer Better. I so geeked out on this book. I don't want to scare anybody away. It is a great book for a geek, but it's also very easy to understand. You've written things in a way that anyone can go through and kind of pull this together and say, hey, all those words that were out there that used to just kind of confuse me, they now make so much more sense.

[00:05:59.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Got it. So appreciative to hear that. That's very high praise. We worked hard. Kate Hanley worked with me in writing this, and she really got in there and translated so that it is understandable and the analogies make sense and people can do it. So thank you.

[00:06:16.470] – Allan

Now one of the quotes, the good books. I'll just say when I find a good book, I'll usually find something in it like this, just this nugget of quote. Typically a quote or it might be a stat, but usually a quote that I'll say, okay, this is important, and this is something that needs to be shared over and over and over again. And here's the quote I'm taking from your book. When you give your body what it needs without beating it over the head with Pharmaceuticals, synthetic hormones, you empower your body's own innate wisdom to lead the way. And that is such a powerful statement.

[00:06:53.610] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. Just allow trusting the body wisdom.

[00:06:57.640] – Allan

Yeah. And your younger you program. That's exactly what you're doing.

[00:07:01.500] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's right.

[00:07:02.460] – Allan

So I want to start out with some definitions because this is a technical issue. When you start talking about genetics, we're not talking about carbs and protein and fat, and we're not talking about bench presses and barbell curls and things like that. Those are complicated for a lot of people. But when you start getting into genetics and epigenetics and those things, it can seem very intimidating to someone that didn't study this or isn't really comfortable with the science of all of this. Can we talk about chronological age versus biological age or bio age?

[00:07:38.980] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, absolutely. It's simple. Chronological age is how many years we've been here on the planet. You can't change it no matter how much we might want to be 29 again, we're not changing that. Biological age is really the measurement of our physiologic age, how healthy we are, what our wear and tear looks like. Are we breaking down faster physically than our chronological age, or are we breaking down more slowly? And obviously, we want the latter.

[00:08:15.880] – Allan

Yes. And in the book, you give us some references to places we can go to get this done, like in a lab situation. But you also give us some easy tests, like just take this test and this will give you a general idea, plus or minus how well you're doing. So I appreciate you making that easy for someone to go out there and just say, okay, Where's my starting point? And then after going through some of this, actually be able to see progress, because progress is what makes us what motivates us to keep doing these things. So I appreciate that being a part of this book.

[00:08:47.240] – Dr. Fitzgerald

We have it online now. So that biological age subjective questionnaire you're referring to is online. And I'll give you the link. It's youngeryouprorogram.com, and then you can just do it yourself. Easy peasy. And as many times as you want. And it is fun and it is illuminating.

[00:09:04.330] – Allan

Now, let's talk about what genes are and what epigenetics is.

[00:09:11.320] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. Okay. And I want to make sure that I fold into that at some point how we actually measure biological age, because that's tucked into this epigenetic conversation. Our genes are hardware basically. They're just kind of tucked into the nucleus of the cell, really not doing anything unless they're called upon to turn on. So we've got about 23000 genes, far, far less actually than most plants. Our genome is relatively simple. And when we mapped the genome out back in the early two thousands, there was a belief that we were going to be able to find a genetic cause for all of the chronic diseases that we are swamped with. And upon completion of the genome, it was clear that it was too simplistic of a goal and that ushered in the era of epigenetics or epigenomics. Epigenetics has been around for a long time, but there's a lot of attention here now. And what that is epic is above and genetics is our genetic material. So above the genetic material or how we regulate genetic expression. And this is where the rubber meets the road. This is how our diet and lifestyle habits, our mental and emotional experience, our stress, our toxins, et cetera, all of these things that we're interested in in the health space, it influences genetic expression.

[00:10:57.850] – Dr. Fitzgerald

And you're looking at those changes right here in epigenetics. So it's where environment meets genetics.

[00:11:07.030] – Allan

The way I kind of understand it is okay. I used to think a gene was either on or off, but as I understand, it's sort of like a dimmer switch and the epigenetic aspects of it are kind of okay, is this more on, more off or all the way off or all the way on? And some of these genes, like you talk about tumor suppression genes that over time kind of get turned more off, more off, more off as we get older or as we deal with toxins or we just don't take care of ourselves. So the epigenetics aspect of it is really kind of almost toggling on how much is the gene working versus not working?

[00:11:41.740] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, perfect. That's exactly right.

[00:11:43.990] – Allan

It's different then I can't toggle my different colors by messing with my epigenetics. Some of these things are hardwired, but a lot of the health aspect things that we're seeing, like cancers and other diseases of age, mostly diseases of age and lifestyle, we're seeing those are controlled by epigenetics.

[00:12:02.290] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yes, that's right.

[00:12:04.790] – Allan

Okay, now you're diving one layer deeper. Okay. So we're going to take this next step down and this is a very important step because this is the basis for how you've organized everything you do, and that is DNA methylation. Can you first tell us what methylation is and then what is DNA methylation?

[00:12:25.220] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. So methylation is a process that's happening and really everywhere in the body pretty much all of the time. This isn't scientifically correct, but it's like oxygen. We know we need to be breathing all of the time or will die. Methylation is like that ubiquitous and really maybe more so. And it's a methyl group is a carbon with three hydrogens. It's very simple, very fundamental. We're making methyl groups in the methylation cycle, and then they are carted off in the structure of a compound called S adenosine methionine. People might know it as Sam or CME. So this compound, CME, hangs onto a methyl group and then it goes off to the myriad enzymes that use a methyl group and just engages in a whole lot of biochemical reactions in the body. We use methylation to detox. We use methylation to make hormones, things like adrenaline or dopamine or noradrenaline. What else do we use methylation for? To make really important fatty acid associated compounds like phosphatidyl choline, and choline? You know, just on and on. I think at last count there were over 300 reactions requiring a methyl group.

[00:13:53.290] – Allan

Okay. So the way I like to look at this, just from a simplistic and maybe it's not simplistic, but to me it's simplistic because I didn't grow up around computers, but I spent a lot of time with computers is I look at genes is kind of being like you said, it's sort of the hardware and the operating system. You bought an IBM, you're an IBM or you're an Apple. You operate a certain way. And then the epigenetics is sort of the software we decided to put in there. So do I want to do graphics work and I'm going to be over here doing cad and working with drawings and things like that, or am I going to do crunch big numbers and do spreadsheets and databases? So you use a different software that is going on in that sort of deciding how you're operating and you're doing things. And the methylation is the data entry. It's the bits and pieces that go in there to say, okay, so if this, then that well, now what's the if? What was that if? And it's like if you ate whole food, then this, if you ate crap, then this.

[00:14:50.270] – Allan

And so the software is already there and we're affecting the DNA methylation, hitting that kind of stuff with our lifestyle and our food and everything else.

[00:15:02.530] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's interesting. I haven't thought of it in that way, and I'll have to ponder it a little bit. There are a lot of biochemical processes involved in epigenetics, involved in gene regulation, and DNA methylation is one of them. So I have to ponder your analogy. At a glance, really it makes sense, but it's one of the software programs and I think it's one of the big guys software programs to regulate what's going on in us.

[00:15:38.650] – Allan

Okay, now you have a formula in there, and this formula, I think, kind of helps us drive how we approach this whole your whole younger you program is built on.

[00:15:48.360] – Allan

Okay. We've got this group of things. We got to think about this group of things and this group of things. So you put them into three buckets, but it's a plus plus plus. And then that's going to equal where you are with your younger you. First is methyl donors, which, as I understand, is basically things that are going to help, that are going to be donating the things that are going to go into that process, the DNA methylation adaptogens, which are going to kind of be the enzyme, but things are going to make that happen. And then the lifestyle practices that are going to define how well it happens.

[00:16:21.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yes. So donors help with fundamental methylation. We need to be effectively methylating all the time, and we need to supply the body with the ingredients in order to do that. And as we age, we actually do it way less efficiently. The adaptogens are foods or compounds that sort of direct where they go. And I think that that's what you said. And our lifestyle pieces also influence what is happening at DNA methylation as well. So maybe they're refinements. I look at them as further all important support in regulating optimal genetic expression.

[00:17:06.070] – Allan

My thought process goes like this. It's like I can't really control methyl donors. It's not like I could have a switch on my shoulder or something. It's like turn it on or turn it off or make it move here, make it move. The same thing with the methylation adaptogens, but the lifestyle practices, I have a little bit more control now. I do have control of my food, which is where a lot of these donors and adaption come from. So let's talk a little bit.

[00:17:30.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald

They do. They all do. So, I mean, I would challenge you on that. I would say you do have control over what you're putting in your mouth.

[00:17:37.910] – Allan

Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about the food. You have a lot of different aspects to it that I think are really important. Can you talk about food and this approach and why it's giving us the methyl donors and the DNA methylation adaptions?

[00:17:59.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. So going back to that first quote about giving our body the ingredients it needs for optimal chain expression, our food is information. It's extraordinarily complex information, actually. Scientists are really just unpacking it. They were just learning how extraordinary it is. And it's not just the isolated ingredients. It's the interaction between the ingredients that are on your fork and then the interactions with your gut, microbiome, et cetera. It's just the food matrix is beautiful and extraordinary. And my appreciation is always sort of expanded as the science grows. So we want to be consuming foods. So we want to be consuming these methyl donors that we need a lot of instead of an isolated vitamins. Actually, I shouldn't say instead of because there are times when we need isolated vitamins. So I want to be clear that I'm not suggesting we stop isolated vitamins as needed, but eating as many in a food matrix will yield more bang for our buck. And so that means leafy Greens, that means spinach, that means kale, asparagus. That means mushrooms like shiitake or Inake that are just maitake that are just loaded with Folate and B.12 If you can do it, have some eggs.

[00:19:29.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald

If you're a fan of eating eggs, eggs are loaded with choline, beets. I try to have a couple of small beets every day. They're packed with the methyl support nutrient Batine. Another methyl donor superfood is liver. We like people to do about three servings of liver per week, so not loads. And the eggs we look at in a weekly serving as well. So you don't have to have them every day, but maybe five to ten eggs per week. We do have a vegetarian/vegan program that one can follow. We just didn't do our research study on it. So you'll have to stay tuned. We're actually continuing to research. So stay tuned there. But this original study was used using animal products. So those are methylation adaptogens. And then those are the methyl donors foods, and then the methylation adaptogens. These are the beautiful polyphenols that seem to direct how the methyl donors behave and where they go. Top ones include green tea, the catechins egcgb most famous. Rosemarynic acid, and Rosemary, quercetin, curcumin, luteolin. What else? Resveratrol. All of the beautiful compounds and blueberries and berries in general. So think andanal methane, sulforaphane.

[00:20:57.800] – Dr. Fitzgerald

So cruciferous vegetables. We want you to just be just fill your cup with these nutrients. And I think together they just pack a really profound punch. So I'll just stop there and see if you can.

[00:21:09.730] – Allan

No, that's great, because a couple of things that are there is yes. If you eat keto, if you eat vegetarian, if you eat Paleo, if you eat Mediterranean, all of these stack on top of the way that you're approaching this. But you're just saying there's some very core things here. High quality whole food. You didn't say Twinkies or Twiskets or anything like that. These are high quality whole foods. It is plant forward because a lot of these methyl donors and the adaptogens that we need, they're going to come from plants. In fact, I think this week was the first time I've ever bought fresh Rosemary in my entire life.

[00:21:52.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Well, good. Oh, it's great. Cool.

[00:21:56.150] – Allan

And a lot of the foods that you mentioned, I love. I love beets, I love liver. And so those are normal things. But it just kind of reminds me to make sure that they're in the rotation enough that I'm getting enough methyl donors. As you say, one thing that I think is going to be kind of interesting to a lot of people is that your approach is sort of keto leaning, not necessarily all the way to ketosis all the time, but at least leaning towards keto and utilizing intermittent fasting.

[00:22:23.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald


[00:22:24.220] – Allan

So why are those two a part of this? What do they do?

[00:22:27.780] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Well, we know that ketones are extremely helpful. Before I jump into the answer those two questions, I just want to underline the comment that you made about how stackable this is. We used this in clinic practice years before we got to research it. And so we layered these principles into the myriad very individualized diet program. So if we had a strict keto protein restricted keto with a cancer patient, we could layer in these principles. If we have somebody with profound allergies or on a fodmap or any of the myriad diets that one might use in clinic practice or even out in the world, that the diets that people might be exploring, these principles are designed to be layerable layerable layerable. This is not exclusive. The only time you might consider doing this and following it exclusively is if you really want to get the results from our study. And that's an eight week chunk of time. And so that's when I would say.

[00:23:31.930] – Allan

But it is a reduction of over three years of bio ages which you are finding in your study. It is eight weeks and it's restrictive and it's intensive. It's called intensive. We're going to talk about it a little bit more detail later, but it has some pretty profile. At least it was a small group. But to be fair, pretty profound findings from just that small trial in just eight weeks. I think anyone here can sit there and say, I can do anything for eight weeks, particularly if you see the benefits that I think you'll see if you do this. And then the other side of it is if you're eating a certain way and you hear about some of these other foods, you might have thought, okay, well, I'm in keto, and beets are root vegetables, so therefore I shouldn't be eating them. You can still stay in ketosis and eat beets. I do it all the time. It's just a function of being aware of how much you're eating, how many carbs you're taking it and what your tolerance is. And if you get your insulin resistance under control, which is a part of what this diet does as a part of the anti-aging aspects of it, you will probably be able to tolerate more natural sugars from things like beets.

[00:24:39.310] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's exactly right. That's a great point. Yeah, right. Absolutely. And you can figure out when you may consider eating your beets, perhaps after you've done something cardio. And we're not talking about a ton of beets. I think two medium beets a day, so you can cut them in quarters and just have a bite of beet if you're working with blood sugar issues. So ketone bodies are important. I think epigenetic signal molecules. And I think the data around ketones as epigenetic regulators is just emerging. So they're included. We wanted it to be keto leaning for that reason, but also just the potent anti inflammatory potential of having background ketones, their brain fuel. I mean, they just serve so many having some circulating ketones, having our bodies exposed to some circulating ketones daily, even for a limited period, I think is really important in long term health and longevity.

[00:25:49.150] – Allan

When someone gets the metabolic flexibility to be able to use Ketones in addition to glucose, what I found is that the cravings for glucose go away because the energy source is always there. We carry enough body fat to pretty much function for a long time. And we already have enough blood sugar and basic available sugar to last us for a couple of hours of even intermediate level work. So for most of us, if we get that metabolic flexibility, we're not constantly hungry, not constantly hungry. And so having the ability to utilize Ketones gives us that capacity to choose give us some freedom. For a lot of people, then that also leads into the intermittent fasting and how easy it becomes once you're adapted to using Ketones.

[00:26:39.770] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, that's right. And of course, we know that Longo has done lots of research and data continue to come out showing the benefits of different fasting structures. And we wanted something doable. We didn't want this study to be about intermittent fasting or fasting. We really wanted this program to be easy to be doable for a large population. So it's 12 hours on, 12 hours off. It's very gentle. But the data on fasting, on time restricted eating and biological age is just growing. And I think it's good. It's impressive.

[00:27:20.020] – Allan

Yes. And these are not extremes and these are not low calories. Eat cardboard stuff.

[00:27:28.390] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's right.

[00:27:29.310] – Allan

You're eating healthy, high quality foods. You're not trying to blast your body with a bunch of supplements. You're supplementing as necessary. So this time of year up north, probably some vitamin D if you're vegan, probably some vitamin B12. Just kind of making sure that you're putting the right things in your body. If you can't get it from your nutrition or your body can't make it itself, then you do some supplements.

[00:27:56.960] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, we do. In our study, it was very simple. We didn't want to lean on supplements. But I agree with you. And there's actually in the book there's a supplement section in the book where I talk about just some workhorse nutrients, as you said, like vitamin D or if you're vegan, B12, and possibly iron in some circumstances, fish oil. There are some basic things we want in our background if we're not adequately consuming them in the diet or if we're not consuming them at all. But in the study, we only used a Greens powder to get just another little hit of those all important polyphenols that I mentioned. And we used a probiotic Lactobacillus Plantarum. And the reason we use Lactobacillus plantarum is this particular strain has some nice science on it for a variety of healthy gut reasons. But it's also been shown to be able to increase bacterial production of folate. And we make a lot we make a ton of vitamins. A healthy gut makes lots of vitamins that we need. And we know. So beyond just making vitamins. We know that the microbiome regulates host epigenetics, and it plays a lot of roles and it's just continually being unpacked.

[00:29:10.700] – Dr. Fitzgerald

We're just starting to wrap our arms around it. So we know that a healthy gut microbiome is an essential component. So those were just the only two things we used in our study.

[00:29:19.240] – Allan

Yeah. There were a couple of things that I took away as you got into this as far as supplementing and things like something as simple as put your mushrooms out in the sun for a little while and they'll have some more vitamin D.

[00:29:30.090] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Isn't that cool? Like an easy mushroom hack? Yes.

[00:29:33.740] – Allan

Just put it out there. If you got high quality sun, put it out there for an hour or so. If you can put it out there longer and it's going to soup up the vitamin D you can get from those mushrooms. Also, you talk a little bit about how folate but typically when we get a supplement for folate, we're getting folic acid, which is problematic.

[00:29:55.330] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah. I do want to acknowledge that food folic acid fortification, grain fortification has reduced birth defects in this country and other countries. So we have to acknowledge that public health success. But we also have to acknowledge that that means there are some people get ingesting a lot of folate, be it folic acid and fortified foods or the other so in grains, but also in milk, in alternative milks. And it's a huge issue how much fortification goes on. If you buy soy or almond or cashew milk, etc. That's been any degree processed, it will be fortified with various vitamins. And so we need to keep our eyes open. Folate exists in a U curve. And actually, let me finish the folic gas piece first. Folic acid is synthetic. It's not bioidentical to the folates that we use. And so it has to be active. And I think your listeners probably know you've talked about this I'm sure that it takes a few steps. It takes more steps, and we don't all activate it equally well. And circulating folic acid has been associated with issues as far as DNA methylation goes, imbalanced methylation isn't going to come from folic acid, though, so I don't follow that thread in the book too far.

[00:31:20.230] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Imbalanced DNA methylation can come from folic acid has to be activated into a body usable, a bio dentical form, and then it could go on to influence DNA methylation. So any excess forms of any I think isolated vitamins can in some people probably be problematic. And it is not black and white. This does not mean that you throw your supplements out at all, but it does mean that you recognize if there's excess and you're paying attention and if you're taking isolated vitamins, you're doing it for a reason. You know why you're taking that much? Are you taking it long term? If so, why is someone managing that, et cetera, in the age of epigenetics. So in the Omics era, where we can see our genome, our microbiome or epigenome, et cetera, in this era, we are able to see nutrients, lifestyle vitamins, influence on our physiology more than at any other time. And because of this, I don't think we can any longer say we'll pee out the vitamins we don't use, et cetera. I think we need to be a little bit more mindful.

[00:32:35.890] – Allan

Yeah. And you're wasting money

[00:32:39.010] – Dr. Fitzgerald


[00:32:43.450] – Allan

so let's jump into some of the lifestyle things. And in there, you had pretty much four things. And the reason I want to talk about these four things, in addition, is this is the message that we hear over and over. You can take this back to Buettner when he was talking about blue zones. Doctor Day, the probably the last, I would say the last ten episodes if we didn't talk about these four or five things. We talked about food, we talked about exercise, we talked about we talked about stress management in some cases we talked about toxins, which I kind of lump in with stress management. So it's emotional stress or actual chemical stress and then social connection. Those four things, exercise, sleep, stress management, and social connection are so important. But they're affecting us at this level. They're at this level. This is not just, oh, I feel tired because I didn't sleep. We're doing something to DNA methylation.

[00:33:39.450] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yes, it's pretty crazy. So here we are in this era where we can see what the heck is happening. And, yeah, we need these lifestyle practices for a reason. We evolved moving our bodies. We evolved getting a certain amount of sleep, and you can see that people. So originally it was animal studies. There are animals and human studies, but most still are animal. But just one poor sleep session. In an animal model, damages the central nervous systems. There's neuronal damage, the regeneration of neurons or the maintenance of neurons. It becomes problematic. And we see in humans insomnia being very proaging, as measured by DNA methylation. So sleep is important. And then just going beyond specifically looking at DNA methylation. So we see that it's disruptive there, but we see that poor sleep is linked to all of the chronic diseases, which are all fueled by aging. So it comes full circle. So, yeah, it's essential for us to get sufficient sleep for those of us who want a healthy longevity and a good health plan to go with our longevity, we really need to be considering sleep. We need to prioritize it. I talked a lot about sleep in my book and how to do it because I was a bad sleeper.

[00:35:08.190] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I think of all of the components of our program. Sleep was the hardest for me. And so how did I improve it? It was a lot of little steps. Probably the biggest one was going to bed early enough to actually allow my body to get 8 hours and not staying up in this anxious state of ‘oh my gosh, I'm not going to fall asleep' and we're going to talk about meditation in a minute. That's a great way to bring the body down into a sleep place. Making sure my room is dark enough. I put an air conditioner in the window in my bedroom so the rest of my house wouldn't be cold to turning down the central air because I sleep better in a really cold room. I think most people do, so just little hacks along the way can add up to good quality sleep. I love using a sleep tracker. I wear an aura ring that motivates me because I'm a data Hound. I like looking at it. I feel excited when I get sufficient deep sleep and REM. And I can also track did I exercise too late? When I exercise a little bit too late, my heart rate doesn't drop and I tend to be a less efficient sleeper.

[00:36:16.210] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I'll have more disruption if I exercise in the morning. However, I can really get fabulous sleep, so it helps me, but there's a timing component and I just kind of move through some of those things when I wake up at night. So I have a toddler at home. Honestly, I wake up most nights with her and then I need to be able to fall back to sleep. And one of the ways that I've done that actually an important tool. I got this from her, right? I would play white noise for her or rain sounds, et cetera. And I just started doing that for myself. And now it really makes a difference when I need to kind of bring myself back down into sleep in the middle of the night when I've been woken up.

[00:36:56.170] – Allan

Yeah, I also use the white noise and keep the room cool. Now that my wife is menopause, she agrees with me. The room should be colder. Before we were ten degrees difference in where we wanted the temperature of the room to be. We're much closer now, but it is that what is something. And so mine was an internal dialogue. Meditation, if you will. It's a very different thing and that I just visualize myself doing something. At first I was struggling with stress of being under a house, a dad of a house, and then it's very expensive house. We're having troubles with contractors and everything. So it was stressing me out. I actually was laying there when I think that I'm under the house, but it's on sand and so all I have to do is just start digging and I would dig out and I would see blue light and then I would feel the Sunshine, smell the air, hear the noises of the waves and the birds. And then I'd climb out and I'd start walking and I'd be asleep. And what I found was every morning then I found myself. It gets easier and easier to dig out.

[00:38:06.640] – Allan

I'd be out and I'd be walking down the beach earlier, and I would sleep better. And then one night I was just already standing on the beach.

[00:38:15.190] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Well, that's pretty cool.

[00:38:16.400] – Allan

And so I'm not going to call it a dream as much as just when I was just sitting there thinking about my state of mind and where I needed to be and where I was and what was going to take it was going to take me digging through the sand. And so every night I would just kind of mentally dig myself through the sand and just say, okay, this is easy. I'm just digging through sand. I can do this. Blue light. Okay, great. I'm moving in the right direction. I'm doing the right things. And then I'm asleep. So it's just for me, it was a unique thing. Now I don't have that house. I don't have those problems. So now I just visualize myself.

[00:38:48.460] – Dr. Fitzgerald

And you live on a beach.

[00:38:49.550] – Allan

I live on a beach, but I've just visualize myself somewhere I want to be that I would enjoy. And I start thinking about the sun on my face and how that warmth feels and how the air smells fresh and you can just kind of feeling in the waves and all of that. When you start doing that, it kind of clears your brain of anything else because you're trying to sensory perceive yourself somewhere. Everything else just falls apart. So if there's things that are bothering you over the day, it's like that guy cut me off in traffic. Damn it. I should have got his driver's license. He should have his plate number and turn them into you're not thinking about that anymore. You're thinking about the sun on your face, or maybe you like skiing and it's the brisk and the cold and you can see your breath and those types of things. For me, the big point of sleep is to just find a way to turn and yes, white noise is a big part of that, too.

[00:39:42.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I think the take home what you're doing, it just sounds perfect, is that we can succeed at this for people who have struggled with insomnia. And I am right there. Stress induced insomnia, like what you're talking about. I've absolutely struggled or just being woken up a lot because of my daughter. But both varieties, simple steps, we can do it. And there are times I know we have other areas to talk about, but I want to just say that because I know people listening are going to say this or think this any insomniacs out there. Yeah, that won't work for me. Yeah, that won't work for me. There's just this discouragement. And I've also been there. And the fact of the matter is it can work for you if you continue to return yourself to whatever the exercise is like. Ok. If you return yourself to the stand and to the blue light, and then your mind goes right back to being under the house and stuck under that debt. It's so overwhelming. Then just return. It is a meditation practice. It's not like a meditation practice. It is, but you just have to keep with it.

[00:41:01.050] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I'm sure there were times when you didn't do when you failed at it, and then you'd have to keep returning.

[00:41:06.080] – Allan

Yeah. Other things were going on. Yeah. And then I'd get stuck again. But the other thing I found was, okay, if there's something you can't do, what's important is for you to focus on what you can do. So if when I injured my shoulder. Okay, well, I couldn't exercise the way I wanted to exercise, but I could exercise some ways. I didn't feel like I was making the progress, but I could really focus on my nutrition. I could really start focusing on my stress if I can't be in the gym for an hour and a half, because that's what I enjoy doing now, my basic workout because I can't work parts of my upper body. My workout was done in an hour. I now have a half an hour. What do I do? I go home and I sit down and I just do a quick meditation, a 15,20 minutes meditation before I take my shower. And I use that 30 minutes to change something or I made sure I made good meal prep. So I know my lunch is packed and everything is ready to go. So I've had a good breakfast. I'm going to have a good, healthy lunch.

[00:42:03.740] – Allan

And so it's just do what you can with what you have, where you are.

[00:42:07.160] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yes, that's right. Amen to that. Okay. Do we want to move on?

[00:42:13.880] – Allan

Yes, we're going to move on. But the only reason I said is I want to back up a little bit because earlier I talked about the software piece, and you got the hardware with the operating system, the software and the data. And in my mind, the food, the exercise, the sleep, the stress management and the social connections. That's all information. And the information is not just something that's out there. It literally goes to your genes. It goes to the expression of your genes. It's the information that makes that stuff happen, good or bad.

[00:42:43.880] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's right. That's exactly right.

[00:42:45.330] – Allan

You talk a lot about trauma in the book and how trauma carries forward all the way to our DNA to the point that we can take it forward to the next generation.

[00:42:53.470] – Dr. Fitzgerald


[00:42:54.090] – Allan

So this is not a little thing. This is the information that drives your life. And it potentially is driving future generation. A lot of us are not of age where we're going to have children again. But just be thinking about it in terms of your daughter's, son looking at having children. If they start using some of these practices, they're setting that child up for a much better future because their DNA is made of their DNA, which means that all that encoding is some of it's going over. And the more we can clean that up now, the better.

[00:43:29.490] – Dr. Fitzgerald

That's right. And we do the best we can. And it does exist on a continuum. So you can see changes after one healthy meal or one exercise event. But clearly you're going to see stronger and more deeply rooted favorable changes on DNA methylation or the epigenome with continued practice. I just want to say, because it's so cool, is there's a study looking at exercise and the heritability of that and you've can pass some of those beneficial genetic changes down. I just think it's so cool. I mean, we know this for food, and I think trauma has been probably better studied than almost anything the heritability of trauma. But it's just if you're doing your crunches and you're going to conceive, I mean, go you. You're doing your power lifting or whatever, you can hand some of that down and actually just thinking about exercising in older people, they get more of an epigenetic bang for their buck than younger folks. So you had brought up those tumor suppressor genes. These are cancer fighters in our body. And as we age or if we have cancer, these genes get really kind of turned off. And exercise helps with re-expression. So it's neat. It acts like a methylation adaptogen.

[00:44:52.370] – Allan

So now I want to quickly talk about alcohol because you talked about an adaptogen and everybody thinks, oh, great, I can have a few glasses of wine every night and all I'm doing is putting antioxidants in my body and I'm good. Maybe the story is not that clean.

[00:45:13.420] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, it's not. Sorry, guys. I feel for you. I'm not a drinker at all. But I appreciate people who want to have a drink. It inhibits methylation. I mean, it's not via a variety of mechanisms. It kind of shuts methylation down. So I think if you're going to drink well, if you want to do our intensive and if you want to get that three year biological age reversal that we got on our study participants, just like offers eight weeks, just eight weeks after that, we've got an everyday program that you can resume drinking if you like to, but it's modest. We don't want you pounding back the sauce a lot because you will mess with methylation and DNA methylation. You can have some wine. So have some dark red. I think it's helped. That's a good variety, a good type. Have it be low glycemic or do some clean, gluten free vodka or something like that. But keep it modest. And maybe if you're into it, consider having an extra serving of some methyl donor food that you particularly like in conjunction with that. Just to support it.

[00:46:29.430] – Allan

Let's get a little into the program, because what I really liked and part of the reason that your book is as thick as it is is that you gave us every tool imaginable to make this manageable for everybody. Meaning there is an intensive program you recommend eight weeks. That's how your study was designed and got great benefits. There is an everyday version, which is kind of a light version of this is a little bit more leeway to do some things. But even in the book, you talk about how you can walk your way into this by just picking one or two things to do a little differently and get there. You provide meal plans. If someone wants to follow something stringent, you give us kind of guidelines. If we want to have a little bit more give and take of eating the kind of foods in a way we want to, you show us how we can layer it across different ways of eating, like vegan, vegetarian, keto, Mediterranean paleo, which pretty much is already paleo if you really map it out.

[00:47:31.210] – Dr. Fitzgerald


[00:47:31.790] – Allan

And then at the end, you give us a bunch of recipes to kind of make all this work and shopping list. So you didn't leave anything out. It's like you literally take the shopping list going, okay, here's the recipe to make this dish. This is my meal plan for the week. And quite literally, you've laid everything out. It made the book over 490 pages, I think. It's weightlifting, just think of it that way. You pick it up off the ground, use your legs. It's a big book, but it's got everything in there to kind of walk us through this program. So is there anything else you want to talk about with the program that someone should know?

[00:48:11.410] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I appreciate you highlighting that because I have an amazing nutrition team in my clinic practice. We have a nutrition internship program that's world recognized, and it's competitive. So we get just the best and the brightest nutritionists. And they did a lot of the heavy lifting and establishing our recipes and doing tasting and establishing the macro and the micronutrient on each of the recipes. And we worked so hard together as a team. And I just always need to give them a shout out. And our founding nutrition director, Ronald Hodges, actually worked on birthing our original program back in 2015, 2016. And so, yeah, it's been built by really brilliant minds. And so they'll certainly appreciate you just giving all of this work, this hard work a call out. In fact, you're the first person who really has brought it to light.

[00:49:08.510] – Allan

No honest truth. I've done over 325 of these interviews, and almost every one of them, they'll do their book and they'll have a plan or program eat these foods, do eat this way, and then they follow it up about a year later with a cookbook. So you bought the first book and now you buy the cookbook. So if they have a best seller with the first book, then the cookbook is going to be a best seller, too. That's typically the way that math works. You've just put both books together, but you've done it very well in that it's completely thought out. I'm not going to say it's dummy proof because you still have to go to the grocery store. You still have to find these things. You still have to Cook it. All those are good things. This is going to teach about nutrition. This is going to teach you about cooking. You're going to have some delicious. And I wish I had been in the tasting rooms when you guys are putting these dishes together. You guys had some great meals, I'm sure.

[00:50:03.450] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Yeah, we did. They're so good and they're satiating. I want to say that the dummy proof program is in the app, so you can link to that in the show notes. It's the three YY program, but you can find it at younger youth program. You can find a link to the book and then a link to the app. And that's where we'll really hold your hand through doing it. And then all of the sort of next generation younger you content that we're interested in will be in the app. And actually, we're going to continue to research in the app. So if anybody is interested in participating, that's where you want to go. I want to say one more piece here. Just given your appreciation of this nutrition component and the attention we gave. So we ended up needing to create. I just had to and I'm so glad the publishers let us kind of nudge it in what we call the younger you hybrid. It's half the intensive layered some of the everyday principles in. It's for when you're getting ready to conceive for men and women, because if you read the book, you'll see men in the world of epigenetics, yeah you're a big player in what happens with your baby, both in utero while your partner is carrying the baby.

[00:51:20.260] – Dr. Fitzgerald

But then the genetic expression pattern that they inherit, you play a huge role here. So how do we prepare for conception, men and women? What do we want to be thinking about during pregnancy and breastfeeding? And so we designed this younger you hybrid for that. It just seemed such a hugely important time in DNA methylation and demethylation. It's such a huge important time that I just couldn't leave it out of the book. So that information is in there as well.

[00:51:53.920] – Allan

So it's going to be a great reference for you today, for your kids today, for your grandkids, tomorrow. Now, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:52:08.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald

I love it. I love that. I think that's just such a beautiful, you know what? If somebody's going to be the healthiest fittest and happiest, I think that they're going to be epigenetically young as well. When I read your definition and just sat with it, what I thought was get into the driver's seat of your genetic expression. When we age in this country, in the United States, the final 16 years, we have at least one diagnosis and most of us have two. We're on multiple medications. We end up turning over our life savings and all of our hard work to Pharma, to skilled nursing care facilities, to hospitalizations. Like all of our hard existence, we just fork it over to the medical establishment. And it's just so sad to me. So aging is the biggest risk factor for all of these chronic diseases that we just want to avoid with every fiber of our being. And it looks like these diseases, the whole aging journey, take over our genetic expression like they get in the driver's seat. And so I would say that we want to be in the driver's seat of our genetic expression.

[00:53:31.840] – Dr. Fitzgerald

We want to take it back from these chronic diseases. We want to take it back from the aging process and do it. This program will allow you to do that. So I would say bathe your genes in methyl donors and adapt in the healthy way we outline. Get enough sleep, exercise, and well, this is more I'm going beyond your three, but community connection would be the final.

[00:54:01.570] – Allan

Right. Dr. Fitzgerald, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Younger You, the Younger You program and the app that you spoke about, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:54:15.250] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Very simple. It's just youngeryouprogram.com.

[00:54:19.500] – Allan

Great. Well, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/526, and I'll be sure to have all the links there.

[00:54:26.540] – Allan

Dr. Fitzgerald, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:54:30.340] – Dr. Fitzgerald

Oh, it was my pleasure. It was really great talking with you today.

Post Show/Recap

Post show with Rach

[00:54:40.970] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:54:42.470] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a really interesting conversation with Dr. Fitzgerald. We've always been told how eating and moving and all these lifestyle changes are good for our health, but now it sounds like the science is out there to kind of prove it. As far as our genetics go.

[00:54:59.470] – Allan

Yeah. I think people feel like they are genetically wired to be a certain way.

[00:55:05.520] – Rachel


[00:55:05.860] – Allan

Obviously, you have blue eyes or you have Brown eyes and that we know why that happens, but there's a lot of things out there that are not so solid state, and they can be changed over time through the process called epigenetics. And the mechanics for that is this process called DNA methylation. And so basically what she's showing us here is that the lifestyle and the food all blend into that communication. It's the information that drives our epigenetics that makes our genes do what they're there to do. We used to buy an IBM computer. It had all these little dip switches on the back. So you'd read the manual and you'd set the dip switches for different things. And it felt very complex. And of course, they made software that started doing that stuff. And now with data, you can say, okay, and I'm user Allan or you're user Tammy on the computer. And it's a whole different experience. And so it's just the complexity of all that is there in our genes. So it's just a function of saying if you do the right things and she goes into detail in the book how to do that with her program, then you're going to be able to slow the aging curve and be biologically younger.

[00:56:33.420] – Allan

And it's fascinating with how quickly some of that change can be seen and measured as far as your genetic age, your bio age, it can be flipped really quickly.

[00:56:48.530] – Rachel

Yeah, it was really fascinating how you described it as also a dimmer switch. You're right. I've got Brown eyes and Brown hair. But our overall health can kind of vacillate. It can kind of change based on our lifestyle habits.

[00:57:05.450] – Allan

Yeah. Well, it's things that we knew. We knew genes were going to drive us to be certain limits, certain things. And we knew that, okay. If you have a particular gene, when they first started doing the coding of that and getting the whole code, the map of the human genome, when they started putting that all together and it took a long time and a lot of money, they thought they were going to have the answer to everything. They thought that this $3 billion in years and years put into this program to get the first one done and now $100, $125, you can have that done over the course of a week or so. But that didn't answer all the questions. And then they realized, well, okay, jeans can be turned on and turn off is what the initial premise was. For a long time, that's what we thought. And now they're realizing, no, some genes are always on. Brown hair, Brown eyes. Some genes are set on dimmer switches. And those ones that are on these, like dimmer switches, we have some control over based on things that we do, what we eat, our stress management, our movement, social connections.

[00:58:26.690] – Allan

And if we put good practices in, we put good food in, it's this information that goes in and says, hey, slow this process down and speed this process up. And so it allows our body to age slower. It allows our body, in some cases to reverse age biologically now, not chronologically. You're still 56 years old. I am 56 years old. So I can't reverse that. But I can reverse my biological age. If I take the time to implement these strategies that she has, you can see that difference. She can measure that difference.

[00:59:15.110] – Rachel

And the strategies are the things that we talk about all the time, which is eating high quality nutritious foods, having some level of movement, getting good sleep, reducing stress, which is not always easy, but is important. And it's all these things that make for a healthier lifestyle, which it's interesting to see that actually show in the science.

[00:59:39.490] – Allan

Well, you go back to the blue zones. I mean, when Buettner wrote The Book Blue Zones, It has to have been 15,20 years ago now, I think. But he wrote the book about why are people living past 100 in all of these different areas? And he tracked what they ate and how they lived and it was the social connection. It was low stress. It was high regular movement. Not necessarily intense stuff, but just they're walking and they're moving and they're doing stuff and then it's the food. And so you go through that process and you say, okay, if I go ahead and start improving these things, I'm going to slow my aging curve. And it goes even a little bit beyond that. It's also about not just living longer but living better. And that's also in the subtitle of the book Is that most of us will get to an age and then we'll just decline really quickly and that's the aging curve. And it's a scary slope when it starts to happen that way you can delay that and have that slope happen later in your life if you take the time to do it.

[01:00:47.450] – Allan

We live longer because it keeps us alive longer, but it doesn't keep us healthier. Medicine doesn't do that. So what we have to do is do the right things with the foods we're eating movement, the sleep, the stress, doing the things that put good information in so that the dimmer switches are turned on and off in a way that help us live longer and better.

[01:01:09.490] – Rachel

Yes, that sounds great. What a fascinating interview.

[01:01:12.500] – Allan

Yeah, it's a good book if you're interested in the science of all of this. She did a lot of research on these different things and even some of the kind of more fruitful things that are out there that you can try, but this is just a real good solid. Okay, this is how it works. Understanding this formula, you go through the process and you start trying to eliminate bad things and add good things and it works.

[01:01:39.170] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds great.

[01:01:41.570] – Allan

All right, well, talk to you next week.

[01:01:44.130] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[01:01:45.570] – Allan

You, too.

[01:01:46.420] – Rachel

Thank you.


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Another episode you may enjoy


February 14, 2022

How to rock your midlife with Ellen Albertson

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Many people look at midlife as the beginning of a downward path to the end. In her book, Rock Your Midlife, Ellen Albertson shows us how to make our last chapters our best chapters.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:34.290] – Allan

So, unfortunately, we're not going to have Rachel on the show this week. But she'll be back next week, I promise.


[00:04:58.400] – Allan

Dr. Ellen, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:01.130] – Dr. Ellen

Thank you, Allan. It is so awesome to be here.

[00:05:04.170] – Allan

Yeah. As you got into your story and some of the things that you've done, it's really kind of fascinating because I'm not going to say there's parallels in our lives, but it's like you were a fitness trainer and then you kind of went on and started doing coaching and doing a lot of things online and offline and just kind of building a practice, if you will. Your book is called, Rock Your Midlife: Seven Steps to Transform Yourself and Make Your Next Chapter Your Best Chapter. And I like the title well enough. But there was a quote in the book, and I have to read this quote out loud because this is pretty fascinating and really touched me in a way that I'm like, okay, this is why I do what I do. And it's this, at midlife, you're gifted with an entire second adulthood to know and love yourself on a deeper level to figure out who you are and what you want. And I just thought that's magic. If people would wrap their mind around that one quote, their midlife, the after midlife, after 50, after 40 age, suddenly they're like, hey, this isn't a downward thing I'm facing. This is an opportunity.

[00:06:17.710] – Dr. Ellen

I love that you started with that quote from my book. And thank you. I'm glad it touched you because you were sharing a little bit of your story. And I think we're both finding that I'm having a gas. I mean, I'm almost 60 and I feel fabulous. Why it's so important that there are people like yourself who are telling people, this is how you can be healthy. I've met so many people who are at the healthiest in their 40s, their 50s, even their 60s, and then deciding who do I want to be when I grew up? Because I know my story and I think a lot of us, we were like, climbing this ladder of success, but it was up against the wrong freaking building. You're clawing your way up, you're sweating, you hate going to work every day. And what you can do at midlife is take everything that you've learned, really get to know yourself, what you love to do, what your talents are, the genius you're here to share with the world and create an incredible next chapter. I think that's what we're really here to say, that we're changing the pace of midlife.

[00:07:12.070] – Dr. Ellen

It's not about crisis, it is about difficulty transformation, often with people. But you can really create an amazing 20,30 decades.

[00:07:22.750] – Allan

As I got into my journey because I was in my early, late 30s when I realized I had a massive imbalance in my life. And I was so focused on career that my relationships were sour, my family life was sour. Everything else in my life, fitness and health, everything else, I was just not even scoring zeros across the board. And then career 100. And I was like, So this is not working for me. But it took me about eight years of hitting this, trying this. And I realized one of the problems that I had the whole time through was that I was focused on an outcome of weight loss, thinking that was kind of what I needed to do. And I think most of us approach this problem of midlife. It's weight loss. And most of my clients say, hey, I need to lose weight. But the reality of it is that's a byproduct or a side effect of you actually just getting your life in order. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because you brought up that concept in here. We're focusing on the wrong problem.

[00:08:33.220] – Dr. Ellen

Right. The reason we focus on way, honestly is it's such a specific, easy metric to look at. Like, how do you measure happiness, right? Like, that's really subjective weight you get on the scale. And people are like, wow, I lost 10 pounds. I feel good about myself, but as you said, and I have a lot of clients coming to me too. The first thing they want to do is lose weight. And we start with looking at their life because the reason that they're having that threesome with Ben and Jerry's or that Chardonnay Cheddar cheese have it in the evening is because they're not enjoying their lives. And so by the time 5:00,6:00 hits cocktail hour is like the thing that makes them feel good. So during the day, we're experiencing so much stress, especially right now with so much uncertainty and the pandemic still happening. So what happens when we get these cortisol rushes all day long? All cortisol is the hormone of fight and flight. So we're feeling stressed out, we're feeling tired. We're not very happy. And rather than saying, hey, what do I need to do to manage my stress, to create a life that I love, to find purpose and meaning? We're leaning into dopamine.

[00:09:38.020] – Dr. Ellen

Dopamine is the chemical of reward. It's the sex, drugs, rock and roll, food, alcohol, gambling, shopping, all of those kinds of things. And so again, like with weight, it's easy. We lean into the dopamine. I'll just have this threesome with Ben and Jerry's. Instead of looking at my life and going, okay, what's not working? What do I need to feel more fulfilled? And so when I start to work with people, it's so interesting. We start to work from the inside out. The self talk, the self compassion, the self care, all of these things about treating yourself well and feeling like you're enough. And then come 5:00, 6:00, they're not interested in the food because they're feeling good and they're feeling energized all day, and they're giving themselves what they need throughout the day. But again, I think we're leaning into weight because we think that that's the solution. And I think there's so much in the media about these quick weight loss solutions. You'll feel good about yourself. And particularly for women, our self worth is so much based on our appearance. And when we're happier, we don't feel confident, when we don't feel very good about ourselves.

[00:10:43.070] – Dr. Ellen

But I also tell people, too, that weight needs to be an outcome, not the goal, because we don't have control over it. I've seen people, I'm sure you have as well, who are eating right, who are moving their bodies. And the scale isn't budging. They feel a Plateau. And what happens is if we make weight the focus of our journey, when the scale doesn't go down, even when we've been doing the lifestyle change, we feel bad about ourselves. And then we're just like, screw it. I'm going to go ahead and just eat whatever I want in this vicious cycle of beating yourself up and being good and then not good. And I just work with my clients. It's just like, get rid of the diet books, get rid of the weight mentality, and let's focus on health and happiness.

[00:11:27.190] – Allan

Yeah. I remember going to the gym when I was actually doing things right. And so about every third day or so, I would be on the elliptical just burning up a sweat, doing some hit training or something like that. And there was this one woman, and she'd been coming in there for roughly the same amount of time I had. She'd been in there five, six months. And every day she came in and got on the elliptical and just killed herself for the whole hour and a half I was in the gym. So one day I'm finishing up my hit training. It's 20 minutes, and then I'm done. And she just says, what are you doing? You're losing weight. You lost a lot of weight over the course the last little bit of time. And I said, well, I stopped actually paying attention to weight. I actually started paying attention to other things and things I enjoy doing and making myself be myself. And you have a seven step program that is in a big part. I think I stumbled into it. It took me eight years. Someone now can buy your book Rock at Midlife, and you pretty much have given them seven direct steps that will take them the same path.

[00:12:36.970] – Allan

Can you talk about the seven steps and briefly what each step does?

[00:12:41.170] – Dr. Ellen

Yes. And I went through it myself, too. So I've lived it. I've lived with my clients, so I didn't just get there overnight. But the first step is authenticity. And authenticity is so important because if you don't know yourself and if you're not being authentic, there's no way that you can create a midlife. The next chapter that's going to feel fulfilling and good for you. Because if you're being someone else, if you're wearing a mask, if you're trying to live someone else's story or agenda, you're going to keep running into those walls. Why don't I feel good? Why am I not enjoying my life? So what I do is I take people through this is stuff that I've worked on through my PhD and through years of working with positive psychology. Lots of journaling questions and prompts. People can ask lots of various tests that people can take. Like a lot of my clients, I have them take the VRA test, which is a test that looks at various character strengths. It's free. You can get it online to really see what am I really good at? What do I really love to do? What have I always been curious about?

[00:13:46.360] – Dr. Ellen

What did I want to be when I was a kid and sort of just really getting to know yourself, just like you would get to know a good friend. And I think a lot of people don't really take the time to figure out what do I love to do? For me, I had an older sister who is a very accomplished musician and artist, so I kind of didn't do that in my own life. But I always wanted to do more art, more music. So I just bought a ukulele. I just got myself some pencils, and I'm drawing and rediscovering these kind of varied parts of ourselves. So the first step is authenticity. Really get to know who are you? And it's also about embracing your flaws. We're not all good at everything and figuring out what am I really good at? What do I need some help? What do I love to do? What lights me up? And it's a really great initial Breadcrumb on this quest to make an amazing next chapter. That's step one. Step two is to love yourself and really learn to treat yourself like you would a good friend. And this I grew from my studies of self compassion, which I was fortunate enough to study with a woman named Kristin Neff.

[00:14:54.850] – Dr. Ellen

She's kind of a pioneer in this area. A lot of people like question, how do you love yourself? And this self compassion is really the how of loving yourself. And so it's really all about learning to treat yourself like you would a good friend. And when I start working with people, I have them think about when a friend that you love goes through something, how do you treat yourself? I'm sorry, how do you treat them? And then how do you treat yourself when you go through something? And the whole idea is to start to put yourself in those sort of befriending shoes or pretend that you had a wise friend and ask, how would she treat me? And then do that thing. So that's step two, loving yourself is such a game changer, because when you love yourself, you attract what's in your best interest. So you go to the gym, not because you're punishing yourself, but because you want to be healthy, you want to have a healthy life. Personally, I love to exercise. I don't know where we got on this whole bandwagon of exercise is punishment. I woke up this morning and I went cross country skiing first thing in the morning.

[00:15:57.720] – Dr. Ellen

It was a blast. So you start to eat right, take care of your body, get in relationships that are positive, do more things that light you up because you love and care about yourself. So that was a game changer for me. I'm curious, have you practiced much self compassionate for men? It's kind of a different ball of wax.

[00:16:13.580] – Allan

It was. And I'm going to say this word if it bothers you, if there's kids, cover their ears. But I literally thought of myself as a fat bastard. That was literally the words that were in my head as I was going through the beginning of my journey. And that was the wake up. The wake up was, who am I? And I woke up, I was actually I was hungover and I was in Malaysia. And I've been working on this for eight years, this and that, and then just failing over and over, I was back in the same spot. And I just remember waking up and thinking, why can't I do this? Because I'm so good at everything that I have ever wanted to do. I wanted to be good at football in high school, I was good at football. I tried out for the tennis team. I made the tennis team. In College and high school, if I wanted to make a grade, I made the grade. If I wanted to pass the test, I passed the test. When I wanted to get a job, I got the job. I almost had no failure. And I was like, why did that always happen?

[00:17:14.910] – Allan

And then it's not happening in this facet of my life, what is different? And then I realized I woke up. I'm like, nothing's different. The only difference is I'm not treating myself well and I'm not committed. And if I were committed, I would treat myself like someone I love. And the way I kind of equate it is, if you told your spouse that you were going to be at the airport at 05:00 in the morning to pick them up, guess where you are at 05:00 in the morning? And if you treated your spouse the way you treat yourself, you always do that. You never do that. If you use those words, you can't do anything right what you're saying in your head to yourself. But if you ever said that to your spouse, you're probably facing a fight or a divorce. We can't divorce ourselves. So if we really think about self compassion and love, then we stop using those words. We catch ourselves when we're doing it, and we say, I would never, ever say that to a friend. And if a friend ever said that to me, it would really hurt my feelings.

[00:18:18.870] – Allan

So as soon as you can start getting past those words, then you can open up to the possibilities of who you're really supposed to be. That's where we get to the next few steps, where you're talking about getting energy and reprogramming and empowering yourself and doing those things. But until you get past this point, because I think in my opinion, a self love, self compassion piece you have to do this step.

[00:18:45.430] – Dr. Ellen

And it's a beautiful story. And it all starts with that self talk. And the interesting thing is that self critic, as you said, I think you said the fat bastard. We developed that inner self talk before we're ten years old. We developed this inner critic because our caregivers criticize us, right? They tell us to finish everything on our plate and keep our room clean and get good grades. And if we don't do these things, we are in danger of not being loved and cared for. So when we get to be adults, we internalize the voice of our early caregivers. That inner critic becomes very real in our lives. And we think and this is an interesting thing that I realized in so much of my research is that we think that we need the inner critic to motivate us, like you said, to get on the tennis team and to get that job and be successful at work. But the research really shows that the self criticizing actually undermines motivation. Because when you criticize yourself, you shut yourself down, you generate cortisol, you feel bad about yourself. Whereas with self compassion. We want to do those things because we want to be happy.

[00:19:51.970] – Dr. Ellen

And actually, self compassion is very energizing. And unlike self esteem, which for a long time, psychologists really emphasize self esteem, self compassion actually is not contingent on anything. You can love yourself and support yourself regardless of how well you do at the gym, at your job. It's a muscle that you can build that constantly grows. That's why it's such a focal point of my work and the book that if you don't love yourself, you can't create a next great chapter. And it really comes down to being kind yourself rather than critical. To be mindful when you're struggling and suffering. So to stop and notice and say, oh my gosh, that was a tough time right now, particularly the kind of days that we've had. I've talked to so many clients and friends who have had so many losses. And with Covid it's been really difficult, extra challenging to stop and say, what do I need right now? And treat yourself like a good friend. And also to understand this concept of common humanity that we all make mistakes, we all fail. It's part of the human condition. So I'm so glad that you have been discovering this yourself.

[00:20:55.810] – Allan

Yeah. So now the next, the third step you have is about energizing yourself.

[00:21:02.290] – Dr. Ellen

Right. So if you want to have a next great chapter, you've got to take care of your body. So in this chapter, I really just summarize my 30 something years in the health and wellness field. So diet, it's not complicated. The media wants you to think that you have to go on some crazy diet and eat really weird foods or cut certain things out. But it really comes down to eating more plants. So really personally, I try to get between seven and ten servings of plant foods every single day. Plants are so important, they help to reduce inflammation. If you are trying to lose weight. Plants contain fiber, which is the part of the plant that we don't digest. They fill you up without filling you out. If you're going through menopause, those plant fibers can help you with menopause symptoms. And it's really in my work, I've really found if people add more plants in, it crowds out other things. So eat more plants. Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't have eaten. So really sticking to whole foods, foods that aren't processed, staying away from things like added chemicals, added sugar, and then eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed

[00:22:11.510] – Dr. Ellen

So if we did those three things, if we ate more plants, ate more whole foods, really didn't stuff ourselves, we would really be healthier and get to a healthy weight. Certainly with movement, I recommend at least 25 minutes a day. I think at midlife, less is more. We still need to build muscle. At midlife, we start to really lose our muscle mass after 30. If people don't do strength training, their muscle mass really erodes at a very quick level. It's also one thing I found so interesting in my book is that women at midlife need more protein. So the protein requirement in general is .8 grams/kg. At midlife, we need one to one and a half grams per kilogram. So we actually need more protein to support that muscle mass. The lower estrogen levels we think about bone loss, but we also can have muscle mass loss due to the estrogen. So the bone building is really important. Stretching is also really important to do that with your exercise and of course, cardio. And as far as nutrition, D is very important. You live in Panama, so I'm sure you get plenty of D.

[00:23:18.520] – Dr. Ellen

But here where I live in Vermont, I take vitamin D every day. Most people living in the north are deficient in vitamin D, but 50% of people are. So it's super important for your immune system, for bone health, for even how your mind functions. And then I think rest is really important. It's so important to rest between workouts, giving your muscles time to heal and grow stronger. It's also really important to make sure that you are managing stress and resting during the day and also getting 7 to 8 hours of good sleep and of course, also staying hydrated. So things we've heard before. But I think again, just having really simple, smart goals for yourself, maybe getting an accountability buddy, hiring some help, someone like yourself who can help people get that accountability and hit the mark is so important. But taking care of your health is really important. A lot of people are just blaming it on I'm getting old, I'm getting tired, I'm gaining weight. But you really can reverse any kind of health challenge that you're experiencing at midlife. So that's number three and number four is to reprogram your brain. So I think at midlife we do start to not be quite as sharp.

[00:24:29.860] – Dr. Ellen

I know myself sometimes it's hard to remember everything. I think part of that is that our minds are so full of so many things and we're not as mindful as we could be. So we're not just focusing on just doing what we're doing while we're doing it. So mindfulness is really important for your brain. It's interesting to note that at midlife and at any point in your life, you're always making new neural connections. So your nervous system, your brain, your neurons are always making new connections. So if you've experienced issues in your life, whether that's trauma, depression, memory issues, you can reprogram and rebuild your brain through things like mindfulness, through taking time and writing things down, which helps commit things to long term memory by really doing more of what lights you up, what's important. And of course, exercise is super important for your brain. And eating right is also important for your brain. Your brain is one of your most nutrient hungry organs in your body. It uses about 20% to 25% of your calories every day. So taking care of your brain means taking care of your whole body. There certainly is a brain body connection.

[00:25:44.450] – Dr. Ellen

And also a lot of interesting things I talk about in Rock your Midlife, about the microbiome. I don't know if you have come across some of the research which is this. We have an organ that's not really part of our body. It weighs about 4 pounds and it's made up of microorganisms. So bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, a lot of them are very good for our health. They help with our digestion. They actually can help with your immune system and with your mood. And you can build a healthy microbiome again, eating more of those plants, eating less sugar, having less alcohol, less additives, and then also eating what's called probiotics. So you're eating some healthy organisms yourself, so you can take a probiotic supplement, or you can also eat things like sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, which contain these microorganisms. So that's step four is reprogramming, working on your brain.

[00:26:40.930] – Dr. Ellen

Step five is about empowering yourself. So for me, your empowerment really starts with that step one, authenticity. So knowing that this is who I am and this is what I'm meant to do in the world, it's all about having power from within. So often we look from power from without, so we look to other people, we look to our job or organizations to make us feel good.

[00:27:05.340] – Dr. Ellen

But empowerment is really drilling down and saying what makes me happy? What do I want to do in the world? What are my geniuses and what are my strengths? And also I combine in Rock your Midlife this idea of authenticity with the law of attraction, which is simply this idea that, like attracts like. So the energy that you put out attracts energy to you. So if you are positive, if you're working on yourself, you're practicing that self love and that self compassion, you're going to attract opportunities and people in your life who are going to feed your soul and feed what you want to do in your next chapter. If you're walking around complaining and feeling bad about yourself in your life all the time, then that's where you're going to be stuck. It doesn't mean that you need to be a Pollyanna. And difficult things happen. And we need to hold ourselves when we're sad, when we're grieving, when we're frustrating, but we need to not sort of push those emotions down, but really take care of the difficult emotions. And then we can sort of get to this neutral ground with things like gratitude.

[00:28:14.540] – Dr. Ellen

And then we can really work on more of those positive emotions, like joy and happiness. And so that empowerment is some emotional up leveling, as well as really being yourself and putting yourself out in the world in the most powerful way you can.

[00:28:29.140] – Dr. Ellen

And then moving to step six. So I love step six because what happens is after you've done step one through five, you start to change. It's like you've been that Caterpillar, and then all of a sudden you're like, oh, my gosh, I'm coming out of my Chrysalis. I'm the butterfly. My wings are drying. The only problem is the people in your life might see that and think that you're still the Caterpillar, and you're like, no, no, I'm a butterfly. Can't you see? Like, I'm colorful and I'm flying and I'm eating nectar. And so in this chapter, which is called Rehab Your Relationships, I give people three specific techniques to really work with the people in your life. So the first thing with that is really to get your people pleaser. And you're a good girl. A lot of us have people pleasers. It kind of goes back to what I was saying before about early caregivers, wanting everybody to like us.

[00:29:20.850] – Dr. Ellen

So really saying yes when you mean yes and know when you mean no. Putting yourself first, it doesn't mean that you're selfish. It just means you've got to put on your own oxygen mask right before you can support other people. I teach people something called the nonviolent communication. So specific techniques to communicate with people, which really involves getting your needs met and then also setting boundaries. So really, I have people go through an exercise where they create a personal bill of rights, where they really decide, this is what I stand for. This is my bottom line. And if you cross it, these are the consequences. And I think we don't do that a lot. I don't know how good how it is with men so much because I work mostly with women, but having a bill of rights and just deciding this is what I stand for, whether it's with work, whether it's people that you're in intimate relationships with. But it's super important to get your needs met, to set boundaries and to really work on those relationships.

[00:30:21.130] – Allan

I think with me, like you talked about men, and I think the reality of it was that I was so focused in one facet of my life that those relationships were gone. Any of them that I still had were the toxic ones that just seemed to cling on because they'll cling on till the end. And I was like, okay, I have to get rid of the toxic people in my life, particularly the ones that I can, because there were some that I couldn't because they were like my boss. Get rid of some toxic things and then start looking and seeking out the people that bring you joy, the people that you know are good people for you, the people that are going to support you. Jim Rohn says you're the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. And 15 years ago, if I would have put that list together, wrong people. And so now I make a point of spending the time, my time with the people that I care about the most, and I know care about me. And so they're lifting me up versus tearing me down all the time.

[00:31:31.230] – Allan

And so even as a guy, you might not think about it a lot. But if most of your time is spent with your drinking buddies at the bar after work and you guys are just tearing down beers, buying each other rounds, and that's all good and fun, but that's your path. That's who you're surrounding yourself with, and that's going to leave you stuck. So you've already done these things. You're trying to beat us butterfly. Maybe not a butterfly for a guy. Maybe we're moths, I don't know. But you've become something better than that and it's time for you to move on.

[00:32:06.650] – Dr. Ellen

That's awesome that you did that. It's difficult, though. I know myself before I made these changes, I left 25 year marriage and substances were a part of our social life, and now I'm so much more judicious. I mean, I might drink occasionally, socially, occasionally have a glass of wine, but my new man in my life may be on say, we practice kind of yoga together. We go cross country skiing, we got a tandem bike, and we have a tandem kayak. And I think that's really the relationship thing is so important because often when I start working with people, I'm sure you noticed this, too, Allan, is that people are really scared. If I make these changes, what's it going to do for my relationships? If I lose the weight, how am I going to go out to that restaurant and order things and say, well, I don't really want to drink, I don't enjoy doing this anymore? Or what's going to happen with my primary relation, my marriage? If I lose weight and I get in shape and I change my lifestyle and my husband or wife stays the same, what's going to happen? Am I going to lose friends?

[00:33:04.060] – Dr. Ellen

And so that's a difficult question that I think a lot of people when they're sort of thinking we're sort of at the beginning of the year and people are thinking about change, and I think covid made people really reevaluate their lives. A lot of thinking, gosh, if I change, what if, what if this happens? And what if that happens? And that's again, I talk about this a lot before the steps, talking about getting unstuck and immunity to change. Often we have something deep seated. So I'm sure it was hard for you to think about, gosh, if I change my life, if I'm going to get up at 05:00 in the morning and get to the gym, well, that means that I can't go out for those drinks with those guys. And if I say, Gee, I really want to start finding new friends, what's going to happen with those relationships? But I know myself when I cleared away some of the old relationships, new relationships is space for new relationships. And there's lots of really amazing people out there who can support you and love you, who want to have a healthy lifestyle. But there's a lot of fear, I think around.

[00:34:00.670] – Dr. Ellen

And that's something that I also, when I work with people looking at this immunity to change. I've had a lot of clients who don't do the self care because they want to be available 24/7 for the grandkids. And they think, well, if I join the gym or if I take that yoga class or that self development thing, then I won't be available to babysit all the time. And they don't even realize that they've got this underlying belief feeling like, well, I won't be needed then. So sometimes you have to really look very deep. And I think this weight loss spiral keeps people in a very stuck place where they never have to look at what would happen if I really did change, what would really happen if I stopped dieting? And I just said, you know what, I'm going to start focusing on my lifestyle and really make some deep changes.

[00:34:46.070] – Allan

Let's talk about the 7th step on this. And then I do want to jump in and talk a little bit more about fear, because I see that a lot.

[00:34:53.230] – Dr. Ellen

Sure. The 7th step is enlightenment. So enlightenment spirituality is really all about connecting with your passion and purpose. And we're all here for a reason, and there's a lot of problems in the world. So we all have talents and gifts to share with people. So this is really all about how to connect with your soul and your spirit. You might want to rediscover religion that you experienced when you were younger or just experience a new spiritual path. So I give people a lot of specific things they can do to create a spiritual practice, to create a relationship with their soul. I like to say that you are a soul having a human experience, maybe flip that around, said thinking, I'm a human, I have a soul, and I kind of go to Church on Sundays, and I experience it to see what's it like to connect with your spiritual self. I mean, for me, a lot of that is doing various yoga practices, certainly being out in nature, nothing to me connects me more with all that is than just being outside and seeing the birds and the snow and the trees. So lots of specific things that people can do, because I think when we get to the midlife, we're wiser and we want more of that type of connection.

[00:36:08.520] – Dr. Ellen

And hopefully we've created more space and time. And we know that so many people at midlife are quitting their jobs. Right. They're just thinking about gosh, you had that same experience saying that, I don't want to do this anymore. It's not making me happy. So the big piece of being happy is finding your passion and your purpose, connecting with things like gratitude, so I really dig deep into spirituality as well as sort of the positive psychology behind things people can do to really be happier, more joyful.

[00:36:38.960] – Allan

Yeah. Now with fear, you had two acronyms, and I think these kind of sum it up of the kind of the two sides of this. And the first acronym was false evidence appearing real. And the second was face everything in rise. And the two sides that I see there is the first one is most of the fear we have is not rational. And it's more of like a worry, something like you said, the what if, what if this were to happen and then you're afraid. It's like, well, I don't want that to happen, so I just won't do this. Or the other side of fear is just a point where you sit there and say, you know, I've put up with being this way or being unhappy, and I deserve more. And you talked in the book about how there was, like you of happiness down to midlife. And now we're in this bottom of the trough. And as soon as we recognize that, then the fear should start to dissipate because of the opportunity, like I said, the opportunity to go back up the other side of that view of what we see over the course of most people, not everybody but most people is that opportunity to find the same kind of joy we had when we were children.

[00:37:53.330] – Allan

So can you talk a little bit about fear and a little bit how we can overcome fear?

[00:37:58.070] – Dr. Ellen

That's a great question. Yeah. Well, the first thing is to understand the neuroscience behind fear. So we have this living brain, which is our amygdala that's in the back of our brain. It's the primitive part of your brain that is there to protect you from danger. It doesn't care if you're happy, doesn't care if you're fulfilled. All he wants to do is keep you from being eaten by a Saber tooth Tiger. So it's great if it's 100,000 years ago where, yeah, you could get eaten. You had to protect yourself. There was danger around every corner. But in today's world, if you're listening to this, you're not in any danger of getting eaten right now, right. Where you're perfectly safe. But we have to understand.

[00:38:39.900] – Allan

Well, the lady at the PTA meeting might shoot my head off, but that's about as bad as it's going to go.

[00:38:44.800] – Dr. Ellen

Yeah, exactly. We've got this part of our brain that is really trying to protect us. And then we've also got what's called the default mode network that runs down the center of our brain, which is constantly scanning the environment for what could go wrong in self definition. So again, your brain is just looking around, and this part of our brain evolved again hundreds of thousands of years ago when we were in tribes. There was a lot of social comparison where you had to figure out where do I fit? So maybe somebody was good at cooking and somebody's good at hunting and somebody's good at healing and somebody's good at creating clothes. So we all have to sort of figure out where we fit. But now we've got this crazy social comparison where we literally can be online with millions of people comparing ourselves to other people. So we're constantly scanning the environment for what could go wrong? My check could bounce. I could lose all my money, or I could lose my job or I could lose my marriage. So we're constantly worrying about that. Worrying about where do I fit in, what's my status? So the first thing is to really just call it out.

[00:39:49.910] – Dr. Ellen

Just fear is really in your mind. So what I like to say is name it you tame it. Just say, this is just fear. This is just my brain. And a lot of times it shows up. The worry shows up in rumination, which rumination comes from the root of it is ruminants, which are I live in Vermont, so I don't know you probably don't have a lot of cows in Panama

[00:40:10.070] – Allan

there are some

[00:40:12.590] – Dr. Ellen

we've got goats and cows and sheep and ruminants chew their cod. Right. They chew the grass and then they chew it again. So it's chewing things over and over in your mind. Again, the neuroscience we do this because if I think about my problems all the time, if I think about 04:00 in the morning and I'm worrying about, like, my boss and I didn't get this assignment on time and what's going to happen to me? We think if we worry about it, we're going to solve it. But Ironically, what happens is it keeps us stuck and out of problem solving mode because all we're doing is chewing the problem over and over again in our head. So the first thing is just to name it, just to call it out and say, this is just fear.

[00:40:51.350] – Dr. Ellen

It's just part of being human. May be giving yourself a little self compassion because you're having this thought mindfulness can be really helpful. Learning how to focus your thoughts. Whether you start a meditation practice just you just have to be long. Just watching your thoughts for five to ten minutes a day or finding ways throughout the day to sort of focus on your breathing. Calm yourself down. So the first thing is name it you tame it and then feel it you heal it. So where's fear showing up in my body? So emotions are felt experiences in your body. So often fear will show up maybe it's a tightness in your throat because you don't want to speak your truth. Or you might feel it around your heart because it involves a relationship or often it's in our bellies. Right? We're afraid. So name it you tame it and just let it come and go. And then a couple of other tricks that I like to use, see if you can change fear into excitement. So fear and excitement or anxiety and excitement are very similar in terms of the physiology. So when we're excited or we're anxious, our pulse might go up, we might sweat, we might flush.

[00:41:56.360] – Dr. Ellen

But if we turn that into excitement, like when you're in a roller coaster. Right. You're like, this is scary, but you know that you're safe. So see if you can just flip it around and say, you know what? For me, I love public speaking, but it also creates a lot of anxiety. So I turned into excitement. I'm really excited to speak today to share my truth and my passion for midlife. So change it in excitement if you can. And then I think my favorite technique is just focusing on breathing. So even the Navy Seals use this four X four X four X four breathing. They call box breathing. So what happens is when you breathe in for four, hold it for four, exhale for four, hold for four. It calms down your physiology. So what happens is you turn off that fight and flight, that cortisol, and you fire up your rest and digest. So simply doing a few minutes of deep breathing or simply breathing in really long exhalation, the long exhalation really helps to help you reset your physiology. There's so much that we can do. Listening to music is another powerful thing.

[00:43:08.300] – Dr. Ellen

So if we listen to music, that either you could listen to Rocky. Right. If you wanted to turn that fear into excitement, or you might listen to something that kind of calms down your nervous system. That's really helpful. And essential oils are really great. So those are just a couple of techniques. But I talk about fear a lot in the book because frankly, it's something that keeps so many people from moving forward. If you look at the research, it's so interesting that children, they have their fear animals, they get over it. Right. If you see an animal that's fearful, they go through their stress and then they reset. We don't do that as much at midlife. Right. We stay in this chronic stressful situation, which, of course, is creating a ton of inflammation and is really at the root cause of so much of our health. So maybe for motivation, see if you can really work on your fear and anxiety and your chronic stress as a way to help yourself heal and feel great in the coming year.

[00:44:03.500] – Allan

All right. Now, for a lot of us, this is never going to be a straight line. So even if we go through the steps and seems kind of linear because there are seven of them and some of them might take us a little longer, I think we all know that. But eventually, as with all things, issues are going to come up. And one of the things you said in the book that I thought was really interesting because I used to say this about my brother that he was happily miserable. But you used the term comfortably uncomfortable. And that kind of touched me because I was going to go one of those moments that you're saying for a lot of us, we don't want to get outside our comfort zone. Now in the book, you had 21 tips for getting unstuck. Can you just share some of your favorites?

[00:44:47.810] – Dr. Ellen

Sure. I would say it's interesting. There's so many things you can do. One of the greatest things to do is create a new habit. So if you take a look at the research on breaking habits, making habits, it's better to replace a habit that is not serving you with a new habit. So I'll give you an example. Let's say, for example, every day at 03:00, you get hungry, which is kind of your cue to eat. You go to the vending machine and you have a candy bar and a soda. And then the reinforcing reward is you kind of get a little bit of a lift from your fatigue so you could create a new habit. So instead of that habit, you can go ahead and stock up and have snacks in your desk, things like healthy portions of nuts, fruit, maybe sugar free yogurt and water to stay hydrated. And so when 03:00 hits, you get that hunger sort of fatigue thing going on. Instead of walking to the vending machine, you grab your healthy snack, you grab your water bottle, and you go for a 10,15 minutes walk. And your reward is that you feel energized, you feel good, but it's not this kind of energy that comes from sort of the sugar caffeine high and then crashes.

[00:46:03.440] – Dr. Ellen

So creating a new habit is a really great thing to do. Another unstuck thing I love to do is declutter. Declutter a drawer, declutter a closet, declutter your garage. It is so freeing and energizing to declutter some aspect of your life, and it creates space for something new. It creates a sense of accomplishment. I think we all love to do it. So just put something on your calendar for some time that you're going to do a little bit of decluttering.

[00:46:32.330] – Dr. Ellen

Another thing is to just do something new. So go somewhere new, drive to a new place at work, read a new morning newspaper, make a new friend. Just create some newness in your life. Create a new hairstyle, change your hairstyle, change your hair color, wear a color you don't normally wear. But just doing anything new, I think, again, we are creatures of habit. It's so interesting when you look at the literature, something like 45% of the things we do every single day are automatic. Things like we tie our shoes, we make our coffee, we take our shower, either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. You've got to shake it up and try something new.

[00:47:12.230] – Dr. Ellen

I really also like rising with the Sun, super energetic to really get into the circadian rhythms where you are living. So I get up usually with the sun. I love watching the sun set and the sun rise in the morning. You actually have more energy when you're kind of on those vibes with the sun. So just really just trying to do some new things. And I give 21 tips in my book, so if you're feeling stuck, just do something new. Getting accountability buddy, is really awesome as well. So having somebody who's also trying to make some changes in your life, learning something new. So I think I was saying earlier in the episode, I just got myself a ukulele, and so learning to play the ukulele, I'm creating those new things, those new brain neural connections in my mind, which are so awesome. Make a bucket list. That's another awesome thing to do. Make a bucket list. Actually, we don't even have to call it a bucket list. We can call it the next chapter list, right? So it's not about things I want to do before I leave the Earth, but things that I really want to do in this next chapter, I think we have space and time.

[00:48:21.960] – Dr. Ellen

Kids are empty nests. Maybe we're downsizing a little bit from our work. We're downsizing our home. But don't just fill it up with the same old, same old. Do something new because there is really a million things to do in the world and everything is so accessible right now. So get really conscious about it too. Maybe a little bit less television. I think it's so tempting to fill our days with TV. So maybe being a little more judicious with your media time and really picking something that you want to learn and do this year.

[00:48:50.810] – Allan

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

[00:49:01.610] – Dr. Ellen

the first thing I would say, progress, not perfection. So we haven't really talked about perfectionism. I talk about it a lot in the book. Rock your midlife. But perfectionism will just kill any wellness strategy because let's say, for example, you set this goal and you say, I'm going to work out every single day or I am going to eat this perfect diet. I've got this diet plan. I'm going to follow it. If you are a perfectionist, if you mess up what happens? You give up. You're just like, okay, I didn't do it right. I feel bad about myself. And I see this all the time with a lot of the people I work with are recovering chronic dieters. We see this. They go on these diets, they do it perfectly. They fill out their Journal, they do all the things, and then all of a sudden they blow their diet. They have one dinner out, or maybe they have a little bit of alcohol and inhibitions go down and they have slip up and then they go right back to the same old crappy, standard American diet, same thing with workouts. You miss a workout and then all of a sudden you miss too.

[00:50:06.960] – Dr. Ellen

And then you stop working out completely. So focus on the progress that you're making. Focus on the fact that I'm going to just carry an Apple in my bag and when I need a snack, I'm going to eat that or I'm going to start a walking program and I'm going to walk for 25 minutes every day. Maybe you'll do 45. And I love this idea, too, of set smaller goals to say, I'm going to just do three push ups. And while you're down there, you'll do ten, but you've got to sort of start out with small things that I love. You're probably familiar with Mel Robbins, who talks about the five second rule. Another great way to get over fear is just count to five and just do it. Do something small and focus on the progress you're making, not perfection. And when we're talking about goals, it's so important to set smart goals, which I'm sure Allan, you help your people set smart goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time sensitive. And these are things that you have control over. A lot of people set goals like, I'll lose 25 pounds. Well, that's not a smart goal and you don't have control over.

[00:51:10.290] – Dr. Ellen

But you have control over something. Like every day after lunch I'm going to take a 20 minutes walk or something I've been working on. One of the things I struggle with is eating late at night and my fiance and I are really trying hard to eat earlier in the day and just say, okay, we're going to not have anything after 08:00 and I'd like to move it to seven. But setting a smart goal, maybe even like three nights a week, we're going to have dinner at 07:00 and we're going to stop eating by 08:00. So set smart goals. And then I would say a thing too is and this is something that I focus so much on in my work and my book. Have fun. We've got to get away from this punitive attitude around weight loss. When I started my career 30 years ago as a registered dietitian, people would come into my office and I would say, Why are you here? And they said, well, my doctor told me I had to see you. And then I would ask them, what did you have to eat last night? And they would say, Well, I knew I was coming in to see you.

[00:52:11.730] – Dr. Ellen

So I had a double stuffed crust pizza, an ice cream or a steak. And they didn't want to be there and they weren't at the stage of readiness to make change. And it was all because you've been bad. So now we're going to punish you by eating this diet that is this draconian, 1200 calories or 600 calorie diet. And you're going to be miserable. Healthy eating is really fun. Like my partner is an amazing gardener and I am so inspired by what he grows and what I can Cook and we love to work. I don't even want to call it work it out. I mean there's nothing we like better than getting on our town and bike and going to the next island and biking for three or 4 hours. You're exhausted but it feels fabulous. I love doing yoga and I love lifting weights and I love eating healthy. So just get away from this attitude that being healthy is some punishment for your earlier sins in life. And I guess at a fourth, no matter where you are at, if you are breathing more is going right than wrong. You have like 32 trillion cells and all they want to do is keep you alive.

[00:53:21.650] – Dr. Ellen

So thank your cells. I like the dog barking to emphasize that right. Thank your cells. Treat your body. Weld stop beating your body up and learn to love yourself, practice and self compassion with my research really showed is that it really will help you with your body image. Focus on your function and feeling good. Don't worry so much about how you look. I think we also need to focus too on you can be sexy and beautiful. I'm at 60 and I feel more beautiful and sexier and healthier than I've ever felt in my life. I'm slowing down a bit but I think I'm gorgeous and I love my life and I'm having so much fun.

[00:54:01.470] – Dr. Ellen

Thank you, Dr. Ellen, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Rock Your Midlife, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:54:09.720] – Dr. Ellen

Just go to themidlifewhisper.com and I'm easy to find. That's my website and I'm the only midlife Whisperer in the universe as far as I know. Also you can just go to Amazon and put in Rock Your Midlife and the book will come right up for you.

[00:54:24.730] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/525 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Ellen, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:54:34.330] – Dr. Ellen

Thank you, Allan. It's been such a fun conversation. I'm looking forward to more conversations in the future.

[00:54:39.640] – Allan



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